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

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NEW YORK, Monday—No citizen of the United States can read what comes through to us from London as a translation of Marshal Alexander M. Vassilevsky's May Day Order, which was broadcast to the Soviet Armed Forces, without a feeling of some surprise. He again stated the oft-repeated accusation that the North Atlantic Pact represents a serious threat to peace, and that the Soviet government is expressing "the basic interests of the peoples of the Soviet Union" by persistently pursuing a "policy of peace and friendship among the peoples and resolutely exposes the instigators of war."

Not long ago I read a very scholarly summary of Premier Stalin's writings, which was brought up to date, and in those writings there is repeated the basic belief in a world revolution and conversion of all the peoples of the world to Communism and an acceptance of the fact that this must be done by force.

It seems somewhat ostrich-like for the Soviet Union to reiterate these teachings and beliefs and yet expect the world at large to believe that it is the Soviet Union which is looking for a peaceful world.

Every one of us accepts any sign of willingness to study or to meet on a friendly basis with the other nations of the world, in the hope that such meetings may lead to better understanding and thence lead to a basic change in the thinking of the Soviet government. So far no one in authority in the Soviet Union has ever suggested that any such basic change had taken place and for the most part the aloofness of Soviet representatives outside of Russia makes it somewhat difficult for representatives of other nations to feel that any greater understanding is coming about.

As firmly as the Soviets call the Atlantic Pact a menace to peace, so the democracies call it a purely defensive pact designed to prevent aggression. Both sides evidently believe what they say and neither side listens to the other! The proof, of course, will be forthcoming in time, as we watch the way in which the democracies use the Atlantic treaty. I have a feeling that as far as the United States is concerned every effort will be made to make this agreement one to insure peace.

One significant line in the Soviet broadcast reads: "A new war which ruling circles in the United States want to unleash."

I realize that this impression might be held by Soviet representatives, if they believed all that they see and hear in this country either in the press or over the radio. No one, however, can live long in this country and not come to understand how very unrepresentative of the real thinking of government people, or of influential people in any circles, certain newspapers and radio commentators may be.

I cannot believe, even with the isolation which Soviet representatives impose upon themselves, that they do not learn a little bit more about the way the people of this country bring their influence to bear upon their government officials and the men in their midst who represent great private interests. The opinion of the people does make itself heard in a democracy. The Soviets should begin to recognize that fact and give up repeating to their people that they are the only government striving for peace. The rest of us want peace, too!

E. R.


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About this document

My Day by Eleanor Roosevelt, May 3, 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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MEP edition publlished on June 30, 2008.

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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.