MAY 23, 1942
WASHINGTON, Friday—Mr. Eric Gugler called for me at 9:30 this morning in New York City and, with shame I admit, for the first time I visited the Sub-Treasury Building on Wall Street. A group of people have been interested in seeing the very beautiful rotunda restored and made a fitting place where ceremonies of different kinds can be carried on.
At present, it is used by the passport service and it is difficult to visualize how beautiful it will be when the partitions are taken out. The detail around the doors, the old iron grill work of the balcony, the beautiful pillars and really perfect proportions make it a most beautiful and dignified hall.
Later in the evening I went to see an exhibition of articles which have been made by manufacturers from materials not required for war purposes. It is astounding what ingenuity has been shown in the development of things which have been made almost entirely out of metal and are now made in plastics and wood. Some of the blankets are being produced with a minimum of wool. They look delightful and when the winter comes we shall know whether they are as warm as "all wool."
Of course, for years the Chinese have been using cotton quilted coats for winter, and China has a cold climate! I also saw some curtains which can be sponged off, and yet look like chint as they hang in the window.
I discovered we are not really being asked to do anything quite as drastic as I thought in the matter of transportation. On Wednesday, when I announced at the airport that I was taking my last flight, the officials looked at me with horror. They said that because so much publicity had been given, they had very little travel between New York City and Washington and were flying with empty seats on every trip. They really want the public to understand that when seats are needed they must be given up, but ordinarily reservations can be held.
When I inquired about train travel, I was told that so long as accommodations were available, they would be glad to have them used. They only want people to accept cheerfully a certain amount of uncertainty. If people have to travel by coach, or sit up at night, they hope it will be accepted with a smile. They did ask that week-ends be left free by the general public, so that service people could travel in greater comfort.