JANUARY 2, 1948
HYDE PARK, THURSDAY—I read with great care Henry A. Wallace's speech in Chicago on Monday night. Affirmatively, he stands for "a positive peace program of abundance and security, not scarcity and war. We can prevent depression and war if we only organize for peace in the same comprehensive way we organize for war."
There is no country in the world where the people would not agree that they wished to organize for peace and abundance and security. But in this speech Mr. Wallace oversimplifies the problems that face us today. If he were in office today and responsible for our policies, he would understand how much more complicated it is actually to carry the responsibility, to try to get at what is the truth of any situation and then convince people of many diverse backgrounds and political beliefs that certain methods will achieve the results which you succeed in making them believe are desirable to achieve.
To begin with, let us take the political situation which a third party faces. No one in this country wants a third party as much as the Communists do. All over the world they are working for confusion because that is the way to create economic chaos and political weakness, and this is their one hope of defeating democracy in the world and proving that communism is the only thing people can turn to.
The American Communists will be the nucleus of Mr. Wallace's third party. I know all the old arguments in favor of working with people who want the same objectives as you do. But I have worked rather more steadily and closely with the representatives of the USSR than has Mr. Wallace. I like all those I know and I hope that we can get on with them in a peaceful world, but I know that our only approach is an economic approach. They do not understand many of the things which we consider essential and they will not until their economy reaches a much higher standard than it has yet reached or will reach for some time. They understand strength, not weakness, and they say many things they know are not true because they think they can make others believe they are true.
We did not oblige the Soviets by any action of ours to take over Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania, or to attack Finland. Therefore when Mr. Wallace assumes that by changing certain of our policies until we resemble Mr. Chamberlain, hat in hand, approaching Hitler, we will have the results which he calls "peace and abundance," I am afraid he is doing more wishful thinking than realistic facing of facts.
A totalitarian government, whether it is fascist or communist, has certain earmarks. Secret police rule is one of them. Another is benefits to the people, but no freedom. We live, in fact, in a much more complicated world than Mr. Wallace seems to understand, and the issues are so important that tomorrow I will continue my discussion further.
Names and Terms Mentioned or Referenced
- Chamberlain, Neville, 1869-1940 [ index ]
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- Hitler, Adolf, 1889-1945 [ index ]
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- Wallace, Henry Agard, 1888-1965 [ index ]
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- [ index ] Hyde Park (Dutchess County, N.Y., United States)
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About this document
My Day by Eleanor Roosevelt, January 2, 1948
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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