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

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NEW YORK—I was interested to read the outcome of the trial in Yugoslavia of Milovan Djilas, former Vice-President, and Vladimir Dedijer, a member of the Central Committee of the Yugoslav Communist party. As you probably have read, both were found guilty but given suspended sentences and allowed to go home. This must be considered as a warning against similar action by others who might feel themselves too free to try to make or suggest changes in the present Yugoslav Communist setup.

As far as I understand the situation, these two men were accused of having given interviews for publication to foreign correspondents which, by implication or directly, criticized the present political regime in Yugoslavia. I don't suppose that it would have been possible to print these interviews in a Yugoslav publication, so if they wished to have them published it was probably necessary to go to foreign correspondents.

Both men seem to have advocated democratization of Communist political formulas, even to the point of allowing a two-party system.

To anyone living in a democracy this does not seem too frightening. We are accustomed to having a complete overturn of parties and still the government goes on and functions, even though the major ideas on certain issues may change.

It always has been our quarrel with Communist countries that without this possibility there was no real political freedom, since you had no choice but to accept one set of ideas given you by the government. The people could not very well bring about a change, since their votes were never cast on anything but what was handed them by the government.

I think the probability that one must face is that where everything is in such an experimental state, as in Yugoslavia, it is impossible—because the government fears its own possible weakness—to place before the people a number of choices. But I am glad at least that Yugoslavia has allowed two people who had the courage to express their convictions to retain their freedom.

I wonder how many people know of some of the cultural activities that are carried on overseas by American groups in an effort to make our neighbors understand what our cultural developments are in this country.

Recently Doris Meltzer, Director of the Serigraph Galleries, in New York, assembled an exhibition of contemporary American watercolors which was sent to our cultural division in the Embassy in Paris. It was then dispatched on a tour of the major museums in France. The exhibition received high praise from French critics and helped enormously to increase appreciation of American art.

E. R.


Names and Terms Mentioned or Referenced

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

About this document

My Day by Eleanor Roosevelt, January 31, 1955

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.