DECEMBER 22, 1956
HYDE PARK—Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru's remark to his press conference in Washington that American foreign policy is "far less rigid than I had thought" certainly should have amused certain Americans who have been saying for some time that American foreign policy is almost nonexistent!
Of course, this was not meant literally by any of them, I am sure, but they were trying to convey their own lack of understanding of what American foreign policy is and where it actually is going.
It certainly has been clear of late that there have been changes in American policy. For instance, we seemed to have drifted very far away from our former allies, the French and the British. We are now told, however, that Secretary of State John Foster Dulles has been trying to remedy that situation and we hope he will be entirely successful.
We realize also that in our latest actions we seem to have tried to prove that we stand practically alone among nations as far as our position towards friend and foe alike is concerned. What we believe to be right is what we stand for, whether it means that we pass adverse judgment on either our friends or on our foes.
This is an admirable stand to take, but not one we have always taken in the past. However, in this particular case it brought us praise from areas of the world which previously felt we always would be plagued by political expediency and our alliances and, therefore, could never be counted upon for any real judgment as to right and wrong.
Now they feel that this has changed. And it may well be that if we actually mean what we have said and from now on are going to have a policy based on our convictions of what is right and wrong and that, come what may, we will stand for our own beliefs and will not be influenced by expediency or political effect of a situation, this may really be the start of a new era in the conduct of foreign affairs for the countries of the world!
I think such a stand would be a complete surprise and might bring about some rather astounding results. It will take courage to develop such a policy, however, and it is not easy to determine what the people of the United States really believe in many of the situations that face us.
It is encouraging to have Prime Minister Nehru optimistic about relations between India and the U.S., and both he and the President certainly must have gained some greater personal understanding in their long hours together.
(Copyright, 1956, by United Feature Syndicate, Inc.)
About this document
My Day by Eleanor Roosevelt, December 22, 1956
Digital edition created by The Eleanor Roosevelt Papers Project The George Washington University Old Main Building, Suite 406 1951 F Street, NW Washington, DC 20052
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