Eleanor Roosevelt to George Marshall, March 13, 1948
Dear Mr. Secretary:
You will forgive me, I hope, if I write to you at this time, but I am becoming more and more worried. The situation abroad seems to me to be deteriorating rapidly as regards Russia and ourselves.
I think it has almost reached a point where it is essential that you and the President, with a picked group of two industrialists, two labor leaders, two people representing the general public, should really demand that Great Britain, Russia and ourselves, sat down around a table before we actually get to a point where we are in a war.
You say the situation is serious and any one can see that we can not let the USSR go on pulling coups in one country after another. It looks as though Sweden and Norway were pretty worried as to whether they will not be treated to the same kind of “invitation” that Finland has had, and certainly it will not be very difficult to pull a coup off in Italy.
Congress should be told in no unmistakeable terms that its lack of imagination and its slowness have caused much of the difficulty but they can not remedy that.
I am sure that we have not been blameless and probably the Russians think we have done some things against them. I am sure they believe we are trying to build up Germany again into an industrial state. I some times wonder if behind our backs, that isn’t one of the things that our big business people would like to see happen in spite of two World Wars started by Germany.
If war comes and this final effort has not been made, I am afraid the people of this country are not going to feel that we have done all that we should have done to try to find a solution to the deteriorating situation between ourselves and the USSR.
I do not think that Ambassador Austin’s speeches on the Palestine question have given much impression that we really know what our policy is and that we are clear and decisive and ready to lead. The result is that I think the Arabs are taking advantage of us and of the situation as a whole.
I think the general public’s feelings about the UN is one of increasing fear that it will not get the support from us which will make it a going concern.
Perhaps I am being a pessimist and I pray that I am, but the things that you and the President have been saying, plus the things that have been happening in the world the last few days, give me a sense that we need to do something drastic.
With apologies for troubling an over-burdened man and assuring you that I do not want you to answer this, as I am really saying this so I will have a clear conscience, I am,
Very sincerely yours,