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

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HYDE PARK, Sunday—A friend has just sent me a leaflet, entitled "A Warning!," which attacks the United Nations organization. It was handed to her, she says, by an ardent Republican, although I imagine an ardent Democrat might have handed it to her just as well. What I find sad, however, is the fact that it was handed to anyone, by anyone—because it is filled with gross misinformation.

The leaflet, for example, states: "It is entirely through self-constituted authority, without any grant of power from our U.S. Constitution, that the control of the U.N. over us has expanded." Now the Constitution carefully lays down how we shall enter into international agreements, and the signing of the charter of the U.N. was done according to our constitutional proceedings. Since signing, we have continued to live under our own Constitution.

A little further, the leaflet refers to "the most powerful . . . . . International Labor Organization, which dictates most of our domestic labor policies." Evidently the author did not bother to find out that actually we have signed only an infinitesimal number of ILO conventions, and in view of this fact it is hard to discover just how the ILO can be dictating most of our domestic labor policies. In further reference to the ILO, the pamphlet states that it "promised to bring about peace if we would permit the products of low-paid countries to compete with our high-paid products." The writer here shows that he evidently believes in a high tariff wall around the United States to aid our infant industries!

Continuing, the pamphlet refers to the "International Economic Organization, the International Education Committee, the Genocide Convention, which would supercede our own Bill of Rights." First of all, the writer forgets to mention that we have not ratified the genocide pact. I don't know exactly why this has not been done. The genocide pact is an effort to prevent mass extermination in the future. We do not ratify it apparently because we are afraid that under it we might be accused of genocide when a lynching occurs in one of our Southern states. At least, that is one of the arguments that has been given me against ratifying.

Secondly, the Human Rights Convention is not yet written in its final form, and it cannot very well supercede our own Bill of Rights since it contains a clause which says that nothing in this covenant shall affect already existing conditions which are better than those in the covenant. In any case, it has to be ratified by our Senate, and the Senate is not prone to ratify any treaty which is unconstitutional.

The final attack in the leaflet is against UNESCO, which is accused of trying to "change radically our program of public education." The author thinks this is to be accomplished by a series of nine booklets compiled by 12 representatives of foreign nations and two representatives from the United States. The National Education Association has recommended these "dangerous" booklets for use in American schools, and this seems to the writer to mean the taking over of our public education system! It never occurred to me it could be done so simply and easily!

This leaflet seems to me misleading and dangerous. The United Nations is just what it always was, a union of sovereign nations, and this union can be no better than each individual nation makes it.

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, June 9, 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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Transcription created from a photocopy of a UFS wire copy of a My Day column instance archived at the Franklin D. Roosevelt Library.