My Day by Eleanor Roosevelt

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CAMPOBELLO ISLAND, N.B., Wednesday—I have received a letter from a Gold Star mother, a member of a group who are worried by the threat of a third world war. She asks me if I could not make an appeal to the women of the USSR and of the Balkan states to join together with the women of the United States in refusing ever to permit another war.

She states, "It would seem to us that even the strength of the United States is not enough to make the men and women of other nations know we are not imperialistic or anxious for territory."

She says she knows that my husband died before the war ended and that I must therefore be anxious to see his desire for world peace carried through, but that "losing a son is ten times worse, as we Gold Star mothers know. They went from us in the full glory of manhood. Ours was a college graduate, through sacrifice. Our country sent us a cold official telegram instead of our beloved son, and now I guess our Government thinks we should be made to face another war, God forbid. The sun can never shine for us again if this is true."

She adds that there must be many women in the USSR, in Yugoslavia, and in the other Balkan countries, who must feel as she does. She thinks that Gold Star mothers should be represented in the United Nations, as she is sure they could find ways of settling international problems. It is senseless, she says, to go on fighting when, in the end, questions have to be settled around the table.

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All that she says is true. There have been organizations before and there will be organizations again, formed among women in this country for the purposes she has in mind. But I wonder how such organizations would be looked upon in the other countries she mentions. I wonder how much freedom of speech the women of these other nations would have. How much opportunity would they have for communication with women elsewhere, and how much participation in the councils of their governments could they count on? The women here have freedom to organize, freedom to speak, and freedom to communicate with other women anywhere, but they have very little influence on their own government.

My correspondent is quite right—no one wins a war today, and when the fighting is over, the questions that have to be settled around the table might have been settled just as well before the war. The trouble is that, at present, it seems slightly difficult to get even the people in the United Nations to find solutions when they are gathered around a table. Something is accomplished by their being gathered together, but I can see quite well why this Gold Star mother says that the U.N. is not accomplishing enough alone.

I am very much afraid, however, that it is not within the power of the women of the world to get together nor to exert their influence over their respective governments. I wonder how this could be changed. Perhaps the answer in our country is more women willing to accept office and more women elected and appointed to office.

E.R.
TMs, AERP, FDRL