My Day by Eleanor Roosevelt

Text Size: Small Text Normal Text Large Text Larger Text

NEW YORK, Wednesday—During the debate yesterday at the meeting of the Human Rights Commission, at one point the delegate from the Soviet Union casually mentioned that plans made for Western Germany would protect and revive Nazism and put the same people back in power as before the war. Thus, he maintained that Germany again would become a menace to the peace of Europe and, of course, to the peace of the world.

Last night in the evening papers I read that the Russians have taken again to their irritating tactics in Berlin and have prevented 140 coal-carrying railway cars from entering Berlin from the western zone in the last few days and have shut off the auto bridges over the Elbe. This was reported by Allied authorities, and by that is meant the western Allies. British authorities stated that only trains bound for the western sectors of Berlin were halted. Those destined for the Russian sector went through unmolested.

An excuse was given, of course, but these tactics explain why we no longer seem to consider that the Russians are our Allies. This is a shock and makes one look backward and wonder where this point of division began. Somewhere the Soviet Union, Great Britain and the United States got off the track. Instead of agreeing together, as under the United Nations Charter the great nations were supposed to do, they started to disagree and the disagreement has grown greater and greater until now it is almost difficult to find any point at which we can agree.

This is illustrated in a small way in the Human Rights Commission.

The Russian delegate will say that it seems to be a foregone conclusion that if a suggestion is made by the Soviet representative it will not be passed. It is practically impossible to explain to him that the reason lies very often in the fact that Russia insists on using words and phrases that are not acceptable to the western European countries. This is so because they imply obligations very often which the other nations living under a democratic voluntary form of government, and not under the type of authority which is accepted in Russia, cannot express themselves, in a way that the Soviet considers clear and unequivocal and which the others consider authoritative.

It will take some time for these differences to sink in and for the Russian representatives to realize that there is no personal dislike toward them and no animosity toward their country. It is simply two different types of thinking that will have to be reconciled gradually by drawing the different points of view toward each other till they at least can meet occasionally.

E. R.
TMs, AERP, FDRL