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

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GENEVA, Wednesday—A shadow was cast over our brief London stay when we heard the news of Ernest Bevin's death. Winston Churchill's description of him as a valiant spirit was a most fitting one. When Mr. Bevin was last in the United States many people felt he should not have undertaken such a trip under the conditions of health that were already bothering him.

The former Foreign Minister's heart was in the work of the Labor government and one could only admire his devotion to a cause and his real strength as a leader of the workers. Without him I doubt if the people of Great Britain would have understood so well why they had to go through these years of sacrifice.

When men are in the arena of political life there are often times when one cannot see eye to eye with them on every subject, and that was true at times for me while Mr. Bevin was Foreign Secretary. Nevertheless, as Mr. Churchill said, "He has his place in history, and as a leader of labor in a difficult period he acquitted himself with courage and showed great qualities of leadership."

Here in Switzerland one feels very far away from the things happening in the United States. Perhaps it is because we miss our great American newspapers. When I got back yesterday afternoon from our first session of the Human Rights Commission I fell upon the slim Paris edition of the New York Herald Tribune and avidly read about what was going on at home. Perhaps in this old city, with the blue lake and white-capped mountains to look at, the peaceful world seems somewhat nearer than it does many miles farther away in Eastern United States.

I was amused to see that Senator Taft had decided that the President's power to dismiss General MacArthur was not to be questioned. In talking to people here I find that nobody considers the dismissal of General MacArthur has anything to do with appeasement. Nor do people I have talked to here think this was an action taken under British influence.

It seems to be the general feeling that President Truman acted in the interest of unity. It remains to be seen if General MacArthur can influence enough people in our government to his way of thinking in regard to the conduct of our foreign and military policy in the Far East.

I have heard it said occasionally that there was too much talk and too little action in the United Nations. But there, at least, people of different nations have to get to know and understand each other. In the United States Senate we are all people of one nation, speaking the same language. Right now, it seems our Senators are playing politics and rather dangerous politics. Quite as many words are being bandied back and forth in the Congress as are used in the proceedings of the United Nations and I wonder in the last few weeks just how much action has actually been taken by our lawmakers. I know the decision on whether to give wheat to India or let the people starve was not made before I left home. It seems to me that in one way or another that wheat should be on its way.



Names and Terms Mentioned or Referenced

  • Geneva (Switzerland) [ index ]

About this document

My Day by Eleanor Roosevelt, April 19, 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.