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

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NEW YORK.—I have just seen some clippings, from both the American and British press, on a survey made last summer concerning British opinion about the United States and its citizens.

Edward L. Bernays and his wife, who made the survey, are rather well know for their accurate and perceptive reporting, and I think many of us who have not tried to study closely the feelings of the British toward the U.S. could offer some testimony corroborating many of the things the Bernays brought out.

I rather doubt that this attitude of estrangement between the British and the U.S. began at the time of the serious Suez crisis. I think it began before that, but our position in that crisis certainly enhanced it enormously and nothing has happened since to improve the situation.

We have a charming and able young man as ambassador to Britain, but he is no career diplomat and his task is an almost impossible one. It would really require a John Winant to understand the British-American situation as it is today.

But this situation in which we find ourselves with the British also exists in our relations with every other country of world.

The President has said that our Secretary of State is highly regarded and respected by heads of government with whom he has talked. I don't question that he has been told this. But the question immediately before us is: How firm an attachment have our policies given us to our old friends and the uncommitted nations of the world—nations we must hold if they are not to align themselves with the Communists?

I would never want to interfere with the right of Communist nations to remain Communist as long as they are completely satisfied and convinced that their way of life and form of government offers more to the average human being than does freedom and democracy.

With this threat before us, our first concern should be with close ties between the British, French and ourselves. To meet the common danger we should get together and discuss how we are going to build in our own countries the showcases which will make people turn to us and not to the Soviet Union.

How are we going to work within the United Nations to strengthen that organization so that our help can be received without fear of economic domination from us and the other two great nations working with us? That is a question we should ask ourselves.

Of late there has been a little suspicion that some of the great powers have been afraid to strengthen the U.N. and are prepared to keep power in their own hands. If this is true, this is a sad situation, for it will lead to suspicion by the smaller nations among whom we should do everything to encourage the belief in freedom and democracy.

We can do nothing by force to bring about friendship, but we can do much by understanding, cooperation, kindness and the use of people who know how to make friends.

I have just returned from Florida where on Wednesday we drove to the home of my friend, Mrs. Joseph Gordon, in Miami. I wore the winter clothes in which I had dressed in leaving New York and felt perfectly comfortable. I am afraid this winter is not being kind to the people who have gone to Florida to get away from the cold weather and to sit in the sun on the beach!

Our Hyde Park friends whom we visited there have a heated apartment, however, and yet it looks right out on the water, making them very fortunate. But nothing I saw down there makes me want to go there for a lengthy stay. On the whole, I am quite contented with New York state and its winter climate. It may be bad, but so are other areas of the world and we are better prepared for winter weather.


(Copyright, 1958, by United Feature Syndicate, Inc.)

Names and Terms Mentioned or Referenced

  • New York (N.Y., United States) [ index ]

About this document

My Day by Eleanor Roosevelt, February 7, 1958

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.