MAY 15, 1950
HYDE PARK, Sunday—Out at the United Nations on Friday I met some very interesting-looking German gentlemen brought over here under the auspices of the Civil Liberties group to study civil liberties in our country. Some of them spoke English and I imagine they will find their stay here profitable, for at the present time there is enough real argument going on in this country about civil liberties to make any visitors here conscious of the fact that those liberties have to be guarded by constant vigilence!
That is one of the first lessons, it seems to me, that all of us have to learn. This country is no more sure of preserving civil liberties, in spite of guaranties provided by law, than any other country if the people are not constantly alert to any encroachment on these liberties.
Three of my young cousins who live on Long Island lunched with me and sat through a press conference afterward which was held in our committee room. The translation system was used in the conference, as the newspaper people were from South America and for the most part spoke only Spanish. Specifically, they represented Bolivia, Peru, Ecuador and, I believe, Columbia. With the ear phones on, however, I could answer promptly in English. They were very polite and kind, anxious to know about the work of the commission and about my hopes for the future of the United Nations.
Then we went into the Economic and Social Council room for the afternoon session of the Human Rights Commission, because a group attending the Conference of Mayors were visiting Lake Success and were to be brought in for a little while to listen to the Human Rights Commission. It was fortunate that we continued with our work while waiting for them, for they were delayed in arriving and stayed only a few minutes. I barely had time to welcome them and take up again the work in hand, when their delayed schedule forced them to get up and leave. They really spent as much time coming in and going out as they did sitting down!
We made very good progress on the implementation articles Friday and Saturday and I hope we will finish the first Covenant in the coming week.
After dinner Friday evening I went over to do a CBS television show with Senator Owen Brewster and Charles Collingwood, CBS Washington correspondent. I was interested to hear from Mr. Collingwood that he had just left the President's train at Spokane and had flown in. The President is having a strenuous trip, he says, but there are big crowds everywhere.
Our subject on the television show was, "What Is Loyalty?" I don't think we ever really answered the question, which shows how difficult it is today to define loyalty. But we did discover that the Senator felt there was sufficient disloyalty within our government to be a real menace. He quoted largely from a speech by J. Edgar Hoover in which it was stated that there were probably 50,000 Communists and 500,000 fellow-travelers or Communist sympathizers in this country and that they did form a menace to our government, our people and the world.
I am glad that I do not live in the atmosphere of constant investigations. It does seem to make one subject to the jitters!