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

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NEW YORK—President Kennedy has had a successful visit in Paris and apparently he and President de Gaulle feel that an accord was reached on most of the issues between the United States and France. Basically, there is always friendship between the American people and the French. We have never forgotten Lafayette and the aid given our infant nation by France and its people.

The meeting in Vienna with Premier Khrushchev probably did not seek to resolve any fundamental questions, though it seems fairly fundamental to attempt to change the atmosphere that has existed between American and Soviet representatives and bring about less tension. I doubt if it was intended to deal specifically with any question, since there has not really been time for preparation and a long look into future objectives which must at length be attained. Nevertheless, anything which will help two men to get a feel of each other's personality is, I think, of vital importance. We pray that all the wisdom and intuition that goes into the making of a statesman will be with our President during these meetings.

I was happy that on Friday night the Committee on Tractors was able to send a telegram to Fidel Castro announcing that our group of experts was prepared if necessary to go to Cuba to consult with him and that 500 tractors, recommended by them for the purposes Fidel Castro has stated he desired to achieve, were ready for shipment. The first 100 tractors would be sent within two weeks following the formal acceptance by Pres. Castro of the proposal. I hope that by Wednesday we will have official confirmation and can begin shipments of the tractors and the return of the prisoners.

I received a very interesting letter from a manufacturing group in Venezuela enclosing a check covering contributions made by their workers to this cause, and it is certainly satisfactory to feel the interest which is stirring in so many communities in South America.

I am very much impressed by the courage which has been shown by Mr. Jack Paar. From the very beginning he seems to have felt that this was a cause worthy of the participation of all American people, quite regardless of party lines, and I am sure that his aid has meant a great deal in the response which has come to the committee in this country in the last few days. Ten thousand letters, I am informed, were received on Friday in Detroit. However, none of the letters that have come in so far will be opened until we get the official confirmation from Pres. Castro.

I was very happy to see Mr. Ben-Gurion the other day and to find him looking so well. After such a strenuous trip, he showed no signs of fatigue but seemed as vigorous and enthusiastic as a very young man.

One wishes that the Arab states could be brought to understand that friendship for Israel does not really mean antagonism for any Arab country. There has been such a long friendship between the U.S. and the Arab governments in the Near East that it should never be broken. The university at Beirut has in fact educated many of the leaders in the Arab countries, and it seems ridiculous that because we differ on the rights of ayoung nation to exist there should be so much bitterness in general on the part of Arab countries. They should know that our friendship for them is not diminished because we happen to believe that Israel has a right to exist and should receive aid to make life possible for its people.

In the discussion between Algeria and France, the delegates have touched on an economic point which is of great importance to both—namely, control of the Sahara. Oil has been found in this area, and quite naturally both sides want to share in the exploitation of mineral resources. Let us hope that agreement can be reached whereby these resources can be jointly developed and prove of value to both the French and the Algerians. They will certainly be needed in the development of this part of Africa, and France's economy will benefit as well.

Many of us will have read with considerable shock of the death of George S. Kaufman, noted American playwright. Very few among us have not enjoyed pleasant evenings for which he was wholly or in part responsible, and so with many others we would like to extend our sympathy to his family. It must nevertheless be a great consolation to know that in a long life a man has used his gifts to give entertainment and pleasure to so many people.

E. R.

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

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About this document

My Day by Eleanor Roosevelt, June 5, 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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MEP edition publlished on June 30, 2008.

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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.