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

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PARIS, Thursday —One morning last week the President of the General Assembly, Dr. Luis Padilla Nervo and other officials of the U.N. gathered in the lobby of the Palais de Chaillot to explain a UNESCO plan that is being launched in every country of the world.

Three nice young girls belonging to the French section of UNESCO had arranged books and stamps for us to look at and were prepared to sell us bonds of small denominations or stamps, each one of which represented a gift to UNESCO. In other words, it was a kind of international scrip, and while we paid for the stamps in French money it could be spent anywhere in the world for the cultural needs either of children or of older people.

This seems like an excellent undertaking. For instance, if children in schools of the United States participate they will be anxious to know what UNESCO does for schoolchildren in various parts of the world. They may not know just exactly where their contribution goes but they will know that their contribution, together with many others, made the work among schoolchildren possible. And grown-ups buying bonds or stamps will feel they have a stake in whatever kind of work is being carried on in the cultural or scientific areas by UNESCO throughout the world.

In going over speeches made by some of our delegates the other day I came across an answer to the accusations leveled against the United States, which was made by Dr. Channing Tobias. I think what he said is worthy of repetition.

All the satellite countries, in every committee, try to paint for the rest of us a picture of perfection in their countries in the economic and social areas. Dr. Tobias, therefore, asked rather pointedly whether it was true that in the late months of 1951 in Poland that fish, butter, cheese, flour, sugar, and potatoes practically disappeared from the retail stores.

Then he asked whether it was true that a Polish worker would have to work a whole hour to be able to buy one kilogram of flour. In the U.S., he said, the average worker would have to work only nine minutes. To pay for a quart of milk in Poland the worker would have to work 45 minutes compared to six minutes in the U.S.

One egg would require 23 minutes of work in Poland and two minutes of work in the U.S. And sugar, which is scarce in Poland, would require two hours and 37 minutes of work to purchase one kilogram, as against nine minutes in the U.S. The same amount of beef requires three hours and 20 minutes of work in Poland and 33 minutes in the U.S. And a man's woolen suit requires 240 hours of work in Poland, compared to 25 hours in the U.S.

We often think prices are high at home, and that we don't get enough for the money we spend. But for a great number of reasons, not only the economic ones, I think it is fortunate for any of us to live in the U.S. rather than in Poland.

E. R.


Names and Terms Mentioned or Referenced

  • Paris (France) [ index ]

About this document

My Day by Eleanor Roosevelt, January 25, 1952

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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MEP edition publlished on June 30, 2008.

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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.