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

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NEW YORK.—Everyone must be glad to know that an agreement on Laos has been worked out, though, quite frankly, I have very little faith in any permanent stability with a three-man executive coalition in any country—when the premier and the deputies must agree on key matters.

Who is to decide what are the key matters? These men in Laos—a neutralist, a conservative and a Communist—have agreed on little in the past. Few individuals do. The ability of three people to agree at all times is rare indeed. In fact, if it were human nature to do so, it would be just as well to delegate to one man the full power, which would save time and money!

Mr. Khrushchev's enthusiasm for this three-headed settlement is quite understandable, for it is the kind of thing he has been working toward in the United Nations.

One can only hope that these men in Laos will want to keep the country peaceful and neutral, that they will devote themselves to the development of better standards of living for the people of the country, and that they will be extremely careful not to violate any borders themselves and devote themselves to preventing the violation of their borders or their territory for any military purposes whatsoever.

The decision by the U.S. Supreme Court ordering a judicial examination of New York State's legislative apportionment system makes it possible now for the whole question of representation between rural and urban areas to be studied.

It may take a very long time to change from the present type of representation, which gives the rural areas the dominant power in the New York State legislature. Our large urban populations now have much less representation than the people of our rural areas. And this may not be changed unless the people of the state become really convinced that this examination should go forward quickly and with full reports to the people themselves.

If there is real interest, the Governor could expedite the whole procedure. But it would be difficult to expect a Republican Governor to look at this question objectively, since Republican strength is largely in rural areas and it is through the present type of apportionment that the Republicans have so very often controlled the New York State legislature.

However, if the people really begin to decide that they want representation on a fair basis, they can make their interest known. And I hope they will take a really active interest because, it seems to me, the democratic process cannot go forward unless in our state legislature we have a really equitable representation of the population of the state as a whole.

There is much discussion at present of what should be done to stimulate the economy of our country, and I wonder whether the first thing should not be to call on a national basis a meeting of the heads of government, labor and industry and ask them to face the facts of the present revolutionary period in which we live as it affects both our economic and political life.

We do not like to face changes, but sometimes they are forced upon us and it is better to face them and clearly understand them and explain them to the people as a whole.

The particular situation that we are in at present will find economists differing on the manner in which such a situation should be met. But, as I see it, this is healthy and should give a good bisis for discussion. What must be faced up to is that all essential information must be provided by government, labor and industry, and all operational procedure will require the full cooperation of the three groups. In addition, the education of our people as a whole is essential to begin solving some of these problems, which, of course, are deeply disturbing to individuals in each group.

President Kennedy's speech at Yale University was a call to business to cooperate and he had already told labor of his desire for its cooperation. But he has not specifically stated that there are economic factors that have to be recognized and that the time is long overdue for discussing them frankly.

We should have been preparing for the present situation during the past 10 years—if we had had the imagination and the courage. The longer we delay the more difficult the situation will be. So, I hope a coming together of the different branches of government and of industry and of labor for these discussions and a facing up to the problems will not be long delayed.

Many people must have read with great sorrow of the death of Mrs. Evelyn Preston Baldwin. She was the wife of Roger Baldwin, and together they have been an inspiration and a force in many of the movements that have been of value both in this country and abroad.

She had a full and interesting life, and left a heritage to her children that should be an inspiration for their lives. One cannot help regretting that such a useful person has been taken so early out of the stream of the world's activities, and many, many people will extend their deep sympathy to Mr. Baldwin and his children in their great personal loss.


(Copyright, 1962, 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, June 15, 1962

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.