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

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NEW YORK—I spoke in Milwaukee for Bonds for Israel and on Thursday morning I flew to Chicago. From there I took a plane to Atlanta, Ga., to speak again for this same cause, and at 6 o'clock Friday morning got into Washington for a meeting with the Negro Council of Women. Then I returned to New York.

It seems important to me that all of us should look at the situation now confronting the world.

The Soviet Union has established itself in Egypt and is seeking a growing influence there and in the other Arab states. The only state not under Soviet influence in the Near East is Israel.

Because of threats from the Soviet Union and the disapproval of the United States and other countries in the United Nations, it has not been clearly understood that Israel acted in self-defense. She could not sit like a duck in the middle of the pond and wait for the hunters. She had to try to defend herself before the arming of surrounding states was complete.

As much as we may deplore that Great Britain and France acted in a manner considered aggressive, just as Israel did, we should remember they since have signified their willingness to submit to the U.N. This leaves Egypt's dictator, Gamal Abdel Nasser, still in power and certainly has not lessened the growing Soviet power in the Near East.

The Soviets also have demonstrated in Hungary how they will treat any satellite that tries to gain greater freedom even though remaining Communist. This, we hope, has affected world opinion somewhat.

I think the time has come, nevertheless, for us to tell the Soviet Union that though neither the United States, Great Britain nor France nor any other country—except possibly Nasser's Egypt—wants war, and though it may seem to the Soviets that the alliance between France, England and the United States has deteriorated to a point where it may take time to rebuild, Russia should realize that the way to rebuild the Western alliance quickly is for the Soviets themselves to appear anxious to go to war.

Up to now the Soviets have been willing to incite others to war, but all of us have been pretty sure that they themselves did not want World War III and certainly did not want an atomic war. If that conviction is weakened, I think the Soviets will be surprised to find how quickly the old alliance will draw together.

And I even think that there might be a fairly solid world opinion against the Soviets if they showed real signs of wanting to go to war. With troubles not only in the satellites but within their own borders, they may be tempted to do so. But I hope they will not forget that no matter how much destruction they might inflict on other nations, in the long run they themselves would not escape and that there would be no victory, for World War III would leave a heap of smoking ruins.

I still firmly believe that no people in the world want war. But sometimes I am a little worried as to what governments may do when they feel themselves seriously threatened. For all we know, the Soviets may well have that feeling just now.

So it may be wise to remind Russia not to push the allies, divided as they now are, too far. The results might be disastrous to the world.


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

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About this document

My Day by Eleanor Roosevelt, November 19, 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.