APRIL 14, 1939
WASHINGTON, Thursday—Yesterday afternoon I received the new Ambassador from Brazil and his wife, and the new Ambassador from Venezuela and his wife. As we sat and talked, I suddenly realized how much all our minds run in the same direction these days. For, before very long, we were talking of the situation in Europe. I discovered that anxiety was felt by us all for friends and, in some cases, even for families in the various countries which today seem to be under a constant cloud of apprehension.
Here, in America, so many miles away, the clouds which hang over other countries are felt and, more and more, the thought seems to come home to us that we are fortunate to live in the Americas. I suppose, however, that no matter where you live or under what conditions, you carry on your daily tasks and adjust yourself to whatever circumstances you may have to meet. Probably this is why human beings survive all kinds of situations. Impossible as it seems today that one could ever survive and adjust to certain things, one will find oneself doing so tomorrow and almost forgetting that other conditions ever prevailed.
An old friend from Albany, New York, came to tea, together with some acquaintances from Detroit, Michigan, who brought their children to see the White House. I had to show them two of the rooms in a disheveled condition, because walls are being repainted in honor of all the various guests who are coming to stay in this old house this spring.
I was very much flattered the other day to have Mlle. Curie say that the house upstairs seemed different from any state residence she had ever been in, much more as though people really lived in it and lived normal lives. Then she mentioned the fact that there was writing paper in her desk and books in her room. These seem to me fairly normal things to find in my guest room. I have never stayed in any of the places that one visits as museums in Europe, where the bed is roped off with a silken cord and you are allowed to file by to see the washstand with silver hand basins and pitchers and mildly wonder how anyone ever climbs into such a high bed. To stay in such a place would be a unique experience and one which I hope will never fall to my lot.
I arrived at the meeting today for the National Conference of Christians and Jews just as Dr. Henry Noble MacCracken was beginning his speech. It was an excellent speech, as was Father Cartwright's. The closing speech, made by Rabbi Lazaron, was, perhaps, the most moving. It is a fine ideal this, that each of us, Catholic, Jew or Protestant, preserving our individual differences of religion or race, should still join together to preserve democracy and a liberty which allows us to have our differences. I confess to smiling a little at human nature as each one of us betrayed the fact that we felt our own point of view was the right one, but I don't suppose that will hurt us, if we only are willing to concede that other points of view may be right for others.