My Day by Eleanor Roosevelt

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NEW YORK, Wednesday—We came down from Hyde Park Sunday evening, and Monday morning at 9 o'clock I was back in the Hotel Pennsylvania at a delegates' meeting. The discussion was quite animated. I often wonder whether all the other delegations have as many different shades of opinion and as many different points of view as we have! The fact that our State Department gives us a great deal of help and many valuable background papers sometimes gives us a chance to find fault with them.

This happens primarily when the State Department assumes that we have more knowledge on some particular item than we have, which results in our not understanding some of the material that has been prepared. However, out of it all, we get much information, good discussion, and, I think, eventually a good understanding among the delegates of what they, as a whole, think the President and the Secretary of State want to have expressed as being the position of the United States.

After the delegates' meeting came a long meeting with my advisers, so I had only a brief period of freedom before starting for the afternoon meeting of Committee #3 out at Lake Success. I managed, however, to give Fala a short walk, which is a thing I rarely find time to do these days.

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I still have to learn how to express myself clearly enough so that my colleagues do not attribute to me positions that I have really not taken.

Monday afternoon we had quite a long argument on procedure and I made the suggestion that we be asked whether we wanted a general debate or the immediate taking up of the charter of the International Refugee Organization. In the latter case, the debate would take place on each point as it came up in the charter. If the committee voted for a general debate, we should then decide whether we wished the general debate limited and how that was to be done.

I really expressed no preference at all, but my Brazilian colleague immediately attributed to me a desire for as full a debate as possible! In reality, of course, I wanted the committee to have a general debate if that was the majority desire. But I was trying to bring out at the same time that with 51 members on our Committee, and with every speech having to be translated once and sometimes twice, a general debate could last a very long time. Yet, we are supposed to wind up the Assembly before the middle of December! At least, that is the hope I have heard expressed on a number of occasions.

It is true, of course, that we are acting on the reports sent us by the Economic and Social Council and on that body only 18 nations are represented. Therefore, on our full committee there are 33 nations that have not before had an opportunity to say how they feel, not only about the findings of the Economic and Social Council but about the problems as a whole. They may well differ with the fundamental premises that are being advanced by the Economic and Social Council!

The only way to save time is for all of us who have been heard in the council to use words sparingly, and show consideration for the rights and privileges of the others.

This is the basis of service in a democratic form of government, and I hope that the defeated Democratic candidates, who made the run with a real desire to be of service, will still keep this desire and apply it in service to their local communities.

E. R.
TMs, AERP, FDRL