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

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HYDE PARK, Monday—I was glad to read that Secretary Marshall, when questioned the other day, said that as far as he knew there are no Communist agents in this country under the shield of the United Nations.

When it was decided that the United Nations should establish its headquarters in this country, it must have been obvious to everyone that if there were Communist countries in the world, there would be not only Communists on the delegations that came from those countries, but there would be a percentage of employees and staff members in the U.N. Secretariat itself from Communist countries. All members of the U.N. are entitled to have some representatives in the organization, and to look upon these representatives as spies would lay every member-nation open to that same accusation.

There are meetings of various U.N. commissions held in different parts of the world, and if every time these representatives are under suspicion of being spies, very little good is going to be accomplished.

It seems to me that the testimony, which was given and which brought forth the remarks that Secretary Marshall later practically repudiated, was just a sign of the general hysteria or hysterical way in which people are apt to express themselves when they speak of Communists or Communism today. If they felt more secure there would not be this hysterical attitude, and our relations not only with the Soviet Union but with satellite countries would be less tense.

* * *

No one, of course, can approve of the type of platform that Henry Wallace's Progressive party has written. Nor will many people join Mr. Wallace in his desire to see the Allies leave Berlin to the Russians. Only a very naive and innocent person would make such a suggestion. We must not only be firm, we must also be just and if we allow ourselves in this country to be hysterical we may lose our sense of justice.

For instance, it seems absurd that we are not trying to establish reciprocal visits in every possible field. It would be good to hold labor meetings in this country and have labor representatives from Communist nations visit us. We have nothing to lose. They are the ones who have been fooled and who may find that their government propaganda is not entirely trustworthy. And why should we not have artists, and actors and dancers invited to perform over here?

The only visitors that I can remember who have come from Russia during the last few years were a group of doctors and a few newspaper men. The flow should be much greater, and among the groups it would be well to have students in every category from high school to graduate students so that lawyers, doctors, scientists and engineers would have an opportunity to see life as it really is over here.

They would find many things they did not like. But, on the whole, it would not be the kind of life that has been presented to them in the movies, on the radio and through their press. Their criticisms might be useful and certainly these visitors from Communist countries would also find here the things that make up a free country.

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