DECEMBER 2, 1941
WASHINGTON, Monday—We had a really delightful session yesterday afternoon with Dr. M. L. Wilson and, again in the evening, the group of students had an extraordinarily interesting and stimulating time with Mr. Harry White, from the Treasury; Dr. Cohen, the analyst from the Bureau of the Budget; and Mr. Lauchlin Currie.
All these four men have a technique which is highly to be desired. Instead of making young people feel that they know nothing and that their opinions and efforts to learn are really valueless, they take their questions and rephrase them so they become significant and, in the answers, give far more than any young person could have thought of asking.
That is the gift of really great teachers, and I doubt if there was a young person present, who did not leave the meeting feeling more determined to work hard, and more secure in his ability to make a contribution in this difficult field of economics.
Never having been to college, I feel that I have learned a great deal in the course of the last few days. I not only enjoyed the talks by the government officials, but the contacts with the young and keen minds.
A picture about to be released on women in defense is a good and informative film. I liked it much better when I saw it yesterday than I did in the preparatory period. I feel that six months from now we shall be able to make a more varied film than this one. Women will find so many openings in which to serve their communities, that their activities someday will give us a pattern for good community organization, and the film of these activities will be of great value to the nation.
I find that Ohio and Michigan are very sensitive to the accusation that they are not awake to the dangers of the present crisis. I have had several letters protesting that my knowledge was much too local, that I was speaking of individual cities and could not know the state sentiment. I was speaking, however, from conversations with people who had been all over the area. I was not really criticizing the attitude of people on the war, but the fact that there has apparently been so little realization that civilian defense is so important to every community in peace as well as in war.