My Day by Eleanor Roosevelt

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NEW YORK, Thursday—For several days I have wanted to write something about Ambassador Warren Austin's retirement as head of the United States Mission to the United Nations, but it is hard to express my deep feelings.

I have only had the privilege of working with the Ambassador during the General Assemblies but I know well how people at the Mission feel about him and how much those who are in contact with him day after day have come to love and respect him. This feeling among those who work with him constantly is probably the highest tribute that can be paid him. And among the changing members in our delegations to the General Assembly, I have always found devotion and respect for Ambassador Austin as soon as they came to know him well.

Having served so many years with him, I think I have come to have almost the same feeling that the permanent members have. This love and respect also is felt by those with whom he comes in contact from other nations in the U.N. No matter where they come from and no matter how much they may differ with the policy of the U.S., which Ambassador Austin must express and uphold, they never waver in personal affection and respect for him as an individual.

Over and over again, I have heard people say that they believed something because he had told them it was so. He has served his country and his countrymen these past few years far better than most of his fellow citizens realize. He has brought to the country confidence and belief in its integrity because of his own integrity.

I would not ask for anyone more fair or more generous to serve under. When he came in the other day just to see us and tell us he thought of us constantly and that the doctor would not let him have a long visit, there were many people in the room who wished with their whole hearts that time could be set back and that we could have his services for 10 years more to tide us over these critical times.

The world in many areas is suffering from growing pains. The nationalist movements that have led to freedom for various peoples also have led to the discovery by great masses that there is no real reason why they should live in misery and want. The changes that have come gradually over a long period of years in some of the more highly developed countries, however, are coming so quickly in certain areas of the world that it is difficult to inculcate at the same time the amount of responsibility in people that is essential to dealing with the changes wisely. This being the case, we cannot help but live in a world of unrest for some years to come, with ups and downs in many nations.

We are not even sure that we in the U.S. have learned to control our economy. There are many people who fear the advent of peace because they cannot imagine how our peacetime economy can keep the same level of jobs and the same standard of living. I feel sure it can be done, but I am not a member of the business world and it is the business world that must actually accomplish it.

All this means that losing Warren Austin in the international field is a serious loss. I am sure both he and Mrs. Austin will enjoy life and find it much less burdensome, so perhaps I should just wish them well and tell them that for them I am happy, but for the country and for myself personally I am really sad. I shall miss not working under the Ambassador for a few months every year, and I shall feel a little less secure because his wisdom and experience and integrity will not be available to us.

I must also welcome Senator Henry Cabot Lodge, who takes up this arduous burden. He will do well, I am sure, and certainly all of us who care about the success of the U.N. wish them well.

E.R.

(WORLD COPYRIGHT, 1952, BY UNITED FEATURE SYNDICATE, INC.; REPRODUCTION IN WHOLE OR IN PART PROHIBITED.)


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About this document

My Day by Eleanor Roosevelt, December 5, 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.
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