My Day by Eleanor Roosevelt

Text Size: Small Text Normal Text Large Text Larger Text

PARIS, Monday—It was with real sorrow that I read the other day of the death of Jo Davidson, our American sculptor. He seemed such a vibrant and alive person that you never thought of him as connected with death. He had so many things he wanted to do, and to have that great gift removed from the world is a real loss.

Though the organization which Mr. Davidson headed later became Communist-controlled, he himself was too generous ever to suspect people of having such leanings when they worked with him for the main objective that was on his mind, namely, the election of the man he believed in.

The head that he did of my husband was, I think, the best that was ever done of him. But three years ago I saw in his studio here a bust done in marble which was even more remarkable. I have no idea what was ever done with that bust, but I hope someday it will find a home in the U.S.

* * *

In Committee Three on Saturday we listened to an hour and three-quarters of talk by the delegate from Byelorussia and an hour and a half by the delegate of the Soviet Union. The other delegates spoke somewhat briefly but we still have 10 people left who must speak. And three of the remaining speakers—the delegates from the Ukraine, Poland and Czechoslovakia—will say exactly what was said in three hours and a quarter by Byelorussia and the Soviet Union.

When all the speeches are made, I will have to reply and review the history of this old Soviet effort, which was begun in 1946, to return people to their countries of origin against their will.

From the Russian point of view, anyone who does not wish to go back to his home must be a traitor. The Soviets forget that they took over a number of countries and changed the political climate of those countries and that people have a right to live in a non-Communist world if they feel freedom is more important than the land from which they came and which they undoubtedly love.

The Russians have acquired allies from a curious source—the Arab bloc. It looks as though the Syrian delegation, in introducing some amendments to the Russian resolution, has created a real difficulty. Ordinarily, one would just vote down the Soviet resolution because its aim and object is to bring to an end any further organization for the care of refugees. They want us to say that there is no problem if everyone will go home.

Of course, the Arab refugee problem is a separate item, which does not in any way come under the care of the High Commissioner for Refugees. But the Syrians feel so strongly that the refugees who are on their soil should go back to their country of origin, which is Israel, that apparently they are willing to emphasize this point to the detriment of all the refugees in the other parts of the world who come under the High Commissioner's care.

E.R.
TMs, AERP, FDRL