My Day by Eleanor Roosevelt

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CENTER HARBOR, Me.—Let's put the picture in focus. Soviet Premier Nikita Khruschev promises, when he comes to our country, to do no "saber rattling," nor try any type of intimidation. Vice-President Richard Nixon returns from his trip to the Soviet Union and Polan and, in the photographs that I have seen, he looks like a serious young man reporting to the President. The enthusiasm of the people in Poland must have seemed to Mr. Nixon quite heartwarming and a little surprising to Mr. Khruschev. Mr. Nixon is apparently reporting that even the people of the Soviet Union were friendly, and that, I think, will be agreed to by every tourist who has been to Russia recently.

Thus, we are gaining for ourselves a little time in having Mr. Khrushchev visit the United States, and we hope there will be value in this visit. Then we will gain a little more time while President Eisenhower visits Europe and later in the fall visits the Soviet Union.

Sometime toward the end of the year we are going to be back facing the same old questions that we face now.

How much can we trust the Kremlin, and what is our line on Berlin?

Sooner or later this has to be faced, and if we don't use the intermediate time to do some pretty far-reaching thinking, we will be in as difficult a position at the end of 1959 and the beginning of 1960 as we are now. And if our steel strike drags on we will be in a more difficult situation, becasue our economy will not be as strong.

As I look at one of the pictures in the newspapers and see Dr. Milton Eisenhower standing behind his brother and Mr. Nixon I wonder what impressions he brought back with him. He is a thoughtful man and he has had much experience. His advice, simply beacause he comes in fresh from a nonpolitical background, may be of great value.

So, in the next few months some really fresh thinking needs to be done and we hope that in the State Department and in the President's immediate entourage this is going to be done.

* * *

So much has been taken out of President Eisenhower's civil rights program that the bill that cleared the House Judiciary Committee on Wednesday causes one to ask what remains ni it. and it is only the second civil rights bill since the Civil War reconstruction era.

As it now stands, the House bill:

  • (1) Requires local election officials to preserve election records for two years and permit them to be inspected by Federal officers;
  • (2) Authorizes the Federal Government to provide for schooling of children of military presonnel livin gin areas where schools may be closed down by disputes over integration;
  • (3) Makes it a Federal crime to interfere with school desegregation orders by force of threat (a prescription that presumably would help prevent the kid of agitation that broke out a Central High School in Little Rock, Ark., in 1957);
  • (4) Extends the Federal Civil Rights Commission for two more years to September, 1961;
  • (5) Makes it a Federal crime to flee across state lines to avoid prosecution for bombing a building or vehicle. (This proviso was designed to help prevent the bombing of churches, synagogues, homes of racial minorities, or other structures.
  • On careful reading of the above, however, I'm sure many will agree that most of these things should be covered by existing legislation and that the gains made are slight indeed.