My Day by Eleanor Roosevelt

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RHINEBECK, N.Y., June 19—I spent a delightful evening yesterday with Mrs. Morgenthau and her eldest son, Henry III. Before dinner she and I went to look over a house which has been done over on an old farm which they bought in order to plant new orchards. I saw it when they bought it, and could imagine a change possible, but never such a change as had taken place. Henry III, who is interested in architecture, in fact in anything artistic, drew the plans and worked on it all last summer and to him must go the credit not only for a very compact and well planned interior, but for preserving all that was charming in the house and enhancing it. The view at the back of the mountains is beautiful and so he has cut two doors, leading out from the living room and has a terrace on that side, level with the grass. The old trees have not been touched, and I kept thinking what fun a young couple could have settling themselves in that house. To be sure if you worked in New York, commuting might not be so easy, and yet it would not be as crowded nor as long as it is on many other commuting routes, and such peace and quiet as one would return to at night.

The evening amused me for it was largely taken up in plans for the Poughkeepsie boat races and as usual the youth of the family had delayed its invitations to the last minute, so no one could tell who would arrive, but long experience has taught me never to get excited in these situations. Somehow or other everyone does have a bed and everyone does get food, even though beforehand you think it can't be done!

I drove Mrs. Morgenthau back to Poughkeepsie this morning, and carried with me the loveliest box of pansies imaginable. They are one of my favorite flowers and so Mrs. Scheider and I are enjoying them now.

I wonder how many of you have read Dorothy Thompson's "The Dilemma of a Pacifist" in this month's issue of the Ladies Home Journal? I think you will find it interesting and by and large she has reached much the same conclusion as I have, namely, that an attitude of letting the rest of the world stew in their own juice, is rather a dangerous one, that perhaps in our own interest we may have to take the initiative and have sufficient interest in other people's affairs to really want to help them remain at peace. She ends with the statement: "If the fight comes unsolicited, I am not willing to die meekly, to surrender without an effort. And that being so, am I still a pacifist?"

There seems no question to me that being a pacifist means that you do not seek a fight, that you use every means in your power to prevent a fight, and this includes giving all the assistance you possibly can short of military assistance to other nations who honestly are trying to keep out of war. It also means that you do not try to impose your opinions on other people nor to force them to grant you anything they do not wish to grant, but if war comes into your own country, then even a pacifist it seems to me, must stand up and fight for their beliefs.

E.R.
TMsd 18 June 1937, AERP, FDRL