JANUARY 26, 1954
NEW YORK, Monday—There was a letter that appeared in the New York Times some time ago which was written by Mr. Herbert M. Meyer of Chicago. It is a thoughtful letter which I think requires our consideration because it deals with the whole question of Congressional investigations and our laws as they now stand protecting the individual as well as safeguarding the country.
Mr. Meyer feels that there is perhaps need for Congress to appoint a bipartisan committee to consider the question of whether our laws do not adequately protect us and, if that is so, whether we need a Constitutional amendment or certain laws which would oblige us to accept the responsibilities we should accept in this area.
The question which is most disturbing, of course, is whether appeal to the Fifth Amendment actually should be permitted where a man is suspected of disloyalty to his country. On the other hand, where people are being accused with so little real proof as comes out in certain Congressional investigations, it is difficult to see what people can do to protect themselves.
Also it is a difficult thing to say that it is always a man's obligation to tell who all the people were who worked with him. He may feel that he is not quite sure whether he knows just where these people stood and he may be doing them an injustice, or he may feel, as Professor Einstein has felt, that cooperation with the type of methods used in certain Congressional hearings is unthinkable.
Perhaps if a man says he will tell what he himself did but will not implicate anyone else, he is within his rights. It seems to me that the situation is becoming so acute that Mr. Meyer is right in suggesting that attention be paid to it in our Congress. Since Congressional hearings are meant to lead to better legislation, that would seem to be what must be evolved as a result of the hearings which are being carried on.
There is a French Cure who has written me a charming note from his little town of Yevres. A year ago he wrote asking me if I could do anything to help him get a bell for his church, since his was destroyed in the war. Now he writes to say "During the past year, I have not yet had the possibility of buying a bell but I am saving the money little by little to put this plan through, and you know little streams make big rivers.
"I am hopeful that someday we will reach the happy result of having a bell in our tower. I know you are a friend of France and that you would like to see peace grow among all the peoples of the world. May God afford this great benefit to all men of goodwill".
Such faith and hope should bring some results and I sincerely hope the little streams will become the river so he can have his bell.
(WORLD COPYRIGHT, 1954, BY UNITED FEATURE SYNDICATE, INC. REPRODUCTION IN WHOLE OR IN PART PROHIBITED.)
About this document
My Day by Eleanor Roosevelt, January 26, 1954
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