AUGUST 6, 1940
HYDE PARK, Monday—I am very glad to find myself in agreement with General Hugh Johnson whom I like personally very much, though I do not frequently have an opportunity to agree with his ideas. He has been writing in favor of the selective draft and in his column on Saturday says something which I believe is true:
"It is simply a question of whether or not we are going to get adequate defense against overseas attack and get it quick enough to keep war away from these shores. We won't get it if we don't get selective service and get it promptly."
With this I agree, but I should like to add something more which I believe every Senator and Congressman as well as every public servant in the country, no matter whether he is Republican or Democrat, should be watching with the greatest care. We know that in the past some people have profited financially from war. It is one thing to draft young men to give their services to their country and another to draft such capital as may be lying idle for investment in ways which may be deemed necessary for defense and which may mean little or no return to the investor.
The obvious answer is that most capital is in the nature of a trusteeship. Those who have it to invest feel a responsibility to the people (you and me whom they represent in banks and companies) for the way in which they invest it. It is apparent that some people cannot afford to spare anything from small incomes. But the best minds in the country should be occupied at the present time with determining how it can be made equally certain that capital, wherever possible, is drafted for the use of the country in just the way that lives are drafted.
I am no economist. I am not a public servant. I am a mother and a citizen in a democracy, however, and I think it should be clearly put before us exactly how this is being done today. In Congress and in administrative circles this is a responsibility which the people are going to want to be sure is being considered and adequately safe-guarded.
I had a grand ride this morning, but was grieved to find that the last storm blew down some of the most beautiful trees on a neighboring place. Somehow when a great tree comes crashing to the ground and lies there with its leaves withering, I feel as though some great and good force had finally been vanquished.
Some people are coming to lunch with me and a number are coming to see me this afternoon. My husband has kept this day entirely free because tomorrow he has a number of official engagements.