JUNE 27, 1955
HYDE PARK—In his memorandum to the President, about which I wrote in my column the other day, General David Sarnoff points out that we cannot allow our military strength to deteriorate. He says we should have a strategy board for defense in the cold war, equivalent to the Joint Chiefs of Staff on the military side, with Cabinet status for its head. On such a board he would have the top representatives from the State Department, the Defense Department, the Central Intelligence Agency, and the U.S. Information Agency, working together with any other private or public group that might play a role in the overall effort to win the cold war.
We should tell the world that we mean to win the cold war, he says, and that we are out to defeat, not the Russians, but world communism. We should make it clear that we do not think communism, at least as it has developed in the Soviet Union, is a permanent development.
Concretely, General Sarnoff suggests large expenditures and expanding facilities for getting across what democracy really is and what it means.
He does not, however, point out one or two things that I think are vital in this campaign, namely, the general education of our own people to be able to formulate their beliefs and to strengthen their convictions in their beliefs.
This must be done through our schools, and I think it requires actual education of our children to know what communism is. Our youngsters should understand that there is an ideal theory of communism that is accepted in many Oriental countries and never has been thought of as something that can be put into practical operation. In the Soviet Union, however, communism has become a dangerous and harmful ideology enslaving men's minds and eventually their bodies.
Without this knowledge our citizens will be unable really to fight the evils of communism, and they will not have the deeply rooted belief in democracy and the sense of responsibility for developing democracy in accordance with its highest ideals. And this is essential if we are to win the battle against the clever propaganda and tactics of the Soviets.
We have to develop in this country not fear of communism but a confidence in ourselves in our beliefs, in what we have developed and are helping to develop day by day in every community of our nation. If, as a country, we have this confidence then we can communicate our sense of strength to other nations that are struggling to put down Communist groups in their midst. But if we do not know what it is we are fighting and are not sure of what it is we believe in, then we, too, will live in fear and be a prey to Soviet propaganda.
This battle has to begin at home, for it will be fought by every individual in every community in this country as well as all over the world.
(Copyright, 1955, by United Feature Syndicate, Inc.)
About this document
My Day by Eleanor Roosevelt, June 27, 1955
- Brick, Christopher (Editor)
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