FEBRUARY 3, 1940
NEW YORK, Friday—Both the President and I left Washington last night, but both of us went to our trains later than we expected. The reception was the largest one we have held this year and after it was over, a few of the people who were staying in the house, went up to the President's study to talk for a few minutes. It seemed a little odd to go off and leave our guests, but my aunt, Mrs. David Gray, who is staying with us, was asked to be hostess and to watch over their comfort.
Mlle. Eve Curie arrived yesterday afternoon for dinner and the night, and the President was very glad to see her again. She tells me that she must return to France in two and a half months when her contracts have been fulfilled, for she is mobilized for work there. I looked at this slender, dark, very chic and charming woman, who does not look as though she were made for hard work, and yet can come over to this country and spend two months on the road.
She looks her best on all occasions, meets people, I am sure, with the thought in her mind that she is not only making friends for herself, but for her country and that, therefore, she must try to meet as many people as possible to draw out their questions and their points of view and, if possible, leave them with a friendlier feeling toward her nation than they had before.
The press came to see her and, I imagine, gave her a very uncomfortable hour, for it was their job to try to get something startling in the way of news, regardless of whether it made life more difficult for her. The result must be that an interview with the press anywhere is more or less a battle of wits in which she must be careful to say nothing which might seem to suggest that she is trying to influence or criticize anything in this country while we are offering her our hospitality. With the best intentions in the world, it is hard always to foresee in what way the simplest phrase may be interpreted.
I wonder sometimes that our visitors from other lands do not fall into the pitfalls spread for them more often than they do. In any case, I think France is fortunate in sending over Mlle. Curie, for she wins the hearts of those who come in contact with her and her mother's great achievements as a scientist have already laid the foundation for friendlier feeling where the women of this country are concerned.
I have spent a frivolous morning here trying on two Easter dresses and ordering a new knit fabric dress which my friend, Mrs. June Hamilton Rhodes, recommended because she said I could travel a long time in it, roll it into a ball if necessary and have it come out uncreased. She showed me one she had worn on her trip to the West Coast and back, but the proof of any pudding is always in the eating and I can tell you more about this dress later on in the spring.