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

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CHICAGO Monday—An interesting article written by Captain Joel Newsom, U. S. Navy, Retired, has been sent to me from New Mexico. It contains important statements which I think should be widely considered.

After putting the Soviet position quite accurately, Capt. Newsom says: "Ours is a nation dedicated to peace. We hold human welfare and human dignity in high regard. With these attributes, it is inconceivable that the U. S. would ever strike the first blow even though, with modern weapons, the first blow can well be the only one. Our government instead adopted the policies of building our defenses so powerfully that fear of destructive retaliation would keep a would-be aggressor within bounds." Capt. Newsom then adds that this policy might have worked if it had ever been really executed; but the desire for a balanced budget and tax reduction and the hope of disarmament kept us from ever fully carrying out such a policy.

Then Capt. Newsom gives us three things which he thinks are essential to do today:

1. Provide the Chief Executive with a group of the most capable advisers that can be found in the U. S.

2. Remove from those advisers the inhibiting effects of domestic policies.

3. Require the group to be responsible for the advice and recommendations it submits to the President. He would give these advisers either life tenure or staggered terms of 20 years, and substitute them for the present setup of the State Department. I gather also that they would substitute for the Department of Defense. We might return to the old War and Navy setup for carrying out technical and administrative functions. This body would be called the State Defense Council.

The idea is that this council would be in continuous session and that always a majority of the members would actually be in Washington.

Captain Newsom's article was published in the January 7 issue of New Mexican, and there is an urgency about some of the things in it which I think might well be transmitted to our government and to our people generally. Capt. Newsom states that the new awakening to the situation between ourselves and the Soviets may bring about a willingness on our part to attain parity with the Soviets in the manufacture and stockpiling of the ultimate weapons. But that is not enough, he suggests. We need to look imaginatively at the whole situation in the world; to realize that we are trying to preserve freedom for ourselves and the world, and to take some far-sighted action which would give the President advice on a long-term basis in the whole field of foreign relations.



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About this document

My Day by Eleanor Roosevelt, January 21, 1958

Roosevelt, Eleanor, 1884-1962
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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.