MAY 7, 1948
NEW YORK, Thursday—I do not know whether anyone else cheered Secretary of State Marshall's testimony before the House Foreign Affairs Committee concerning certain proposals to revise the United Nations, but I greeted his statements with applause.
Tempting though revision may seem to people who are not actually working in the U.N., many of us who are familiar with the day-to-day work are worried at the realization that people might be lulled to sleep by procedures. They would fail, then, to realize the truth of Secretary Marshall's statement that "performance of obligations already undertaken, fidelity to pledges already given," are the important things. World problems cannot be solved "by new forms of organization," he said. And lastly, in answer to the suggestion that the veto power be restricted, with or without Russia's approval, he added that this "would probably destroy the present United Nations organization."
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The idea of the U.N. was based on the ability of the great nations to get together and come to agreements. We haven't managed to get together very often and we have managed to come to very few agreements. The reasons for this may be many. I can think up quite a few. But I certainly do not think that destroying one organization, on the bare hope that we will be able to do better with another, is the way to do the basic job of getting the peoples of the world and their governments to really want to work together for peace.
This is why I am opposed to the movement for a world government. The governments in existence today are suspicious of each other. They haven't grown accustomed yet to getting along together and allowing for one another's individual differences. How can we expect, then, that they would want to establish an overall government in which they would have to be represented by individuals and in which there would be even less hope of harmony than there is at present?
I am told that the situation of our thirteen original states was exactly the situation in which the world finds itself today, and that it was only when a central United States government was established that peace and harmony began to reign. I do not think the two situations are really similar. Even with transportation and communication as limited as they were in the 1780's, the thirteen states had more mutual interests and more reason for coming together in self-defense than has the world as represented in the U.N. today.
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We must not be either discouraged or surprised that the education which will make it possible for nations to live together in peace is slow in taking hold. The United Nations is a new concept, and we are trying to avoid the mistakes made under the League of Nations.
If you were at Lake Success every day, I think you would feel that it is a teeming hive of activity, where many serious people are working very hard on a number of problems which draw us together. You would also be conscious, however, of how easy it is for quite little things to upset the feelings and confidence existing between representatives of different nations. Patience and persistence, straight thinking, clarity of expression and determined goodwill are what will eventually bring us a stronger organization and a real unity of nations.
(WORLD COPYRIGHT, 1948, BY UNITED FEATURE SYNDICATE, INC. REPRODUCTION IN WHOLE OR IN PART PROHIBITED.)
About this document
My Day by Eleanor Roosevelt, May 7, 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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