My Day by Eleanor Roosevelt

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SAN FRANCISCO, Thursday—Before the President's speech to Congress, the papers published statements by various senators who gave qualified approval or unqualified disapproval of whatever he might be going to say. It would seem to me that these gentlemen might better have stated their own attitudes if they wanted those attitudes to be of value to the President in forming his own. But to criticize his policy before it had even been stated seemed to have an element of the ludicrous about it.

I hope we are going to give aid to the countries in Europe that need it for relief and rehabilitation, and I hope we are going to see to it that what we give is administered impartially and is given to all people in need, regardless of their political beliefs. That was the reason we gave to the United Nations for refusing to join a new international relief organization to take the place of UNRRA. We felt that that organization was susceptible to the accusation of having been used politically, and therefore, in the future, we wished to control our own giving.

We must, however, be doubly careful that we are non-political in whatever we now give. Neither must it be possible to imply that anything we do is done to oppose the influence of any of our former allies. If we do that, we weaken the U.N. and find ourselves enmeshed in the old form of alliances and power politics.

We know that, with the growth of independence and individual power in the Latin American countries, we have had to recede from our old interpretation of the Monroe Doctrine. We no longer act alone—we act in cooperation with our neighbors in whatever we do in this hemisphere. That, on a larger scale, is the attitude that will uphold the U.N., and we must not forget it.

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I was told a curious thing the other day. It seems that, here in California, there is a controversy raging over sex education—not over how it should be taught but over the teaching of it at all. There is a learned state senator who has discovered, that, in some way, this teaching is connected with Communism.

I have been a little confused about this since a young reporter first asked me my opinion. I told him I could not have an opinion as I did not know what the controversy was about. After he tried to explain, I was still at a loss to understand how sensible people could be making such a to-do about something which should be treated as naturally as the other ordinary things which we begin to teach children in their babyhood, hoping they will fully understand when they are grown.

We start teaching babies how to eat and how to dress themselves. We teach them habits of cleanliness, and we go on to good manners and the various necessary graces and morals. It seems to me that sex education is much like this type of education. It goes on in the home and in the school. We don't talk about it, we just see that it is as well done as possible, because we know that it is essential to safeguard our children. Where the issue of Communism can possibly arise is still a mystery to me, but perhaps it is just a case of branding anything as Communistic which you do not know much about.

E.R.
TMs, AERP, FDRL