MARCH 6, 1941
WASHINGTON, Wednesday —I had a most interesting tea party yesterday afternoon with the group of South American students who have been visiting in this country, and for whom Dr. Stephen Duggan made all the arrangements. The major part of their time has been spent at the University of North Carolina, at Chapel Hill, and they seem to have derived a great deal of interest from their visit to this country.
Most of these young people spoke English and I felt ashamed all over again of my lack of ability to speak Spanish. In some cases, it was evidently an effort for these young people and those accompanying them, to express themselves. Still, they valiantly tackled our difficult language and said what they wanted to say.
I had arranged for tea and afterwards for a short meeting, at which we had an exhibition of work done by WPA and NYA agencies. The students showed great interest in the various things that were made on the art and production projects and seemed to appreciate the WPA quartette which played for us. I think I signed at least one card for every one of them before they left, so evidently the autograph habit is as prevalent in South America as it is here.
Last evening, a group of people, some of them from government departments, some of them from New York City, and a few from even further away, gathered here at dinner to discuss population trends in this country. So many interesting facts were brought out which had a bearing on our population, that it was finally decided to ask some of the representatives of government departments to get together and define the limits of the general problem we are facing in this country. Then people specially gifted in the art of putting this material in brief, but dramatic form, will find some way to make us all conscious of the facts which should be in our possession.
I went out early this morning and had my hair done, for one must at least leave on a journey prepared not to have to visit a beauty parlor for some time. Then I held a press conference at which I had hoped to have Dr. Harriet Elliott. There are a number of questions which the newspaper women wanted to ask her, but she has lost her voice, so we had to postpone her appearance until my return.
I also saw a gentleman this morning who is convinced that he knows how private capital can undertake to finance the home building on a large scale. Knowing absolutely nothing about financing or building, I hope I shall be able to direct him to someone better able to judge the values of his suggestions than I am.
I lunched with our old friends, Mr. and Mrs. Adolph Miller, and am now about to receive some young people from the Lawrenceville School of New Jersey.