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

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WASHINGTON, Sunday—I must say I was somewhat surprised the other day to read that both Senator Taft and Senator McCarran feel we should return our ambassadors to Spain. Evidently they have no objection to giving Franco a leg up in the world. Their argument is that if we have representatives in Moscow, we should have them in Spain.

But I can see very little sense to that. Russia is a member of the United Nations. Certainly we hope that, as the years go by, the mere continuation of her contacts there will improve her understanding of the real objectives of the rest of the world. She was also our ally in the war; she fought against Fascism.

It is true that to us there seems very little difference between the totalitarianism of Communism and of Fascism. Yet as long as the USSR is in the United Nations, she has bound herself to do certain things, and we should do our level best to make her understand that we do not want war; that we want better understanding on her part of our objectives, and that we will not try to encroach on her territory. We want cooperation, but no interference in the democracies; and neither will we interfere with her form of government at home.

Spain, however, is another matter. That two of our senators should think it wise to accept a man who openly backed Hitler and Mussolini, and who accepted their help in getting control of the Spanish government, seems to me strange beyond words.

To explain that in case of war Spain would be in a strategic position, and that we would need her, seems to put us in an even more curious position. In the first place, we are working for peace and not for war. That is what the Atlantic Pact is designed for. In the second place, we could not trust a Hitler, or Spain controlled by a Hitler, in a future war any more than we could in the last.

I am distressed, too, that Senator McCarran, in considering the immigration bill, is not taking into account what I believe is an important point. We naturally want no people here as permanent citizens who are not in sympathy with our ideals. Yet neither do we want to enact laws which will make it impossible for visitors, even those from countries behind the Iron Curtain, to come here and see what a democracy is really like. How do we expect to persuade people that democracies are good and trustworthy, if they are completely cut off from them? We are doing exactly what we condemn in the Soviet Union.

Surely, when we know the people who come to us as visitors—whether they are correspondents or members of the United Nations delegations—we do not have to rely on such testimony as was made in Senator McCarran's committee. It is obvious that U.S. representatives sent here as delegates by Tito certainly are loyal to Tito and are not working for the Cominform and the Moscow government. That is really a fantastic kind of testimony to hear in a Senate committee. I would far rather listen to a reliable member of our own FBI, who certainly will know what activities any visitors in our country engage in.

This whole question needs clear and farsighted thinking. Blind fear of Communism is not going to help us to settle on wise immigration laws.

E. R.


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About this document

My Day by Eleanor Roosevelt, May 16, 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.