C. B. Baldwin to Eleanor Roosevelt

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C. B. Baldwin to Eleanor Roosevelt

13 January 1947 [New York City]

Dear Mrs. Roosevelt:

I was confined to my apartment with a cold at the time your letter of December 29 was received in the office and this is the first opportunity I have had to reply.

A resolution similar to the one passed at the CIO Convention10 was proposed at the last Steering Committee meeting of the National Citizens PAC which was held several weeks prior to the Joint Convention of the National Citizens PAC and the Independent Citizens Committee of the Arts, Sciences & Professions, at which time the Progressive Citizens of America was formed.11 The resolution was debated for over two hours and defeated by a vote of 35 to 2. I'm sorry you were not present to hear this discussion. The members of our Committee (which is composed of people who have fought vigorously for progressive government for years and in whom, I think, you have full confidence) rejected this proposal almost unanimously because they felt that to take anything but a positive stand at this time would weaken our organization and because catering to loose charges of interference by the Communist Party in the work of our Committee would be a reflection on the integrity of the members of the Committee.12 Furthermore, no such charges have been made.

The situation within the CIO which probably occasioned the anti-communist resolution was quite different since charges had been made of political interference by the Communist Party and other groups in their trade union activities.13

I regret, too, that you could not have been present to witness the proceedings and listen to the discussion at the Convention. Delegates from 21 states participated and although there were vigorous arguments on how the new organization should function and be governed, not once was any element of factionalism injected. The floor was open for free discussion and any delegate was able to express his opinion or propose any resolution he might care to have considered. (I'm enclosing copies of the Constitutional By-laws and the Program adopted by the new organization.14)

If I sensed the feeling and the spirit of those who have made possible the formation of the PCA, they are determined to fight vigorously for a progressive program for this country on both foreign and domestic policy, free from the domination of any political party or group. To accept any other position would necessitate resorting to undemocratic snooping and interference with the rights and beliefs of our members.

You have been called a Communist. I have—and hundreds of others who are devoting themselves sincerely to the progressive cause. To weaken under the pressure of the reactionary press, political leaders or big business monopolists would only give these interests the ammunition they need to hopelessly divide and then destroy the liberal movement. The Social Democrats of Germany fell for this type of propaganda and the Republic was destroyed.15 Can it be possible that this could happen here?

We have worked hard and with considerable success during the past few years to build an effective grass roots organization. This has been done against ever present opposition of some groups who have energetically but without too much success questioned our sincerity and our purposes. I hope the ADA will refrain from using these methods because it might be disastrous. We expect to continue to work and organize in spite of opposition from any source.

I hope that you will let me know when it might be convenient for me to see you and discuss this whole matter at length because I feel that you recognize there are honest differences of opinion among many sincere liberals on this issue.


                                          C.B. Baldwin


ER replied three days later, citing their "honest differences."