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

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HYDE PARK, N.Y.—The Association of Catholic Laymen of New Orleans has asked Pope Pius XII to reverse Archbishop Joseph H. Rummel's ruling that segregation is "morally wrong and sinful". The Roman Catholic Church always has been in favor of integration, and has taken some very courageous steps in these Southern states where feeling runs particularly high.

One wonders how the Pope will resolve this difficulty. The Archbishop of New Orleans can hardly have taken this moral stand without some consultation with his superiors.

If I remember rightly, the Roman Catholic Church in South Africa is taking the same stand, and this would indicate that the church accepts it not only for the United States, but throughout the world. In South Africa the problem is even more difficult, because there the church is actually defying the government, while here it is simply upholding the Federal government and defying habits and customs that have existed in certain states.

The Soviet leader, Nikita S. Khruschev, does not seem to have received the warmest of welcomes in East Germany, but he made a two-hour address before the East German Parliament that was quite interesting. In comparing the present Chancellor of West Germany to Adolf Hitler he played on an old hate, for all communists have retained a hatred of Hitler for his attack on the Soviet Union. They do not mention the fact that originally their government, the government of the Soviet Union, made an alliance with Adolf Hitler, and that the break only came when it seemed advantageous to the Soviet Union and the Nazis to have it come.

The Soviets were glad indeed to join with the West in fighting against Hitler, because they needed all the supplies the West could give them, and they stayed with the West throughout the war because that was the only way the Soviet Union could survive. This is a little fact that the communists should not forget.

Khruschev's threat to the United States, contained in his statement that this country could be hit by the Soviets' long-range atomic missiles, is a two-edged sword; if we can be hit, so can the Soviet Union. The Russians know this, and for that reason are not apt to use these weapons any more than we are, unless in either country people lose their common sense.

Khruschev wants a reunited Germany, but he wants it totally on Communist terms, so he tries to intimidate the West Germans by telling them what they already know—they they lie between the East and the West and that they are vulnerable to attack.

The peculiar Soviet way of thinking still leads them to talk as bitterly as possible and yet expect the people against whom they talk to be reasonable, calm and kindly when they propose "new ways" to reach an East-West disarmament accord. It never seems to occur to a Soviet spokesman that the best preparation for acceptance of a proposal is soft words, not hards words.

I have a letter from a leader of an American tour group which was in the Soviet Union for a month. He tells me he interviewed Khruschev for three hours.

I wonder how much you are able to learn in three hours that you are not able to learn in one hour, and I wonder how much plain talking went on. My experience is that even the high officials in the Soviet Union rarely talk man-to-man. They hide behind "speaking for their government".


(Copyright, 1957, By United Feature Syndicate, Inc.)

Names and Terms Mentioned or Referenced

  • Hyde Park (Dutchess County, N.Y., United States) [ index ]

About this document

My Day by Eleanor Roosevelt, August 12, 1957

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.