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

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CAMPOBELLO ISLAND, N.B. Tuesday—Apparently Congress, in spite of the President's appeal, has decided to do nothing about the Stratton Bill to admit displaced persons to this country. But Sen. Revercomb of West Virginia, has managed to get through a resolution to appoint a committee to investigate the whole question of immigration—this at a cost not to exceed $50,000. We hardly need any more investigation, since all the facts are already well known. This is simply the kind of delaying tactics which we blame the Russians for using. The committee does not have to make any recommendations until March, 1948.

Instead of making a gesture which would set an example, by accepting this year 100,000 immigrants from displaced persons' camps on a quota basis, we will do nothing. This means one of two things—either the rest of the world also will do nothing, or the leadership in this matter will shift to some other nation which has the courage to face situations as they are.

* * *

To do nothing about solving the displaced persons' problem this year means that we leave desperate people with no hope. I have heard rumors of a death march on the part of the Jews in European camps. Our inaction is the type of thing that would drive refugees to that kind of desperate action. Should it come about, the members of our Congress can have it on their consciences if thousands more of the Jewish people die. If Congress eventually decides that they have investigated sufficiently and that it will not hurt us to take in a few unfortunate people who have been carefully screened, then we will be surprised to find that the people we admit have deteriorated. They will have become so accustomed to having someone look after them, that they will find it hard to return to independence. Here, again, our members of Congress may carry on their consciences the deterioration of these human beings.

* * *

I know well that there are people in this country who, for a number of very obvious reasons are afraid to bring anyone in from the displaced persons' camp. I think this fear is far more dangerous than the people whom we might bring in. We are growing so pusillanimous that, in a short time, we will be afraid of our own shadows—and this is no world in which the fearful survive. Good new blood will do us no harm. We are suffering from fear of the unknown. But these people have seen so much that was unknown that they have learned how to accept it and stand up to it.

Here I am, blaming Congress when, after all, the blame really lies with ourselves. It is we who have not been articulate enough and have not educated people as a whole to understand that the displaced persons are just like ourselves. Only, for the moment, they have no country. We have not made people realize to the full what the ruin of Europe will mean in lowering our own standards of living. Again we the people have failed—failed ourselves and failed our brethren overseas.

E. R.


Names and Terms Mentioned or Referenced

  • Campobello Island (N.B., Canada) [ index ]
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About this document

My Day by Eleanor Roosevelt, July 23, 1947

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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Digital edition published 2008, 2017 by
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Available under licence from the Estate of Anna Eleanor Roosevelt.

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MEP edition publlished on June 30, 2008.

TEI-P5 edition published on April 28, 2017.

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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.