May 27, 1941
Mr. Channing Pollock
Shoreham, Long Island
Dear Mr. Pollock:
I was terribly sorry to hear of the hardships which our organization work has imposed upon you. I realize fully how busy you are and I can only express my admiration for the idealism which caused you to undertake this extra work. Of course, you should not be forced to continue to do so much single-handed. My most earnest suggestion is that we do not wait much longer for our “names.” We can proceed with those we have. They are prominent enough to insure the prestige of the organization and to remove from it any suspicion of “racket.” If we now call a meeting of those who have agreed to join us, we can take out our incorporation papers, raise the necessary funds—and remove detail, routine work from you. I really do not believe that a large number of prominent men is absolutely necessary at the beginning. What we need most is quality, not quantity—as in all social matters. The other “names” will join us when they see us going ahead on a concrete program of action.
If you prefer to wait a little longer for the latest answers, I would suggest that we meet at least with those of our “names” who are here in New York. They could suggest other names—and take over some of the work and correspondence which you are carrying alone at present. I can help on that, of course, but my name is not prominent enough to sign alone to the original invitations.
I would be afraid to go through “Who’s Who” in search of new names, because names as such are not what we want; we want people who are widely known as representing our principles; and we must be very certain of the political view-point of those we invite to serve on our Committee; a prominent person whom we might invite merely for the sake of his prominence could do us more harm than good.
I think Mr. Nicholas Roosevelt’s opinion that our organization “would be just one more of the same” is a very important criticism for us to remember.[*] We must make it very clear that we intend to formulate and propagate a basic IDEOLOGY of Individualism and Capitalism, a complete philosophy of life re-stated in the terms of the twentieth century. No organization is doing that. If we don’t make
this our first and clearest aim—we will be nothing but “just one more of the same.” Also, we must avoid all generalities, compromises, “softening up” and attempts to pacify or appeal to too many different view-points. They all do that—and fail. Unless we stick very clearly, militantly and decisively to our basic principles—and keep these principles clear-cut—we will become another ineffectual patriotic organization.
I am glad that you have ordered the copies of our Declaration. I have had no luck at all with printers here. The prices quoted were much higher than yours.
You write that you have inscribed for me a copy of “The Adventures of a Happy Man,” last Tuesday. Since receiving your letter, I have been waiting for it—but it has not arrived as yet and I hope that nothing has happened to it. I do want to thank you for doing this, I cannot tell you how much I appreciate it—even though I am sorry that you would not let me buy my own copy. There are so few authors whom I like to “support.”
I am looking forward most eagerly to reading the unpublished autobiography which you promised to let me read. And I will be “honest”—but I am sure I won’t find it difficult to be.
I am enclosing a list of the addresses you needed for our latest names. On the list you sent me I did not find the name of Carl Snyder who was on our first list. If you have not written to him, I would suggest sending him an invitation, because he would be very good for us to have. He can be reached c/o The Macmillan Company.
With my best regards—in the name of both O’Connors.
*Nicholas Roosevelt (1892–1982) was a diplomat and journalist.