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

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PARIS, Wednesday—Almost every speaker during these early sessions of the United Nations General Assembly emphasizes that the people of the world want peace. What, then, is the reason for the difficulties that arise among the governments?

As you listen to the senior delegates speak on atomic control, the use of the veto, participation in the European Recovery Program, and the general question of whether the U.N. can accomplish its high purpose of drawing the governments of the world together in an effort to preserve world peace, a pattern seems to form before you.

Our Secretary of State, George C. Marshall, spoke with evident sincerity, calmly and with restraint, and he stated the situations that exist without any exaggeration or vituperation. His speech was dignified and conciliatory.

Later, Andrei Y. Vishinsky, Deputy Foreign Minister of Russia, answered, or rather spoke, for the U.S.S.R. He made a far less vituperative speech than the one he delivered last year, but nevertheless he made a strong attack upon the United States, and that was his central theme.

Near the end of his speech Mr. Vishinsky made recommendations for a reduction in arms among the Big Five powers and the prohibition of atomic weapons. The sad part of this for me was that this delegate from a great nation, whose representatives supposedly are so highly trained and so highly intelligent, could have spent the last two years in going over reports of the work done on atomic energy and now, apparently in good faith, could come before the General Assembly with a proposal to do away with atomic bombs, without even touching on the real problem that control of atomic energy must be at its source.

Atomic bombs are secondary if you do not control the source of atomic energy, and if you do not agree to a universal plan of inspection there is no use in destroying such bombs as exist. You have created no security for the people of the world.

Mr. Vishinsky must know this, and so one must conclude that either he does not wish to accept it and hopes to confuse the rest of the world on this subject or that to him anything is better than allowing an international group to have the right of inspection within his country.

It is curious that the nation that seems so suspicious of other countries should not realize that their own security is greater when an international body inspects all nations. The Russians do not have to trust anyone else in the world. They only have to be sure that the inspection body is international and that it inspects everyone in the same way.

Mr. Vishinsky suggested that the United States would control such an international body. But how can we convince him that there is no reason why the U.S. should control it since it is in the interests of every nation to insure their own security and to do so an impartial inspection of everyone is essential.

I cannot help hoping, however, that in Committee Three all of us, no matter how deeply we feel on any subject, will learn to say whatever we feel must be said as briefly as possible. In the past a number of nations have felt that they must utilize the forum offered by the General Assembly to Committee Three to tell of the perfections of their own country.

It is a great temptation, I know. Many delegates feel that their fellow delegates have to listen when they have the floor. I can only say that I would like to suggest that when any of us feels the need for telling our neighbors about opportunities for labor or medical services or what-have-you, we should reduce them to writing and have them passed around to our colleagues.

If we can sternly keep ourselves in hand and speak only on questions that are before us and refrain from attacking each other as governments or as individual representatives of our governments, I have hope that we will cover the many and intricate subjects before us.

Thus, we may be able to present a report to the General Assembly containing our recommendation for the acceptance of a declaration on human rights, a convention on freedom of information and a variety of other points, all of which are of interest and importance to the peoples of the world.

E. R.


Names and Terms Mentioned or Referenced

  • United Nations. General Assembly [ index ]
         [ LC | ISNI | VIAF | Wikidata | SNAC | FAST ]
  • United Nations. General Assembly. Third Committee on Social, Humanitarian and Cultural Affairs [ index ]
         [ VIAF ]
  • Paris (France) [ index ]
Other Terms and Topics

About this document

My Day by Eleanor Roosevelt, September 30, 1948

Roosevelt, Eleanor, 1884-1962
[ ERPP bio | LC | VIAF | WorldCat | DPLA | Wikidata | SNAC ]

Digital edition created by The Eleanor Roosevelt Papers Project The George Washington University 312 Academic Building 2100 Foxhall Road, NW Washington, DC 20007

  • Brick, Christopher (Editor)
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  • Regenhardt, Christy (Associate Editor)
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  • Black, Allida M. (Editor)
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  • Binker, Mary Jo (Associate Editor)
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  • Alhambra, Christopher C. (Electronic Text Editor)
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Digital edition published 2008, 2017 by
The Eleanor Roosevelt Papers Project

Available under licence from the Estate of Anna Eleanor Roosevelt.

Published with permission from the Estate of Anna Eleanor Roosevelt.

MEP edition publlished on June 30, 2008.

TEI-P5 edition published on April 28, 2017.

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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.