JULY 13, 1940
HYDE PARK Friday—I went to a meeting yesterday morning of the Refugee Children's Committee and, as usual, was impressed by the horrid legal details which enter into doing anything between governments. I came away feeling that all I could possibly cope with was something perfectly concrete and simple, such as finding homes into which to put children when they arrive.
How they are to get here, or how we are to live up to the rules and regulations of our respective governments, is something which requires such patience to find out and follow up, that I believe only trained legal minds can possibly learn it.
I gather from the accounts in some of the metropolitan papers this morning, that there is still confusion as to whether these children can be transported across the ocean. Some people assure us that the British Government is prepared to bring 2,000 immediately. Other people, who should know, insist that the ships are not available.
However, most reliable sources of information seem to feel quite certain that several thousand children will come immediately if our regulations are made easy enough so that not only rich children, but poor children may also be admitted. This, I understand, the State Department and Department of Justice are arranging today. I hope that, from now on, the responsibility for sending children will lie entirely with the British Government. Our responsibility is to see that we facilitate their coming in every possible way, which I am sure is being done.
After the meeting, two friends had what was supposed to be lunch with me. We were so hurried, we only had a few minutes in which to swallow a mouthful of food at the little restaurant down by the fountain in Rockefeller Plaza. Then we went straight to the NBC studios for my broadcast. From there I drove to Quaker Hill farm near Pawling, New York, to see Mrs. William Brown Meloney.
She always holds my profound admiration for her courage and ability to conquer physical ills through the triumph of her active mind. She feels as I do, that for the moment, defense on every front is the greatest issue before us. That the sooner that we discover that the old situations which we faced are no longer with us, the safer we shall be.
New situations have to be met in new ways and those who cling too long to the past, are not only useless, but dangerous. Instead of clarifying the real issues, they becloud their own and the people's thinking.
Home to find a guest awaiting me, and to spend a very pleasant peaceful evening. I felt that we had been gone a long time and had moved in a stream of hectic activities, and yet we only left here Tuesday night.
Rain today, but that can be enjoyed with an open fire, pleasant company and the usual amount of mail on which to catch up.