My Day by Eleanor Roosevelt

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CHICO, Calif.—King Saud's visit has come to an end and there is a published communique of the agreements arrived at between H.M. Saud Ibn al-Aziz al-Saud, King of Saudi Arabia, and President Eisenhower.

I hope that under paragraph two of the agreement which pledges "The two governments will exert efforts to settle justly problems of the Middle East area by peaceful and legitimate means within the U.N. Charter. They assert their firm opposition to the use of force in any form as a means of settling international disputes," it will be understood that our friendly feeling extends to all the countries of the Near East including Israel and that we recognize the fact that economic sanctions are sometimes a form of force. For instance, when Col. Nasser of Egypt prevents a group of people from earning a living in his country, he is not using force in the technical sense, but he is nevertheless making it impossible for them to live. It might be almost more merciful to shoot them, for death by starvation is long drawn out whereas a bullet is a quick transition.

There could be no disagreement with paragraph three of this agreement for the world must recognize that all peoples throughout the world are now being swept with a desire for independence and to be independent small nations must have peace. If the rest of that paragraph applies to Israel as well as to all the Arab states, then there is a beginning made for a good understanding.

I am not so sure that strengthening the armed forces of any country in the Near East has very much value. I would far rather see an agreement between the Soviet Union and the U.S. that no military equipment would be supplied to any country. I cannot believe that 50 million dollars worth of military equipment is needed for police work within one kingdom. Undoubtedly the agreement for our air base to continue to use the facilities at the Dhahran airfield is an advantage to the U.S., but I am not sure whether it would not be a greater advantage to come to an agreement whereby neither the Soviet Union nor the U.S. provided any military power or had any in this area. This would actually be a greater pledge of peaceful security. We are looking for ways to start disarmament and I am not sure whether an agreement of some kind between the U.S.S.R. and the U.S. on a beginning in the Near East would not be helpful.

Mr. Krishna Menon last week somewhat modified the position of India on Kashmir. The length of Mr. Menon's speeches is being noted in our newspapers and by the latter part of last week it was stated that on the subject of Kashmir he had talked thirteen hours and fifty-eight minutes. When one realizes that all this talk has to be reproduced for careful scrutiny by 80 nations in their own languages, one has a faint notion of what the Secretariat work at the U.N. must now be. I would think the time had come to ask every delegate in the interest of economy of both time and money to curtail the speeches they make on any subject. It is more difficult to talk briefly but it can be quite as effective.

E.R.
TMsd 12 February 1957, AERP, FDRL