Eleanor Roosevelt: My Day:
NEW YORK, Thursday—The "spheres of influence" section of Secretary of Commerce Henry Wallace's speech last week seems to me to have been written without proper explanation. Because Russia has gained a predominant military and political interest in certain countries along her borders, and because Great Britain has always shown the same type of interest in countries along what are known as her "life lines," and because we in this Hemisphere find that we have similar interests with our neighbors, many people feel that we must of necessity accept the fact that there will be spheres of influence in the future. However, I really think this matter requires a little more thinking through.
Within its sphere of interest, each great power is required, by its acceptance of the principles laid down in the Atlantic Charter and in the United Nations Charter, to give freedom of action to the peoples of the various nations in that sphere.
And if their interests should clash, the great power, under these agreements, would have to accept whatever differences a smaller nation might choose in religion, politics or economics. Spheres of interest, in other words, can only be held together by mutual agreement, and there is no reason why this concept should prevent our trying to keep the world "One World" and to achieve the basic principles which concern us all.
This can only be done through the United Nations and the organs established under the United Nations. To preserve peace in the future, I count as most important world cooperation through the U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization, through the U.N. health and labor organizations, and through UNESCO, which will develop cultural and scientific cooperation among the different nations. The Economic and Social Council, with its various commissions, is designed specifically to prevent friction. When questions reach the Security Council, we must have an organization to enforce its decisions.
Until a decision is made on control of the atomic bomb, our method of joint enforcement is held up. But as soon as possible, a method should be decided upon because, as long as force rules anywhere in the world, we have no choice but to make it a collective force if we do not wish to see the big nations enter into an armament race. And such a race, as Secretary Wallace pointed out in his letter to the President, would lead to war.
President Truman, some months ago, stated that the foreign policy of the United States was his foreign policy, and that Secretary of State Byrnes was negotiating and making the fight for peace treaties as a representative of the President of the United States. These negotiations are bound to develop friction.
The men concerned are representing their governments to the best of their abilities, and are trying to obtain the things which they feel their people, as represented by their home governments, really want. Our representatives are probably more conscious of the thinking of the people at home than are those of other nations. For that reason, we have able members of our Senate, representing both political parties, advising the Secretary of State.