MARCH 14, 1955
LONDON—At luncheon on Thursday Sir Winston Churchill told me there was an important statement from the President coming out, and next morning I was happy to read it in full as reported in the press. It is timed, of course, so as to impress on our French friends the need for ratifying the present European defense agreements and the President emphasizes several points of interest to France. His statement that within NATO all contributions of armed forces are kept in balance for defense purposes and not for aggression should be reassuring.
The French quite naturally are worried. They remember that in the past, once Germany began to rearm and to rebuild its war industries, she was shortly again embarked on a desire to control the world. That desire is the really dangerous motivation which brought about Nazism, and which today is affecting the Soviet Union. Once you begin to think as a nation that you are destined to rule the world, you are no longer a safe neighbor. It is all-important for us who are building up our military and economic power to remember how natural it is for other nations to fear that the growth of power will lead a nation to hope for world domination. That fear will breed suspicion, and eventually coalition, against any nation that builds up tremendous force which can be used for aggression.
There is no question in my mind that the people of the United States have no desire to control the rest of the world. But we should not forget that as we grow in strength we may inspire this fear in the minds of other nations. The Soviet Union has inspired that fear in the West and in the U. S. A., so we must not forget the reverse of the picture.
It is quite cold here. So many people depend for heat on open fireplaces, along with small electric heaters carried about from room to room, that I begin to think one of the reasons the British stood up so well under their post-war hardships was because they had learned in their daily lives in pre-war days to take discomforts and simply endure them without complaint. Discomforts are a necessity here, and in many cases the choice is between preserving the great beauty of old houses or to some extent marring it by modern comforts and conveniences. The choice is as a rule made in favor of preserving beauty and tradition, sometimes because of economic necessity. We do not always have beauty in the U. S. and we cannot have the tradition which comes with age, so we decide in favor of comfort. We are frequently better able financially to bear the strain, which may account for some of the differences in our temperaments.
I have a little tradition of my own, and when I come to London I nearly always dine with an old friend whom my husband and I came to know well in Washington many, many years ago. He is deeply interested in the whole question of the Far East, has lived in China many years, and I find it most interesting to listen to his thoughts on that area of the world. When an Englishman is both interested and determined to keep in touch with a part of the world he has known well, he certainly does a more thorough job of keeping up his contacts and of studying situations than most of us do in the U.S.
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Names and Terms Mentioned or Referenced
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About this document
My Day by Eleanor Roosevelt, March 14, 1955
Digital edition created by The Eleanor Roosevelt Papers Project The George Washington University 312 Academic Building 2100 Foxhall Road, NW Washington, DC 20007
- Brick, Christopher (Editor)
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