My Day by Eleanor Roosevelt

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VIENNA, Austria —The British people, I think, have felt very keenly the rift between their country and the United States. And while to us the Suez Canal is more or less an academic question, to them it is of great importance in their daily lives.

The British still have severe gasoline rationing. No one can drive his car more than 200 miles a month. In the U.S., that would mean that I could not go from Hyde Park to New York City more than once a month, and I would have to be extremely careful in making just the few errands that take me between Hyde Park and Poughkeepsie, covering 10 to 15 miles every day and sometimes more.

Something like this that affects the daily lives of people tends to make the British say: "Perhaps what our government did was not entirely right, but how could we wait any longer for you in the U.S. to do something?"

The British feel somewhat bitter against our government for this inaction which they blame for not only bringing upon them a difficult economic situation but hurting their prestige in the world. They feel, too, that they had been deprived of some of their security with the loss of an ally they always had counted upon—the U.S.A.

I think, of course, that the deterioration of personal relationships between men in positions of importance in the U.S. and Britain brought on some of our difficulties.

If this had happened during World War II, we would not have won the war. We should remember this now because in our fight to win the peace it is just as important that relationships with our oldest allies, Great Britain and France, be good, both on a personal and official level.

We should cultivate right down the line as warm relations as possible between the citizens of our three nations. Fundamentally, the values and principles by which we live are much the same as those of the British and French.

To be sure, our temperaments better able to bear discomforts and hardships than we are. They endured rationing for many years, while we brought rationing to an end in the U.S. much sooner than was to our advantage.

We in the U.S. are impatient, adventurous, enthusiastic. The British are staunch and sometimes cautious. And the French have different outward characteristics but stand much by the same ideals. But we complement each other, and when bad times come, we stand well together if our backs are against the wall.

We had better think of all these things and try to understand the past. We must join in exerting our leadership in the United Nations, or we ourselves will suffer, passing along this suffering to the rest of the world.


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

Names and Terms Mentioned or Referenced

  • Vienna (Austria) [ index ]

About this document

My Day by Eleanor Roosevelt, May 14, 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.