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

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LONDON, Monday—During the weekend the weather was very pleasant. In fact, all of us were saying, "What a lovely day, it feels like spring." I think our appreciation is enhanced by the fact that we have had a great deal of rain and we are likely to have a great deal more.

On Saturday we got down to the very really interesting business of electing the six temporary members to the Security Council. Three will serve for two years and three for one year. You will remember, of course, that there are five permanent members of the Council.

This is considered one of the most important parts of the United Nations Organization because it is charged with keeping the peace of the world. That means responding at once to any request made by the Secretary General, trying to avert the use of force if possible, but if necessary deciding on what shall be done to deal with any aggressor nation.

The Russian Ambassador to the United States, Andrei Gromyko, arose and asked that the election be put off in order that more consideration could be given the question. Our chief delegate, Secretary of State Byrnes, made a speech in opposition saying it was necessary to continue with our orderly procedure and keep to our timetable.

Gromyko was supported by Fraser of New Zealand who said that as the representative of one of the smaller nations which was not itself a candidate, he could speak for them. He insisted there had been too little time for consultation and consideration. He stated it was a cardinal principle that due thought should be given to geographic representation on all the councils and it would be most important on this one. He felt, therefore, that Australia should be a candidate. There was of course strength to his argument, if everyone had not known in advance that the vote was coming that morning.

The move for delay was voted down and we proceeded to the election. As you know by now, Brazil, Egypt, the Netherlands, Mexico and Poland were chosen on the first ballot and later in the day Australia was elected to be the sixth non-permanent member of the Security Council.

During the counting of the ballots I ran up a flight of stairs and did a brief three-minute recording for the "Voice Of America." I had to do it without script but since I knew very well what I wanted to say, I hoped it was a truthful portrayal not only of my own sentiments but of those of many people in the United States.

I wonder sometimes whether people everywhere have a full understanding of how this new organization is being set up. The General Assembly to which every member-nation sends five delegates is the most important body. Without it the other councils could not be set up. It is through the General Assembly that the other councils are chosen. The judges for the international court will be chosen by the General Assembly and the Security Council, and any changes that later may be made in the setup of the organization will have to come back to the General Assembly when it meets.

The delegates to this Assembly are appointed for each session by their governments. In the case of the United States the President not only appoints the delegates but they have to be ratified by the Senate. The fact that each delegation has only one vote means that within a delegation practical unanimity on every question has to be achieved before that vote is cast.

Since the questions so far before us have been questions of organization, it has not been difficult to achieve this unanimity but I can well imagine that there will be occasions in the future when the members of any given delegation will differ sharply.

There are a number of newspaperwomen here who have tried to get a word with me as I went in and out of the conference or the hotel. I keep telling them that I came over to attend these meetings and am doing practically nothing else. Sooner or later, I imagine I will have to see a number of them and feel sure they are going to ask me what my wardrobe consists of and that is going to be an embarrassing question. For when you wear black, you soon lose much interest in a variety of garments. However, I shall try to use my imagination.



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About this document

My Day by Eleanor Roosevelt, January 15, 1946

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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Digital edition published 2008, 2017 by
The Eleanor Roosevelt Papers Project

Available under licence from the Estate of Anna Eleanor Roosevelt.

Published with permission from the Estate of Anna Eleanor Roosevelt.

MEP edition publlished on June 30, 2008.

TEI-P5 edition published on April 28, 2017.

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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.