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

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NEW YORK, Friday—I think we are at least beginning to act logically on the question of the Communist party of the United States. AttorneyGeneral J. Howard McGrath's move in his petition filed with the Subversive Activities Control Board will finally put before us the question of whether we can have within our country a political party that owes its allegiance to another country. If it is decided that the Communist party is not made up of Americans who are primarily citizens of this country, then we will have clearly before us the decision to be made.

There are Americans who by peaceful means may wish to change certain laws and theories by which we live in this country. Yet, above all else, they are real Americans. On the other hand, there are so-called Americans who put their allegiance to another country before that of the United States, and in time of war are pledged to hold to that foreign allegiance. Obviously, they cannot be considered as American citizens.

This decision by a government board, it seems to me, would clear up a great many of the difficulties felt by those people who, having no allegiance to communism, still think they have a right to differ from their own government and try to make changes in their government if they think it can be improved. Today many of these people are promptly accused of being Communists. The way to clear up this misunderstanding is to make it clear where your allegiance actually lies.

This does not mean, of course, we will not have Communists within our country. They will probably go underground and operate as hidden cells. It does mean, however, that there should be a clear definition that there can be no American Communist party and that no one can belong to it who is a loyal American citizen.

I am not sure that this is desirable, but at least it will be clearer than the present situation. It may make more difficult the problem of finding out whether there are Communists functioning in hidden ways throughout our country.

Following the disastrous wreck on the Long Island Rail Road Wednesday evening, the feeling is that something finally must be done about the road's operation and the possibility of the city taking it over. I think everyone will agree that some changes in the management must occur. It is a long time since this railroad has given really satisfactory service to the public and there have been some very serious accidents.

We had almost grown to feel that travel by train was one of the safest methods of moving about the country but in the last few days the papers seem to have chronicled a number of accidents in different parts of the country. It is hard to eliminate the margin of error to which all human beings at times are susceptible, and I doubt if we can ever be sure of perfect safety, but we can at least continue to improve the mechanical end of things so as to lessen the risks as much as possible.

E. R.


Names and Terms Mentioned or Referenced

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

About this document

My Day by Eleanor Roosevelt, November 25, 1950

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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MEP edition publlished on June 30, 2008.

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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.