Speech at the Phi Beta Kappa Association Founders' Day Dinner February 25, 1949
Eleanor Roosevelt talks about the work of the United Nations towards its oft-stated goal, the securing of world peace. She emphasizes how crucial it is for the UN to be an organization that possesses force, and shares anecdotes from her meetings as chairperson of the Human Rights Commission to illustrate the difficulties encountered in the meeting of an objective, and the ways by which they had resolved these.
[Applause] Chairman, [unclear], Mr. Chairman, ladies and gentlemen, I'm very happy to come and talk to you about the United Nations. I'm sure that here, as in many other places, there are times when people say, "what has the United Nations accomplished? What are they doing? We don't want war. The peoples of the world are sick and tired of war. But, what is happening in the United Nations? It's just a debating society. They call each other names, they argue, but what do they do?" I've heard that said quite often, and I'm sure you have too. And so, I'd like to come and talk about the things we do. It isn't that I don't believe even the argument and the calling of names has value. I believe it has. Because if people have violent feelings, it's rather better to take it out in calling names, and in saying what they say, than in just letting it seethe until finally you come to blows!
But when you really stop to think, we have set up machinery, machinery which the peoples of the world have to use in order to accomplish their ends. Their ends are the hope of building an atmosphere in which peace can grow.
I've heard a few people who thought that peace just came in a sort of package, once, and remained with you. But most of us know that peace will have to grow. Men have been looking for centuries for a way in which they could settle their difficulties and live together without the use of force. They've never found that way. They tried the League of Nations. They found that there were flaws in the setup of the League. One of the main flaws was that there was no force. They could not really do anything to enforce the decisions that were made. So in setting up the United Nations, in the minds of those who first conceived it, they intended that there should be force. But we, because we've never made peace in the world, have never been able to finish the organization of the United Nations as it was conceived and we have never been able to have joint force. And we will not be able to have it until the two great nations with opposing ideologies can come to a point where they can agree that both of them can live in the world without resorting to force to settle their difficulties.
In the meantime, we've had to use our machinery in the United Nations, which was meant to be used in conjunction with joint force, purely with the backing of persuasion, the backing of creating public opinion and letting world opinion have the full weight of its force on matters that were discussed throughout the world. Well even using that, I think we can feel that these political questions, which are the least satisfactory part of the United Nations picture, have had some notable successes. Indonesia can be claimed as one of the United Nations' successes through persuasion and publicity and world opinion. I think we can feel that the truce in Palestine has come about through conciliation and the machinery set up by the United Nations. I think we can feel that the settlement, as far as it has gone, of the question of the Italian colonies is one that has been accomplished peacefully and is a success.
But the area of political question is of necessity as long as we have no force, or making nations do what the majority of the world thinks they should do. As long as we don't have that force, and have to rely on persuasion, that is the area in which we cannot expect to see as many good results as we can on the other side of the picture. And so I am mainly going to talk to you tonight about what is being done in the economic and social areas. Because, as you know, the Economic and Social Council and the specialized agencies and other commissions were set up primarily with the thought that they would bring people together. They would initiate projects on which people throughout the world would work together, and in doing so, they would create that atmosphere in which peace could grow.
Now I want to tell you a little bit about the specialized agencies. They are independent, in a way, they have their own budgets, they do their own planning, but they report to the Economic and Social Council. And they are doing some of the most important work today. Food and Agriculture, for instance, is doing for the first time, work in the area of acquainting the world as a whole, on a world scale, with conditions that affect the food supply of the world. We've long known that we needed new methods of distribution. It seems foolish that in some parts of the world we should have a surplus of food, where in other parts of the world people starve. It also seems foolish that with the knowledge we have today there should still continue the waste of the soil, the waste of our forests, the kind of waste that pioneering nations indulged in. And now, the pioneering days for most nations are over. We know that we have been wasteful; we begin to know how much we lose year by year by continuing our wasteful method. But very little has ever been done before, from the world's point of view, trying to bring together the knowledge that exists, and spread it throughout the world, trying to help nations that need soil conservation and forestry experts much more even than we do! That for the first time is being done. And I think we should be very grateful because in the long range, that is one of the important things. You know some of our scientists have been telling us that before long there wouldn't be enough food in the world to feed the peoples of the world. And this is one of the agencies in the United Nations that actually faces that problem and tries to find solutions.
