APRIL 12, 1961
HYDE PARK—The dominating news in today's newspapers is, of course, the start of the Eichmann trial in Israel.
The seizure of Eichmann in Argentina and his subsequent trial in Jerusalem has stirred widespread legal debate, but no one has suggested that he will not get a fair trial.
One of New York City's newspapers, during the week prior to the opening of the trial, published a series of stories on the type of horror that occurred in Germany during the Nazi period and which, of course, was relevant to the Eichmann trial since he is one of the people who sent millions of Jews to their death.
It is quite evident that we should never forget the horrors that occurred in the Nazi period. And, even though Chancellor Adenauer assures us today that the Nazis are gone forever in Germany, still that is no reason for not watching carefully that they do not rise again, even in our own country.
Wherever there is any kind of race or religious prejudice one can expect to find the possibility of similar behavior arising. We can never tell how prejudice will grow if it is allowed to flourish at all. We in our country are not free of injustice or cruelty, and as long as we have hate groups we should be on the watch constantly for fear they will develop into something more serious than they seem to us at the outset.
There is available a rather well-documented pamphlet, called "Hate Groups and the Un-American Activities Committee" by David Wesley, which has been published as a public service by the Emergency Civil Liberties Union. I think it would be well for every American citizen to read this document.
I believe it will come as a surprise to many who have not done any deep thinking on the dangers that may come if we weaken the Bill of Rights and permit hate groups to grow, to read what has already happened. It would be sad to have our country face anything like the Nazi period, and let us hope the Eichmann trial will be the last of its kind anywhere in the world.
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In all probability the Cuban situation will come up for discussion before long in the United Nations. In the meantime we hear, day by day, one rumor after another of people being trained to invade Cuba as guerrillas. Yet we know, and they must know, that unless they get cooperation from Cubans themselves on the island that there will be little chance of overthrowing Castro's regime.
The objectives of the revolutionary government, as Castro stated them in the beginning, certainly met with complete approval from the people of Cuba. The Cuban people had been exploited by business groups from many countries, including the United States. Money had been made there and a corrupt government had profited, but the people themselves saw no benefits coming to them from whatever was taken out of their country. Certainly, the U.S. could not quarrel with the objectives of the revolution as they were stated and we could certainly not expect the Cuban people not to uphold this revolution.
This, however, is no longer a Cuban affair only. One difficulty has arisen perhaps partly because of the shortsightedness of the U.S. Government. Now it is the growing influence of the Soviet Union that frightens not only the U.S. but the whole Western Hemisphere. All the assurances that come from Dr. Castro that he is not a tool of the Communists sound somewhat empty. They leave one unconvinced when one has watched Soviet infiltration and growing Soviet control in other areas of the world.
I am glad to see that President Kennedy has ruled out the use of American troops in any invasion of Cuba. But let us hope that the Cuban people themselves will begin to question how much control is being handed over to the Soviet Union. Dr. Castro might find it to his own benefit to talk this whole question over with President Kennedy, who would perhaps be able to throw some light on the willingness of the Soviets to step in and take over control while they insist that they are in no way tying strings to any of their aid.