FEBRUARY 18, 1941
WASHINGTON, Monday—Last evening we had a little party to celebrate Mrs. Henry Morgenthau, Jr.'s, birthday, which really does not occur until some time this week. Our only guests besides the Secretary and Mrs. Morgenthau, were Mr. Harry Hopkins, who arrived from New York just in time for dinner, and Mlle. Eve Curie, who is spending twenty-four hours with us between lectures.
On this visit, Mlle. Curie has been in the Middle West, and shortly she will start on a long lecture trip which will take her all the way to the West Coast. She has lived in England ever since she left France and I think there must be moments when our whole mentality in this country must seem like an unreal dream to her.
There is no use denying that seeing the bombs drop, even if they do not hit you, puts a different perspective on life. The thing which impresses me in talking with Mlle. Curie, is the minuteness of organization which is required under conditions such as many of the English people are now living under. This is so particularly in the industrial towns.
The contrasts even over in Britain are very great and make it easier to see why we can feel as remote as we do. The block by block organization for every eventuality where bombs are dropping, for instance, and the remote Highland home where people still live their usual daily lives as though nothing unusual were going on, show what a few miles can do to make understanding of conditions difficult.
This week testimonials are being paid all over the nation to Mr. Paderewski because the year 1941 is the golden anniversary of his debut in the United States. He has given endless pleasure to people throughout this country and, in addition, he has many times contributed from his earnings to our charities. This testimonial week is our opportunity to offer him not only the homage of music but a substantial contribution which he will be able to use for the good of his country.
I wonder if you have been receiving as many recent appeals for aid for China as have been coming to me. Perhaps you feel a little confused. I confess that I have occasionally, but there are two things which appeal to me particularly. One is the development of the Chinese cooperatives, because that is something which is helping the people of China to help themselves. It has, therefore, been especially fostered by Madame Chiang Kai-shek.
The other is the work of the China Emergency Relief Committee, which is putting on a drive at the present time to raise a million dollars by June for medical supplies for China. This organization, for which Pearl Buck and Vincent Sheean and numerous other people have done so much, is working in cooperation with the China Medical Aid. The hope is that every individual who realizes what the lack of medical supplies means to a country will lend his cooperation.