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

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PARIS, Tuesday—Former Secretary of the Treasury Henry Morgenthau arrived from the United States on Saturday, and I was delighted to see him. It made me feel a little nearer to home.

Mr. Morgenthau had one of those little difficulties that one occasionally encounters on plane trips. His plane flew from New York to Paris in 13 hours, but on arriving here discovered it could not land because of weather conditions. It continued on to Geneva, Switzerland, where the passengers stayed over a few hours and then returned to Paris when the fog lifted.

He walked into my sitting room at the hotel for dinner, bearing a bouquet of lovely red roses and some Swiss chocolates and, more important, last Friday's New York City newspapers. It was a joy to see again the full editions of the papers.

Lack of newsprint here has made condensation of the news a necessity, but it is quite extraordinary what can be done in the very excellent papers one gets over here. One thing that interests me in the French newspapers is that they are extremely well written and they give considerable space to book and play reviews and to intellectual interests generally.

The major part of the limited space, however, is devoted to economic conditions and the political measures that have taken place largely in connection with these conditions. For instance, in this country right now coal is of paramount importance. They are still having a coal strike, the basis of which may largely lie in the struggle that goes on constantly for domination by certain groups in the government. Efforts also are being made to curtail the black market in food, and much space is devoted to the high food prices, for they loom large in the people's thoughts at present.

* * *

From my full New York City newspapers of last Friday I have gained a little better picture of the speeches being made by the Presidential candidates at home. Naturally, they do not get much space in the papers here. Nevertheless, I have found that the people here are vitally interested whether our policies, which affect our actions as regards the rest of the world, will be changed by what happens in the political field at home. I think the people on this continent are impressed by the fact that there will be no change whatever.

The fact that the United States U.N. delegation is a bipartisan delegation, with such as John Foster Dulles and Secretary of State Marshall acting together, does give the people here a certain confidence. However, it will be well for all of us when the elections in the United States are over and the governments of the world begin to feel that the heads of our government speak no longer as candidates trying to win votes for their side in an election race.

* * *

I don't think anything points up the liberty of an individual and the freedom of speech in democracies better than the recent incident of the British atomic scientist. He was quoted in the press as being opposed to his own country's policy, and he did not hesitate to say that the Soviet Union would be foolish to accept the United States proposals for the control of atomic energy.

He gave as his reason the fact that he does not think atom bombs will be particularly effective weapons against the great powers and he feels that Russia will be more hampered in the development of atomic energy for industrial purposes than will be the U.S. This is because, he says, the U.S. may not wish to develop this power as quickly, not having as great a need for it at the present time as have the Russians.

Under the inspection plan, he claims, the Russians would have to pinpoint the locations of military and heavy industry plants, which would give the United Nations inspectors, and hence the American Chiefs of Staff, a fairly complete target map of the Soviet Union.

For very insufficient reasons, it seems to me, he concludes that even though the United States would have to give the same information, Russia would not profit by it so much. And he seems to overlook entirely the fact that development of atomic energy and control would not be in the hands of any individual country but in the hands of a United Nations Authority, so that no country could hold it back at will.

He throws doubt upon whether Russia would have any positive assurance that the U.S. would destroy all its atomic bombs even though the U.S.S.R. carried out all the conditions the plan demands. This presupposes an insufficient and inefficient inspection system. The great value of a United Nations inspection force would be that all the people of the world would be equally guaranteed from fear of each other and might therefore learn to act with greater confidence and cooperation, since the United Nations would guarantee their security.

E. R.


Names and Terms Mentioned or Referenced

  • Paris (France) [ index ]
Other Terms and Topics
  • Atomic bomb
         [ LC | FAST ]
  • Coal
         [ LC | Wikidata | FAST ]
  • Freedom of speech
         [ LC | Wikidata | FAST ]
  • Hunger
         [ LC | Wikidata | FAST ]
  • Nuclear energy
         [ LC | FAST ]
  • Presidents--Election--1948
  • Press
         [ LC | FAST ]
  • Soviet Union--Government
  • United States. Delegation to the General Assembly of the United Nations
         [ LC | VIAF | FAST ]

About this document

My Day by Eleanor Roosevelt, October 20, 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

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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.