OCTOBER 12, 1942
WASHINGTON, Sunday—Yesterday afternoon I attended the dedication of a new servicemen's center here in Washington. The building was obtained and remodeled in the short period of 28 days. The donor achieved this miracle of rapid work by cooperation with labor and by using ingenuity in the use of non-essential materials. They have created a delightful atmosphere.
Mr. Walter S. Mack Jr., who entered the last war as a second class seaman, has provided for the men in this war the things he knows from experience are desirable. There is a place where the men may wash up and shave, a place to receive telephone messages and check belongings, a lounge room, desks, stationery, plenty of magazines and a canteen.
The place is run under the auspices of the War Hospitality Committee. Last evening I was told that the rooms were crowded, and I am sure the canteen will have the same success enjoyed by the one in New York City.
A very charming British woman, Chief Controller Knox, and her aide, Chief Commander Gowers, arrived from Canada yesterday to spend two nights with us at the White House. I gave a tea to which the Cabinet wives and members of our own women's military services, headed by Mrs. Hobby of the WAACS and Miss McAfee of the WAVES were invited.
This was the first time I had had an opportunity to see any considerable number of our new ladies in uniform gathered together. I was impressed with their smartness and the earnestness with which they were going about their work.
Last evening afforded us an opportunity to talk to Chief Controller Knox, who told us something of her corps and how they have met each new demand placed upon them by the British armed services. Besides the necessary military training and work which they do, a very wide educational program is carried on with the object of preparing women for their obligations in the after-war period.
If any of our people over here are afraid that participation in military work will make our women less feminine, I wish they could have an opportunity to talk to these British women. They are just as feminine as possible and the rules under which they work show an appreciation of the differences which must always exist between men and women.
Though the percentage of the married women in the corps is very low, still if a husband obtains leave, his wife is also given leave. Consideration is given to family and other personal reasons for obtaining leave without the delay of unwinding the usual red tape.