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


NEW YORK, Wednesday—The newspaper that I read yesterday morning stated in the headlines that Mr. Stassen testified under oath that Dr. Jessup had falsified under oath. Then as you read the first paragraph you found that this was done "in denying the United States ever intended to recognize the Chinese Communists."

As you read what is being said nowadays you gain the impression that ever to have discussed with Great Britain or with any other nations why they did or did not recognize Communist China, or whether it would be wise for the United States to do so and on what grounds they would base their argument either for or against recognition by the United States, was in itself proof that the man doing the consultation or arguing was in favor of recognition of Communist China by the U.S.A.

I can remember so clearly every step of the way in our relations with China under Chiang Kai-shek that I remember the arguments of Chinese as well as Americans who believed that there might be value in having the Kuomintang represent the area of China which at that time was under what was called Northern Chinese domination. This really meant the area that was under Communist leadership, as well as the completely conservative group and the middle-of-the-road group led by Sun Yat-sen's son, Sun Fo.

Such a combination exists in a number of European countries today, such as France and Holland and Belgium. The middle-of-the-road group is the strongest, drawing a little from the more liberal conservatives and a little from the more conservative radicals.

This was never tried in China, however, because Chiang's advisers came to no agreement as to how it should be done. There were also constant suggestions of reforms to be made in China for the benefit of the people. None of these were made. There was a recognition of the fact that government officials were corrupt, but nothing was done about it.

It was all these considerations that led our military people to advise that perhaps it would be better to stop shipments of supplies to the Nationalists, who seemed about to collapse. It was feared these arms would turn up in enemy hands, which, of course, they later did.

I think it more than possible that both Mr. Stassen and Dr. Jessup are entirely correct.

I cannot imagine that any intelligent official would not talk with the government representatives about the recognition or nonrecognition of Communist China. And, as I understand it, that is what Mr. Stassen says Dr. Jessup did and he assumed that because Ambassador Jessup did this that he advocated the recognition of Communist China.

That is where I cannot follow Mr. Stassen's reasoning or some of the reasoning that seems to be expressed by members of the investigating committee questioning Dr. Jessup's fitness to serve as a United States delegate to the United Nations.

Discussion of a subject does not mean approval, and any public servant who does not discuss every subject from every possible angle should not be entrusted with important work for the government. The better your ability to cover every side of a question, the better your chance to serve your country well. We might as well have robots in positions of trust if we do not expect our public servants to discuss every possible subject from every angle.



Names and Terms Mentioned or Referenced

  • New York (N.Y., United States) [ index ]

About this document

My Day by Eleanor Roosevelt, October 11, 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.