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

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NEW YORK, Sunday—On a recent television show I was asked whether I thought it wise to keep the Soviets and their satellites in the U.N. I answered, "Yes." Then I was asked if I thought it would have been wise, had there been a U.N. before World War II, to keep fascists and Nazis in the organization. I replied, "Of course." None of us can ever know, I added, but had there been such an organization and had Hitler and Mussolini been in it, there might have been a chance to prevent World War II.

I was pressed further and asked whether, to be completely logical, I would say that one should "admit gangsters to the police department." My answer to that is, of course, that the comparison is impossible to make. A police department can apprehend gangsters and put them in prison where they can do no harm. I am afraid we cannot envisage putting entire nations in prison.

Actually, there is only one way to bring confidence and safety to the world today. That is through a process of education and understanding. True, we will have to keep ourselves strong. We cannot risk aggression anywhere because of weakness. But if, though strength, we can ward off the hostile force long enough, there may come a point where some kind of understanding can begin to be built. I do not expect miracles, but self-interest does lead people sometimes to change their minds. Then the experience and contacts that would of necessity arise between our peoples would, I believe, lead to greater confidence.

The Russians are not the only ones who must be educated for this. Our own people must be educated to look without terror on their contacts with the Russians. We know that it is quite difficult for the Russians to be sure enough of their own people to have many of them turned loose to work in the United States, even at the U.N. On our part we must be prepared, when the time comes, to have people trustworthy enough actually to go to Russia and state the case for democracy.

I have wanted for a long time to see us put on a campaign which would make every man, woman and child in this country thoroughly aware of the values of democracy. We have developed something very unique in this country, and it has grown in many different ways. Perhaps its founders did not know exactly how it would come out in the year 1952, but they laid the foundations which allowed for freedom of development. We want to be very sure that nothing we do curtails that freedom. Above everything else, we want to retain the elasticity of mind and of government which has allowed us to meet so many different conditions and still come out the great nation that we are today.



Names and Terms Mentioned or Referenced

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About this document

My Day by Eleanor Roosevelt, December 8, 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
The Eleanor Roosevelt Papers Project

Available under licence from the Estate of Anna Eleanor Roosevelt.

Published with permission from the Estate of Anna Eleanor Roosevelt.

MEP edition publlished on June 30, 2008.

TEI-P5 edition published on April 28, 2017.

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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.