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

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TOKYO—On Thursday morning we had a two hour conference in the Industry Club with representatives of the Japanese organizations supporting different U.N. specialized agencies. Japan belongs to UNESCO and has a national commission which is semi-official, as ours is in the U.S., but, in addition, she has groups all over Japan which unofficially support the activities of UNESCO. She feels that seminars in various fields have been most helpful to her students and her teachers and that the meetings arranged under UNESCO auspices for scientists have been extremely valuable.

The Japanese U.N. Association has 170,000 members, which is a good many more than we have in the U.S., I am afraid. They have an association to support ILO and are doing a great deal to bring their standards in line with world standards and to get their government to sign conventions which raise labor conditions. We have never felt it important to sign any ILO conventions because our own labor standards are high and we do not want to have employers who don't want to live up those standards, suddenly announce that our standards are above the minimum world standards and, therefore, we should lower our standards. But it is of great advantage to us when labor standards are below ours that they should be brought up, since it reduces the competition we have to face if at any time it seems advisable to lower the tariff barriers. We realize if we really want "trade and not aid", we cannot placidly put up our tariffs against the exchange of the world's goods. They also are very conscious in Japan of the value of the food and agriculture specialized agency and have an active organization promoting this work throughout Japan. They have an active group which has worked here in cooperation with the Children's Emergency Fund and they are most grateful for the work that has been accomplished by the Fund.

After the war the health of the children was much impaired. In fact we were told in one Tokyo school they were a whole year behind in weight and general development.

They have heard over here what happened to UNESCO in the schools of Los Angeles and what is going on in Texas and other parts of the U.S. against the U.N. and they are bewildered. One of their leading men asked me to please explain these attitudes in the U.S. He prefaced his question by saying Japan hoped to be a member of the U.N. and to work with us and loyally support any stand we took, but they were bewildered when they heard of these occurrences in the U.S. In the light of the world leadership which is now ours it is a trifle difficult to explain some of our local attitudes.


Names and Terms Mentioned or Referenced

  • Tokyo (Japan) [ index ]

About this document

My Day by Eleanor Roosevelt, June 3, 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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Digital edition published 2008, 2017 by
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MEP edition publlished on June 30, 2008.

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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.