NOVEMBER 3, 1955
NEW HAVEN, Conn.—It seems to me that the whole question of the Middle East situation is becoming much more serious than most of us realize. The Soviets, with their usual indifference to discrepancies between what they say and what they do, keep on saying to all of us that they want a peaceful world. But, so far as anyone can see they want it only on their own terms and in ways that will weaken the rest of the world and strengthen the Soviet Union.
It may well be that the offer to sell surplus arms to Egypt was made before the summit meetings at Geneva, when the Soviet spirit is supposed to have changed, but the fact remains that it has not been cancelled. And the latest disclosure—that once the British leave their base at Suez the fourth article of the treaty between Great Britain and Egypt will be declared void by Egypt—clearly shows what the ultimate intentions are.
There is an understanding that we and Great Britain will guarantee the existing boundaries in the Near East, but we do not seem to be ready to do anything positive to carry out this understanding.
It seems to me that the peace-loving nations of the world should join together in asking the United Nations to assure respect for existing boundaries and add that they will be prepared voluntarily to put force into U.N. hands to preserve peace in the Middle East. Once this is thoroughly understood, then it might be possible to propose to the U.N. immediately to set up a voluntary police force to be used wherever borders need to be policed.
This police force would always be made up of neutrals and never include the nationals of countries involved in any dispute. The incidents of the past few days show more clearly that it is impossible for the nationals involved to patrol borders without clashes between those nationals.
In a situation such as Israel faces, her government is almost obliged to come to grips with the difficult question of using force to give her people the feeling that they are being protected. And if force is being constantly built up in Egypt the pressure from the people inevitably will be on the question: "Have we a better chance of survival if we bring on a war before our neighbors are completely equipped to annihilate us?"
This is especially true when Israel has no direct guarantee of protection or of equipment which will give them equality with their Arab neighbors.
I dread war anywhere in the world and I dislike to see situations develop that need only the slightest impetus to spark actual war. Therefore, I feel it is an obligation for the peace-loving nations to use the U.N. in a crisis like this and to promise the U.N. strength so these nations can act to implement any decision made by the General Assembly.
(Copyright, 1955, by United Feature Syndicate, Inc.)
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About this document
My Day by Eleanor Roosevelt, November 3, 1955
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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