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My Day by Eleanor Roosevelt


HYDE PARK, Wednesday—A very interesting statement came to me in a letter from a woman reader the other day and I think it is worth consideration in this column. This is what she says:

"You say the United Nations is defending Korea because of aggression. Who is at the root of this aggression, but one of the members of that same United Nations organization—Russia. This we all know, and yet nothing is done within the United Nations to stop that nation from what she is doing?"

Openly the Soviet Union has done nothing. Russians were in North Korea and organized the North Koreans. We believe it was their organization and their ideological teachings that inspired the North Koreans to cross the 38th Parallel and attack the South Koreans.

We had been in charge of the organization in South Korea. We, under the United Nations, had held a free election, which had not been permitted in North Korea. After the election and the setting up of a government in South Korea, we began to withdraw our troops. Presumably Russia, after setting up what it considered a satisfactory government in North Korea, withdrew its troops.

We have no way of knowing whether they left key personnel with the North Koreans. We do know that they had equipped the North Koreans just as we had equipped the South Koreans.

The pattern of Soviet aggression in the satellite states in Europe has not always been through military conquest. It often has been through infiltration and the inspiration of an inner revolt. This method is just as satisfactory to Russia, since it then puts in power nationals of the country that has been infiltrated. These figureheads become completely subservient to the Soviet Union and its ideas.

The Communists insist that the resistance of the North Koreans was aggression on the part of the South Koreans, and that the United Nations forces, which were voted overwhelmingly in a General Assembly, are aggressors against Korea. This is evidently not so. But while the Russians have put out this propaganda and have violently opposed the action of the rest of the United Nations, still it was the Chinese Communists who came to the military aid of the North Koreans and not the Russians.

Within the United Nations the Soviet statements are voted down time and time again by very large majorities. The world organization cannot do more than that, since Russia was among the founding nations and there is as yet no way of forcing them to obey the will of the majority. The resistance in Korea is an indirect way of forcing them to accept the will of the majority.

Had the United Nations let the North Koreans take over in Korea, the sphere of Russian influence would have been vastly extended and the whole of Asia would have been threatened. Each time that we permit any extension of Soviet influence we endanger our freedom—and that is why we are in Korea. That is why the men fighting there are fighting for the freedom of their own country. Those who do not see and understand that are hopelessly shortsighted.

E. R.


Names and Terms Mentioned or Referenced

  • Hyde Park (Dutchess County, N.Y., United States) [ index ]

About this document

My Day by Eleanor Roosevelt, July 26, 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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