My Day by Eleanor Roosevelt

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NEW YORK—An article in the New York Times last Thursday by its military expert, Hanson W. Baldwin, points up some of the things which I have been fearing for a long time.

Mr. Baldwin, analyzing how military cutbacks increase the Allied dependence on the nuclear bomb, writes: "The West is reducing the size of its forces, for budgetary reasons, prior to any disarmament agreement. The future British force levels, already announced, are far below the levels suggested at the London talks. We would like the Russian conventional forces reduced. Russia would like our nuclear deterrent reduced and eliminated; the likely result is an impasse."

As far back as last autumn I tried to point out that, with an increasing reliance on nuclear weapons and a reduction in our conventional weapons and our manpower, we are travelling a dangerous road. The Soviets have more manpower and more conventional weapons than we have. They wish to cut down in the development of more nuclear weapons for they are conscious that that is where our strength lies.

The Russians know as much as we do about the power for destruction of nuclear weapons, and for that reason they are probably no more anxious for a nuclear war than we are. Their present military strength and production of military materials makes it comparatively easy for them to incite small wars wherever they think it will be embarrassing to the United States and its Western allies.

Their manpower is held in reserve, but it is easy to furnish raw materials and they know that the world will blame us if we use nuclear weapons. Yet we are putting ourselves into the position where it is going to be almost impossible for us to meet our military commitments except with nuclear weapons. Why cannot we decide to develop a system of a trained citizenry, plus a small, mobile career army to handle nuclear weapons only?

This is a topic to which I will return again tomorrow.

In the face of these grave nuclear dangers, it gives one a pleasant feeling to see how a great ocean liner like the Queen Mary could stop in her course to help save the lives of four men who were injured by an explosion on a U.S. Navy ship. I read of this with interest and gratitude the other day, because it shows that in spite of the seeming lack of interest we have in human life in this atomic world, still when individuals are faced with a case where men's lives can be saved, they will do so even with considerable inconvenience.

That same theme was portrayed in a foreign film I saw last week. Its main purpose was to show that we are all concerned, no matter from what country we come, and will risk our lives in order to help save other people's lives.

E.R.

(COPYRIGHT, 1957, BY UNITED FEATURE SYNDICATE, INC.)


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About this document

My Day by Eleanor Roosevelt, July 22, 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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MEP edition publlished on 2008-06-30

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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.
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