If You Ask Me by Eleanor Roosevelt

If You Ask Me
by Eleanor Roosevelt

December 1945


In the main, do you think President Truman is continuing your husband's policies? Or do you think he is moving to the left? Or to the right?

I think probably President Truman is continuing his own policies. He has been the President now for more than six months, and while he announced at the start that he intended to continue President Roosevelt's policies, my guess is that he is not the kind of man who would continue any policies unless they were his own as well. President Truman probably agrees with many of the things for which my husband stood, and therefore has to a large extent carried these things out. I do not think he has moved either to the right or to the left. His philosophy, as it appears from what he says and does, is the philosophy of a good American Democrat.


Is it your personal conviction that Adolf Hitler is dead?

No. I think I should feel uncertain about it unless his body had really been identified.


I have just read your excellent article, You Can't Pauperize Children. Here in Chicago that is just what will happen when the war nurseries are closed. My husband died when our baby was only eight months old. During the past sixteen months, when I have been spending what little life insurance he left paying for private care, I looked forward to the time when I could manage on my own pay by having my son cared for in a nursery for a reasonable amount. I have no other means of support except my own labor. What can be done, if anything, to continue the war-nursery program?

I think the war nurseries were needed before the war just as they are needed now when the war has come to end. The needs of the war brought this problem to the attention of those who wanted to accelerate production, and therefore the war nurseries became a Government program.

Now I think there are only two agencies which can undertake to fill this very obvious need. One is the industries themselves, and that will mean only those working in big industries will get the benefit of what is done. The other is the Government. Perhaps this program should be undertaken by the localities with the help of the states, or even with some Federal aid under a Federal Security program. The more the need is brought to the attention of representatives and senators, and responsible officials in the Government, the more likely we are to have something done. It would be a good idea to get everyone in your locality together if possible, to write to Congressman Lanham, and to the President and to your own representative in Congress.


It seems to me that at this time, when the world is looking forward to a permanent world peace, a world flag would be in order. It should be flown above the flag of each nation at all times. Children would be taught its meaning and would respect it above all else. Is there any way to have such a flag officially adopted?

I think this is a matter which should be brought to the attention of the United Nations organization when it is formed. If agreement can be reached on a flag for the United Nations, later its display and handling in individual nations could be thought through and the rules laid down.


To whom should I make the suggestion of an age limit on automobile drivers' licenses? It seems to me that automobile drivers of seventy and seventy-five are responsible for as many accidents as the person under sixteen. Is there an age limit now? If so, what is it?

I do not know if there is an age limit on driving licenses. Each state has different laws, and I should think the situation could be covered by requiring people to pass health examinations periodically, because any impairment of the faculties or any physical disability would then be discovered and they would be told whether it was wise or unwise for them to drive any longer. However, I know many people of seventy and even seventy-five who are as good drivers as they were at sixty.


According to the Friends Committee on National Legislation, thousands in Europe will starve or freeze to death this winter unless help reaches them. Is there anything which the women of America, as individuals, can do in this emergency?

Yes. They can join in the Share the Food campaign and they can prod their congressmen into hurrying the appropriations for the United Nations Rehabilitation and Relief Administration, so that UNRRA can do a better job. Women can make it known that they feel it is essential to re-establish the mining industry and the transportation systems in Europe.


Recently in your page in the JOURNAL you stated your approval of women holding political office, but said you did not feel qualified yourself. What qualifications should a woman have to run for Congress?

She should be fairly young and strong and healthy. She should have a good education and if possible some experience in political work on a community and state level. She should have convictions as to what she believes is necessary for her community and for the nation as a whole, and she should have some comprehension of the nation's place in the world of today.


As a teacher I have found that many children wish to change their given names. What do you think of the idea of letting children select their own names sometime between the ages of twelve and eighteen?

I do not think it is a very good idea. Many children are dissatisfied with their names for no good reason, and usually names are given children to carry on some traditions in the family. I think, therefore, it would be a mistake to let children change their given names before they are of an age to appreciate the reason they were given the particular names.


Some time ago I read that there is a vitamin to prevent gray hair and also restore gray hair to its original color. Can you tell me where to write for more information on this subject which interests me?

No. I never heard of it and I should think the right place where you would get reliable information would be from your doctor.


Do you think girls of thirteen should be allowed to read best sellers if they understand them?

I think this is a question which only parents and teachers can decide. Girls of thirteen vary in their maturity, and some books may do certain children no harm. Others might react differently: I think the decision will have to remain with the elders.

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About this document

If You Ask Me, December 1945

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

Ladies' Home Journal, volume 62, December 1945

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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