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


NEW YORK, Wednesday—The Arabs have rejected the United Nations appeal for a cease-fire in Palestine. This being the case, it seems to me quite clear that they have become aggressors against the Jews.

I saw the other day that the British had declared their intention under their treaty obligations, to send arms to the Arabs until the United Nations should declare the Arabs aggressors. If that is the case, it would seem that our embargo on shipping arms to the Near East would help the Arabs and doom the Jews to sure defeat, for men without proper equipment cannot successfully oppose men with modern war equipment.

I think the Arabs ought to weigh very carefully their next step, for it seems to me inevitable that sanctions will be imposed upon them and that our embargo on arms to the Jews will be lifted. As one watches the efforts to work through the United Nations, one is more and more convinced that without an army the organization is unable to enforce its decisions and that, with or without atomic control, it had better get an army constituted with such mechanisms as the world now knows about. That might help the United Nations at least to gain some attention from groups such as the Arab League when a request is made.

The British stand in all this seems difficult to understand. However, one thing, in the whole confused picture, is clear. There is unity and single-minded purpose among the Jewish people. Their willingness to sacrifice for the land they have created out of the desert is curiously reminiscent of all other pioneer movements where people have tried to establish themselves in new places and to flee oppression and interference elsewhere. The vast majority of Jews in Palestine seem to have this spirit.

* * *

Now that the primaries in Oregon are over, I think it is time to mention our reactions to the arguments that came out of the mouths of the campaigning Republican candidates. I for one became more and more convinced that the Mundt Bill is a bad bill. It might help to repress a few Communists but, at the same time, it might make it impossible to create a third party at some future time and might prevent such a party from functioning. Even the Republican or the Democratic party might be outlawed if there was a desire to do so.

I am beginning to feel that repressive measures that arise out of fear are not the proper motivation for legislative action. It might be well for us to clarify our thinking on democracy, and to make sure that everything that takes place in our communities conforms to the best interests of the citizens as a whole, and is free of any tinge of Fascism, Communism or any other totalitarianism. To start trying to keep down the free expression of thought is to follow the very course which we condemn in totalitarian governments.

I hope the Senate will have enough faith in the people of the United States to bury the Mundt Bill and to trust to the ability of our citizens to defend democracy whenever they find it jeopardized.

E. R.


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About this document

My Day by Eleanor Roosevelt, May 27, 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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MEP edition publlished on June 30, 2008.

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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.