If You Ask Me by Eleanor Roosevelt

If You Ask Me
by Eleanor Roosevelt

June 1958


You say that the way you are portrayed in Sunrise at Campobello has no more relationship to you than "the man in the moon." Why?

I simply meant that I felt this very good stage interpretation could have been that of any young woman going through the same kind of experience. It did not give me a feeling of watching myself or things exactly as they happened at the time, but this, I suppose, would be impossible.


Do you now feel we should recognize Red China?

Not until China can honestly say that her troops are withdrawn from North Korea and North Vietnam and that she is trying to be a peace-loving nation in every way. Since China cannot qualify as a member of the UN, I don't see that we can recognize her.


Do you ever make bad mistakes in deciding what to wear to certain social occasions? This is such a problem for me.

No[,] I don't think I have ever done so. I always prefer to be underdressed rather than overdressed. I often ask what the proper dress for an occasion is, which makes it easier not to make mistakes.


I am shocked on two counts about your son John. One: that he is doing public relations for Haiti. Two: that he does not believe the Haitian Government should pay any compensation to the family of that American citizen who was killed there. Can you honestly say that you endorse his position?

I would like to say that I never am shocked by what my grown children do. I assume they are able to judge for themselves and that they would never do anything which they did not feel was basically an honorable and wise thing to do. They may, of course, be mistaken, but they must find that out for themselves. I see no reason why a business firm should not act as consultant to the Government of Haiti or any other government if the advice is given honestly and with care. The case you mention happens to be a rather complicated one. The gentleman involved was a citizen of a number of countries. What should be done or not done, I do not know, but I am quite sure that my son John and his firm will give the matter serious consideration and in giving their advice will do so from honest conviction.


Do you have any remedy or exercises for the arthritis in your finger joints?

All I know is that it is wise to use the fingers as much as possible, and if they become very painful, there is a medicine to relieve the pain.


I read that Winston Churchill once said to you: "You don't really approve of me, do you, Mrs. Roosevelt?" What was your answer?

I do not remember exactly how I answered Mr. Churchill. I am rather sure that I told him my disapproval centered on minor things, such as keeping my husband at work for long hours and needing a great variety of arrangements made for his comfort and entertainment; but that basically, of course, I had always had the highest respect and admiration for him as a leader of his country.


Has there ever been an occasion in your life when you have been helped by a sense of Divine guidance or guidance outside yourself? If so, could you say what the circumstances were?

I am sorry to say that I have never been able to feel that I was important enough to receive any kind of special guidance, but I am fairly sure that my husband felt that he had special guidance when he had difficult decisions to make. Most of us cannot feel that the decisions we have to make in everyday life are important enough to hope for a sense of special guidance.

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About this document

If You Ask Me, June 1958

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

McCall's, volume 85, June 1958

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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