The Eleanor Roosevelt Papers Project is a university-chartered research center associated with the Department of History of The George Washington University

The George Washington University

The Eleanor Roosevelt Papers Project

HYDE PARK, Friday — Riding into New York City early yesterday morning on a very slow train, I had ample opportunity to read the whole of Mr. Molotov's statement at the conference of Foreign Ministers in Paris. I had already read Secretary Marshall's speech replying to the Soviet charges of imperialism.

I must say, after reading Mr. Molotov's statement, that I was very much saddened. The examples which he used as to what the United States, or the committee setup, might demand, were utterly foolish. When you are lending your money, even to a private individual, you like to know the exact conditions which exist, and you wish to have at least a suggestion of the way in which the money will be used. If you approve of the plan, you take the risk.

Lending money is a risk, and it would show very little interest on our part if we did not make some inquiries into the situation and the future plans. This is especially important where it seems probable that money alone will not fully meet the situation, and that we might be asked in addition to provide skilled technicians and workers on various levels. That does not mean that we want to control the internal situation in other countries. They are free to refuse a loan. If they take it, it is reasonable that they give a certain amount of information.

Mr. Molotov knows as well as anyone else that we have no desire to control the economic plans of any nation or to take away their sovereignty. We have never tried to infiltrate in Russia and set up a party against the government. The Soviet government might well say that they would not permit that, but they are always rather annoyed when we complain about the political activities in many countries — activities which they must at least have countenanced at some time.

I realize that it must be very hard for them not to think that in this country, as a government and as a majority, people are opposed to the Russian nation. I wish they might remember, however, that the newspapers here represent individual owners and their own particular readers — and not the government or the majority of the people. I wish they might also realize that, while we believe in capitalism and in democracy, we are quite willing to let them believe in collectivism and communism.

We feel, nevertheless, that all other people in the world should be free to make their own choice. If a very great nation like Russia is so very strict in its control at home when it gains political and military influence, it may be strict in other countries. For that reason we want nations, large and small, to act freely and to make their choice without fearing the influence of well-organized minority groups within their borders.

The Marshall plan is a bona fide offer to help Europe get back on its feet. Mr. Molotov, in refusing to join the rest of Europe, is creating the very thing he says he fears, which is division instead of cooperation.

E. R.