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John F. Kennedy to Eleanor Roosevelt

January 10, 1959

Mrs. Franklin D. Roosevelt
202 56th Street West
New York 19, N. Y.

Dear Mrs. Roosevelt:

Thank you for sending me the copy of your column with the extract from my letter to you. Apparently there has been some misunderstanding of my reason for writing you.

While I appreciate your courtesy in printing my denial of the false rumors about my father and me, neither the article nor your letter to me deals with whether the rumors are true. In view of the seriousness of the charge, I had hoped that you would request your informants to give - - not their own names - - but the names of any "paid representative" of mine in any State of the Union. Or, if not the name, then mere evidence of his existence. I knew that your informants would not be able to provide such information because I have no paid representative.

Thereafter, since the charges could not be substantiated to even a limited extent, it seemed to me that the fairest course of action would be for you to state that you had been unable to find evidence to justify the rumors.

You may feel that I am being overly sensitive about this issue. But when the record is as I have described it I feel that merely giving space to a denial that I have made leaves the original charge standing. The readers of your column and the listeners and viewers of the telecast of December 7 who do not have the benefit of our correspondence are forced to make their own judgements as to whether you or I am correct on the basis of your assertions and my denials.

I have continued what you may consider a too lengthy correspondence only because I am familiar with your long fight against the use of unsubstantiated charges and the notion that merely because they are repeated they attain a certain degree of credibility. If you feel that the matter was disposed of by your column, I certainly am prepared to let it rest on the basis of our correspondence.

Again I would like to express my appreciation for your courtesy in printing my denial of the charges.

Sincerely yours,

John F. Kennedy


bcc: Mr. Philip L. Graham
Washington Post and Times Herald
1515 L Street, N. W. Washington, D. C.

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