FEBRUARY 3, 1939
WASHINGTON, Thursday—You know that it is my policy to make this column primarily a chronology of the daily doings of the wife of the President. When I leave the White House for trips or go to my own home, it becomes the chronology of a woman who leads a life similar to the lives of many other women, except where it retains a tie to the public position one can never leave completely behind.
As far as possible, I never discuss questions of partisan politics, but now and then it seems to me that public questions arise which are of particular interest to women and which far transcend any partisan lines.
As I read a headline this morning, I could not help thinking of something which happened the day before the second Munich meeting. Today's headline reads: " Hoover Says Course Invites War." Naturally, any citizen has a right to state his opinion, but the rest of the country's citizens have a right to weigh that opinion. In Kansas City on the night that the President's second message was sent to Munich, a speech was made by this same eminent gentleman of today's headline before a gathering of Negroes. On that occasion he denounced the foreign policy of this Administration, I suppose because of the same fears which he now expresses that this policy might lead us into war.
Let us, as citizens, examine our present situation. We are the leading democracy of the world. Do our sympathies lie with the other democracies or do they lie with the totalitarian states? The present tempest in a teapot is stirred up by the fact a Frenchman flew in a test plane which France quite legally was going to buy from an airplane manufacturer in the United States. This is a new type of plane, but there are no secrets of government involved and any buyer is entitled to test the wares which he is about to buy. Germany is geared to produce a thousand planes a month; France to produce one hundred planes a month.
It seems evident why France would be interested in buying from us. It is also quite evident that Germany would naturally start a hue and cry that the United States was favoring France. Of course it is delightful to feel that no one anywhere near you can ever defend himself for a day if you decide you wish to do something. There is no real reason, however, why any particular nation should be protected in that amount of supremacy and dictatorship over other nations. This is an open transaction, there is nothing secret about it, it is neither friendly nor unfriendly, it is pure commerce between two friendly nations.
I have fought for peace for many years. I want to see all the nations of the world reduce their armaments. Mr. Chamberlain has suggested it, but I have seen no acquiescence on the part of Mr. Hitler. Have you? Who is taking a belligerent attitude in the world today? The American people can not afford to consider this as a partisan question and use it as such, and the women, above all, must think clearly on this subject for the future of those whom they love may depend upon their influence.