MAY 11, 1949
NEW YORK , Tuesday—I am glad the United States abstained in the vote of the United Nations Political Action Committee calling for resumption of full diplomatic relations with Spain, at least insofar as sending an ambassador is concerned. I know, of course, that in the 1946 U.N. declaration, condemning Franco's government, the condemnation was never against Spain or its people, but against the dictator who gained control of the Spanish government through the help of two other dictators—Hitler and Mussolini.
That resolution was passed in the hope that the people of Spain would be able to change their leadership. This has never been accomplished, so the real purpose for not having representation on the ambassadorial level was never achieved.
It is certainly not the intention of the United States or of any other nation to interfere in the affairs of the Spanish government, or to hurt the well-being of the people of Spain. Nevertheless, it does trouble me to see the majority of nations within the U.N. willing to accept any gesture that would seem to ignore the fact that this is the only one of the triumvirate of Fascist dictators who still remains in power. The people of Italy and Germany have a chance to build truly democratic nations. Whether they do so or not depends upon themselves. No sword hangs over their heads. Franco, being still in power, still wields the sword of Fascism over the heads of Spanish citizens who differ with him.
I hope this action taken by the Political Committee in the U.N. does not strengthen Franco's personal power. It is more or less of a moral victory for him even though there is not much chance of the resolution getting the necessary two-thirds majority when it goes before the General Assembly for approval. I congratulate our government for a stand on principle, even though I can quite well see that there are practical considerations which may have made this action seem not only reasonable but advisable to those nations who cast their votes in favor of a return to diplomatic relations.
I realize, too, that the question of admitting Spain to the specialized agencies may, with propriety, be brought up, and a good argument can be made in favor of having all nations in certain of the specialized agencies. In this manner the regulations agreed to by all will apply equally and would leave no nation in that area of interest outside of the controls established.
The ways left open to the nations of the world, however, who wish to show their disapproval of Franco seem to be lessened. If he can borrow the money he needs for economic purposes, if his diplomatic prestige is restored and he is recognized by the U.N. in some areas, sooner or later, it seems to me the world will forget any demarcations and the Fascist of yesterday will take his place on a level with the other leaders of the world.
I can understand the argument, which will undoubtedly be brought up, that there are within the U.N. certain governments recognized that are not truly democratic. But that does not seem to me to be a good argument for admitting more. I doubt if the action of the majority within the U.N. could benefit the people of Spain and I am sure it will increase the prestige of Generalissimo Franco.
(WORLD COPYRIGHT, 1949, BY UNITED FEATURE SYNDICATE, INC., REPRODUCTION IN WHOLE OR IN PART PROHIBITED.)
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About this document
My Day by Eleanor Roosevelt, May 11, 1949
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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