MARCH 28, 1940
NEW YORK, Wednesday—While I flew up to New York yesterday afternoon, I suddenly realized that it was March 26th, and that I had seen some rather remarkable figures on which the President had based a letter which he wrote to Chairman Hinckley of the Civil Aeronautics Authority. You probably heard this letter read over the radio. I corroborate the conclusions reached in my capacity as an ordinary traveller who has watched the cooperation between the personnel of the airlines and this federal government department.
It is another illustration of the fact that if people really want to work together, one can expect remarkable achievements. At 2:48 a.m. on Tuesday, March 26th, the airlines of the United States had carried during the twelve proceeding months two million passengers by air without a single fatal accident to passenger or employee. This is really a remarkable record and I think will prove the correctness of Chairman Hinckley's theory that, once you recognize the basic limitations of flight, air transportation can be really the safest kind of transport.
From my point of view, we should always have the best of airplanes, constantly kept in order; the best of pilots; and obedience to the safety rules laid down, even when tempted by circumstances to take just a slight risk. I am delighted to take this opportunity to congratulate all the officials and personnel of our commercial airlines which have made such an enviable record this year.
Another branch of the Government which has been much in my thoughts is the Social Security Board. I imagine that many of you have been interested in the families of the poor miners who were killed in the St. Clairesville, Ohio, tragedy. Seventy-two out of the 74 missing miners were fully insured under the Social Security Act. Two have not yet been identified. Fifty-seven applications have been received by the board, 42 for monthly benefits. Of these, 41 were widows and 85 children were included in these families. Only one claim was for a parent. There were 15 lump sum payments, 11 to widows with 3 children and 4 to parents. These monthly payments range from $20 to $60, and 17 of the claims have been fully developed and ready to pay. The operation of the Social Security Act makes me truly grateful.
I am leaving for Seattle, Wash., at noon today. Miss Thompson left Washington by train last night. We will be in Chicago together for a few hours of rest this afternoon and then, all through the night, I shall be flying across the continent. This is always a fascinating experince and the goal at the other end is a happy one, for I plan to be with my Seattle family.