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

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HYDE PARK, Monday—There has been a great deal of talk of late about the South Korean government not being satisfactory to the South Koreans.

Let us face honestly the fact that the drawing of the 38th parallel and dividing North from South Korea made it impossible for any government to be entirely satisfactory to the citizens of South Korea.

For economic prosperity both parts of the country need each other—the industrial North needs the agricultural South and vice versa. Therefore, when a separate government was set up in South Korea it was almost inevitable that it should be somewhat unsatisfactory, since its economic problems were enormous, and could not be solved except through outside aid which had to be furnished by the United States.

It is possible, of course, that the people of South Korea do not understand too well what the difficulties of Syngman Rhee's government have been. I begin to think that a great deal of the apparent discontent which has been expressed, is not real discontent but communist propaganda cleverly planted in places where it will do the most harm. And so endeavoring to prove that the United States is backing a reactionary government which the people are not wholeheartedly behind.

A number of accounts, however, which I have read seem to refute this propaganda, and one begins to wonder whether the South Koreans are not just suffering from lack of modern arms and war equipment.

Accounts are beginning to leak out which tell of units that have fought with extreme bravery and tenacity; one also finds people of this country who have known Syngman Rhee during his exile from Korea, and have been familiar with the Korean picture over a number of years who say that, given proper equipment and time, it is more than likely that the whole of Korea would be quite content to be under his presidency.

I have a letter which says: "One more point I should like to mention in passing, is that communism seems to be a Pied Piper that is indirectly influencing quite a number of our young people. Don't you think it might be a good idea for our colleges and high schools to have some sort of compulsory one year course comparing Marxism with democracy (their promises and their actual results), and requiring that some such book as 'I Chose Freedom' be read during the course?"

This is an interesting suggestion, I don't know how many of our young people would be allowed to take such a course since there is such a wave of fear on the subject of communism, that I have a feeling it might be difficult for teachers to try to start explaining the facts on Marxism and democracy to their pupils.

I remember one parent who objected strenuously to the authorities in charge of the school attended by his 17-year-old son. The boy was given Robert Sherwood's book "Roosevelt and Hopkins" to read, which, said the gentleman, was a communist book and he did not wish his offspring to be taught communism!

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, August 15, 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.