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

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NEW YORK, Friday—I received a very extraordinary letter yesterday. It gives the reasons of one gentleman for considering a man disloyal, and I really think it is the type of thinking that should be brought out in the open and carefully considered.

This gentleman first tells me how good his ancestors were. They were valiant defenders of the United States from the Revolutionary War right on down to the present. But that is something that can be duplicated by many people of this country; I know, in fact, that both my husband's family and mine can make such a claim.

He proceeds to say: "First, I will plainly state that in my opinion there is reasonable doubt as to the loyalty of Franklin D. Roosevelt and any of those men who have risen to powerful places in our government by his appointment or through his appointees. By this I do not mean that it was his desire to hand control of this country to any foreign power, but that in order to acquire more power for himself and to perpetuate himself in office, he did everything he could possibly do to nullify the established forms of this government without a revolution."

This is an old charge that has been made and disproved many times.

"In other words," the writer goes on, "his principal effort was, in my opinion directed toward establishing in this country an organization identical with that which Hitler, Mussolini and Stalin had established in Europe. In order to carry out this intent, he chose men to place in ace positions of power who were sympathetic with that type of government."

In other words, my husband was either a Fascist or a Communist and everyone who worked with him was either a Fascist or a Communist, and that includes career people in the different services who held their positions under Civil Service.

I certainly think that Henry L. Stimson would have thought it odd that because he was appointed by my husband he was a Fascist or a Communist. Cordell Hull might feel the same way.

My correspondent goes on to say: "It is very evident in my opinion that many of the men so chosen had already given their loyalty to the Communist cause."

Again he says: "I have read that you once referred to your husband as the ruler of the U.S."

I cannot ever remember saying any such thing.

Then he goes on to say: "It was always my belief that Americans such as myself were the rulers of the U.S. and as such we employed certain men to look after our interests and take care of things in which we were concerned. No man who legally takes my money in this manner is a ruler. He is my servant."

Quite right, sir. This has always been the concept of every man who took public service in our country and it was a concept of my husband, but he also knew that the President of the U.S. had an obligation to lead as well as to serve.

The last sentence of this extraordinary document reads: "While I am reluctant to hurt you, for whom I have a certain respect as a relative of that genuine American, Theodore Roosevelt, I must say it is my firm belief that history will record him (FDR) as being the biggest 'sucker' in the U.S. or in the same class with Benedict Arnold."

May I say that no man who knows as little as this correspondent could possibly hurt my feelings, but I would point out to him that I am a closer relative to my husband than to my uncle. Everyone is entitled to his opinion, but I could not disagree more with this gentleman in the concept that anybody who served under or with my husband must be considered to be a loyalty risk.

E. R.


Names and Terms Mentioned or Referenced

  • New York (N.Y., United States) [ index ]

About this document

My Day by Eleanor Roosevelt, January 10, 1953

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.