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

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LONDON—You have probably appraised according to your sympathies the speeches made by Mr. Bevin and Mr. Vishinsky before the Security Council on Friday, when they presented the question of British troops remaining in Greece. My own sympathies, as I read the two speeches, were largely with the Greek representative. A story here said that he sat quite impassive during Vishinsky's speech, but when Bevin ended with the direct question: "Do you want us in your country or not—yes or no?", he got up and made a strong plea.

Yes, he said, they did need British soldiers to keep order in the country, but he hoped that the two allies, Britain and Russia, could make peace with each other on this question. Greece, with a very small standing army, has on her borders Bulgaria and Yugoslavia, both with large, battle-trained armies and, in addition, a considerable number of Russian troops. She has a treaty with Britain, since Britain has always had an interest in all these Mediterranean countries bordering on the waters through which she has to pass to reach India and Australia. The plea for peace and soft words to settle their disputes, therefore, would seem to be a very logical thing for a little country like Greece, which can only hope her appeal will be heeded. To a reader on the outside, it looks as though it would be possible to do things on a cooperative basis, and cooperation is the test of our ability to stay together as 51 nations trying in good faith to keep the peace of the world.

* * *

At Friday evening's plenary session we took up the UNRRA resolution, which had been presented in its final form by Sol Bloom. Since Bloom had obtained its adoption by making a very moving speech, everyone felt that he should make a short speech at this session. He was followed by others, many of the speakers praising the help which UNRRA brought to their people. In addition, there were tangible promises of cooperation from some states which had not before taken part. When this item was finally adopted on the agenda, I could not help wishing that Governor Lehman, who has so often taken hard words on the administration of UNRRA, could have heard the praise from all sides. Masaryk made a very moving address in which he spoke of the innumerable children whom he had seen at the age of six looking like old people of 60 and who, without UNRRA's help, would certainly have died.

One thing strikes me here just as it has done at home. The end of the war has brought a wave of juvenile delinquency in every country of the world. You read of robberies of every kind in all the newspapers, and the same concern is evidenced because so often the offenders are still quite young. Of course, London has been the crossroad for the nations of the world. Soldiers of many governments-in-exile have been trained here and the armies are made up of both good and bad men.

On the Continent they tell me there is a very serious problem with young people who have been in the resistance movements. Many of them have been unable to continue their education and it now seems dull work to go back to school or to learn some trade. One charity in France that has very high backing, and in which young American women have been deeply interested, would like to establish schools where these young people can catch up. They hope that scholarships will be available for them to go and train for a particular vocation or profession that they may wish to take up. They hope that the United States, and other countries where the very best in their particular line is available, will cooperate. I hope it may be possible to interest people at home, because so many of these young men are future leaders of their country, and if they get their training outside their own country they will have a better knowledge of how other countries function and a better understanding of the people of other nations.

Late sessions at the end of the week prevented me from keeping a number of engagements, but I did have lunch at the National Liberal Club with some old friends of ours, Mr. and Mrs. Francis Hirst. There are some very beautiful portraits in this old club which I found quite interesting. In order to see the portrait of Winston Churchill as a young man, we went to the gentlemen's reading lounge. I was a little horrified because the members present, being gentlemen, all rose and insisted on standing while we were there, and I could imagine their annoyance. My host, Mr. Hirst, however, insisted that I come back after my first hasty retreat and walk half way through the room to see the very beautiful portrait of John Bright. Then someone suggested that I say "a few words"—and there I was, with an audience exclusively of gentlemen except for Mrs. Hirst and Lady Simon . They listened very kindly, but I am sure they also were glad when I finally left them to their coffee and cigars.



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My Day by Eleanor Roosevelt, February 4, 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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Transcription created from a photocopy of a UFS wire copy of a My Day column instance archived at the Franklin D. Roosevelt Library.