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My Day by Eleanor Roosevelt


HYDE PARK, Thursday—Former Senator Frank Graham of North Carolina must be having a difficult time in his efforts to bring India and Pakistan together on the subject of Kashmir.

India so far has shown no reasonable pliability in relation to the settlement of the problem. I have read all the pamphlets on the situation as sent out from Indian sources in this country, and all seem to deal rather with conditions as they were and as they wish they were now, and not with the acceptance of the situation as it is today.

This is much the same stand taken by some of the spokesmen from Egypt who travelled recently in this country. They stated that there was only one basis on which the differences between Arabs and Israelis could be settled and that was the acceptance of the Egyptian position as proposed by them.

India, in regard to Kashmir, and Egypt, in regard to Israel, are taking identical positions, and neither of them lead to negotiation of a fruitful character.

Undoubtedly, Jawaharlal Nehru, Indian Prime Minister, feels that he is taking a stand for peace. To the outsider, however, it does not look as though much effort is being made at pliability, and pliability seems essential to the preservation of peace in the world today.

I object very much to the attitude of some of our columnists and people who seem to feel that because of what we have done for India she must respond by doing whatever we ask of her. I do not think the decision of what is right or wrong for any nation can be based on favors received. I do think that a careful scrutiny should be made of the values involved and where one's action might lead.

What is the use of trying to placate a nation that brings to its friends only slavery and in the long run no very acceptable economic conditions in spite of all the promises that are made.

For instance, I have been told that in Communist China the government, which under the old regime was always corrupt, is now practically honest. But I wonder if that makes up for the purges that have been killing so many people just because they did not agree to go along with the party line.

Why does the Soviet Union refuse to open its borders to trade and to visitors? There can be only one reason. Russia is afraid to have visitors see conditions in the country, and afraid if her own people travel elsewhere they will be a little more critical of conditions at home.

The rest of us have long grown accustomed to accepting criticism, both from our own citizens and from visitors that come here from abroad. We don't like it always, but we know it is salutory. And if we are wise, we will profit by it and mend our ways.

Being a negotiator and trying to bring people together must tax a man's ingenuity and patience. I am sure that Dr. Graham is both ingenious and patient, and I wish him every success in settling the Kashmir difficulties. Sometimes I think he has an almost impossible task, for he is not settling just one question. So many other things enter into this question. The attitudes taken by the states involved and what they finally do may mean much for the peaceful settlement of disputes in the future, or they may set back all efforts in this field.

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, August 31, 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.