FEBRUARY 10, 1939
WASHINGTON, Thursday—Yesterday at 1:00 o'clock, the Spanish Ambassador, Senor Fernando de Los Rios, brought the Spanish artist, Mr. Don Luis Quintanilla, who is doing the decoration of the Spanish Building at the World's Fair in New York City, to present to me one of the five sets of Goya prints, newly struck off from the old plates. I have been hearing about these prints which were to be given me for some time, and now, at last, they have come and I want to tell you about them.
In the first place, the work has all been done while the war has been going on. The binding is white vellum with gold tooling and I think the word exquisite describes it best. Those who know Goya's work, will realize that artistically these prints are a joy to look at. This, however, is not the thing which to me is moving about this gift. The first page has my name inscribed on it and underneath in Spanish: "A remembrance from the people of Spain." The artist said that it was given in appreciation of the fact that I had been interested in feeding the women and children of Spain during these past years of war wherever there was suffering and need.
A few people who believe that the Loyalist Government of Spain is Communistic and anti-relegious have written me during the past weeks denouncing my acceptance of such a gift. I have told them that the gift had not been proffered me. It has now been made to Mrs. Eleanor Roosevelt, a person, and comes from the people of Spain and I accept it with deep appreciation and gratitude. These men, women and children have suffered much and yet they want to give something as a token of their appreciation for what has been done to alleviate their suffering.
What I know of the Loyalist Government today makes me feel that we in this country would call it a democratic form of government, and though that government may have shown at one time antagonism to religion, this seems to have changed. I think we must accept the fact that in a war both sides are guilty of excesses.
It seems to me that these books are sufficiently interesting for them to be shown at a public place. I am therefore arranging to lend them to a museum here for a time in order that other people may realize that art is still alive in the soul of a people in spite of the ravages of war.
During the afternoon yesterday, I had several interesting meetings. One, on the possible organization for the production and sale of handcraft work in the country and another with the state and regional directors of the Farm Security work throughout the United States. This group of men is dealing with our rural problems at the bottom of the economic ladder where the yearly income has sometimes in the past been under $80 a year. Their stories of achievement give one hope for the future.