Harold E. Stassen, three-term governor of Minnesota, now wearing a gold duck in his lapel after three years as a Commander in the Navy, has, in three days in Cambridge, walked softly and talked gently to at least 2000 undergraduates, graduates, faculty members, and newspapermen.
Here as this year's Godkin Lecturer with "Human Rights" the subject of his three talks, the last of which will be given tonight at 8 o'clock in Sanders Theatre, Stassen announced at a press conference on Tuesday that he would not be drawn into what he called "partisan politics." The ex-governor deemed the background of his lectures as inappropriate for swinging either on the Democrats or on the more conservative wing of his own party.
No Fences Trampled
And although Boston papers made front-page stories out of his comments on John L. Lewis and the labor situation, Stassen very obviously was trying not to trample on anybody's political fences when he enunciated his gently liberal ideas before the Boston press. He said he felt that labor should have the right to associate themselves for political purposes, but refrained from endorsing the CIO-PAC. "That's something else again," he smiled.
Prodded with more questions on labor, and in particular the soft coal strike, Stassen again chose a two-way answer, saying "I think there is a sound basis for Lewis' demands. That isn't to say how much his welfare fund should start with. No, I don't agree with his methods . . ."
Likes Economic Policies
Parrying with easy answers another series of questions designed to lure him into his self-constructed trap of "partisan politics," Stassen talked around the issue of economic planning in this country. Finally he allowed that "I am in favor of an overall economic policy which the whole country would support."
The conference ended with reporters leafing doubtfully through their notes, looking for something to "pin" on Stassen. The room cleared and Stassen downed a Manhattan, which he had previously moved carefully out of the photographers' range, with a dexterous flip of the right wrist.