My Day by Eleanor Roosevelt

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NEW YORK, Wednesday—We seem quite willing to pass legislation for higher taxes and we continue to take little interest in the controls that would keep the cost of living down and make these higher taxes unnecessary. I am told by people who understand finances better than I do that there are many members of Congress who are seriously troubled by the realization that it is going to be extremely difficult to get from Congress funds for the economic aid for countries around the world that cannot begin to change their standard of living unless they have that economic aid from us.

I think it is quite natural that our representatives in Congress should feel that they are justified in appropriating money for military defense. They know that people everywhere want to feel that they are protected from actual military attack. But I think we should face the fact that military expenditure, without economic aid going with it, will be of little lasting value. Such projects and assistance are what will make a permanent dent on future economic systems.

We are well aware of the calm assumption on the part of the Conservative party in England that it is sure to win in the coming General Elections. It feels the Labor government has become weak and that the rise in the cost of living has discouraged all English people to such an extent that they will vote for a change in the management of their country. But it is significant that the dissatisfaction with any kind of government is manifested at a time when the cost of living is rising to an unreasonable extent and nothing is being done to keep it down.

How are we going to make the people of the United States realize that if they want peace in the future they must make the sacrifices that are required to bring about economic improvement in a great many countries?

We cannot tell them that they can do away with military expenditures because military expenditure is the only defense we have against sudden and unprovoked attack. We must tell them that the day must come—and soon—when peoples throughout the world who have had little to eat suddenly find themselves waking to a full bowl of rice or of oatmeal or of hominy or whatever type of food they usually indulge in.

We feel strongly that the nations of the world that are trying to control their own governments should be given every opportunity to do so. But as they free themselves from colonial powers they assume the responsibility of feeding whole populations, and many of them are not stable enough to do this unless they get tangible help from us immediately and long-range aid from our technical advisory groups in carrying out their plans.

If by carelessness in controlling inflation and imposing controls on our general economy we are unable to meet these temporary but vital calls upon us, we will be courting real disaster. The people are still groping for leadership in the world. I think many are far from desiring Communistic influences or from willingly accepting the Communist promises. But unless we soon find the democratic answer where else will they find the chance for peace and hope in the world?

E. R.
TMs, AERP, FDRL