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

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HYDE PARK, Thursday—I listened last night, as I suppose did every other person in the country who has a radio, to the President's speech. I think it was good for each one of us to have the sequence of events recited step by step as they have occurred in Korea. It was such a clear picture of the difference between United States cooperation with the United Nations and USSR cooperation with the United Nations. It seems to me that the behaviour of the USSR is similar to that of an undisciplined child. If a child cannot get its own way, it frequently will go off and sulk and refuse to participate in what the other children are doing. Because the USSR could not get the admission of Communist China delegates and the expulsion of the Nationalist government delegates, they were not willing to continue to work within the organization, awaiting the day when the General Assembly meets and they could make their appeal to the General Assembly instead of to the Security Council alone.

The rehearsal of past history is also valuable because it shows that the United States took literally the fact that the South Koreans were not arming for an aggressive war, but were to be supplied only for the peace time purpose of policing. It is quite evident now that the North Koreans were equipped with material and trained for aggressive war. From the very beginning the United Nations has stated that its objective was a unified free government in Korea and, I think, we can take it for granted that this is still the objective of the United Nations. Therefore, it seems that we should reply, in answer to the offer made by Prime Minister Nehru of India, that until the North Koreans withdraw to the 38th parallel, it is impossible for peaceful negotiations to be carried on, but when that occurs we are ready to proceed with negotiations to achieve the U.N. objective of a unified and peaceful Korea.

The assertion by the USSR that they will only use their influence on the North Koreans for retirement after they have gained their objective—the recognition of the Chinese delegates in the United Nations—seems entirely unreasonable. That is a question which will come before the General Assembly of the United Nations for final settlement. It is hoped that the Soviets will take part in that session, and will put their point of view before the General Assembly, and the General Assembly can make the final decision.

It is clear that no satellite nation can bring any influence to bear on Politburo thinking at the present time, but perhaps the free nations of the world, if they unite, can have some influence. This morning one of our commentators said that he felt the present situation indicated clearly that the one world we hope for was now out of the question, and that day by day two worlds were developing. I do not think this is an inevitable development. It would be very unfortunate if it became permanent. I fully realize that in the present development of the Soviet Union we must be prepared for further Communist aggression, similar to their attack in Korea, in other parts of the world. And it is going to be a strain on the free world to accept uncertainty when they would like a sense of security. If all of us live up to our commitments, and remain at peace without any stirring up of latent difficulties, we can have security. However, it may be a good thing for uncertainty to exist for it may stir us to building strength within the United Nations, and to getting firm commitments on certain essentials in the use of weapons of destruction.

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 21, 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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Transcription created from a photocopy of a UFS wire copy of a My Day column instance archived at the Franklin D. Roosevelt Library.