My Day by Eleanor Roosevelt

Text Size: Small Text Normal Text Large Text Larger Text

NEW YORK, Thursday—There was a little item in the paper yesterday evening which made me wonder, what is the basis of law. Sometimes it seems to uphold a right, which you recognize as legal, but which you resent because it seems to deny a deeper human right. In this case, the Ohio Supreme Court ruled that a building company in Cleveland had a right to refuse to have children living on their property and so they evicted a veteran and his wife and baby, the baby having been born after the couple had moved in.

One cannot deny that property owners have the right to dispose of their property in any way they see fit, and if there were plenty of places where people with children could live, no one would be upset by it. In a time like this, however, when all over the country there is a housing shortage, I wonder if there is not something which far transcends property rights in this case. Our whole government is based on giving the individual as much freedom and happiness as he can have without hurting other individuals and their aspirations and rights. It does not seem to me that even though it is legal, human rights can be considered less important than property rights.

I know all that could be said about precedent, but these are unusual times and they force us to face our fundamental beliefs more often than usual. Fundamentally I believe that it is more important that this veteran have shelter for his family than that the right to dispose of your property as you see fit, should be upheld.

Yesterday afternoon the staff of the United States delegation had an opportunity to meet the members of the delegation and the members from a number of other delegations at a party given by Senator and Mrs. Austin. The gentlemen were a little late in arriving and Senator Vandenberg and Mr. Dulles had not come in from Lake Success when I left but that is the fate of those who attend meetings which never end at the time set!

Our Russian colleagues deserve, I think, the greatest credit for the cooperative spirit which they are now showing and one can not help feeling that peace has come measurably nearer in the last twenty-four hours due to their actions. We would like to congratulate all those concerned on the cooperation and understanding which seems to have been achieved.

I proceeded straight from the Austins' party to a very well attended meeting of the Lieut. Herbert W. Elim Post, #273, of the Jewish War Veterans in Newark, New Jersey. A young woman, Miss LaCille Watkins sang. She is a native of Newark and I can only say that I think she has such a beautiful voice she ought to add luster to the city of her birth.

E. R.
TMsd, AERP, FDRL