My Day by Eleanor Roosevelt

Text Size: Small Text Normal Text Large Text Larger Text

HYDE PARK—Governor Rockefeller's statements in his speech on the United States defense program to the Governors' conference held this week at Glacier National Park were received with more enthusiasm by the Democrats than by the Republicans. Quite naturally, the Republicans do not want to criticism of the party's defense policy.

I think most people, however, are agreed that the U.S. should not be the one to strike the first blow in an atomic war. And we certainly have been led to believe that the reason that justifies our having bases all over the world is to prevent a surprise attack by any Communist nation, and if we detect one to retaliate immediately.

Pearl Harbor certainly taught us that since the development of certain kinds of weapons we must never rule out the possibility of a surprise attack. And most of us have supposed that our whole defense policy will depend on keeping constantly alert on all our borders and ready to strike back so rapidly that no country would dare to strike the first blow because it would be so sure that retaliation would be swift.

This is our real defense, and if Governor Rockefeller's statements are true, then we are in a serious situation.

Of course, what he said about our lack of capacity to resist "local Communist aggressions that stop short of developing into major war" is something that many our enlightened Army officers have told us over and over again. We have been relying more and more in our defense on atomic weapons and we have allowed our conventional weapons and training to deteriorate. This was made plain to us in Lebanon last year, and we have been urged over and over again to build up this conventional strength because, knowing our weakness, the Soviets would exploit it.

It is amusing to a Democrat to see dissension in the Republican ranks. Our party evidently is not the only one that has internal difficulties, and as we try to meet these difficulties and iron them out it is well not be discouraged.

How charming the King and Queen of Thailand looked as they drove in an open car with President Eisenhower from the airport to Blair House. They are so young, and their country has so many problems! In their part of the world we count on them enormously, but we will need to give them very specific support in many different ways and I hope we are planning this support with care.

The Soviets are continuing their tests in long-range missiles in the Central Pacific, according to their own announcement. Whether these are designed as a threat to the world or whether we are expected to believe they are simply experimentation to gain scientific knowledge in "the sphere of space problems" we cannot be sure.

Nevertheless, this knowledge may be used for military purposes—and we should not forget that!

I was glad to read that Supreme Court Justice Louis L. Friedman of New York signed a temporary injunction restraining the American Nazi Party and its commander, George Lincoln Rockwell, from engaging in any subversive political activities in New York State. This will remove a danger of bloodshed that might occur if meetings are allowed.

E.R.
TMs, AERP, FDRL