My Day by Eleanor Roosevelt

Text Size: Small Text Normal Text Large Text Larger Text

HYDE PARK—The U.S. Council of the International Chamber of Commerce has just sent me a booklet entitled, "The Importance of Foreign Trade to the U.S. Economy," which contains some interesting statistics. For example, I don't think we as a whole realize, as the booklet points out, that "a substantial share of the American labor force derives its employment directly from our foreign trade."

Latest available figures show that in 1952 the total number of people employed in both export and import trade was 4,376,000. It is estimated, in fact, that our foreign trade "provides more direct employment in the U.S. than the combined total of the textile industry including wearing apparel, the auto industry, the chemical industry and the steel industry."

It is true, of course, that some harm is done by foreign trade to our small industries, particularly where certain competitive goods come into our country from nations where cheap labor is available. Yet we must recognize that it would be a mistake to do away with the exchange of goods and services which keep so many people employed. There is no doubt that at this point there is very much greater need for pushing the whole program of the International Labor Organization. The sooner labor costs can be brought into closer relationship in the various countries of the world, the better it will be for our own trade situation.

On Thursday I went over to New Paltz to speak at the Summer Institute for retired teachers which is held every year at the normal college there. I discovered that the Bureau of Education in Washington is sponsoring a number of seminars this summer where teachers are getting increased information on certain areas of the world. At New Paltz the seminar is on Asia. A most interesting gentleman from Ceylon who is head of their teachers' association had been speaking to them during the morning, and I had a chance to talk with him for a little while. I became very much interested in the plan of the president of the college, Mr. Haggerty, to give to the teachers coming there a most comprehensive knowledge of the world. This struck me as a great advantage for all the young people who will be preparing there as teachers.

In the evening a number of us went to the Hyde Park Playhouse to see Lillian Roth in "The Primrose Path." To me this is a rather grim and stupid play, relieved occasionally by the humorous lines of the old grandmother. For a summer theatre where people bring their entire families, I think the public prefers good light plays, rather than poorly written ones of this kind. The Hyde Park Playhouse, however, is a delightful place to spend an evening. I cannot think of a more delightful setting than these old Vanderbilt barns, with the clock tower in the middle of the square, where you buy your tickets, and the buildings all around.

E.R.
TMs, AERP, FDRL