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

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LOS ANGELES —Everyone in the United States should make a serious protest over the signing of the Saudi Arabian agreement for use of the Dhahran air base with a clause barring certain Americans from that area.

No matter what his color, nationality or creed, a citizen of the U.S. is a citizen of the U.S. and a foreign country should have no right forbidding his employment if he is needed and fitted for a job.

Many years ago, when we were a rather weak country and not the leader of the free world, we refused to sign any agreement which contained such a clause. I think it would be well for our dignity in that area of the world if we had refused to do so again.

Let us examine for a minute the position we are in.

Some of us recognize the fact that the party in power in a country must take seriously any risk of war that it incurs. That thought is constantly in the Administration's mind, of course, for the Soviet Union stands in back of the Egyptian dictator as a shadowy threat.

If we disagree with Gamal Abdel Nasser, perhaps we will not have to account for our action to Nasser alone, but also to the Soviet Union.

I grant that this is a threat and one that has to be taken seriously, but it will not be lessened by constantly giving in. There will come a day when we will have to make the test, for we cannot always agree to Nasser's demands.

In the case of the King of Saudi Arabia, of course, we are trying to strengthen our position with the other Arab states in the hope it will weaken Nasser's power, but it seems to me this is not a very far-sighted policy.

If we believe this strengthens us with the Asian-African bloc, I think our calculations are wrong. They know as well as we do that Saudi Arabia is a backward country where slavery is tolerated, and slavery is as unpopular as colonialism.

If, in the signing of the agreement with Saudi Arabia, we had courageously and strongly refused to be dictated to and forced to discriminate against our own citizens, we would have earned the respect of the Asian-African bloc and Nasser would have learned that we are not so weak as to compromise a principle.

I went to Hyde Park late Thursday afternoon with Dore Schary, who has just announced that he will write a play and produce a movie on a short period of my husband's life. He wished to visit the library there and talk over some of his plans.

I hope that he will be successful, for the period he has chosen to write about was a dramatic one where the qualities of a man of character can be universally shown to apply to many situations in life.


(Copyright, 1957, by United Feature Syndicate, Inc.)

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About this document

My Day by Eleanor Roosevelt, April 13, 1957

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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Digital edition published 2008, 2017 by
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Available under licence from the Estate of Anna Eleanor Roosevelt.

Published with permission from the Estate of Anna Eleanor Roosevelt.

MEP edition publlished on 2008-06-30

TEI-P5 edition published on 2017-04-28

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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.