Eleanor Roosevelt to Joseph Lash

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Eleanor Roosevelt to Joseph Lash

3 February 1946 [London]

Dearest Joe,

Your letter of the 27th was a joy and would have been answered sooner only work does pile up and the stream of people is endless! For the last two days I had no voice, no cold, so I think I must be weary. It is better today and I hope by tomorrow I'll be recovered since I may have to talk in committee meeting in the morning3 and I'm speaking at a big dinner given by the "Pilgrims" in the evening. They tell me it is important and the first woman they've had in 40 yrs. so perhaps its fright has removed my voice!4

I've got the 27th down and I hope I can do well for you and that this coming meeting will be as good as your first. Of course any arrangements you make are right with me.

I saw by the N.Y. Times that Mrs. Levy was home.5 I hope I get in by the 20th. I will unless I am held up by weather.

Has Jonathan6 got a tooth? I can't believe it and shall want to see him at once!

From over here the home strike situation tends to look more and more ominous since you view it with world needs constantly in the forefront.7 The British and American papers are so very thorough, because so many of our troubles are similar!

I'm so happy about your article in the New Republic.8 You will be interested to hear that I have found considerable interest in your idea for an exhibition here. Will you find out if your friend is back from the Philippines and get me the plans? Stettinius thinks the War and Navy Departments and State Department might do the war show and put it wherever UNO is as a permanent exhibit and each nation could have an economic, cultural show of its own and we have one like theirs with our economy and culture. Small scale models would then be shipped by UNO over the country. What do you think of this idea? I'm going to try to take it up as soon as I get back and go to Washington.9

Eventually the Security Council will have Argentina10 brought before them but they seem to have enough to keep them busy for the moment. That Vishinsky and Bevin came thro' the first session on Greece and spoke their minds so plainly was good I think. Much is out in the open but Stettinius dined alone with me tonight and left at nine to see Bevin. Some way must be devised whereby neither will lose face and Greece will hold a free election or as free as possible. The Greeks want the British to keep order because they fear the Russians within Greece would cause civil war before the elections. Then they want the British out but they want Russian armies out of Bulgaria and Yugoslavia and the standing armies of those countries reduced.11 We send food and clothing to Yugoslavia but they have an army of 300,000 men, so the peaceful pursuits are not getting much attention. They (the Yugoslavs) say if the armies outside their borders were free to return as peas-ants and the officers were all declared war criminals or just became exiles then they wouldn't need so many soldiers at home.12 There you have just one simple little European problem. The Philippine delegate came to see me today and I feel very sorry for them and I think they are our direct economic responsibility.

I felt sad over Harry Hopkins death and people here felt they had lost a real friend. Today I see in the Times from N.Y. that McDuffie died on the 30th, Franklin's birthday. Even tho I did dismiss him for drinking I was fond of him and I'm sorry for poor old Lizzie.13

We are having a little trouble with drink in the military part of our delegation but now they are getting down to work. I hope it will straighten out.

Jay Krane14 lunched with Senator Townsend15 and me today and went to the service at St. Paul's Cathedral for the delegates. It was impressive but I wondered how the delegate from Saudi Arabia who sat in front of me with his flowing robes felt about it. Mr. Atlee read the lesson, he's not a very impressive man but he read very well.16 The choir sang Spring-Rice's poem17 which I like and so I enclose it, thinking you and Trude might be interested to see it. I enclose also 2 little medals which were sent me and I thought might interest the kids.

They expect to close Saturday. Monday morning I'll go to Germany, back I think the 14th to Ireland and from there fly home. I'll cable Tommy as I actually leave and write her when plans are definite.

I must go to bed. My thoughts are often with you. All my love is yours always.




1. Founded December 10, 1941, by Freda Kirchwey, James Loeb, Frank Porter Graham, and Mark Stark, all of whom disagreed with Norman Thomas and the Socialist Party's isolationist sentiments, the UDA (whose membership never exceeded 10,000) dedicated itself to "fighting a two-front war for democracy" by "protecting democracy at home from reactionaries who desire to destroy social gains under the cover of the defense effort and by insisting that democratic terms of peace be made a part of the fight." Unlike its larger counterparts the CIOPAC, NCPAC and ICCASP, the UDA opposed Popular Front politics, "specifically excluded" the Communist Party from membership, and refused to participate in any Communist-supported events. Its platform committed the organization to the war against Fascism, "the socialization of great banks and industries, the formulation of a national planning board," steep graduated income taxes, and "government control of credit and investments" (Brock, 49; Gillon, 6).

2. In a letter to ER on January 27, Lash said that the UDA, for which he worked, planned to hold a fund-raising dinner in ER's honor in New York on February 27 and that ER would be asked to speak briefly off-the-record at that event and then at a mass meeting at Hunter College to be held after the dinner (Joseph Lash to ER, 27 January 1946, AERP; "Plea for UNO Made by Mrs. Roosevelt," NYT, 28 February 1946, 4).

3. ER was about to introduce a resolution in Committee Three on the refugee issue ("Delegation Meeting," 5 February 1946, USGA/Ia/Del Mins/Exec/12 (Chr), RG84, NARA II).

4. For the Pilgrims Society dinner, see n18 Document 84.

5. For Adele Rosenwald Levy (1892–1960), see Document 58, including notes. Levy was appointed head of the Women's Division of the United Jewish Appeal in late December of 1945, and trav-eled to Europe for about one month "to survey conditions among displaced Jews," according to the New York Times. The New York Times covered her report when she returned in late January:

Many of the 150,000 European Jewish children who survived the war still are receiving care that could not meet minimum standards here, Mrs. David M. Levy, national women's chairman of the United Jewish Appeal, asserted yesterday. Only one in ten escaped the Nazis and perhaps half of these youngsters now are orphans, Mrs. Levy declared in an interview on her return from a month abroad ("Heads Women's Division of United Jewish Appeal," NYT, 26 December 1945, 12; "Child Care Abroad Still at Low Ebb," NYT, 31 January 1946, 10).

