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Cedar Rapids Gazette (Newspaper) - August 19, 1974, Cedar Rapids, Iowa Presidential records' ownership debatable Editorial Page August IP, 1974 Misfire on 'growth1 restraint RUNAWAY, no-limit popula- tion growth is not the bissi'st headache in America yet but it IS the world's worst one now, in terms of poverty, starvation, wretched quality of life and deprivation. If President Ford's recent potshot at "zero growth" as an environmental excess meant population-growth resistance has been going too far globally, three things were wrong with that: It was most untimely as a sign of American feeling on the eve of an important U.N.-generated World Population Conference this month in Bucharest, Romania. It blurred an important distinc- tion between straight "growth" of which many kinds are un- contestedly desirable both here and abroad and "population which deals with sheer human numbers and can undeniably become disastrous. It treated the problem too narrowly as a prime concern of the "environmentalists" as a resource-depletion concern in- stead of what it truly is: a threat to human dignity, to ways of life that fortunate people have known and that others fervently covet, to the world's over-all tranquility for generations to come. The President's position statement rightly pointed out that man resists sitting still; the species wants to move and grow progressively to better things. But slow-down arguments neglect, he charged, to take account of man's one inexhaustible resource: his creative ability on a limitless frontier of scientific knowledge which will overcome shortages and cope with the environment. Not so. It is precisely man's adaptive and creative qualities that fighters of the problem are relying on to combat mindless over-reproduction and bring over- population into check. Unless man's innate tastes for freedom, privacy and running room change drastically over the next few generations, the only scientific way to ease the strain from more billions of bodies will be to colonize the planets. That may come in due course, as it probably will. But growth into space would shatter any budgetary hold-downs that the Ford team has in mind, and it is not the answer that the world ought to struggle for first. Population-growth restraints around this earth deserve not just the U.S. government's complete support but better understanding than they seem to have right now. Seatbelt option IT WAS a bow to clear reality if nothing else: the U.S. house's recent 339 to 49 vote to make op- tional the seatbelt interlock sys- tem that is mandatory now on all new cars. Behind this was a heavy push of congressmen's constituents fed up with the idea that your car won't start unless the front-seat pas- sengers have buckled up. Behind it, too, were noncompliance records showing that some 41 percent of the drivers of 1974 model cars have been getting around the interlock thing anyhow. Hardly anybody a grain of sense disputes that bearing seat- belts is a wise, effective practice in the interest o'f self-preserva- tion. The point is that many con- sider it a nuisance or worse under certain conditions, and the ques- tion is whether any government has a right to overrule personal choice in a matter of personal safety through threats of penalty against the noncompliant. The house respected freedom in its turnaround on interlocks and in a further move to see that air bags. too. are optional instead of mandatory when they come into use. Free-choice considerations Beware of humor-loss By Jim Fiebig IT IS SUKKLY a false image, but when I think of hardcore women iibera- lionists, I picture Millie .Jean King hea- tedly smashing a tennis ball into the gallery after committing a double fault. Her lips an.- thin line, her brow is furrowed, her muscles are bulging in angry knots During iho-.c fairly uncommon displays of frustration. Billic .lean becomes a fonmdabk- and 'lassie example (if ancst thing known to mice anil men A woman without humor All of which is n ii-ari-m for :i recent action by Minn-thing railed the Women's Political aucus rAWT'.'j Last Monday, the- si-ril n wire In President Ford asking him to ri-mou: the name of Sen. Barry 'ioldwatcr from his list (if possible The senator sin'' When hi-. opinion of naming a woman to AiniTi'V. second highesl office, he plucked a line from a .John Wav-m- speech at Harvard and rcnlM-d, have nothuit; agalnsl a woman, jusl so ''ook and gels home on lime II was a double fault With lip'-. Ihinm-'l. brows furrowed and muM-le-.. also should predominate when a conference committee works out differences between what the house has done and what the senate's compulsion-oriented counterpart bill does. For those who want the fine ideal of "saving lives" to rule and think the dollar cost of seatbelt nonuse is a fair price for the loss of some freedom, other possibili- ties still loom. The suggestion has been made that