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

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NEW YORK—Everyone will sympathize with the President in his anxiety over his father's illness and everyone will hope that Mr. Kennedy senior will soon return to good health.

It is unfortunate that the meeting between Prime Minister Harold Macmillan and the President should have to take place at this time, but it is in the Presidential tradition that public obligations override personal inclinations. And it reassuring that the doctors feel Mr. Kennedy senior is well enough for the President to be away temporarily.

The General Assembly of the United Nations has begun a three-week Christmas recess, and I think it is a reassuring sign that before it did so it approved Acting Secretary General U Thant's plan to meet the over-100-million-dollar deficit with a $200 million bond issue. The General Assembly also voted to submit the question of fund arrears to the International Court of Justice for an advisory opinion on whether U.N. members are legally bound to share in costs incurred, as in the Congo operation and in the Gaza Strip.

Finances have been among the most important problems in this General Assembly. But, of course, overshadowing the whole situation has been the question of the Congo, so it is very good news indeed that an agreement has been reached between President Moise Tshombe of Katanga and Premier Cyrille Adoula of the Central Government by which Katanga will remain a part of the unified Congo.

This can mean that a viable economy can be established, and it also means that peace can be restored and, we hope, bloodshed will cease. The original resolution on the Congo, which the U.N. has been trying to carry out, now seems in sight.

Those who have been sending in foreign mercenaries and who have investments in Katanga probably will not be happy with this agreement, but those who are really interested in the future of the Congo and of the U.N. will certainly be relieved and happy over this solution.

In our own country there seems to be some difficulty over our policy in support of the U.N. military operations in the Congo. Former President Herbert Hoover, following up on the declarations made by the strange group of rightists gathered together by Sen. Everett M. Dirksen, has now added his voice to the general clamor of this small but very vocal group. Secretary of State Dean Rusk, however, has met with six members of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee and defended U.S. and U.N. policy.

It looks as though the Republicans were going to follow the John Birch Society and the extreme rightist groups in playing into the hands of the Communists more than merely to have the U.S. support of the U.N. divided and uncertain.

Perhaps, however, the greatest blow that has come to the U.N. is the attitude and action taken by India in its invasion of the Portuguese enclaves of Goa, Damao and Diu. Prime Minister Nehru had always said that this sensitive question was one that should be settled by negotiation, but judging by the statements made by Indian Defense Minister V.K. Krishna Menon on his arrival in New York he has decided to claim that Portugal's coastal enclaves in India amount to aggression.

Of course, Mr. Menon has always seemed to play into the hands, or along the same lines, as the Soviet Union. This is probably a popular movement in India, and Mr. Menon is running for election and probably needs to think primarily of his own interests—particularly when they coincide with the point of view of the Soviet Union.

It is regrettable, however, that India should take this action when she was so strong in denouncing Israel's action, which was purely in defense of its existence because of the buildup of Arab troops in the Gaza district, as well as Great Britain's and France's moves in the Suez Canal situation.

I have no particular brief for the Portuguese rights in Goa. I think they should return these enclaves to India, but India's position has always been such a lofty moral position that it is disturbing to find her, through her defense minister, making the same arguments which other righteous nations have made in the past.

Since military action is now considered permissible in Indian foreign policy, perhaps they will take some military action against their much more powerful neighbor in the north. In this case the aggression seems to have been so far against India but no retaliatory action has been taken. How very difficult it is for human beings to be really logical!


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

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About this document

My Day by Eleanor Roosevelt, December 22, 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.