APRIL 6, 1938
WASHINGTON, Tuesday—We are feeling quite bereft in the White House these days because the Head Usher, Mr. Raymond D. Muir, is being transferred to the State Department and is now the Assistant Chief in the International Conference Division of that Department. He has been such a good friend to all of us, besides doing a very remarkable piece of work for the White House, that I suppose we might be forgiven if we shed a tear even though we congratulate him.
Filling Mr. Ike Hoover's place was in itself a tremendous job, for Mr. Hoover had created a field of work for himself which has been rather neglected in the past and many people felt his loss was irreparable. This made it particularly difficult for Mr. Muir, but undaunted, he took over. Though we feel that Mr. Howell Crim is a worthy successor, we know even Mr. Crim is going to miss his chief in many ways.
Last night we a saw a newsreel of the bombing of a foreign city. I do not know how it affected the others, but I felt positively disgusted with human beings. How can we be such fools as to go on senselessly taking human life in this way? Why the women in every nation do not rise up and refuse to bring children into a world of this kind is beyond my understanding.
There is a poem in the April 2nd, New Yorker by Stephen Vincent Benet called "Nightmare For Future Reference," which I think should be read by men and women everywhere. Sometimes the poet's imagination is prophetic of the future.
It is strange that Queen Victoria, in a letter written many years ago, should remark that the engines of war were becoming so dangerous that the continuance of the practice was suicidal. And still we only talk!
Today dawned with a gray sky, but by 11:00 the clouds had blown away and I had a marvelous ride along the Potomac. These perfect days with a horse you enjoy, are memories to be stored up for the future.
I have just had luncheon with the ladies of the 73rd Congress. Miss Gertrude Borzi, who is about to start on a European tour, sang. She has a very sweet voice and I hope she will be successful.
After four weeks of absence, it is really quite exciting to come back and see so many people. I always have a feeling something must have happened to them in the interval, because when one travels far, it always seems as though years had gone by instead of just a few weeks. I sat next to Mrs. Henry Wallace at the luncheon and asked her what had happened during my absence. She looked rather surprised and said everything had gone on in just the same way and I felt that it was impossible!
These lunches with the wives of the various members of Congress are very delightful occasions for the wives of the Cabinet Officers and me. Political differences do not enter into them and, as the Chairman said today, "Friendships endure regardless of political differences."