My Day by Eleanor Roosevelt

Text Size: Small Text Normal Text Large Text Larger Text

SAN FRANCISCO, Friday—I have been giving a good deal of troubled thought to the President's speech. No one can view the state of the world today without grave concern, but it seems to me that there are parts of his speech which are based on premises that some of us feel unable to accept without further information.

For instance, why must this country accept Great Britain's military responsibilities? Britain undertook them for reasons of her own, which may or may not seem good reasons to us. It does not seem as though a government could be completely stable, and representative of 85 percent of the will of the people, and still require military bolstering from the outside.

I do not question the absolute need to help both Greece and Turkey with relief and rehabilitation. They certainly are unable to cope with their economic problems alone. Without help, chaos would ensue. I think the part of the President's speech which states that Communism follows economic chaos is entirely correct. The economy of Communism is an economy which grows in an atmosphere of misery and want.

* * *

Feeling as I do that our one hope for peace lies in the United Nations, I naturally grieve to see this country do anything which harms the strength of the . If we could have given help for relief and rehabilitation on a purely non-political basis, and then have insisted that the U.N. join us in deciding what should be done on any political or policing basis to keep Greece and Turkey free from all outside interference, and to allow her to settle her own difficulties in the way the majority of her people desired to have them settled, I would have felt far happier than I do now.

We seem to have decided not to let Greece make her own decisions but to make them for her. In other words, we seem to have accepted Great Britain's policy without very much investigation. I hesitate to say this, however, because I realize that the men in power have much information which the average citizen cannot possibly have.

I am sure that the President and the Secretary of State and our Ambassador to Greece are anxious to do the most stabilizing and farseeing job that can be done, not only for Greece but for the world. In giving my personal reactions and fears, I hope that it may point the way so that our government representatives will give us the answers which we need so badly in order to support our Government fully and wholeheartedly in a situation which does require the support of the whole people of the U.S.

* * *

I realize that the lack of a military set-up within the United Nations makes it very difficult to use the U.N. in a situation requiring force. And of course, not having setup an international relief organization, we are now obligated to handle any situation of this kind, which requires vast sums of money, on the basis of relief by our nation alone. But it would seem to me wiser to strengthen the U.N. by having its influence brought upon these serious questions as they arise. And if force is deemed necessary, it might better be brought in from the individual nations at the behest of the U.N. until we have collective force to use.

E.R.
TMs, AERP, FDRL