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

[This column has emendations. View original version]


NEW YORK—It is encouraging to read the newspapers and find accords chronicled.

For instance, a 12-nation pact makes the Antarctic a science reserve through a treaty just signed in Washington, D.C. The treaty bars military activity and outlaws atomic tests in this area.

The nations signing are: Argentina, Australia, Great Britain, Chile, France, New Zealand, Norway—all of whom have some claim on territory in the Antarctic but who have agreed to freeze these claims. In addition, the treaty was signed by Belgium, Japan, South Africa, the Soviet Union and the United States. Of course, this treaty cannot come into being until each nation has ratified it according to its constitutional procedures.

This treaty will ease some tensions. For instance, there has long been a great deal of feeling between Argentina and Great Britain over the Falkland Islands, and it may be that they will now come to realize that they are not really anxious to control this area as they thought they were.

An agreement also has been signed between the Soviet Union and Great Britain on the expansion of cultural exchanges, and this might mean the end of Soviet jamming of the British Broadcasting Corporation programs.

Of course, it is possible to have free exchange between peoples only when a country becomes confident enough of its own success and of its people's belief in their way of life and form of government. Thus, there is no fear of allowing them to know what is going on in other countries. To let them compare their type of economy and their form of government with those of other countries is a sign of self-confidence.

As long as the Soviets were putting their people through a period of very great sacrifice they were afraid of letting them know of better conditions in other countries. Now they probably feel that though they may not yet be offering a standard of living equal to some others they hold the hope of achieving such rapid improvement that they are no longer afraid to allow their people to know about other countries in the world—and even to hear criticism of their own system.

We in the United States know that there is criticism at home of what happens under our system and we feel strong enough to meet it as well as to allow people from other countries to see what goes on. If the Soviets reach this sense of assurance, then we will not have to worry about jamming radio or TV programs or exchanging students. For there will be equal confidence on both sides, and we may even reach a point where we are willing to learn from each other. Then when we see something that we really think has greater value than what we have not yet discovered, we will not be afraid to say so and to copy where we think such an innovation would be helpful to either side.

Many people must have read with sorrow of the accident that caused 25 to die when an airplane ran into a mountainside in Pennsylvania. By a miracle one passenger was saved.

It is very annoying when planes do not fly on schedule, but I think it is better to be annoyed than to be dead. And every airplane company should realize they must not be swayed by the complaints of passengers who often do not realize the dangers of possible weather changes which the airlines themselves are well aware of.

Winter is coming and the weather, of course, is a greater hazard than at other seasons of the year. Fog and snowstorms are the two difficult things for a pilot to meet, and I, for one, will try not to complain if I want to get somewhere and find I can't do so because the airplane for reasons of safety does not take off.


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

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About this document

My Day by Eleanor Roosevelt, December 4, 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.