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

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HYDE PARK, Wednesday—Some time ago the Foreign Policy Association, Inc., issued a short report. It was an article on relief and rehabilitation, based on the speech made by Governor Herbert Lehman at a dinner given by the Association.

If you have not seen this report, I think it would be well worth your while to write in and ask for it. It is such a reasonable, modest explanation of what Mr. Lehman's committee is doing and it gives us a comprehensive vision of what the United Nations must do in the future.

He explains the conditions that now exist and will exist for some time in Europe and Asia. He shows us that the care of civilian populations is a part of our military operations, because, frequently, it will make possible the successful carrying through of an undertaking which might otherwise cost many lives, and mean constant military supervision of dissatisfied people.

Governor Lehman bids us realize that it will be as harmful to approach the peace unprepared as it was to approach the war unprepared. It can, perhaps, cost civilization some serious setbacks, since hungry people are not apt to be able to devote themselves to constructive rehabilitation. Mr. Lehman, points out, however, that our object and that of the United Nations must not merely be the relief which must first be given, but the provision of such things as will make the populations self-sustaining as quickly as possible.

It is merely "enlightened self-interest" to make people self-sustaining, because only in that way can trade begin again and only through trade can our nation get back its investment in relief and have an opportunity to build markets for new goods among the more prosperous people of the future.

The following lines should be remembered by us all, for they accent the fact that this is one of the ways to bring the war to an end more quickly.

"The war right now is costing the American taxpayer about a billion dollars every three days. Its cost in life and spiritual value is incalculable. The knowledge that the United States and other United Nations are prepared to extend relief and rehabilitation to the victims of war, and to sustain the spirit of resistance among the downtrodden people of Europe and Asia when the hour of freedom strikes, will help to transform those people into a cohesive group, ready and willing to cooperate in the battle of liberation. Should our readiness to bring relief to the weary peoples of Europe and Asia shorten the war by but a week or two, the United States will have saved far more on war costs, than the total outlays which can be anticipated in the field of relief and rehabilitation."



Names and Terms Mentioned or Referenced

  • Hyde Park (Dutchess County, N.Y., United States) [ index ]

About this document

My Day by Eleanor Roosevelt, August 26, 1943

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