APRIL 7, 1960
NEW YORK—- I was not surprised to read that the Senate had turned down practically everything except the voting rights section of the civil rights bill before putting the bill up for a vote and passing it on to the House for concurrence. If the voting rights portion is really satisfactory to the South, I would feel that turning down the many other amendments is not so serious.
I cannot help worrying, however, that no Federal protection at local registration places in Southern areas has been arranged for. And if this is not done I feel sure that intimidation will take place long before the Negro voter has a chance even to complain that he is not allowed to register.
Many of us will recall what happened when Hitler promised a free vote to all those under his jurisdiction. And not long ago I was talking to a refugee from Vienna who reminded me that the polling booths in Austria on the day of voting somebody stood by as the voters went in and he said: "There is no need for you to draw the curtain when you vote. There is nothing for us to hide." Because of the threat nobody dared to draw the curtain and the result was almost a 99 percent vote for Hitler.
Can't you see long lines of colored people waiting to register in Alabama, Mississippi or some of the other Southern states, and someone walking quietly up and down and in a low voice saying: "Wait till you come out of that registration booth, then we will get you." And if the Negro would brave the immediate threat and go in to register and meet what difficulties had to be met at that time, he might get home to find that his job was gone or that some threat would be made at his home.
This civil rights bill will be of no practical value unless the Negro is protected by Federal authority and it is given from the first move to the last.
I see that the Mississippi River is on the rampage again and the harm done to the farmlands of Illinois will cost so much that it will again point up the need for real work on controlling of floods in every possible area. Why do we allow such disasters to cost our people thousands and thousands of dollars year after year in destruction instead of planning on a long-term basis and preventing such disasters?
The latest claim made by Communist China—taking over Mt. Everest—is a threat to Nepal. Mt. Everest, the highest mountain in the world, always has been accepted as straddling the Nepalese-Tibetan border, so I suppose the Chinese feel that since they now control Tibet they can claim the mountain and the Nepalese would be too week to resist.
The mountain probably has no real value to Nepal, but as a sign of the desire on the part of the Chinese to claim more and more land it is disturbing to that whole area of the world.
Not long ago Nepal announced that it had had no threats from the Communist Chinese, but this looks as though the Chinese Reds are not going to bother with words—they apparently are just going to make sure that they control whatever they wish to control.
This is a sad thing to have to face in that area of the world. The Chinese Communists count on control by force and India has always felt it could count on China for the same love of the pacifist approach that India has.