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

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WASHINGTON, Wednesday—I sometimes wonder why the leading conservatives, Republicans and Democrats alike, such as Sen. Robert A. Taft of Ohio and Sen. Walter F. George of Georgia, are so ready to play into the hands of the left-wing groups, particularly the Communists.

They apparently paid no attention to Secretary of State Marshall's statement in his testimony on the European Recovery Program when he said: "If we decide that the United States is unable or unwilling effectively to assist in the reconstruction of western Europe, we must accept the consequences of its collapse into the dictatorship of police states."

In other words, we must begin this job by April 1, when the temporary aid will have come to an end, and we must do it on a scale which will allow for reconstruction and rehabilitation, not just for keeping people alive. Otherwise, we must make up our minds to be the front line of defense with nothing between us and the completely Communistic nations, because the European continent will be in such chaos that it will have no choice but to accept economic Communism.

I feel sure that, once western Europe is stabilized, there are resources there which we may be able to discover and draw out to lessen the burden of American contribution, but I do not think, we can possibly touch those resources until the people of Europe see some hope of the eventual salvation and strengthening of the democracies.

* * *

Sen. Taft has said he does not think there will be any recovery program in actual operation before July 1. What does he propose shall be done between the 1st of April and the 1st of July? Those are the months when fields must be planted. Machinery will be necessary, fertilizer will be necessary, and money to pay workers will be necessary. If repairs have been started on factories before April, is the work to stop until July? Or does Sen. Taft think the workmen are going to live without pay?

He evidently has somewhat the same idea as a gentleman who offered advice to a friend of mine who was living entirely on his salary and who was finding it a little difficult to put his daughter through college. "Why, my dear man, don't worry about that," this gentleman said. "Your daughter's college education is a capital investment. Just pay it out of your capital." Unfortunately my friend, like Europe, had no capital to invest. Sen. Taft must remember that the greater part of the European world is in that situation, so the hiatus which he envisages between April and July would be a pretty fatal hiatus.

I am also a little bewildered by the kind of supervisory agency wanted by some members of Congress. This is not very clearly defined by them, but they demand that the State Department define it clearly. Secretary Marshall has said that, whatever agency is set up, it must work under the control of the State Department. As I see it, that does not preclude using on it the best business brains of the country and thereby holding the confidence of the American people and of Congress. The Secretary of State, nevertheless, reports to Congress and any such agency must function under him since the rehabilitation of Europe is not only an economic but a political matter.

E. R.


Names and Terms Mentioned or Referenced

  • Washington (D.C., United States) [ index ]
Other Terms and Topics
  • Communism
         [ LC ]
  • Communist--fear of
  • Economic assistance
         [ LC | Wikidata | FAST ]

About this document

My Day by Eleanor Roosevelt, January 15, 1948

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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Transcription created from a photocopy of a UFS wire copy of a My Day column instance archived at the Franklin D. Roosevelt Library.