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

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NEW YORK, Friday—I am beginning to think that it is necessary for all of us in the United States to speak in our capacity as private citizens and emphasize the fact that we in this nation want peace.

The Soviet Union has arrogated to itself the position of the great nation wanting peace against whom other nations demonstrate continued antagonism. This is exactly the opposite to the truth.

Since the end of the war, by insisting on internal changes in a number of nations on her borders, the Soviet Union has practically taken under its control a large portion of Eastern Europe. It is true that of late Yugoslavia has shown some independence toward Soviet dictation, but at least in its relationship to other nations in the United Nations the Yugoslav vote can always be counted on as a USSR vote.

The realities of the situation are that Russia, while professing a desire for peace, has actually shown by its actions that it intended to control as many nations as possible by imposing on them Communist ideas and, in some cases, Communist economy, as well as the same type of police state which at present governs Russia itself.

To the democracies of the West this type of dominating and influencing governments seems just as menacing as any other kind of victory. Many countries want peace, but they prefer to have their own citizens allowed to decide on what changes shall occur within their nation. They do not want dictation from other nations. The result is that, for their own security, they feel certain types of understanding are necessary to prevent the kind of aggression that has been going on.

I know of no individual in this country who really wants war. Soviet Russia knows, as well as do all other nations, that it is the privilege and perhaps the duty of all nations in their military installations to plan for the possibility of attack. But every high military official who has seen war, from General Marshall and General Eisenhower down, looks upon his job as a job to insure security and not to prepare for aggression.

The Atlantic Pact was signed for just that purpose. It is designed to prevent aggression and to give the democracies that have joined together a sense of security without which no nation can meet the needs of rehabilitation that so many face as a result of the last war.

It may be that much of the attitude of the Soviets has been occasioned by the fear of aggression from the United States. And perhaps the recent declaration that the atom bomb is held in reserve in case of need will increase their suspicions and their fears. It is for this reason that I think we, as citizens, should speak out and repeat what I know to be true: the people of the United States and their government have no antagonism for any people in the world.

We dislike war and we are a friendly people, with goodwill for all nations. Therefore, with a moderate amount of goodwill shown us by Russia, I feel sure we could establish relationships that would lead to mutual benefits.

E. R.


Names and Terms Mentioned or Referenced

  • New York (N.Y., United States) [ index ]

About this document

My Day by Eleanor Roosevelt, April 9, 1949

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.