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

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HYDE PARK—With Prime Minister Harold Macmillan of Britain now having joined the other world leaders at the United Nations General Assembly, an effort is being made on his part to get the great powers to forget the stormy beginnings of this session and to again resume disarmament talks.

I do not think much progress will be made toward real disarmament until we get down to such basic questions as Germany, the Near East and the Far East, but there is absolutely no reason why these talks should not be reopened.

Premier Nikita Khrushchev made the suggestion that five more nations be represented on the disarmament committee, and he was quite careful in naming his choice of nations, hoping they would be sufficiently neutral so that they would side with him most of the time. This may be pure wishful thinking, or he really may get an added vote or two.

He certainly, however, will succeed in making agreements more difficult if his proposal for a larger committee should be accepted, but I doubt that it will be accepted. The important thing is for everyone to get back to work on the job of trying to take even one more step on the road to disarmament—a subject about which we talk so much and on which so little materializes.

I doubt if I ever read Emily Post with great care, but I remember meeting her some years ago and have had her quoted to me by so many people that I have come to feel that she really was a valuable asset to an enormous number of people in this country.

Having reached the point where it is possible to live with greater ease and comfort than they have known in the past, many people find themselves at a loss as to the proper manners when among the so-called "society" that they now aspire to join. Then, Mrs. Post was a heaven-sent authority.

Mrs. Post was in many ways a lovely person and, I think, brought help and comfort to the young and old on many occasions. There is nothing more difficult than trying to do the right thing in situations strange to you and having no one to guide you. Here in this country we have long had a comfortable feeling that we could do pretty much as we pleased so long as we remembered that kindness underlies good manners and that the first requisite was consideration of others.

In other countries, however, there have been long-held traditions and customs, making the use of proper manners there much more difficult. I always wished there could have been an "international Mrs. Emily Post." It would mean a great deal more in cementing friendships between ourselves and other nations. For I am sure there are many American girls abroad who would love to know what to do in certain circumstances to make friends but don't dare being friendly because of the fear of making mistakes.

I was thinking of this as I looked at photographs of the Crown Prince of Japan and his very charming Princess Michiko. She has a sweet face and one can imagine why she wanted to record her lullabies before leaving Japan so her son would hear her voice every night while she was away.

This trip must be difficult for the young couple, knowing as they do that many Americans resented the fact that our President could not visit Japan. They are now trying to show that there is a basic friendliness between us.

At the same time, they realize that when two countries have been foes in a bitter war (even though one has been generous enough to rebuild the country of its adversary), there is always a slow erosion of the feeling of enmity between the two. So when these two young people greet a new and strange person, they must ask themselves, "How do these people feel about us? What are they thinking? Are we going to have a pleasant time or will it be difficult for us?"

It is not an easy journey for the royal couple, but those holding high positions in any country learn that it is not the easy things that they are expected to do. Their reward is that they often convince others to forget the past and look forward with new hope toward the future.


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

Names and Terms Mentioned or Referenced

  • Hyde Park (Dutchess County, N.Y., United States) [ index ]

About this document

My Day by Eleanor Roosevelt, September 30, 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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Transcription created from a photocopy of a UFS wire copy of a My Day column instance archived at the Franklin D. Roosevelt Library.