Liveblogging History: December 18, 1945: Eleanor Roosevelt

Eleanor Roosevelt: My Day:

NEW YORK, Monday—According to the newspapers yesterday the Emergency Appropriation Bill of $2,400,000,000, which carried $750,000,000 as a contribution for the United States to the work of the United Nations Relief and Rehabilitation Administration, was passed on December 15th.

However, this Bill has to go back to the Conference Committee to smooth out any differences between the Senate and House Bills. Even then according to the accounts, 'the appropriation for UNRRA does not become effective until Congressional action is completed on the additional scheduled appropriation of $1,350,000,000 which will cover our contribution for next year.'

We must not allow ourselves to be lulled into complacency, therefore, and to think that since our $750,000,000 has been passed, UNRRA can go ahead and make its plans. It now seems vital that, before Congress goes home on the 20th, they pass next year's appropriation.

Otherwise no money will be actually on hand, according to the above item, with which UNRRA can carry through its plans. It would seem impossible for the members of Congress to go home and enjoy their Christmas vacations with the weight of the suffering of the world constantly before them, and no action yet taken to alleviate it.

It would, I think, be for all of us a sadder Christmas. Our representatives in Congress must be conscious of this, and yet I am sometimes a little bit confused by their apparently inconsistent reactions to this suffering.

For instance, as far as I have been able to find out, there has been comparatively little protest over the fact that the Germans—Jews, Protestants and Catholics—who have spent years of the war in concentration camps, and therefore should be regarded as our Allies who fought from within Germany, are treated similarly to the Germans who fought the war against us, whether as soldiers or civilians.

I see also that thirty-four Congressmen, Democrats and Republicans, have petitioned that our army be instructed immediately to increase the rations for the German people. I do not want German people to starve, but the returning soldiers all speak of the fact that German children are well-fed and well-clothed. It is obvious that they would be, since for five years the wealth of all the conquered countries has been siphoned off into Germany.

There is no question, according to the reports of the men coming home, that the German people are better able to withstand this winter than our Allies, in spite of the fact that coal will be lacking and they will have less food than they had as a conquering nation.

I feel very strongly, as I think all fair-minded people feel, that the ration given the German people this year should be limited to the bare necessities of life and that whatever we can give in excess of what is now being shipped to our Allies should go to them and not to Germany.

It is our Allies who for five years have been on a starvation diet. They are the people whose houses are cold, whose clothing is scant and they are the ones who fought with us to end the war.