APRIL 26, 1947
NEW YORK, Friday—In yesterday's paper there was a dispatch from London which, to me, was very terrifying. It described a debate on Palestine in the House of Lords, in connection with the special session of the United Nations General Assembly called to discuss the problem of Palestine. The ominous part of the debate was the statement by Lord Hall, representing the British Government, that he could not "imagine that the Government would carry out a policy of which it did not approve."
The special session of the Assembly has been called at the request of Great Britain. But I cannot really see how the United Nations can hold the session with any dignity whatsoever when a British Government representative in Parliament makes the statement that the decision of the U.N. will have no weight with Great Britain if she does not approve of it. In other words, if the U.N. agrees with whatever Great Britain wishes to do, then the U.N. plans will be carried out. But if by chance there is disagreement, then in plain English, Great Britain will use her veto.
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The United States and Great Britain have complained rather bitterly about the use of the veto by the USSR, but it seems to me that this is a rather special case. The history of it does not make pleasant reading.
Great Britain, unable to handle Palestine satisfactorily, finally asked this nation to join in an inquiry—an inquiry which was not needed, since we knew everything there was to know about conditions in Palestine. But the report of that joint commission of inquiry, which Great Britain had asked for, did not meet with Great Britain's approval, and so she refused to carry out any of the recommendations. Now she has asked for a special session of the U.N. Assembly, and she calmly announces in the House of Lords that, at this special session, the delegates will confine themselves to recommending another commission of inquiry, which Lord Hall piously hopes may come up with some better solutions which can be accepted by the time the Assembly meets again in September.
I can't see much reason why they should find new solutions agreeable to Great Britain, and I can't see any reason for working on Great Britain's problems if she doesn't intend to accept any plan which isn't agreeable to her.
* * *
The British Government is a Labor-Socialist government, but as far as the Empire and foreign affairs are concerned, it might as well be a Tory government, because there is a similarity in the official pronouncements by every British government on these subjects. It is true that a change is coming about in India and it is true that it may lead to a "blood bath" such as Winston Churchill used to say he dreaded, but I am afraid that change is being made just because so many people are involved in India that something definite has to be done.
Comparatively few people are involved in Palestine. The horror of their situation is what makes it tragic, because those who are being kept out of Palestine are the waifs and strays of horror camps. They have suffered so much that a little more suffering can mean little to them, but those who impose that suffering must find it hard to sleep at night. I deplore terrorist tactics, but I deplore even more the attitude of self-righteous governments.
Our own Government's position has never gone beyond pious hopes and unctuous words. A day of reckoning must come for us all. The preventable suffering of human beings brought on by other human beings cannot be overlooked from on high forever.
(WORLD COPYRIGHT, 1947, BY UNITED FEATURE SYNDICATE, INC.; REPRODUCTION IN WHOLE OR PART PROHIBITED.)
About this document
My Day by Eleanor Roosevelt, April 26, 1947
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)
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