Now the World Health Organization has for me a particular interest. I think we in this country have been so fortunate that we sometimes forget that the situation is different in some of the other countries of the world, and I know very often when I say that one of the main projects the World Health Organization is undertaking is a fight, on a worldwide basis, against tuberculosis that people in my audience look at each other and say, "What do we need of a fight against tuberculosis? We're doing pretty well on that score!" But, you see, we are not the world as a whole. We are a very fortunate part of the world. Because war did not happen to take place on our own soil. I can remember getting letters before we entered the last war from women in different parts of this country who said that they hoped their sons would never be asked to fight outside of their own country. Well, so now we know that the fact that our sons did fight outside of their own country is one of the reasons for which we are deeply grateful today. Because we have our land intact. We have the greatest production unit that the world has. And it's not impaired in any way by the ravages of war.
We have our difficulties with housing, but they're not brought about by the bombing of houses. And when you talk to some of the nations who look at their cities in ruin, to some of the people who look at their cities in ruin, they wonder exactly why we have any difficulty with housing. And occasionally I have a little difficulty in pointing out the reasons that sound perfectly easy for us to understand, but don't seem quite so easy for the people who look at ruins in large areas of their country and not only have to rebuild, but have to build anew, as much as we have.
In the same way, we do not understand that countries that have been occupied, from which food has been siphoned out to the conquering area, have had to live through a period of malnutrition which has resulted in the younger people particularly, suffering from tuberculosis. When I was in Holland a year ago last spring, two years ago this coming spring, I asked the present queen who was then Princess Juliana, and who was deeply interested in the, the local health situation, whether she knew how many children in Holland had tuberculosis. And her answer was shocking. She said, "We've not been able to make a complete survey because we have not had the equipment. But from what we now know, we think that fifty percent of our children have tuberculosis." Well that is a very high percentage! And we think perhaps that will not affect us. But those children will someday be the people that our children will be working with. And no matter what the disease is, if it weakens the power of the population to come back, to go to work, to have initiative, it hurts that nation's ability to be a productive part of the world family.
And so this fight made by the World Health Organization throughout the world is a very valuable thing which is done for us. The fight against malaria is valuable to all of us. And those projects undertaken as projects which are done by teams of people chosen from different nationalities, those are the things that bring people together, and that give them an inkling of what it might be like to live in a world where people work together as brothers, really care about what happens to the people of their different nationalities.
So that I think we can feel that there are two agencies doing things that are potentially good in building an atmosphere for peace. We don't hear much about their successes, because news is always about disagreement. And when we have meetings where we agree about something, you never read about them in the papers at all. There's hardly anything ever said about the question where we arrive at successful compromises, [Applause] where we manage to really have a meeting of minds. [Applause] And that is understandable enough, but I often wish it might be changed. I wish that we might have a report now and then of some of the things that are really done in a spirit of brotherhood. The Social Commission, which works directly under the Economic and Social Council, has helped with specialized services throughout the world, in many nations, and I think has created a great deal of good will. UNESCO is beginning to undertake some real projects, which I think in the field of education, and of science, and of intellectual interest, will bring peoples together.
