JANUARY 8, 1962
NEW YORK—Increasingly I find my mail bringing in material, especially from women, dealing with ways and means which they hope may promote world peace.
Recently, for example, a correspondent sent me a copy of a "World Peace Creed" which she hoped would be accepted by people everywhere. She felt that if it was repeated daily, and lived up to, the chances of peace between nations would be far greater. The creed gives some responsibility for the shaping of national opinion to individuals, so that each person may feel he is taking part in an effort requiring individual action to establish an atmosphere at home that will carry over, through his government, to the people of other nations.
The creed begins: "I will live peacefully with all the peoples in our world, learning to understand them and helping them to understand me. I do not want war."
Implicit here is the idea that a child at school has a responsibility to begin to learn about the peoples of the world with whom he is pledging to live peacefully. Hence it gives each child a purpose that it has perhaps never felt before—to be a part of the great global effort to build a peaceful world.
The creed continues: "I have no desire to hurt anyone but would like to help other people and be fair in my dealings with them. I will be considerate of the basic wants and needs of all my world neighbors, knowing that there is enough food and material for all of us if we share the opportunity to work for it."
The first sentence is easily implemented and only a question of the individual's attitude. But the second sentence requires international action because food and materials are not equally available in every part of the world. It is a complicated international matter to exchange and distribute goods, as well as to educate those areas where food could be produced for local needs were it not for lack of knowledge. Individuals cannot accomplish this. If they are citizens of a democratic country, they will have to use their influence over their representatives in order to bring about the results this paragraph envisions. The creed thus implies a new concept in which every individual in a democratic country must accept responsibility for both education and government action.
The third paragraph states: "I believe in the rights of individuals or groups to think as they please, but I know we can only act as we please when our actions do not hurt others." And the creed concludes: "I will cling to this world peace creed and urge other world neighbors to accept it for I believe that a Universal Being will help us to live in peace."
I believe such a creed worth thinking about. If we are capable of living up to it, it may have a real bearing on our world position.
In any case, it shows the concern of women with the world situation, something that is borne out also by the resolution passed by the International Council of Women in Montreal in 1957 and reaffirmed by its executive committee in Vienna in 1959. They have been deeply concerned about the uses of atomic energy from the day atomic power was discovered. They have studied its peaceful as well as destructive uses, and have reached the conclusion that the "fellowship of men is the only means of preserving the well-being and indeed the existence of humanity."
Their statement on the nuclear dilemma has now been sent to the National Council of Women of the U. S. by Mrs. Sophia Yarnall Jacobs, president of the council, and I hope that the members of all the affiliated organizations will procure and read it carefully. From the closing paragraph I quote: "It is a sober and sincere effort to find some practical answers to the questions posed for us as American women with families, women who long to see our children and our grandchildren avoid the holocaust we so much fear. We believe we have the ingenuity, the organization, the physical strength to share in the accomplishment of great things in our country still. But great things need dedication and inspiration, courage and concentration, and hard work."
(Copyright, 1962, by United Feature Syndicate, Inc.)
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About this document
My Day by Eleanor Roosevelt, January 8, 1962
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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