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

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NEW YORK—I liked President Kennedy's answer given on Wednesday to the two neutralist leaders from the Belgrade meetings and I was particularly interested in his statement that the presence of our Secretary of State Dean Rusk and of Soviet Foreign Minister Andrei Gromyko at the United Nations General Assembly next week would "provide an opportunity for serious talks about Germany and other problems if the Soviet side proves willing."

The General Assembly convenes next Tuesday, and it is evident that the President has decided to be quite sure that before there are any summit talks that other avenues shall have proved the possibility of making a summit talk serve a useful purpose.

The President made it quite clear on Wednesday that the United States was ready to discuss the question of Berlin with other governments, including the Soviet Union, and to "search for the means to preserve an honorable peace." This, to me, has special significance with the added words which the President used: "If that is the purpose on all sides (the search for an honorable peace) there is no need for resort to force."

There is no question that this is true. If both the U.S. and the Soviet Union want to find ways to settle the problem of Central Europe, these ways can be found, and it will have to be a cooperative undertaking.

As the Russians continue their nuclear blasts from day to day one cannot help feeling that this is done to force upon the people of the world the recognition of the pursuit of scientific knowledge and of the power wielded by the Soviet Union. From our Western cowboy days we have many stories of the things people did under the threat of a gun held to their ribs. Sometimes the purposes were good, but more often they were bad.

In the present effort by the Soviet Union to give the peoples of the world a taste of the old type of lynch law, which in civilized countries has been out of favor for a long time, the Soviets are going backward in what we suppose is an effort to produce panic, particularly in the U.S. Something one is very familiar with, however, never creates panic. When one has outgrown such threats, these threats may create contempt or may create amusement, but never panic. Mr. Khrushchev, please take note!

Thurgood Marshall is slated for appointment to one of the three new judgeships in the United States Circuit Court of Appeals for the Second District.

Now, I wonder if the Senate Judiciary Committee, headed by Sen. James O. Eastland of Mississippi, will hold hearings on this nomination, and I wonder also if any combination can be formed that would be strong enough to defeat this nomination in the Senate.

Here is a man eminently fitted, a man who has shown his ability, courage and resourcefulness in the fight against segregation. His appointment and the Senate vote will be watched by the whole world and will have repercussions on our world position in ways we could not possibly gauge at the present moment. It is not merely an appointment to gain a good Circuit Court judge for America. The appointment will affect world opinion.

It was with considerable shock that I read of the death of Nathan Straus, civic leader and great citizen of New York City and New York State, and one whose influence extended throughout the nation. I knew him well when his prime interest was in housing during my husband's Administration and when he was state administrator of the National Recovery Administration.

He was a man of strong convictions, who had a deep sense of public responsiblity, and he gave service unstintingly during his life. He will be much missed, but he left his wife and children a noble memory as a heritage.

It must be a little difficult for the people of Jackson, Miss., to condone the arrest of 15 Episcopal ministers who attempted to enter the segregated restaurant at a bus station as a biracial group.

When their trial comes up on Friday one wonders what the South, which is a very religious part of our country, will consider a proper sentence for these men who owe their first allegiance to their belief that God's will stands above even the laws of men.

This is not an easy predicament, and we cannot help being sorry for the local judge and the local people who, by their refusal to live in the world as it is, find themselves so frequently today in these difficult situations.


(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, September 15, 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.