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


HYDE PARK, Monday—I want to talk a little more today about the Point Four program. Yesterday I spoke of the advantages to other nations, so today I want to consider the advantages to the United States.

People in the world who are so poor that they live from hand to mouth, have very little need of our manufactured goods. They cannot possibly buy anything which we offer them. Their pennies go for food, inadequate shelter and taxation. So, it is the people who have obtained a slightly higher standard on whom we must depend to take that little extra margin of production, which makes a difference to us between prosperity and hardship.

We can keep our own high standards of living if other people in the world, who never had a chance to want things, begin to have that chance and to want them and can get them. They will work hard to obtain them once they know how much pleasanter life can be.

When you are asked to take an interest in the Point Four program you are asked of course, to understand the fact that we have become the nation in the world on whom all other nations depend. We didn't want that position, but we have it now. As a result, we do have to think about what is happening to the other nations of the world, but that does not mean we think any less about our own conditions at home.

This Point Four program is not just a name given to some plan which does not concern you or me in our everyday lives, it is vital to us all. There are occasions when money may have to be spent on things that you might think had no bearing on future economic conditions. For instance, it might be necessary to put on a campaign against malaria in a particular area, which the World Health Organization would be asked to do, and your money would go into that. But the success of the Point Four program, if such an instance arose, would depend on this because men and women with malaria cannot do satisfactory work.

I remember being told that during World War II, when we were building airfields in certain countries, and where the health of the people was badly impaired by lack of nutrition, our engineers found that extra pay was not what those people needed, but, by giving them one square meal a day doubled their capacity for work in three weeks time.

So you see the Point Four program may be tied to some things that are not always strictly economic, but they all serve the same purpose and they must be meshed together if we are going to be successful in meeting the problems of the world.

Korea or no Korea, these things have to be done, and we should be telling our Senators that cuts in the appropriation for Point Four are not what we want. We want people to stand on their own feet and fight for a free world.

E. R.


Names and Terms Mentioned or Referenced

  • Hyde Park (Dutchess County, N.Y., United States) [ index ]

About this document

My Day by Eleanor Roosevelt, July 18, 1950

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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MEP edition publlished on June 30, 2008.

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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.