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

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NEW YORK, Friday—I was sorry I did not hear Secretary of State Dean Acheson's speech on Wednesday night, but I read it with care and I hope everyone else has. The six main elements in the strategy for freedom are important for all of us to keep constantly in mind.

Mr. Acheson emphasized first the value of the United Nations, both as a symbol of what we hope to achieve in international understanding and as a practical bit of machinery to be used in taking day-by-day steps toward the building of a stable, international community. But he indicated clearly that the U.N. cannot be of real help to us unless we support it and strengthen it.

The second point he stressed was the building up of regional groupings within the framework of the U.N., such as the North Atlantic alliance and the Inter-American states organization. These groups, in growing closer together in understanding and through economic and military cooperation, strengthen their own mutual security and the security of all nations with the U.N.

The third element that he stressed in the strategy for freedom was the rapid building of our military strength at home and among our allies. That is a difficult thing to accomplish rapidly, and yet the more quickly we accomplish it the greater is our hope to preserve our freedom and to prevent another world war. Anyone who listened to the Chinese Communists or the Russians during the last few days, must realize that only superior strength will keep them from using their strength to gain the power that they wish to achieve.

Mr. Acheson's fourth point was economic cooperation. This perhaps is the most difficult point because with the strain of building military strength it is more difficult to think of economic cooperation. Yet it is only through such cooperation that we can hope to strengthen permanently the position of the free nations.

The fifth point is that we must be ready to negotiate in good faith with those who also are ready to negotiate in good faith. This means endless patience because we will have to try again and again and be prepared to meet many disappointments. Nevertheless, we must keep on, and state our case clearly and hope eventually to develop understanding that will force straightforward negotiation on both sides.

Lastly, Mr. Acheson stressed the value of example. He declared that it is not just our words that will count, but the way we live at home and act abroad. This will finally determine our influence. I sometimes think we do not need to reexamine our foreign policy as much as we need to reexamine our whole democratic objectives at home in the light of what we hope to achieve in the world as a whole.

All these elements enter into the strategy for freedom, and I like the Secretary's straightforward statement:

"No one can guarantee that war will not come. The present crisis is extremely serious. Whether reason will prevail is only partly for us to decide. We must hope and strive for the best while we prepare for the worst. This is a responsibility, not just of a few public officials, not just of the Congress, but of the whole American people."

E. R.


Names and Terms Mentioned or Referenced

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

About this document

My Day by Eleanor Roosevelt, December 2, 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.