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

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HYDE PARK, Tuesday—Last night I read an article which stressed the fact that the real difficulty in having one world today is the tension between the U. S. and the USSR. That tension is quite understandable, since we are the two most vigorous and active large nations. I can quite believe that the USSR watches our actions with more interest than she does those of any other large nation because she knows that we are more independent of her.

But I must say that I do not in the least understand some of the actions taken by the Russian Government. Sometimes I think that I can see underlying reasons for these actions, but since the USSR explains nothing, I can never be sure.

For instance, why does not Russia take part in all the activities of the United Nations? I imagine that one reason is that she finds it hard to find qualified personnel to do so. Because of the need of using her best people at home in rebuilding the country and advancing the latest Five-Year Plan, she is more concerned in picking people for these activities than in choosing people to serve in the various agencies of the U.N.

* * *

And why does she suddenly come out with statements and plans with apparently no idea of cooperation, or rather with the idea that cooperation means acceptance of her plans without any give-and-take or modification on both sides? It seems to me that this might be explained by the fact that, for a number of years, Russia was cut off from other nations, so that now, in taking up these contacts, she does so with suspicion, always wondering what lies behind an offer made by any other nation. This is understandable but regrettable, since the basis of negotiation is the building up of confidence.

In refusing to join with the rest of Europe in making a survey and report on resources, she lays herself open to the accusation that she does not really care so much about European recovery as she does about her power to make the Europeans feel that they have to turn to her for help. In the old days that would have been an understandable attitude but today she is playing with dynamite, because sometimes when disagreements start growing, you cannot stop them even if you wish to do so.

The big nations of the world should come to agreements through negotiations. No one of them will get exactly what it wants, but they should come to some kind of agreement. Dividing Europe by making peace separately, rather than on a uniform basis, is dangerous. The separate handling of different problems tears us apart instead of welding us together into one world.

I am sure that the Government and the people of Russia want peace as much as we do, but I am not sure that they realize that the path they are following is not the path that leads to peace and better understanding.

E. R.


Names and Terms Mentioned or Referenced

  • Hyde Park (Dutchess County, N.Y., United States) [ index ]
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About this document

My Day by Eleanor Roosevelt, July 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.