ROBERT F. KENNEDY - TYPED LETTER SIGNED 05/31/1962 - HFSID 36025
Sale Price $1,360.00
TO FAMED SOCIALIST NORMAN THOMAS JUST SEVEN MONTHS BEFORE RFK RELEASED THE ONLY COMMUNIST IMPRISONED FOR VIOLATING THE SMITH ACT OF 1940
ROBERT F. KENNEDY. TLS: "Robert F Kennedy" as JFK's Attorney General, 1p, 6½x8½. Washington, D.C., 1962 May 31. On letterhead of the Attorney General to Mr. Norman Thomas, New York, New York. In full: "I have your letter of May eighteenth, but find that your visit to Washington was a short one and the conference over. I trust it was constructive and I am sorry I missed seeing you." NORMAN MATTOON THOMAS (1884-1968) was a six-time Socialist Party candidate for President between 1918 and 1948. In 1962, the year of this letter, Thomas impelled the Attorney General and his brother, President John Fitzgerald Kennedy, to release Junius Scales, the only Communist ever imprisoned for violating the membership clause of the Smith Act of 1940 (the Act made it illegal to be a member of an organization promoting the overthrow of any government in the U.S.). Thomas abhorred Communism as much as the Smith Act, but he championed individual rights. A prolific speaker and writer, Thomas often expounded his views in letters to Presidents, Congressmen and newspapers across the nation. Thomas, whose son, Even, edited John Kennedy's 1957 Pulitzer Prize-winning book, Profiles in Courage, considered JFK an able President, but frequently criticized his policies. A pacifist, Thomas had held anti-war stands during WWI and WWII, and he was appalled by America's Vietnam policy in the early 1960s - before the conflict received national attention and protests. ROBERT FRANCIS KENNEDY (1925-1968), who was U.S. Attorney General from 1961-1964, courageously commuted Scales' six-year sentence on Christmas Eve of 1962, after Scales had served just 16 months. RFK was the first government official since the start of the McCarthy hearings (1950-1954) to possess the fortitude to withstand anti-Communist sentiment. In between the time RFK managed the successful senatorial (1952) and presidential (1960) campaigns of his brother John, he gained national attention by conducting televised hearings against suspected labor racketeers (1957-1960). These proceedings sparked the famous feud between Teamster Jimmy Hoffa and Kennedy. After serving as Attorney General (continuing on under President Lyndon B. Johnson after JFK was assassinated), Kennedy was easily elected as a U.S. Senator from New York (1965-1968). A vehement opponent of LBJ's policy of escalation in Vietnam, Kennedy became a presidential candidate. He had won four out of five state primaries, giving him a strong foundation on which to win the 1968 Democratic presidential nomination, when he was assassinated in Los Angeles by Palestinian immigrant Sirhan Sirhan. Lightly creased with folds, not at signature. Staple holes at upper left blank corner. Fine condition. Framed in the Gallery of History style: 31¾x21¼.
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