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

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NEW YORK, Sunday—The other night when I spoke in Chicago Heights one of the questions, as happens so often now, was whether I thought military aid to Pakistan was wise. It seems to me evident from what I read that our present policy tends to try to build up the military strength of powers on the periphery of the Soviet Union. Of course, the Khyber Pass was the traditional passage for the old Russian caravans which were going down to the sea, but today it would not seem probable that any modern army would follow that route.

While I understand the tendency that Congress has to prefer to grant military aid rather than economic aid to countries, I am not at all sure that we would not be wiser to allow countries to build up their own defenses. It might be better to make sure that we took an active part in building up their economy so that they would be able to defend themselves both internally from the ideas of Communism and externally by as good a defense as they felt they needed. It is quite as dangerous, it seems to me, to have masses of people in these countries suffering from unemployment and hunger as it might be to have an actual attack from the Soviet Union with military force.

If we look at the policy pursued since World War II by the Soviet Union, we are struck by the fact that she has taken over more land than any other nation and done it without the expenditure of a single Russian soldier. It would seem to me, therefore, that our Congress and our military authorities might well consider whether money is not more profitably expended in building up the living standards in these countries and giving people something worthwhile to fight for.

I am as anxious to see Pakistan move ahead as I am to see India find solutions to her problems, but I believe it would be wiser for us to give our aid to both countries in ways which will improve the living conditions of the people and leave it to them to build up their own defenses.

It seems unfortunate that at the present time there should be difficulty between the members of the Patrolmen's Benevolent Association of the City of N.Y. and the new police commissioner, Francis W. Adams. It is probably true that there is need of eliminating from the police force those easygoing methods which have meant lack of discipline and, in some cases, favoritism shown because of favors received by policemen. It is also probable that all men given the type of authority which is granted to the police need constant reminders that their duty is to preserve the civil liberties of the people, to treat the people with consideration, and never to play favorites. One is glad that the new commissioner denies that spying goes on under any method within the police force, for one feels there must be some other way to enforce discipline and build up morale. It is to be hoped the new commissioner soon finds this method.



Names and Terms Mentioned or Referenced

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

About this document

My Day by Eleanor Roosevelt, February 15, 1954

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.