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


NEW YORK, Wednesday—With the signing in Manila yesterday of the defense pact for certain Asiatic nations, I think the article written by Chester Bowles, in the magazine section of last Sunday's New York Times, is a timely one for everyone to read.

There is no question that the majority of Asiatic people are very anxious to have both Asia and Africa cooperate for complete independence from white domination of any kind. In reading some recent speeches, given by such people as Prime Minister Nehru whose thinking I respect, I am impressed by the Asian bitterness against any Western effort to dominate, but sometimes one wonders whether there is much Asian desire to cooperate.

I believe it is pretty well acknowledged throughout the world that colonial domination is going to disappear, but cooperation among the people of the world, no matter of what color or race, seems to me essential. If we want this to occur, we will have to revise some of our ideas on communism.

There are many nations in the world who do not yet understand the ideological pattern of communism—the domination of a man's mind, resulting in practical slavery both as an economic factor and as an intellectual and emotional human being. These things are ignored. Asiatic nations come in contact primarily with Communist promises that are carefully made to suit their needs.

Most of the countries of Asia are very poor. A Communist type of economy is far more easily understood than most of the things we of the free capitalist nations try to tell them. And it is far more important to the masses of these people if it is just made possible (for them) to eat. If they can believe they are being treated as human beings on an equal basis with other human beings, it will make them happy. Most of them have never known real freedom in the sense that free nations understand it.

There are many areas of Asia in which vast numbers of people have been hungry for generations. If we expect to live on a cooperative basis with the Asians, we shall have to revise some of our economic theories. As far as the leaders of these nations are concerned we will have to remember that they know far more than we do about the needs of their people, that they are sensitive to any hint of patronizing or not being treated as complete equals.

On the other hand, there is an obligation which rests on the leaders and the peoples of the colored areas of the world. They must learn the dangers of Soviet Communism, they must know that, despite the mistakes often made by our government, American history has not been a history of domination of other people.



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About this document

My Day by Eleanor Roosevelt, September 9, 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.