My Day by Eleanor Roosevelt

Text Size: Small Text Normal Text Large Text Larger Text

NEW YORK, Sunday—It was interesting to find that the initial Soviet reaction to President Eisenhower's U.N. speech was unfavorable, whereas the European one is favorable. That the Soviets should be suspicious is not surprising, for the President's proposal to have some part of atomic materials used and developed for peacetime purposes is not spelled out. But we hope it will be a move toward full control eventually of this material.

When it comes to the control of actual weapons of war, one realizes that one has not done away with the need of inspection and more careful safeguards than are even touched upon in this proposal, which is really only a first step to bring the Soviets and ourselves into some kind of cooperation. It seems fairly essential that we should start on an international basis to investigate what can be done to benefit humanity with our new scientific discoveries. On that plane we might hope to achieve some joint action with the Soviet Union and begin to break down the barrier that now exists.

The President's speech, I thought, carried sincerity and a real desire to impress upon all of the world what the serious consequences of another war would be. For that reason alone I wish the Soviet Union would publish his speech in full in their papers. This would prove that on the high levels of government the Soviet Union is anxious to have its people understand what another war might mean to the whole of civilization. The Soviets are closely linked with the rest of the world even though an iron curtain of silence separates them; and it would be encouraging to have their government give the Russian people some information from the outside world. This particular speech of the President seems to me to be a constructive one.

Of course, it may be difficult to build confidence enough in other parts of the world when we have so little confidence in each other at present in our own country. Each day some new name is pointed out in the press by a Congressional investigating committee as a person they are trying to prove is a Communist. I wonder whether this is really rooting out dangerous people, or merely creating uncertainty about more or less harmless people. I realize the need of not fooling oneself about the real danger. Nevertheless I want to be very sure we are using methods that will safeguard us, and not put us in even greater danger by dividing us among ourselves until we are a disunited people. That is something the Soviets would certainly appreciate.

E. R.