DECEMBER 19, 1960
NEW YORK—Senator Kennedy's announced appointments for Agriculture and Labor seem to be on the same high level that he has shown so far in filling his Cabinet posts. I fear a brother in the Cabinet may be a target if the Legislature wants to get at the President sometime, but let us hope for the best.
One of three gentlemen who picked me up when I could not get a taxi on Park Avenue, the other morning, told me he had heard from excellent sources that the President-elect's brother Bobby was going to be named for two years to be Attorney General and then whoever had been appointed to run for Senator in Massachusetts would be pledged to retire so that the Senator's brother could run in his place. I suppose I looked a little skeptical about all this. For one thing, it seems to me, this is a little too far ahead in planning. For another, I have come to feel quite calm about anything that does not come directly from Senator Kennedy. One of the things I admire about him is his ability to let all rumors fly and keep his own counsel until he is ready to make his announcements.
The governments of the world are certainly having upsets. Haile Selassie has successfully recovered control in Ethiopia, but for a time it looked as though there might be a civil war and it still is not clear whether Haile Selassie's son actively took part in the attempted revolution. Of course it is nothing new to find a son trying to usurp his father's power, but it is always sad and usually leads to unrest and unhappiness. I remember in India seeing the palace where the king who built the Taj Mahal spent long years at the end of his life when his son took over his rule. At least in that case the son had the grace to build his father's prison in a spot where he could see the beautiful tomb of his wife. But such things are hardly compensation for the fact that your son has thrown you out and put you in a prison, even if it is beautiful!
In Laos it is reported that we are supporting an anti-Red regime which has come into power in the hope that the new Premier Boun Oum can restore order and that there will be no invasion from Vietnam. We are of course accusing the Soviets of sparking this invasion and of sending arms to strengthen what we would call the Communist bloc and what, undoubtedly, they would call the liberal democratic bloc. It always amuses me how easy it is to change the names and simply by that device make whatever occurs sound entirely different!
The little kingdom of Nepal is also having an upheaval. There the king has arrested the premier and taken over all the powers, even suspending the constitution. And finally, we do not seem to have found any better solutions as yet in the Congo, so that one can still say this is a world in turmoil.
But at least we can be happy that in spite of all the efforts made to upset this election nobody in the U.S. has suggested that we go to war on one side or the other. The final count seems to have reached the point where there are no longer any differences that could affect the final results, and if the Republicans continue to insist on further recount it will make no difference.
Someone sent me a newspaper clipping the other day with a plea that I bring it to the attention of the public. It was the story of a child under three who choked to death in a hospital when she fell from her crib and was strangled by the jacket used to keep her in bed. My informant tells me that this type of restraint is widely used, and no doubt this is true because I can remember using something of this kind when my children were small. My recollection is that we tried to pin them down so they would not fall out of bed or become uncovered, but that there was absolutely no way in which a child could strangle.
My correspondent says, however, that she has done a fair amount of work for Red Cross and that she knows the type of things used in many hospitals are dangerous. I therefore cannot help urging on all hospital superintendents and hospital boards that they check on the type of restraints put upon children who have minor operations or minor illnesses which necessitate some mechanical device for keeping them covered and in their beds. I realize that it is the shortage of nurses which makes this necessary, but certainly we should check wherever we possibly can.