If You Ask Me by Eleanor Roosevelt

If You Ask Me
by Eleanor Roosevelt

March 1950


1. Early in August, 1940, when Mr. Hopkins visited Stalin at Moscow he committed this country to furnish Russia with certain armaments of great magnitude. Why was not the matter of payments for such critical goods taken up, agreed upon, the signatures affixed and sealed: Russia to pay in gold to the limit of her ability, then in raw materials, which she had in abundance before Lend-Lease was put in operation? In other words, why did we not deal with Russia on the same basis as we did with Great Britain in this respect?

Harry Hopkins did not go to Russia in 1940. At that time the Soviet Union was in effect allied with Hitler's Germany and Mussolini's Italy. The American Communist party was then picketing the White House. Russia was denouncing President Roosevelt for every measure that he took to give aid to Great Britain, which was then alone in fighting the Axis powers.

In June, 1941, Hitler attacked the Soviet Union, and a month later Hopkins flew from Britain to Moscow for his first meeting with Stalin. At these meetings (which are fully recorded in the book Roosevelt and Hopkins) Hopkins attempted to learn Stalin's estimate of Russia's chances for survival and of her principal material needs. He had no authority to make any commitments as to supplies for Russia from the United States, and he made none. He reported back to President Roosevelt and Prime Minister Churchill when they met at the Atlantic Conference in August, 1941.

At the end of September of that year an Anglo-American mission was sent to Moscow to draw up an agreement for supplies to be sent from the United States and Great Britain to aid the Russian war effort. Hopkins was not a member of this mission, which was headed by Lord Beaverbrook and Averell Harriman. From that time on the supplies that went to Russia from the United States were in accordance with the terms of the Lend-Lease law and, therefore, on the same basis as the supplies that went to Great Britain and other Allied countries.


2. How would you go about marketing an idea? For some time I have thought of an idea that I believe would be of great benefit to a large department store, but being just a housewife I have no idea who to see or how to protect the idea as my own in case it is good and can be used.

I have no idea how you can protect an idea. The only thing I can suggest is that you go to see the manager of some reputable big store and see if he shows any interest. If he does I am quite sure that through a lawyer, whom you should consult, you can have a contract drawn up which would adequately protect your interests. You should consult a lawyer before doing anything.


3. The other day a party made the statement that President Roosevelt received a $10,000 salary from the March of Dimes. Is that so or not?

That is not true. My husband never received any salary from the National Foundation for Infantile Paralysis or from the March of Dimes. If you will read my book you will get the whole financial picture of how Warm Springs was started. The National Foundation for Infantile Paralysis took out a large life insurance policy later so that after my husband's death his estate would be reimbursed for the money which he lent for the establishment of Warm Springs and which they had not been able to pay back.


4. I have an older sister who is unusually talented. Quite often in company my sister will be praised, and inevitably I am asked to tell of my own talents, which are nothing compared to my older sister's abilities. This request always makes me freeze. How can I handle it adequately?

I think the only way to handle such a situation is to be genuinely interested in your sister's talents, to talk about them and remark that you have none. Let people find out for themselves if you have, and just forget about yourself and think about your sister.


5. Why is it necessary to have guards around President Roosevelt's grave?

I have nothing to do with the management of the government property at Hyde Park. It is managed by the National Park Service under the Department of the Interior. I would surmise, however, that the reason they have guards is to see that people go in the right direction and, also, to see that no one destroys any of the property, which would make the place less attractive for all people.


6. How would I go about securing a government homestead in the United States or Alaska? Who should I write to, and what are the requirements?

I should write to the Department of the Interior, The Homestead Division, Washington, D.C., and ask for the information you want and the proper forms to be filled out. I do not know whether land is still available in any great amount today in the United States proper, but I am sure there is land in Alaska.

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About this document

If You Ask Me, March 1950

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

McCall's, volume 77, March 1950

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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