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

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NEW YORK—Transcripts of two broadcasts by Paul Coates over Station KTTV, Hollywood, Calif., have been sent to me by the United States National Commission for UNESCO (United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization).

I think Coates had a great deal of courage in putting these two shows on the air and they should go far in meeting the criticism and changing the attitude of the Los Angeles Board of Education toward the U.N. and UNESCO.

On the first broadcast, Coates invited Mrs. Joseph W. Kirchoff, 60-year-old president of the Beverly Hills Freedom Club and a woman who has been active in Los Angeles civic affairs for many years, to tell why she believed UNESCO was dangerous.

Her speech, from my point of view, was a fantastic one and showed that she never read with an open mind any of the material sent out by the State Department or by UNESCO.

She said, "UNESCO is a deliberate attempt to poison the minds of the people against the love of their country. Children under the influence of UNESCO tend to one-worldism and a patent disrespect for the American flag."

It seems to me that you can love your country and be interested in other countries of the world as well. And I have never found that young people who understood what the U.N. flag stood for had any less devotion for our own Stars and Stripes.

No other country could mean the same to us as our United States, but at the same time it is possible to want to see countries cooperate and to recognize the needs of other nations.

Being a citizen of the world simply means that you understand the world and know something about it. It does not mean that you love your own little bit of the world any less.

I am glad that UNESCO decided to make these two broadcasts and found a sponsor courageous enough to put them on the air. They certainly will clarify for the rest of the country what has been a mystery to many people: Why could Los Angeles be so frightened of Communism when it has some of the best people to fight Communism right in its midst?

This question has been difficult to understand. Of course, a few Hollywood writers and artists were misled for a short time by Communist ideals. But that is largely a matter of the past. And surely we are gaining enough confidence in ourselves and in our respect for democracy not to take advantage of the benefits of this specialized U.N. agency whose objective is to fight Communism and war by providing information that builds a strong bulwark in the minds of men.

There were so many things in Mrs. Kirchoff's speech which required only a little knowledge to gainsay that one wonders how intelligent people reach the point of being intimidated by what apparently is a small minority of vociferous super-patriots.

Sometimes I think this overzealousness shows a lack of confidence in one's self and in other people of one's acquaintance.

There really was no excuse for the fear expressed by members of the Los Angeles Board of Education and by the teachers themselves. If all of them had stood together and refused to have been intimidated, this disgraceful situation never would have arisen in one of our large Western cities.

But those who believed in the U.N. and understood UNESCO's aims lacked leadership, and when that happens, the obvious result is that a noisy minority will intimidate the sane people who are lacking in leadership.


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

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About this document

My Day by Eleanor Roosevelt, October 11, 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.