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


HYDE PARK, Wednesday—The general effect of General MacArthur's statements and the reactions to them and to his dismissal from his commands in the Far East seem to have made the average citizen feel that he needed to know a little more about our foreign policy.

Just why is the United Nations in Korea? Just why are we supporting the United Nations? Just what is our government's objective?

The United Nations is in Korea because the North Koreans, under the influence of the Soviet Union, crossed the 38th parallel in an effort to absorb South Korea. South Korea appealed for help and the U.N. agreed that aggression must not be permitted. Ostensibly, this was the act of the North Koreans but everybody knew that their action was instigated by Russia. That was why one of our well-known columnists the other day said that the danger of World War III in the near future lay in the possibility that Russia would miscalculate and do something that would bring about results they had not expected.

This is, of course, what happened in Korea. The Soviet Union had not expected that the U.N. would help the South Koreans. The United States helped the U.N. because we knew this action was part and parcel of the Truman Doctrine as exercised, for instance, in Greece and Turkey. If we could not allow Russian domination to spread to these countries, we could not allow it to be forced on a country that was under the protection of the U.N.

One objective at least can be said to be common to all the nations in the U.N. A desire that the war in Korea shall remain a local war and that it shall be brought to an end without spreading. The goal, of course, is a unified nation with freedom to govern itself. These are the objectives that must be achieved by the U.N., partly through military action. Many of us hope, however, that there also will be some diplomatic action, which certainly would be less costly in human life.

According to the newspapers on Tuesday morning, it seemed that Senator Taft was joining with General MacArthur in demanding the arming of General Chiang Kai-shek's troops and their use on the mainland as well as the bombing of bases belonging to Communist China in Manchuria. Somehow, Senator Taft seems to believe that by doing this we would not be setting off World War III but would be relieving the pressure on the soldiers in Korea and making it unnecessary for us to do as much in that area. General MacArthur, to my knowledge has never said this.

In fact, I am sure that General MacArthur realizes that if we did the things he suggests World War III would be well started, and we would be committed to a showdown in Asia. He may have felt this would have been better than trying to bring about a stalemate but, after all, he was not making either U.N. policy or United States policy.



Names and Terms Mentioned or Referenced

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

About this document

My Day by Eleanor Roosevelt, April 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.