6. Jonathan Lash, Joseph and Trude Lash's son (Lash, World, 202).

7. For ER's attitude towards organized labor, see especially Document 12 and Document 46. On the UAW strike in 1945, see Document 46, Document 52, Document 53, Document 64, and Document 65. By February 1946, more than 2 million workers were on strike in the United States. The largest group belonged to the United Steelworkers of America, but the mining and railroad industries were also affected. In the months before ER wrote this letter, meatpackers, telegraph workers, electrical workers, automobile workers, tug boat workers, longshoremen, and rubber workers had threatened or instituted strikes. The Times (London) covered the strikes in the United States fairly frequently, writing that the end of 1945 "finds the physical conversion of American industry to its customary peace-time activities far advanced in many lines, even complete in some … However, there are reasons to believe that this condition will not continue indefinitely … The principal break on production is labour troubles—labour troubles more numerous and more extensive than the country has known for many years" ("Reconversion in America," TL, 31 December 1945, 7; HSTE).

8. Lash wrote to ER on January 27: "The New Republic is using my article. It will not be signed which pleases me just as well, for it would not have made Trude's life any easier. I'm very happy that it will be used." Lash did not retain a copy of this article or correspondence related to it in his papers; thus, its title could not be determined (Joseph Lash to ER, 27 January 1946, AERP).

9. In a letter to Secretary of Commerce Wallace on April 27, ER said that she had spoken with Secretary of the Navy James Forrestal, Secretary of War Robert Patterson, Assistant Secretary of State Dean Acheson, and Undersecretary of the Interior Oscar Chapman about the idea for an exhibition at the UN that she had also discussed with him, but had not heard from any of them. She realized that since the UN did not have a permanent home, the exhibition could not be done right away, but she thought that if the UN was going to be at its temporary location for several years, it might be organized there first (ER to Henry Wallace, 27 April 1946, HSTL). On May 23, Dean Acheson, to whom Truman had referred ER's letter to Wallace, replied in a memo to Truman:

With reference to the letter of April 27 which Mrs. Roosevelt wrote to Secretary Wallace and which you referred to me on May 4 concerning an exhibit in connection with the permanent headquarters of the United Nations, an officer of the Department has recently, at my request, discussed this matter with Mrs. Roosevelt in New York.

The idea which a group of young air force officers suggested to Mrs. Roosevelt some time ago would be to have a rather elaborate exhibit in the form of dioramas, and the like, which would show the various places in the world where American troops have been in service during the recent war. This exhibit would be established in connection with whatever building might be erected by the United States Delegation to the United Nations at its permanent headquarters. Veterans would be expected to bring their families to visit the exhibit and in this way, as a matter of public information and education, the importance of world cooperation through the United Nations would be emphasized. I am asking Assistant Secretary Benton to explore this matter further with a view to determining its feasibility.

Nothing apparently came of this proposal (Dean Acheson to Harry Truman, 23 May 1946, HSTL; see also John C. Ross, Department of State, Memo of Conversation, 14 May 1946, RG84, NARA II).

10. Because of Argentina's collaboration with the German Nazis during and after the war and its totalitarian government under Juan Perón, some, including the Nation Associates, publisher of the Nation, called at this time for the suspension of Argentina from the UN ("UNO Move to Suspend Argentina Is Urged," NYT, 24 January 1946, 6; Joseph Lash to ER, 27 January 1946, AERP). See also Document 13.

11. The Soviet Union supported EAM/ELAS, the Communist-dominated organization that rose up in December 1945 and January 1946 against the British-backed Greek government. The leftists boycotted the Greek elections held on March 31, 1946, but the United States, which had urged that the elections be held, asserted that they were as fair as could be expected (HSTE; NEB).

12. Yugoslavia supported the Greek Communist insurgents, maintained a large army, and vehemently opposed US positions at the UN, but also received a great deal of aid from UNRRA, whose funds came largely from the United States (HSTE).

13. Harry Hopkins (1890–1946) died in New York on January 29. Irvin H. McDuffie (1882–1946) was FDR's valet; his wife, Lizzie, also worked for the Roosevelts ("Hopkins, 55, Dies in Hospital Here," NYT, 30 January 1946, 1; "Irvin M'Duffie, 63, Roosevelt's Valet," NYT, 31 January 1946, 20; James MacGregor Burns, "F.D.R., Ever the Happy Warrior," NYT, 12 April 1995, A1).

14. For Krane see n35 Document 84.

15. For Senator John G. Townsend, Jr., see n23 Document 76.

16. Clement Attlee (1883–1967) served as prime minister of Great Britain from 1945 to 1951. (HSTE).

17. In her diary for February 3, ER wrote: "It was a nice service and to my surprise they sang Cecil Spring-Rice's hymn which I think lovely …" (ER's London Diary, 3 February 1946, AERP). Sir Cecil Spring-Rice (1859–1918), the British ambassador to Washington from 1913 to 1918, wrote his famous hymn, "I Vow to Thee, My Country," in 1918. It is set to music from Gustav Holst's (1874–1934) The Planets suite (the hymn from "Jupiter") (DNB, suppl. 1912–21; "I Vow to Thee, My Country," http://geocities.com/cott1388/candle.html, accessed 12 October 2004).

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Eleanor Roosevelt to Joseph Lash

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Eleanor Roosevelt to Joseph Lash