The Eleanor Roosevelt Papers


Joe Alex Morris:[1] Enclosure, April 30, 1958

Insert or Footnote — Mrs. Roosevelt
In 1958, after I had written about this incident in an article in the Saturday Evening Post, Senator Kennedy sent word to me through my grandson, James Curtis,[2] and others to the effect that I had misquoted him or had incorrectly stated his position. The New York Times also carried an article[3] saying that the Senator had said he approved (?) the action of the Senate in the McCarthy case, which, of course, was concerned only with a violation of Senate rules and not with the real issue of McCarthyism. However, my memory is very clear in regard to my discussion with Senator Kennedy at Chicago[4] in 1956 and I do not believe I have misquoted or misunderstood his position. I might add that, although Senator McCarthy is now dead,[5] the issue of McCarthyism is unfortunately still very much alive today and I believe it is an issue on which political leaders must stand and be counted make their position clear.[6]
(end insert)
Written by [J.?]A. [Morris?]
TLS, attached to Cass Canfield to ER, Apil 30, 1958, AERP, NHyF
     [1.] Joe A. Morris was an editor at Harper & Brothers, publisher of ER's autobiography.
     [2.] ER, after reviewing Morris's proposed addition, amended his draft to read that her grandson Curtis, not her son James, relayed JFK's concerns to her.
     [3.] Morris is referring to "Kennedy Denies Charge; Not Silent on McCarthy, He replies to Mrs. Roosevelt," The New York Times, 31 March 1958, p. 11. In the article, JFK is quoted as saying that the Senate's censure of McCarthy "had been reasonable and proper."
     [4.] During the 1956 Democratic National Convention in Chicago, JFK went to ER's hotel suite to seek her endorsement of his bid to be Adlai Stevenson's vice presidential running mate. During their conversation (which ER refused to conduct in private), she asked him very pointed questions about his stance on McCarthyism, saying that she "could not be sure of the political future of anyone who does not willingly state where he stands on the issue." Kennedy's answers did not satisfy her. As she later recalled in her autobiography, when JFK refused to address the issue of McCarthy's menace as clearly as he stated his support of his censure, she "did not support him." [Allida Black, Casting Her Own Shadow (New York: Columbia University Press, 1996), p. 176; Eleanor Roosevelt, On My Own: The Years Since the White House (New York: Harper & Brothers, 1958), p. 164.]
     [5.] Joseph McCarthy died May 2, 1957 at Bethesda Naval Hospital from acute hepatitis (inflammation of the liver). "There was no mention of cirrhosis or delirium treatments," according to his biographer David Oshinsky, "though the press hinted, correctly, that he drank himself to death." [David Oshinsky, A Conspiracy So Immense: The World of Joe McCarthy (New York: The Free Press, 1983), p. 505.]
     [6.] Before Morris sent this proposed footnote to Canfield to forward to ER, he crossed out the final phrase and inserted this handwritten clarification.