MAY 31, 1960
NEW YORK—I am very much afraid that the four-year school-construction bill, because of the anti-segregation amendment tacked onto it by Rep. Adam Clayton Powell, will be defeated in Congress.
Though it does not cover teacher pay increases, it would help at least in the construction of badly needed school buildings. It is understandable that Representative Powell should present this amendment, but the fact is that on two previous occasions such an amendment brought the same result as it is likely to bring this time.
I have felt that it would be better to pass this bill and then let the courts decide whenever use of Federal funds seemed to bolster segregation, but perhaps this is not possible and it may well be that the only hope of getting racial integration in the South is through withholding of government aid to all the integrated schools.
In the meantime, however, we are making no progress in meeting the very real problem of school construction, and the confusion is evidently not going to be resolved this year. As has happened before, nothing apparently will be done.
The dinner in Chicago Thursday night for the Cancer Research Laboratory in Denver was a great success. I was presented with a golden book inscribed with the names of the laboratory founders who had made large commitments to the center. This book I will place, of course, in the library in Hyde Park.
My son, James, who had intended to join me in Chicago, was held in Washington by a late session of Congress. I am sure he was disappointed in not being able to thank those in Chicago who have done so much for this institute, since he is so deeply interested in it.
My trip was a hurried one because I wanted to get up to Hyde Park Friday morning. So I returned to New York on a night plane, getting a few hours of sleep during the flight, followed by a few hours at home before I drove up to the country.
Everyone was amused by the incident in the United Nations Security Council in which Henry Cabot Lodge of the United States showed the gift made to a U.S. Ambassador to Moscow some years ago—the hand-carved eagle with a tiny transmitter hidden behind its beak.
One of the things that makes life interesting for the American Ambassador in Moscow is the constant watchfulness that is necessary to prevent this kind of spying. Whenever workmen are called into the embassy, they have to be carefully watched or they will install some new device to make private conversations accessible to the Kremlin.
While the pitting of our imagination and watchfulness against the ingenuity of the Soviets adds to the interest of living, it also means that when Premier Nikita Khrushchev expresses horror at our aerial activity over his territory, he forgets that the day-to-day espionage of his country can be more annoying than a plane far up in the sky that can't eavesdrop on one's personal conversations at home.