The Eleanor Roosevelt Papers, Digital Edition > My Day
My Day by Eleanor Roosevelt

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HYDE PARK—Some of the members of Congress awakened a short time ago to the fact that unless Congress takes some action within sixty days (and the end of the sixty days is nearly here), certain agreements made by our government for the transfer of information on nuclear weapons, and of military equipment, to other countries will be automatically approved. Congress must disapprove by a vote of both Houses within a very short time.

Unless this action is taken, the agreement with West Germany provides that the Bonn Government will receive non-nuclear parts of atomic weapons systems, including "restricted data to make possible operational uses and maintenance of the weapons" as well as information on the use of atomic weapons, defense plans, delivery system, etc. Once this agreement goes into effect the U.S. will have to get the agreement of the Bonn Government before it can end these transfers, as long as the NATO treaty remains in effect, and this treaty has no fixed expiration date.

This will take away from the U.S. government any possibility of negotiation along the lines that the Soviets have indicated might lead to peaceful solution of the European situation.

It has seemed to me right along that our "atomic secrets" agreement with Britain was enough. The Soviet Union has all the information that we have, so three great powers now have this dangerous information.

We want to reach an agreement to end nuclear tests because of the danger to the human race. We know that all sane human beings realize that nuclear war is so destructive that it should be obsolete. But it takes time for education of this kind to reach the masses—and we must have that time. In order to negotiate we must not close avenues of possible agreement.

We behave very often in our attitude toward Germany (I suppose because we have been generous enough to help rebuild Germany's strength) as though Germany had been our ally in the war and not our enemy. We seem to forget that Germany started two world wars—not Russia, not China, but Germany—and we are now preparing to put ourselves in a position where the West German government can keep us from entering into any negotiations which might bring about agreement between us and the Soviet Union on the European situation.

This seems to me sheer stupidity. We may find agreement extremely difficult and for our own purposes we may decide we cannot agree with the Soviet Union, but let's not tie ourselves down to anything that will prevent us from doing anything sensible and useful at any point in our discussions.

I hope the Congress will vote to disapprove these agreements. Every additional nation that gets this type of information adds to the danger of a possible "accident" which might bring on a nuclear holocaust.

Congress should be deluged with letters from every responsible citizen who does not want a nuclear war.


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

Names and Terms Mentioned or Referenced

  • Hyde Park (Dutchess County, N.Y., United States) [ index ]

About this document

My Day by Eleanor Roosevelt, July 18, 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.