We've always had the International Labor Organization, ever since the time it was organized in the League, working to bring a great-a better standard for the labor peoples of the world. And now we have organizations working in many other fields to make conditions better throughout the world. The one commission, which I am most familiar with because I've been the United States representative on that commission, is the Commission on Human Rights. And a great many people wonder just why that was the first commission set up in the spring of 1946 after the first organization meeting when the Security Council, the Economic and Social Council, and the machinery of the United Nations began to function. The Economic and Social Council set up the Human Rights Commission. That very spring, it was practically a mandatory commission, because in the charter, as one of its very first objectives, there is this statement, "The Purposes of the United Nations are:" and when you come to the third paragraph it says, "To achieve international co-operation in solving international problems of an economic, social, cultural, or humanitarian character, and in promoting and encouraging respect for human rights and for fundamental freedoms for all, without distinction as to race, sex, language, or religion." That, [Applause] that meant that the people who wrote the Charter felt that the abrogation of human rights had been one of the causes of war. And with a better understanding throughout the world of what were standards of human rights and freedom would be a foundation stone on which it could build peace. And that was why they set that commission up, and asked us to write a Charter of Human Rights.
Now I'm not minimizing at all the fact that in any work, done on an international scale, whether it is the writing of a document, whether it is coming to an agreement as to how you shall take action in a certain area, there isthere are always tremendous difficulties. And I don't feel that just because we set up machinery in the United Nations of necessity we're going to succeed, the League failed, but there are certain reasons why, perhaps, this effort may be successful.
One reason is that we had the failure of the League, and we can try to avoid the mistakes we know. The second reason is that those of us who are old enough to have watched the development of our ability to destroy know very well that between World War One and World War Two we achieved an ability to destroy which makes it possible for us, even without the use of the atom bomb, to destroy much of our civilization if we so desire. And that is one of the great incentives which has brought the people in the United Nations to really wish to succeed. And if they can keep before them the constant thought of what defeat means, we may succeed.
Now a great many people say, "What gives you any hope when you yourself say that there has to come an agreement between the USSR and the USA, and as far as we can see there is no agreement?" Well of course I can only give you my own personal thinking on that. But I've had a good deal of experience now with our friends from behind the Iron Curtain as they come to meetings of the United Nations. It's not easy to have any feeling that you're meeting with people. I don't say with free people because, of course, they're not free. But it's hard even to feel that you're meeting with people, because they behave exactly like automatons. They are always government representatives. Now we are government representatives, but there is a great difference between being a government representative and still remaining a human being and still having some freedom, and being a government representative, where you do not dare to deviate by one word from the orders which were laid down before you came.
I had a very good illustration of that when we were working in Geneva on the Human Rights Commission. Now remember I am a government representative, the United States representative on that commission. I have been elected chairman at each session, and I happen to have remained the representative because unlike the delegation for the General Assembly which serves only for one session, and then automatically resigns, we do not have to be reappointed to a commission each time. We serve the length of time that our country is elected to serve on that commission, and when we were named and passed by the Senate, we will pass for that period. Therefore my election holds good until after the next meeting of the Human Right Commission. But at each session we re-elect our officers, and it happens that at the nuclear commission I was elected chairman and I've been elected chairman ever since. When we went to Geneva for a meeting a few weeks before Christmas, we had a very interesting time. I had been told that the United States' position was thus and so. I wasn't entirely in agreement, because I knew the feeling of the people on the commission, and I was very sure that we would have to make certain concessions. After all, you don't get all of what you want. You get, you do not compromise on principle, but you frequently get as much as you can. You don't get all of it! So I had sent back word after going over what the decisions in the State Department were, that I doubted if we could carry some of our positions, and I had been told to try and see. And for two or three days I tried, and we lost every vote. And every night I would send back, our advisors send back reports, every night, of everything that had happened. And I would always say, "Please say that I still believe that we have got to make some concessions and that we will be voted down just as long as we do not make certain concessions." And at the end of the third day of having said that, I got a long-distance call from Washington, and at the other end of the telephone they said, "What is the matter with the vote [Laughter] against the United States?" And I said, "Just what I told you, we're not making any concessions!" And the voice at the other end of the telephone said, "Oh, go ahead and use your own judgment, but change those votes!" [Laughter] And so we made some concessions, and we began to win our main point. But I was told to use my own judgment. Now nothing like that ever happened to anyone from the USSR. Never. They're never told to use their own judgment. They've got to go ahead if they're defeated right straight down the line, and they are defeated, right straight down the line, time after time after time. And that must be pretty hard to take, but they have to take it.
