SEPTEMBER 17, 1959
HYDE PARK—There is, I believe, a very important thing that should be pointed out to all of our citizens, particularly at this time. You can be sure that one of the things Soviet Premier Nikita Khrushchev is going to inquire about most carefully while he is in our country is the true situation as regards our Bill of Rights.
All over the world we tell people that this Bill of Rights applies to all our citizens. Yet, I could not help being dismayed in looking at Tuesday morning's newspaper—the day our Soviet visitor arrived—when I read the following headline and subheads: WHITES IN QUEENS KEEP PUPILS HOME IN TRANSFER FIGHT—42% Absent in 5 Schools—Parents Picket 2 Buildings—Hate Epithets Appear." A photograph accompanying the news story showed the picketing.
This will create the impression that the United States is no more concerned about civil rights for all its people than is the Soviet Union. I would be willing to wager that at some point we will be asked whether we treat certain minorities in our country any better than the Soviet Union treats certain of its satellite countries.
In a broadcast in which I took part on Tuesday morning the Executive Vice-President of New York University, Dr. John E. Ivy, who accompanied a group of governors on a recent visit to Russia, made the point that we must be objective about the Soviet Union. He said that no one could have a clear picture of another country when the picture is clouded by prejudice. He stressed that objectivity is important to us, because without it we would either overestimate or underestimate our adversaries.
Senator Hubert H. Humphrey added that he thought this would force upon us an examination of ourselves, because we would be obliged to think of everything that happened here in the next two weeks and having in mind that the eyes of the Soviet Premier and his entourage were on us.
Mr. Khrushchev is an alert man, and intelligent, and of course is anxious to find our weaknesses and our faults. We want to create a picture of unity and strength. And that is not possible where there is hate among certain groups of our own citizens.
I should like to draw my readers' attention to three new books in a series known as "The Getting to Know" books, in which the illustrations are quite delightful. These books are written for children between the ages of eight and 12, and the authors have a special reason for being interested in the particular areas about which they write.
Here are the three books: "Hawaii," the story of the last state to be admitted to the Union, written by Barnett D. Laschever and illustrated by Haris Petie; "USSR," by John A. Wallace and illustrated by Don Lambo; and "Alaska," by Jim Breetveld and also illustrated by Don Lambo.
Since the books deal with topics of immediate interest to our young people, I'm sure they would make most useful Christmas presents to any child with an inquiring mind.