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

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NEW YORK, Monday—I was very much interested in John Foster Dulles' speech on our foreign policy before the National Publishers Association. I certainly hope with him that the habit of welcoming a new Secretary of State every year will end now. But I agree with him that, if there had to be a change, it is fortunate that someone like Gen. George C. Marshall is taking over, for his intimate knowledge of every wartime conference of the Big Four, besides his recent experience in the Far East, makes it possible for him to have a global viewpoint.

Mr. Dulles is so able an analyst that one always reads with respect and care whatever he writes. And since he submitted this speech to both Gov. Thomas E. Dewey of New York and Sen. Arthur H. Vandenberg, and received their endorsement of it, it has the added interest of bearing the Republican Party's stamp of approval on its analysis of the past and its picture of the present.

As I read it, however, I could not help wondering whether at Potsdam, when the war in Europe was over, there was really any need for some of the changes which were made in former agreements. And I wonder how well our people as a whole understood the "American idealism" which, Mr. Dulles points out, had a "rebirth" at the first conference of the Council of Foreign Ministers in London in the autumn of 1945.

I cannot help feeling that one of our troubles, for some time, has been that the American people have been more confused about our foreign policy than is absolutely necessary. The reason may lie in the fact that, even in high places, there may be some differences of opinion and therefore some confusion among those who otherwise could tell the story to the people in very simple terms.

* * *

I am surprised that Mr. Dulles thinks that the Soviets, at the recent United Nations Assembly, succeeded in persuading many that this nation ought to be the first to disarm itself in the interests of world peace. I think the Soviets are much too realistic to expect us to be as stupid as that. They would not give up the atom bomb if they had it. They know that we believe we are not going to misuse our power, and they know that it is not to the advantage of any nation to start a new war.

I think that when they ask for a discussion of general disarmament, they are entirely realistic. Since the atom bomb is part of our armament—and one of the only weapons which will help us to persuade the world to disarm—they realize that we will not do anything until we are sure all the nations are going to do it at the same time. We will have to agree on an overall picture of control before any of us will destroy whatever military strength we may have.

I agree completely with Mr. Dulles in his estimate as to the rise of Communist influence in Europe and in South America and elsewhere. But I should like to point out that, though Nazism may be subdued in Germany for the moment, it is very active in some of the same places where Communism is active. Democracy will have to prove its worth with an equal belief in itself and a deeper sacrificial devotion to its standards, in order to attain the moral and spiritual and intellectual leadership which, I entirely agree with Mr. Dulles, is our only hope of salvation.



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About this document

My Day by Eleanor Roosevelt, January 21, 1947

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.