JANUARY 27, 1958
NEW YORK—I have just received a letter from a San Francisco correspondent who criticizes one of my recent columns. His garbled quotations and omissions make it difficult to know just which column he means, but he seems to think that I advocated agreements on disarmament with the Soviet Union at the price of agreement that there should be nothing done in the way of enlightenment in each other's areas.
If I correctly identify the column, I said there should be an agreement that neither the Soviets nor ourselves should use force or infiltration by underhand methods to persuade our respective peoples. There will always be the influence of example, which will be far greater where there is free access to both our own and the Soviet countries. There also will always be the effect of free information and of free intercourse which will come about if there is trade and contact.
To my correspondent I would say: "What I was facing was the fact that there is very little likelihood we in the West are going to war with the Soviet Union to free any of the satellites. That being the case, we must rely on freedom of intercourse; and the more disarmament can be brought about, the less danger there will be of the use of force."
My correspondent seems to feel that many people are to blame in the past, and that if we do not go to war to free the people who are under Soviet control we will be giving the Kremlin more strength for an attack on us. He has a right to this opinion. But I am not selling anybody's right to strive for freedom; nor am I suggesting passive acceptance of Communist promises, but rather reciprocal agreements properly guarded.
Since the writer also asks that the Lord may have mercy upon my soul, I would like to tell him that we are all in the same position. None of us knows where we stand with the Lord, and so we should all ask for mercy.
I have another communication from the Greenwich, Conn., Democratic Women's Club, which tells of an action that might well be noted by other places in the Northern states. The club recently sent out the following statement:
"Segregation in education and in all other respects is harmful to the U. S. both internally, where it is wasteful of vitally needed talents and injurious to human rights and dignity, and internationally, where it has caused us to lose prestige and provided the Communists with their most potent weapon against us. Because we believe that the time is overdue when Democrats in the North must take a firm, public and active stand on the issue of Civil Rights, the Greenwich, Connecticut Democratic Women's Club gives $200 to the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People to be used wherever the need is greatest."
I hope many Northern communities will note this, because it means that we in the North have a job to do in housing and in taking a public stand, and this may well be the beginning of a widespread movement.