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

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NEW YORK, Wednesday—Our discussion yesterday in the United Nations General Assembly centered about the subject that is not new to anyone who has served on Committee 3. Each year since the war the Social Commission has discussed the value of the continuation of certain social services that were furnished by UNRRA and have been continued ever since, but always on a year-by-year basis.

This year the Economic and Social Council has recommended to us a resolution that will put these services on a continuing basis. That does not mean that, given a decision on the part of the General Assembly that the need for them had ceased to exist, they could not be brought to an end. It does mean that there is a general recognition that it is better to base them now on the supposition, at least, that they are going to continue for some time to come.

A great deal of participation has been built up with the different countries, so that the appropriation of $675,000 made by the United Nations has been considerably augmented by the contributions or the services given by countries themselves. There are countries who both give and receive assistance.

For instance, they ask for experts in several fields, but they also may provide experts to go to other countries. The demand for films has very much increased in the last few years. These are, of course, technical and educational films. There has been an increase in the provision of materials and demonstrations for certain social projects, for instance, in the field of prosthetic appliances.

Fellowships have been granted to people appointed by their governments for graduate study in certain areas of social work, and seminar have been held. There seems now to be a general recognition of the value of these services, not only to meet the ravages of war but on a continuing basis to meet unforeseen needs in the social field under normal conditions.

I was happy to read that the President had vetoed the bill that seemed to promise something to the Navaho and Hopi Indian tribes, but which would have done them much harm. I was even more happy, however, to see that he promised in the coming year to try to get Congress to actually do something tangible for the various Indian tribes.

As long as these tribes stay on their reservations they are wards of the United States Government and it is not to our credit that their sanitary and educational facilities have been so poor. When the Indians leave their reservations and try to seek employment elsewhere, of course, they are no longer wards but citizens.

Even though they are wards of the country, many of them volunteered to fight in our wars, and it would be to our credit to take a greater interest in permitting those who wished to do so to continue their tribal and cultural patterns while on their reservations. And we should help those who leave the reservations to do so under the most favorable conditions possible.

Our committee work in the General Assembly is moving along reasonably well, but I was told today that Committee 2 would be through by next week! I think many of us will be marking time toward the end, waiting for some of the committees, whose agendas are still burdened by political, legal and financial questions, to find some solutions before the end of the session.

E. R.


Names and Terms Mentioned or Referenced

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

About this document

My Day by Eleanor Roosevelt, October 20, 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.