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

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NEW YORK, Thursday—Senator Robert A. Taft revealed the other day that he wants the United States to release Chiang Kai-shek's Nationalist forces for an immediate attack on Red China and "write off the U.N. in determining military policy." In a more recent statement Senator Taft also made the rather astounding remark that he did not believe it was clear that the Russians planned military conquest.

I would agree that they have been very clever in taking over a number of countries without any military action beyond a show in some cases of military power in the offing. But that doesn't mean they are not building military power for use when they deem it necessary.

Senator Taft does not seem to be very sure of his own statements. In this latest one he recommends certain procedures for the United States and adds that he does this assuming that worldwide war would not occur meanwhile. Evidently, he is not quite sure his former statement was correct, and he thinks there is a chance that Russia may be preparing to attack.

It seems to me that our hope of preventing all-out war lies in increasing our strength in a military way as rapidly as possible now and trusting not to use this strength except as a deterrent against attack by the Soviet Union. This armed power, held in readiness, not only could be used against aggression on our own shores but also against attack on any other free peoples wherever they may be in the world.

I think we might well listen, if we hope to hold the rest of Asia free from communism, to the people themselves in those areas. To a casual observer like myself it would seem that in many of these countries a determination to be free is now stirring. They do not want even native rulers who kowtow to foreigners who in the past might have controlled their land.

I realize how difficult this would be for many countries that have held possessions over the years beyond their own native land. They must assess, however, whether the time has come when certain peoples actually are prepared to govern themselves and therefore can no longer be kept within a certain orbit except as free nations joining in a federation together for mutual benefit.

Great Britain recognized this in the case of India. The Dutch rather reluctantly and slowly are recognizing this in the case of Indonesia. There are still difficulties, however, as for instance the difficulty over New Guinea. The Dutch find it hard, as will many other nations, to accept this new partnership on an equal basis and help in the development of a free nation rather than preserve the old system.

Nevertheless, it might be wise for all nations to study the new trends among the peoples of this area as well as other areas of the world. There may be ways of using these trends to great advantage; accepting them and using them wisely may be one of the ways to defeat communism.



Names and Terms Mentioned or Referenced

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

About this document

My Day by Eleanor Roosevelt, January 12, 1951

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.