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

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GENEVA, Sunday—Mt. Blanc is behaving a little like the Jungfrau, who keeps hiding herself behind a veil of clouds. Senator and Mrs. Lehman asked me as soon as they arrived if I had seen Mt. Blanc. I said quite airily that we had had wonderful weather and it was easy to see that elusive mountain, but for days now it has apparently decided to stay constantly shrouded in clouds.

We had a long session Thursday, but we did pass one article of the Covenant of Human Rights and we nearly reached the end of the discussion on another, so I hope that a vote will be taken at the next session. Early in the week our chairman, Dr. Malik of Lebanon, told us he hoped we would finish the covenant by Saturday night of this week and I fully expected that we would have evening meetings both on Friday and Saturday nights. But the commission voted not to meet on Saturday afternoon and only after considerable urging did they agree to meet for two hours on Friday evening.

If we can just finish the covenant at this session I shall feel that we have accomplished a miracle, and I shall not mind at all having all the other items on our agenda put over for a future meeting. The Human Rights Commission is not scheduled to meet more than once a year, but it may become necessary at some point to decide to have an extra meeting, perhaps only of two weeks duration, to take up all the points on the agenda. These are never covered in meetings where one very long and important piece of work has to be accomplished.

On Thursday evening I went to a very pleasant meeting of the Geneva Masonic Lodge. Apparently in Switzerland a lodge meets once a week, when the members have dinner together and a nice, chatty evening. This meeting was held in memory of my husband, who was a 33rd degree Mason. But when I was questioned as to the Masonic customs in the United States, I could merely tell them that I thought they only attended fairly large meetings and not very frequently.

I am very glad to see by the papers over here that President Truman is warning all of us at home not to relax our defense efforts. I think there is doubt over here as to whether the people of the United States, because they are so far away, will really continue their sacrifices and production efforts if the Soviets are able to make it look as though they were not giving as active help to the Chinese Communists and were not aggressively inclined in Europe. The people over here know that in East Germany and in all the satellite states large armed forces, under one guise or another, are constantly being built up, and they are anxious that the United States should not begin to be lulled by any false ideas of a change of heart on the part of the Soviets.

The failure of the Big Four deputies to come to any agreement in Paris on an agenda for a conference of Foreign Ministers on European problems keeps all of the people of Europe feeling highly uneasy. These tactics may be good from the Soviet point of view, but I can not help feeling that they are not having much success in the Western nations. No one is anxious to provoke the Soviets. But no one is going to be bullied by them, either, and I sense a greater firmness on everyone's part. In fact, this firmness may be the best guarantee that we want peace but are prepared to meet the Soviets on any ground and be as firm as they are.

E. R.


Names and Terms Mentioned or Referenced

  • Geneva (Switzerland) [ index ]

About this document

My Day by Eleanor Roosevelt, May 14, 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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Digital edition published 2008, 2017 by
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MEP edition publlished on June 30, 2008.

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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.