My Day by Eleanor Roosevelt

Text Size: Small Text Normal Text Large Text Larger Text

LOS ANGELES, Sunday—Friday was the first day that I began to have the feeling of real detachment from the East Coast. We had spent a pleasant afternoon and evening in Toledo, Ohio, but Toledo is still the East. On Friday morning, however, our watches were changed one hour—and when we were met in Indianapolis by Miss Henrietta Thornton, representing Indiana University, then photographed and interviewed while we drank our coffee in the station restaurant and, finally, were handed a microphone to say "how do you do" to the citizens of Bloomington and Indianapolis, I began to feel the atmosphere of the Middle West. The countryside as we drove to Bloomington, some 50-odd miles away, was a corn and hog area. I very much admired the black Hampshire pigs and also some dark red ones I saw in the distance. I would like to have some like these at Hyde Park.

Indiana University has a lovely campus, with buildings all of Indiana limestone. We stayed in the Union Building, which is a memorial to the students of the university. Its memorial plaque reads: "In memory of the sons and daughters of the university who have served in the War of the Republic." It is a delightful building, and the room in which we held a press conference was very well suited to answering the questions, as well as to having the answers recorded.

Later we had lunch at the Union Club, and then I attended a class in constitutional law. For that day, at least, regular classroom material was dropped, as it had been arranged beforehand that the students would ask certain questions in connection with the points raised in my book. As it turned out, they were allowed to ask anything that was on their minds and I was glad to have this opportunity of finding out what they were thinking about. One of the questions was: "Is our foreign policy directed toward trying to avoid a war with Russia, or does it seem so impossible to prevent it that we are actually preparing for it? In the latter case, would it not be better to go to war immediately?"

Our problems in China being very much to the fore, another question was: "Why has Great Britain recognized the Communist Government?" It has always seemed to me inevitable that she would do so, for the nation which occupies Hong Kong must come to terms with whatever government actually controls China. Besides, both Australia and New Zealand, as well as India, have decided to recognize that government in China, and this must have a persuasive influence on the decision of Great Britain.

As I watched the faces of the young men before me—many of them, I am sure, veterans of the last war—it seemed to me that there was more interest and understanding of the international situation in this group than would have been found among a similar age group before the last war. If we are really developing among our younger men and women a keen interest in international affairs, and in our own foreign policy, I think it is one of the most hopeful signs for our own future. General George Marshall once said that "the people make the foreign policy of this country, either out of their ignorance or out of their knowledge." It will certainly be a more intelligent policy if it is made out of their knowledge.

E. R.
TMs, AERP, FDRL