My Day by Eleanor Roosevelt

Text Size: Small Text Normal Text Large Text Larger Text

HYDE PARK—People have been writing to me from Cuba urging me to visit down there, so I have decided to point out here to these people who seem to think that we in the United States lack understanding of their problems that we did not begin the name-calling that has caused feeling between our countries. The Cubans started it by finding fault with every action of our government.

I am a Democrat and might be inclined to criticize the Administration on some policies, but I cannot find that in this particular case there has been much that could have been done otherwise. The hard words have been mostly on the Cuban side. Our President has been, on the whole, conciliatory and mild.

It is true that President Eisenhower cut the Cuban sugar quota, but what else did the Cubans expect him to do? They keep calling the U.S. aggressive and militaristic when not a move has been made by us to try to hurt them by force. We could hardly be expected to view with pleasure the growing tendency on the part of Cuba to align itself economically with the Communist countries. But Cuba has at no time had to fear military intervention from the U.S.

No one here could fail to view with sympathy the efforts of a successful revolutionary leader to establish better conditions for his people. But to do this such a leader would have to have a sound economic basis. And to this very little thought has been given by the Cuban government.

So, suddenly they find themselves involved in good works that need money to implement them but without the money to carry them forward.

We should perhaps be sympathetic toward Premier Castro in his illness, which probably has come about because of hard work and anxiety. It may well be that enforced quiet and time for thought may give him a chance to look back over the past months and decide just where his real friends can be found. If such a change in Castro should take place, we should regard the illness as a blessing.

No individual such as myself could do anything by going into a situation of this kind without authority and without any influence at home. It is not lack of interest that keeps me from visiting Cuba, but the sense of the futility of such a journey and the realization of the disappointment that would come to the Cuban people if they thought there was anything I could do for them.

Since 1950 Iran has been on unobtrusive but friendly terms with Israel. Now, quite suddenly President Nasser of the United Arab Republic has picked up the Shah of Iran's factual answer to a question and made out of it an incident which I am sure has caused many people to think that Iran has just recognized Israel and that a new relationship has been established. Nothing could be further from the truth. Nothing has changed in the relationship.

Israel-Iran relations have never been obtrusive in any way, but where it has been advantageous for the Iranians to deal with the Israelis they have been able to do so. And this would really be a very good thing for all the Arab states to do. They would find gradually that there was advantage to them in having some kind of communication with a country which can offer much and also offer good relations.

Why should Mr. Nasser want to prolong a situation from which nobody is deriving any good, when by a little tact the difficulties could be allowed gradually to melt away? The rest of the world would be relieved and the Arab states themselves would discover that the Soviet Union, alone, is not always a comfortable partner. In the end, a Near East that would not be torn internally would be able to meet its mutual difficulties to greater advantage.

E.R.
TMs, AERP, FDRL