My Day by Eleanor Roosevelt

Text Size: Small Text Normal Text Large Text Larger Text

NEW YORK, Thursday—Another day spent at Lake Success, listening in the morning to speeches in Committee #3, and, incidentally, making one on the subject of the continuing long-range services for children. In the afternoon the subcommittee met and tried to bring about agreements on some of the many amendments that have been presented.

The Yugoslav delegates withdrew most of their amendments in favor of the one sponsored by five of the delegations, who want the main emphasis to be on the provision of supplies. I gather that these delegates think that we of the more developed countries look at these questions with a complete lack of understanding. The delegate from Iran said she understood what I was talking about but she could not feel the way I felt!

There will be another session devoted to trying to simplify the amendments, but it is quite evident to me that there are three different schools of thought.

One, as I have explained, wants the emphasis placed on receiving supplies of food and medicine and hopes that these supplies will perhaps lead in to the eventual desire on the part of people to do something for themselves to make better conditions more prevalent.

The delegate from Lebanon explained his point of view to me more clearly than any other speaker. He said: "We come from a part of the world where people have accepted the conditions under which they live. If children die, it is the will of God; if a few survive that is the grace of God. The government is nothing which we, the people, can change, so we merely accept what happens to us as inevitable and exist under these conditions without making any effort to change."

He felt that if they were provided with supplies which kept their children alive for a few years, then they might reach a point where they would bring pressure on the government and demand from it that these conditions, which had kept their children alive, somehow be continued, Therefore, he was for the provision of supplies and thought it impossible to think in terms of any other type of organization.

In the lunch hour I had the pleasure of meeting a number of the Latin American journalists who are now meeting in New York City and who had come to visit the United Nations. Two questions were paramount in their minds: Did I think we had a chance of keeping the peace in the world? Did I think we could build better understanding among the countries in the United Nations and thereby succeed in doing something to defeat communism.

In the evening I recorded several interviews with a number of delightful people. I enjoy this opportunity of meeting and talking with people for my program. A great many of the people, of course, I have never met before and I find to my amusement that my preconceived ideas are quite different very often from the actual people I find myself confronted with.

Also, sometimes these meetings give me a chance to meet people again that I have not seen for a long time. While we are in session at the General Assembly and when I am particularly busy, this change is really rather pleasant and give me a chance to talk to people and still feel I am accomplishing a job.

E.R.
TMs, AERP, FDRL