My Day by Eleanor Roosevelt

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HYDE PARK, Monday—Sometimes I wish I had a greater knowledge of finance, of military situations and of the actual reasons motivating the members of Congress in some of the things they do!

It would then be much simpler to know why certain actions are taken. For instance, why was it essential for Congress to order a certain sum of money loaned to the Spanish government when other business loans are being made through the usual business channels of the Export Import Bank or the World Bank? That would seem the normal routine way to handle a business transaction.

The course that Congress has followed makes me wonder what the hidden reason is for their action. Like everybody else in the country, I have heard it said that it is essential for us to have certain bases in Spain, but undoubtedly these bases are to be leased, and we will pay for them. In no newspaper could I find any reference to this agreement having been made with the Spanish government, and I wonder if it really is so necessary to establish bases in Spain.

We are told many things these days, but on this point the people in authority have been rather quiet. Yet the implications are such that, in a democracy, if this is one of the objectives of the loan, we should know something about it.

Spain is still a dictatorship. It is a country where religion and government are very closely allied. This relationship is one that greatly concerns the Spanish people, and no outside government or individual has any right to interfere with what goes on within the Spanish state. If the Spanish people or government desire a loan however, it should be considered by the usual group on a financial basis, and I do not understand the need for the legislative branch of our government to be so solicitous. I think it puts a strange color on the whole transaction to have it treated differently from the way we have treated similar transactions with other countries.

I understand, of course, that in many of the actions we take today we find ourselves supporting not that of which we really approve, but something which we think will help us in our fight against communism. I am not sure that that is always a strong position. We are fighting communism, but our desire to be protected from communism is hardly a reason for supporting situations in which we really have no grounds for mutual interest.

This action of our Congress seems to me most confusing, and I wonder whether each member thought through exactly what his action was to bring about. I am sure, as in many other cases, different reasons motivated different people, but it is not quite clear to me why this had to be done, and I wonder what were the influences in our country which brought it about. Was it pressure of some of our high government officials; was it pressure from people in the home districts; was it the interest of labor or agriculture? Where were the dominant forces that pressed for handling this question in such an unprecedented fashion, and in such a confusing way as to bring anxiety into the minds of many of us? Why was there this need, which ordinarily would seem no greater in the case of Spain than other countries requiring assistance?

E. R.
TMs, AERP, FDRL