JUNE 25, 1940
NEW YORK, Monday—We went down to the station last night and saw the President and his party off for Washington with much regret, for the country is very lovely and it is possible to forget for a little while how horrible conditions are in much of the rest of the world.
I drove through the woods just as the sun was setting last night, a most mysterious magic hour. There was a soft light on the deep green leaves. A fat woodchuck scuttled across the road ahead of me. A little white-tailed rabbit ran along the road, too frightened to get out of the way, until I stopped the car and let him run to cover.
How can one think of these woods converted into a battlefield? Peace seems to be in the heart of them and yet, I remember some just like them outside of Paris and in the forests of Germany and England.
I motored back to my own cottage and slept on my porch, to wake to fog and rain this morning. Our drive to New York City was cold and somber all the way.
I went first to visit Mrs. Stephen Wise's refugee home. The three houses she has taken over must indeed seem a cheerful haven to strangers landing on our shores. I wish we could receive everyone who comes to this country with the same spirit which Mrs. Wise and her colleagues have been able to create in these houses.
One thing seemed rather pathetic to me and that was the absence in the rooms of any personal effects. Only the children had left their mark with a doll or toy, and so few of these. My heart ached for what this represented in hardship and break with all former ties.
From there I went straight to my apartment to met two girls from Alaska, who came here to be present at Alaska Day at the New York World's Fair. They had four days in Washington and told me it had seemed to them far too little, but they are now enjoying New York City.
They said Alaska seemed very far away from the European situation, but when it came to what the Russians and the Japanese were doing in the Far East, they felt very close to any troubles which might arise. The fact that a Japanese delegation was in Berlin today made more impression on them, I think, than the capitulation of the French.
It is quite evident from the news we read in the newspapers that the Germans have learned only bitterness and no wisdom from past history. They are exacting even more severe terms from their conquered enemies than were exacted of them. They go on the theory, I suppose, that only by completely wiping out the strength of a conquered nation can they be sure of remaining in power.
This is a rather hopeless attitude if you have any faith in friendly relations between nations being in the end the strongest of ties and the greatest protection against future war.