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

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NEW YORK—What a contrast in the speeches made by President Eisenhower and Premier Khrushchev at the United Nations! The President's address was a constructive one, devoted to ways in which the world could work together. It showed every intention of supporting the U. N., with as little suggestion of control of that body or of the Secretary-General as even Mr. Khrushchev could wish. There were no strings tied to the offers made by the President.

Khrushchev's reply left us with little of a constructive nature to consider. He had suffered two defeats in the Assembly—one, when the Asian and African resolution supporting Secretary-General Hammarskjold's actions in the Congo was passed without the Soviet amendments, and second, when the delegate from Ireland was elected to the Presidency of the General Assembly this year instead of the delegate from Czechoslovakia. Mr. Khrushchev does not like defeats. Usually, however, he is realistic and gauges the mood of his audience better than I think he did on Friday. Secretary-General Hammarskjold, on the whole, has gained the respect of most of the members, and he has certainly not been partial to any one nation or any one head of state. Khrushchev's suggestion that he be ousted, that the U. N. be moved to another part of the world, and that a three-man governing body be set up would create confusion and mean virtually the destruction of the only machinery the world has through which it can work for peace.

Some of the things Khrushchev says, if one does not stop to think about the realities of the situation, might prove alluring to certain states—as when he inveighs against colonialism. Yet if one surveys the world scene closely, it is clear that colonialism is practically dead. In a very few places there has been some resistance on the part of colonial powers, but the great majority of the nations in Africa which are now becoming free have been granted this freedom by the colonial powers.

If Mr. Khrushchev really believes in the self-determination of people, he should allow a free election under United Nations supervision in Esthonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Albania, Hungary, Bulgaria, Czechoslovakia, East Germany and Poland—all Russian satellites. No other great nation boasts so many subject peoples. It may well be, as Mr. Khrushchev would undoubtedly claim, that they are anxious to be a part of the Soviet Union, and would in any case continue as Communist states. The latter may be true, but I am not quite so convinced that all of them would want to remain subject to the Soviet Union. In any case, Mr. Khrushchev can prove this at any moment by asking the U. N. to supervise an election in each of these countries where a secret ballot will be used.

One can well understand the desire of the emerging African states to remain free of the cold war in Europe, and one hopes that this will be possible. They have troubles enough of their own in setting up governments and in finding peaceful accomodations between their own tribes. Nkruma, head of the Ghana delegation, has suggested that an African Agency, working under the U. N., be responsible for the solutions of the African situations which are probably going to arise in pretty continuous fashion for a long time. This may be a good suggestion, and I think it should be carefully discussed between the African groups themselves and the Secretary-General.



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About this document

My Day by Eleanor Roosevelt, September 26, 1960

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.