AUGUST 25, 1951
HYDE PARK, Friday—It was not too encouraging to hear on the radio yesterday that the subcommittee negotiations had broken down on such a flimsy charge as bombing Kaesong by the United Nations. Our people could not even consider the charge seriously. The only ray of hope was that the Peiping radio spoke as though only the subcommittee negotiations had broken down and not the total meetings on the truce. It gave one an unpleasant feeling, however, that unless some signs of concessions developed on the Communist side, we would have to call the whole thing off. It would not be fair, of course, to expect the Communists to make all of the concessions, but they must make some. Otherwise, there is no point in these hearings going on.
At the same time it was announced that the Iranian-British talks had been unsuccessful and that the head of the British mission had flown back to England to confer with Prime Minister Attlee and his cabinet.
But Korea and Iran are not the only trouble spots in the world. There's the whole of South East Asia and much of Africa. Parts of South America are potential trouble spots, not to speak of India and Pakistan.
Perhaps the most shortsighted thing we have done in the area of foreign relations is to cut our foreign aid bill. This cut was not made where military goods are concerned, but chiefly where economic aid might be possible. That seems to show a total lack of appreciation by Congress of the fact that we are not just trying to strengthen military forces in the free areas of the world, but also to strengthen the economy of all countries in the hope of raising the standard of living in those underdeveloped areas which at present don't care who their ruler is or under what system of government they live.
Economic aid is one of the vital ways in which we fight communism. It is one of the ways in which we can prove to the world that we do not want war. We say we are arming for defense and that we have no desire to lead our own or any other armies into aggression. When we do not cut our military foreign aid, only our economic foreign aid, we give rise to much speculation as to what our real intentions are.
I can quite understand the qualms of many Congressmen who feel that the burden imposed by such big economic expenditures falls very heavily on our own people. But in the long run our people will profit far more from expenditures made to raise the living standards in other countries than from military expenditure. From military expenditure we can never hope for any return. Whatever we spend we give away. And while it is essential for the European nations to rearm so that they can help defend themselves, we make their desire to do this far less certain when we cut down on our economic aid to them.
(WORLD COPYRIGHT, 1951, BY UNITED FEATURE SYNDICATE, INC. REPRODUCTION IN WHOLE OR IN PART PROHIBITED.)
About this document
My Day by Eleanor Roosevelt, August 25, 1951
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