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

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NEW YORK—No one today will think of anything except the situation in France, for it affects the rest of the world. I cannot help feeling we are reaping the results of having allowed Gamal Abdel Nasser to come into power in Egypt. Our policies, or lack of policies, during the last few years are now coming home to roost.

Nasser has been able, with the help of the Soviet Union, to stir up trouble among the Algerians and to give them a feeling of support in their fight against France so that no negotiations could be reasonably undertaken with a hope of some positive solutions.

Now there are no solutions. French Premier Pierre Pflimlin has resigned and General Charles de Gaulle will come to power with the full backing of the French military forces. De Gaulle has said often enough that he felt that the United States was not an ally but tried to dictate to France. That means that he will negotiate with us on a tit-for-tat basis and try to be tough.

Whether this means the end of NATO, or whether it means just more difficulty in every move, remains to be seen. There will be no friendship between our governments, for de Gaulle is a gentleman made of the stuff of dictators. At least, that was the opinion of those who met him a few years ago. He may have mellowed and we will watch his moves with great interest.

The whole situation will be used by the Communists, and it may well be that they will eventually control France. To believe that this French situation does not foreshadow serious troubles for us in Europe would be wishful thinking and putting our head in the sand.

Here in our own country, I am becoming more end more convinced that we need a 1960 New Deal that looks at the situation as it is today and tries to find new solutions.

One does not look with complacency at a 13 percent rise in juvenile delinquency in New York City in 1957, for example. I attended this week the annual meeting of the New York Citizens Committee for Children. It reported on the situation in the area of child welfare, and there was much which Mrs. David Levy, president of the committee, could point to with real pride.

But when the director, Mrs. Joseph P. Lash, pointed out the areas in which there had been no accomplishment, and as the speeches were made by people in the audience, I began to feel that we were dealing with results and not facing the fundamentals.

We ought to take a straight look at our whole civilization of 1958.

I am becoming more and more convinced that we need to put more money into our schools or we will never be able to cut down on our prisons and mental hospitals, and our reforms in education need to begin in the first grade.

We also need reforms in medical care, and now that we know more about mental health and needed psychiatric care, we should move where our children are concerned and not allow them to grow up as warped individuals.

But even more than this, a fundamental attack needs to be made on poverty and on the education of the adult population in the lowest groups who cannot take advantage of changes for their children unless they themselves get some kind of education. This is also a question of health education and a problem for social welfare workers.

We are prone to leave things to the social workers and not concern ourselves as to their preparation and it is high time that we realized that social work, to be properly done today, has to be done by better trained people than we have ever had in the past.

All of this indicates a need for bringing to the attention of the public the problems of today and discovering some farsighted leaders who can look into the future in the same way that our earliest forefathers did. We must stop just meeting crises and take to planning far in advance.


(Copyright, 1958, 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, May 29, 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.