JULY 30, 1962
HYDE PARK—Hearings will begin this week on the foreign aid bill to reconcile any differences between the House and the Senate. This is the bill, passed in the House with only 124 members present, containing the amendment by Representative H. R. Gross which required that the U.S. contribute nothing to the U.N. until every other nation, including the Soviet Union, had paid up their dues. Since that time the World Court has rendered its decision that such assessments as those for the Congo and the Near East are binding on all members of the U.N. There will now have to be action by the General Assembly.
Meanwhile, our own Congress will make a final decision on a bill which in effect will permit the Soviet Union to control the U.N. and thus cause chaos throughout the world. That is the power given to the Soviets by 124 members of the House. If the Soviets themselves had asked for such power, we would immediately have denied it to them. But it sounded patriotic and sensible to say that until other members had paid their dues we were not going to ask our people to support the U.N., even though we were thereby giving the Soviets on a silver platter what we would otherwise never have dreamed of letting them have.
I have never met any of the Chinese leaders, but I am quite sure that they must have chuckled with delight when they read of that vote in the U.S. House of Representatives. In one respect, of course, I think the ambitions of the Chinese leaders vary from those of the Russian leaders. They have always wanted to control the Asiatic world. It is perfectly possible that these ambitions have now grown and they would like to control the whole world. But here they are up against the power of the Soviet Union, which is certainly not going to abdicate its own ambitions in favor of the Chinese.
The complications facing the whole future policy of these aspiring nations affects everyone of us, but I cannot help believing that if we really want a peaceful world we must throw our strength behind the U.N. Only there can world opinion be brought to bear on the thinking and the action of the states that have great ambitions for the future.
If you have not told your representative yet to vote against Mr. Gross' amendment, if you want to bring all the influence you can to bear on your Congressional leaders in favor of cutting out this absurd provision which prevents our support of the U.N., then I hope you will do so immediately. Write to your own representatives and to the people in charge of the bill, for you certainly do not want to strengthen the power of the Soviet Union and weaken that of the U.N.
We are reminded in our papers that a late primary was advocated by one of our Governors because it interfered less with the conduct of the state's business. This may have been true up to a certain point; but when you advance it up to the day after Labor Day when everyone is preparing for the children's return to school, you are certainly not making it easier for the average voter to fulfill his obligations.
I personally am rather interested to see that here in New York we may not have a completely controlled and prepared Democratic convention. For once it may be a fairly open one, with people actually making speeches while others listen.
I have been to many conventions. I have seen politics so close up that even the letters coming to me do not have a great deal of effect upon me, and I am certainly not going to attend any more conventions. But a gentleman sent me a letter in which he argued that the one person who could win against Governor Rockefeller was James A. Farley. He delicately referred to one reason why I might not be enthusiastic about Mr. Farley, but hoped I would be a good enough Democrat to go along with what he felt sure was the only way we could possibly win in the coming election.
What I think or don't think, of course, makes no difference whatever, and certainly as a Democrat I will support the Democratic nominee. My support, however, will be of little value, because the older I get the less enthusiasm I have for going out and fighting for individual candidates above the local level. That is where I feel one must begin reform if we are going to have good government in the nation.
(Copyright, 1962, by United Feature Syndicate, Inc.)
About this document
My Day by Eleanor Roosevelt, July 30, 1962
Digital edition created by The Eleanor Roosevelt Papers Project The George Washington University Old Main Building, Suite 406 1951 F Street, NW Washington, DC 20052
- Brick, Christopher (Editor)
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MEP edition publlished on 2008-06-30
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