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

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HYDE PARK—I wonder how much longer the Administration is going to think it wise, the minute there is an attack by some member of Congress, to get rid of the person involved no matter how valuable a public servant that person may have been in the past or how valuable he might well prove to be in the future. The attack is usually made because of an independent opinion expressed or because of an independent action taken.

I have in mind, of course, the abrupt dismissal of Mr. Edward J. Corsi as special assistant to Secretary of State John Foster Dulles on refugee and immigration problems.

I am a Democrat and would certainly evaluate with a good deal of objectivity the way a job is handled by a Republican liberal. I have watched Mr. Corsi's work on refugees and immigration for a long time and I can only say that even though Rep. Francis E. Walter of Pennsylvania is a Democrat I think Mr. Corsi knows more about the subject, which the McCarran-Walter Immigration Act so badly mishandled, than does Mr. Walter, one of the co-authors of the legislation.

As for Mr. Scott McLeod, administrator of the immigration act, I can't think of anyone whose background has provided him with less understanding of the whole situation. Mr. Walter and Mr. McLeod evidently felt that they wished to get rid of a public servant who happened to disagree with them. So they began to find things in Mr. Corsi's past which tied him to Communist organizations.

I haven't the remotest idea whether he may have mistakenly contributed to an organization that turned out to be Communistic. That has happened to a great many people. He may even have worked for a time with a group that later proved to be subversive.

I say I don't know and I hope it didn't happen to him, but even if it had it would not warrant the treatment that has been meted out to him in this present State Department situation. His record of fine public service in the Republican party over a long period of years stands for all to read.

If Mr. Walter and Mr. McLeod have been successful in getting him out of this particular State Department appointment where they felt he has interfered with them, then again it has been shown that it is possible for people with special interests of their own to hurt the general interest of our country.

It is a curious thing these days how difficult it seems to be for the heads of departments to stand up for their appointees if a breath of suspicion is cast upon them by any member of Congress. Mr. Dulles has stated, and so has the President, that there is no question of Mr. Corsi's loyalty. That is kind and truthful, but we hardly needed to be reassured.

The fear of McCarthy is still with us, though we may try to think of his power as being at an end. I was hopeful that it might at least be reduced to the point where we would have no more dismissals of this type, but I am very much afraid that I hoped for the impossible. This type of treatment of appointees does not build strong and fearless public servants.

(Distributed by United Feature Syndicate, Inc.)


Names and Terms Mentioned or Referenced

  • Hyde Park (Dutchess County, N.Y., United States) [ index ]
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About this document

My Day by Eleanor Roosevelt, April 12, 1955

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.