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


HYDE PARK, Wednesday—Christmas Day has come and gone and perhaps the best Christmas present any of us had was the fact that no big Communist offensive was started on Christmas Day. We were all much relieved, I think, to feel that the men who had fought their way to Hungnam had managed to be taken off and would now be landing in South Korea and available to strengthen our forces below the 38th parallel.

One can only feel deep gratitude that so many of our men have been saved. Now when the offensive, which we are constantly expecting and which evidently is being prepared by the Chinese, actually breaks, our troops from North Korea will be there to reinforce the others.

It is good to know, too, that the armies in Korea will be under one command. That undoubtedly will make for better tactics and prevent all chance of a division of responsibility.

There is nothing, however, in the whole situation to bring us any great hope of peace. What Andrei Vishinsky said on landing in England and what Woo said on leaving our shores recently does nothing more than to reiterate that both these gentlemen feel the Communists are entirely right. They repeat over and over again with conviction that they will still hope for peace, but they cannot believe that the United States or the United Nations intends to continue along the wrong path which they have chosen so far.

The Chinese apparently have accepted along with communism that strange lack of all necessity for logic which has been a Russian characteristic right along. For instance, they announced to the Chinese people that they will not stop until Korea is free and the wicked imperialist United States is driven out of Asia. In another breath they insist that the troops fighting in Korea are not Chinese armies; they call them volunteers helping the North Koreans on an individual basis.

This fiction has to be kept up. Otherwise, the Soviet Union, by its treaty with China, would be obliged to send in her own troops to help. If China were really at war with Korea with her own army, their mutual defense treaty would call for Russian aid, and so far the Soviet is hesitant to risk its own men in Asia or elsewhere.

One would think that the Chinese might resent this just a little. But it does not seem to occur to them that possibly Russia may be using them and letting them weaken themselves, just as they are hoping the United States will weaken itself.

What is difficult for me to understand is that the Chinese believe that the United States wishes to get a foothold on Chinese territory. Pearl Buck and others who seem to know China well say it is the hungry people in China, looking for reforms, who are backing the Chinese Communist government. These authorities maintain that the great masses of Chinese do not really care about any ideology, but that food and a few other necessities are all they ask. Unfortunately, that is not all their Communist leaders or their Russian masters will ask for.

Pearl Buck, like so many others, may be right in feeling that we have made mistakes, but she may be quite wrong in gauging what Communist leaders in China and Russia will do with dissatisfied people.



Names and Terms Mentioned or Referenced

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

My Day by Eleanor Roosevelt, December 28, 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.