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

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NEW YORK, Thursday—In the heat of a political campaign almost anything a candidate wishes to say seems to be accepted by his followers! On the other hand, some of the things said at the New York Herald Tribune Forum Tuesday night seemed to deal in a world that has forgotten political realities. For instance, Senator Henry Cabot Lodge, Jr., Republican of Massachusetts, called on his party to enter boldly on a civil rights program where "the Democrats are weak, faltering, apologetic and divided."

Now it is true that there is a division on certain subjects between the Democrats in Congress coming from certain Southern states and the Democrats from other parts of the country. One subject is the civil rights question.

The President of the United States, who is a Democrat, has proposed to Congress a civil rights program, however, that was drawn up on a bipartisan basis. This program could be passed at any time if the Republicans would actually cooperate in doing so. Unfortunately the Republicans usually line up with that small portion of Southern reactionary Democrats and make it impossible to pass progressive legislation, such as that embodied in the civil rights program.

Therefore, when a young and energetic Senator such as Mr. Lodge proposes that this is one of the fields where his party would be preeminently successful, one has to smile and wonder why they haven't acted that way in the past. Words are never as efficacious as deeds!

The difference between words and deeds is evident also in the international field. I have had a number of letters lately which indicate that some people are confused by the words of the Soviet Union. These words do not always square with their deeds.

My correspondents insist that Russia has been willing to outlaw the use of the atom bomb and to submit to inspection. They fail to understand that this whole plan is more complicated than merely putting a few words down on paper. We have to work out, practically, ways of achieving our ends.

In the United States proposal it was planned that the ownership of the materials from which atom bombs are made should be in the hands of the United Nations and not in the hands of any individual nation. The Soviets insist that this is an invasion of the rights of sovereign states.

But, unless we give up some of these sovereign rights, there will be no security for any nation. In addition, the disarming and turning over of such power as lies in the hands of the individual nations today must be done by gradual stages. It is practically impossible to do it at one fell swoop.

The Soviet would have us in one document outlaw the use of the atom bomb and in another simultaneously turn over immediately without waiting for the proof that the power is actually to lie in the hands of the United Nations, the individual atomic strength which now lies in the hands of individual nations. Our plan was carefully evolved on the most practical basis. The Soviet plans always have been high-sounding words, but not very practical in their detailed development.

It is time that we stopped being so easily fooled, that we got over approaching this subject with fear. It is a practical business proposition that should insure for all of us more security in the future if done in the way the United States has suggested.

E. R.


Names and Terms Mentioned or Referenced

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About this document

My Day by Eleanor Roosevelt, October 28, 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.