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

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NEW YORK—I am sure it must have given the President a sense of satisfaction and pleasure to be greeted so warmly on his return to Washington over the weekend. He has made a very rapid and fine recovery, and everyone will hope that he will find a way to carry on his duties that will not prevent his continuing in good health.

I see that Governor Harriman of New York thanked Mr. Molotov for his changed attitude in Geneva. Governor Harriman explained that it was for us a very good thing to know that Soviet objectives have not changed, and that only their tactics and their manners have.

Governor Harriman is one of the few people in this country who really know the Soviets.

The Russians have always been willing to settle any question, so long as it is settled in the Soviet way and achieves Soviet aims. Concessions of any kind come only when they are convinced that there are not going to be any concessions for anyone else.

I think the sale of Czechoslovak arms to Egypt was a blessing in disguise, for it must have convinced our allies in Europe, as well as people in this country, that as far as the Near East is concerned the Soviets have only one real interest—namely, the removal of Western influence in that whole area.

The oil in the Near East is not, of course, vital to the Soviet Union which has a considerable amount of oil within its own borders. But the Soviets would not object to controlling the oil in the Near East because they know Great Britain and the U.S. need it.

However that is a secondary consideration to their desire to see their influence paramount in the Near East and in Northern Africa. They never forget for a minute that someday they want a Communist world, and everything they do is planned with that as a final objective.

In the Near East Israel is the only state that can be said to have a really democratic form of government. True, many of the people who have come into Israel came from the Arab states where no such form of government existed. But there is an understanding and a determination in Israel to develop along Democratic lines rather than totalitarian, and the Soviets know full well that this little country is a demonstration in the area of what the West stands for.

With the conviction that they can quite easily control the weak and totalitarian Arab states, the Soviets will now back those states in an effort to get rid of the influence of the West, particularly of the U.S., by getting rid of Israel. The more difficulty they bring about in North Africa, the more they hope our military bases will be difficult to hold there.

The Communists will not make war, but they will certainly see to it that others make life extremely difficult for the countries of the West, and anything short of war is entirely permissible.

We had better be alert and have our policy clearly understood, for when we drift, as we now seem to be doing, in our attitude toward Israel and the Arab states, we are apt to drift into trouble.


(Copyright, 1955, by United Feature Syndicate, Inc.)

Names and Terms Mentioned or Referenced

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About this document

My Day by Eleanor Roosevelt, November 15, 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
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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.