JANUARY 30, 1960
HYDE PARK—On the same page of one of our New York City newspapers the other day we read two headlines that seemed to contradict each other!
One read: "Eisenhower Calls U. S. Strongest, Scores Pessimists." The other read: "Juggling of Missile Data Is Charged by Symington."
To the average lay reader this means complete confusion. One cannot believe that the President would willfully mislead the country at large. His statement was made to Republican dinners all over the country and before making such a statement he must have made a very careful check of exactly where we stand in this whole defense situation.
We are not aggressive; we do not want to attack any nation. What we want is to be strong enough so that no nation will be tempted to attack us.
To most of us that has meant stockpiling of missiles and a continuing research, followed by proof that we are able to carry out as good military aggression, if need be, as the Soviet Union. And it has meant that our defense against our own missiles as well as those of the Soviet Union, which we are aware of, would be adequate to protect our citizens.
What Senator Symington says is that our interest in balancing the budget is greater than our honesty and that, therefore, we have not been accurate in reporting what intelligence has reported as to Soviet strength.
It is hard to believe that a Senator, who is judged to be well-versed in these matters, would falsify a statement as serious as this. And, if he did, it seems probable that there would be an immediate correction from those in authority.
What is the poor layman to believe?
I have a letter from the Southwest area of our country saying that one of our well-known newspaper writers, in speaking privately to people in that area, has said that Vice-President Richard Nixon will be the next President.
He also said that if Senator John F. Kennedy does not win the Democratic nomination on the first two ballots at the national convention, there probably will be a deadlock between Kennedy and Senator Hubert H. Humphrey. This then, he reasons, would force the Democrats to nominate Senator Stuart Symington as the compromise candidate.
It takes a bold man, either in public or in private conversation, to make predictions of this kind so early. But at least when someone does so, what he says should be examined with care, and those who have strong feelings one way or another should try to make changes in these predicted results.
I have one very definite feeling. Being a Democrat, I would prefer to see a Democrat elected President this coming autumn, and what little work and energy I have will certainly be devoted to that end.
The Republicans are growing so accustomed to having no contest in their conventions—having had two conventions in which it was obvious from the beginning that President Eisenhower was going to be the candidate—that I suppose it is impossible for them to differ about a candidate.
But sometimes differences of opinion are assets, and too much agreement often can bring about indifference. So, to state now who will be the next President seems to me a bit premature.