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

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NEW YORK—In doing some research lately, I came across an interesting piece of information concerning foreign trade as established by the U.S.S.R. Constitution.

Soviet foreign trade is a monopoly of the state, and the instrument for carrying out the details is the Ministry of Foreign Trade. In 1930 the Soviet government decided to establish export and import agencies and they became legal groups under the Soviet law.

In doing so, the following specific instructions from the Ministry of Foreign Trade concerning every action were given:

"If any dispute arises, the exclusive authority for settling the dispute is the Foreign Trade Arbitration Commission in Moscow. Each party to the dispute must chose an arbitrator from a panel of Soviet arbitrators, and the arbitrators select a chairman of the Arbitration Board from this panel. These arbitrators are all government employes."

From our point of view, the arbitrators would have no independence of action.

The Soviets know how to use their foreign trade as a diplomatic weapon. For instance, they had a contract with Israel covering trade in oil, but when the Sinai action took place in what some of us feel was Egyptian aggression, the Soviets used their economic strength to bring pressure on Israel by canceling the oil contracts, plus several other types of contracts with Israeli firms.

All of these contracts, of course, include the clause that any complaint must come before the Foreign Trade Arbitration Commission. And this commission, of course, granted no claims presented by the Israeli companies.

As I studied this setup, it seemed to me that any country would think carefully about engaging in any great amount of foreign trade with the Soviets. For the sake of greater friendliness, a country might be willing to risk a small amount under these drastic Soviet regulations. But it certainly would not be a large amount, and I should think this would mean the establishment of only meager trade with foreign countries.

I went to see "Look Homeward Angel" on Broadway last week, and it was one of the best plays I have seen based on the novel by Thomas Wolfe. The characters are certainly vividly and realistically portrayed.

How a scheming woman can ruin her family's life and do it with the best of intentions and the greatest sense of virtue!

I was in Asheville, N.C., this past winter and was told there that Wolfe's mother never forgave him for writing the novel and that many of his neighbors were bitter about it for years. That must be because we never like to see ourselves as we really are.

Since no play can quite reproduce all the things one enjoys in reading a book, I think many people will pick up the book after they have seen the play, even if they have read it before, just to get the full enjoyment of the writing.

This play is well acted, however, and sympathy with the husband, reprehensible as he is, makes the part an important one.

All of us enjoyed our evening, and I think every audience will go away with a sense of satisfaction.


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

Names and Terms Mentioned or Referenced

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About this document

My Day by Eleanor Roosevelt, July 14, 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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Digital edition published 2008, 2017 by
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Available under licence from the Estate of Anna Eleanor Roosevelt.

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MEP edition publlished on June 30, 2008.

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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.