NOVEMBER 30, 1939
NEW YORK, Wednesday —It seems to me that I am constantly finding little errands to do between real engagements in New York City. All the errands are unimportant, but they add up to a good many little trips from one shop to another. Yesterday I was looking for a particular gift which a member of our household desires for a room she is furnishing. So far, three stores have yielded me nothing that I could bear to live with, and I am beginning to wonder if my taste is peculiar.
I had some guests in for tea and we were so busy talking that I suddenly realized there were just twenty minutes left before I had to be at the Hotel Roosevelt for the dinner given by the Good Neighbor League Committee on the Émigré and the Community. Needless to say, I was a little late, but I did not keep them waiting long.
I had invited as one of my guests, a young Austrian girl, Miss Lotta Kraus, who has a charmingly trained concert voice. When I told Dr. John Elliott about her, he suggested that I ask her if she would sing a couple of songs at the end of the dinner. She did, to the evident enjoyment of even the guests in the gallery, some of whom nearly fell over the railing trying to see her as she stood in the corner of the room.
More and more I am getting the feeling that in all these various things in which we are interested, the important thing is for each individual to tackle certain definite problems and handle what he can himself. With the experience gained, any large scale undertaking will be more wisely handled. We need to think of the refugee problem from the point of view of gain to us in the long run as well as our present individual expenditure. The figures which impressed me most, were those showing that the volume of refugees entering this country to take up permanent citizenship under the quotas was balanced within about five thousand by the number of foreign people departing from our shores for one reason or another.
It was stressed by the people dealing directly with these emigres that, in the old days, a vast majority of people coming in were in the unskilled labor group, whereas at present it is the educated, highly skilled in both professional and technical work, who are knocking at our gates. Many of these bring us actual contributions in the form of patents and even of enough money to start their business up again in this country which employ some of our own unemployed citizens. It is not, therefore, as one-sided a business as we think. People are not throwing Americans out of work to employ refugees, though isolated cases of this might be found. On the whole, we stand a good chance of having our refugees help us to solve our unemployment problem.