The Eleanor Roosevelt Papers, Digital Edition > My Day
My Day by Eleanor Roosevelt

[This column has emendations. View original version]


NEW YORK, Monday—When the special interests today find that they cannot quite carry their point against some public servant on the actual facts of a case, they are prone to fall back on the accusation that at some time in the individual's career he had a tie with communism.

At the present moment hearings are going on dealing with the reappointment for a third term of Leland Olds to the Federal Power Commission. I knew Mr. Olds first when my husband was Governor of New York State. He started his battle then for sound utility and power policy as a representative of the Community Councils of the City of New York, presenting the public's side before the commission on revision of the Public Service Commission's law.

Mr. Olds' work must have been well done because it brought about changes in the state and he helped with the report that recommended a program of effective regulation. This was later implemented by United States Supreme Court decisions secured by the Federal Power Commission when Mr. Olds, himself, was chairman of the commission.

It is easy to understand why the electric power companies are opposed to him. Anyone familiar with his record sees quite well why the people from Texas or Oklahoma who are interested in the oil and natural gas businesses are also opposed to him. Mr. Olds' opposition stopped the attempt in the 80th Congress to get amendments to the Natural Gas Act restricting the Federal Power Commission's jurisdiction to the transportation companies and the final interstate sale. Had the producers succeeded, it would have left the pipe line company as well as the independent producers free to get an unregulated price at the start of the journey of gas to the consumer markets.

It is easy to see the tie of all those who are against Mr. Olds with their personal interests, or the interest of their state, or their business, or their friends. He has the backing, however, of such organizations and individuals as the following: The National Grange, the National Farmers Union, the Rural Electric cooperative Association, American Public Power Association, Municipal Law Officers Institute, the CIO, the AFL, the ADA, railroad unions, four state regulatory commissions, and such individuals as Morris L. Cooke, Ordway Tead, James C. Bonbright, Adolf Berle, Jr., Jonathan Daniels and others.

None of these organizations or people believes him to be communistic in his thinking. This is, of course, implied by his opponents because articles he had once written were distributed by a news service to newspapers including the Daily Worker. In addition the horrible fact has been brought out that he once spoke on the same platform with Earl Browder.

I don't know what that proves, because Lowell Mellet found a picture of Earl Browder taken with four other men with whom he shared a platform. This is in Elizabeth Dilling's book, "The Roosevelt Red Record and Its Background." Among these four men is the Senator from Ohio, Mr. Taft!

Can't our Senators and Representatives see through this opposition and recognize honest public servants? Must they swallow such an obvious red-herring allegation of communism?

By and large, the people of the United States are not so gullible. They want the kind of public servant that Leland Olds has proved himself to be in the Federal Power Commission. I hope they will speak out now when he needs their backing—in no uncertain terms.

E. R.


Names and Terms Mentioned or Referenced

  • New York (N.Y., United States) [ index ]

About this document

My Day by Eleanor Roosevelt, October 4, 1949

Roosevelt, Eleanor, 1884-1962
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Digital edition created by The Eleanor Roosevelt Papers Project The George Washington University 312 Academic Building 2100 Foxhall Road, NW Washington, DC 20007

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Transcription created from a photocopy of a UFS wire copy of a My Day column instance archived at the Franklin D. Roosevelt Library.