My Day by Eleanor Roosevelt

Text Size: Small Text Normal Text Large Text Larger Text

NEW YORK—Some time ago I mentioned a plan for a road in Taos, New Mexico, which I had been told would do a great deal of harm for the city. The other day I received a letter from an old friend who happens to live in Taos. I quote this letter here because, I think, it will show how important it is for the rest of the country to take an interest in the preservation of certain areas in our country which have a particular historic or cultural interest.

"We are now here," my friend writes, "back after many years and have landed in a hotbed of discord due to the eastern bypass route which threatens Taos with virtual extinction.

"I read with great interest your article on the disaster Taos faces. It was headlined in the Albuquerque Journal, and I am sure will bring the local Taos situation to the general public in a far-reaching manner.

"We all hope with you that the people of the country and of New Mexico will want to keep Taos traditionally beautiful and unique. Its history and culture play so strong a role in American past and present. My friend, Claude Anderson, tells me he has sent you a wire, urging you to continue your plea for our beautiful Taos.

"There are really so many better choices of land to use. Higher and drier and less costly to construct this large highway. Still beautiful and still beneficial to the town merchants, it seems sad to want to willfully destroy landscaped homes and beautiful vistas that have been here for years. Let alone use Indian land that heretofore has always been protected by the Federal government.

"The beautiful Rancho Church near which we live has just been replastered by all the little Spanish ladies in big sun bonnets on high ladders. Quite a sight!"

New Mexico may seem a very long way off, but the use of Indian land is becoming a question in many states and the lack of protection which the government gives the Indian is more noticeable than its protection.

We cannot seem to excite any real interest in a problem as near as New Mexico in our own country so, I suppose, it is not surprising that very few people are excited by what is happening in Laos. This is a small country practically the other side of the world from us.

But just at the moment Laos is rather important because the Communist Chinese seem to be on the point of taking over one other country, more or less the way they took over Tibet. Each time a country in Asia is turned over to the Communists it weakens the chances of keeping other countries free from Communist domination.

These are countries, of course, which fall under Chinese rule. China not being a member of the United Nations can, of course, not even be questioned or expected to live up to U.N. standards.

Soviet Premier Nikita Khrushchev will come to this country and try to persuade us that while he believes, of course, the whole world will eventually be Communist still it is quite safe for us to enter into business arrangements to increase trade and give him more opportunity to meet the needs of his people. According to him, we will be running no risk whatsoever.

I hope none of us is going to forget about Laos or Tibet or Communist policies. And, above all, I hope, that Mr. Khrushchev will feel, as he goes through this country, that we are aware of the value of what we have and that we have no intention of being fooled by soft words—or threats.

We want assurances and deeds, and such things as Laos and Tibet create great uncertainty in our minds.

E.R.
TMs, AERP, FDRL