If You Ask Me by Eleanor Roosevelt

If You Ask Me
by Eleanor Roosevelt

March 1957


What do you feel the U.S. could have done for Hungary in the first weeks of the uprisings against the Soviet Union that it did not do?

I doubt that at the start we actually should have done anything, but the fact that the United States had allowed the rift to become so serious between ourselves and Great Britain and France is what I believe gave Russia the feeling she was free to do what she wanted, since NATO must of necessity be much weakened. One thing we might have urged in the U.N. (whether or not we could have achieved it, I don't know) was to ask for a peace observation committee before the fall of the Nagy government, which probably would have been accepted and might have prevented any further bloodshed.


Have you ever given money to anyone who asked you for it in the street?



Now that Dwight D. Eisenhower has been inaugurated President for the second time, do you feel that you can perhaps refer to him as "the President" rather than "the General"?

I have usually referred to Mr. Eisenhower as "the President." I have only referred to him as "General" when I wished to emphasize that he seemed primarily qualified to be a general. His great success has been as a general and no one, I think, will dispute that he has earned great honor in this capacity.


Do you have any good suggestions about how not to lose your temper? Was this ever a problem for you?

No. I was well disciplined from the time I was very young. Losing my temper was not one of the luxuries I could allow myself, and so I have never had any difficulty with this problem.


My husband claims that no woman ever can make her bankbook balance exactly. Does this hold true for you?

No. My checkbooks (I keep four going) often balance exactly—sometimes, however, with a good deal of pain and much going-over of my figures. When I am very weary, if the difference is small I let it go, but only rarely, and I always regret it.


Could you name three men, any one of whom you would be happy to see running as Democratic nominee for President in 1960?

I think it is a mistake to name now any three men, though I would be happy to name a larger number. This number would include such men as Chester Bowles, Wayne Morse, Governor G. Mennen Williams of Michigan, Senator Joseph Clark of Pennsylvania, Governor Edmund Muskie of Maine, and many more.


Why are you a Protestant?

I am a Protestant because I was born and brought up one and have always been satisfied in my religion.


I've heard that the reason you're able to stand up for such long periods is that you have a special way of relaxing your knees. Could you tell me what this is?

I am not really very good at standing up for long periods of time now. When I was in the White House the young aides, many of whom had to stand a great deal, told me that to bend one's knees a little every now and then was easy to do and need not be at all noticeable if you simply relax a little. I have found this does make it easier.


Assuming that Secretary of State Dulles might resign, who do you think are the best Republican possibilities to succeed him? Whom would you favor least?

I should think that General Gruenther, General Bedell Smith, or Governor Christian Herter all would be good secretaries of state. I have heard them all mentioned for this position. Whom I would favor least, I really don't know.


Do you tip the servants of people you visit and do house guests tip your servants? I was wondering what is considered an adequate tip these days?

Yes, I tip the servants of people I visit and house guests tip my servants; but I can't possibly tell you what is considered an adequate tip. It depends on the service you have received and the length of time you have received it.

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About this document

If You Ask Me, March 1957

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

McCall's, volume 84, March 1957

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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