Eleanor Roosevelt – My Day: April 1-7

April 3, 1958

“NEW YORK—The Soviet Union’s announcement that it will stop all nuclear testing was, of course, a diplomatic triumph that will advance the Soviet states in the eyes of the uncommitted nations who dread war and want to see steps taken to prevent it.

Why our government could not have brought nuclear testing negotiations to some kind of conclusion before this will always be a mystery to me. As it is now, the Soviets are in a perfect position, for they say they will stop but put no time limit on when they will begin again because, they say, it depends on when the rest of us will follow suit.

Therefore, we and great Britain must bear the entire responsibility for continuing these tests. Of course, we can say that we have no way of knowing whether the Soviets are actually living up to their announced decision and we already have said, “There is no system of verification.”

But the world is going to believe that we are able to tell if the Soviets continue these tests, and the peoples of the free world are going to ask their governments to work out some system of verification, if not to improve the machinery for detection.

The temper of the people of the world, as a whole, favors a start toward doing away with the possibility of war and our Western governments had better realize this.

There has been no enthusiasm, as far as I can find out, for our announcement that we will develop a “clean” bomb. Soviet Foreign Minister Andrei Gromyko, in his speech to the Supreme Soviet, made fun of the idea that there could be such a thing as a “clean” nuclear bomb.

I do not think people are interested in whether or not we produce a bomb with less danger of radioactive fallout. They want no bombs.

The governments of the Western world had better begin to recognize the fact that their people are anxious to see results leading toward disarmament. On the whole, I think, they would like to see the steps taken within the United Nations. They feel more confident when the whole world is included in these negotiations, but they want to see progress made and the Soviets have taken the initiative away from us.

I am sorry that our government has allowed this to happen. This Administration has been meeting emergency situations when they arise, but it has been shortsighted in preventing emergencies from arising and in beating the Soviets to the punch with actions appealing to the people of the world.”

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