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My Day by Eleanor Roosevelt

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TEHERAN, Iran .—Ever since my trip to the Far West a few weeks ago, just prior to coming abroad, I have been carrying around with me a newspaper article written by Professor Carl J. Jacob for the Post-Register of Idaho Falls, Idaho. The professor is head of the journalism department and teacher of religion at Ricks College in Rexburg, Idaho, and what he had to say in that newspaper story was worthy of publication in every newspaper throughout the United States.

According to my information, Professor Jacob was one of the first non-German civilians to go into West Berlin by land across East Germany. On this trip in 1955 he made some interesting observations, and he gives a slant on the present Soviet government's possible intentions, which certainly require our serious consideration and have a bearing on our policies in regard to the Berlin situation.

Professor Jacob starts his article with quotations from Stalin and Dimitri Manuilsky. And the latter said, when he was teaching at the Lenin School of Political Warfare in Moscow: "War to the hilt between communism and capitalism is inevitable. Today, of course, we are not strong enough to attack....To win we shall need the element of surprise."

Then he went on to tell how we in the non-Communist world would be put to sleep by the very generous peace gestures that would be made by the Soviet Union. Once put to sleep and rendered unsuspicious, he said of non-Communist countries, "We shall smash them with our clenched fist."

It is speeches and quotations such as these that have made us all in the Western world so very suspicious of anything said by representatives of Communist countries, particularly the Soviet leaders.

Professor Jacob points out that it will be at least a year and a half before we are able to really consider ourselves stronger than they are in nuclear weapons, and they know this and have just about decided that this is the time for an attack. But they do not want to appear to the world to have brought on a war.

Professor Jacob contends that the Russians may use Berlin as a booby trap. If they feel strong enough, they may find some way to make it appear that we have done something which caused them to retaliate so that the world will not blame them for beginning the war.

In closing Professor Jacob reminds us of a few small facts reported in our intelligence reports. One is that "they (the Soviets) are building ICBM launching pads (in China) an elevation of 15,000 feet, where the decreased air pressure gives them a tremendous advantage in thrust. These pads are not for shooting at the moon. A second one is that it has been known for several months now that the Russians are requiring their people to take 22 hours of civil defense training. Both of these are curious activities for a people who say they want to fight us only on the economic front."

I can't say that this article is a very cheering one, but it is one that I think all Americans should read.


(Copyright, 1959, by United Feature Syndicate, Inc.)

Names and Terms Mentioned or Referenced

  • Iran [ index ]

About this document

My Day by Eleanor Roosevelt, March 20, 1959

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.