My Day by Eleanor Roosevelt

Text Size: Small Text Normal Text Large Text Larger Text

NEW YORK, Thursday—I do not know if anyone reacted the way I did to the statement given out by two United States Senators in the form of an ultimatum to the United Nations. There is an agreement between the U.N. and the U.S., and it would seem to me quite impossible for two lone Senators, even though one is Senator Pat McCarran, to make the announcement that unless the U.N. Secretariat rids itself of Communist spies the U.S. should get rid of the U.N.

I think these two gentlemen, important as they are, did not stop to think of the effect of their statement on the foreign press of the world.

A U.S. agreement is not so lightly thrown over. It is true that Russia, being a member of the U.N., has a right to a certain percentage of employees in the Secretariat just as we have, but I cannot see why we should object to that. Every member of the U.N. is furnished the same information and everything that happens in the U.N. is open to every member, so there is no chance of spying while you are within the U.N.

If there are Communists of other nationalities than the Russians and their satellites who have been employed when their politics were not known, I am quite sure if they tried to become active in any subversive way it would soon become known to our FBI. Employees of the U.N. are easy to know and easy to follow. If they were the only spies we have to fear in this country I am sure the FBI would be most grateful because they would be so easily discovered and watched.

Apparently, if you want to make yourself popular and frighten the American people unnecessarily, the way to do it is to make a fuss about something that really does not matter at all. But that seems to me rather foolish. There are enough real things to be frightened about and to be on the alert to discover, so we really do not have to cry wolf when there is no wolf about.

At the meeting of Committee 3 Tuesday afternoon three speeches on the rights of people to self-determination were made. Everyone I saw seemed pleased to have me back again, which is always flattering.

I saw Secretary General Trygve Lie for a minute in the corridor and told him how distressed I am over the submission of his resignation. But he seems to hope that someone will be found with whom the Soviets would work more cooperatively. The many small irritations that come to a man in an executive position of an organization in which 60 nations are members must be great. I fear the U.S. has not been entirely blameless in this, but many problems might be obviated if everyone had a little more good sense and goodwill.

E.R.
TMs, AERP, FDRL