Now I have an idea that we have pretty well established the fact that for the time being, we have military strength sufficient so that there is no use for anyone to actually attack us. I think we've established the fact successfully that our economic strength is sufficient so that we can win our points in the economic field. I'm not sure that we have yet established the fact of our spiritual and moral leadership, and before the USSR will give up its hope of a world revolution in the favor of communism, they have got to be convinced that democracy has proved to the peoples of the world that they can actually have more of the things they want by following the leadership of the democracies. [Applause] That's one reason why the Charter of Human Rights is an important thing today. That's one reason why what we do in the moral and spiritual field is so important in this century.
I'm sure that you know that the USSR does everything in the way of propaganda that they possibly can to spread every shortcoming of democracy. And they use the United States because we are the leading democracy. And this is what they do! In a committee, for instance, of the General Assembly, if some incident occurs somewhere in this country, there are representatives of fifty-eight nations sitting around that table, and the USSR will recite that incident, and then they will turn to me if it's in my committee, and they will say, "Is that what you call democracy, Mrs. Roosevelt?" Very often I haven't even heard of the incident, and I have to send my advisors, telling them to find out if there is an explanation, what really happened. And very often I am forced to say, "No, that isn't what I call democracy. That is what I call a failure of democracy." That's not pleasant to say. And that's why it's so important that here in this country we realize that we are a country open to inspection, and that everything we do does not reflect only on the people of the United States but reflects on democracy and means how people feel about the democratic spirit throughout the world. Because when there is repeated propaganda about the failures of democracy, people are bound to begin to say, "Well is this what always happens in a democracy? Is this actually the spirit of democracy?"
Now naturally we try to show that these failures are not really the spirit of democracy. And I always say that in our country we have one great advantage. And that is that we can know about our failures. And knowing about them, when we care enough, we can improve our democracy. And I add occasionally something which they found very difficult to answer. In the whole four years that I have served in the General Assembly, I have yet to hear a representative of a communist state, whether of the USSR or of the satellites, ever acknowledge that there is anything that can be improved. Everything is always perfect! And now, naturally, I always say, "You are human beings, so are we. And human beings are not perfect. Therefore I would assume that there must be some things in your country that might be improved! When none of these [are] ever mentioned, I am forced to believe one of two things: either that your people are too afraid to mention any shortcomings, or that they are so apathetic that it makes no difference to them whether there should be improvements or not. And nothing kills democracy faster than apathy or fear. Those two things will do away with democracy very quickly." Now the USSR always talks about democracy, but our democracy is a bourgeois democracy, a decadent democracy; theirs is a people's democracy.
Now the reason that I believe that with patience and persistence, and with a clear understanding on the part of our people, of their individual responsibility in their own communities, for the example that democracy gives to the world. The reason that I believe that we can win, so that we can persuade the USSR that they have to live in the same world, is because I do honestly believe that the peoples of the world, once they are convinced that democracy really is striving to live up to its ideal, and that it does offer more freedom and therefore more security for the individual, more recognition of the rights of the individual and of common dignity. I think that once that is done, goes out to the people of the world, the USSR will begin to feel that trend in the world, and being the kind of government from which the orders go out from on top, we will see it change.
