If You Ask Me by Eleanor Roosevelt

If You Ask Me
by Eleanor Roosevelt

March 1944


Why are the Allied countries not rescuing the Jewish people in Nazi-dominated countries before they are entirely destroyed?

Most of the Allied countries in Europe, with the exception of Great Britain and Russia, are in the possession of the Nazis. Sweden, Switzerland, Turkey and a few others are neutrals, but the others are either under the domination of the Nazis or co-operating with them, so it seems to me that it is fairly obvious that there is no way to rescue the Jewish people except by winning the war.

Everything that can be done by diplomatic representations and expressions of Government disapproval of the actions of the Nazis has already been done.


Do you believe the bombing of Berlin from the air, with intent to destroy it, can be justified on moral grounds?

The Germans bombed other countries, and what they have done can be brought home to them only by forcing them to undergo the same suffering which they have inflicted on others.

There is little in Berlin which one can consider belonging to the world as a whole. There were far more art treasures that should have been saved for the world in Spain, when the Germans and Italians bombed the cities there, and in London. Berlin has little that can be considered a world heritage.

Perhaps nothing in war can be justified on moral grounds, because war in itself may be wrong from a moral standpoint; but when war is forced upon us, then the sooner the war comes to an end the better, and one way of bringing the war to an end is to make a nation understand that what it has done is going to bring reprisals.


An article by Senator Hugh Butler in the Readers' Digest, Our Deep Dark Secrets in Latin America, says we are throwing away billions of dollars there. Is this true?

This has been widely discussed in the newspapers and proved to the satisfaction of everybody, I think, as an article which Senator Butler probably did not check very carefully. He evidently traveled without much background or very careful preparation. He seems to think that anything done from a cultural point of view is a waste of money. It has been found in Latin America that this is one of the best ways of making friends, but I do not think that my opinion alone would carry much weight, so you should read the answers given by people directly responsible. These people have appeared before Congress, and both the co-ordinator's office and the State Department have disproved Senator Butler's statements.


Are the bodies of soldiers killed overseas to be brought home after the war?

This matter is under study at the present time and it is thought that it will be handled as it was after the last war; that is, if the nearest of kin of the deceased wish the remains brought home, this will be done at their request if it is at all possible.


Do you consider a fur coat—not sable, mink or ermine—a luxury or a necessity?

Any fur coat I consider a luxury.


Are we doing anything about feeding the children of France and other occupied countries?

The Quakers have been feeding some children in France. I do not think that it has been found possible to feed them in any other occupied country except in Greece. This is possible because the Germans were willing to allow us to do it, and there was nothing the Germans could take out from Greece if we put anything in. It requires both the agreements of the nations who have created the blockade around Germany, and the agreement of the Germans, to allow the feeding of children in any area. So far, the State Department hasn't felt that we could do more than is being done.


Do you think equal pay to women who fill men's jobs is economically justified?

Certainly. If women do the same work I have always believed that they should receive the same pay.


Do you think Italian prisoners should be sent back to Italy to fight the Germans?

That is a military question and should be settled by the military authorities.


Why is it that the chief chaplain of the Army is Catholic when this is a Protestant country?

In making the selection of the Chief of Chaplains of the Army, as a rule there is no regard given to the denomination of the chaplain. The Army has representatives of all denominations, and the Chief of Chaplains is selected for his ability to do the job. So far, of the five Chiefs of Chaplains one has been Congregationalist, one a Methodist, the next two were Baptists, and the present one happens to be a Catholic.


Have you a favorite radio program to which you listen every week?

No, I am afraid I have so little time that the radio for me is a way of getting news, and of hearing some particular program which has been brought to my attention and in which I am interested, but I rarely listen regularly.

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About this document

If You Ask Me, March 1944

Roosevelt, Eleanor, 1884-1962
[ ERPP bio | VIAF | WorldCat | DPLA | SNAC ]

Ladies' Home Journal, volume 61, March 1944

Digital edition created by The Eleanor Roosevelt Papers Project

Digital edition published 2014, 2016 by
The Eleanor Roosevelt Papers Project
The George Washington University
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