MAY 28, 1958
NEW YORK —Lebanon is certainly having a hard time.
The problem does not seem to be as simple as who shall be elected to the Presidency and whether there shall be changes in the Constitution. Underlying this there seems to be interference from other Arab states, so the real problem is whether Lebanon is to be swallowed up by the United Arab Republic through which President Gamal Abdel Nasser has spread the power of Egypt over Syria and Yemen.
Every current gain for Nasser, because of his close ties with the Soviet Union, is a gain for the Soviets, for it gives that country a greater hold over the Near East as a whole.
The words spoken between Soviet Premier Nikita S. Khrushchev and Nasser about non-interference by the Soviet Union in Arab affairs seem to be pure nonsense in view of the understanding between Khrushchev and Nasser which falls into line with the Soviets' wishes.
This is serious business, and whether the presence of our fleet in the Mediterranean will be enough assistance to help the Lebanese to resolve their difficulties in their own way is one of the things we can hope for while watching what goes on from day to day.
In the New York Herald Tribune last Sunday there were two cartoons drawn by the Soviet Union's two outstanding cartoonists, Ivan Semyonov and Vitali Goryayev.
The one by Mr. Goryayev gave that gentleman's first impression of New York City and its feverish people in their huge automobiles. I must say that it was an amusing impression and possibly one that any of us might have received.
I am told the House Un-American Activities Committee was troubled by Cyrus Eaton's criticism of the FBI.
Have we reached the point that a gentleman conducting inquiries into various subjects is not to be permitted to express an opinion on a branch of our government?
What is happening to our old feeling that we have the right to hold opinions and to express them—even to change them if we find that we had changed our point of view? No one, I believe, could take away from us this right unless we had been slanderous and they wished to sue us.
I don't expect that everyone will agree with Mr. Eaton's criticism any more than they may agree with the other findings that may come out of any conference, but that he should not be allowed to speak his piece without being called by the Un-American Activities Committee seems unbelievable.
It is not often that we in this country hear of some charitable undertaking in our neighbor republics to the South. But I was told the other day that Nicaragua's First Lady, dona Isabel Urcuyo de Somoza, has undertaken the support of an orphanage in Nicaragua for 120 homeless waifs.
I know that in Central America there are many people with humanitarian instincts who will give her all the help they can, but I wonder if some of us who live in the U.S. and care about our neighbors to the South would not like to express our warm feeling of cooperation by sending some small gift to help the First Lady in this charity.
It may well be that there are many more ways in which we can help in Central and South America. I hope that we may hear about them and that many of us will give such gifts as we can.
Even if the gifts are small, the fact that they come from the hearts of the American people will show that we are really interested in our fellow human beings in the countries to the South. If anyone feels moved to do so, it will be easy to reach the wife of the President of Nicaragua.
(Copyright, 1958, by United Feature Syndicate, Inc.)
About this document
My Day by Eleanor Roosevelt, May 28, 1958
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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