buckle-up pres- sure would follow legitimately from letting auto-insurance com- panies offer coverage at jus- tifiably lower premiums, which simply do not pay for deaths or injuries suffered by unbuckled policyholders. As a consequence, seatbelt users would save money on in- surance. Nonusers would pay a good deal more to cover the risks of their folly. Federal ad- vancement of the premise that the individual has no right to control his own life would suffer a set- back. Drivers smart enough to beat the damage odds by wearing seat restraints would get the free- choice rewards. The only law that needs to weigh on individuals in reference to their seatbelt habits is survival of the fittest. the AWPC smashed off a telegram to Mr. Ford calling the remarks negative, degrading, irresponsible and certainly no joke. If I were a women's libber (and only my sex prevents 1 would tell the AWPC to quit pulling stunts that give our movement a bad name. To seriously suggest that a lighthearted male chauvinistic quip by a distinguished senator is sufficient cause to disqualify him from the vice-presidency is not dedication to a cause. It is fanaticism. It is ludicrous II is even dumb. Worse, because it is all these things, it becomes ammunition for every man who wants to keep women pregnanl, barefoot and slaving over a hot stove. Believe it or not, lady libbers, most men are coining around to your way of thinking. The only way you can blow it now is by losing your sense of humor. Jim Fiebig By James Reston WASHINGTON of these tl.-.ys the mount; vans will be backing up to the White House and carting off all of Presides! Nivon'-' [icr-nnal ami nffiri.-il papers to San (lemente This is the way il has been since the beginning of the Republic: By tradition, which now has the force of law, the departing President decides what papers he wants to take away, and these are regarded as his "jtrtxau- property. This means that these papers, which are the memory of the nation, are very largely under the control of the departing President and his heirs. They can edit them selectively, or even destroy them, or under the will of the President upon his death, arrange to conceal their con- tents for as long as he chooses. For example, the papers of John Adams and John Quincy Adams were locked up for over a hundred years until in Ur5tt the Adams family transferred title to them to Ihe Massachusetts His torica! Society, which finally made them available to scholars. So this is not a new problem. The papers of most major Presidents have been preserved fairly well. Even the of- ficial records of Presidents Fillmore, Tyler and Harding, which were meager and dispersed, still keep turning up. despite all the stories that they were lost or burned by their families. Nevertheless, the principle that presidential papers "belong" to the departing President and can be trucked away, and disposed of as he and suc- ceeding generations of his family see fit. raises some awkward questions. Perishable? For example, the White House has just announced that all the tape recordings of Nixon's conversations, those published and those still secret, are his "personal property." Is he, therefore, free to lock up the still secret White House tapes for a hundred years, like the Adams papers, or burn them as Warren Harding's widow is reported to have destroyed some of the records of the Harding scan- dals? Also, the modern presidency, since the invention of the trans-oceanic telephone and the tape recorder, now contains of- ficial records of conversations that are vital to an understanding of foreign relations. President Nixon bugged not only his political "enemies" and members of his own staff but also his conversations with visiting presidents and prime ministers, without their knowledge. What promises or commitments, if any, did he make to foreign governments in these talks, succeeding Presidents have to recognize? How will President Ford know what promises were made if the records are under the sole control of Nixon? It is important to be clear about what is not at issue here. The question is not whether the departing President has a right to the records of his administration of course he has but whether he has the SOLE right to take them away under James Reston his own and his family's control, without leaving either Ihe originals or copies behind In some cases, he does have this right For example, in his private correspon- dence about appointing members of Ins cabinet or members of the supreme court, there will undoubtedly be letters opposing his appointments on the grounds that Ins nominees were drunks or womanixers This could be inaccurate, vindictive gossip, harmful to the characters of the people concerned, so obviously, the President has the right and duly to edit out scurrilous personal attacks. Bui issues of policy, official coinersa- tions with other heads of government, tapes of conversations that produced the first