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

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NEW YORK—I am particularly glad that the United Nations voted to take up simultaneously the Indian proposition for a revival of the moratorium on nuclear tests without any reference to control and the U.S.-British draft treaty calling for the prohibition of tests under effective international control.

India and the Soviet Union wanted their resolution discussed first and were opposed to simultaneous discussion, but an overwhelming vote overruled their desires. I think this is a sign that the peoples of the world understand that it is the Soviet Union that is endangering the world's health by testing nuclear devices in the atmosphere.

The Soviet leader seems to have reached the point where he has lost all sense of perspective and wants only to show how much harm his country is able to do to the human race. What earthly good the Soviets hope to bring about by explosion of their very big bomb at the end of their test series seems difficult to see—unless it is purely a gesture of intimidation.

The vote in Committee One (Political Committee) of the U.N. gives me the feeling that intimidation is not going to work, and that the peoples of the world do see the difference between the tests underground, which we have made, and the Soviet tests in the atmosphere.

The Soviets seem to be acting on the old Hitler idea that if you proclaim that something is true long enough, everyone will believe it—no matter how much of a lie it may really be. Perhaps the representatives in the U.N. are growing wise to this particular technique, for they realize that no one can control the winds that blow the harmful results of atmospheric tests throughout the world.

I have the most-appealing letter from Post One of the Pearl Harbor Attack Veterans in South Hampton, Mass. It seems that with their aid and support the U.S.S. Arizona Memorial has finally been completed and on December 7 a memorial service will be held there for the men whose bodies have never been recovered from the sunken ship. Now, the comparatively few remaining veterans want to attend these services and also to hold services at the national cemetary on the island of Oahu. They have been invited by the commander of the 14th Naval District at Honolulu, and it is their hope to make this pilgrimage on the 20th anniversary of the attack on this coming December 7.

However, in order to make this journey they would have to raise $35,000 for transportation on a charter plane holding 91 men and about the same amount for expenses they would incur while there and in preparation for leaving from various points in the U.S. They have approval for their mission from the President, members of Congress and the Governor of Massachusetts, but that does not provide them with the money to go. Many of them are still in the service and others who are not cannot afford the expense of such a trip.

These Pearl Harbor veterans would be commemorating an occasion that brought the U.S. into World War II. Since the war ended we have done so much for Japan and its rehabilitation, as we have done for Germany, that it is hard for any of us to realize that we were once enemies and that we did feel the attack was a perfidious and cowardly one, since the Japanese had their representatives in Washington at the time.

I am one of the people who believe that it is right to forgive and forget, and I am glad that we have helped both Germany and Japan to get back on their feet. I cannot say, though, that I would like to see either of them rearmed to the extent of being able to start another war. Therefore, I am opposed to giving either of them any help in the development of nuclear weapons. Both probably will make their own discoveries before very long, but I feel strongly that each new nation that holds nuclear power as one of its weapons is an added danger to the peace of the world.

I think we should not forget what happened to so many of our young men as a result of World War II being started by Germany and Japan. So, it would be well for all of us to contribute some small amount to send these veterans back to commemorate the death of their comrades. It would bring closer to us the remembrance of our losses in men and would stimulate our young people to a realization of what the generation of their fathers went through.

We may never again be safe at home, and so it is well to do what we can to bring this realization to our country as a whole. Therefore, I hope that the Pearl Harbor Attack Veterans will get some financial support as well as the good wishes and approval of all those whom they have contacted.


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

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About this document

My Day by Eleanor Roosevelt, October 20, 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.