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

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HYDE PARK, Tuesday—What can have happened to the Illinois department of the American Legion? At their meeting a short time ago they passed a resolution which "recommended the withdrawal of all efforts to secure contributions and membership for the Girl Scouts until such time as they restored time-honored American, patriotic and historic ideas in teaching American youth."

The account I read went on to say that the backers of this resolution accused Girl Scout leaders of indoctrinating their charges with United Nations and world-government propaganda. They said matters relating to Americanism had been deleted in the 1953 handbook and replaced by emphasis on the U.N.

The Girl Scouts have always emphasized the value of getting to know young people in other areas of the world, and there are Girl Scouts and Girl Guides in many other nations.

I wonder why it seems to the Legion a bad thing to indoctrinate members of the Girl Scouts with an interest in the U.N. No one in the U.N. is talking about world government or handing out propaganda on the subject, and that is one of the first things the Illinois American Legion had better learn. The U.N. is made up of sovereign states.

I haven't seen the Girl Scout handbook for a long time, but I am quite sure that any revisions that have been made are only minor changes to make the meaning clear, for I am certain that nothing un-American is in the Girl Scout handbook.

One account I heard said that, as this resolution passed, some rather high official in the Illinois Legion was heard to cry out, "How screwy can we become!" And that would seem to me to be a very good comment.

Incidentally, this Legion group was addressed by Senator McCarthy who, on his return to Washington, had nothing to say about the meeting except that he had been given a vote of confidence. That, of course, would be of interest to him and would seem to him to be the only thing of importance there. A little defense of the Girl Scouts on his part would have been a gracious gesture.

If things like this were not so ludicrous, they would be tragic. But fortunately, we can still laugh, and when our patriotic groups become so fearful of communism that they think they find it in those who work for the Girl Scouts, all we can do is laugh. Of one thing I am sure. Even if some benighted American Communist should think the Girl Scout organization a good place to work, he or she would find it hard to stay there and harder still to get across any propaganda in favor of communism.

Many good people hope that someday, in the area of war prevention, we may have some kind of world control. But no one, not even the World Federalists as far as I know, suggests that world government should cover any of the domestic activities of any nation.



Names and Terms Mentioned or Referenced

  • Hyde Park (Dutchess County, N.Y., United States) [ index ]

About this document

My Day by Eleanor Roosevelt, August 11, 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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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.