My Day by Eleanor Roosevelt

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NEW YORK, Thursday—I sat on the platform yesterday morning on the steps of the City Hall and looked at the crowds of people who had come to take part in the ceremonies of welcome that the Mayor of the City of New York was extending to the United Nations delegates.

In the absence of Mayor William O'Dwyer, because of the death of Mrs. O'Dwyer, the delegates from the 51 countries here for the meetings of the General Assembly were very ably greeted by Deputy Major Thomas L. J. Corcoran and Grover A. Whalen, chairman of the city reception committee. The response to the greeting, made by Paul-Henri Spaak of Belgium, the President of the United Nations General Assembly, was a very fine and forthright speech. He said that as he drove through the city he was conscious of a friendly people who gave the United Nations a cordial welcome, but that they were still skeptical and none too enthusiastic about the organization that has not yet proved it could prevent war.

It was well, I thought, to have this point of view placed squarely before us. The sooner we, the people, realize that the delegates, no matter how hard they labor, cannot make the United Nations work, the better it will be.

The job of writing a peace, and then building a peaceful world through the United Nations organization based on that peace, is not the job alone of the government officials who go to Paris or who come to New York and spend long hours trying to find solutions to knotty problems. It is the job of the peoples of the world, and it will be done only if they put their strength back of their representatives and insist that the main objectives of keeping peace in the world shall always be in the forefront of everybody's mind.

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In the afternoon we gathered in the Assembly Hall in the New York City Building at Flushing Meadows. If one did not come with the cavalcade from the Waldorf-Astoria, it would not have been so easy to find the proper gate and get parked in the proper place. There was a constant stream of cars coming into the area. Nevertheless, promptly at 3:30 I was sitting in one of the seats assigned to the United States delegation.

I was looking up at the rostrum, back of which was a wonderful world map, flanked on either side by blue velvet curtains. The arrangements for the press and radio are really quite remarkable. There are two galleries along the sides and one at the back, and I was told that 300 seats are available for the press of the world. I saw many familiar faces among the photographers who crowded around us first. As the advisers and then the delegates began to gather, more and more acquaintances appeared upon the scene. Many of the representatives' wives were present, and as they walked to their seats one got an exceptional preview of the latest fall styles in hats and gowns.

Almost before I knew it, there was a burst of applause and Mr. Spaak and Secretary General Trygve Lie were escorting the President of the United States and his aides into the hall. President Truman sat and listened while the two speeches of welcome were given before delivering his own address.

It is rather a terrifying thought that in this room peace or eventual annihiliation are at stake. Human beings with all their weaknesses and faults have to play for these high stakes and many other human beings depend for their future upon what happens at Flushing Meadows in the next two months.

E. R.
TMs, AERP, FDRL