Eleanor Roosevelt to John Foster Dulles

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Eleanor Roosevelt to John Foster Dulles

3 June 1947 [New York City]

Dear Mr. Dulles:

Many thanks for your letter of May 26th. I am very much interested and hope you will let me know the developments.6

                            Very sincerely,

                           Eleanor Roosevelt


1. C. L. Sulzberger, "Allies Seek Unity," NYT, 10 March 1947, 1; "Text of Secretary Marshall's Report to Nation on Big 4 Conference," NYT, 29 April 1947, 4; "Dulles' Report to the Nation on Moscow Conference of Big 4 Foreign Ministers," NYT, 30 April 1947, 12.

2. Under the Potsdam Agreement, the Russians had accepted German reparations in the form of capital assets and had moved machinery and whole factories to Russia. Now the Russians demanded reparations in the form of $10 billion in finished goods. The Russians had also favored a decentralized German government and a weakened German economy. Now they wanted a centralized German government and a reindustrialized Germany capable of delivering finished goods to the Soviet Union (Hoopes, 68-69; "Dulles' Report to the Nation on Moscow Conference of Big 4 Foreign Ministers," NYT, 30 April 1947, 12).

3. The Ruhr had long been the most productive industrial complex in Europe and the center of the German armament industry. After World War II, many in the West favored international control of the Ruhr so that its resources would be shared with neighboring countries and Germany could not rearm (OEWH). See also Document 198 and notes.

4. ER did not discuss in My Day the proposal to trade manufactured goods to the Soviet Union in exchange for raw materials. But in August, when commenting on an article in the New York Times by Lester Markel, she expressed her own ongoing concern about the reindustrialization of Germany. In doing so, she closely echoed the view Dulles had expressed in his report that the Russians were willing to risk the creation of a strong, reindustrialized Germany because they needed what it could produce and felt they could control it through subversion:

I was interested that Mr. Markel also noted that, because of our concern over Russia, we might find it easy to rebuild an industrial Germany through the Marshall Plan, but that the democratization of the German people was far from easy and far from sure. To rebuild Germany as an industrial empire capable of making war will be opposed, I think, by France and every small Western European nation. It is quite evident that the USSR has decided she needs the things Germany can produce, and that she hopes that, with her usual methods of infiltration, she may control the labor unions and build a strong communist influence in German government. Therefore she is taking a chance on building up German industrial strength. Germany and the USSR together could be a strong combination. But the USSR must realize that this is building two worlds very rapidly (MD, 7 August 1947).

5. On British loan, see n6 Document 60.

6. On June 16, Dulles sent ER a copy of a commencement speech he was to give at Northwestern University, "which seeks to clarify our national attitude in certain respects where it seems to be unduly aggressive and imperialistic." Dulles thought: "Because our Society is so powerful and because most of us believe in it so completely, it is easy for hostile propaganda to spread fear that we will use our power to coerce others." Therefore, he continued, for the United States to become a moral leader in the world, it "must make it clear, clear beyond a doubt, that it has no thought of using economic or military might to impose on others its particular way of life." ER replied on June 21 that reading the speech "makes me want to talk to you more than ever on certain things" and invited Mr. and Mrs. Dulles to Hyde Park for lunch and, if possible, to bring Ambassador and Mrs. Austin with them. Dulles replied that he and Mrs. Dulles and the Austins would like to come but could not do so in the near future (Dulles to ER, 16 June 1947, AERP; Dulles, Commencement Address, Northwestern University, 18 June 1947, AERP; ER to Dulles, 21 June 1947, JFDP, NjP-SC).

Education and the Perfection of Democracy

Eighteen months after ER delivered the Roosevelt College Founder's Day address, she returned to Chicago's Hotel Intercontinental to address a ballroom packed with college supporters.1 The college had made remarkable progress since her last visit, achieving accreditation in only one year, more than doubling its enrollment, and remodeling its new facilities.2 Furthermore, the national media began to pay close attention to its development. When the college announced a requirement that all students must take a course in "the culture of a non-English speaking people," the New York Times noted the announcement in its Education Notes, quoting the faculty who approved the requirement, underscoring the requirement's critical importance by declaring that "this would 'be one world or none.'" The Washington Post followed suit, noting the college's "combination of low fees and nondiscriminatory admission" and its "star-studded advisory board" ensured that "Chicago's 'Equality Lab' Thrives."3

College president Edward J. Sparling, like his fellow faculty members, recognized the important model the institution offered the nation, telling those assembled that "Roosevelt College offers an important laboratory in democratic education. Not in ivory towers, but in institutions which grapple with real problems in a real way, will the questions of democracy be solved. To prepare ourselves for one world, men of all races must learn to work and play together as they do here in the college."4

In the following address, ER seconds Sparling's comments and offers her own explanation why the college's commitment to democratic ideals is so important to America's leadership in the world.

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Eleanor Roosevelt to John Foster Dulles

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Eleanor Roosevelt to John Foster Dulles