AUGUST 9, 1956
HYDE PARK N.Y.—It certainly is interesting to note that the Dutch and the Indonesians disagree so widely as to the financial indebtedness of the Indonesians to the Dutch.
In repudiating its debt, Indonesia said it owed to the Netherlands or to private Dutch creditors the equivalent of $963,000,000. And now, according to the newspapers, the Dutch government is puzzled because its figures show the total debt to be $170,000,000.
It seems unwise for any government concerned about its international credit—and all governments are—to repudiate its debts, particularly a debt of only $170,000,000. It looks as though somebody had done his arithmetic rather carelessly.
In reading the transcript of the questions to and the answers of Soviet Marshal Georgi K. Zhukov, Minister of Defense, posed by Hanson Baldwin, a United States journalist, I was struck by the repetition of certain old attitudes. For instance, the Marshal said:
"If you speak of the American people, I am deeply convinced that the working people of America ardently welcome the initiative and practical steps of the Soviet government. If by American you imply the persons who have a hostile attitude toward the U.S.S.R., their approach to any measures of the Soviet Union always has been negative, and extremely unobjective."
This habit of dividing the American people by speaking of the working people as though they were in opposition to any other group is an old Soviet ruse. With us, there is no division whatsoever between the working people and the rest of our citizens.
Marshal Zhukov insists on ignoring our type of military inspection program in the world disarmament proposals and says that the Soviet Union, while it does not agree with the United States' plan for inspection, has proposed a system of international control which actually insures international supervision over disarmament.
If that were true, I think there would be no difficulty for all of us to agree to gradual disarmament, but the Soviet government will have to learn that there is no division among our people and just talking about a plan isn't enough. It must work.
We think, in our country, not as working people as a class or as farming people as a group but as independent human beings. We may be farmers, factory workers, office workers, or small or big businessmen, but we all make up our own minds independently in arriving at political decisions. The Soviet Union cannot count on any one particular block of people taking a stand in favor of its particular proposals against the rest of the United States.
There seems to have been a very successful picnic Monday at Bear Mountain, near West Point, N.Y., attended by a group of New York resident diplomats from foreign lands. Instead of being out-of-doors, they had to eat inside because of the rain. But, from all accounts, this did not dampen the pleasure of the party, and I am happy that everyone had a good time.
(Copyright, 1956, by United Feature Syndicate, Inc.)
About this document
My Day by Eleanor Roosevelt, August 9, 1956
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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