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

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NEW YORK—There are several news stories in the papers on Thursday to which I must at least make a brief reference.

Many people in this country and abroad are grieved to hear of Clark Gable's death. He was only 59 and had long been one of the chief drawing cards in Hollywood. Besides sympathizing with his family, I think one's sympathy should also go to the public that has watched him with so much interest and pleasure for many years.

I am sure we in the United States also would like to send a message wishing Sir Winston Churchill a speedy recovery from a fall that has apparently caused him considerable discomfort. The report says he soon will be up again, but at 86 to break even a small bone in one's back must be quite a shock. We have seen some pictures of him on his vacation and since his return, and he certainly continues to be the grand old man of Great Britain.

It gives one a sad feeling to think that in New Orleans there is not enough leadership among the older people to prevent the younger people from putting on demonstration in the streets against integration.

I wonder if the people of New Orleans will stop to think what this will mean when it is read in many countries of Asia and Africa. We indulge ourselves in this country in this kind of unpatriotic action without even thinking what it means to our leadership in the world and how it helps Communist leadership.

It must be said that the Republican administration has given very little moral leadership in the whole question of school integration. The President has simply said that the law of the land must be obeyed and at one point in Little Rock, Ark., he insisted on the use of troops to enforce his decision. But he has never said himself that he believed in school integration and wanted to help the South adjust the difficult problems that they would have in changing their mores.

So the older people of the South have felt little or no responsibility to see to it that the young people understood the patriotic obligation to treat our minorities in this country on an equal basis and to give them equal opportunity and allow them to enjoy their citizenship on an equal basis with all other citizens.

This is playing into the hands of the Communists, and our Southern young people are not even told of the harm they are doing.

In the coming year the question of Tibet has been put on the agenda of the United Nations General Assembly at the insistence of Malaya and Thailand. The Dalai Lama makes the rather sad report that hundreds of Tibetans have been emigrating into India and Nepal to escape from inhuman and cruel treatment in Tibet, but that there are thousands of other who find it impossible to seek asylum in neighboring countries and are, therefore, threatened with immediate death.

Of course, this presupposes that they are opposing the rules laid down by the Communist Chinese, who at present occupy Tibet. The Dalai Lama seems to think that because Soviet Premier Khrushchev, in speaking before the General Assembly in September, called for the freedom of all colonial peoples that he will support Tibet's plea. The Dalai Lama considers that his country has now been reduced to that state.

But I am afraid the Soviet Union is opposed to colonialism only when practiced by other countries. It is much more difficult to tell them that they and other Communist states exercise colonialism also.

The whole history of Tibet from 1911-12 to date is set forth in a memorandum from the Dalai Lama to Secretary General Dag Hammarskjold. And as you read the historical steps one by one you are inclined to feel that there is much to be said against the invasion by the Communist Chinese. Whether anything can be done by the U.N. to induce the Chinese to relinquish their present possession of the whole of Tibet is difficult to say, but certainly this is a flagrant case of occupation by a foreign nation and world opinion should examine and give its support to achieve some results through mediation.


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

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About this document

My Day by Eleanor Roosevelt, November 18, 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.