I think it will come primarily at first in the economic field because they are going to get pressure, more and more, from their people, who begin to know that in the decadent democracies, there are certain desirable things. They may believe that spiritually and morally we are bankrupt, but they know that there are certain material things that are desirable. And if the thought, become convinced that there is a trend in the world toward [unclear], that there are not only some material things that can be obtained through intercourse with the democracies, through a better economic interplay, but that there is also a spiritual and moral leadership that is having an effect in the world as a whole. That day I'm quite sure we will begin to have cooperation. [cough] We will begin to find the Iron Curtain no longer an iron curtain. And I look foreword, therefore, [cough] with a certain amount of confidence, if we can keep our [cough]... Thank you very much [speaking to person giving her water], [Unclear] [cough]. If we can keep our military strength, and our economic strength, if we do not have what they hope for, the kind of greed which brings about a depression, if we do not have that, I think time is on our side. They think time is on their side. So, you see, it is a test, a challenge. And those of us who believe in democracy, those of us who believe with all our heart that democracy can serve the good of the majority of the people of the world, have this challenge before us. It means that in our own country, in our own communities, in our own lives, we have to show what democracy can achieve. But it also means that the promise which goes out to the world is borne out by reality, by things people can see. Now the USSR makes very alluring promises, vague promises, it lies to the world, day after day. They will say to me, for instance, "We are a government by workers, for workers. We have an economy, which in the end, we know now of course, that we cannot give our people all the things that they want, not even all the things they need. But at least our economy means a full sharing, everybody shares alike." Those promises are alluring promises; but they're only promises because very few people see the realities lying behind the Iron Curtain.
And the third promise is the most alluring of all to people who have felt for a long time that the white races of the world look down upon them. That is the promise: under communist governments, all races are equal. Every human being is equal to every other human being. That is a very alluring promise. And if you sit in the United Nations, you recognize the fact that there are more peoples in the world that are not white than there are white people. And that many of those people represent nations who, for centuries, have felt that they were not on an equal footing, and now that they sit in the General Assembly and they have an equal vote, that's a very precious thing. More precious, perhaps, than we realize. So those three promises are the promises that we have to meet. And there are advantages to being an open country, as well as disadvantages. They can see our failures, but they can also see our successes.
And so that is our challenge today. That is really the thing that gives us hope, that there may be a time coming in the world if we have patienceif we [have] courage, if we have vision, and if we are not afraidwhen we may begin at least to see that Iron Curtain lift, and to see that opposite ideologies, different types of government, can still exist in the world side-by-side. And I believe it can happen. [Applause] But I believe that it can only happen if we accept our responsibility as the leading democracy for the job that has to be done. It's not an easy job. And when you criticize the United Nations, think a little bit about some of the difficulties that have to be faced in any type of international action and in the drawing up of any type of international document, which is to have a meaning to the peoples of the world. There is first that difficulty of language. That's a real difficulty because in five official languages, any document that is drawn up and accepted has to mean the same thing and the people who, who are native of the countries using those languages have to say that those translations do mean the same thing. Now that is a difficult thing to achieve, particularly with some languages. I'm convinced that Russian has some kind of intonation in the way you say words [Laughter] that makes it difficult to understand, because sometimes our Russian delegates stop their own interpreters and say, "That isn't what I mean!" [Laughter] And the rest of us sit upwards, because most of us don't know Russian, and there is an argument between the Russian who was speaking and his own interpreter! [Laughter] We had that in the Declaration of Human Rights. The Russian was making a long speech; he wanted something said in Article II. Now Article II is the non-discrimination article, and