FEBRUARY 15, 1960
HYDE PARK—If my mail is any indication, people are becoming very much concerned over this election year. One lady, for example, writes me: "This is election year for our country's highest office and I feel the candidate should name his cabinet in advance, and thereby face the nation with a complete slate so we will know just what to expect—and vote accordingly."
This is an interesting idea, but it presupposes that none of the candidate's supporters at the convention have made any bargains or promises in order to obtain votes during the pre-convention struggle. It also assumes that a candidate, before his election, would be able to obtain the acceptance of all those he wanted to serve in his cabinet should he be elected. That may sound easy, but I question whether it would actually be so. Once you are the elected President there is much more force behind you than when you are just a candidate!
I think my correspondent would do better to concentrate on getting that man nominated and elected President whose judgment she trusts and whom she believes will not allow his followers to make any commitments beforehand that would be harmful if they had to be carried out.
One of our metropolitan newspapers observed the other day that Mr. Khrushchev did not have as large crowds as President Eisenhower in his Indian tour. In the photograph that I saw, Mr. Khrushchev certainly was laden down with the most enormous garland of welcoming flowers, and his speech to the parliament was calculated to please the Indian government representatives as well as the Indian people.
I still cannot understand our failure to realize that the Soviet suggestion for the total banning of nuclear tests is more acceptable to the Asiatic and African world than our own rather curious demand, which calls for a treaty that would ban "all nuclear weapons tests in the atmosphere, in the oceans, and in space" and adds that "all underground tests would be banned except small-scale explosions."
It seems unreasonable to me to insist on this exception, for by the time the treaty actually comes into operation we may have mechanical devices which will assure us of detecting such explosions. In any case the risk seems to me to be less great—even if we have to take a risk—because without this exception we apparently cannot get a treaty with the Soviet Union.
I also cannot understand why we now have preparation for germ warfare going on in our development center at Fort Detrick. I thought this type of warfare, which was practiced in World War I, had been ruled out as inhuman and in the last war was therefore not used by mutual consent.
Of course, it may be that we feel it doesn't matter what we use now, since with nuclear weapons we will all be wiped out completely and quickly. If that is the case, then why spend the money on research of this kind? It all seems ridiculous, wasteful and in some ways barbaric.