MAY 23, 1959
NEW YORK—A photograph in one of our New York City newspapers shows a group of Florida businessmen visiting the Soviet Union and it gives the impression of a most genial and pleasurable visit and conversation. Such smiles and such warmth I have rarely seen in a photograph of this kind, and evidently Premier Nikita Khrushchev puts himself out to be both reasonable and hopeful in conversing with these industrialists.
Mr. Khrushchev wants trade with the United States. He knows it would be helpful to him and to the Soviet economy. Incidentally, it would also be helpful to us.
The photograph and the conversation as reported should make us realize how well Mr. Khrushchev adapts himself to obtaining the ends he desires. I am sure if this photograph is any indication of what their meeting was like that these gentlemen will return with a delightful impression of the premier and the conviction that we can live together in peace and harmony.
The talks in Geneva do not seem to be achieving much real understanding. And no one will be surprised if Secretary of State Christian A. Herter is correct and the Soviet Union is quite willing to have a permanently divided Germany.
I think there are other people in Europe who will not regret that situation, too, but if it is going to be accepted as a permanent situation, then there also has to be some consideration of the Berlin problem.
A permanently divided Germany does not provide a very good basis for a division of Berlin. These are the unpleasant aspects of a situation which are not openly discussed but which constantly underlie the surface.
It is disheartening that the hospital strike in New York still goes on. Apparently the real difficulty is the recognition of the right of hospital workers to be represented by a union.
I have to say that I consider that the hospitals' management is greatly to blame because of their long delay in finding a way whereby their employees could be heard and their grievances considered. This has made it seem unlikely that when management now offers grievance machinery—but not under union protection—that there is much hope of good faith in the working out of plans for improved labor conditions.
I am opposed to the unionization of employees in such vital areas as hospitals, police, fire, and municipally owned power plants. But when conditions are as unsatisfactory for the workers as they have been in the New York City hospitals and the management has been so slow in working out some form of machinery through which they could work for improvement, I think it is very difficult not to sympathize with the workers.
Because standards have had to be so low in some hospitals, I understand that arrangements often were made by which parolees were hired because they could be obtained for lower wages. But this is not a satisfactory condition, and it seems to me that the whole financial situation of voluntary hospitals will have to be overhauled. Making a settlement that leaves most of the workers unhappy will not lead to a permanent solution.
The other day I visited the Museum of Arts and Crafts, here, of which Mrs. Vanderbilt Webb is president. Right now the museum is housing an Israeli exhibit, showing textiles, rugs and ceramics, as well as jewelry of various kinds. It is an exhibit that will tour many American cities and is well worth seeing.
(Copyright, 1959, by United Feature Syndicate, Inc.)
Names Mentioned or Referenced
- New York (N.Y., United States)
About this document
My Day by Eleanor Roosevelt, May 23, 1959
Digital edition created by The Eleanor Roosevelt Papers Project The George Washington University Old Main Building, Suite 406 1951 F Street, NW Washington, DC 20052
- Brick, Christopher (Editor)
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