DECEMBER 16, 1941
WASHINGTON, Monday—We are back in Washington. During the trip, I read Louis Adamic's book: "Two Way Passage." It is a book that every American should read. I have not quite finished it, so I cannot really discuss it, but it has started a trend of thought which is pointed up by the situation on the West Coast for the American born Japanese.
We know that there are German and Italian agents and people representing other sympathetic Axis nationalities who have been very active in this country during the past few years, just as the Communists have been. We know that now, there are Japanese as well as these other agents, who are here to be helpful to their own nation and not to ours. But these people are gradually being rounded up by the FBI and the Secret Service.
We, as citizens, if we hear anything suspicious, will report it to the proper authorities. But the great mass of our people, stemming from these various national ties, must not feel that they have suddenly ceased to be Americans.
This is, perhaps, the greatest test this country has ever met. Perhaps it is the test which is going to show whether the United States can furnish a pattern for the rest of the world for the future. Our citizens come from all the nations of the world. Some of us have said from time to time, that we were the only proof that different nationalities could live together in peace and understanding, each bringing his own contribution, different though it may be, to the final unity which is the United States.
If, out of the present chaos, there is ever to come a world where free people live together peacefully, in Europe, Asia or in the Americas, we shall have to furnish the pattern. It is not enough to restore people to an old and outworn pattern. People must be given the chance to see the possibilities of a new world and to work for it.
Perhaps, on us today, lies the obligation to prove that such a vision may be a practical possibility. If we cannot meet the challenge of fairness to our citizens of every nationality, of really believing in the Bill of Rights and making it a reality for all loyal American citizens, regardless of race, creed or color; if we cannot keep in check anti-semitism, anti-racial feelings as well as anti-religious feelings, then we shall have removed from the world, the one real hope for the future on which all humanity must now rely.
(COPYRIGHT, 1941, BY UNITED FEATURE SYNDICATE, INC.)
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About this document
My Day by Eleanor Roosevelt, December 16, 1941
Digital edition created by The Eleanor Roosevelt Papers Project The George Washington University 312 Academic Building 2100 Foxhall Road, NW Washington, DC 20007
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