My Day by Eleanor Roosevelt

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WASHINGTON, Wednesday—I wish I could have taken you with me this morning in to the Secretary of State's office as various officials gathered there to inaugurate radio-telephonic communication with Shanghai, China. It all seemed so simple you could hardly realize what months of preparation and of work must have gone into the opening of this new line of communication. Mr. T. G. Miller, Vice President of the American Telephone and Telegraph Company told me that as he opened communications with each new country, it gave him a thrill. Of course, he more than any of the rest of us, knows the amount of work that lies behind each new line of communication.

The Chinese Ambassador and his wife were present and each of us who sat around the Secretary of State's desk, could listen to all the conversations and the answers which came through from China. Mr. Miller spoke first and then the Secretary of State and finally my turn came and it was a curious sensation indeed to find myself listening to a Chinese woman, Madame Chiang Kai-shek, wife of Generalissimo Chiang Kai-shek, President of the Executive Yuan, so many thousands of miles away. Madame Chiang is a graduate of Wellesley College. She made a plea for better understanding amongst the women of the world and voiced the hope that as the more rapid transportation and easier communication drew us together, we would find an increase in understanding and therefore in international peace.

Madame Kung, wife of Dr. H. H. Kung, Vice President of the Executive Yuan and Minister of Finance, then told me she was sorry she could not accompany her husband on his visit here in the near future but she added that she talked with him frequently in London where he is at present and would not be able to talk to him in this country.

We listened to the Chinese language when the Ambassador and Madame Aze talked to the Chinese representatives participating, and the entire ceremony gave me a thrill.

A most beautiful day and I could not resist getting out for an hour's ride.

I think this is the first time that I can remember having a day for the Veterans' Garden Party when we have not had to watch the skies with great anxiety. At four o'clock the President and I will go out and stand under one of the big trees on the south lawn and there will file past us groups of men from every hospital in or near the City of Washington.

Old men from the Solders' Home, men from St. Elizabeth's hospital, men in wheel chairs, men who are blind, most of them victims of the World War though many of them date their disability back to an earlier period and some of them are only temporarily in a hospital with something which will probably be cured. It is a pleasure to greet them all, but a sad experience nevertheless, and I marvel always at their power of enjoyment. They seem to forget themselves completely during whatever entertainment we may have, and to get as much pleasure out of ice cream and cake and coffee as any of our own young people might get out of a party of any kind.

E.R.
TMsd 19 May 1937, AERP, FDRL