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


HYDE PARK, Sunday—The documents which the State Department has published, revealing the dealings between Soviet Russia and Nazi Germany from 1939 to 1941, should bring some sense of shame to those Americans who in 1939 followed the Communist line and believed the tales the Communists told them. These captured Nazi documents are interesting reading, but I hope they will not have the effect of strengthening those people in our nation who are doing so much loose talking about finding ways to go to war with Russia.

Marshal Stalin in 1939 was undoubtedly doing what he thought was good for Soviet Russia, but the duplicity revealed in these papers should give anyone with any leanings toward totalitarianism, whether fascist or communist, a distrust of that type of government. In constitutional democracies, leaders of the government would find it difficult to put through such dealings without someone discovering what was going on. We would accuse any responsible United States official of failing in his duty if he did not think first of the interests of the United States and its people. We would be indignant at the type of betrayal, however, of the ordinary standards of honesty which is revealed in these documents.

* * *

We all of us have intelligence systems which we rely upon to give us information as to conditions in other countries. Sometimes these intelligence systems are none too good. I surmise that the information, for instance, which Stalin furnished Hitler on the conditions and probable reactions in Great Britain and the United States was based on the reports of intelligence agents—and we now know what actually happened and how incorrect those reports were.

I doubt very much whether the reports the Russian officials are getting today are much more accurate, because when you tell your agents that they must not be too friendly with people in other countries, and when you make few friends among the envoys to your country, your chances of knowing accurately what is in the minds and hearts of people in other countries are very slim. You may find out something about their business and something about their armaments, but you will never find out all you should know unless you really know the people themselves.

* * *

There are very few Russians in this country who feel free to make friends with the Americans they meet. If we could meet as individuals and not as representatives of governments, I rather think we would find that we have many things in common and that neither of us want war.

I rarely agree with Sen. Walter George of Georgia, but his warning the other day that Americans are not the kind of people who hate for years and do nothing about it was a warning we need to heed. Too many people in Russia attack the United States, and too many people in the United States resent those attacks and try to retaliate. This is not a healthy atmosphere in which peaceful relations can be long maintained.

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, January 26, 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.