My Day by Eleanor Roosevelt

Text Size: Small Text Normal Text Large Text Larger Text

NEW YORK, Monday—I was very much interested yesterday to receive some clippings from Russian newspapers. To my amusement I found in these excerpts the most garbled accounts of the positions taken by certain nations in the Human Rights Commission. It would appear from these quotations that the United Kingdom and the United States had seen eye to eye on every question and had acted jointly. Unfortunately, this is not true, since during the past session of the Commission, the United Kingdom differed constantly from the United States position, and it was only on implementation that we were able to agree even on a few things.

What is really troubling the delegate from the Soviet Union is the fact that where civil and political rights are concerned, Russia is incapable of granting most of them, because it does not fit in with its form of government. Therefore, it is stressing the fact that the new economic and social rights, which it claims to have found an ideal way of granting and administering in the Soviet Union, are being completely ignored by a number of other states.

The fact of the matter is that a number of other states realize that the traditional civil and political liberties may be easier for the governments to accept immediately.

Most of our governments recognize that in the modern world it is essential also to grant economic and social rights. The manner, however, in which these shall be presented to the governments for the first time is a matter for careful consideration. In addition, formulation of these rights must be carefully considered, since they must be granted in different ways in different countries.

All countries are not communistic, of course, and, therefore, do not dispose of the complete resources of the nation. Neither can they move their citizens around like pawns where individual liberty is considered important. Much discussion is still to come on these articles and I am very glad that we will have the comments of the governments before this discussion is seriously undertaken.

On Saturday I took the familiar train to Orange, N.J., to have a birthday lunch with my cousin, Mrs. Henry Parish. As I was walking up and down waiting for my train in the Lackawanna station, I was interested to have one of the conductors come up to me and remind me of the time when we had walked up and down in another station years ago.

I am always interested to find people whom we have met in different parts of the country reminding me of some incident that occurred over the years, which I would certainly forget unless someone recalled it to me.

This happens very frequently in the United Nations when people come up and remind me of conversations with my husband or with me, and sometimes the subjects are pertinent to the discussions going on at the present time.

E. R.
TMs, AERP, FDRL