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My Day by Eleanor Roosevelt

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HYDE PARK—Many of us will be waiting expectantly, as I am, to learn what the ultimate results of our nuclear explosion in outer space have been. Every statement I have seen says that there is no real assurance of the results, or of what will be the best or the worst that we can expect.

I cannot help feeling that this entry of the Pentagon into outer space, with their concentration on military values, may start the kind of chain reaction we now have in the other tests. Where this will end is what bothers a great many of us. We fully understand the danger of allowing the Soviets to go beyond us in actual scientific knowledge. Yet is there not some way, through the U.N. and with the help of other world powers, to make of this area surrounding our world a really neutralized zone with control in U.N. hands? Somewhere we have to find a point at which this happens. Otherwise, we can go on with these nuclear tests where no one knows what the results will be except in vague terms of possibility—and the possibility might turn out to be extremely harmful to our world.

Some of our own statesmen have suggested that the U.N. is not strong enough to cope with questions of this kind. Yet the U.N., in spite of its financial difficulties, is coping with the Congo, where the difficulties have been enormous. There have also been a number of questions of late where the U.N. has made more progress, on the whole than we have made on more or less unilateral lines. This question of what happens in outer space where we have no exact knowledge of the results seems to me one of the most critical that we face and should not be left in the area of purely military decisions.

I rarely agree with Senator Byrd's fiscal policies—perhaps because I have so little knowledge of financial affairs—but for once I am in agreement. Why should the Republicans be pushing so hard for an immediate reduction in taxes in the higher income brackets and in corporation taxes? This will benefit certain groups, but it will not really touch the fundamental economic and social problems that, it seems to me, our country faces. The President has assured us he will take a very careful look at the economy as it stands today, and if he thinks it will really improve the economy he will act in this area of tax reduction.

Of course I understand that business is behaving as though it felt the President was opposing them for no particular reason except dislike of business personally. How this myth has grown up is beyond my understanding. It would be wise for some businessmen to search out their allies among the intelligent leaders in labor and in government and stop finding fault with each thing the President does, regardless of whether it is good or bad for them.

I think we have been watching in Europe one of the most interesting phenomena in the past few days. Traditionally, France has always been afraid of Germany, her principal enemy. Even in World War II, one of the things that troubled British and French leaders was the alliance that would probably come about—and finally did—between Germany and Russia. As far back as I can remember I heard statesmen worrying about the strength of Germany, with her extraordinary organizing ability, were it used in conjunction with an alliance with Russia.

Perhaps, President de Gaulle thinks that he is now binding Germany to France, so that there is no chance of any such alliance coming about. He may believe, too, that in the Common Market he has found an instrument that will hold Germany to its Western allies. Between de Gaulle and Adenauer, also, there is a similarity in character and age, resulting in a certain sympathy which de Gaulle feels may now offer hope for the political unity of Western Europe. De Gaulle may thus believe that through Germany the whole alliance will be strengthend economically.

This is a well-conceived effort and the hope may be justified. But to some of us who still do not completely trust German statesmen, this is a somewhat risky game. We want to approach it with circumspection. We do not really know what part Germany will play in the whole Western European picture. We are well aware of the fact that she wants power and that she is building it both militarily and economically. But what are her ultimate objectives?


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

Names and Terms Mentioned or Referenced

  • Hyde Park (Dutchess County, N.Y., United States) [ index ]

About this document

My Day by Eleanor Roosevelt, July 11, 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.