The Eleanor Roosevelt Papers, Digital Edition > My Day
My Day by Eleanor Roosevelt

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WASHINGTON, Monday—There seems to be so much confusion in the minds of my correspondents about the two student youth organizations, both of which are affiliated with the American Youth Congress, that I am inclined to clarify some of the differences between them in this column. Some older people seem to think that there is but one student organization, whereas there are two national ones and many more local ones, I imagine. The two big ones are the National Student Federation of the United States of America, and the American Student Union. Their membership and programs differ, so I give them below:

The National Student Federation is composed of student councils of member colleges which send representatives, while the American Student Union is composed of individual members. The National Student Federation, in its meeting, had a program which dealt mainly with local problems of campus government, though they also discussed national policy, approved the NYA, the American Youth Commission report, etc. Their peace discussion was only one out of eighteen discussion sessions at their meeting. The American Student Union, on the contrary, centered their whole discussion at their meeting on questions related to peace and the United States foreign and domestic policy.

The main differences that emerged in resolutions passed are, that the National Student Federation opposes United States participation in any foreign war, while the American Student Union opposed participation in the present war because it is an "imperialistic" war caused by aggression and appeasement in the hope of launching "a war against the Soviet Union."

The National Student Federation wishes no war loans granted to any nation engaged in armed conflict, warns against efforts to whip up war hysteria, condemns all acts of aggression and violations of territiorial integrity and proposes the United States call a conference of neutrals to start peace negotiation. The American Student Union on the contrary, opposes loans to Finland, sale of planes to Finland, agrees that no loans should be made to any European belligerents, desires an embargo on war materials to Japan, but is willing to give immediate credits and loans to China. It warns against war hysteria, specifically pro-Ally, opposes a moral embargo on the Soviet Union, condemns German aggression, Japanese aggression, British imperialism and, by inference, includes Franco, makes no proposals as to the role of the United States in world citizenship, and finally rejects an amendment to condemn Russian aggression.

While I think the stand of both groups shows a lack of comprehensive knowledge of the entire situation and is on the whole unimportant, it is valuable to have the interest of youth and important that they should discuss and gain greater knowledge.

I attended Mrs. Townsend's concert this morning and enjoyed the three artists very much. Mr. Emile Baume, the pianist, played very beautiful selections, and Mr. John Seagle and Miss Suzanne Sten, of the Prague Opera, delighted everybody with their songs, especially their duets.



Names and Terms Mentioned or Referenced

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About this document

My Day by Eleanor Roosevelt, January 30, 1940

Roosevelt, Eleanor, 1884-1962
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Transcription created from a photocopy of a UFS wire copy of a My Day column instance archived at the Franklin D. Roosevelt Library.