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

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NEW YORK, Friday—Now that I have had time to think over the President's two speeches on March 17th, I am particularly happy that he stressed that what he was recommending was aimed at keeping peace and not at preparing us for attack. Keeping the peace in the world may look these days like preparation for war; and certainly a few years ago we would have considered that even a temporary draft and such a radical program as universal military training were preparation for war, not for peace.

But times have vastly changed and it happens that the leading democratic nation has to face the leading Communist nation. The leading Communist nation has felt it necessary to its security to expand its control over as many nations as possible along its borders.

The leading democratic nation has quite naturally felt that, where there are nations which still are not within the Communist orbit, free decision by those peoples as to their future political orientation and economic development makes it necessary to protect them from attack and infiltration. This can be done only by force sufficient to command respect and consideration on both sides before any new step is taken—unless the leaders of both nations can come to an agreement as to their mutual interests and those of other nations and can count on that agreement being scrupulously adhered to.

* * *

I hope very much that the President's speeches will lead to such an agreement. And I would like to see not only diplomatic officials, but business and labor and the general public, included in the next talks that take place. That there must be talks to relieve the fears of the people in all countries, and to curtail the expenditure for military purposes which is always a heavy burden on any nation, seems to me self-evident. I think I base my trust in a future peaceful solution on the real desire that I sense throughout our nation not to let World War III develop.

I realize perfectly that we cannot prevent war, either as an individual nation or even through the United Nations, unless we or the UN are willing to use force, because there are too many people in the world who have not yet learned to accept the rule of law. That obedience to law is something which we have to achieve gradually. Even within each nation, we still have policemen to enforce the law—and that is what I hope a UN force will some day do for the whole world.

In the meantime, I do not believe that either the people of Russia or our own people want to go to war. And I hope that, in spite of our military preparation, that feeling will make us back up the President's ultimate objective of making those preparations only in order that we may have peace.

E. R.


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About this document

My Day by Eleanor Roosevelt, March 20, 1948

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.