My Day by Eleanor Roosevelt

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NEW YORK, Wednesday—On Tuesday at the Women's City Club in the auditorium of The New York Times Building I spoke on the work of the Human Rights Commission.

I am constantly surprised and pleased by the interest women take in the work of the United Nations when once they take the trouble to study it. The City Club also has had a series of talks on the various activities of the U.N. I was delighted to find a full auditorium to listen to my report on the work of the Human Rights Commission.

It was a great joy to see Mrs. Edward Dreier again. She was president of the City Club during part of the time I worked for them. They were delving back into past history during lunch and reminded me of some of the meetings that went on at that time. But when it came to trying to remember what stands we had taken on various subjects, I could not recall, since I have worked on so many other things through the years that I can no longer remember just how this or that organization stood on certain subjects.

One lady in the group asked me whether Secretary General Trygve Lie had a hard time on Tuesday when the Assembly met in plenary session to start its debate on Mr. Lie's policy of cooperation with the United States in its loyalty check on the almost 2,000 Americans in the U.N. Secretariat. There might well be some protests from other nations who feel that it is better for the organization to rely entirely on the judgment of the Secretary General in the employment of personnel. That, of course, would presuppose we had gone back to the days when we didn't think it was necessary to examine anyone.

I recently had a letter from a woman who complained that her constitutional rights had been invaded on the ground that no one has a right to ask her what her political beliefs are. She did not say whether she had been a Communist or not. She simply said that no one has the right to ask her; that under our Constitution she has a right to hold any political beliefs she likes without question and those who question her are invading her rights under the Constitution.

This was still probably so when the Communist party was a legal party which appeared on the ballots, but from the stand taken against the Communists in their trials I gather that we are no longer looking upon the party as being a legal party. Therefore, anyone belonging to it automatically must be considered to have accepted ideas that are contrary to the security of the U.S. Being a member of the party automatically means being willing to overthrow our government by force.

There seems to be a general feeling that the policy of the U.S. is going to change as regards Israel, and Senator Herbert H. Lehman evidently feels that this is so important that he issued a warning that favor with the Arabs should not be acquired at the expense of Israel.

It has always seemed to me that Israel is as much the symbol of democracy and progress in the Near East as is the U.S. in the world as a whole. If we have offended our Arab neighbors and if they feel we have not given them fair support in the development of their countries that situation should be thought out and worked out. But to do it at the expense of Israel would, I think, bring bad results in the future to the whole Near East and not just to Israel.

E.R.

(WORLD COPYRIGHT, 1953, BY UNITED FEATURE SYNDICATE, INC. REPRODUCTION IN WHOLE OR IN PART PROHIBITED.)


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About this document

My Day by Eleanor Roosevelt, March 12, 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.
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