My Day by Eleanor Roosevelt

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WASHINGTON, Friday—The Labor Day weekend was one of the coldest that I remember. I hope that everyone did not leave home expecting to enjoy a few days of summer, for it seemed that autumn had come upon us with a vengeance.

I left Hyde Park on Wednesday evening and flew to Washington. On Thursday my briefing began at 9 for the next session of the General Assembly. I had a special hour allotted to the subject of Human Rights, and what had occurred in the Economic and Social Council this summer. At 10 the whole delegation met for general briefing. Unfortunately I was obliged to miss part of this morning meeting because I had to meet with a small group of people who have been working on the observance of United Nations Day on October 24th. We were to have the privilege of meeting with the President for a few minutes at noon. I was back at the State Department for the afternoon meeting of the delegation.

I think perhaps the public should understand why those of us who serve as your delegates need to be briefed. Naturally the members of the Senate, delegates and alternates who may have been in close consultation or served on official missions abroad during the past year, will have far wider information than some of the delegates and alternates on the delegation who have not had that opportunity. But all of us are given the chance to hear representatives of the State Department take up all the subjects that have been listed on the agenda for the coming session. The background is explained and we are informed of any facts in connection with those subjects that we should know. Then the proposed position of the United States government is explained and there is ample opportunity for discussion. There is no excuse for any delegate or alternate to begin work without a thorough understanding of the points that will come up for discussion as far as they are known beforehand.

Naturally our attitude has to change in the light of reactions of other governments, and that is why, during the session, practically all the time during which new subjects are coming up, or that changes are being brought about in our attitude, there is a daily meeting of the delegation for an hour before we go to our regular committee meetings or plenary sessions.

This morning, Friday, we also met for briefing at the State Department and the Secretary of State invited us to lunch. I will have to leave during lunch, I fear, as I am catching the 1:45 plane back to New York City, where I expect to meet some guests who are spending the weekend with me at Hyde Park.

E. R.
TMs, AERP, FDRL