he was very insistent that something was to be said, and when his translator translated it he said, "No, that isn't what I mean." So, it happened that he was a gentleman who, we knew very well, spoke both French and English. But it's politically an advantage to make your speech in your native tongue, so he was speaking Russian. And finally we asked him if he wouldn't please tell us what translation he thought was correct in French and English. And he thought for a minute and he said he would accept the word "tat" in French, "a state" in English. Now I'll read the article, "Everyone is entitled to all the rights and freedoms set for in this declaration without distinction of any kind such as race, color, sex, language, religion, political or other opinion, national or social origin, probable birth or other status." Now, we were going to say, "without distinction of any kind because of "tat" in French, "a state" in English. Now Mr. Cassin, who was a member of, on the Supreme Court in France, said he was sorry but there was a time when there were three estates in France, but they didn't have such things anymore and it wouldn't have any meaning. The trois tats were over! And I thought a little and I wondered exactly what we would think of a distinction which said there was no distinction because of a state. So I said I didn't think it was a very good translation. So then he said, "Well you would accept the word, class?" And I said, "Oh don't let's put in an international document the word that we're trying to get away from!" [Laughter] And so then he said he would accept the word "birth," and some of us felt that this had some connotations, and we accepted it. But then we went through our difficulties, because-and I give you this to show how difficult it is to understand what's going on in people's minds. Our delegate from China who speaks English much better than most of us whose native tongue it is, Dr. P.C. Chang, said, "Well if we have 'birth' it must come directly after 'race.' It must say, 'race, birth, color.'" And I thought our USSR delegate was going to have apoplexy! [Laughter] It could not come after "race," and I just thought that he was trying to delay things. That is it was just ordinary Soviet tactics, they knew they couldn't accept the declaration, and it would be much easier to go home and say that he hadn't been able to come to an agreement. That was much easier to explain than why you abstained on a Declaration of Human Rights! So I just thought, well this is just going to be drawn out forever and we're never going to find the right place for that word! But finally we said, "Well where would you like it?" And he said, "After, 'property,'" and then we began to understand that the distinction was similar that were brought about by property and birth. And so we accepted that, and our delegate got back as though he'd won a major victory! [Laughter] He was relaxed, he was smiling, he voted for the article, which he did on hardly anything, and he was perfectly happy. And I never understood why and don't understand today. [Unclear] it didn't seem a major victory! [Laughter] [Applause].
Now I give you that to show you the little difficulties of language and of trying to understand what the other person's thinking about. But I'm going to give you, I'm going to give this document because it's one I'm familiar with, and it's the same thing in any action you're going to take as in a document you sit down to write. There was another thing which illustrated the difference in habits and customs. We took from the commission Article I, exactly like our own, it said, "All men are created equal," and it came out of Committee Three, "all human beings are born free and equal in dignity and right." And why? Why the change of those first words from "every man" to "all human beings?" Because we have a good many women in Committee Three who come from nations where they have come up as an individual, but where they are very conscious that the great mass of their sisters have no equality at all; and they were the ones who said, "In this document, it's going to be, 'all human beings'; where you say, 'a man,' it's going to be 'everyone'; where you say 'no man,' it's going to be 'no one,' [Laughter] because when we go home if it says 'all men' it will be all men and it won't be all women!" [Laughter/Applause]
Now that's an illustration of what habits and customs does. Now I'll give you an illustration of what legal, different legal systems do. And when you wonder why there is so much talk in the United Nations, just remember there's a good deal of talk about legal difficulties at home, and we're all one nation. Now when you come to a question of different legal systems, you've got a real difficulty. Now Professor Ren Cassin from the beginning has said that it wasn't so important in the Declaration but in the Covenant there had to be an article, and that article had to say, "Personne ne doit tre dpourvu de la personnalit juridique."
