APRIL 30, 1959
NEW YORK —It seems incredible to me that Communist China can calmly announce to the Asian world that it has crushed Tibetan strong-holds close to the capital of Lhasa and wiped out the bulk of the rebellion, killing, wounding or capturing nearly 2,000 rebels.
Didn't Communist China promise freedom to these people? What kind of freedom is it if it does not tolerate differences of opinion on what they, the Tibetans, may desire?
Strange are the actions of Red China, which has just given a glaring exhibition of what cruel imperialism can mean, to broadcast a message against "the imperialists" of the United States, as they label us, and against the "Indian expansionists," warning India not to meddle in China's internal affairs.
Neither India nor any other country has meddled in China's internal affairs. A country—Tibet—under Communist China's influence, which was promised freedom, rebelled against controls imposed by the Chinese Reds and the leader of the Tibetans, who is still held in the warmest regard by his people, has escaped for refuge to India. Nobody incited this rebellion. The Communist Chinese, in putting it down, broke their promise to allow the country freedom in its government.
Being free does not mean that you slavishly follow every step that is imposed on you by a more powerful government. Even if it were morally right, Communist China could ask for complete control of a country only when it had not promised a people national autonomy and freedom.
The action in Tibet should alert the Asian-African world to the true aim of communism everywhere.
Until the Communists give up their avowed intention of achieving a Communist world without regard to the methods used, there is little chance that we can settle down to disarmament agreements and peaceful co-existence.
The day that the Communists give full assurance that they will strive to spread communism only through example and open propaganda the chances for disarmament and peaceful co-existence will take a great step forward. Behavior such as we have seen in Tibet does not give any of us much hope.
It seems to me one of the top items on the agenda of the forthcoming foreign ministers' conference would be open discussion of these questions. The Soviet leaders are quite frank in their declaration that they expect a Communist world in the future. So, why not say to them quite openly that we are willing to meet them in fair competition that does not involve military action or subversion in an underhanded way of any weaker countries? We cannot foresee any progress toward peace in the world until a clear understanding on this situation exists.
(Copyright, 1959, by United Feature Syndicate, Inc.)
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About this document
My Day by Eleanor Roosevelt, April 30, 1959
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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