NOVEMBER 27, 1956
DURHAM, N.C.—I have been getting numerous letters, suggesting all kinds of solutions to an age-old problem in this country.
My correspondents feel that when a man has been defeated as a candidate for President of the United States, he has, nevertheless, usually received the votes of a large number of people. He must have qualities, therefore, which would make him useful, and the letter writers are suggesting ways in which we should use the services of our ex-Presidential candidates.
One idea that comes up frequently is that such a defeated candidate should be an honorary member of the Senate, with a voice but no vote. A number of others have suggested that he should be made Secretary of State.
The latter seems impossible, because the succession to the Presidency is from President to Vice President and then to Secretary of State.1 In addition, it would be almost impossible for a defeated candidate to work harmoniously in the Cabinet of the opposition.
The suggestion that has appealed to me most is that the United States Mission to the United Nations should have two heads, one a Republican and the other a Democrat. In this way, all through the year both parties would be represented in our foreign affairs as they relate to the U.N.
Nowadays there is hardly any question relating to foreign affairs that does not also touch domestic affairs. So this would be an opportunity for a defeated Presidential candidate to have a forum from which he could speak with authority. It would give us a bipartisan foreign policy in the U.N. and constant representation of both parties there.
Whether this is feasible or not, I have no way of knowing. But it seems to be the best of the many suggestions I received, and I give it to you here so that you can think about it and decide whether it has any value and would mean greater service to the people of the United States.
So far, our defeated candidates have always found plenty of opportunity—have gone back to their professions or businesses or started out along new lines. I doubt if any have really lacked occupation.
There seems now, however, to be a feeling that the country should not lose the services of a man who has been willing to run for the highest office in the land and has been backed by large numbers of United States citizens.
I had a delightful three days in the country. It was very cold but there was no snow, so I walked my Scottie dog in the woods every day. I also saw many friends and did some work which badly needed to be done. So I was content with my holiday.
I returned on Sunday night to New York after a flying trip to Boston with my son, John. We left after church on Sunday, flew to Boston, drove to Cambridge and, at the Fly Club, attended the unveiling of a plaque to my husband.
Then I flew back to New York, where I had a dinner, and at 6 o'clock Monday morning I went to Newark to catch a plane for Durham, N.C.
(Copyright, 1956, by United Feature Syndicate, Inc.)
1 The Presidential Succession Act of 1947 stipulates that the succession to the Presidency is from the President to the Vice-President and then to the Speaker of the House.
Names and Terms Mentioned or Referenced
- Roosevelt, Franklin D. (Franklin Delano), 1882-1945 [ index ]
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- Roosevelt, John A. (John Aspinwall), 1916-1981 [ index ]
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- [ index ] Durham (N.C., United States)
About this document
My Day by Eleanor Roosevelt, November 27, 1956
Digital edition created by The Eleanor Roosevelt Papers Project The George Washington University 312 Academic Building 2100 Foxhall Road, NW Washington, DC 20007
- Brick, Christopher (Editor)
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