Eleanor Roosevelt to Max Lerner

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Eleanor Roosevelt to Max Lerner

28 January 1947 [New York City]

My dear Mr. Lerner:

Thank you for your letter of January 22nd. I do hope the ADA will prove itself an organization of which you can approve.

                              Very sincerely yours,

                                         Eleanor Roosevelt


1. Max Lerner, "The Long March," PM, 9 January 1947, 2-3.

2. Louis Fischer (1896–1970), the Nation's Moscow correspondent from 1924 to 1935, used his column to promote Stalin's early leadership. While covering the Spanish Civil War in 1936, his respect for Stalin cracked when the Soviet leader did not act more aggressively to protect Spaniards from Franco's troops. Yet even his muted criticism proved dangerous—ER had to intervene on his behalf to get Fischer and his family out of Moscow in 1938. He finally broke with Communism when Stalin signed the Nazi-Soviet Pact. Fischer, who had helped found the Union for Democratic Action, attended the founding meeting of the ADA where he argued with ER over how anti-Soviet the organization should become. Fischer, who believed that Communists waged an "ideological war," championed a vehement anti-Soviet declaration. ER disagreed, telling the delegates that "we must work to make peace with the Russians" (ANBO; Gillon, 21; "130 Liberals Form a Group on Right," NYT, 5 January 1947, 5; "Louis Fischer, A Correspondent in Soviet Union, Is Dead at 73," NYT, 17 January 1970, 31).

3. Max Lerner, "The Long March," PM, 9 January 1947, 2-3.

4. MD, 11 January 1947.

5. Alfred Lewis to Max Lerner, n.d., AERP.

6. Alfred Lewis to ER, 16 January 1947, AERP.

7. ER to Alfred Lewis, 19 January 1947, AERP.

8. For information on the PCA, see the header for Document 173 and n14 Document 174.

9. The New York Times reported that at its founding meeting, the ADA adopted as one of its tenets the following statement: "We reject any association with Communists or sympathizers with communism in the United States as completely as we reject any association with Fascists or their sympathizers. Both are hostile to the principles of freedom and democracy on which this Republic has grown great." For a list of the organizers, see n10 Document 178 ("130 Liberals Form a Group on Right," NYT, 5 January 1947, 5).

On Common Cause

Natalie Wales Latham (1911–) served as Chairman of Common Cause, Inc., which characterized itself as "a militant citizen movement offering … a definition of democracy based on the needs of today." In Latham's January 11 letter to ER, she described Common Cause as an organization grounded in the principles envisioned by Thomas Jefferson and Thomas Paine, which proposed "a program of community action to implement these beliefs." Declaring "that America must bring forth—for the world—a great and militant democratic faith that will surpass in its sweep and power the faith of any totalitarian system," Latham told ER that Common Cause would express "the largely unspoken beliefs of the great majority of the American people—not merely an articulate segment or the controversial 'right' and 'left.'" After explaining its "plan to build extensively in towns and communities all through the nation and through existing civic, educational and religious organizations," Latham then attached the group's statement of principles and asked ER "for your help and cooperation in seeing that its message reaches the maximum number of people."1

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