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

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NEW YORK. Thursday—It is most discouraging reading that the President's inquiry panel sees little hope for early accord in the steel strike. According to newspaper stories, it seems impossible to get the issues defined, and for us who sit on the outside as the public this is indeed a sad situation. For if a fact-finding board cannot find out what really is going on, then how can the public decide and bring its influence to bear on the problem?

The only people who seem to have profited so far by this strike are the steel companies. They have gotten rid of excess products that were on the market, they have lost nothing, and if they have to make any concessions these concessions will, of course, be added to the price paid by the public—and the public will again be the goat.

Labor is actually part of the public, for of course union people, too, have to buy the things in which steel is needed. Now, it is also true that the public has a share in the steel companies and that when these companies go on paying dividends perhaps everyone holding stocks does gain something. But I think the people who suffer the most are the average run-of-the-mill individuals who may own a little stock but who, on the whole, are more affected by the rise in prices that comes as a result of whatever concessions the companies finally make.

Certainly, labor has already suffered considerably and will suffer even more.

I was visited on Tuesday afternoon by one of the Dalai Lama's brothers. He and a second brother have come to the United States to speak before the United Nations on the situation that faces Tibet.

I asked him whether it was true that the people in that mountainous country had been kept at a very low standard of living and that, therefore, the Communist Chinese, who emulate the Soviet Communists, felt justified in moving in to establish what they felt were reforms. He told me that the Dalai Lama had already planned to move on four different fronts to bring some changes into the old agricultural system of the country and to improve the standard of living for the people. And he added that these changes had been opposed by the Communists in the country and that an increasing number of Chinese Communist troops had come in until the people who loved the Dalai Lama had felt that he was in danger personally.

One of the most serious results, of course, of forcing the Dalai Lama to leave Tibet is the fact that a very large number of his people left with him, and they are all now in India. This has added a new problem to the refugee situation. India is finding it extremely difficult to provide the proper kind of food for these thousands of people who must be fed and housed.

I am glad that the situation is being brought before the U.N. and I hope that the nations of the world will give help to these refugees and bring the weight of world opinion to bear on the entire situation. Only thus can peace come to Tibet and the traditional ruler returned in peace and be allowed to try to work out the problems of modernization and contact with the outer world, which now becomes necessary in spite of the remoteness of the people in that country.

It points up to us that there is no area of the world that is remote any more and that all of us are going to feel whatever happens, no matter how far away it is.

We are fortunate to have the U.N., where this problem can be discussed, and perhaps we are also fortunate that this is World Refugee Year—for people in every country will be studying the problem of refugees and most of them will learn of the plight of the people from Tibet.


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

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About this document

My Day by Eleanor Roosevelt, October 16, 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.