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

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NEW YORK—I hope Secretary General Dag Hammarskjold will find new recruits for the United Nations force in the Congo from among the Asian and African countries. He is seeking to increase the present U.N. force—which numbers about 14,000—by 6,000, which he believes will help to keep the peace in the Congo.

There still seems to be opposition, however, from Premier Joseph Ileo of the newly formed Leopoldville Provisional Government. He seems to be violently opposed to the implementation of the Security Council resolution, which authorizes the U.N. to use force, as a last resort, to prevent civil war in the whole of the Congo.

The way I see it, Mr. Ileo is wrong in feeling that the resolution violates Congolese sovereignty. I cannot believe that any responsible leader would want civil war. So, it would seem that the various Congolese leaders would welcome any aid or any suggestion of a manner in which civil war could be avoided.

Despite this opposition, it is beginning to look as though there is more hope for a real organization of a peaceful government in the Congo and that there will be a real opportunity for the people to develop and earn those things which all the people want—peace, prosperity and happiness.

We cannot, however, sit back and feel that the African task is completed for a Rhodesian crisis now looms, and this may prove very difficult for the British. It seems to me the African continent is going to demand a constant need for contacts and reappraisal because of rapid changes that are taking place.

In Kenya on Wednesday our Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs, G. Mennen Williams, told the Kenyan men that they would have to buckle down to work if they would contribute a share to 20th Century prosperity. How well this message will be received is a question, since it is a time-honored custom for the women to do the hard work and for the men to be waited on and do the hunting and fighting.

It is a hurried trip that Secretary Williams and his wife are making, but both of them are keen observers and will, I am sure, bring back a much greater understanding of the needs and desires of the people they visit.

Quiet-spoken Llewellyn E. Thompson Jr., U.S. Ambassador to the Soviet Union, who speaks Russian and can be very firm and still preserve his calm, is an route back to his none-too-easy post. And he is taking with him a message of hope from President Kennedy to Mr. Khrushchev, a message conveying the wish for improved relations. Let us wish him every success, for these improved relations mean a great deal to the well-being of our country.

In the legislative maneuvering in Washington involving the House Rules Committee, Speaker Sam Rayburn won a point in keeping bottled up the proposal to televise House committee sessions.

I have one regret in this connection. I would have liked to have the House Un-American Activities Committee sessions televised. This would have been one of the best ways, I think, of acquainting the people of the country with the proceedings and actions of this committee. And I feel sure these revelations would bring the needed pressure to bear to get rid of this unwanted committee.

Of major interest to New Yorkers the middle of this week was the dramatic resignation of Police Commissioner Stephen P. Kennedy on the heels of his reappointment for another five-year term by Mayor Robert F. Wagner. His decision to resign, Mr. Kennedy said, was due to the fact, among other things, that the Mayor would not give him assurance that he would back a raise in salary of $600 a year for the members of the police force.

This condition, however, put the Mayor in the middle, for, if the policemen were granted such a raise, the members of the fire department would demand similar treatment—even though the firemen are allowed to take outside jobs when off duty and the policemen are not. So, the budgetary implications made the Mayor decide that he would accept Mr. Kennedy's resignation, and then he appointed, as the new commissioner, Chief Inspector Michael J. Murphy, former executive director of the Waterfront Commission.

There is no question in my mind that Commissioner Kennedy tried to run the police department well and keep it free from graft. At times he had been arbitrary and at times, I think, he was wrong. But I do think he always had the interests of his men at heart as well as the interests of law and order in the city. I, for one, am sorry to see him go, though I realize that the Mayor could probably do little else.


(Copyright, 1961, by United Feature Syndicate, Inc.)

Names and Terms Mentioned or Referenced

  • New York (N.Y., United States) [ index ]

About this document

My Day by Eleanor Roosevelt, February 24, 1961

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.