JANUARY 31, 1962
NEW YORK—There apparently has been considerable feeling in certain quarters that the figure given me for employees in the West German government who were either active or passive Nazi participants under Hitler's rule was not drawn from factual sources.
In an article sent to me from the West German Information Services the following paragraph appears:
"Of course, there are still civil servants in Germany who were Nazi party members—actually 12 percent. The day is not far off when the last of them will have been pensioned. But far more important than the fact of their one-time party membership are the convictions they have today. Only if the assertion were true that the majority of them still support Nazi doctrines in their hearts would the attack against them and the resulting attacks against the Federal Republic be justified."
I don't know how the author of this article, or myself, could know what these people believe in their hearts. I do know, though, that to the casual observer there is still among certain types of Germans a kind of arrogant spirit that was always present.
The article referred to above also insists that the young people who are replacing the older ones and who were not born in the Hitler era feel very differently. I sincerely hope that they do, but young people often are apt to take color from their elders in the long run. And while I hope the gentleman who wrote the article put out by the information office of the German Federal Republic is correct in his hope for a change of view in Germany, I still hope that the people of Germany may enjoy good economic conditions, that they may never return to Nazi doctrines, but I would prefer not to see atomic weapons in any more hands than are absolutely necessary.
I have read that Mayor Robert F. Wagner of New York City reports a move on the part of upstate New York party leaders to call a meeting to oust Democratic Chairman Michael H. Prendergast. It would certainly be valuable if by early spring there could be working in all upstate counties an energetic young state chairman who would make the kind of plans that would mean year-round work in every county.
I think many people could attest to the fact that without year-round work there is very little hope of building an organization that will see to it that all Democratic voters get to the primaries and to the polls on election day. This kind of activity will gradually attract all those who call themselves independents but who lean toward the Democrats—if they feel the party is really at work.
The Reform movement in New York City elected a young Congressman last year, Willian Fitts Ryan, and I think it would be interesting for the state to follow his record and compare it with that of other Congressmen from our state. He was not absent from a single roll call last year. And, according to the Congressional Quarterly, he gave the Administration more support than any other Representative from New York State. He not only voted for but he fought for needed reforms, such as:
(1) Creation of a disarmament agency. (2) Congressional committee to supervise CIA. (3) Change in ICC regulations to eliminate segregation in interstate buses and terminal facilities. (4) Transportation of Civil Rights Commission into a permanent agency with power to investigate discriminatory practices. (5) An amendment to prohibit Civil War Centennial Commission from using segregated facilities. (6) A ceiling on rents in Title I housing. (7) A measure to investigate the 10-year-old Title I scandals in the New York area.
A Republican Congressman, John V. Lindsay, who is looked upon as having an extremely good record, and a number of other Congressmen have talked about having such an investigation into the housing scandal, but none of them actually got around to sponsoring the measure. To many of us it has seemed that this one Reform Congressman has done more acting than talking.
Of course, with the redistricting coming about, Congressman Ryan will find himself obliged to face a fight in a new district, and this will probably mean a primary fight as well as an election fight. I do not yet know in what district he will run, but I think it would be useful for the voters to know of this kind of record because it sets a standard against which one can measure the activities of one's own Congressman—not only in New York State but in other states throughout the nation.