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

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HYDE PARK, Thursday—Let us resume our discussion of China where we left off yesterday.

I have always thought General Marshall's decision that he could do nothing further in China, and therefore he had better come home, was a very wise decision. But I think he still hoped that perhaps when faced with the possible loss of further aid from the United States, Generalissimo Chiang Kai-shek might finally decide to move toward achieving a coalition government and institute needed reforms. Nothing of the kind happened, as we all know, and Chiang was driven from the mainland to Formosa and Hainan. Thus, the Communist influence became paramount in the victorious Chinese leadership.

George Sokolsky said on my television program last Sunday that the Chinese army now fighting in Korea was an army that had once faced Chiang's army in Hainan, and I gather that he felt this army would not have been moved if Chiang's forces had been allowed to land in China. That would have required transportation, which would have had to be made available to Chiang by the United States or the United Nations. If I remember rightly, we decided to try to prevent attacks on the Nationalists and attacks by the Nationalists on the mainland of China, largely because we were anxious to keep our passageway clear and unmolested from Japan to Korea. We did not want anything to occur that might stir up trouble with China.

The fiction has, of course, been kept up that the Red Chinese troops fighting in Korea are volunteers largely because if that fiction were not preserved the treaty between Russia and China would require the Soviet Union to furnish troops to China. And Russia has been very careful not to make any move that would actually involve her in active warfare.

We have done everything possible, I think, to convince China that we have no desire to dominate any part of her territory, but I quite understand China's desire to reestablish her preeminent interest in Korea and also her fears as we neared the Manchurian border.

This is almost impossible for us to understand because we are conscious of our own good intentions. But the fact remains that the Chinese do not believe what we say and do not trust us. This seems incredible after the years of friendship that have existed between us and after the goodwill we have had toward China. But we have to accept the fact that having supported Chiang, the present regime has no use for us and the great majority of the people probably believe whatever their leaders have told them.

I see no way in which we can re-establish our old friendship with the people of China unless the Chinese government is willing to allow the United Nations to hold and supervise a free election in Korea and to leave that nation free to accept whatever can be done by the U.N. in the way of rehabilitation. Then and then only could we begin to talk over the whole subject of the present-day position of the Chinese people and their two governments.



Names and Terms Mentioned or Referenced

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

About this document

My Day by Eleanor Roosevelt, January 5, 1951

Roosevelt, Eleanor, 1884-1962
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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.