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

March 22, 1948

Val-Kill Cottage
Hyde Park, Dutchess County
New York 

Dear Mr. President:

The events of that last few days since my last letter to you, have been so increasingly disquieting that I feel I must write you a very frank and unpleasant letter.

I feel that even though the Secretary of State takes the responsibility for the Administration’s attitude on Palestine, you can not escape the results of that attitude. I have written the Secretary a letter, a copy of which I enclose, which will explain my feelings on this particular subject.

On Trieste I feel we have also let the UN down. We are evidently discarding the UN and acting unilaterally, or setting up a balance of power by backing the European democracies and preparing for an ultimate war between the two political philosophies. I am opposed to this attitude because I feel that it would be possible, with force and friendliness, to make some arrangements with the Russians, using our economic power as a bribe to obstruct their political advance.

I can not believe that war is the best solution. No one won the last war, and no one will win the next war. While I am in accord that we need force and I am in accord that we need this force to preserve the peace, I do not think that complete preparation for war is the proper approach as yet.

Politically, I know you have acted as you thought was right, regardless of political consequences. Unfortunately, it seems to me that one has to keep one’s objectives in view and use timing and circumstances wisely to achieve those objectives.

I am afraid that the Democratic Party is, for the moment, in very weak position, with the Southern revolt and the big cities and many liberals appalled by our latest moves. The combination of Wall Street objectives and military fears seem so intertwined in our present policies that it is difficult to quite understand what we are really trying to do.

I realize that I am an entirely unimportant cog in the wheel of work with the Untied Nations, but I have offered my resignation to the Secretary since I can quite understand the difficulty of having some one so far down the line openly criticize the Administration’s policies.

I deeply regret that I must write this letter.

Very sincerely yours,

Eleanor Roosevelt