JULY 10, 1959
HYDE PARK—There was a brief dispatch in our newspapers recently saying that Mrs. Khrushchev would accompany her husband on a trip to the Scandinavian countries. And this small notice brought me a suggestion from a woman who lives in Bronxville, N.Y. She writes:"Perhaps it will fall to the women of the world to be the successful architects of world peace. Now that Mrs. Khrushchev and many of her country women are visiting the West and are receiving visits from women from all over the world within their borders, may we not hear expressions through their newspapers and magazines of their thoughts on world peace, their suggestions and proposals for practical peaceful coexistence?"
Yesterday I visited the Russian Exhibition at the Coliseum in New York City. And as one comes to the head of the middle escalators one is confronted with two statements to the effect that the Russians want peace and coexistence with people of different political ideas.
Now this is good propaganda and undoubtedly true if the different ideas would not in any way disturb the Russian premise that eventually (and before too long, they think) the world will be a Communist world.
And it is my feeling that the American woman visiting in Russia who hopes to hear some really practical suggestions coming from the Soviet women is apt to discover that the Russians cannot deviate very much from the lines laid down by Mr. Khrushchev. If they do deviate at all they must be very general in their statements.
Mr. Khrushchev says the Russians want peace, so every Russian woman will repeat that. But the Soviets will not pinpoint how this is to be achieved, nor will they give up anything to be able to achieve it.
To get any concrete results we have to go through months and months of negotiation, by slowly working out one point after another until some kind of agreement can be reached.
I look for no quick results in any dealings with any Russians, but I do sincerely hope that we will keep on talking with the Russian women and that they will keep on talking with us. Little by little we may grow to a slightly better understanding. If nothing else, we may develop warm feelings toward each other.
I do not think it is possible to come into close contact with Russian people and not find that we like them and they like us. It is more difficult, however, to believe in their government representatives and to accept at face value what many of them say.
But if we do attempt to work out things little by little—for instance on the subject of nuclear energy—something beneficial to both sides may be worked out. And if that leads to solving other problems by the slow and painful process we may gradually gain some confidence in one another on high levels.
No one will keep promises that may be really harmful to the interests of his country, so we should try to work out solutions that are not only advantageous to ourselves but to the Russians. And no matter how small any gain is and how unimportant any subject may seem, we should keep on working toward our goal of a good and lasting peace.
(Copyright, 1959, by United Feature Syndicate, Inc.)
About this document
My Day by Eleanor Roosevelt, July 10, 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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