APRIL 15, 1939
WASHINGTON, Friday—Yesterday afternoon, the New Cancer Control Committee, which is beginning its work in Washington, came to present me with the first membership button, for which I paid the large sum of one dollar. I hope the dollars will roll in, for this is certainly a valuable work.
I am beginning to wonder, however, how we are all to wear the buttons which we receive. I received two yesterday. One which pledges me to work for the preservation of our democratic freedom, of worship, of assembly, of the press, and the second one which pledges me to do what I can for the spread of knowledge of the work done for the prevention of cancer. If we are to wear all these visible signs of our interests, I shall shortly have rows of buttons on my dresses representing different societies.
The Italian Ambassador came to call, and then a most interesting group of women, 25 farm women and 25 industrial women, who had been meeting to discuss their mutual problems, came to the East Room to meet me. I had understood that it was a purely rural meeting and would have remained under this impression, had not Rose Schneiderman suddenly confronted me. Then I made the discovery that this is not the first meeting of its kind, but that such meetings are now being held quite regularly in different parts of the country. This seems to me a very encouraging sign. I wish that the farmers and industrial workers could get together and draw in young people for similar meetings, for I feel that would be a valuable contribution to the better understanding of our economic problems.
Then a young couple came to tea. The man, Mr. C. G. Paulding, is an American who edits a magazine, "L'Esprit," in France. This young couple have just bought a small car and are starting out to drive over the southern route to the West Coast and back again. He says that he spends his time in Europe answering questions about the United States and he has found it a little embarrassing to explain that he has never seen anything beyond the Eastern Seaboard. He wishes especially to see the plains section, but we urged him to go a little bit further north on his return trip, assuring him that one day of limitless prairie rolling out before one was quite sufficient to give one an idea of that section of our country.
A few people came to dinner last night and we had a most interesting discussion afterwards. It ranged over the problems of housing, migrant workers in California, and self-help cooperatives and other methods of raising the standard of living without increasing the cost to the taxpayer. I always listen with the greatest of interest to all these discussions which come back to the same final decision—we have the ability to produce, we have people in need, therefore we have the market for disposing what we produce, but we do not know how to get into the hands of the proper people the wherewithal to buy!