My Day by Eleanor Roosevelt

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NEW YORK, Thursday—President Eisenhower spoke truly when he said there was no sacrifice which was too hard for us to bear in the defense of our freedom. That aspiration toward freedom, sweeping over the world, has brought into being many new nations in the course of the last few years and many more in the Asiatic and African areas are fighting for their freedom.

But sometimes the people of these fighting nations are conscious of the fact that for them this thing called abstract freedom has little meaning unless it carries with it one freedom they have never known—the freedom to eat. This is a fact we must never forget because it explains the difficulty we sometimes have in talking understandably with some of our neighbors in these areas of the world.

They have never known freedom of speech, or assembly, or expression, and they care very little about it. Freedom of religion has existed for them, but for the most part they have been largely of one religion, depending on the area in which they live. But the economic conditions of all their countries have often been so poor that for generations some of them never have had enough to eat, and so that freedom is for them one of the most important freedoms.

It seems wearisome to be faced again with the same Soviet proposal for the reduction across the board by one-third of all armaments and armed forces and the abolishing of the use of all atomic bombs. Of course, the Soviets would like to have the bombs abolished. Why not? That is where we and the British are strong and they are weak.

The Russians may have the same knowledge, but they certainly have not developed it to the same extent nor have they the same capacity of production, so this is an area in which the West is strong. If it is banned, then the Soviets gain in power. Their strength is in men. If they reduce all armaments by one-third and everyone else does the same, they will still far outnumber the whole European army.

It will not be as serious as if there were no European army and they could attack one nation at a time. But it will be quite serious enough and I suppose they hope that we will take their proposals at face value and not think through why this proposal is made by them and where the advantage would lie if this proposal were accepted. Perhaps they would at the moment accept some kind of inspection because it means a great deal to them to get this kind of disarmament accepted.

E.R.
TMs, AERP, FDRL