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

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NEW YORK, Sunday—In the light of events in Europe today, it seems to me that we should look backwards as well as forwards. If we do so, and recall what many people said at the time we announced our Greek-Turkish policy, we will have to acknowledge that an outsider would have considered this not alone a policy to alleviate suffering in Greece and Turkey and to help them rehabilitate their economic situation. It would also have appeared as a policy aimed against the spread of Russian influence. It is therefore not very surprising, much though we dislike and condemn it, to find that Russia's answer has been to continue to try and extend her political influence.

I think we have taken very proper steps in asking the United Nations to investigate whether any undue influence has been exerted by a great nation, with troops in a smaller nation's territory, on the political actions of those people. Whatever the action, it should not prevent us from taking an objective view of the situation as a whole.

I could not help thinking with great relief, on the anniversary of D-Day, that at least bombs had stopped dropping on Europe. I was also thankful that Secretary Marshall, in his recent speech, invited Europe to come to an overall economic agreement in which we would try to aid. It was a very constructive suggestion which might lead to a joint economic council being set up in Europe.

What we should say to Russia today is that she has forgotten that our two countries and our political systems must live side by side. We should urge that both of us join together now with a firm resolve not to interfere with the decisions of small nations. Russia needs to rehabilitate her own economy. She will need help from us and we should give it to her, for she has a right to develop her own people and those who, in freedom, choose to join in her experiment. She has no right, however, to exert undue influence on other nations any more than we have, even though we also have the power. Our power is greater today, and therefore we must have even greater restraint.

We have fallen into the bad habit of scheming to see which one of us can put something over on the other, and we say many dangerous things not conducive to good feeling. The sooner our armies—all of them—are out of countries which are able to manage themselves, the better it will be. It may take a long time before certain countries are able to manage alone. Where we can find qualified civilians, however, they should be the ones to help as quickly as possible in rehabilitating devastated countries.

We should not let disagreements rest when they exist between ourselves and the USSR. We should try to find new suggestions on all points where actual principles are not involved. Principles cannot be compromised, but methods of procedure and economic questions can frequently be adjusted.

E. R.


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About this document

My Day by Eleanor Roosevelt, June 9, 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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MEP edition publlished on June 30, 2008.

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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.