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My Day by Eleanor Roosevelt

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PARIS, Friday—It is interesting to note that whereas up to the last few days the United States was considered to be the firmest in its stand on international affairs, since the speeches of British Foreign Secretary Ernest Bevin and Belgian Premier Paul-Henri Spaak there is a feeling that they have taken a much firmer stand even than the U.S.

There is more and more evidence in committee work here that there is a growing solidarity in the world on more than one subject. And there also is a general feeling that the minority position occupied by the Russians is due to misconceptions and fears rather than to real convictions.

* * *

In the Paris edition of the New York Herald Tribune I read a quotation from a speech made by Henry Wallace a few days ago, which read: "There is an illusion of unity among the United States, Great Britain and France which really does not exist. It is a unity of Governments, not of the people."

I do not know to whom Mr. Wallace talked when he travelled in Great Britain and France, but I personally think there is a greater division possible between the three Governments mentioned than there is among the people. I would judge from casual conversations with people whom I have met in both Britain and France that there perhaps is more understanding among us than ever before.

The French people know they helped the United States in her Revolution many years ago, and it is easy to like people whom you have assisted. It also is a very good thing to have a background of history when you are in a position where you have to accept help from those whom you once assisted. The French people listen to speeches. They are well informed and thoughtful on situations confronting us all.

The British, I find as a rule, still consider us, in spite of our Revolution and so-called peculiar ways, as somehow connected with their family of nations. And though we may be more severe on our families than we are where strangers are concerned, still when danger threatens the ranks are quickly closed. And when Mr. Wallace goes on to say that—concerning the latest accusations against Russia—in case this conflict is ignited, the British people will not be our loyal allies as in times past, one wants to ask him what leads him to such a strange conclusion.

There always are things we do not like about the British, and there are things that they do not like about us, and on both sides we keep doing things that irritate each other. But to say that we would not be firm allies in any situation that might arise between us and the Soviet Union shows a complete and utter lack of understanding both of the people and their leaders.

There are no people on earth—and I mean the average people—who want war. And I think that the people of the world are beginning to be well educated as to the rights and wrongs of most of the questions now arising among nations, and that is one of the great advantages of the United Nations. It provides a forum where people may speak and be heard by other peoples of the world.

* * *

I already have had a number of letters from the United States on the subject of the late Count Folke Bernadotte's report and suggestions for a possible settlement of the Palestine problem.

The U.N. mediator, who was slain on September 17, presented this report as a basis for negotiation, and I, for one, hope it may be used in just that way, and that the Arabs and Jews may be brought together to try to settle peacefully the questions of territory, of final protection and of a government for the holy city of Jerusalem.

Possibly no one will be fully satisfied in the end, but I feel that if a real truce can exist and the two peoples can realistically bargain together, something may be worked out that will be mutually accepted.

E. R.


Names and Terms Mentioned or Referenced

  • Paris (France) [ index ]
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About this document

My Day by Eleanor Roosevelt, October 2, 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.