My Day by Eleanor Roosevelt

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SANTIAGO, Chile , Sunday—On his last day in office, President Videla and Madame Videla invited us to dinner at the Moneda at nine o'clock. We did not arrive until quarter past nine, but in Chile nobody is on time. Other guests arrived much later than we did and it was nearly 10 o'clock before we sat down to dinner.

I deeply appreciated this courteous gesture on the part of the outgoing President. To have guests at the last minute must have been difficult. The President told me with warmth how much Ambassador Bowers' understanding and cooperation have meant to the diplomatic relations between our countries. I consider myself very fortunate to have been in two countries where our ambassadors are so successfully portraying the friendly feelings of the people of the United States. Ambassador Bowers here has lived the good neighbor policy and thereby enhanced the importance and influence of the United States. Ambassador Chester Bowles in India did not have any such pronouncement as the good neighbor policy to build on. He nevertheless exemplified it, and he and his family in themselves have shown a concern for the people of India which is building a good neighbor policy in that area of the world.

This has been a most interesting experience. I hope I have learned something about the people of Chile, their needs, and the efforts that are being made by the government to meet those needs. I know I have gained a better understanding of what our own embassy and our own US Information Service and Point Four program are doing.

What I shall take away with me as a never-to-be-forgotten remembrance, however, is the warmth with which everyone speaks of my husband. I think it would be a good thing for governments to realize that a man's philosophy, when it is given practical demonstration through what he does at home for the people of his own country, can be vastly important to the people of other nations. If people anywhere make gains in their rights as human beings, then other people everywhere take heart and hope that their day, too, will come. This understanding of my husband's philosophy of government—namely, that it must be an instrument of service to the people—accounts, of course, for the warm reception which the people have given me.

In leaving, I want to thank the people of Chile as well as the government and all the kind officials who have done so much to make my visit memorable. I particularly want to thank Ambassador Bowers and his family and all the official United States mission people. They have done, I know, a million and one things which I cannot even appreciate because I have never been told about them. But my thanks go to all the Americans on the staff here in Chile. I congratulate them on the work they have done, which has made the work of our delegation on this special mission easier and more successful.



Names and Terms Mentioned or Referenced

  • Santiago (Chile) [ index ]

About this document

My Day by Eleanor Roosevelt, November 10, 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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Digital edition published 2008, 2017 by
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MEP edition publlished on 2008-06-30

TEI-P5 edition published on 2017-04-28

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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.