Bernard Baruch to Eleanor Roosevelt

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Bernard Baruch to Eleanor Roosevelt

15 October 1948 [New York City]

Dear Mrs. Roosevelt:

It was nice to hear from you. As I read the news I think of you often.

I note what you say about the Russians. It had been my hope to go to Russia this year and there talk with the members of the Politburo, spending some time looking over the Russian activities in production on the farms, in factories, mines and transportation. And, perhaps, make some suggestions that would have increased the production of food, clothing and housing. I have been telling those with whom I come in contact that if the Russians could raise their standard of living, it would be very helpful to all concerned.11

The impenetrable suspicions that have arisen between the Russians and ourselves are very disheartening; but we must not be moved by fear and permit them to destroy us and in doing so, destroy themselves. I do not know how long it will take, but we should do everything we can to explain to them what our views are. They do not seem to get them, or understand them. Both Gromyko and Skobeltzyn told me that they did not believe we tried to make any arrangement on atomic energy.12 That of course, I know is untrue, because I tried with all my heart and soul. I never could understand why they did not accept our proposals. If they had accepted them, and they had been acted upon in good faith, the fear of the atom bomb would have been removed and indeed, we would have been well on the road to general disarmament.

There is really no point in getting rid of the atom bomb, if the other terrific instruments of destruction remain. Italy, Germany and Japan were brought to their knees before the atom bomb was used. Japan was helpless when we dropped it there. Russia received terrific punishment without any atom bomb having been dropped. There are plenty of instruments of devastation left after the atom bomb.

I agree with you about the proposals of Mr. Vishinsky on atomic energy and arms reduction.

I also think you are very wise in keeping in close touch with the various commissions.

I was appealed to by General Marshall and Secretary Lovett to say something when the atomic energy matter came up but I would not do so unless asked by them. At the same time, I told them if they asked me, I must make it public because I would not want it to look as if I were tooting my own horn, and if I did it at their request and it became known, it would injure the State Department.

I had known something about the idea of sending a special mission to Russia, which you had in mind many months ago which made good sense then.13 When I was told about it this time (and it was even suggested that I be on it) I said it was impossible in the present circumstances, and as far as I was concerned, I would not go for it would be by-passing and destroying the usefulness of the UN. The proper person to make the statement, or undertake any discussion now, is either the President, or General Marshall.

You are particularly wise regarding the Latin Americans. We have unnecessarily hurt their feelings and will surely lose their support. They are close to us more because of fear of others than because of respect for us. I think we have been rather cavalier in our treatment of them.

You know of course, how I feel about the Near East and its subservience to oil.

Now as to the letter that you sent to the President. I am sure he will be pleased to get it. I have given my usual support to the House and Senate. I have made no statement on the general election. As you know, I never made one.

I note what you say as regards the Bernadotte plan. I already expressed my views through General Carter14 to General Marshall regarding Palestine and have not spoken to him since. He called me on the telephone today from Washington but I was unable to get clearly what he had to say because, as usual, they had somebody listening in, which made it very difficult to hear.

I do not see why they ever turned any of the Negeb area over to the Arabs, nor do I yet see why when we lobbied for the Palestine settlement, we turned our back on it. That hurt America's position in the world more than it has been able to recover. In our fears, we are letting England put a lot of things over on us and it is not confined to Palestine. They are doing it in Europe and the Far East.

Drew Pearson and Tucker15 have been talking about a letter the President wrote me.16 The President asked me to become a member of the Finance Committee, which I refused to do. He did write me a very cross, stupid and impertinent reply which I have not made public and which I did not answer.

The Vinson incident shook us all up very much.17 And I do not like the statements being made as to how prepared we are because it is too highly colored and untrue.18

It looks to me as if both the Democrats and the Republicans are getting ready to make a statement about de jure recognition of Palestine but if they do it will be entirely political.

That is all, I guess, you will want from me for the moment.

I cannot close without hoping that you had a nice birthday and that you are still holding up under the work. You received a lot of fine notices and pictures here which I presume are being sent you.

My best to Tommy and I hope your grandson is proving not alone useful but is having a good time.19

As ever,

                                  Affectionately yours,


PS. If I had any sense he might have won, Douglas would have.


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Bernard Baruch to Eleanor Roosevelt

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