OCTOBER 16, 1942
WASHINGTON, Thursday—Yesterday morning I had a press conference, then a few people came to lunch. In the afternoon, the Chinese Ambassador and Madame Wei came to see me for the first time. I asked them as much as I could about the conditions of the children in China. They have not been home for eight months and in that time, of course, where a country has been at war so long, there must be very great changes.
In the evening, Mr. and Mrs. Robert Hawkins, from Nevada, were with us. I invited Dean James Landis and Mr. Philip Bastedo, from the Office of Civilian Defense. Three young Vassar girls also came to dine.
These girls tried a very interesting experiment on leaving college. They made up their minds that all their friends were trying to go to work in Washington, so instead of doing that, they picked out a community which they did not know at all, to see if they could do some work to arouse it to its own responsibility in this war.
They went to Clarion, Iowa, and established a day school for children during the summer months. The place was not big and so they soon made friends and came to know almost everyone there. They received advice from the state college and, after a few weeks, started an overall plan for civilian participation in the war effort.
Now they are back, and most anxious to see their pattern tried in other places and to work on it themselves as their contribution to the war effort. It seems to me that they have been enterprising and far-seeing, because in planning to use this organization for the present, they are laying the foundation for postwar activities on an intelligent basis.
The other day I talked at length with the head of the programs in New Hampshire for handicapped people. It is ahead of most states, because New Hampshire has already been thinking on how it can adjust its instruction to fit these people to do work of value in this war period. It is perfectly obvious that all handicapped people cannot find an occupation along war lines, but with ingenuity it is extraordinary what can be done.
I was impressed by seeing a man on crutches working in the Chrysler plant in Detroit. I have been told that Mr. Henry Ford in his plants, finds a percentage of occupations in which he can use the blind and the deaf, as well as crippled people. I suppose that the Government will plan, as they did in the last war, to teach every wounded man who cannot go back into service, some trade suited to his particular handicap.
Unless our industrialists awaken to the realization that they have to study their industry to find the right places for these people and to cooperate with those teaching them, we shall have a great many unemployed in the future.