The Eleanor Roosevelt Papers, Digital Edition > My Day
My Day by Eleanor Roosevelt

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NEW YORK—I hope that Adlai Stevenson, in consulting with the President on closer ties with our allies, will be able to bring about some long-range planning and develop some new lines of thought on military as well as economic defense.

There is no question that all of us have felt that these ties with our allies, which were hurt by the Suez crisis, must be strengthened. And they must not only be military ties but real understanding, willingness to cooperate to strengthen our economic position and mutual aid toward peace in the world.

It seems to me that, for the time being at least, the Western allies who represent a free world must work together to retain a balance of military power until a real beginning on disarmament can be made.

The capitalist and Communist economies certainly can exist in the same world. But as long as the Soviets feel that capitalism must be fought by every possible means, including military strength, we cannot be sure that they will not stir up small wars in different parts of the world simply to harass and weaken economies and governments different than their own.

Control over men's minds and their whole lives, exercised by the Soviet Union and other Communist states, is one thing anyone who has known real freedom finds unwilling to accept. Even in democracies like the United States one must constantly be on guard to preserve freedom, for there are always those seeking to curtail the liberties of others. There must be a continual watchfulness against control both by fascism and communism.

I believe it would be well for the U.S. to put all of its effort into reaching some kind of agreement on the control and tests of nuclear weapons and then to review our whole defense setup. We cannot depend upon nuclear weapons, because both the Soviet Union and ourselves surely realize that a nuclear war, which threatens to destroy the whole world, is unthinkable.

Therefore, we must build up our capacity to fight without nuclear weapons any small wars which the Soviets may stir up. This means reconsideration of our draft system, using our manpower to the best possible advantage with as little disruption of the lives of our young people as possible.

And while we must have a whole citizenry able to fight, if necessary, in these small wars, it is equally important to keep up our productive capacity. This capacity is affected by the work of our professional people as well as that of management and workers in our industries.

Therefore, from my point of view, a real rethinking of our whole defense mechanism is needed and I hope Mr. Stevenson will be able to help bring this about.

E. R.

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

Names and Terms Mentioned or Referenced

  • New York (N.Y., United States) [ index ]

About this document

My Day by Eleanor Roosevelt, November 21, 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.