OCTOBER 1, 1957
NEW YORK—On one of the last days of my visit to the Soviet Union we went to one of the free markets in Moscow. It was crowded with people, and there was more to be bought there than I had seen in any other place.
Shopping must be more pleasant in such a market, for you don't have to stand in long queues, but prices must be somewhat higher.
I mentioned earlier about the long queues that form whenever Lenin's tomb is opened. One afternoon we went through such a line. Our guide helped us toward the entrance quicker each time he saw the opportunity without being reprimanded by policemen who see that people don't get out of line.
I was almost as interested in watching people in the line than in reaching the entrance. There were some extraordinarily interesting faces, particularly the older ones.
Women never wear hats in the street. Of course, in winter they must wear fur caps with ear flaps like men, so perhaps that is why in summer they are happy to go bareheaded. If they go somewhere where their heads must be covered, they wear gay kerchiefs.
Once at the entrance of Lenin's tomb, we went down marble steps and, turning right, we found ourselves slowly passing the body of Lenin lying in state for all to see. Then we progressed around his feet to look at Stalin, lying next to him.
We moved out again to wend our way up the steps and down through Red Square to the street leading to our hotel. We picked up a car and I went to meet some 200 Russian women. Each represented a different profession and their organization is known as the Soviet Women's Committee, which covers the whole Soviet Union.
My chief concern at this meeting was the fact that the women told me they have been asking permission from the State Department for two years to send a delegation to visit the United States and that the State Department has paid no attention to their requests.
I think I can truthfully say that there are non-governmental women's organizations in the United States that believe strongly in exchanges between peoples of the Soviet Union and the United States. I think no harm came from the visit of Soviet farmers to the United States farm areas, and from what I was told in Russia, the visit was helpful to them.
I have an idea that if we ever hope to correct certain wrong impressions, we can do it only by contact with each other. I would approve an exchange by which American women also would visit Russia. Sealing people away from each other seems to me to be the best way to preserve misunderstandings and to allow governments to create misunderstandings.
That evening we had a pleasant dinner with Mr. and Mrs. Edmund Stevens. Mrs. Stevens is Russian and her husband represents Look and the Christian Science Monitor in Moscow. They live in a fascinating old wooden house, one of the most attractive places to live in I have ever seen.
This visit gave us an opportunity to meet a number of Russians, including the director of the Stanislavsky Ballet and his wife. If we have more cultural exchanges between out two countries, these are the people you may see in New York.
The director of the pupper theater also was there. The theater, which I was told is simply remarkable, is another of the things I hope will go to America. The director presented me with his book, "My Profession," which tells what he has done. Now that I am home, I am looking forward to reading it.
Names Mentioned or Referenced
- Stevens, Edmund
[ LC ]
- Stevens, Nina B. (Nina Bodarenko)
- New York (N.Y., United States)
About this document
My Day by Eleanor Roosevelt, October 1, 1957
The Albuquerque Tribune, , October 2, 1957
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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Transcription created from a published My Day column instance.
The Albuquerque Tribune, October 2, 1957, page 15