AUGUST 26, 1942
WASHINGTON, Tuesday—Even at this season in Washington, one has a few visitors from out of town. Yesterday afternoon, Senora de Somoza, wife of the President of Nicaragua, and her daughter, and Senora Dona Hena de Bayle, wife of the Nicaraguan Minister, came to pay me a call. Senora de Somoza brought me two examples of work done by people in different parts of her country.
The needlework of the women, represented by lace and embroidery on some handkerchiefs, is really exquisite. The gold filigree work, done by people living near the coast, is also a work of art. She told me she obtained this lovely gold filigree necklace when she attended ceremonies in connection with the road being built from the United States through Mexico and Central America to South America.
I suppose it will be a long time before it can be completed, but, like the road to Alaska, just thinking about it fascinates me. The varied scenery, the different people—what a fascinating trip following that road will be! The road to Alaska also will be interesting to us, but I imagine very few will want to travel it during the winter months.
Last night we had a few guests at dinner and afterwards the President firmly told us that he had to go to work, but someone had provided what they prophesied would be exciting film called: "The Big Shot," so he agreed to stay with us for a little while.
It was not as much of a mystery story as he had hoped, and when it was over he sighed and said: "Well, now I shall have to work a little later than I intended to do," and went off into his study.
As a matter of fact, the film is really intended to show the difficulties which confront a man with a prison record. Once a man has a mark against him, very few people will give him a chance. The "big shot" in the film, himself recognizes he would not be so keen to employ a criminal if he were doing the employing. He redeems himself in the end by being unwilling to let an innocent boy suffer in his place.
To me, the most important point brought out, was the fact that in all this underworld racket, there is usually some "highly respectable" person who takes no risks but gets much profit out of those who take them. There are many people who are, perhaps, not quite as bad as the lawyer in the picture, but degrees of crookedness are usually measured only by opportunity. I have always had a feeling that society ought to look with more disfavor on the man who profits from other people's crimes than on the criminals themselves.