My Day by Eleanor Roosevelt

Text Size: Small Text Normal Text Large Text Larger Text

NEW YORK, Sunday—I have a very great admiration for General MacArthur as a soldier and, from all I hear, he has been a good administrator in Japan who has made some wise and far-reaching reforms. I feel that this country owes him a debt of gratitude for the part he played in World War II, and I hope when he comes home he will be received with the honors due one of the great American generals of that war.

I cannot feel, however, that a commanding general in the field, particularly when he commands for a group of nations, should take it upon himself to announce the policy that in his opinion should be followed in the area of the world where he commands troops. I can not speak for any other citizen of the United States, and I know there are Representatives in the House and in the Senate who are in complete sympathy with the things that have been said lately by General MacArthur—but, for myself, I am unhappy about them.

As a citizen, I have two great concerns at the present time; first, that the United States policy and the United States troops should continue to support the United Nations in an effort to show the world clearly that aggression by any nation is going to be withstood by the U.N. as a whole. Second, my concern is that we, as a nation, should do all we can to bring about a peaceful world. We will not help in that direction if any overt act, or anything said by responsible officials, is taken by Communist China as an excuse for charging that we are aiding and abetting aggression against the Communist Chinese government or against USSR-controlled territory in Asia.

Why should we, at this juncture, ally ourselves with any portion of the Chinese people? Whatever difficulties now exist in China must be settled by the Chinese people themselves. It may be they can settle their difficulties without further internal strife. Certainly that is a solution much to be desired. But that we should in any way support a government that could not remain in control of the Chinese people because it was unable to bring about a unified government or the reforms that would give the people hope of a better life in the future, seems to me a mistake.

Again we seem to be lining up on the side of reaction simply because we can not approve of Communism which is on the opposite side. I think we would be justified in refusing to recognize the Communist Chinese government for some time. In any case, I would think we could not recognize them until they did represent all the Chinese people and had proved their ability to accept the requirements that go with becoming a member of the United Nations. If the Chinese people as a whole live under a Communist regime, I think that regime will either have to satisfy some of their needs or it will cease to be acceptable to the people. Chinese people are a patient people and heaven knows they have lived with civil war a long time. But, having made up their minds to get some reforms, they will be critical, I think, of any sham reforms and will be quick to resent anything which gives them reforms only in name and not in fact. To accept the suggestions made for our foreign policy by General MacArthur would seem to me to put us in a very equivocal and undesirable position.

E. R.
TMs, AERP, FDRL