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

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NEW YORK, Thursday—In a conversation among a group of delegates to the United Nations General Assembly, a rather interesting idea developed. One man said, "So many people come here with the idea primarily of advancing the interests of their own nation and their own people, and yet the value of the United Nations is in learning that our interests have to widen. We must discover what are the ties between the interests of our own nation and those of all the others around the world."

He was right, of course, for only as we make these discoveries and see the pattern of mutual interests grow, can the real objectives of the United Nations be attained. There would be very little point in asking a country in South America, which was just beginning to develop many of its own resources, to help the war-devastated countries to return to a self-sustaining basis unless, by so doing, the people in the South American country would in the long run find that they had benefitted themselves.

There would be no real reason for supporting the World Health Organization unless that support was going to increase the health standards of all nations. And there would be no real reason for all nations to take part in UNESCO unless each one was going to benefit eventually from the experience of the others in all the fields covered by UNESCO.

* * *

The unity which we want to see develop in the United Nations can only be achieved if each member has a complete understanding of the reasons why we meet together and the advantages of working together in various fields.

I believe that there is an advantage in the near future in producing, through the United Nations, some tangible results which will touch the lives of the people in different parts of the world. If this is not done, the people are apt to ask, "What is all this talk about? Where does the United Nations really help us?"

There may come a day when, in the U.N. General Assembly, time will be set aside for the discussion of the interrelation of interests. Why is the education of a new group of people in Mexico important to the citizens of France, for instance? Perhaps each delegation, in receiving their information on certain subjects, might be given some suggestions by the secretariat as to the ties which bind their country to certain interests of other countries though, on the surface, there may seem to be little or no connection.

The United Nations is a young organization, but it can stimulate developments along economic, social and spiritual lines. The delegates who attend the different meetings, not only of the General Assembly, but also of the councils and commissions, might feel it part of their obligation, on their return home, to spread the knowledge not only of the decisions reached but of the discussions which pointed up the problems of various nations around the world.

E. R.


Names and Terms Mentioned or Referenced

  • New York (N.Y., United States) [ index ]
Other Terms and Topics
  • Economic development
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About this document

My Day by Eleanor Roosevelt, November 22, 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.

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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.