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

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NEW YORK—If anyone needed enlightening as to the type of regime Premier Janos Kadar has established in Hungary, it was provided in the shocking news of the execution of former Hungarian Premier Imre Nagy and his associate, General Pal Maleter.

I remember the former Hungarian Premier well. He was a firm but gentle person and his ideas seemed to me to center on the improvement of life for the average small farmer and the lower-income group generally. He hoped that the small farmer's lot would be bettered by breaking up the big estates in Hungary.

The United States has called these executions a shocking act of cruelty and is being joined in this denunciation by practically every country in the world except the Soviet Union. The Soviet government must have condoned this action, and probably instigated it, since it is hinted that the decision to execute the former Hungarian leader was taken last April during Premier Nikita S. Khrushchev's visit to Hungary.

The Hungarians say the executions were carried out to discourage any action similar to that of Nagy. In other words, the Soviets will not tolerate anyone who does not conform in every way to what they wish.

This is an interesting doctrine, since one of the things they tell you most proudly is that they give their own republics the right to preserve their cultures and to have considerable autonomy within their own jurisdiction.

However, this apparently is not true in the satellites, where the Soviet line must be followed more carefully than ever.

Time will show whether men can be controlled by such methods. Temporarily, under duress, they will accept complete dictatorships. But we have seen this kind of acceptance fail over and over again, for the spirit of man seeks freedom, and sooner or later those who are held down find sufficient sympathy with others, who understand their position, to resist dictatorship.

I think Sherman Adams did as well as anyone could when he appeared before the House Subcommittee on Legislative Oversight.

His stress on the service rendered by public officials and the necessary contact between these officials and bureaus of government is, of course, something that everybody knows. And his ready agreement that he might have been a little more prudent certainly was a good way to approach the committee.

I would say that for the first time Mr. Adams appeared to be more or less human if one did not remember some of his pronouncements that sounded so shocked and so virtuous when such small things as a mink coat and a deep freezer were involved.

It does make a difference, doesn't it, whose baby has the measles?


(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, June 20, 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.