DECEMBER 16, 1939
WASHINGTON, Friday—I entirely forgot to tell you yesterday about a tea which we had here the other afternoon for the foreign students in Washington. They came some three hundred strong, and I was surprised to find how many countries were represented. China, Japan, Spain, Brazil, Argentina, Venezuela, British West Indies, Africa and Australia, all passed by me and I realized what an attraction this city must have for students all over the world. Before we went into tea, their international glee club sang three Christmas carols, one in English, one in German and one in Spanish. This group of foreign students puts us all to shame, for they really try to learn each other's language and, though they talk to each other haltingly sometimes, at least they are interested in each other's problems.
Last night we held our first big reception, the diplomatic reception. There was a little wider distance between each group of diplomats, but on the whole, as we expected, everything seemed to go off quietly and pleasantly. It was sad though to see so many people go by, whom you knew must be heavy hearted. The gay uniforms, beautiful dresses and jewels can not hide people's eyes, and the eyes are the mirrors of the soul. Through them one can tell when suffering has left its mark on a human being.
It is curious what funny tricks a constantly moving line people will play with your response to impressions. I thought that I was watching each face, and yet after the diplomats had all gone by, I suddenly woke up to the realization that Mr. Harry Robbins was shaking hands with my husband and that his wife must have passed by without my recognizing her. Mrs. Robbins is Mr. Sumner Welles' sister and I have known her ever since she was a little girl, so to let her go by without a word of recognition seemed odd to say the least! As soon as the President had gone upstairs, I went in search of them, fortunately I found them still here, so we had an opportunity for a little chat.
This morning Mr. Fulton Lewis Jr. presented me with a small radio. I can't say that I deserve the notice which he has brought me, but it certainly is a very pleasant and useful award.
Before taking the train for New York City, I went in to see the home economics exhibit in the patio of the Department of Agriculture. This exhibition will be here until some time in January and I am sure that everybody will find something to interest them in going through it. The housewife will be interested, but even her husband may find some items of interest which touch his department of household management.
The President left for Hyde Park after the reception last night, but I am speaking on the Town Hall series in New York City on Saturday morning, so I shall not go up to Hyde Park until that afternoon.