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

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PARIS, Tuesday—On Sunday night as the America neared the end of her journey and the green landscape of Ireland came into view, one could sense from the reaction of the passengers the many ties that many of us in the United States have with this old continent of Europe. On the whole, in spite of gray skies nearly all the way, we had no really rough weather. For this we can thank Capt. John W. Anderson, who showed great wisdom and consideration and seamanship in avoiding the path of the hurricane that threatened the east coast of the U.S. last week and then veered out to sea.

* * *

A few nights ago aboard ship I listened to a talk given by the very able James B. Carey, national secretary of the C.I.O. We had gone together to answer questions from a group of international students—some of which were our own young men and women going over to study in Europe and some of which were Europeans who had completed studies in the U.S. and were returning home.

One of the American youngsters raised the question as to whether recipients of aid under the Marshall Plan, as individual nations, would not, of necessity, feel an obligation toward the United States. He asked if it were wise to institute the plan outside the United Nations.

Mr. Carey pointed out that certain nations—Italy, for example—would not be able to participate in the European Recovery Plan if the project was administered as part of the U.N. program. Italy has been kept out of the U.N. group.

He then went on to point out that no European country need to feel unduly grateful toward the United States, since our country was built by the sons and daughters of these countries. Their work has made us the strongest nation in the world, and he maintained, we are now returning to the mother countries of old Europe some of the fruits of their children's labor.

One boy remarked that he "well might take help from my family where I wouldn't take it from strangers for fear of being beholden to them."

But perhaps if the peoples of the countries of Europe who today are receiving rehabilitation aid can think that it is because of what they have given to the United States that she is now able to invest in their recovery, fully confident that in the end this policy will bring her repayment, then on both sides there may be a greater willingness to receive and more willingness to give.

* * *

News of the assassination of Count Folke Bernadotte was a shock to all of us aboard ship, especially those of us who are so closely tied to the U.N. and its work. How anyone could think that action of this kind would help in resolving the Palestine situation is beyond my comprehension.

Our ship's newspaper stated that the Stern group boasted about having done this deed of violence and gave as its reason that Bernadotte was helping the British. That makes no sense at all to me or to a lot of other people.

If there is to be no protection and no consideration of the persons who undertake to try to bring about peaceful settlements of difficulties, then it is going to be extremely difficult in the future to find anyone to accept what, at best, are thankless tasks.

The young Israeli Government must find this a hard blow. Nevertheless, I think that it will prove itself strong enough to dominate what is, in essence, an outlaw group. But such acts as this, which are a manifestation of a divided people, will not strengthen the cause of this young nation before the world. It seems supreme stupidity for a people to fight among themselves when they should unite against the common enemy and strive to give their friends the feeling of a nation that is strong because of its unity.

I feel sorry that such leaders as Mr. Chaim Weizmann and the fine and responsible men and women who are struggling to gain recognition for their new state in the family of nations have to deal with such ruthless stupidity.

E. R.


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About this document

My Day by Eleanor Roosevelt, September 22, 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 2008-06-30

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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.