Well, I'm not a lawyer and behind me, as chairman, I have five lawyers from different departments in Washington. They frequently disagree. [Laughter] But, nevertheless they are lawyers. But I was very rash that day and I said, "Well, Professor Cassin, I suppose that would be translated into English, 'No one shall be denied the juridical personality.'" Well, a storm broke out behind me. [Laughter] And the British all put their heads together and they said-they're all lawyers-they said, "No! There's so such expression as 'juridical personality' in English common law." And all my people said, "No, no, no. You can't say that. [It] doesn't exist in American law!" Well, what were we going to say? We argued two days to find a translation for "personnalit juridique. " They kept saying to me it's "due process of law," but all the Latin countries said, "No, that doesn't mean the same thing to us. 'Personnalit juridique' has to have an ex-, a, a really translation that means the same thing to us." And finally from the Department of Justice my young lawyer put a paper before me and said, "You can take 'juridical personality,' it was once used in American law." [Laughter] Do you know when it was used? It was used by Justice Taney in the Dred Scott Case [Laughter] when he said, "A slave has no juridical personality." [Laughter]
So we accepted that, but the British accepted it because they couldn't think of anything better! [Laughter] But it's not permanent, and when the Covenant, when we really come to it, that's got to be argued all over again. So just remember what legal differences Napoleonic code and English Common Law and, uh, the law of Islam and all the intervening things have come up, they can make a great deal of argument for you. And then perhaps the most difficult thing of all: the differences in religion. We took an article to Committee Three which we thought we had consulted with every major religious group on. And it said, "Everyone has the right to freedom of thought, conscience, and religion. This right includes freedom to change his religion or belief, and freedom either alone or in community with others, and in public or private, to manifest his religion or belief in teaching, practice, worship, and observance." And we found that we had forgotten a very important religious group. We just hadn't consulted them at all. That was the Mohammedans. Nobody had thought to ask them if that article could be accepted by them. And the words "change his religion or belief" made every one of the Mohammedan delegates say they could not accept the declaration. And it was only Zafrullah Khan of Pakistan, after his delegates had voted against him, got up in the General Assembly and said, "I am going to cast the vote of Pakistan for the Declaration. And I am going to do it because I interpret the Koran to say, 'He who can believe shall believe. He who cannot believe shall disbelieve.' The only unforgivable sin is to be a hypocrite. And therefore I shall vote [applause] for the declaration." And he was followed by a number of the other Moslem states. Yemen was absent, and Saudi Arabia abstained, but that's the [unclear].
But I've given you these to illustrate the difficulties that come about when you begin to work closely with groups of people from all over the world. And that is what is happening in every meeting of the United Nations. And we do come to better understanding. And I'll illustrate it for you by a little incident that happened in connection with this. We had had on the Commission of Human Rights some delegates from Central and South America and they had agreed on the whole declaration, but when we got into Committee Three, with the fifty-eight nations which were then represented-now there are fifty-nine this year, but in Paris we had only fifty-eight-we found that a number of the South American delegates, oh they found so many faults with little things here and there. And one day I said to Ambassador Santa Cruz from Chile, who had worked with us from the beginning, "Why cannot you explain these points to your South American colleagues?" And he looked at me with a smile and said, "Madam, I have worked on the commission two years and a half. It was not 'til I came here that I realized what an Anglo-Saxon document it is. I had become accustomed to the Anglo-Saxon point of view. But now I see that there are many things that shock our Latin people." That's what happened to someone who worked for two years and a half and came to understand the points of view of other people. And that is the process that has to go on by working together and seep back through those representatives into the countries so that little by little we come to better understanding, to accepting certain fundamental similar standards for working together for common objectives. The one great thing is to win a peaceful world.
Now, we worked together, those of us who were allies in the war, because we knew if we didn't work together we'd lose the war and we had to win the war. Now we're faced with the fact of doing something much more difficult because there was a point at which we would win the war. There is no point definitely set when we win the peace. It goes on, that effort, day in and day out, all through our lives, perhaps through the lives of our children and grandchildren. But every year that goes by that we keep the peace, that means one step more towards our goal. We have to decide whether it's worth the effort. And that requires character and courage and conviction. And I think probably it requires more from us, the United States of America, than from any other nation in the world. I believe our people have the character, the patience, the courage, the conviction, but they're not quite accustomed yet to the idea. But this is something that is going to be done in a dangerous world, and the danger isn't going to be over at some fixed point. You're going on carrying that and your children are going to carry it. And so you must hand on to them the same kind of courage it took our forefathers since the days of the Revolution. It must have seemed just as dangerous to them, just as hopeless a time, and just as difficult to solve the problems, to know what was the right thing to do. So that I think we have to face our particular challenge and realize that it's the same characteristics and the same courageous attitude that will win victory for us. And we have to teach that same thing to the younger generations that will take over from us. And if you are given a kind of service, a kind of courageous example, a kind of growth and conviction of democracy and ability to live democracy, then they will have a little better chance to win through and to have a peaceful world. [Applause]