OCTOBER 7, 1941
WASHINGTON, Monday—I did not spend a very long time yesterday morning in the country. We finally have had some rain, which made a a great difference in the countryside, and I was struck by the beauty of the foliage around Hyde Park. Of course, as we neared New York City, we found the colors less vivid, for they have not had such cold nights, I imagine.
The heat of the last few days makes us all feel that we have returned to mid-summer, and I really envied people who had summer clothes and could wear them. A black dress seems so much hotter to look at and certainly is heavier in texture!
Three of us stopped for lunch with Secretary and Mrs. Morgenthau on our way to New York City. The Secretary's flying experience must have been very unpleasant and yet having come through safely, it must give him a sense of security. The pilot did such an excellent job, and everyone on the plane who had a job to do, seems to have kept right on doing it, in as calm a fashion as though nothing had happened! That gives one confidence.
We discussed at lunch whether everybody should take a course in parachute jumping, now that flying is a very ordinary method of travel. I suppose we older people might find it rather difficult, but for young people it would be perfectly easy to take this as part of their athletic program.
I held my first staff meeting this morning at the Office of Civilian Defense and I think it cleared up certain difficulties of procedure which are not yet organized within the office itself.
I came back at eleven to the White House for my usual personal press conference. I had asked Dr. Harriet Elliott, the commissioner of the Division of Consumer Protection to attend, so as really to stimulate a discussion on the whole question of the increased cost of living. There is no question in my mind that we must have some method which is legal to control the rise in prices. It cannot be done by voluntary participation alone, nor by the action of community groups, because it is too difficult for people in the communities to get information on which they can act. I am happy to know that representatives of consumer interests will be appointed on defense councils. I understand some thirty have already been appointed.
More than this is needed, however, particularly when you realize that the snowball of rising prices has rolled up very rapidly in the past four months, and in some cases this increase is higher already than it was during the last World War. We must profit by our former experience and realize that prices which go up must eventually come down, and the coming down process is a very difficult one.