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

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NEW YORK, Tuesday—Senator Robert A. Taft's pronouncements strike me as a trifle arbitrary these days. He seems to forget that the United States' troops in Korea are a part of the United Nations' forces and he seems to go on the assumption that Formosa and Japan are part of the United States.

As a matter of fact, someday we must make a treaty of peace with Japan, and Japan must be a free nation again. Someday China, when its Internal wars come to an end, will be a united nation, and then Formosa will belong to China.

As I read the newspaper account that the Senator warned "that if Russia attacked Western Europe, 'it means war'," I marvelled that he felt it necessary to tell us any such thing.

Does he really think that anyone in the United States is so oblivious to what happens in the world he does not know that if Russia attacks Western Europe, it means war?

Does he think that the people of our country pay so little attention to what our Congress does that they have already forgotten that Congress ratified a North Atlantic pact and that that treaty obligates all nations that ratified it to come to each other's aid in case of attack?

The people of the United States are not unmindful of the obligations they assume through their Congress. But I think they feel, as does the present Administration, that in every honorable way we want to prove we want peace and not war, and that if war comes it must come because of the action of others, which we cannot prevent.

The tone of Senator Taft's speeches seems to me to undermine the courage of our people. It is subtly a defeatist's way of approaching and handling the problem before us. I believe in telling our people everything that can be told without giving away, either through our Congress or through our press stories, facts that our enemies would be glad to spend a long time in ferreting out. We should guard these facts carefully. That does not mean that our people cannot know the truth in its broad outlines. In the specific case of Korea there are certain things we have to face.

Until the United Nations has within itself more power than any single aggressor nation or group of aggressor nations, it seems impossible with voluntary aid to have enough force to withstand those overwhelming numbers who serve a Communist force in Korea. This will not last forever.

I was glad too, to see that our President had said that as yet there was no intention of the United States bombing China. That would have been an act of war and we are not anxious to provoke war with our erstwhile friends, the people of China. I do not think the U.N. wishes to engage in war with China, but neither do I think that the free peoples of the U.N. wish to recognize as a partner an aggressor nation. There are ways, however, short of war, that can be used to make a nation understand that the conscience of the world is opposed to its behavior.

I still think there is much that could be explored by the group of nations within the U.N. that has been trying to bring about a "cease fire," and I hope they will not abandon their efforts.



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About this document

My Day by Eleanor Roosevelt, January 10, 1951

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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MEP edition publlished on June 30, 2008.

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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.