My Day by Eleanor Roosevelt

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NEW YORK, Friday—The United Nations meetings are still plenary sessions, with general speeches being made. So far these speeches have revealed the concern felt everywhere at the long-drawn-out Korean negotiations for an armistice.

The outgoing president, Dr. Luis Padilla Nervo of Mexico, proposed a formula for nonforceable repatriation of prisoners of war. This, however, I fear will be as unacceptable as the one already proposed. Mr. Lester B. Pearson of Canada, the newly elected president of this General Assembly, also spoke with deep concern about the continuation of war in Korea, and yesterday Mr. Clifton Webb of New Zealand made an appeal to the Soviets to use their influence to bring about an armistice. Mr. Webb said that we all knew that technically the Soviets had nothing to do with the war, but he felt their influence could be potent. I doubt, however, if they will respond with any very helpful suggestions.

The last speech on Thursday afternoon was made by Secretary of State Dean Acheson and was an extremely good speech. He began by saying: "We meet here to take up our labors, to bring together and to harmonize the hopes and desires of the people of the United Nations. This is a never-ending task for each Assembly in its turn." He listed the three groups of problems that lie before us: "First, those that concern security; second, those that relate to the fulfillment of national aspirations; and third, the problems that have to do with economic progress of both individuals and communities."

He discussed in detail each of these problems. There is much more that I would like to bring up but space does not permit it, and I hope you will read the whole speech. It was a statesmanlike discussion of world problems. It indulged in nothing provocative, though it did point out the advantages of the free nations and their economy. I particularly liked some of his closing paragraphs. For instance:

"We all have a transcending common interest in this interdependent world in expanding freedom and increased well-being. We all have much to gain by cooperating together to advance the common interest in 'better standards of life in larger freedom.'

"Our differing ways of life may impel us to pursue our objectives in various ways. But if we have confidence in our own particular ways we should be willing to submit them to the test of experience. We should be willing to be judged by the results of our work rather than by the prowess of our arms.

"Let us then work to banish force and the threat of force as an instrument of national or ideological policy.

"Let us vie with one another, not in the arts of war, but in the ways of peace, in the ways of building a world of expanding freedom and increased well-being for all mankind."

I was impressed with the real effort made in this speech to accentuate the fact that we did not want war and to pledge that we would not begin the use of any of the dreaded weapons of war such as atomic weapons, bacteriological warfare, etc.

These were specific, straight pledges made to the world, and it would seem they must carry some conviction even to the Soviets.

E.R.
TMs, AERP, FDRL