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

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ST. LOUIS—In the discussions about disarmament going on these days I see very little mention of one program that I think it is essential for us to undertake—the changeover to peacetime production.

The peoples of the world are prone to feel that we are not sincere either in our policies on disarmament or even in our real desire for stopping nuclear tests because they are constantly being told that any change whatever in our preparations for military defense would mean an economic disaster in the United States.

It is quite possible that we might at the present time experience economic difficulties if no changeover from defense programming to peacetime production were planned. We should have to call in our industrialists and review and coordinate their plans, and the government would have to agree on how it would help during such a period of changeover.

The reconversion from wartime to peacetime production after World War II was made quickly, but that had been planned previously to some extent at least. Besides, a backlog of needs at home and abroad was so great that the immediate demand for goods gave assurance of full production on a peacetime basis.

The conditions today are completely different. The government would undoubtedly have to consider tax exemption for a period of time, and there would have to be plans made ahead for filling some of the world's needs.

I imagine one reason we do not talk too much about this is that it does take some forethought and planning, and we have so far always felt that we could meet situations in the same old haphazard way and somehow muddle through. The time, however, is rapidly approaching when this will no longer be possible. We had better face up to the fact that plans must be made and accepted by those involved in the changes.

At that time we could go before the world and say we are prepared for disarmament. We would be talking with the full knowledge that our economy can profit from the changeover. A United Nations report that was published not too long ago spelled out how much better off the world would be under complete disarmament. And I think it would be well for us to urge that plans and campaigns be carried out that would give us and all nations of the world confidence and reassurance as to our real intentions.

On April 9 the Children's Bureau of the Department of Health, Education and Welfare will celebrate its 50th year of service to the nation's children.

I can remember well the hard work on the part of many women that went into the establishment of this agency. It was the feeling of these women that our children were entitled to the highest standards of care, and this included consideration of the needs of the mothers of our country as well.

Ours was the first country in the world to establish a Children's Bureau, and since our pioneer effort more than a score of nations has followed the example. The emphasis in the early days was on the reduction of infant mortality. However, the agency soon realized that much of what it wanted to accomplish would have to be done by the states themselves, and the states were enabled to promote programs with the support of the Federal bureau. Thus, much progress has been achieved in medical, surgical and scientific development in state programs of child care.

It is interesting to note that one of the bureau's publications, "Infant Care," is the all-time government best-seller. Four other of its publications have ranked among the first six top-selling government booklets. At the time the bureau was established, authoritative child-care publications were practically nonexistent.

The Children's Bureau has worked as a partner with both public and voluntary agencies. It has insisted on high standards of care, providing guide lines for child welfare services, and is ever watchful for new scientific developments that might benefit the children of our country. For its work the women of America should be grateful and give the bureau their warm support.


(Copyright, 1962, by United Feature Syndicate, Inc.)

Names and Terms Mentioned or Referenced

  • Saint Louis (Mo., United States) [ index ]

About this document

My Day by Eleanor Roosevelt, April 6, 1962

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.