My Day by Eleanor Roosevelt

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DAYTON, Ohio —I get many letters in which people complain about our contributions to foreign aid. They point out what is true, and that is the fact that we have many areas in our own country where people are not receiving an adequate diet. And this is a situation to which, of course, we must give more thought.

In this regard, however, a recent report made by the Department of Agriculture astonished many people because it showed how much was being given from our surplus foods to people on welfare and to school programs where children are often found not to be getting sufficient food. Also, some distribution of our surplus has had to be made to people on pensions that are inadequate.

While it is true that we have many people here who need help, our hunger does not resemble conditions in some other areas of the world.

We can meet our home needs and give foreign aid as well.

I think if we instituted an efficient stamp plan, or some similar arrangement, and made more and easier arrangements with various localities, we would find ourselves getting rid of much more of our surplus foods than we now do.

We have of late been making some loans to foreign countries of surplus foods instead of purely monetary loans. And this action has been very welcome. But we really need to think through an entirely fresh policy.

Senator Hubert Humphrey's "food for peace act" might well be the beginning of the changes we need to make use of our capacity for production for peaceful purposes. It certainly seems a step in the right direction, rather than pay out subsidies to keep our land out of production when three-quarters of the world needs food.

Institution of Senator Humphrey's plan might be one of the dramatic gestures that would begin a real peace program offered by the United States to the world.

I have a letter telling me about the International Farm Youth Exchange Committee of Clark County, the Pomona Grange, in the State of Washington. It is most informative and tells about a program about which I had never heard before, and I think it is a very good idea.

It seems there are farm people all over the country working on the project that this particular grange started back in 1948. Their interest is in promoting world peace and understanding among the peoples of the world, and since they are an agricultural group they encourage peace by promoting exchanges through which young people can go and live and work with farm families in other parts of the world. And, in exchange, others from various countries can come and live and work with farm families here.

The exchangees must be between 20 and 30 years old. They must have a sincere desire to know and help others and all, on their return to their home countries, must share their experiences through every possible public medium.

In 1955 the committee sent one girl, Miss Julieanne Altree, as far as Turkey. And this year a young man, Mr. Don Relyea, has been selected to go to Switzerland, and at present the money is being raised to send him. Many people from foreign countries have lived with farm families in Washington's Clark County. They came from as far away as Jordan, Iran, India, Egypt, Germany and Nepal.

I am particularly interested in having our young people see other areas of the world so that they can realize what conditions are like in so many countries.


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

Names and Terms Mentioned or Referenced

  • Dayton (Ohio, United States) [ index ]

About this document

My Day by Eleanor Roosevelt, May 7, 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.