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

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HYDE PARK—The British government's Prime Minister, Harold Macmillan, has come up with the information that test explosions of nuclear weapons can be carried out without being detected. He seems to have come around completely to the United States position that inspection is necessary.

A good many people have been saying lately that while there might be some risk of not detecting the nuclear tests, the risk is slight. But I suppose this is one of those things where scientists can be found on both sides of the question and it will be an unending discussion.

In the long run the decision probably will be on what is the best thing to do to begin peaceful negotiations, or at least get a start on the road to peace, and what course gives us the greatest chance of security.

It would all be very easy if one was sure that the standards of every nation were the same. If we believed that the Soviet Union would not lie to us and the Soviets believed we would not lie to them, then all that would be needed would be the promise, which the Soviets have made, together with an equal assurance on our part.

But unfortunately this kind of confidence does not exist and rarely exists between any nations of the world. I suppose Great Britain and ourselves come the closest to believing that we tell each other the truth, though each of us probably thinks that the truth is colored by our own self-interest.

This is probably true even between ourselves and Canada, where we feel we have a greater amount of understanding than in any other country. I often wonder whether there is anything that could increase the confidence of peoples in each other, and I end up with the feeling that this is pretty hopeless.

We certainly have lagged behind in our social development. This is a pity considering the rapidity with which our technical development has forged ahead.

If we are not, however, going to wipe each other off the map, some kind of inspection must be devised that is acceptable both to the Soviet Union and ourselves. We also must begin to have a better understanding as to the values that we believe in and can be counted on to live up to.

Senator Hubert H. Humphrey has revealed that our government has been trying to play down the danger of radioactive fallout and, therefore, has not told the people of the U.S. how much the Atomic Energy Commission knows about Soviet nuclear tests.

It is not quite fair of our government not to tell us the truth about radioactive fallout. What basis have we for making any decisions as to the types of defense we need if we are not kept fully informed as to the dangers?

I still feel that negotiations on these questions could be carried out with greater success within the United Nations, and unless our government really contemplates the possibilities of war, these negotiations with the Soviet government must begin soon and develop some kind of satisfactory decisions.


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

Names and Terms Mentioned or Referenced

  • Hyde Park (Dutchess County, N.Y., United States) [ index ]

About this document

My Day by Eleanor Roosevelt, April 7, 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.