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


NEW YORK, Tuesday—Our United States U. N. delegation meeting yesterday morning was saddened by the telegram announcing the death of Edward R. Stettinius, Jr.

Ambassador Warren Austin reminded all of us of the work that Mr. Stettinius had done to establish the United Nations. He recognized Mr. Stettinius' devoted service and his feeling for team work, which led him to set up the permanent organization of the United States mission to the United Nations so that it could function efficiently. I have long had a real affection and deep admiration for Mr. Stettinius.

The book that he recently wrote, "Roosevelt and the Russians," giving the history of the years when he was intimately connected with the foreign policy of the United States, will be of great value to any historian of the future.

It is a great loss to the country to lose so young and so able a man. I remember well how he pulled us together as a delegation at our first U. N. meeting in London. We had had very few delegation meetings until he took charge and then suddenly he called upon us to meet regularly with him. He gave us all a feeling that we knew the whole picture and that we were part of a team. I was particularly conscious of it, because, being a woman, I did not expect the same participation in that first meeting in London that I knew would be shared by the men. I was, therefore, grateful and appreciative when I found he called every member of the delegation.

Mr. Stettinius told me in London nearly two years ago of the hopes he had for doing something substantial for Liberia and perhaps of creating a pattern which might make the development of backward areas in the world a real benefit to the people in these areas. He had hoped that such development would bring enough return to everyone involved so there would be an incentive for governments to make concessions and for groups and individuals to invest their money. His ill health, I am sure, had made it impossible for him to realize his hopes. It is my wish that his associates may continue his work and carry some of his ideas to a successful conclusion. I am sure his plans were based not only on a practical businessman's evaluation of what should be done on a business basis, but also on a real desire to see the downtrodden peoples of the world given a better chance.

Mr. Stettinius served his country well as Under-Secretary of State and then as Secretary of State. His friends and associates will be shocked and grieved as I am at his loss. All of us, however, will want to express to his family our admiration for his accomplishments, our gratitude for his service and our sympathy in their great loss.

Death comes suddenly to many people nowadays, but when it comes to someone still in his prime, and with great ability to be of use, it is hard for some of us to understand why the Grim Reaper should not make its choice among less useful people. That is one of the mysteries that we may never understand but which we must accept. Perhaps it is meant to impress upon us that we, with our small vision, cannot possibly tell who are the useful people in the world and perhaps some of those whom we think of as less useful may fit better into the pattern of infinite wisdom than we know.

E. R.


Names and Terms Mentioned or Referenced

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

About this document

My Day by Eleanor Roosevelt, November 2, 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.