resignation of an American President, are quite different. These have to do with the history of the country, and should not be entirely under the control of the departing President. Since Franklin Roosevelt, the papers of the Presidents have gone back to memorial libraries in their hometowns, and the system has worked very well. The libraries have been built by the financial contributions of their friends ami supporters. They have been main- lined by Ihe federal government, which has paid professional librarians and archivists, who have Xeroxed, computerised, and. in the Lyndon John- sou library in Austin, even captured the voice and pictures of the departed President this system, students and scholars have available to them the records of the Presidents in the com- munities where they lived, but everything depends on what the students and scholars see and hear. The way things are now in San ('lemente, what the students and scholars see and hear depends entirely on what the departed President and his family, not only in this, but in the next and suc- ceeding generations, wants them to hear It is all up to him and his heirs to decide: To turn the record over to the national archives, to leave the whole record to history and succeeding generations or to edit it, or fiddle with it, or burn it. Nothing in the law obliges Nixon lo turn all his papers over to the federal archives and let the government main- tain a Nixon library in San Clemente. By tradition and present law he can keep them to himself and turn Ihenl over in his -rill to his children and grandchildren. They are his "personal property." as things now stand, and, on (he record, is full of trust about what he will do. The chances are thai, like the Presidents from Roosevelt lo Kennedy and Johnson, he will want that library in San ('lemente, and submit to the vague rules of what papers now belong to him and what really belong to Ihe nation, and from his point of view, it's a good deal Like Ike. Kennedy and Johnson, he will get both his papers and his memorial library, to do with as he likes. But the integrity of the nation's record will still be in trouble. (iiving Ihe President all the papers he wants to take home is okay, letting him and his family control them, and exploit them is understandable, but in the end they are not really personal papers or private property. They are the record and memory of the nation, and should be preserved in the original or by copies for that purpose. New York Times Service Insights Ihe rarest quality in an epitaph is truth. Henry David Thoreau The history of every country begins in the heart of a man or a woman. Willa Cather You can't put the facts of experience in order while you are getiimg them, especially if you are getting (hem in the neck. Lincoln Steffens The men who make his- tory have not time to write if. Prince Metternich People's forum One-sided To the Editor. I was shucked and disillusioned to read in the Aug. 14 letter from Margaret Heaverlo that the creators of "Sesame Street" are planning a series of 26 "health" shows, 16 of which will include abortion. She stated the word abortion will be used frequently and one segment will depict an 8-year-old girl being denied an abortion by her mother. This should anger people on both sides of the controversial issue. The producers of this childrens' program have learned that by the use of repetition, special lighting, and sound effects 3- and 4-year- olds can be made to learn the ABCs, size and shape relationships, numbers, etc. Let us not permit them to drill into our childrens' minds a one-sided view of an emotional and moral issue. This is not compatible with our ideals of the democratic way of life. I urge your readers to write to the two addresses listed by Mrs. Heaverlo and demand these programs not be aired: Corporation of Public Broadcasting. 888 Sixteenth Street NW, Washington, D.C. 20006: Children's Television Workshop. No. 1 Lincoln Plaza, New York, N.Y. 10023. Frances A. Hatfield 3634 Red Bud Road NE (Editor's note-. It would also be well to determine whether the information is correct that these programs ARE being planned) County fairs To the Editor: We have been subscribers to The Gazette for many years. During those years we have enjoyed your coverage of the county fairs, but we have noticed your failure to cover the Benton County fair for the past several years. I am sure you have many subscribers in Benton county and I am also sure they have no- ticed the absence of your coverage of this fair. We were told this year by the sheep judge that we have the largest sheep show around for a county fair. I'm sure the cattle and hog shows are equivalent to those of any other county fair. We believe in a complete coverage of all county fairs, something your paper has not done for many years. Let's not play favorites; give us all the same coverage. Dr. and Mrs. R. 0. Stamy Norway (Editor's note: In fairness to the various