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

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NEW YORK, Wednesday—I'm sure we all were relieved to have General Ridgway's offer of a cease-fire answered by the North Korean Prime Minister and the commander of the Chinese "volunteer" forces in Korea.

It somehow seems amusing to have the commander of the First Chinese Army so carefully referred to as the leader of a volunteer force! I cannot help wondering if, when our intelligence interviews those "volunteers," they find each individual soldier conscious of the fact that he is a "volunteer".

It is also somewhat puzzling why the Communists desire to wait until the 10th or 15th before they have a cease-fire. One would think that if the shooting is to stop, why wait another week or 10 days?

I suppose the real reason is that these Communist leaders must get their orders through Mao Tse-tung and he must get his from Moscow.

This is slightly surprising, too, because apparently there was no settlement before the Russian representative made his first statement here in the United States. It almost seems as though this was "playing by ear," as we in the democracies are frequently accused of doing. It certainly seems that Russia proposed the cease-fire without full understanding with the Communist leader.

Perhaps the Soviet Union wanted to see what the effect of such a statement would be not only here but in China. Perhaps they had to count a little on the effect it might have on the people of China as well as on their government.

These are all very interesting speculations but we will be none the wiser until the final cease-fire arrangements are made, and then there will be a period, of course, when the military formalities have to be gone through.

So I doubt whether real peace negotiations can start until the latter part of July. Then will come the really important time when each word that our representatives will say and everything that is said at home and printed in our papers will have to be weighed with care.

We want a just peace, a peace that will give the whole Korean nation a hope for the future and that will ease the tension in the Far East. We have to reckon with the feeling that has really little to do with communism but which is being played upon by the Communists. That is the desire that the Asiatic countries shall belong to the Asiatic and not feel they are being controlled by foreign powers.

There is a realization that it may be to Asia's advantage in certain fields of development to have some assistance from areas of the world that have advanced in technological know-how. I do not think there is any real danger of an effort to close themselves off completely from contacts with other parts of the world and from all world trade. I do not think that Asia's people are conscious of the exploitations of the past and are determined, if possible, to get full value for whatever cooperation they have with non-Asiatic nations.

Our situation in Asia is a complicated one. Its solution will require great tact and wisdom, but I have a feeling that we are capable of handling it. I look forward to some real advantages that will benefit Asia as well as the rest of the world.

E. R.


Names and Terms Mentioned or Referenced

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About this document

My Day by Eleanor Roosevelt, July 5, 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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Transcription created from a photocopy of a UFS wire copy of a My Day column instance archived at the Franklin D. Roosevelt Library.