My Day by Eleanor Roosevelt

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NEW YORK, Friday—I am an outsider, a simple citizen of the United States, and I have no inside knowledge except the knowledge of the way we, as a delegation in the United Nations General Assembly, came to our decision last fall on the question of Palestine. Our responsible officials naturally have knowledge that we ordinary citizens do not have. They may have ample justification for the fears which they spread before Congress in order to get cooperation in what are necessary measures for strength and defense. I dislike actions, however, that are taken from fear, since they are very apt to be unwise and unjust.

The United States has now suggested that a special session of the Assembly be called to reconsider the case of Palestine. I shall be interested to see whether the little nations share our fears or whether they try to give us the courage to stand by a decision once taken, putting more faith than we do in the ultimate value of a strong United Nations.

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Under the new suggestion that the U.N. create a new mandate for Palestine until some peaceful solution can be worked out between the Jews and Arabs, I cannot help wondering who is going to see to it that an armistice actually is carried out. There are extremists on both sides of this question. Palestine is accustomed to violence and bloodshed. Announcing an armistice is not going to bring it about.

It seems to me that the U.N. and we, as a great nation, are going to be faced with exactly the same problem that we had in supporting partition. One of the questions at issue has always been immigration into Palestine by the Jews. If the new mandate government permits any immigration, the Arabs will object; if it permits no immigration, the Jews will object. And in the meantime miserable, desperate people will sit in camps in Europe and on Cyprus. With each day, they become less able to be valuable citizens anywhere.

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The very group of Jews in this country who consider partition a mistake, and who do not believe in a Jewish homeland, will be demanding vociferously that we take in more displaced persons here and that we hasten their establishment in other countries. Both these things, I think, we should do through the International Refugee Organization and through passage of the Stratton Bill or some other similar bill. But we must face the fact that there are many Jews, who have spent months and years being hunted over Europe, who want to go to Palestine and nowhere else. The pressure will be upon the mandate government and there will be another bone of contention to trouble the waters in Palestine.

I fail to see that we have done away with any troubles or problems by our new stand. And if this change in policy was undertaken to lessen the danger of war, I fail to see where it has achieved that end. The USSR stands pat on its previous decision. And I will not be surprised if quite a number of nations refuse to turn about in response to our whim. For they may feel—as I do—that, no solution being perfect, the one already adopted by the U.N. might as well be implemented since, with all the argument and effort that has been made, no perfect solution has yet been found.

E. R.
TMs, AERP, FDRL