Eleanor Roosevelt to George Van Horn Moseley

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Eleanor Roosevelt to George Van Horn Moseley

5 September 1946 [Hyde Park]

My dear General Moseley:

I think the only possible solution for the Palestine question is to have the nations interested sit down and talk honestly together, and try on the part of Great Britain to recognize that her policies have been influenced by her interest in oil, in the Near East and her interest in the control of the Mediterranean as part of her life-line to other parts of the world.2

We have no interests except to see justice to human beings done. Russia has interests because she feels that outlets for her future commerce are necessary and she also is beginning to feel the need for control of oil.3 We do have, of course, an interest in oil in the Near East but it is not as acute with us.4

I think you are unfair to the Jewish people. There are, of course, lower class Jews who because of persecution and difficulties of survival, have developed certain traits of character which are hard for us, who have had easier lives, to accept. However, I know many Jews who are far more disinterested citizens and who take more interest in education and the arts in their communities than many people of other religions and nationalities. They are by far the most responsive to appeals for welfare and civic interests. It is true that you can find Jews in all the bad situations you speak of, but you can also find Gentiles. The division is pretty equal. I disagree with you because I believe our strength in this country has come from the great difference in back grounds which have been assimilated here into a type which is an American type.

                                  Very sincerely yours,


1. See n3 Document 141 for more information about the detention camps on Cyprus ("General Moseley, 86, Of Army Is Dead," NYT, 8 November 1960, 29; MD, 19 August 1946; George Van Horn Moseley to ER, 28 August 1946, AERP).

2. For more on British policy in the Middle East, see n5 Document 141.

3. For more on the Soviets' desire for an oil concession in Iran, see n9 Document 97. In 1944, US corporations controlled 42 percent of the Middle East's proven oil reserves including the oil fields of Saudi Arabia and Bahrain. In addition, American firms had substantial but less extensive interests in Iraq and Kuwait (Paterson et al., 417; Shwadran, 238, 303, 309).

4. Although United States oil companies gained control of 42 percent of the Middle East's oil resources by the end of World War II, the US only imported 8 percent of its domestic oil consumption as late as 1948 (Cohen, Truman, 93-94).

Offering Champaign Advice

Although ER informed her My Day readers that her "time for active participation in politics is long gone by" and that she "could not again go barnstorming through the state organizing the women, as … I used to do," she remained politically active behind the scenes.1

After conservative challenger Katherine St. George2 defeated the progressive Republican incumbent, Representative Augustus W. Bennet, in the August primary, Democrats thought they had a chance to capture the seat. As the CIO had endorsed Bennet,3 the Democrats hoped they could recruit CIO support for their candidate, James K. Walsh. William Schafer, chair of the Sullivan County Democratic Committee, then reached out to influential labor leaders to seek their counsel on how best to secure the CIO endorsement. ER then offered Schafer the following advice to defeat St. George. Schafer embraced the advice and asked ER to "convey" her advice to the Monticello, New York, postmaster Ralph Washington for use in his outreach to veterans. ER agreed and forwarded a copy of her letter to Schafer to Washington the following week.4

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Eleanor Roosevelt to George Van Horn Moseley

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Eleanor Roosevelt to George Van Horn Moseley