My Day by Eleanor Roosevelt

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BELGRADE, Yugoslavia—I was assigned as interpreter in Belgrade a very charming young woman, Mrs. Yovanka Lukic, who interprets as a rule for the President's wife. I feel a little guilty about it because at a dinner given by Mr. Wallner of our Embassy on the night of our arrival, Mrs. Vilfan told me she had to leave by train that night in order to interpret at some interviews with the President's wife. It is certainly kind of the Yugoslav government to put themselves out so much.

The dinner at the Embassy was very pleasant and after dinner Mr. Crnobrnja told me a little about the economic methods of running industrial plants here. I shall know more about this in the course of the next few days.

At dinner Mr. Pijade was most interesting in talking about his work in the legislature.

At 8:30 Tuesday morning Mr. Vilfan and Dr. Ribnikar came with the proposed schedule and I think we will start out on our travels Thursday morning.

Tuesday morning Miss Corr and I devoted to catching up on necessary work but at 1 o'clock we were at Mr. Dedijer's home. I met his mother for the first time and was very much impressed by her beauty. I had been told that she headed many women's organizations, particularly the Red Cross, and that she was very active, but I had not realized she had been to the U.S. and knew Miss Katharine Lenroot and Dr. Martha Eliot of our Children's Bureau. She came to the U.S. some years ago to study child welfare methods and she evidently went to a good many states and what is more her son told me that at the age of 58 she learned English!

There was an interesting group at luncheon, among them an under secretary of state who explained to us their new plans for industrial management. The state will not run industries. The industries will be run by councils of workers. This has already improved production where it has been tried, for the workers find out that good management is necessary and that everyone must do their best and no one can be carried as dead wood if an industry is to pay. I imagine this is all perfectly true but I foresee some other problems that may arise with this arrangement. However, Yugoslavia seems to be in a state of experimenting and it may be very valuable for they may hit upon methods which provide for individual freedom within the socialist framework. If so, it may be a valuable contribution to the development of some other countries where the resources of the country do not make straight capitalism, even of a limited kind, very possible.

At 4 o'clock we left to go to the American Embassy where the acting Charge d'Affaires, Mr. Wallner, and two of his aides answered our questions and told us certain things they thought we would find interesting. Then I shook hands with all of the staff.


Names and Terms Mentioned or Referenced

  • Belgrade (Montenegro) [ index ]

About this document

My Day by Eleanor Roosevelt, July 18, 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.