DECEMBER 19, 1941
WASHINGTON, Thursday—I spent the entire day at the office of Civilian Defense. I drank a glass of milk and ate sandwiches at my desk at lunchtime. As a result, there is not one single unanswered thing in my briefcase, and I have managed to see a number of people for very brief interviews during the day.
Curiously enough, a day with less talk and more time to think and to clear up the things which come in the mail, gives one a sense of greater accomplishment than a day which is filled with conferences and interviews. Occasionally, it is absolutely necessary to have a day of this kind, otherwise one's desk is never cleared.
I came back to the White House at 5:00 o'clock to see Madame Tabouis at tea time, and was very happy to hear from her that she is to publish a French newspaper in this country. This new weekly will, I am sure, be representative of all that is best in French culture and spirit. I am delighted she has an opportunity to work at her profession again.
There is an announcement in the evening paper which seems to me of great importance. Secretary Stimson has announced that the War Department, while planning to expand the Army to whatever strength is needed, will depend entirely upon the selective service system and not on voluntary enlistments.
This seems to me the only sensible procedure. Through the Selective Service, if our draft boards function properly, men will be used where they are most needed and will not be wasted in positions for which they are not fitted.
I know of a boy who left his college in the last year of a chemistry course and enlisted as a private. This is a sign of patriotism, but it is also a great waste of human material, for we need chemists. We need doctors and nurses and other trained people, and the Selective Service is supposed to provide them.
This system is designed to use men in the best possible way. It keeps men not in uniform from being made uncomfortable, because the nation knows that every man is doing the thing he is called upon to do in the way the proper authorities decide is most useful.