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

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GENEVA, Wednesday—The Paris edition of the New York Herald Tribune, covering the current Senatorial probe in Washington, reports that General MacArthur considers World War III already started in Korea and the Soviet Union responsible for the initiatory action. Few people will disagree with this second statement.

The report of the testimony then goes on to say that the United States and the free world are "doomed to destruction if this attack is not defeated." It proceeds to point out that the United States should take the moral leadership in the world by writing the abolition of war into its constitution, and that if four or five of the great nations should do the same it would be impossible for anyone else to violate it.

According to this newspaper account, the Senators were all much moved by the statement, but as one reads it here it hardly seems understandable. From General MacArthur's own testimony it appears that the threat comes from the Soviet Union's action and, unless he can assure the world that Russia not only would write abolition of war into its constitution but would live up to that undertaking, what good would it do for the other nations of the world to put these fine words into their body of laws?

Such action would have no value unless it were implemented by disarmament. We would be up against the same question we are up against now. Without agreed disarmament and inspection internationally undertaken there would be no safety in the world. When we all agree to put what armed forces there are in the hands of the United Nations, to disarm ourselves and to submit to international inspection, then and then only would writing such high-sounding phrases into our Constitutions have any real value. Everyone will agree with General MacArthur in the first part of his statement, but World War III cannot really be carried on unless we should broaden the basis of the war. It is true that it is highly unpleasant just to hold the line in Korea and continue to try to come to some kind of agreement with the Chinese. Nobody likes this situation or thinks it very satisfactory, but the alternative of really touching off an enlarged area of war does not seem to be a good solution.

There is another thing that shows how differently things look from different sides of the ocean. Defense Minister Emanuel Shinwell of Great Britain has had to ask his fellow citizens to stop their complaints about the United Kingdom "being dragged at the tail end of the United States." And I have read a good many statements recently from the United States that complain that our foreign policy is made in Great Britain. So, you see, it is all a question of geography and whether you happen to be living in Great Britain or America. The outlook seems to depend on the geographical situation.

There is one thing in Western Europe that seems to be proof that the Marshall Plan has had some tangible results. Every election you read about over here shows a loss of Communist party vote and it usually is attributed to the fact that Marshall Plan aid has helped the various countries to regain some economic stability.

As Milton Katz, who is supervising Marshall Plan aid here said not long ago: "The American head of a family paying taxes in the United States has invested about $400 over a three-year period. This is a little more than the price of a television set and in return he actually sees today the results of that investment in votes cast in these countries where Marshall Plan aid has been making it possible for them to carry out plans of rehabilitation."

This is a very tangible result and there are many more which anyone talking to the people over here can discover.

E. R.


Names and Terms Mentioned or Referenced

  • Geneva (Switzerland) [ index ]

About this document

My Day by Eleanor Roosevelt, May 10, 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.