JANUARY 23, 1939
WASHINGTON, Sunday—What a curious thing it is when a great musician like Mischa Elman offers the proceeds from a concert trip throughout the country to the fund for refugees, that he has to be guarded on the way to and from his first concert. What has happened to us in this country? If we study our own history we find that we have always been ready to receive the unfortunates from other countries, and though this may seem a generous gesture on our part, we have profited a a thousand fold by what they have brought us.
It may be that some of these very refugees may make discoveries which will bring us increased employment. Many of them represent the best brains of the countries from which they come. They are not all of one race or religion and the wherewithal to keep them alive and get them started is being provided by such generous spirits as Mischa Elman. Must his wife and children tremble for his safety because of this gesture? He is giving concerts for the Committee for Non-Sectarian Refugee Aid. Wherever he goes I hope he will be enthusiastically supported, not only because people enjoy his music, but because they admire the extraordinary generosity which he is showing.
Friday afternoon I had a tea here in the White House at 4:00 o'clock, and at 5:00 o'clock Mrs. Henry Morgenthau and I were on the plane going to New York City! We had been asked to attend a benefit preformance of a play for for the Neighborhood Playhouse. I had seen the play here, but felt that if flying weather made it possible, I would like to go. We saw many old friends at the Neighborhood Playhouse School after the performance. I was delighted to have a few minutes talk with Katharine Cornell who is just beginning to rehearse in a new play. For me, she has compelling charm just as she has for her audiences everywhere, and I always wished that our paths crossed more often.
Saturday I spoke at a luncheon for the Ethical Culture Schools presided over by Dr. John Elliott, and that night Mrs. Morgenthau and I went to see the revival of "Outward Bound," in which a friend of mine is acting. I remembered this play as profoundly impressive when I saw it before, and it was no less moving last night. It is better then many a sermon and I can not imagine anyone not appreciating the cast and the perfection of the whole performance.
Back again this morning by air to Washington, and it made me wonder if any of you have seen one of the lastest advertisements of the airlines. I was glad I had seen it and could think about it during the last half hour of our trip down. In it were extelled all the precautions and advantages which are ours today in travelling by air. It was good to think about them as we fought a very strong wind and bumped about in a fashion which was highly undesirable to most of the passengers. We landed at Bolling Field, and I hope our fellow passengers soon flew into smoother weather.