APRIL 20, 1940
WASHINGTON, Friday—I had a delightful lunch yesterday with the ladies of the 75th Congress. They had asked me to tell them a little about today's situation in the campaign carried on by the United States Department of Public Health, in conjunction with the state health departments, in its effort to stamp out venereal diseases. The appropriation granted by Congress is two million dollars greater than last year, but even with that increase the facilities for treatment are still inadequate and there is not sufficient educational work done among doctors, nurses and the general public. The laws requiring examination before marriage in certain states have greatly helped the situation and the whole picture already looks far better than it did two years ago. But that does not mean that the fight is won and that we can let up in our activities until there is a real victory.
In the afternoon I saw a speech teacher who is particularly interested in the girls of the YWCA She believes that she can tell a great deal about a person's make-up from the voice and she proceeded to tell me that I was extremely nervous and excitable. This shows, I am afraid, that my voice is not well coordinated with the rest of my body and character, for I think that everyone around me will bear witness to the fact that I am neither excitable nor nervous!
Mrs. Ruth Bryan Rohde brought a group of girls here in the afternoon from Monticello College. She is introducing them to the beauties of Washington and the intricacies of their government. I was interested to have them tell me that they were particularly impressed by the people they had met for, of course, it is something to learn in youth that government is dependent on human beings for its success or failure. The best theories in the world cannot become successful practices without some disinterested and able human beings to work them out.
Later, the annual party for the senior classes of various schools in Washington took place and I received 1175 young people with their teachers. From 5:00 to 6:00, the heads of the state societies in Washington met with the officers of the Alliance for the Guidance of Rural Youth in the East Room to discuss whether their societies could be helpful to young people in rurual districts at home and in the cities when they looked for work.
I took the plane for New York City at 6:30 and reached the dinner given at the Hotel Astor by the National Coat and Suit Industry Recovery Board to celebrate the distribution of the fund raised in the industry for work among the refugees, regardless of race or creed. This was a most inspiring dinner, not only because of the excellent speakers, Governor Lehman and Bishop Sheil among others, with the always able chairman, Mr. James McDonald presiding, but because this is the first instance where industry has taxed itself voluntarily to help suffering humanity.
I returned on the midnight train to find the gentle spring rain falling and many routine things to be done this morning.