Menu JTA Search

K. of C. Cites Theodore Roosevelt’s Action in Kishineff Case

President Theodore Roosevelt’s attitude favoring an official protest in the case of the anti-Jewish pogroms of 1905 in Kishineff, Russia, is cited by the Knights of Columbus in a letter answering the rejection of President Franklin D. Roosevelt of a plea for action in religious persecution of Mexico.

The letter challenges the impression which it says President Franklin D. Roosevelt had created that the late President was opposed to action against foreign nations in such cases.

The letter, signed by Martin H. Carmody, president, and William. J. McGinley, secretary of the K. of C., comments on the use by the incumbent President of a short extract from the 1904 annual message of President Theodore Roosevelt, in which the latter said that under ordinary circumstances it was better for a nation to strive to correct its own sins at home rather than “try to better the conditions of things in other countries.” The letter contends that the quotation was inadequate and that it misrepresented Theodore Roosevelt’s policy.

In this connection the letter states;

“You ignore that statement of President Theodore Roosevelt in his 1904 message to Congress and you select two sentences from a subsequent paragraph of the same message as giving support to your position.

“However, if you had used all that President Theodore Roosevelt said in that same portion of his message to Congress it would have been apparent to all those who read your letter that instead of supporting the policy which you have adopted, President Theodore Roosevelt supported an exactly opposite policy, for immediately following the two sentences quoted by you he said:

“‘Nevertheless there are occasional crimes committed on so vast a scale and of such peculiar horror as to make us doubt whether it is not our manifest duty to endeavor at least to show our disapproval of the deed and our sympathy with those who have suffered by it. The cases must be extreme in which such a course is justifiable. There must be no effort made to remove the mote from our brother’s eye if we refuse to remove the beam from our own. But in extreme cases action may be justifiable and proper

“‘Yet it is not to be expected that a people like ours, which in spite of certain very obvious shortcomings, nevertheless as a whole shows by its consistent practice its belief in the principles of civil and religious liberty and of orderly freedom, a people among whom even the worst crime, like the crime of lynching, is never more than sporadic, so that such a nation should desire eagerly to give expression to its horror on an occasion like that of the massacre of the Jews in Kisheneff, or when it

witnesses such systematic and long extended cruelty and oppression as the cruelty and oppression of which the Armenians have been the victims, and which have won for them the indignant pity of the civilized world.'”

NEXT STORY