JANUARY 21, 1954
NEW YORK, Wednesday—I was much impressed by a recent letter in the New York Times in which five of our fine diplomatic leaders drew the public's attention to the fact that constant attacks on government officials can cripple the value of our diplomatic service. The situation must be really bad when these calm and certainly not excitable men, all former diplomats with excellent records, feel it is necessary to issue such a public statement over their signatures.
Norman Armour, Joseph C. Grew, William Phillips, G. Howland Shaw and Robert Woods Bliss all can testify to the fact that diplomacy requires you to report truthfully to your home government what you think at a given moment. As events move, you may find it necessary to change your mind, and report something different as the course of events changes and you evaluate those events differently.
These men know that there may have been times in their own careers when they evaluated events and later developments disclosed they were not correct in their evaluation. That has happened to a number of men who have later been accused of lack of judgment, but all of them did as honest a job as they could with the information they had at the time.
What is disturbing from the layman's point of view is the methods that are being employed by investigating committees at the present time, creating the impression that government officials are not trustworthy, that they are Communist-controlled or influenced, etc. This is really going to achieve for us the kind of diplomatic service which fascist and Communist countries actually have.
I am sure that none of Hitler's representatives in this country would have dared to tell him the truth about the actual feeling in our country and they would probably not have been well informed because they would not have dared to talk to too many people, particularly to those who were unsympathetic with the situation in Germany at that time.
I am just as certain at the present time that no Communist representatives in this country, not even the spies, ever tell the real truth about conditions here. It would not be too palatable back in the Kremlin.
I hope that this letter in the Times will make a great many people stop and think. We must, of course, not harbor Communists in important government positions but we must not, through the way we hunt them down, destroy the security of every government official so that he feels he has no chance of clearing himself under false attack.
(WORLD COPYRIGHT, 1954, BY UNITED FEATURE SYNDICATE, INC. REPRODUCTION IN WHOLE OR IN PART PROHIBITED.)
Names Mentioned or Referenced
- [ index ] New York (N.Y., United States)
About this document
My Day by Eleanor Roosevelt, January 21, 1954
- Brick, Christopher (Editor)
- Regenhardt, Christy (Associate Editor)
- Black, Allida M. (Editor)
- Binker, Mary Jo (Associate Editor)
- Alhambra, Christopher C. (Electronic Text Editor)
Digital edition published 2008, 2017 by
The Eleanor Roosevelt Papers Project
Available under licence from the Estate of Anna Eleanor Roosevelt.
Published with permission from the Estate of Anna Eleanor Roosevelt.
MEP edition publlished on 2008-06-30
TEI-P5 edition published on 2017-04-28
Transcription created from a photocopy of a UFS wire copy of a My Day column instance
archived at the Franklin D. Roosevelt Library.
TMs, AERP, FDRL