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

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NEW YORK—I wrote a column not long ago about the proposed Kinzua Dam in Western New York and Pennsylvania, which would cover land occupied by the Seneca Indians and to which they objected vigorously. Now at least one of my readers, a Mr. Theodore M. Edison of New Jersey writes: "I understand that the Kinzua would not only destroy one of the finest recreational areas in the East but would also force the Seneca Indians, against their will, out of homelands assured to them by one of our oldest Federal treaties (1794)."

Mr. Edison writes a most persuasive statement on the subject. He makes the point that we object to the breaking of treaties by other nations and we should judge ourselves by the same standards that we judge others.

In this particular case he points out that there is an alternate project known as the Conewango project, which would cost from 20 to 70 million dollars less than the Kinzua proposal and it would create a substantially stable 27-square-mile lake that could become a resort area. On the other hand, the Kinzua reservoir would shrink from 20 square miles in spring to three square miles toward the end of each year, thus forming great areas of mud flats and destroying an existing fine recreation area. Also, the Conewango project could be completed more rapidly than the Kinzua Dam.

These seem rather convincing arguments for re-evaluating this particular project which also are agreed to by Army Engineers. Moreover, the Senaca Indians are certainly within their rights to raise strong objections.

According to the newspaper pictures, Governor Rockefeller looked extremely pleased as he addressed the dinner of the Republican State Committee and announced his plan for a 10 percent tax rebate on 1960 income in New York State. I do not know anyone who is not pleased when taxes go down, although I have always felt that we paid too little attention to the more important factor of what was done with our taxes and whether we received full value in the expenditure by the government of the money received from the people.

A lady from upstate New York has just sent me a clipping from the Christian Science Monitor that points out that there is a new vocabulary being used in Washington and that one does not hear any more the phrase "preventive" war, but the talk is about a "preemptive" war. When one analyzes the two, however, they are strangely alike.

This article by William H. Stringer, chief of the Washington Bureau of the Christian Science Monitor, certainly has some interesting quotations. What it all boils down to is that certain people in and out of government are insisting that it is not enough simply to have a balance of military power, but the intelligence service must be alert enough to provide the knowledge of a possible attack by an enemy, in which case you must strike first.

This presupposes absolutely correct intelligence information, and it makes invalid the policy that most of the people in the United States have always believed in—that as a country we would never strike the first blow.

Such a decision would put on any President of the U.S. a rather terrible burden. Of course, the whole theory is advanced because of the knowledge we now have that action of any kind will most surely mean complete annihilation, and therefore we are willing to consider annihilating some other part of the world first, hoping that we will remain relatively unhurt.

This is highly unlikely and the whole argument points up the need for facing once and for all the fact that there must be no war with nuclear weapons and we had better bend our efforts to strengthening the United Nations and getting all war materials controlled internationally by that body.


(Copyright, 1960, by United Feature Syndicate, Inc.)

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About this document

My Day by Eleanor Roosevelt, June 17, 1960

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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Digital edition published 2008, 2017 by
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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.