FEBRUARY 12, 1941
WASHINGTON, Tuesday—Yesterday Lord and Lady Halifax lunched with me and it was my first opportunity to meet them, for they were prevented from coming earlier by Lady Halifax's illness.
In the afternoon, I spent an hour with Dr. Latham Hatcher and a group that is planning a meeting in the interests of better guidance for rural youth. The defense program is affecting rural youth as it is affecting young people in the cities. In many cases it is harder in rural areas for them to obtain guidance or help on any problem which may arise.
I noticed that, in our discussion, the health problem seemed very important to a great many of us. It is rather generally accepted that, from the draft experience, we shall gain much knowledge of value to rural communities and homes, which will be applicable to standards of living in rural communities as well as to urban communities.
We are learning that many of the physical disabilities which come to young people between the ages of 18 and 25 have their roots in malnutrition, or in bad habits of diet and general physical care acquired during childhood and adolescence. It is often not only a question of family income, but a lack of knowledge which brings about physical defects and weaknesses which handicap young people in later life.
Monsieur Rene Le Roy, the French flutist, who has been on so many concert tours in this country, has just succeeded in getting over here from France. He came down from New York yesterday to spend a few days with us here.
This morning I was fortunate to have an opportunity to talk over with people in the Government, who are now working on various aspects of the problem, the housing situation here in the District of Columbia, and the inclusion of such things as hospitals and schools in the defense housing projects. I sometime wonder if people outside of the Government have any idea how many people in the government service are working on the ideas which they are troubled about. They send in suggestions in rather unfinished form which need to be worked over and finally put into shape for actual achievement.
At 11:30, a group of men from Williamsport, Pa., came in to tell me of the plight in which their valley finds itself. They have three cities where the people are mainly miners and gradually mine after mine is closing down, leaving them with no means of earning a living. I had to acknowledge that I could not pull rabbits out of a hat, but I sent them over to the National Resources Board to be steered into the right channels for expert advice on their problem. I only hope that these people, who represent so many hopeless, anxious people at home, found some light and hope in the nation's capital.
I lunched with Mrs. Henry Morgenthau, Jr., and it was as it always is every year, a delightful party.