My Day by Eleanor Roosevelt

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HYDE PARK, Tuesday—Last night my feet ached, because all day long I had stood saying to people: "Yes, that trunk goes in such and such a room. . . Those things go into the library. . . Those things go into the dining room. . . Those can stay in the hall." In the meantime Miss Thompson did the same thing at the cottage until, she said, her back ached. Both of us ran up and downstairs many times during the day and called each other on the telephone trying to decide where different things went.

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Tomorrow the San Francisco conference will open. My husband and I had looked forward to traveling leisurely across the country and spending that day in San Francisco. He had talked over his speech; he had even looked over a first draft. But when I asked him why he really wanted to go all that distance for one day, he said: "I am going to pray over the delegates."

I think that is the way we are all approaching this important conference. For a long time we have been building points of contact where the United Nations could work on some specific thing in unison. The organization of food for the world, the organization of rehabilitation and relief, world labor problems, world educational problems—all these have been stepping stones. Delegates from many nations have discussed these problems one at a time. Early meetings of the leaders of the great nations laid a greater stress on plans for winning the war, but lately they have begun to envision the broad lines of peace on which all the nations might work together.

Now, at last, we come to the San Francisco meeting, the purpose of which is not to write in detail all the plans for the future. Rather, it is merely to set up an organization before which, at a later time, these problems of peace will come up for discussion. The setting up of this machinery is not an end in itself, but it is an essential step on the way. Without the machinery, future generations could never build a peaceful world.

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Someone said to me the other day that in the past we relied so completely as a nation upon my husband in international matters, that perhaps more of us would now recognize our duty to carry some of the burden ourselves. Instead of being satisfied just to follow, we would take a more active interest. I know that President Truman and our Secretary of State, Mr. Stettinius, together with the other members of our delegation, will do all they possibly can to bring about a cooperative spirit among the delegates and to set up a framework within which we can work in the future.

Our job is to build an atmosphere in the country as a whole that will reassure the other peoples of the world as to our firm intention to live in a peaceful and democratic world. Above everything else, we should let our delegates know that we are keenly following every move at this historic meeting.

E. R.