My Day by Eleanor Roosevelt

Text Size: Small Text Normal Text Large Text Larger Text

NEW YORK, Tuesday—It is a strange thing that groups of our own citizens, supposedly liberals, and the new (old) Information Bureau of the Communist Parties of Europe, which we ordinarily allude to as the Comintern, are condemning with one voice the Marshall proposals!

According to an argument presented over the air the other day by a representative of one of the eastern European countries, the first point of difference is their belief that there can be no recovery for Europe unless the economies of the West and East are considered as one. I think most of us would say it was extremely desirable to have the West and the East in Europe making their plans together, and from the beginning the East was invited to cooperate with the West. The eastern European countries are those which have refused to sit down and furnish the information desired.

Their second contention is that we aim to control Europe by a "curtain of gold." That is funny since Secretary of State Marshall only asked for this information in order that he might find out from our Congress if they were willing to do their share, which was found to be a large share, in any plan formulated for the aid and reconstruction of Europe.

* * *

It apparently is completely impossible for the USSR and the outer eastern European states to grasp the fact that neither the President nor the Secretary of State can order Congress and the American people to do anything whatsoever. They can gather facts to support their own wishes and they can present them to Congress. And if they present the facts well, they will get the support of newspapers and organizations and public opinion, and then Congress may accede to their requests. In no major way, however, can the executive branch of the Government pledge any kind of assistance to any part of the world without the concurrence of Congress.

It is conceivable that there are monied interests in this and in other countries which would like to regain control over governments, but as yet these influences in our own country have not reached the point of carrying much weight in this matter of aid for European recovery.

* * *

To my amazement, one of the arguments brought forth is that, unless the eastern European countries are considered in conjunction with the rest of the countries, there will be a bad distribution of investment capital and recovery will not proceed along a wisely planned program. How in heaven's name do these countries think that, by refusing to come in and discuss what they consider a good program, they are contributing anything constructive? All they are doing is to block action, and if in the end chaos and misery and hunger result in Europe, it will not be the fault of the United States but the fault of those who, when the door was open, refused to walk in.

Our own section of liberals who, with the Progressive Citizens of America, follow so closely the arguments put out by the Comintern do themselves harm, for they offer nothing constructive and this increases in many less radical but liberal groups the sense of suspicion and uncertainty regarding the influences under which they operate.

E. R.