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

[This column has emendations. View original version]


LONDON—In spite of the fact that he speaks English very well, Soviet representative Andrei A. Gromyko delivered his address on Friday in Russian. He probably felt that in this way he would be sure of giving the right emphasis to what he wished to say. But when a speech has to be translated into both French and English, by the end of the second translation I am always sorry we don't have earphones, which give it to you at the time the speech is being made! Someday, perhaps, when materials are plentiful again, all international gatherings will have these installed.

Like the other representatives of the great powers, Gromyko stressed "true cooperation," which, he said, would alone make it possible to do the work necessary to implement the Charter. Living up to the Charter is of course an absolute necessity, since that is the law under which the United Nations Organization was established and to which each nation set its signature. Gromyko spoke with great seriousness, and that is one thing which impresses me about the Russians. I notice that they very rarely smile or laugh. They come to every session and stay through to the end. They are absolutely faithful to their duties and perform their work with great conscientiousness. But perhaps life has been so full of responsibility and hardship during the past few years that it is hard for them to shed their serious side and take time off for amusement.

* * *

Among the highlights of the week, of course, was the speech to the Assembly made by British Foreign Secretary Ernest Bevin, in which he named the mandated territories in Africa which Britain was ready to turn over to UNO trusteeship. It was an extremely good speech, with many important points that I think we should remember. After stressing the fact that war crimes tribunals were establishing forever our point of view that aggressive war is a crime and that anyone who starts such aggression must pay the price, he uttered a warning which I think cannot be uttered too often—that human beings cannot be changed overnight. But this Assembly, he said, is a place where we "can grow together in a common endeavor" for our mutual benefit.

Then, after reviewing Britain's part in both wars against aggressors, he concluded: "With the same courage and devotion with which we fought those battles, we now dedicate all our capacity, courage and achievement to building up a world of order and peace." If all of us, whether we belong to great or small nations, inscribe these last few words on our hearts and never forget them, somehow we will win through to our objective.

* * *

On Thursday I attended a reception held in Albert Hall as welcome to the UNO delegates. The hall was filled to the very top gallery, and Field Marshal Sir Harold Alexander presided. Besides the speeches, the choir of the Welsh Temple of Peace sang and there was a fine organ recital. The little incident I enjoyed more than anything else was the whispered remark from Lord Robert Cecil, who sat beside me. Looking up at the Field Marshal in the chair and listening to the choir singing some truly martial songs, he said: "We go about peace in a very belligerent way, don't we!" I think the evening must have been a great satisfaction to him, however. So much of his life has been given to trying to make the old League a successful instrument to keep peace in the world, that it must be good to feel again the same spirit of hope stirring. This time the backing is stronger and broader, and therefore there is greater hope of success.

* * *

Earlier in the week, one of the delegates from our part of the world, Gustavo Guerrero of El Salvador, spoke of having taken part in the work of the first Assembly of the League of Nations, and he reminded his hearers of some of the pitfalls that lie ahead of this present organization just as they lay ahead of that organization.

In this connection, I particularly liked one thing that Foreign Minister Trygve Lie of Norway said in his speech on the same day. He emphasized the fact that the United Nations Charter, which is the law under which the Assembly is set up, is not a static document but may be amended (just as the Constitution of the United States has been amended.) It is this possibility of growth which I look upon as the most hopeful part of the work now being undertaken here. There are bound to be many problems and many changes in the years to come, but if we are flexible, I'm sure we can meet them.

* * *

Before the Security Council held its first meeting Thursday afternoon, I fell victim to a feminine desire and had my hair washed and nails polished. There are advantages to being a man. It takes so much less time to go to the barber!



Names and Terms Mentioned or Referenced

  • London (England, United Kingdom) [ index ]
Other Terms and Topics

About this document

My Day by Eleanor Roosevelt, January 21, 1946

Roosevelt, Eleanor, 1884-1962
[ ERPP bio | LC | VIAF | WorldCat | DPLA | Wikidata | SNAC ]

Digital edition created by The Eleanor Roosevelt Papers Project The George Washington University 312 Academic Building 2100 Foxhall Road, NW Washington, DC 20007

  • Brick, Christopher (Editor)
    [ VIAF | ORCID ]
  • Regenhardt, Christy (Associate Editor)
    [ ISNI ]
  • Black, Allida M. (Editor)
    [ VIAF | ISNI ]
  • Binker, Mary Jo (Associate Editor)
    [ VIAF | ORCID ]
  • Alhambra, Christopher C. (Electronic Text Editor)
    [ VIAF | ORCID ]

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.

XML master last modified on May 2, 2022.

HTML version generated and published on May 3, 2022.

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