My Day by Eleanor Roosevelt

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NORFOLK, Va.—According to the newspaper reporters here, Mr. Nehru hailed the action of the Soviet government in offering to stop the atom tests as a great step forward. I think his attitude will be reflected in many of the other noncommitted areas of the world.

For that reason, I am rather sorry that we have said flatly that we refuse to bar tests, and have only asked for a talk by experts to discuss how to police a suspension of atomic tests.

Khrushchev has said that we have kept insisting that deeds must prove Russia's good intentions and that we could not place any confidence in the Soviet offer until we and they have agreed on some method of policing. He has insisted that there must be faith between us [unclear term marked] first, and then we might agree on policing.

I do not know whether Khrushchev will accept these talks if we refuse to stop our own testing of nuclear bombs, so I almost wish we had accepted the challenge and behaved as though we believed in his assurances. Some risk has to be taken, and I feel that perhaps the risks taken by acceptance would have been less serious than the losses we may take in prestige among the uncommitted nations, through our refusal to believe in the good faith of the Soviet Union.

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Wednesday here in Norfolk was a delightful day of blue skies and warm sun. We have seen the most beautiful camelia gardens, now in full bloom though people tell me the camelia season normally should be over by this time. The cold, unseasonable weather has given them almost a northern spring. Forsythia is out everywhere, and the magnolias, too, are in bloom.

Our train from Wilmington, Del., arrived here an hour late, and a press conference that should have lasted only half an hour took more than twice that time, so we were tardy in our scheduled visit to the bank vault where they keep Norfolk's historic mace.

Years ago, when Norfolk was a small Colonial village, the British Governor gave this mace to the town as a token of his affection. It is the only one of its kind in the United States. Rarely is it taken from the bank vault; Norfolk had a duplicate made, which is used at Council meetings and other customary occasions.

Twice this year, however, the original mace has been taken out of the vault, for use during the visit of Queen Elizabeth and Prince Philip, but I am told that it may remain untouched for another 25 years.

* * *

Still somewhat behind schedule, we went to an extension of Williamsburgh's original William and Mary College, where I was introduced by Vice Admiral Woods, deputy to Admiral Jerald Wright, who is in command of the NATO naval forces. The audience was very patient about the delay, and greeted us with enthusiasm. I am only sorry that time did not permit a longer question period, which I'm sure the young people would have enjoyed.

After lunch we visited Admiral Wright at his headquarters and, later, at his home. Our final stop of the afternoon was at Mr. Alan Hofheimer's gardens, which were truly lovely.

E.R.
TMs, AERP, FDRL