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

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LENINGRAD, U.S.S.R.—I have just received in my mail an editorial that was published in the New York Post on August 31, and one sentence in particular strikes a responsive chord so far as I am concerned. This sentence reads: "What we need now—and there is no moment to lose—is a diplomatic counter-offensive based on a new China policy."

I did read a news bulletin from the American Embassy in Moscow about two weeks ago, giving a full account of Secretary of State John Foster Dulles' press conference at that time, and I must confess it made me unhappy.

For a long time we tried to make believe that Russia did not exist because we hoped something we did not like would miraculously disappear. It has not disappeared.

We are in danger of making the same mistake about Communist China. We do not like her present government and we think if we make believe long enough that it doesn't exist, it will disappear. I very much fear this is dangerous dreaming.

We must accept realities: do we want peace or destruction? Do we just talk about peaceful co-existence, or do we mean to try it?

We came up to Leningrad by train and were met cordially and presented with big bouquets of flowers as we got off the train. Our acting president of the American Association for the United Nations, Oscar de Lima, has his wife and three little girls with him, and there were flowers for them. The children are never forgotten, it seems, in Russia. These youngsters are beautifully brought up and are very good travelers. I hope the Russians think all our children are as well-behaved !

We had a final meeting here with the cooperating U.N. group, but since the Leningrad chapter is concerned only with activities in this area the discussions were very limited. Much goodwill was shown, however.

We had some time to see the sights and visited the log cabin in which Peter the Great lived while he built this city. It is now encased in a brick house to preserve it, but one can walk around inside the brick enclosure and see all the furnishings of the cabin through the windows. When the cabin's wooden shutters were closed at night it must have been completely without air, and in the summer it must have been very hot. The weather here at the moment is lovely, although at times quite cool.

I think this is one of the really beautiful cities of the world. There are parks and monuments everywhere and houses with lovely facades. The French influence is very evident.

It is a more sophisticated, cosmopolitan city than is Moscow, and yet I think Moscow is more interesting. That may be because in Moscow one feels more keenly the changes that are taking place from day to day in so many lives.

One of the Russian gentlemen at the meeting gave me a copy of an article he had written for the American Economic Association Bulletin on building our trade with the Communist countries as a way to increase the cause of peace in the world. I found it interesting, and I hope it will be read by those in America who are in a position to evaluate his article better than I can.


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

Names and Terms Mentioned or Referenced

  • Saint Petersburg (Russia) [ index ]

About this document

My Day by Eleanor Roosevelt, September 24, 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.