My Day by Eleanor Roosevelt

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NEW YORK —I am completely mystified by the stand of our Administration on the Near East situation. Our Secretary of State, according to the newspapers, says that he does not think the President would use American armed forces in a Middle East war without the approval of Congress, except under extraordinary circumstances. Who has urged this, I wonder?

So far there has been no discussion, as far as I know, of the use of American armed forces. The question under discussion is the equalization of arms for Israel, since the Soviet Union had sent arms to Egypt through Czechoslovakia.

Of course, we also seem to have provided arms to Middle East countries, but the discovery of that particular situation was rather a surprise to us and it only makes the balance of arms in Israel smaller.

During the last few days our government has announced that Israel can get all the arms she needs from Great Britain and France and, therefore, we need not provide any. It seems illogical that we, who have a greater productive power than either Great Britain or France and who know that these two countries now face a greater demand for military supplies than we, should take this standoffish attitude if we think equalization of arms is essential to peace in the Near East.

I realize the Administration may have many reasons for this attitude. But I would give a great deal for the country to be given an inkling of what these reasons are, since our present stand seems totally illogical and rather cowardly.

I am glad that the Security Council voted in favor of sending a United Nations peace mission to the Near East. The Soviets seemed critical of Great Britain and ourselves sending armed forces into that area. The discussion in the Security Council on this question did not sound very mature. But since the main desire one has is to see the U.N. mission go into the Near East, it is encouraging that the resolution proposed by United States was passed.

Former President Truman pointed up very well in his speech Tuesday night that the people of the country are constantly being reassured on the danger of Soviet policies abroad, although they really are not informed of the battle for economic and political penetration being waged by the Soviet Union in many other areas of the world.

We are loath to state clearly those things which might bring greater understanding of Communist theories and methods, and we insist that we are stronger today in the world than the Soviets. But we do not actually tell our people the Soviets are waging this economic and political war with astuteness and success in Asia and Africa.


(Copyright, 1956, by United Feature Syndicate, Inc.)

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About this document

My Day by Eleanor Roosevelt, April 6, 1956

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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Transcription created from a photocopy of a UFS wire copy of a My Day column instance archived at the Franklin D. Roosevelt Library.