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

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NEW YORK. Friday—As one reads Soviet Premier Khrushchev's report to the Communist Chinese and the praise given him by Chinese Premier Chou En-lai at a dinner for more than 5,000 Chinese the other night in Hong Kong, one cannot help but smile a little at the picture of Mr. Khrushchev as "an envoy of peace."

There is so much more to making the peace than just coming to the United States and announcing you want peace in the world and speaking at the United Nations on disarmament. Mr. Khrushchev carefully avoided mentioning a few of the difficult problems that must be faced before disarmament can be achieved.

I am delighted that President Eisenhower feels there is a lessening of tension and that the Berlin question is no longer a threat. Now, it is felt, it is one of the problems that can be negotiated.

We must never forget, however, the statement made some years ago by Dmitri Manuilski, one of the Soviet founders of the United Nations. The gist of that statement was that we would be lulled to sleep by the peaceful offers of the Communists and that then the Soviets would strike when our wishful thinking had made us weak.

Of course, he knew nothing of the atomic age and so the situation has changed. But it is well to remember that our defenses, moral and spiritual, economic and military, must never let down. We must never use them for aggression, we must never use them to threaten our neighbors. But we must be as staunch in our beliefs and in our purposes as are the Communists.

The kind of world the Communists want we do not want; and we can be sure that the majority of peoples in the world must be in opposition to communism. And since we do not intend to bring about our kind of world with military strength, it will take constant and unremitting work to bring it about and keep it, with the balance on the non-Communist side.

This does not mean that I do not expect to see changes in our world, both in our economic and cultural situations, but it does mean that we must never lose sight of the fact that our political system was designed to give people the maximum freedom possible, both of choice and of opportunity, and that we will never compromise our right to freedom of religious beliefs.

Before settling down to complacency over the change in atmosphere between ourselves and the Soviet Union, we had better watch carefully the speeches in the United Nations. France has told the U.N. that there must be a return to international trust before there could be a cut in arms. The Swedes have asked for a study of an atom-free zone. The Australians have joined in stressing the need for inspection and control.

And now, apparently, the Soviets have agreed on this—an area in which they have held out for a long time, saying that they must have the actuality of disarmament before there could be sufficient confidence and trust among us to permit inspection.

These are real problems that have to be faced before we can begin negotiating disarmament. We must settle the question of Germany in Europe and Communist China in Asia. Unless they are members of the U.N., disarmament cannot have a chance of success. The Near East must become a place where neighbors live together peacefully and international waterways are free to all. Where there is hunger there must be hope for better economic conditions, and where there are no human rights for all there must be a change of attitude.

Without these things as a basis of settlement there can be no peace or disarmament.


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

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About this document

My Day by Eleanor Roosevelt, October 3, 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.