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

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NEW YORK—I am glad that President Eisenhower took a stand on Thursday and announced that he would favor the repeal of the non-Communist affidavit required for Federal student loans. Of course, no one objects to taking the standard oath of allegiance, but the additional signature required in a statement from a student receiving a Federal loan is ridiculous.

In this so-called "negative affidavit" the student must declare that he does not believe in, and neither supports or belongs to an organization believing in, the overthrow of the government by force. This is a left-over from the McCarthy days when everyone suspected that his neighbor might be a Communist and lost all belief and confidence in the loyalty of our people to the values of our way of life. This day is now past, and most of us take it for granted that we like and wish to preserve our Federal democracy.

This tendency to put everybody in jail who is not willing to give the names of anyone whom they have been associated with in some way and who is now perhaps suspected of once having been a Communist, seems to me to be reaching proportions of real danger.

Right here in New York City teachers who were cleared by the courts have never been reinstated nor had their jobs returned to them. To me this is a flouting of the court's decision that is quite outrageous. I cannot understand why we preserve this kind of hysteria. It was understandable in Stalin's day when we had an iron curtain that we could not pierce at all. But today to behave in this manner seems to ignore the fact of the change that has come about in the confidence within ourselves.

The President left on Thursday night on his trip and I am sure that many of us will wish him well in his stated desire to promote the understanding of America's peaceful intentions.

The speech that Thomas J. Watson Jr. made before the National Association of Manufacturers the other day must have given that group a considerable shock.

For the most part, it seems to me, those people are not accustomed to thinking in terms of accepting taxation to pay for desired ends. But I certainly think it makes sense to tell them that we cannot have everything we want.

A balanced budget and our continued efforts to do better in the area of research for defense purposes are not compatible with lowering taxes on industry. To take the cost out of the aid we give underdeveloped and uncommitted countries is not only a foolish thing to do in our overall struggle against communism, but it is a foolish thing to do for our own future. Only as we help the underdeveloped nations to become better off can we hope to see them become better customers for our wares.

I was also much interested to see that the American general manager, Harold C. McClellan, of the United States exhibition at the Moscow Fair last summer explained why the Soviets had clamped down on our book exhibit. Whoever it was who slipped in a package of books in the Russian language designed to teach people how to defeat communism within their own country could hardly expect that this group of books would be welcomed by the Soviet authorities.

It is little things like this that seem unimportant but which really do harm to international relations.


(Copyright, 1959, by United Feature Syndicate, Inc.)

Names and Terms Mentioned or Referenced

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About this document

My Day by Eleanor Roosevelt, December 5, 1959

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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Digital edition published 2008, 2017 by
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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.