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

[This column has emendations. View original version]


NEW YORK, Thursday—The whole question of China and our policy in China is of such paramount importance at the present time that it is disappointing to find a group of newspapers, which ordinarily has a sense of public responsibility, writing a main editorial on this subject and centering its attention entirely on an attack on one individual.

Whether our foreign policy is good or bad, whether our handling of nations in the Far East in this complicated period has been wise or unwise, is a question the events of years to come will have to answer. It cannot be answered by an attack on the American spokesman for the U.S. delegation who has had this particular subject of China in his charge.

I am sure that the gentleman who wrote this editorial wants to be completely fair. Nevertheless, he has put what ought to be an objective discussion on a personal level. So, before one can begin discussing the subject one must get rid of the attack made on the individual.

Taking for granted that the whole truth and nothing but the truth is what the editorial writers of this great chain of papers really want, let us review first of all the question raised on the American Council of the Institute of Pacific Relations. Because some names have been found in the membership that are distinctly left–wing, it is implied that these were close associates of Dr. Philip C. Jessup. Dr. Jessup was chairman only from 1939 to 1940. Newton D. Baker, former Secretary of War, was chairman from 1932 to 1935. The late Professor Carl L. Alsberg was chairman from 1935 to 1938.

Dr. Jessup was succeeded by Dr. Ray Lyman Wilbur, president of Stanford University, who served for one year and was succeeded by President Robert G. Sproul of the University of California, who is still the chairman. I wonder if all these men were close associates of the left-wingers named in the editorial?

The 1946 list of the Board of Trustees for this Institute is not exactly a list of Communists. It includes such people as Dr. Charles F. Gamble, director of Standard Vacuum Oil Company of New York; Henry F. Grady, president of the American President Lines, and a number of other well-known men.

The letter to the New York Times of February 16, 1946, which is mentioned in the editorial, was a suggested general policy in regard to the production of atom bombs during the preliminary period of discussion of the regulation of atomic energy within the United Nations. It proposed, among other things, maintaining atomic piles in a standby condition for a period of a year while international negotiations were under way. That was before Bernard M. Baruch's report. Since Mr. Baruch's plan was promulgated a steady American front has been maintained back of that report, and Dr. Jessup is one of those who has maintained it.

The fact that an article appeared in a publication under Dr. Jessup's general direction does not, of necessity, mean that he agreed with the article. Many editors allow the publication of articles that express the writer's point of view and not their own.

There is certainly some confusion also in this editorial about Dr. Jessup's affiliation with the National Emergency Conference for Democratic Rights and the Co-ordinating Committee to Lift the Embargo—on Red Spain.

If this refers to a letter signed jointly with C. C. Burlingham, the letter contained a legal argument sustaining the position taken by Henry L. Stimson in a letter to the New York Times of January 23, 1939. This letter was published by the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace in "International Conciliation" #348, of March 1939, page 142. Mr. Stimson's letter on the same subject appears in the same publication, page 117.

With this full information it makes it rather difficult to agree with the conclusion arrived at in the editorial, which reads: "Here at best, we have the picture of a confused liberal, feeling his way around in circles and often finding himself in questionable company. Certainly it is not the record of a man who should be chosen to formulate anything with such tremendous potentialities as an American policy for the Far East."

My opinion is probably of little importance, but I have a big stake in the future. I have 17 grandchildren and one great-grandchild growing up in this country, and I can only say that I am happy to trust Dr. Jessup with the making of any policy knowing that he will find good advisers and weigh their advice with care.

E. R.


Names and Terms Mentioned or Referenced

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About this document

My Day by Eleanor Roosevelt, December 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.