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

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WASHINGTON—I want to join with many others who have paid tribute to the great courage of Secretary of State John Foster Dulles. In the face of what must have been much pain and great exhaustion he continued doing what he felt called upon to do in order to fulfill his duties. Though many of us may differ with his policies, we cannot help but admire his gallantry.

To be Secretary of State was his great ambition because it was more or less a tradition in his family and very naturally, I am sure, he wanted to go down in history as a great Secretary of State. These are legitimate and fine ambitions, and in a democracy one is always glad to see individuals who really want to serve in the difficult positions of government.

But he has sacrificed above and beyond the call of duty, for physically he must have long ago wanted to retire from these arduous public responsibilities. We can only hope that through the increased research which is daily developing something may be found to help him recover.

I must say that it is distressing to see the picture of Acting Secretary of State Christian A. Herter on crutches from arthritis. I do not suppose this handicaps his work in any way, but it certainly must be a drain on him physically. If he is one of our ministers, and I suppose he will be, to go to the meeting which has been proposed of the Big Four on Germany, it would seem an added difficulty for him to cope with.

I now have had an opportunity to learn more of Senator Mike Mansfield's suggestions on the solution of the Berlin situation, and I must say they make a good deal of sense to me.

To let the Secretary-General of the United Nations, who is one of our negotiators, do the negotiating would seem to be a very wise move.

I attended the farewell luncheon on Monday given by Mayor Robert F. Wagner for Sirdar Jagjit Singh, India's "unofficial ambassador," and his wife at the Waldorf-Astoria. Mrs. Singh looked as lovely as she always does, and I think Mr. Singh was really moved by the feeling of affection that prevailed and the regret that everyone expressed at his leaving the country in which he has lived for more than 30 years supporting the cause of his homeland. He will undoubtedly be a great help in interpreting our country to the people of India, and let us hope that he will return often on visits to a country which has been his second home.

I have read of Fidel Castro taking the oath as the new Premier of Cuba, and I have had some letters from Cubans saying that we in the United States do not understand Cuban efforts to get a stable government.

I think we understand their efforts very well, but we are just a little confused by the fact that stable governments so rarely remain stable in certain areas of the world. I am sure everyone in the U.S. wishes Mr. Castro and the Cuban people well.

The trouble that has developed in government after government in certain areas is easily understandable because it has its roots in human greed. Certain individuals who come to power make money out of their power and then when they find themselves attacked they abscond, after carefully stowing away money and other treasures in other areas.

One hopes this will not be the history again in Cuba. But the Cubans must not feel that we lack in understanding if we wait a little while to have it demonstrated that a government is stable and is trying to be as honest as it is possible.

Even in governments that have been stable for a long time, such as our own, corruption in office ceases to be a surprise. It seems to me that all human beings must constantly strive to improve the standards of morale and ethics in government.


(Copyright, 1959, by United Feature Syndicate, Inc.)

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About this document

My Day by Eleanor Roosevelt, February 20, 1959

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.