My Day by Eleanor Roosevelt

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NEW YORK, Friday—On Thursday there was a letter published in the New York Times which I hope will be read and pondered with care by many people in the United States. It was written by Prof. Ahmed S. Bokhari, the Pakistan Envoy Extraordinary and Minister Plenipotentiary and Permanent Representative to the United Nations.

The letter points up the feelings of a number of foreign countries, which is that the United States is not interested in the problems of children outside of Europe. In the light of the world aid that has been given by many organizations and individuals over many years to alleviate these very situations in the Far East and the Near East that may sound strange to many of my readers. But in this case it is government aid as well as that of organizations and individuals which is under discussion. And it is perfectly natural that the representative of the underdeveloped countries should feel highly emotional about the situations in their areas of the world. They really are heart rending, and even though of long standing and not in any way emergencies, they nevertheless call for a vast supply program.

One paragraph in this letter stands out: "We also believe that it will damage the prestige of the United Nations in the eyes of many nations in Asia, Africa and South America if it was suspected that the fund was being curbed in its activities because it had begun to send urgently needed supplies to children outside Europe."

This is, of course, an entire misconception of the attitude of the United States. The facts, however, must be faced. In Europe the emergency created by the war was met on an emergency basis. In the rest of the world a continuing program to meet the needs of children can no longer be called or treated as an emergency program. It is an essential program of great magnitude. It can be met only with the resources contributed to the fund and the question before us is very simple.

Supplies are essential. They have been essential for many years and they will continue to be essential over a long period of time. But there are not enough supplies in the whole world, and this was brought out by the representatives of the Food and Agricultural Organization to meet all these needs. Therefore, we make no dent on this problem for the future unless the present Children's Emergency Fund becomes an agency which does give supplies. At the same time it must sit down and try to organize and develop whatever abilities exist within these nations to meet their needs where the welfare of children is concerned.

Some of the problems are tied to the larger programs of economic development, but they can be dovetailed to serve the primary purpose of aid to children.

It is perfectly understandable that the emotional pull of seeing children suffer is a very great one on those delegates whose countries are in the underdeveloped areas and no one would blame them for wanting immediate assistance. But the realities of the situation must be faced.

I would like to explain that there was no threat intended in the statement made by me as representative on the United States delegation that Congress might find it "difficult, if not impossible, to contribute to the fund if it continues to have as its main objectives an emergency program."

That was a mere statement of fact based on the action of Congress in withholding the last appropriation and the statements made at that time. Congress represents the people of the United States and they share in the desire to do all that is humanly possible for the welfare of children in the world. But they want it to be a contribution of permanent value as well as one that alleviates an immediate situation.

E. R.
TMs, AERP, FDRL