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

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NEW YORK—Two things seem to dominate the news of late. One is the distribution and administration of the Salk vaccine for polio. The President says that as far as the government and the Department of Health, Education and Welfare were concerned everything has been magnificently done.

This is probably true. But it seems to me that something a little out of the ordinary, a special program, was required to handle this situation, and perhaps even someone could have been put in charge on a special level months ago to follow developments and make plans both for inspection of those producing the vaccine and for the necessary methods of distribution. This must be a responsibility carried by the Federal government. If a special program had been ready by the time of the April 12 announcement none of the confusion that has existed would have occurred.

It is a case, I am afraid, of so many things hammering at the doors of the government for attention that it is difficult to sort out the things that should be prepared in advance and those that may come along later.

A sense of the priority of subjects is essential. And, of course, these priorities might change according to the views of the people who are examining them. And that adds to the difficulties because in the end the responsibility is on the head man, for he makes these decisions on the recommendations before him when he is burning the midnight oil—and I imagine it is sometimes impossible to burn the midnight oil long enough.

The second thing we read about from day to day is the constant changes in the situation between East and West.

Is the Soviet Union really changing her policies? Has she come to realize that some of these policies have been wrong? What can we hope for from a top meeting of officials?

First, I think we should accept one fact, namely that the ultimate objective of the Soviet Union is to have a Communist world and that never changes.

They will tell you themselves that they are prepared to wait, that they do not think this can be achieved quickly, and so it is understandable that they change tactics.

For the moment their tactics have changed and we should take advantage of this change to gain what advantages we can, but we should always bear in mind all the different factors that are involved. I never believe in letting the military interests predominate but neither do I believe in forgetting them, and you may be quite sure the Soviet Union never forgets them.

Economic and social and moral factors also enter in, and have a weight when we are playing for leadership of the world.

That is what is at stake today, and this rounded outlook must always be present in the minds of our leaders as they negotiate. Negotiation is essential, but on all sides it must be done with equal circumspection and wisdom.

(Distributed by United Feature Syndicate, Inc.)


Names and Terms Mentioned or Referenced

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

About this document

My Day by Eleanor Roosevelt, May 21, 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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Digital edition published 2008, 2017 by
The Eleanor Roosevelt Papers Project

Available under licence from the Estate of Anna Eleanor Roosevelt.

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MEP edition publlished on June 30, 2008.

TEI-P5 edition published on April 28, 2017.

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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.