My Day by Eleanor Roosevelt

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ROME—I took off yesterday with my granddaughter, Nina Roosevelt, bound for Iran, and our first stop is here. Now, I want to explain that because of transmission difficulties there may be a time difference between some of the columns written from Iran and Israel and some of the other countries we will visit, and my news at times may not keep up with my itinerary. But I have written several columns on various subjects which I hope will be of interest and which may be published on those days when my travel columns may be delayed.

Immediately on my return from the West Coast last Monday morning I hurried to Washington, D.C., for a meeting of the American Association for the United Nations, and I think it was the best meeting we have ever had.

Also, I was very fortunate to be there for the Monday evening meeting and to hear Congressman Chester Bowles and Mr. James Green of the State Department African Desk speak on Africa.

On the African continent today many colonies and protectorates are striving for complete freedom—and some are attaining it. And these developments, of course, are being watched with eagle eyes by the Soviet Union and should be watched with greater sympathy and understanding by the West.

I also enjoyed a talk on Monday morning with Senator Stuart Symington. He came to tell me about his proposal for the establishment of a United States foreign academy. I liked very much one of the things he said at the beginning of his speech introducing his bill, and I quote it here:

"As has so often been said, the ultimate future of the world, whether it is to be free or slave, will not be settled on battlefields, but rather in the minds of men."

This would be a four-year academy, not a post-graduate course but a regular equivalent to a college course. Students would come from all parts of the country and would be selected just as they are for the service academies, and again the Senator said: "Surely, if we can afford three service academies for possible hot war, we can afford one foreign service academy to handle the cold war which is now going on."

I am tremendously hopeful that this bill will receive serious consideration, for it seems to me it would provide us with trained and dedicated people who would know the world and its people.

I was interested to read that our military draft has been extended, but I have not yet been able to find out whether there was coupled with it an order or desire to study the whole question of the use of manpower in our military services.

The draft was essential before World War II, but our whole setup of weapons has changed since then, and I have an idea that we are using our manpower very wastefully. A study of the whole question could have great value, since I believe that with modern weapons we need to have certain areas of service filled by specially trained men. At present we train men in certain basics and beyond, and often when they are ready to be useful in any of the services their compulsory time is up and they are discharged. This is wasteful of money and wasteful of men.

I have a great belief in universal military training, and I do not think we have given the whole question the proper careful consideration.


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

Names and Terms Mentioned or Referenced

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About this document

My Day by Eleanor Roosevelt, March 12, 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.