MAY 19, 1949
NEW YORK, Wednesday—There was an interesting and rather encouraging story in the news this morning! After all the months that Eastern Berlin has been under Soviet rule it is rather startling to find that about 33 percent of the people voted against communism in last Sunday's election. Naturally, being a Russian controlled election, there was no choice of candidates. One voted either for the candidate or against. But there seems to be an indication that the German people can be trusted to decide between living under communism or rejecting it when the decision may be taken without fear of reprisals.
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We had an interesting point brought up in the Human Rights Commission yesterday. Someone said that in spite of the fact that the Universal Declaration of Human Rights had no legal binding value, it was beginning to seem probable that it would have a certain amount of effect on judicial decisions in our country and elsewhere. In many cases justices are alluding to it in their opinions. One young lawyer said that he had gone through a number of phases, first talking of natural law, then of due process of law and now everyone talked of people's human rights.
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After our session at Lake Success I went to my son's apartment, getting there just about at the hour when the polls were closing, to await the outcome of Franklin, Jr.'s first political contest—running for Representative from Manhattan's 20th District. There were just a few of Franklin's friends and co-workers gathered there. Franklin looked very weary, having been up to vote at 6 a.m. and having made the rounds of the district several times during the day. Of course, when you are running for office the first time, it must be quite a strain. I have taken it casually for so many years that I had forgotten that you could be under a little more tension when you were doing it for the first time.
Franklin's brothers in California had wired him their good wishes and hopes for success, and he had telegrams from many of his old schoolmates and friends, which I think has given him a great deal of pleasure. Some of the letters from volunteer workers in the district were very nice and even if he had lost the election, I think it would have been worthwhile to have made so many friends.
I stayed with him until 8:15 when I had to go to make a speech on Human Rights at St. James Presbyterian Church. After that I rejoined him at his headquarters and Elliott and Faye and I stayed with him until late in the evening. The results were in and he had won hands down, and in the best way possible, because he owes no obligations except to the interests which were his before the election.
The young people worked for him, labor was loyal and his interest and work for certain special groups, I am sure, brought him friends. These were interests he already had. He is a Democrat and will continue to be one, but the Democratic party and its leaders cannot be said to have given him much help in his election. He believes in the President's Fair Deal Program and he will work for its fulfillment. Of that I am sure, and I am equally sure he will try to serve his district well and faithfully, for this is a great responsibility.