JANUARY 29, 1948
HYDE PARK, Wednesday—A bulletin of the atomic scientists is accompanied by a letter in which Prof. Albert Einstein states that only a world government can keep the world safe from destruction.
The scientists who made the atomic discoveries, which have such great potentialities both for destruction and for improvement in the conditions under which people live, naturally feel a great sense of responsibility and desire to see their discoveries used for the good of humanity. Apparently, by the proper use of atomic energy, we could revolutionize many things related to the basic needs of people—power, production and soil conservation. The scientists therefore feel that it is very wasteful for us to concern ourselves with the production of bombs when there is so much to be done on the constructive side.
I can quite understand why men like Prof. Einstein feel that a world government would answer the problem, but any of us who have worked in the United Nations realize that we will have to learn to crawl before we learn to walk. If the great nations find it so hard to agree on the minor points at issue today, how do any of these hopeful people think that a world government could be made to work? People have to want to get on together and to do away with force, but so far there are many throughout the world who have not advanced to the point of really wanting to do this.
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If the nations would look back to the disarmament conference which took place after World War I, they would see that the United States kept her word and destroyed much of her naval strength—and never had a strong army. Therefore she knew that she would require time to prepare for another war. This time she wants to be sure that disarmament is equal everywhere and that every nation submits to inspection.
This does not seem unreasonable in the light of past history. And I still believe that, if the majority of people throughout the world honestly want a peaceful world, it can be achieved through the United Nations.
Perhaps, in time, the majority of peoples will want a world government to make peace even more secure. This is really a matter of education—perhaps more an education of governments than of peoples. If the people of this country could be convinced that other peoples would control their governments and thus prevent war, I think we would see to it that our representatives acted in cooperation with those of other nations for the preservation of peace.
A woman wrote me the other day that we must first have peace at home, and I am inclined to think that that is the first place where we can show our good intentions. If we perfect our own democracy and do away with discrimination and special privileges, we shall be less vulnerable to attacks on our good intentions from other nations and better able to lead in the cause of peace.
(WORLD COPYRIGHT, 1948, BY UNITED FEATURE SYNDICATE, INC.; REPRODUCTION IN WHOLE OR IN PART PROHIBITED.)
About this document
My Day by Eleanor Roosevelt, January 29, 1948
Digital edition created by The Eleanor Roosevelt Papers Project The George Washington University Old Main Building, Suite 406 1951 F Street, NW Washington, DC 20052
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