My Day by Eleanor Roosevelt

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NEW YORK—The fact that Tunisia and Morocco have achieved freedom of government and now are attempting to work out satisfactory political and economic ties with France and the Western world has made the question of Algeria's future all the more important.

As you know, France is facing armed resistance in Algeria and has been obliged to put an army of somewhere around 500,000 men and large supplies of military material in that area.

While I was in Morocco recently, I was visited twice by groups of people from Algeria. Quite naturally, the French say they have been in Algeria 150 years, that they consider it an integral part of France, and that there are no separate people called Algerians—they are all French.

One Frenchman said to me, "To ask France to give up Algeria is like asking the people of New York to return Manhattan Island to the Indians."

I smiled at this because there do not seem to be any Indians clamoring violently to have Manhattan returned to them.

Large numbers of Algerians, on the other hand, do not feel they actually are Frenchmen, or that they ever have been given equal representation with the French in the control of their government. It is this control which they wish to gain.

The whole situation is complicated by the fact that France's economy would be benefited greatly by an economic arrangement on the development of the new oil fields, which are said to be extensive.

I personally feel that if it were possible to make such an economic arrangement equitable to both Algeria and France and then a reasonable agreement for Algeria's ultimate independence with constantly increasing autonomy, France itself would be better off. At the same time, some form of federation of the three North African states could be planned, with a real tie-up with France and the West.

Then France could work out further economic agreements with Algeria and the other North African states which, in the end, would be advantageous to her and to them.

At the end of May there will be published a book about UNICEF (United Nations Children's Fund) called "Half the World's Children," a diary of UNICEF work in Asia.

Spurgeon Milton Keeny, director of UNICEF's regional office in Asia, has been in that area since 1950, so he writes with knowledge of the work going on there. Danny Kaye, who everyone will remember as having made the children of Asia laugh, has written a foreword for the book. I have always felt special gratitude to Mr. Kaye for his work among these children.

A pamphlet came to me this week entitled "Churches and Juvenile Delinquency," by Robert and Muriel Webb. While it is addressed primarily to churches, I think there is much in it for those of us who are interested in children.


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

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About this document

My Day by Eleanor Roosevelt, April 19, 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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Transcription created from a photocopy of a UFS wire copy of a My Day column instance archived at the Franklin D. Roosevelt Library.