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

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NEW YORK—The State Department seems to be opposed to the foreign service academy bill sponsored by Senator Stuart Symington of Missouri. It has announced through Mr. Loy Henderson, Deputy Under Secretary of State, that this bill "would not be in the best interests of the country or the foreign service at this time."

Senator Symington would like to have established a foreign service academy to train diplomats, similar to our military and air force academies.

Of course, if one believes that statesmen are born and not made, and that even for the minor positions that sustain the top people no training is required, then it would be useless to establish an academy of this kind. On the other hand, if the belief is held that some intensive training in certain directions would be valuable, then an academy would be necessary.

It might help, for instance, to have training in languages, in greater knowledge of the history, literature, art and economics of foreign countries, and even some training in being a close listener and a quick observer.

It is difficult to be convinced that a country as rich as ours could consider this an expenditure to help us win the peace. We are spending millions to keep a balance in military power and we will continue to spend these millions because whatever we produce becomes obsolete almost as quickly as we produce it. But if we train men with flexible minds to think in the ways of peace, we might make a real and lasting contribution.

It doesn't seem as though much has been accomplished in integration in Little Rock, Ark., where two schools have allowed five Negroes to go to classes, but it is a beginning.

What courage those five young people must have had and how much courage their parents are showing! The fathers and mothers must have felt most fearful when they took their children last week to enter these hostile schools.

At least in New York, even if one had to live in Harlem, one would not have to be only five kids of high-school age against a hostile mob. I sometimes wonder how many of us ever consider how it would feel if we found ourselves among a hostile mob of people of other races and colors. It has happened to me and I know how it feels, and I wish we would stop allowing these situations to occur in our own country. Eventually it will put our citizens in jeopardy when they are a minority in other parts of the world.

I have been reading in our newspapers that Mr. and Mrs. Bates of Montgomery, Ala., have been undergoing frequent shootings and bomb throwings that endanger their property and their lives. Again, what courage our Negro people in the South are showing!

It makes me feel somewhat apprehensive that at some point these people who are forced to live in fear and danger may turn against their tormentors and use violence instead of just passive resistance.


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

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About this document

My Day by Eleanor Roosevelt, August 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.