summertime shows held in Eas- tern Iowa, The Gazette adopted a policy this year of reporting only names of champions this taking the form of championship group photographs. When several county fairs are held within the same week, the publication of some fair photngraphs is delayed, as was the case with Benton county's fair. The number of photographs also is limited by space, and in some cases only one livestock species is featured. The Gazette has carried stories and pictures of the Benton county fair each year for the last six years.) Clarity To the Editor: Would you believe I'll miss hearing former President Nixon say, "Let me make one thing very clear. Mrs. Don Weimer 1221 Norwood drive SE o Influence Mother: ".lunior. stop using such bad words." .lunior: "But. Mother, Shakespeare used them." Mother: "Then you'll to quit playing with him." 'Honeymoon'still holding Clouds form, but Kissinger sti By Louis Harris THE STANDING of Henry Kissinger, reappointcd by President Ford, remains high among the American people, with a lopsided 79-15 percent giving him high marks on his job per- formance. These latest results, however, register a slight fall-off from the S5-10 percent rating accorded Secretary Kis- singer in May, just following his success in achieving a cease-fire in the Middle Kiisl. In late .Inly, a cruss-sectiitn of adults were jiskcd: "How would you role trie Secretory of Slate Henry Kissinger is doing excellent, pretty good, only fair or opinion as he was back in May. The cross section was asked: "Let me read you some statements that have been made about Secretary of State Henry Kis- singer For each, tell me if you tend to agree or disagree. (Read statements He is 0 highly negotTOtor, especially dealing with the He did a rnmarVable negotiating n between the Arabs Israel in the Middle No matter who is should stay on Secretary of Good-excellent (positive) 79 Only fair -poor (negative) 15 Not sure 6 is taking o lot and risks with that arc in nature, The public was so sold on the with tence of the job Dr. Kissinger has President or doniK' thai a substantial percent State Department July 46 that "no matter who is President, 29 should slay on as secretary of hrji not told the And by a thumping 70-17 percent. Americans rejected the wiretapping the telephones of his "if President Nixon left office, 25 should leave with him President Niron Despite his roNliiiuiiiK Kiisinijer should leave with there are some lhat Secretary 1 7 singer is not as secure wild 9 niknd in Louis Harris These results clearly demonstrate lhat Ihe American people deeply admire the secretary's skills in being able to deal with the Russians and with disputing parties, such as the Arabs and Israelis in the Middle Fast. Most people feel a sense of real appreciation for all that Kissinger has accomplished in U.S. foreign policy and obviously approve the basic approach he has taken. Nonetheless, two clouds have now begun to appear in what hitherto was a cloudless sky of public opinion for Dr. Kissinger The first concerns the worries of a plurality of 46-29 percent who agree with Ihe statement lhat "he is taking a lot of gambles and risks with world agreements that are often secret in na- lure." Back in May, public lailh was so high Unit people appeared ready to entrust much of the conduct of foreign policy in Ihe secretary's hands, apart from congress, the President or Ihe slate departni'.'nl. But lately, close to half-the public have begun to worry about (he secretary's practice of highly per- sonalized negotiations. The concern appears lo be centered on the possibility that he might agree lo some provision in a negotiation that he might not be able to deliver back home. The public appears to want him to con- sult more than he has, not only with the President, but also with his own state department and the congress. The second concern stems from the question of whether the secretary or- dered wiretaps on members and staff of Ihe National Security Council, some of whom worked directly for Dr. Kissinger when he was chief international security advisor to President .Nixon in Ihe White House. Secretary Kissinger Ihrealened to quil unless he was cleared of charges lhat he did not tell the truth about the wiretaps lo senate questioners during confirmation hearings. The secretary has since been cleared of charges by the senate foreign relations committee. However, a quarter of the public still had doubts about the matter, with no more than ,'W percent feeling assured thai the secretary lold Ihe whole story in his testimony. For all these doubts, Henry Kissinger remains Ihe most admired of public of- ficials in a lime when doubts about poli- tical and governmental institutions have never been greater. The honeymoon Is still on, despite an occasional cloud mi Ihe Above all. people want him there as President Ford's strong policy arm. ftilrriuu Ttlbirnc Hew Yort-
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