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

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PARIS, Friday .—We are having to listen to an endless number of speeches here at the General Assembly meetings. And all of them have one theme: the people of the world want peace. Except for those made by the representatives of the Soviet bloc most of them are addressed to the Soviet Union and carry an appeal to come along and try to make the proposal before them work. What effect these appeals to the Russians will have remains to be seen. But some of us are a little skeptical and will await signs of action on their part with anxiety.

Yesterday morning Sir Mohammedan Zafrulla Khan of Pakistan made a speech in which he said that the most important political question before the world was the equal treatment of all human beings throughout the world. He cited instances of the way colonial powers treated the people over whom they exerted power and said that it was equally bad for those who had the power and for those who had to submit to this type of overlordship.

He praised Great Britain for setting up the free countries of India, Pakistan, Ceylon and Burma, and then he said that he thought frequently that the things which were done by local officials and which seared the souls of native populations were not even known to the top officials. In one area in which he had lived a certificate was given by the local district officers to such men among the natives who had shown complete loyalty and good behavior. This certificate entitled them to be offered a chair when visiting the district official and he had frequently seen instances when one man sat down and 30 to 40 men stood up, not because of the lack of chairs, but because of the lack of a certificate.

These may seem little things, but, said Sir Zafrulla , they were the things that made people now demand freedom and equality everywhere.

Of course, he did not go into the real complications of the question. That is, what happens when people are not really ready to govern themselves, and where freedom from one protectorate, inadequate as the freedom may be, might well be better than the type of protectorate that might move in if a vacuum were created by the complete inability of the people to deal with their own government on any level.

He did suggest that all people in need of protection should be under a United Nations mandate and the government should be administered as a trust until such time as the people could be free. It seems to me, however, that this cannot be accomplished except in relation to broader measures that guarantee the freedom of such nations as would not be able to defend themselves. Therefore, collective security furnished within the United Nations is probably a pre-essential to any of the steps that would satisfy the longing that Sir Zafrulla so forcefully states lies in the hearts of many people.

E. R.


Names and Terms Mentioned or Referenced

  • Paris (France) [ index ]

About this document

My Day by Eleanor Roosevelt, November 17, 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.