Eleanor Roosevelt to Louis Darabant

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Eleanor Roosevelt to Louis Darabant

27 November 1947 [New York City]

Dear Mr. Darabant:

In answer to your letter of November 12th, the United Nations could use the armies of any of the present big powers if need arose for the use of force. As a matter of fact it is hoped that even after some form of force has been worked out, it will not be necessary if the UN worked well, to use it.

The Economic and Social Council and the commissions under it, are designed to keep things from reaching the boiling point and to prevent the need of force. If they come to the boiling they go to the Security Council and only the Security can order the use of force.

The Dutch Indonesian situation is one that is being handled now with a good deal of tact. One hopes that other troops will not have to go in.4

                                       Very sincerely yours,


1. Article 47 of the UN Charter provided for the creation of a "Military Staff Committee to advise and assist the Security Council on all questions relating to the Security Council's military requirements for the maintenance of international peace and security, the employment and command of forces placed at its disposal, the regulation of armaments, and possible disarmament." However, in the late 1940s the Security Council remained unable to reach a unanimous decision regarding the establishment of a UN military force and thus the committee functions were suspended. Article 43 of the charter also held that the UN could retain military volunteers from UN member nations to create a force when necessary to maintain international peace. The first of such operations consisted of a military observer mission to Palestine in May 1948 (EUN, 838, 850).

2. See n25 Document 71.

3. ER scrawled "dictate" across the bottom of Durabant's letter to her, instructing her secretary that she would dictate her reply.

4. Prior to World War II, Indonesia remained a colony of the Netherlands. Following the removal of the occupying Japanese at the end of the war, Great Britain and the Netherlands kept up a troop presence in Indonesia. In August 1945, the Indonesian People's Movement declared their independence, but the occupying nations refused to acknowledge the declaration. In the summer of 1947, the Security Council created an Information Commission to consider the situation in Indonesia. By November 1949, the UN Commission for Indonesia obtained recognition by the Dutch for the sovereignty of Indonesia except for the territory of West Irian (EUN, 381).

On Loyalty Oaths

November 2, 1947, the New York Herald Tribune published a multipage article by Bert Andrews, its Washington correspondent, describing in great detail the experience of one of the ten men summarily dismissed from the State Department as part of its loyalty program investigations. Entitled "A State Department Security Case: The Story of an Employee Dismissed After an 8—Month F.B.I. Investigation, With the Nature of the Charges Against Him Never Revealed," Andrews's investigation produced "the first such description to be published … a point-by-point story of how the investigation was conducted by the F.B.I. and what the State Department did." Quoting at length from affidavits given by the unnamed man and a transcript of a "hearing" with his State Department superiors, Andrews documented treatment the man received from departmental investigators and recounted how the department repeatedly blocked his attempts to know and respond to the charges against him.

Conceding that "there is no way for any one outside the top echelon to know whether the individual is a victim of a 'witch hunt'" or not, Andrews pressed the State Department for its response to his findings. When confronted by the reporter, the State Department acknowledged "that it was entirely conceivable that an entirely innocent man might be made the victim of a frame-up, granting the unlikely possibility that sufficient enemies ganged up on him" and "that under present procedure, such an innocent man would have no more recourse, no more chance of demanding and getting the charges against him, than would say, an individual guilty of disloyalty and violating security." The department then announced that "it would be very glad if some system of review could be established which would insure any accused individual of the right to have a real review made of his case—a review that would satisfy everyone that no violation of civil liberties had been committed."1

Andrews's article and her unhappiness over the actions of the State Department prompted ER to write the following letter to Truman objecting to the loyalty investigations and to his most recent appointments to the Loyalty Review Board.

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Eleanor Roosevelt to Louis Darabant