My Day by Eleanor Roosevelt

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DALLAS —I heard with great sadness of General George C. Marshall's death at Walter Reed Hospital on October 16. He was not only a very great general, whose plans and wise handling of strategy and of men made the winning of World War II possible, but he was also one of the few military men I have ever known who could fill a civilian post of great responsibility with extraordinary fairness and patience and wisdom.

Many people who worked with him will testify, I feel sure, that he was an ideal chief and co-worker. I know how highly my husband thought of General Marshall during World War II, and I had the pleasure of working under him in the United Nations when he was Secretary of State.

He headed our delegation in Paris in the autumn of 1948 when the Universal Declaration of Human Rights came before the General Assembly and was adopted. He was the one who told me that that session would be remembered chiefly as the Human Rights Session, and he did everything in his power to enhance the importance of the whole question of human rights and the effect that such a declaration might have upon the peoples of the world.

He was a very great man and his name will go down in our history as one of those who contributed greatly to his country both in war and peace, and his life should be an inspiration to our children in the future.

To Mrs. Marshall the country will extend its deepest sympathy, and it may well also thank her now for all she has done to help make her husband's career possible.

Mr. Andrew H. Berding, Assistant Secretary of State for Public Affairs, made an interesting speech the other day to a conference of the National Association of Broadcasters. Among other things, he said what has been obvious for some time—that Communist China is not giving us any evidence of a real desire for the peaceful world that Soviet Premier Khrushchev talked so much about while he was in the United States.

This situation is heightened in importance for us by the frequent threat made by Communist China to absorb Taiwan (Formosa) in the near future. This might produce a situation, if carried out, that would make the continuation of diplomacy at high levels difficult, if not impossible and a peaceful world depends on summit conferences taking place in an atmosphere of growing confidence.

The National Agricultural Workers Union (AFL-CIO) held its 25th anniversary celebration in Memphis, Tenn., last Saturday. I can remember the plight of the agricultural workers that brought about the formation of this union.

In the early days it was called the Southern Tenant Farmers Union, and it was looked upon as a very radical group at the time because the people who formed it were desperate.

They were 18 sharecroppers who met in an abandoned schoolhouse on a plantation in East Arkansas. They had been thrown off the land; there was no work; there was no shelter; and there was no food. They were among the people having the hardest time in those depression years, and from that small beginning the union has grown to be really influential. And though it needs to grow still stronger it already has been able to help the plight of agricultural workers in the South.

I congratulate them on their 25th anniversary and hope they will grow stronger.


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

Names and Terms Mentioned or Referenced

  • Dallas (Tex., United States) [ index ]

About this document

My Day by Eleanor Roosevelt, October 20, 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.