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

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HYDE PARK—It is always difficult for a President, when it is known that he is serving his last term, to hold his power over his party. From the moment the Republican party was sure that President Eisenhower would not be a candidate for a third term, his power over his party has waned.

Therefore, it is not astonishing to find that only two Republicans sustained President Eisenhower's urgent appeal for five more years of the 1934 trade agreements act. The other five members of his party in the Senate Finance Committee voted to reduce the extension of the Reciprocal Trade Agreement Act to three years.

It has always been felt that five years was really necessary on this agreement to give other countries a sense of stability in making their plans over a period of years, and it seems only common sense that any really important trade agreement must be made over at least five years.

It will be interesting to watch, over the next few years, how much harm actually comes from the issuing of passports to certain Americans who have been prevented from traveling abroad because the State Department has believed they were Communists or might not hold the same beliefs and live up to the same associations that the State Department requires of American citizens abroad.

Quite evidently, the Supreme Court decision is based on the interpretation of the Constitution which most citizens have always held. But the President has been so moved by what he condiders a danger to the United States that he has asked Congress to enact laws giving the President and the State Department the right to withhold passports where they deem it necessary.

Whether the Congress will do this or not remains to be seen, but I cannot help wondering, even if they do pass such a law, whether it cannot again be appealed and taken to the Supreme Court, which could possibly hold it to be unconstitutional.

In the meantime, the country will have an opportunity to see whether or not these people who have been prevented from going abroad—amounting, according to the papers, to 135—will really do much harm during their travels. This should be some indication in forming the country's attitude toward the passage of any new law.

I was interested to see reported the testimony of a gentleman named Mr. Kornfedder, who said he was a founding member of the American Communist party and had obtained an American passport by fraud in 1927 and in 1930 so that he might work for the Communists abroad. He said that freedom to travel will help the Communists in their efforts to establish world communism, since they will not have to go through any subterfuge to obtain passports.

Knowing, however, that these passports have been obtained in the past by fraud, wouldn't it be better to have them obtained openly and know exactly who the people are who are going abroad? We could watch them much more carefully than if we thought their traveling was innocent.

It is frightening to see how easily the fear of attack by enemy planes can bring about mistakes. One of our planes wanders over the Soviet border in Soviet Azerbaidzhan and is shot down by two Soviet planes.

This could bring on a war, and only cool heads in both countries will prevent it.


(Copyright, 1958, by United Feature Syndicate, Inc.)

Names and Terms Mentioned or Referenced

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

About this document

My Day by Eleanor Roosevelt, July 12, 1958

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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Transcription created from a photocopy of a UFS wire copy of a My Day column instance archived at the Franklin D. Roosevelt Library.