DECEMBER 26, 1952
HYDE PARK, Thursday—I am growing very disturbed about the way accusations are being made against public servants. It seems to me that the report on John Carter Vincent, written by Hiram Bingham, was a strange document. If one has made mistakes—and they were honest mistakes—that does not make one disloyal.
I remember very well reading Joseph Alsop's detailed refutation of some of Louis Budenz's assertions about Mr. Vincent. It impressed me at the time, and I feel one should not stop with the mere assertion that there is a reasonable doubt regarding the loyalty of a man who has spent most of his life in the service of his country. There must be concrete charges made that can be proved or disproved.
Mr. Budenz's word surely cannot be any more trustworthy than Mr. Vincent's. There must be ways of proving or disproving any actual charges of disloyalty. A man's career should not be ended with a cloud "of reasonable doubt" hanging over him after he has given the best that was in him to his country through many years of service.
I begin to wonder whether it is possible in the present mood of the country to get a fair trial for anyone. To have been even a fellow traveler back in the early '30s was nothing astonishing, and it was less astonishing in the early '40s when the Russians were our allies in a war and we were glad to have them as allies. They saved the lives of countless of our boys.
Since the end of the war the pattern of what communism is like has been unfolding before our eyes and we have come to understand it increasingly better and to like it less and less. But that does not mean that those who hoped during the war and tried immediately after the war, to develop friendly relations with the Soviets were disloyal to this country.
I certainly do not see eye to eye with Gov. James F. Byrnes of South Carolina, but he certainly tried to handle our relationships with the Soviets in a way which he thought would benefit our country. Mr. Vincent worked under him and also worked under my husband. I know my husband trusted him.
Men may make mistakes. There are few who are always 100 percent right, and many of the things that are brought up against public officials deal with questions of judgment and decisions which may or may not have been as wise as one would hope for. But these mistakes do not spell out disloyalty.
One would like to feel that in our country people would be so sure of a fair and unbiased hearing at which they would tell the truth, and all the truth, feeling confident that mistakes would be understood, that honest slips of memory would not be magnified into lies and called perjury, and that when the truth was known it would be fairly evaluated. Thus, we would not accuse our public servants of such serious offenses that they feel their country no longer recognizes good and faithful service.