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

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NEW YORK, Thursday—That was a curious move on the part of Soviet Foreign Minister, Andrei Y. Vishinsky, to call a press conference to tell the American press how he felt about a family quarrel. After all, it is a difficulty between the U.S.S.R. and the Yugoslavs that has caused the inability of the Russians to accept Yugoslavia's candidacy for the Security Council. A short time ago they would have welcomed any one of their satellites.

Today Yugoslavia is still a Communist country. All she is trying to explain to the Soviet Union is that while she agrees with communism and votes on practically every subject from the communistic point of view, she still feels she must have the liberty to carry out certain programs at her own pace and in her own way.

It is a good deal to expect, even in a satellite country, that they accept dictation from a central government on every minor item. Even in a federation of countries, those countries must occasionally express some individuality, just as in a federation of states, such as the United States, we find that occasionally there is a divergence of opinion.

Last autumn right here at home a whole group of states decided they felt differently from the rest on one specific subject, and their difference creates certain problems for the country. The Soviet Union is having a somewhat similar problem with Yugoslavia. It doesn't seem to me anything to get much excited about. Just one of those things that must be worked out over a period of time through cooperation and understanding.

If you are driving a pair of spirited horses, you learn to give them their heads now and then and not always try to restrain them. You don't want to break their spirit; you want them to cooperate with you. That's a lesson perhaps that the central government of any group of independent states has to learn.

The effort Mr. Vishinsky made to make it appear that anyone who voted for Yugoslavia instead of Czechoslovakia for a seat on the Security Council was committing an unforgivable sin against the Soviet Union seems to me ludicrous.

The Yugoslavs decided to be candidates. Czechoslovakia was put forward by the Russians. The other countries have a right to vote for whichever candidate they choose without its being considered something that shows antagonism to the government of the Soviet Union.

It is a pleasant thing to find that Russia, which so frequently attacks our United States press, can still use it on occasion and trust it sufficiently to call the reporters together and make a statement and count on it being reported correctly. I am sure the press will be glad of Mr. Vishinsky's words of praise toward the end of his interview.

I cannot say that I have noticed that the announcement that the Soviet government was able to make atomic bombs has created any great change in the tone of the articles written in our press. Mr. Vishinsky says: "I discern more objectivity and sobriety in the press; the war psychosis has waned."

Perhaps, sir, this is the time to state again that the United States has never thought to use the bomb as a threat of war. It has always hoped that it would be an inducement to peace.

E. R.


Names and Terms Mentioned or Referenced

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

About this document

My Day by Eleanor Roosevelt, October 21, 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.