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

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GENEVA, Wednesday—After our session Monday afternoon I was visited by a lady and gentleman who are very much interested in international relations generally but whose primary interest is in a European cultural organization. Their aim is to promote a closer relationship among the countries and to prepare for a federation based on better cultural understanding.

They try to form little groups all over Europe, and as each group is formed it becomes self-supporting and more or less independent. They had had summer camps for young people and clubs of all kinds, and they would like to obtain some interest and support in the United States.

These two people feel that the Schuman Plan will be ratified by the various parliaments and that it will be a great step forward in the economic unification of Europe. Unless there is a revision of the way history and geography are taught in the schools, however, a stimulation of interest in good books from different countries among both young and old, and a growing acceptance of the idea of a unified Europe, they fear that the economic interests will not be sufficient to build a firm foundation for peace.

They hope to awaken interest in this plan in the United States and they want to have a committee over there for the purpose of extending cultural interests among European countries. I gave them the names of one or two people who might be helpful, but I tried to explain that just now we are concerned with many other things and perhaps it might be difficult to find just the right people to promote interest in the cultural unity of Europe.

I had a letter today describing the behavior of the Daughters of the American Revolution when General MacArthur addressed their meeting. If the description was truthful it must have been slightly embarrassing for the general, and when these dignified ladies recovered from their apparently hysterical enthusiasm they themselves must have been a little surprised at their display of emotion.

I have heard long arguments in my life as to whether we Americans were too emotional to be really stable and I have always contended that the women at least were not given to losing their self-control. Judging from this report on the DAR meeting, however, I am afraid we have an overdose of Latin enthusiasm in our make-up. I could imagine this demonstration occurring in France or in Italy, and I was quite surprised that such an exhibition took place in our staid and predominantly Anglo-Saxon United States. Somehow one does not expect such emotion to break loose in the ranks of the DAR.

The Soviet delegation gave a party in their very charming house back of the United Nations building in the late afternoon on Monday.

There was vodka, which I didn't drink, and caviar which I did enjoy eating, but the most interesting thing was the display of photographs that showed the construction going on in Moscow. The Russians are building skyscrapers, apartment houses, administration buildings and universities. The photographs of the landscaping in front of Moscow University, showing a reflecting pool and what will be lawns and flower beds, was really imposing and beautiful.

The Russian housing capacity must be growing by leaps and bounds, and, before long, Andrei Vishinsky will certainly not be able to tell Secretary-General Trygve Lie that the United Nations General Assembly cannot meet in Moscow because of insufficient housing. It looks as though the Soviet Union would have all the necessary arrangements and could be hospitable to any large international meeting.

The more a nation builds, the more it has to lose by a war. So, perhaps there will come a time when peace will mean more to the Soviet than the extension of communism—and when that day comes perhaps the world can cease to fear the constant Russian expansion.

E. R.


Names and Terms Mentioned or Referenced

  • Geneva (Switzerland) [ index ]

About this document

My Day by Eleanor Roosevelt, May 17, 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.