JUNE 19, 1940
NEW YORK, Tuesday—Yesterday afternoon, at the session of the state directors of the National Youth Administration, they discussed the problem of obtaining better health facilities for the youth of the nation through the cooperation of the Social Security Agencies. First a doctor painted a very pretty picture of the health facilities available through state departments of health and local set-ups, and then gradually this charming picture was spoiled by the reports of actual conditions in the field.
One encouraging thing was the ingenuity which has been developed in certain places by the NYA directors in their efforts to obtain cooperation from state and local health groups. They have gone on the principle of "give, so that others may give unto you." In many cases it has proved a very good theory of action. One young man has his NYA projects making oxygen boxes, tuberculosis collapsible tents and incubators, and in return he receives a health examination for all the young people on his projects.
Since we are all interested in the training program now, which may be of service to youth whether it is called to war or whether it is allowed peacefully to pursue its livelihood at home, there will, I hope, be a coordinating of all the facilities for training young people. Among these, the trade schools of the nation will be extremely valuable. I was interested to find that the United States Office of Education has information on just what facilities are available.
We have in this country 1,053 well equipped schools in 825 cities, representing every state in the Union. There is a joint investment totalling a billion dollars in all these schools, one-half of which is in equipment. In addition to this, there are 155 engineering schools on the higher level of technical ability. With their equipment they could increase their present enrollment by 30,000 trainees per year. This information is valuable in coordinating our efforts in the field of training.
I am sure that many people who, like myself, have lived long periods of time in foreign countries, are feeling heavy-hearted these days because of the sorrow which is engulfing friends in other nations. This taking over of three small countries by Russia may be a case of self-defense, but we used to think ourselves equally well-defended by friendly neighbors. The plight of France, which has been a refuge for so many exiles from other nations, brings up a sad picture of what may happen to these refugees, as well as to the natives of France itself.
The German people have been fortunate that neither in the last war nor in this one, has much of the fighting been on their own soil. I sometimes think that has built up insensibility among them to what it means to be invaded. One does not expect mercy from their leaders, but one hopes almost against hope that the qualities of the individual Germans, whom so many of us have known and respected and loved, will make it impossible for them to carry out harsh and unjust demands made upon their gallant enemies.