Eleanor Roosevelt to C. B. Baldwin

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Eleanor Roosevelt to C. B. Baldwin

16 January 1947 [New York City]

My dear Mr. Baldwin,

Thank you for your letter of January 13th. There are honest differences. One is the fear of expressing openly the feeling one has about American Communists which I consider essential.

I am sure the A.D.A. will not try to discredit any other group.

                                  Yours very sincerely,

                                  Eleanor Roosevelt


1. Morris Llewellyn Cooke (1872–1960), a staunch New Dealer, had directed FDR's Rural Electrification Administration. He would resign from NCPAC in 1947, citing the organization's failure to rid its ranks of Communist influence ("Morris L. Cooke, Engineer, Dies; First Administrator of R.E.A.," NYT, 6 March 1960, 86).

2. For ER's relationship with NCPAC see Document 24 and Document 25.

3. Morris Llewellyn Cooke to ER, 17 December 1946, AERP.

4. Morris Llewellyn Cooke to Jo Davidson and Frank Kingdon, 17 December 1946, AERP.

5. Marginalia in ER's hand on Morris Llewellyn Cooke to ER, 17 December 1946, AERP.

6. ER probably assumed that Baldwin saw the letter Cooke sent NCPAC chair Frank Kingdon.

7. ICCASP (see header).

8. For ER's earlier comments on this, see Document 18.

9. For an elaboration of ER's view that the Russian UN delegates had little sympathy for American Communists, see Document 207.

10. At its 1946 convention the CIO passed a resolution asserting that CIO delegates "resent and reject efforts of the Communist Party … to interfere in the affairs of the CIO" (Lichtenstein, 257).

11. The Progressive Citizens of America formed on December 28, 1946, uniting NCPAC and ICCASP (Hamby, Beyond, 159).

12. ADA and PCA leadership mirrored the political divisions dividing their organizations. While the ADA contained more former New Dealers than the PCA, the latter organization included many respected leaders, such as Jo Davidson, Beanie Baldwin, Philip Murray, and Henry Wallace (Hamby, Beyond, 160-61).

13. Throughout the 1946 election campaign, the CIO faced heavy public accusation of Communist influence, particularly by red-baiting campaigns in the South. Politicians such as the young Richard Nixon from California and Joseph McCarthy from Wisconsin publicly branded the CIO as Communist (Lichtenstein, 257).

14. The PCA's constitution included a protection of discrimination against Communists, declaring that their political beliefs could not be used to prevent their joining the organization. Its "Program for Political Action" accused the Democratic Party of departing from the Roosevelt tradition and asserting the possible need for a new political party. The rest of the proposal's domestic program represented a standard synopsis of general progressive goals such as repudiating monopoly and discrimination and supporting labor rights (Hamby, Beyond, 160).

15. Jo Davidson, co-chairman of the PCA, also made this argument, comparing Hitler's tactics to "confuse the progressives in Germany" to using the scare of Communism to divide the American left (Hamby, Beyond, 164).

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Eleanor Roosevelt to C. B. Baldwin

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Eleanor Roosevelt to C. B. Baldwin