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

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NEW YORK, Friday—To me, it seems unfortunate that the words "tough policy" were ever used in regard to Russia or any other nation, since I think that neither our representatives nor our people mean by those words anything more than that they want to adhere to the democratic principles in which we believe.

We want to see a world organization where economic conditions are improved for all people and where opportunity is given for continued improvement. We hope to see increased the freedom of people everywhere to choose their form of government and register their wishes. We hope to see freedom of religion for all people. We believe that free intercourse among nations and a free press are essential to a growth of mutual confidence. Better understanding will gradually lessen the need for the use of force, and will give the peoples of the world a greater opportunity for happiness and for security from fear of aggression and from fear of want.

* * *

Since the publication of Secretary of Commerce Wallace's letter to the President, I have read it very carefully. I do not agree with it in every detail, but it is a good letter. Most of his analysis of the reasons why tensions exist is worth reading with care, for I think any fair-minded person will say that it is a fair analysis. The test of any situation is to put yourself in the other man's place—and we have not done that very successfully in our attitude toward Russia.

The basic thing to be held in mind is that we want peace and that it cannot exist if the United States and Russia do not find a way to live together in one world. That is the basis of Secretary Wallace's whole thesis, and also the basis of the President's and of Secretary of State Byrnes' policy.

* * *

It would be entirely futile to think that, by going out to destroy Russia now, we would insure peace in the future. In that I entirely agree with Secretary Wallace. And I think the majority of the people in the United States would agree that to set out deliberately to destroy another nation would be against all of our principles and could lead us only to disaster.

An armament race in an atomic world is unthinkable. On this subject, Secretary Wallace gives us a very excellent and true picture. The crux of the matter is that, in time, atomic bombs can be manufactured almost anywhere. The only advantage would be to that nation which used them first, so we would live in a neurotic, fear-ridden world.

Peace—and a peace which will lessen individual armaments throughout the world—must be our aim. Force, if it must be used, must be used only through the one organization which can use it collectively and function for us all.

I think that, on the whole, the debate which has taken place because of Secretary Wallace's speech has not done anyone any real harm. It certainly will not hurt the peace negotiations for the Russians to know that in this country, while we do not want to be a tail to their kite, we do want to cooperate with them in order to give Russia and ourselves greater security—and to attain greater security, coupled with better economic conditions, throughout the world.

E. R.


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About this document

My Day by Eleanor Roosevelt, September 21, 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.