APRIL 16, 1960
HYDE PARK —It was a pleasure on Wednesday to see Mr. Adlai Stevenson for a short time at my office at the American Association for the United Nations.
The newspaper people who saw him at his conference murmured to each other, I am told, as they came out, "But this is a different Stevenson. It is the Stevenson of 1952." The fact that his energy has returned is due to the fact that he had had a few days on the beach in the Caribbean area with friends.
He told me his Latin-American trip had been most interesting, that he had met all the top people everywhere and had never seen such hospitality in his life.
On his return, he said, he was more tired than he had ever been. This did not preclude, however, very careful observation on his part of conditions in every country that he visited, and he is full of the things that we ought to do and have not done.
He is very enthusiastic about Paul Hoffman's work for the U.N. through his special committee, and quite prepared, I think, to think through some of the extremely complex problems of production that face us in the world.
For a time there was a very well accepted theory that all nations should do the things they could do best. If we could make steel better than anyone else, then we would produce steel. If Canada could produce wheat, it would do so; Brazil could produce coffee, etc. That theory has gone with the wind because each nation, as it grows stronger, wishes to be self-sufficient.
Every nation wishes to produce steel, every nation wishes to produce whatever its climate and natural resources will permit it to produce. Now it is evident that the planning has to be done on a worldwide scale through cooperation with the U.N. If everyone who can produce cocoa would suddenly produce cocoa, there would be areas of the world that can produce only cocoa, and they would go broke.
The worldwide planning is extremely complex and has to be done with the greatest of care, and it will require some of the best experts in agriculture as well as in economics and in finance to do this planning on a worldwide scale and to work with the U.N.
Somehow we have always muddled through, making mistakes but getting by. But we see now that new countries are not going to wait. They want their chance for a place in the sun, and they want it now—not 10 or 15 or 20 years from now. They think we are able to do something about their aspirations, and we probably are. We will have to get used to the idea, however, that we are not planning for the minute, but for the future, and we will have to change our views on foreign aid and our people will have to come to understand that foreign aid is no charity.
It is a complex, economic necessity through which, by considering the needs of another nation for a place in the sun, we develop places from which to buy for our industrial output and at the same time we develop markets for our goods, since our foreign aid will make it possible for the first time for many people to earn and sell. Without this ability to sell they would have no buying power and would be of no value to us as future markets.
(Copyright, 1960, by United Feature Syndicate, Inc.)
About this document
My Day by Eleanor Roosevelt, April 16, 1960
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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