My Day by Eleanor Roosevelt

Text Size: Small Text Normal Text Large Text Larger Text

NEW YORK—It seems strange that the U.S. government chose the time when Gamal Abdel Nasser was on a visit to the Kremlin for release of the funds of the Egyptian government and the Suez Canal Company which were frozen when Egypt nationalized the canal company in July, 1956.

A preliminary agreement had been reached in Rome between the United Arab Republic of Egypt and Syria and the canal company only 24 hours before this decision was reached.

One wonders why the government was in such a hurry to release these funds. It seems that it might have been wiser to wait until Mr. Nasser had finished his visit in the Soviet Union. It may well be, however, that we had no choice in the matter.

* * *

A report has been published that the U.S. is troubled by the trend toward communism in Indonesia, and I am rather glad to see our government begin to worry a little about this trend.

I am not at all sure that Indian Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru's desire to retire for a time so he can think without the pressure of administrative work is not tied to this trend toward communism in the world. Even in India there are signs of a move in this direction, particularly among the younger people.

This means that we should be thinking a great deal about how to develop more friendships in the world and how to demonstrate that a non-Communist country can give a better life to the average human being than can be done under communism.

* * *

I have just had an interesting letter drawing to my attention an educational situation affecting many American children whose parents have to live, for business or political reasons, in remote parts of the world.

We think of American education as affecting only the children here at home, but there are thousands of American children who must be educated in the Far and Middle East, in Africa, in islands in the Pacific.

My correspondent tells me that he has just visited 20 of these schools in the Far and Middle East. Many of them exist in strange environments, sometimes on a screened porch or in a hot quonset hut. No wonder, since no real financial aid is provided for these schools, that the State Department sometimes has serious difficulties in getting qualified people to fill far-off posts.

We do organize schools for these children, however, and they are often multi-national in student population. In such cases they help to demonstrate for the area in which they exist what we mean by our international purposes and our interests in the well-being of people. If they are set up only for American children, resentment is often engendered and a feeling of division between American culture and the culture of other parts of the world is the result.

This problem is now being given serious thought by the International Schools Foundation of the U.S., which was organized in cooperation with the International Schools Association of Geneva, Switzerland.

John J. Brooks of the New Lincoln School in New York is concerned that people in our country should understand this problem and realize that these schools can bring about much goodwill for our country, helping us to attract the uncommitted peoples of the world rather than letting them drift into the Soviet orbit.

E.R.
TMs, AERP, FDRL