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


NEW YORK, Tuesday—The other evening, I attended the Freedom House dinner at which the annual Freedom Award was presented to Secretary of State George C. Marshall. All of the speeches expressed gratitude for what he had given to the United States in war and what the nation hoped he would be able to give to our country and to the world in peace. It must be a somewhat awesome thing to sit and hear so much praise of oneself and to realize that, back of the praise, lies so much hope which places on the poor individual's shoulders such terrific responsibility.

It falls to the lot of everyone in high office to carry this weight of responsibility. But just at present, anyone in a position of great trust, while the world is in such turmoil, must feel somewhat baffled when the longing in the hearts of so many is put into words.

* * *

Yesterday I spent at the plenary session of the United Nations General Assembly. Committee No. 3 was making its report on the transfer to the United Nations of the League of Nations' powers over the conventions on "Traffic in Women and Children and Obscene Literature."

In committee, the Russians had deleted some very simple phraseology which ordinarily is included in treaties of this kind and which had been included in these treaties—to the effect that colonial powers ratify a convention for themselves but that their non-self-governing territories ratify separately.

The United Kingdom opposed these deletions, explaining that all of its non-self-governing territories had ratified this particular convention, but that some other convention might easily come up in the future and that the procedure of having each territory ratify separately was good democratic procedure. If the United Kingdom ratified for itself alone, they could act at once, which would prevent delay.

This argument was scoffed at by the Russians. The United Kingdom was accused of wanting to permit traffic in women and children in its non-self-governing territories. Obviously untrue, since they had all ratified the convention!

The delegate from Haiti, supporting Russia, made a completely emotional appeal which had nothing to do with the case in hand but dealt with the fair treatment of subject peoples. He seemed to persuade many delegates into thinking that it was better for a central government not to consult its non-self-governing territories—which I feel quite sure was not the thesis any of them actually believed in. It was a good exhibition of what emotion can do to reason!

E. R.


Names and Terms Mentioned or Referenced

  • New York (N.Y., United States) [ index ]
Other Terms and Topics
  • Children
         [ LC | Wikidata | FAST ]
  • Colonies
         [ LC | Wikidata | FAST ]
  • Leadership--responsibilities of
  • Soviet Union--delegation to the United Nations
  • Women
         [ LC | FAST ]

About this document

My Day by Eleanor Roosevelt, October 22, 1947

Roosevelt, Eleanor, 1884-1962
[ ERPP bio | LC | VIAF | WorldCat | DPLA | Wikidata | SNAC ]

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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  • Binker, Mary Jo (Associate Editor)
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  • Alhambra, Christopher C. (Electronic Text Editor)
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Digital edition published 2008, 2017 by
The Eleanor Roosevelt Papers Project

Available under licence from the Estate of Anna Eleanor Roosevelt.

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MEP edition publlished on June 30, 2008.

TEI-P5 edition published on April 28, 2017.

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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.