JANUARY 28, 1937
There is little else but floods that can be thought of or talked of at present. The Peruvian Minister said to me last night at dinner that we are a country of such magnificant size that even our disasters are overwhelming in their magnitude. I must say that we have been completely overwhelmed by the sufferings of people over such a vast area.
If you love your own home and can picture what it would mean to see it endangered, quite aside from any danger to yourself and to your family, you feel that you must do something about it. This feeling is wide spread I am sure for I had a letter from a young man today who is a government employee saying he wished that funds could be raised in all the states not affected by the floods amongst those who work for the government. He suggested that a certain percentage of everybody's salary over the period of a month might be donated for relief. When young people feel as strongly as this, there must be wide spread realization of the suffering among the men, women and children.
I wish that we could translate this sympathy into an intelligent attack upon the whole problem which is fundamentally a problem of conservation. There probably were floods when our land was newly settled but before we cut our trees so recklessly they were not so serious. If we go to the headwaters of our rivers and we will find the cause and the results which follow in the wake of man's destructive ignorance. We need to give generously for the suffering during the emergency, but we need to keep alive the interest until we can educate our people to a concerted attack upon the fundamental problems of conservation.
Speaking of conservation, I think that those who care to make a study of certain government activities will find that the homesteads under WPA and the Resettlement Administration are doing a good job in human conservation. I have just received a report on the community project at Arthurdale, West Virginia, which has been submitted to the President by the Committee for Economic Recovery. The Chairman of this Committee, Mr. A. S. Freed, succeeded in getting a special subcommittee composed of industrialists and professional men to examine with the experienced eyes of business, the former condition, the present condition, and the future necessities of this particular community, hoping to make their study useful not only here but in other parts of the country. It is interesting to me that these men are willing to delve into the question of how business and government can cooperate in helping unfortunate people to reestablish themselves through their own efforts and it augurs well for the future. I hope many people will have an opportunity of reading this report.
The Diplomatic Dinner last night was as usual a very colorful pageant with all the Diplomats in their most ornate uniforms and decorations. The music afterwards with Mr. Giovanni Martinelli and Miss Rosemarie Brancato singing and Mr. Ignace Friedman as the pianist gave us a delightful evening.