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

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NEW YORK—A newspaper in Minneapolis, from where I have just returned, reported this week that "President Eisenhower attempted to work out with Republican legislative leaders on Wednesday an austerity program on domestic spending so that more funds can be devoted to missile production and other military needs."

I think the Administration needs a little creative thinking. Military needs are not the same as they were two years ago. We need to look at what the future probably will hold, particularly what the probable policies of the U.S.S.R. will be. Then we need to think out new programs for defense, facing realistically the problems of what the demands upon us likely will be then.

We are still behaving as if old ideas and old ways are all we need when actually what we need is something entirely new. What about recognizing the fact that our atomic weapons are the part of our defense upon which we depend for prevention of war with the Soviet Union and that in these we must keep the balance even?

We need not increase them so much that the Soviets will be forced to feel we are preparing for aggression nor fall so far behind that the Soviets will attempt to bring us to our knees in one swift blow at our mainland. A balance of strength is what we need in this area.

This means that we now need an Army that is small and mobile yet made up of men who, once they are trained, will continue to be available. This is their career.

We want no more investing in aircraft pilots over a period of three years and then letting them go. This is wasteful and not economical. But if men are going to make a career in this nuclear Army it must be made worth their while—not only in the present but in the future.

The training for this need not interfere with a young man's life work. Six months will do the trick, with two weeks a year to keep up to date.

A trained citizenry certainly will have value, and as we move in this direction we may well be led to see the need of a better medical program for the country as a whole, planned by our doctors who so far have been rather coy about suggestions.

In Minneapolis last week my visit began with a successful press conference attended by far more young editors of high school papers than by the regular press.

I have been seeing a number of students brought over by the Field Service Committee, and that seems to be a flourishing program. As I travel about the country, it is interesting what can be learned about the efforts made by different groups to increase knowledge and understanding.

For instance, I met a man from the Odd Fellows who told me that last year he had taken more than 700 young people to the United Nations. These young people spent a week studying the U.N. and then went to Washington for a couple of days, so they saw something of their own government as well as of the international picture.

The value of such knowledge was pointed up for me by the fact that at the airport in Omaha, Neb., there was a girl who had been on the Odd Fellows trip to the U.N. and had become temporary secretary of the American Association for the U.N. chapter there.

It is generally acknowledged that actual contact with the U.N. does more to awaken enthusiasm in the young and old for that organization than any amount of conversation, and this young woman told me that she had made 30 speeches since her return.

I sometimes think that one of our troubles is that we think of the U.N. as though we were the only nation in it, forgetting that all other members actively participate in its work.

I have just been given two books and two pamphlets with the exhortation to read them with care. I tried to explain to the authors that I already have a considerable number of books and pamphlets, an accumulation from every day in the week, and I might not get to these as quickly as they hoped I would.

One gentleman, in particular, has a theory on science and religion which he says students of religion will understand, mentioning that I should read it with great care. But I fear I am no student of religion, though the subject interests me considerably. My only fear is that if I start this pamphlet, I shall not be able to understand it!


(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, December 9, 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.