OCTOBER 28, 1957
NEW YORK—Statements made by representatives of the Soviet Union and Syria in the United Nations General Assembly in the past week seemed to me to be utterly irresponsible.
I am only an ordinary citizen, and I do not know what secret mission Loy Henderson carried out, and I confess I am not clear as to what John Foster Dulles' policy is in the Near East. I think, however, in the long run the policy of any country has to reflect the feeling of the people as a whole. And as I talk to people throughout this country I become more and more convinced that, by and large, the people consider Israel will remain as a state.
The people seem to feel that if the Soviet Union and the United States would stop threatening the Near East, Israel could defend her borders but that she would not need to use military force if the Soviet Union would bring joint pressure on the Arab states to sit down and accept Israel's existence and to go forward in settling whatever difficulties are a hindrance to peace in that area.
For Andrei A. Gromyko of the Soviet Union to make the kind of speech he made on the Syrian-Turkish dispute seems utterly futile. He knows the Soviet Union does not want a war in which the U.S. will have to take part. And this strange idea that Turkey wishes to reestablish the Ottoman Empire and is going to swallow Syria is nonsense, for the U.S. is pledged to defend any nation in that area from aggression and to prevent aggression and would not permit such a plan to be brought about.
The Soviet Union had better realize that this same U.S. pledge is one she would do well to acknowledge, for foolish threats sometimes bring hot-headed answers and the one thing none of the people—in the Soviet Union, U.S. or Near East—want is war.
The Turks are courageous and proud people, but like those in so many other countries in that part of the world, they have plenty to do at home to improve the well-being of their people. They do not need to increase their burdens by war.
As a matter of fact, this also holds true for the Soviet Union. That country's people need many things with which to make life more comfortable, and though the Soviets have counted on their citizens' willingness to sacrifice and to endure a low standard of living, as the people become better educated it will be harder to require unnecessary sacrifices.
The Soviet government has, on the whole, a docile people to deal with. But there is a limit to the endurance of all people when they look about the world and realize that such hardships are not necessary.
All of us hope that the atmosphere created by Queen Elizabeth's visit to the U.S. has been expanded upon in the talks between Prime Minister Harold Macmillan and President Eisenhower.
The Queen must have felt the warmth of our people, and I am sure that all our officials showed her that they basically believed in the need for close cooperation between the two countries.
It would have been well for the Prime Minister, on his visit here, to confer not only with the executive branch of the government but with the legislative. Before we have real cooperation in sharing atomic secrets we will have to have a change in legislation, and it will be important for both parties, since this is not a partisan issue but affects the safety of the country.
(Copyright, 1957, by United Feature Syndicate, Inc.)
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About this document
My Day by Eleanor Roosevelt, October 28, 1957
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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