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


GENEVA, Tuesday—It is quite possible that the signing of the Schuman Plan treaty by the six European foreign ministers may prove to be one of the greatest turning points in history.

The treaty pools the coal and steel production of France, West Germany, the Netherlands, Belgium, Luxembourg and Italy. After the pact is ratified by the member governments, they are bound to surrender their sovereignty over their coal and steel industries to a supranational body for the next 50 years.

This agreement forms an economic basis on which an organized Europe can be planned. It eliminates coal and steel tariffs, and creates a single market for these products for 160,000,000 people. It forms a foundation in Europe for the political community which already has begun to grow and function through the Council of Europe.

Without the strength and perseverance of Mr. Schuman, whose name the treaty bears, this would never have been an accomplished fact. It would have remained in the area of those things which are good ideas but which no one ever had the courage and forcefulness to push to conclusion.

We can be proud that the United States helped to bring this plan to reality. The next five years will be difficult years since inefficient industries will have to be shut down and new industries started. Capital will be needed from us. But as this economic basis becomes solid in Europe the chance of future wars gradually will be eliminated, and there is a hope that in time the old hates will vanish and a federation of Europe, as strong as the federation of the United States, will bring greater prosperity and security to all peoples.

It was good news to read in the newspapers that General MacArthur has said he hoped his name would not be used in a political way. It will be interesting to hear his explanation of what he considers the safest way for us to deal with our situation in the Far East.

At the same time, however, we must remember that he is limited in his vision if only for the reason that for many years he has not left that area. Both our members of Congress and President Truman must think not in terms of Korea alone or of Japan or the Pacific area, but in terms of the whole world.

What is our main objective today? I take it to be the prevention of the spread of communism, because the spread of communism in the long run would bring war with it. To prevent this and to keep the peace as we do it, we must be strong.

In this regard, I think General Marshall's advocacy of universal military training in this period is particularly important. That is one way to keep strong and yet not build up such heavy military commitments that we must go to war to use them or else suffer an economic crisis. We would have trained personnel, built up our productive capacity in reserve, with the possibility of experimentation and development of the latest and most modern weapons, and yet we would not overburden our economy.

This is a balance difficult to keep and requires constant watching. But I think with General Marshall and Secretary Lovett planning the defense and Secretary Acheson controlling our diplomatic activities and our cooperation with the United Nations, the President has a very good team deserving of this country's full support.

E. R.


Names and Terms Mentioned or Referenced

  • Geneva (Switzerland) [ index ]

About this document

My Day by Eleanor Roosevelt, April 25, 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.