My Day by Eleanor Roosevelt

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NEW YORK, Sunday—That was an extremely interesting interview given by Mr. Vishinski to some of the reporters at the Soviet Consulate the other afternoon! Many of us have been turning over in our minds for a long while the question of where we can find a point at which cooperation can really begin. Now Mr. Vishinski tells us that "mutual respect" is the key.

Perhaps that is a good formula on which to build cooperation, but if we just stand apart and assert that we have respect for each other we are not actually going to do anything that would be valuable to either of us. I think there must be some plan whereby we can actually work together. Perhaps, in working together, we can go a step further in mutual respect and develop some real friendships.

I am quite sure that proceedings such as have been going on in Committee Number Three during the past few days are not bringing us any closer to mutual respect. Mr. Davies of the United Kingdom, in answering the Ukrainian delegate's speech, remarked that the question of finding or repatriating Soviet children in the British zone had been brought up only after the United Kingdom government had repeatedly requested that permission be granted to wives of United Kingdom soldiers to leave Soviet Russia in order to be with their husbands. These were soldiers who married Russian women while stationed in Russia on duty.

No answer on this question was vouchsafed by the delegate from the Ukraine. So during the recess I told him I also had a number of letters from American soldiers whose wives had been denied exit passports from Russia. When I forwarded these requests to Ambassador Gromyko, he had replied in a terse and humorous epistle: "I have your communications of the 8th, 9th, 12th and 14th and they have been forwarded to the proper authorities." These are approximately the words of his letter, and that is the beginning and the end of the tale.

Still, I was curious to know what the theory was which prompted the Soviet government to allow its citizens to marry citizens of other lands, but did not permit them after marriage to follow their husbands to the countries from whence they came. Knowing the Soviet need for manpower, I suppose the reason is that women cannot be spared, and that the government also is hopeful of inducing the husband to stay in the USSR and thereby provide another pair of hands for work.

But my Ukrainian friend would answer only that, as far as he knew, none of the wives had come from the Ukraine, and therefore it was not a question of concern to the Ukraine. He implied that his Soviet Socialist Republic was completely independent of Moscow, made its own rules, and was not bound by the central government. Yet it would seem normal to suppose that on a law of this kind the USSR would attempt to get coordination and be prepared to explain their reasons for this particular kind of legislation.

E. R.
TMs, AERP, FDRL