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

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NEW YORK—One of the most encouraging things about the whole African picture, it seems to me, is the series of meetings going on between Mr. Adlai Stevenson, head of the United States delegation to the United Nations, and 24 of the chief delegates of the African countries.

This is an effort to develop a massive economic program that would encompass the entire African continent. And it was particularly encouraging to read that in a statement Mr. Stevenson said the U.S. was prepared to supply substantial financial and technical support, both multilateral and bilateral, to realistic program for development in Africa.

We are hopeful that this is one program that can be accomplished by the joining together of all the "have" countries to help in the development of the new countries in Africa. This would be a long-range program, and for the first time we would be facing a really sustained joint effort that would have great promise of success in the future.

It seems fairly obvious that the established countries would have an interest in the proper development of the underdeveloped or smaller countries of the world. We can, of course, say that any program undertaken to help the rest of the world is undertaken out of a sheer spirit of goodwill. But we can and should bring to the attention of our citizens the fact that we profit by economic development that allows other countries to succeed in making use of their natural resources and to do so in a way that really considers the best interests of the backward country for the future.

The day will come when not only we, but many other prosperous countries as well, will need markets that our own increasing populations cannot provide. Many times in the past if a country could produce one particular crop very well, that country would go on developing ways to increase that one-crop production, forgetting that the day might come when for some reason that crop would be wiped out or the need for it would not exist because of some new, better product.

Then all of a sudden that country, which had been solvent because it could sell its one product to developed countries and in turn buy their products, is out of the market when its product is no longer in demand. Its people suffer, and the economy of other countries reacts unfavorably. There are losses all because of shortsightedness. No thought was ever given to develop a varied economy nor was the underdeveloped nation urged to produce a variety of products.

In some of today's new countries it will take considerable thought and ingenuity to find a variety of things that might be produced. But in the long run it will pay us to put our thought and ingenuity on these problems. We used to able to think in much narrower terms, but in today's world there can be no such isolation, with one thing dependent on another from country to country.

Top government lawyers have issued memorandums to Congress showing that Federal loans or grants to church-operated schools or tuition aid for their pupils would clearly violate the Constitution's First Amendment. This study was made after members of the Roman Catholic hierarchy, including the country's five Cardinals, decided to oppose President Kennedy's contention that Federal aid to parochial schools would be unconstitutional.

Now there have been rumors that this particular group has indicated it would fight enactment of any school-aid program if their particular requests were not considered.

Polls that have been made throughout the country indicate that a great majority of people feel Federal aid should go only to public schools. And I think that if all such Federal aid is defeated because church and private schools are not included there will be much bitterness created among our people. The great majority are anxious to see our public schools—which are open to all children who wish to attend—improved in every possible way, with sufficient room and facilities for every child who should go to school.

E. R.

(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, March 31, 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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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.