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

[Original version of the column. Text in red are tagged with <sic> (needs correction); text in purple are tagged with <orig> (needs regularization); and text in blue are tagged names of persons or organizations. View emended version]


NEW YORK, Thursday—I do not know whether any one else cheered Secretary of State Marshall's testimony before the House Foreign Affairs Committee concerning certain proposals to revise the United Nations, but I greeted his statements with applause.

Tempting though revision may seem to people who are not actually working in the UN, many of us who are familiar with the day-to-day work are worried at the realization that people might be lulled to sleep by procedures. They would fail, then, to realize the truth of Secretary Marshall's statement that "performance of obligations already undertaken, fidelity to pledges already given," are the important things. World problems cannot be solved "by new forms of organization," he said. And lastly, in answer to the suggestion that the veto power be restricted, with or without Russia's approval, he added that this "would probably destroy the present United Nations organization."

* * *

The idea of the UN was based on the ability of the great nations to get together and come to agreements. We haven't managed to get together very often and we have managed to come to very few agreements. The reasons for this may be many. I can think up quite a few. But I certainly do not think that destroying one organization, on the bare hope that we will be able to do better with another, is the way to do the basic job of getting the peoples of the world and their governments to really want to work together for peace.

This is why I am opposed to the movement for a world government. The governments in existence today are suspicious of each other. They haven't grown accustomed yet to getting along together and allowing for one another's individual differences. How can we expect, then, that they would want to establish an over-all government in which they would have to be represented by individuals and in which there would be even less hope of harmony than there is at present?

I am told that the situation of our thirteen original states was exactly the situation in which the world finds itself today, and that it was only when a central United States government was established that peace and harmony began to reign. I do not think the two situations are really similar. Even with transportation and communication as limited as they were in the 1780's, the thirteen states had more mutual interests and more reason for coming together in self-defense than has the world as represented in the UN today.

* * *

We must not be either discouraged or surprised that the education which will make it possible for nations to live together in peace is slow in taking hold. The United Nations is a new concept, and we are trying to avoid the mistakes made under the League of Nations.

If you were at Lake Success every day, I think you would feel that is is a teeming hive of activity, where many serious people are working very hard on a number of problems which draw us together. You would also be conscious, however, of how easy it is for quite little things to upset the feelings and confidence existing between representatives of different nations. Patience and persistence, straight thinking, clarity of expression and determined good-will are what will eventually bring us a stronger organization and a real unity of nations.

E. R.


Names and Terms Mentioned or Referenced

  • New York (N.Y., United States) [ index ]
Other Terms and Topics

About this document

My Day by Eleanor Roosevelt, May 7, 1948

Roosevelt, Eleanor, 1884-1962
[ ERPP bio | LC | VIAF | WorldCat | DPLA | Wikidata | SNAC ]

Digital edition created by The Eleanor Roosevelt Papers Project The George Washington University 312 Academic Building 2100 Foxhall Road, NW Washington, DC 20007

  • Brick, Christopher (Editor)
    [ VIAF | ORCID ]
  • Regenhardt, Christy (Associate Editor)
    [ ISNI ]
  • Black, Allida M. (Editor)
    [ VIAF | ISNI ]
  • Binker, Mary Jo (Associate Editor)
    [ VIAF | ORCID ]
  • Alhambra, Christopher C. (Electronic Text Editor)
    [ VIAF | ORCID ]

Digital edition published 2008, 2017 by
The Eleanor Roosevelt Papers Project

Available under licence from the Estate of Anna Eleanor Roosevelt.

Published with permission from the Estate of Anna Eleanor Roosevelt.

MEP edition publlished on June 30, 2008.

TEI-P5 edition published on April 28, 2017.

XML master last modified on: May 2, 2022.

HTML version generated and published on: May 3, 2022.

Transcription created from a photocopy of a UFS wire copy of a My Day column instance archived at the Franklin D. Roosevelt Library.