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My Day by Eleanor Roosevelt

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NEW YORK —Harold E. Stassen made a really memorable speech at the conference sponsored by the American Association for the United Nations in Washington, which I attended.

He called for the United States to initiate action for a permanent United Nations police force armed with atomic weapons of a limited number and size. He also asked for the development of a U.N. space agency and advocated a two-year trial agreement on disarmament between the East and the West which would, of course, mean stopping nuclear tests.

Mr. Stassen felt that Russia would accept a four-point trial agreement on disarmament and that it could be ready for ratification before Congress adjourns.

As he enumerated the points, they would be:

1. The establishment of a special agency of the U.N. with the responsibility of inspecting and assuring the fulfillment of the steps agreed upon by the signatories. These steps would concern the reduction and limitation of armaments as well as control.

2. An agreement on installation of necessary inspection posts inside both the U.S.S.R. and the U.S. These posts would, of course, be equipped with instruments designed to verify the ending of nuclear test explosions.

3. An agreement for the halting of nuclear tests for two years.

4. Setting up a negotiating group to carry on discussions looking toward further disarmament steps at the end of two years.

Obviously, the State Department has not been in sympathy with the four points advanced by Mr. Stassen. But Secretary of State John Foster Dulles is changing his mind, and it is said in Washington that he now is considering seriously Mr. Stassen's proposal for halting nuclear testing combined with inspection but tied to earlier proposals for a cut-off in the production of fusionable materials.

Mr. Stassen was speaking, of course, from his long experience in the disarmament conference in London. He realizes that the slow negotiating with the Russians finally has brought about a willingness on their part to give a little. And I think he likely knows more about the Russians' real willingness to act than does Secretary Dulles. For it takes the kind of day-to-day, patient argument he has been through to reach any point of contact and understanding.

The program proposed by Mr. Stassen would be a good beginning if we can have any hope that the U.S. will agree. The Soviets, I think, already have agreed to most of his points, but there is a great difference between agreement on paper and actually carrying it out.

So we will have to wait and see whether Mr. Stassen is more successful with his ideas now that he is out of office than he was as part of the Administration family.


(Copyright, 1958, by United Feature Syndicate, Inc.)

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About this document

My Day by Eleanor Roosevelt, March 13, 1958

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.