JULY 23, 1949
HYDE PARK, Friday—One of the columnists, who is perhaps to be classed among our conservatives, the other day wrote something that interested me regarding the Americans for Democratic Action. He seems to feel that this group is completely leftist, in fact, that it is almost communistic.
I want to state that it seems to me one of the dangerous things we face today is the habit of making it appear unwise to have any ideas that are different from those held either by the majority or by the conservative groups. One might attack those ideas but to leave the impression that they are communistic, or very much to the left, seems to me unfair. Many times they are simply different ways of achieving the very same objectives.
For instance, the majority of business people at the time of the depression in 1933 wanted to save our capitalist system and bring us back to a state of prosperity where the system could be preserved. Many people may not approve of the methods used in the New Deal, but other methods had not been successful up to that time.
The objective of both groups, however, was to achieve the same ends. You can criticize the way it was done, you can wish it had been possible to do it another way, but the fact remains that it did put our capitalistic system back on its feet.
The Americans for Democratic Action may suggest achieving certain ends in ways which do not recommend themselves to all groups, but I am sure their objectives are much the same as the objectives that most of this nation backs at the present time. They wish to see the democracies strengthened and the hold of communism weakened.
In talking to me the other day someone who had just returned from Europe said that we did not seem to realize in this country what remarkably good propaganda the Soviet Union is constantly getting across in Europe and in the rest of the world. In Congress we cut down appropriation for the Voice of America. Some also want to cut down on money that is going to Europe.
What I would like to see us do is to make savings wherever possible but to put the money we save into really good, truthful advocacy of democracy. It needs to be explained to the people of the world, and we need to explain what we really believe in and stand for, and we need to do it by every possible means. We are supposed to be the people who know more than any other nation in the world about communications and advertising. What we lack, I think, is an understanding of human relations. We had better put the very best people we have to studying how best to tell our story to the people of the rest of the world and keep doing it until we come somewhere near equalling the job Russia seems to be doing.