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

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NEW YORK, Friday—To anyone watching the newspapers and trying to decide about the wisdom of the policies followed by our United States delegation in the present meeting of the General Assembly certain questions must keep recurring. Do we consider that since China, or at least that part of China represented by the People's Republic, has come under Communist domination, India is the next most important Asiatic country because of her great population and the leadership attained by her Prime Minister Nehru? If we do, then it would seem that we are pursuing a shortsighted policy.

The United Nations should try to get as many nations as possible really interested in bringing about peace in Asia and in studying the problems that will have to be faced by the many countries involved. Why the United States should feel opposed to the presence of India at the conference is difficult to understand.

Of course, we believe that President Syngman Rhee objects to India but did we give him assurances that we would disapprove of India? If we did that, it would seem that we promised a good deal, and the net result on the long view might be greatly to our disadvantage.

The question seems to hinge on whether our delegation is right in thinking that it takes a two-thirds vote to elect India or whether the British and the French are right in thinking that it requires only a majority vote.

Supposing we kept India off by a small vote, we would have made an enemy where we need a friend. We seem to have lost sight of the fact India did contribute to the war by furnishing medical personnel and medical supplies. But even if she had contributed nothing during the war there is still so much that she can contribute as a member of this council. It seems to me that we are very shortsighted in our policy at this time, and we may be pushing her into the arms of the Communists.

Judge Learned Hand has been saying a number of things lately which are most interesting. Speaking to the Board of Regents at the University of the State of New York, he discussed the role of the humanities in developing sound political judgment. He maintained that the study of the humanities is essential in education in a democracy and saying that many of our basic concepts "such as freedom of speech, of press, of religion are not merely jural, but fundamental canons which can be properly understood only in the historical prospective of man's long battle for liberty in different times and in many places; and that therefore the real need of constitutional guarantees can be truly grasped only if men first know the roots of freedom and the relavence of yesterday's struggles."

Also of interest was an article published in the Journal of the American Bar Association by Sol M. Linowitz, putting forth the idea that in every college and university there should be an obligatory course, which would be required study for every undergraduate and be called "Principles of Anglo-Saxon Justice." He said "the object of the course would be to present to every student attending our colleges and universities the fundamental principles of our legal and judicial system and to suggest the tone and the climate of our legal rules of fair play."

It seems to me that this might be a most exciting and interesting course, which at the present time might be of value in helping us to decide whether we live up to our guarantees of freedom or not.



Names and Terms Mentioned or Referenced

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

About this document

My Day by Eleanor Roosevelt, August 22, 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.