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

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PHOENIX —I have received certain contributions for Tractors for Freedom from outside this country. Unfortunately, the volume of mail has been so great that it is entirely impossible to try and thank people individually. But I hope that any of my readers who know of people who have sent contributions from foreign countries will be kind enough to tell them how grateful we are for their help.

Through this column I also want to send a special message to the wives, sisters and children of Cuban prisoners who are anxiously awaiting their return in Miami. They have wired gratefully, recognizing the efforts being made to liberate their loved ones. Having heard that Premier Castro has invited the committee, particularly Dr. Milton Eisenhower and myself; to come to Cuba and negotiate, they wire now begging us to go, fearing that their prisoners will suffer if we don't accept Premier Castro's invitation.

If they have read our reply to Castro's strange wire, they will realize that the committee is not going to enter into a propagandist discussion with the Premier. In reply to an offer made by him, the committee has offered to send a group of experts to discuss the agriculture machinery needed, and to begin sending the tractors within two weeks. The group of experts are scheduled to leave for Cuba on Monday. We want the exchange to start as soon as possible, to liberate the prisoners and to help the conditions of the farmers in their fight for better standards of living and for an increased food supply for the people of Cuba.

The committee is living up to its agreement and acting as private citizens, not as representatives of the U.S. government. Therefore it would not be in a position to do more than it has done. Our deepest sympathy goes to the relatives of the prisoners and to the prisoners themselves, and our hope is that Premier Castro will see fit to accept this offer, so that the first shipment of tractors can go within the next two weeks.

It is probably wise for the House to have decided not to wipe out the emergency Korean War taxes this year. The Senate may make some changes, of course, but they are not apt to go against the final decision of the House on this question.

There is need for an overhauling of our whole tax system, and there is one small point that I hope will not be overlooked when this is done. Many women today are trained for careers, and even though they marry they wish to continue in the work which they have been trained to do. I remember reading long ago an article by Dorothy Thompson in which she told the story of a woman who, wishing to continue her teaching, had engaged a trained woman to care for her baby and her house during the time she was away from home. She paid this woman almost half of her salary; but while her husband, who was also a teacher, could deduct from his income tax the full amount he paid his secretary, his wife could not deduct a penny for the help she needed at home while she was working.

Many people will say that as long as her husband could work it would be better in any case, no matter what her training, for her to give up her work and stay at home. But the situation would be the same if she was a widow and forced to work to support herself and her child, or children. She would still be unable to deduct the salary she paid for a home worker. This seems to me an unrealistic and unfair rule, and I hope it will be one of the things given special attention when an overall examination is made of our tax structure. That structure has been patched up many times, and now certainly needs a going over from the bottom up.

Everyone has been very sympathetic to the President. Because of his back strain, the time he spent in Europe must have been one of great discomfort. To have carried such a heavy schedule and never to have shown the slightest sign of the discomfort or of any irritation during long hours of discussion is indeed a remarkable achievement. We can only hope that the short vacation in Palm Beach has given him the help he needs for a quick recovery.

E. R.

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

Names and Terms Mentioned or Referenced

  • Phoenix (Ariz., United States) [ index ]

About this document

My Day by Eleanor Roosevelt, June 12, 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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MEP edition publlished on 2008-06-30

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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.