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US envoy Powell to bring Eleanor Roosevelt's bust to India

April 12, 2012 09:19 IST
Nancy Powell, the new United States envoy to India, will be bring a bust of Eleanor Roosevelt -- the first lady of the US from 1933 to 1945 with her when she will leave for New Delhi next week.

The first woman US Ambassador to India, Powell would install the bust of the first lady of the US from 1933 to 1945 at the Roosevelt House in New Delhi -- which is the official residence of the top US diplomat in India.

"Many of you who have visited the American embassy know that the residence of the American ambassador in India is known as Roosevelt House," Powell said at a reception hosted in her honour by US India Business Council on Tuesday.

"I am sure that (famed economist and once US ambassador to India) John Kenneth Galbraith probably brought a bust of (US President from 1933 to 1945) Franklin Roosevelt and then the next Republican ambassador brought one of (US President from 1901 to 1909) Theodore Roosevelt," Powell said.

"As the first American woman ambassador, I am bringing one of Eleanor Roosevelt," she said and quickly explained that she recently discovered that Eleanor Roosevelt made a trip 60 years ago to India.

"She (Eleanor Roosevelt) travelled throughout the Middle East, then on to Pakistan, to India, and to Nepal -- so it must have been quite an adventure in 1952. I have been inspired by her and her observations of India in 1952. Many of them would be very familiar to all of us. She saw an enormous potential for American and Indian friendship and I look forward to working with you to make that potential a reality," Powell said.

Soon after her trip to India in 1952, Eleanor Roosevelt wrote to the then US President, Harry S Truman, that India needs a very special treatment from America.

"India seems to need very special treatment at this time and seems to be very vital to our own interests," she wrote in a letter dated March 7, 1952. I only hope that we can do the things that seem essential to them. The problem here is much the same as that of China, though in Nehru we have a leader of infinitely higher quality than Chiang," she wrote.

"Mr Nehru has around him a great many good men. Gandhi has left his mark and there is an unselfish service being given among young and old which might be of help even in our own democracy," Eleanor Roosevelt wrote.

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