My Day by Eleanor Roosevelt

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TOLEDO, Ohio —The suggestion has been made that if we stepped up our missile program in this country, the business slump might come to an end. I cannot help repeating what I have said before, namely, that this is a very poor basis on which to continue military development.

If we haven't enough imagination to put business back on its feet when the world needs are so great and we don't think far enough ahead to prevent business losses, then we deserve to have business suffer. However, I am sorry that in doing this many sections of the labor movement would suffer, too.

There are many needs in the world and I can see no reason why some planning cannot be done by industry to fill them. I am perfectly willing to see money spent for a missile project, but not because business needs a shot in the arm.

The Middle West seems to be even more interested than the East in the sputniks. In the Chicago Sun-Times I found a great many articles explaining how the second sputnik works and some speculation on whether or not the dog it carries is still alive.

I am not at all sure that the use of the imagination to think up more possibilities in the destructive use of missiles is the best way to occupy our minds. I was interested to have a number of women tell me that their children think of nothing else but the latest developments by the Russians.

These mothers felt that for the first time children were really becoming frightened by developing world events. This is a real tragedy, I think. So what it all adds up to, it seems to me, is turning to the United Nations for control of these new discoveries. That is the only way we can feel really protected, and the more we use the U.N. for control of international space projects the more secure we all will feel.

The weather was beautiful on my visit to Omaha, Neb. It had been some years since I had been there, and it was pleasant to find, instead of the cold we had in Milwaukee, a sunny, more-or-less warm day.

Soon after our arrival there I had a press conference, which is inevitable on each stop. Each includes a number of recordings and short radio or television interviews.

At this conference I was asked one question which I am a little surprised has not been asked more often. It is: "Has the discovery that the Soviets may be scientifically ahead of the United States made a difference in the feeling of our allies?"

I think it is fairly obvious that our allies must all feel less well-protected, since they counted on the U.S. for leadership. They felt we had the latest nuclear weapons had a nuclear war broken out and we would have protected them. Now they know this is not true, and that is bound to shake the confidence they had in the U.S.

Even more serious, I think, is the possible effect in the uncommitted countries of our failure to keep up in the scientific world. These countries now are neutral but may decide at any time either to be a part of the free world or turn completely into the Soviet orbit.

This is where the challenge lies for the future and where we are forced to make some rather dramatic gain. Neutral countries have always felt that this was one field in which the U.S. could outdistance the Soviets. To find this is not so probably has shaken their faith in American know-how considerably.

Everyone awaits with anxiety to hear what Nikita Khrushchev finally will decide to do with Marshal Zhukov. The marshal is one person who might possibly upset Khrushchev's apple cart someday .

I can think of one spot that he might fill with advantage to the Soviet Union, but it might seem to Khrushchev a dangerous spot where Zhukov would acquire more prestige. So we wait and wonder, comparing Khrushchev with Stalin and trying to decide if he is gradually going to become as much of a dictator as Stalin.


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

Names and Terms Mentioned or Referenced

  • Toldeo (OH, United States) [ index ]

About this document

My Day by Eleanor Roosevelt, November 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.