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

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GENEVA, Sunday—I don't know whether the architect who built the League of Nations "Palais" here thought out carefully every view and vista, but I am impressed every day by the lovely views from different places. For instance, we walk up a flight of steps to the level of our present meeting room and, as we look up, the most beautiful blue sky is framed in the white archway at the top of the stairs. A lovelier sight can hardly be imagined, and as you reach the top, you get a vista through another archway in the wing on the other side and of the trees beyond it.

When I went to lunch with some of the press correspondents they asked me if I had taken the regular sight-seeing tour through the Palais. I replied I had done that with a great deal of pleasure back in 1947, when my companions were the wife of the Russian delegate to the Human Rights Commission, and one of the advisers. We were working very hard and all the other delegates seemed too tired to use any of their leisure time in this way. But we three saw all the beauties of the Palais and never regretted the time spent going around, though it didn't teach me how to get from one place to another. I am constantly finding myself getting off an elevator on a floor where I had no intention of going and wandering around aimlessly until somebody rescues me.

The other evening a group of us worked rather late and when we reached the usual door by which we leave the building we found it was locked and no one was in sight. One lady with a good sense of direction guided us up two flights of stairs and down a long corridor and finally, after several twists and turns, we found ourselves at the main entrance by which we were able to leave.

The press group here in Geneva is an interesting one. I found myself at lunch talking to a young man who said he had seen me last when I made the trip around the Caribbean and went to Dutch Guiana. He is an American from California representing a British news agency here, and we found ourselves discussing the differences in education in the United States and in Europe.

He feels as I do that the emphasis here may be a little too much on the intellectual side and not quite enough on sports. Yet he said that when he came here from college in the United States he felt a decided lack in his own education and a consciousness that young men of his own age here had a richer background and a deeper appreciation of cultural values.

Some of the others here are elderly men who have probably spent many years in Europe and are very conversant with world affairs as a whole. I am often surprised, as I read my small Swiss morning paper, by the understanding and knowledge of the British and American scene which the main article writers in this particular paper show. They are familiar with politics in Great Britain, in France, in the United States and in other countries of Europe. They write as a rule with great understanding, and try to give their Swiss readers not only a background but a real perspective on the news they record.

There were slight flurries of argument in one of our sessions the other day, and I think a basic difficulty lies before us which must be settled before we will make real advances in our work. We must decide, that is, whether we can declare that a whole list of things which are not very precisely defined are "rights" and then modify the actual declaration by explaining that these "rights" can not be acquired except in certain ways which will take a long time to fulfill. This does not seem very satisfactory for the people involved, but a number of delegates feel that it will give people, in the great masses, high hopes for their future.

E. R.


Names and Terms Mentioned or Referenced

  • Geneva (Switzerland) [ index ]

About this document

My Day by Eleanor Roosevelt, April 30, 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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Digital edition published 2008, 2017 by
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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.