My Day by Eleanor Roosevelt

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HYDE PARK, Monday—I have a number of very indignant letters telling me it is easy to see my "real reasons" for opposing Franco's conditions in the negotiations for air bases in Spain for United States use.

I thought I had stated my real reasons clearly. I am encouraged to find they seem to parallel the reasons the United States government itself has given.

The Franco government, in a memorandum to the U.S., stated it would refuse our request for peacetime stand-by use of bases even though we had spent the money to put them in order. Later on, after we had complied with its other stipulations, Franco's government would discuss with us some kind of agreement on the possible use of air bases in wartime.

Here are the Franco stipulations: That we immediately deliver to Spain $125,000,000 which was earmarked as the Spanish share of foreign aid in the Mutual Security Act. This was to be done without any strings attached to it. That, of course, violates the whole idea of Mutual Security, since our contribution under that program was made with the understanding that the recipients do certain specified things in return for our aid.

Therefore our government could not, under this act, grant money without some strings attached to it. Next, the Franco government demanded "substantial military assistance to rehabilitate its run-down military forces," and "full scale military alliance, roughly giving Spain the same guarantee given to American allies in Europe."

The American position has been a policy of opposing Communist aggression wherever it may occur. I imagine that if we were granted the use in peacetime of air bases in Spain, that would imply certain commitments in case of aggression, but I am happy to see that our government is not being too subservient. If one gives in to all demands, they are apt to increase, instead of becoming more reasonable.

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I have also had a number of letters warning me against advocating the use of fluoride in water systems. It never occurred to me, in writing about the Newburgh, N.Y. experiment, that I was doing more than report something in this area which was regarded as beneficial in some ways. Not to take note of these things, not to continue experiments, seems to me a backward attitude.

It seems to me they need to be tried out, so we may discover reasons for and against any plan. I take it for granted that the Public Health Service of the U.S. will watch how this experiment works, will finally add up the sum total and decide whether it, or part of it, shall become a universal practice, whether it shall be abandoned or whether it shall continue longer in the experimental stage.

To be frightened because one group of scientists thinks too much fluoride in the water might be harmful, or because another group thinks something different, is not very sensible.

I would wait until the Public Health Service people decide on what it seems wise to do.

E. R.
TMs, AERP, FDRL