If You Ask Me by Eleanor Roosevelt

If You Ask Me
by Eleanor Roosevelt

November 1962


Do you think young people should marry before they are self-supporting?

Frankly, I think this depends entirely on the resources of the parents. I see no harm in a well-to-do family's contributing to the support of a young couple whose marriage they approve. On the other hand, if supporting a marriage constitutes any hardship, I am all against it.


Has the John Birch Society had any significant effect on the American public, or has it simply made a lot of talk?

It has certainly made a lot of talk. I would hope that it has not made any deep inroads; but we will have to wait for the results of the national elections to know its effect. What we can be sure of, though, is that it has made a strong negative impression on other nations.


Recently, I was fortunate enough to see a Russian exchange film, Ballad of a Soldier, which impressed me greatly. Are we sending films of this caliber to Russia?

I have seen no American film that I thought had the real quality of Ballad of a Soldier, which happens to be one of the very finest films made anywhere in the past few years. As for the movies we send to Russia, not everyone seems to understand that we send what the Russians request—not what we select. Very often, their choice includes pictures that put our people and our way of life in a bad light. The only way we could prevent the Russians from seeing this kind of representation would be to have Hollywood stop making this kind of picture.


It has been suggested that since old party lines—Republican and Democratic—are disappearing and political thought is now divided between liberal and conservative groups, it would be a good idea to adopt these as the party names. Would you be in favor of such a change?

It would certainly be more realistic, but I frankly doubt that such a change will be made. I remember that my husband and Mr. Willkie discussed this possibility some years ago. But then, as now, a good many Congressmen who would lose their positions of seniority by such a change were strongly opposed. And while the public grumbles a lot on this subject, many people still prefer the traditional names, and I doubt if others care enough to bring the necessary pressure to bear.


Is there any chance that efforts to integrate the South by legislation could fail—as, for example, Prohibition did?

None whatsoever. Integration can take a shorter or longer time, depending on the cooperation or resistance of certain groups; but eventually the barriers must fall, and real equality must emerge. However, equality does not necessarily mean any substantial amount of intermarriage, as so many people seem to fear. In France, for example, whites and Negroes have long had equality, and there has been very little intermarriage.


Under the new Manpower Development Training Act, can unemployed women be retrained?

Yes, indeed. An unemployed or underemployed woman is eligible for training if she cannot expect to get employment without it. The local office of the State Employment Service does the interviewing, counseling, and testing and determines whether the applicant qualifies for training under this act.


Since our taxes paid to put up Telstar, don't you think it should be in the hands of government instead of private business?

I would have preferred to have the government in charge, but the Senate decided otherwise. However, I believe it is a kind of compromise arrangement, with the government exercising a certain amount of supervision and control. If, as time goes on, this doesn't prove to be an adequate safeguard, it is, of course, always possible to have a change of legislation later.


Don't you feel our laws on abortion should be revised, so we can take advantage of our progress in medical science to prevent unfortunate births?

I have thought for a very long time that the medical profession should come together to discuss this question from all points of view. Obviously, it is a very difficult matter to legislate. Abuses are hard to prevent, regardless of which way the law reads, and lives are constantly endangered by unscrupulous and unethical so-called medical practitioners. I do feel, however, that some of the abuses of the present situation could surely be eliminated if the medical profession as a whole would make a careful survey, on the basis of which it could arrive at an agreement on how this problem should be handled on a national scale.

< Previous Column 1962 Next Column >

About this document

If You Ask Me, November 1962

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

McCall's, volume 90, November 1962

Digital edition created by The Eleanor Roosevelt Papers Project

Digital edition published 2014, 2016 by
The Eleanor Roosevelt Papers Project
The George Washington University
Old Main Building, Suite 406
1951 F Street, NW
Washington, DC