Mrs. Franklin D. Roosevelt 1 to the Secretary of State

Dear Mr. Secretary: I want to write you just a line to tell you that I was somewhat troubled by your speech the other day,2 not as to what you said about Russia because of course, we all know that is true, but it seems to me at the present time it may be more advisable to say these things face to face but not to say them to the public through the press.

My belief is that some one should go as a special representative from the President and tell Mr. Stalin, face to face, what the situation is as regards the possibility of world destruction since no one can use the H Bomb without running that danger and then emphasize the need for working out some methods together to obviate this destruction. I can not see that any harm could be done if the person went with sufficient strength behind him. It seems to me that might give some real value to Senator McMahon’s proposal3 which seems to me unlikely to have any good results unless there is something on a higher level behind it.

I realize that you know much more than I do but I also think we have an obligation to say what policies look like to us who are in the position of the worm looking up at the sky, concerned about the foot that may descend upon it and anxious to find some way of averting disaster.

Very cordially yours,

Eleanor Roosevelt
  1. Widow of Franklin D. Roosevelt, President of the United States, 1933–1945; U.S. representative to various organs of the United Nations, 1945–1950; member of the U.S. Delegation to the Fourth Session of the General Assembly, 1949.
  2. Reference is to extended extemporaneous remarks by Secretary Acheson at his press conference of February 8 regarding relations with the Soviet Union; for the text of the statement, see Department of State Bulletin, February 20, 1950, pp. 272–274.
  3. In a Senate speech of February 2, Brien McMahon of Connecticut, Chairman of the Joint Congressional Committee on Atomic Energy, suggested that the United States sponsor a $50 billion, five-year “global Marshall Plan” in exchange for the acceptance by other nations of international control of atomic energy.