FEBRUARY 19, 1942
WASHINGTON, Wednesday—Yesterday, because of lack of space, I could not go more fully into the question of the bill for Congressional pensions. It seems to me fairly obvious that the principle of this bill is good. The timing may be bad, so, perhaps, it should wait until this war is over. There may be amendments which are necessary in order to prevent people from getting a pension except on an insurance basis.
It may be embarrassing to vote yourself a pension, but who else can do it? And you are voting for the future as well as the pressent. I think it is important to have the principle of insurance for old age established for every group of citizens, and doubly important for the public servant to be secure and, therefore, beyond temptation or threat.
I want to add this to clarify the whole situation; so much that the people are discussing today is obscured for them by the press and radio, instead of being made simple and clear.
We had a most interesting dinner here last night at which Dr. Jerome Davis and Dr. Dri Davis spoke for the YMCA work among the prisoners of war the world over. Mr. Harper Sibley presided admirably. If I may judge from my own feeling, everyone must have gone away inspired by a realization of the work which is being done, even though it may not cover the whole range of need.
The number of prisoners behind barbed wire all over the world todayis quite appalling. It did not surprise me to have both Dr. Jerome Davis and Dr. Dri Davis emphasize the fact there is such a thing called "barbed wire sickness."
To have nothing to do mentally or physically, to know that those you love are anxious about you, to be anxious about them, and yet have no way of working towards your release, must be a horrible situation. Anything that we can do for our enemy prisoners seems to me to justify itself. We have a double incentive when our permission to help the Allied prisoners of war depends upon the work done with the enemy prisoners.
A morning of work at the Office of Civilian Defense and a most interesting talk with a young doctor in the District of Columbia, who is thinking along the lines of preventive medicine. By that I mean, that he believes that healthy people should have a health examination and check up every so often, so that they need not be treated as medical cases. By doing this we might easily prevent serious illness and find better habits of living will keep us in good health.