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

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MILWAUKEE, Thursday—I had an interesting letter the other day from a Mr. Morton E. Curtis of La Verne, California, and much that he says is food for thought to those among us who are impatient when the United Nations does not produce an immediate remedy for all our ills. He writes:

"I am very much interested in the U.N. Owing to impaired eyesight, I do a very limited amount of reading. Over the radio I heard a statement from you stating that a very large part of the work of the U.N. was almost unknown to the public. I have heard that about 70 percent of an iceberg is below the water's surface. I have had a feeling that this is true of the work of the U.N.

"At the close of the Revolutionary War the delegates from the thirteen colonies had a very difficult task in writing a Constitution satisfactory to all. They might even have failed had it not been for the wisdom of Benjamin Franklin. If then, it was so difficult for thirteen colonies having a comparatively common language, common ideals and ideologies to formulate a Constitution, how vastly greater the task that is in the lap of the U.N. organization? Here are some sixty nations, some of them very new, speaking very diverse tongues, having thousand-year-old quarrels and jealousies.

"I am deeply impressed with what has already been accomplished by the U.N. That they have accomplished so much in six years in the face of so much destructive criticism is indeed surprising.

“I say let all of us get behind the U.N. and boost for it. If you can't boost, at least don't 'drag your feet'. The hope of the world is in the U.N. organization. We have a very sick and distraught world on our hands and before we can cure this terrible sickness the patient must be thoroughly diagnosed. This diagnosis is the below-surface work of the U.N.”

The only thing Mr. Curtis failed to say was that, sad as it is that we have troubles that give us a great deal of anxiety in many parts of the world and in spite of the fact that our men are bearing the greatest part of the burden in the war in Korea, World War III has been prevented.

World War III would mean that the whole world would become an inferno. It will not be a war of soldiers but a war which will rain death from the skies on millions of people in every part of the world.

I heard a labor leader tell his people the other day one good reason why we had to be interested in every part of the world today. He pointed out that when our country was founded people spent weeks on little boats getting here from Europe, but just a few days ago some fliers had breakfast in London, lunch on the North American continent and dinner again in London. Translated into military terms, this means that there is no part of the world that is so remote it cannot be reached and bombed within a day.

So, we must learn to be friends and we must learn to understand each other, and that is the work the U.N. is trying to do with your aid and mine.

E. R.


Names and Terms Mentioned or Referenced

  • Milwaukee (Wis., United States) [ index ]

About this document

My Day by Eleanor Roosevelt, September 12, 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.