NOVEMBER 7, 1942
LONDON, Thursday—I must go back a little and tell you that I lunched at the Ministry of Information on Tuesday and met there, and afterwards at a short reception, the women leaders and some of the men interested, in various fields, such as labor, education, etc. Then I was shown through the Houses of Parliament by the British-American Parliamentary Committee of which Colonel Elliott is chairman. It was most interesting because I had never previously been there on any of my visits. I was glad also to have an opportunity to meet Lord Simon, The Lord Chancellor, and Lady Simon.
The committee was more than kind and I was deeply appreciative of their courtesy in inviting me to meet with them. Then we stopped at the headquarters of the British War Relief which is in Lady Ward's house, and I saw how the supplies received from America are distributed. From there I proceeded to the headquarters of the American Red Cross to meet the staff and workers there.
Miss Thompson and I dined with Mr. and Mrs. Anthony Eden and had a very pleasant and interesting evening.
Early Wednesday morning we left for Cambridge, and I was delighted to have an opportunity to meet Dr. J. A. Venn, Vice-Chancellor of the University and the President of Queen's College, and to see one of the old halls. Beautiful woodwork and the historic interest of this place, made me wish that the days of peace and leisurely seight-seeing were still with us. Interest in the past, however, is not at present my mission, so we proceeded at once to a new American Red Cross center which was being opened there that day.
Then we were shown how the industrial billeting system works. I talked to two girls who had come over from Ireland, and to a man who has been moved from London where his family still lives, and also to a woman who has had people billeted with her for a long time and has been particularly successful in making them happy. The whole system interested me very much, but for its success it depends very greatly upon the ability of the administrative people to take a real interest in bringing together people who can live in harmony.
We then saw several exhibitions of work done by the women's voluntary services and went with the regional director to a village where we were given lunch and shown how food is prepared under emergency conditions. It was an excellent lunch and everyone seemed to "carry on" well. This is an expression frequently heard and expressive of the way people behave! I was also impressed by the Queen's Messenger mobile canteens of this area and the laundry unit which must be of great value in a town which has been badly damaged. How would you like to work in a laundry on wheels?
On the way back to London, I stopped to see a British Fighter-Command where some of our American aviators are also at work. Our last stop was at one of the houses run by the Foster Parents, Inc. where they had brought together the three children to whose support I have been contributing. It was interesting to see them and they were all nice children.
Wednesday evening I had some old school friends dine with me and later Lady Cripps brought in some young people to talk about their International Council meeting. Thursday I spent quietly in town, lunching with Mrs. Churchill to meet the wives of the members of the Cabinet and doing some errands before leaving today for the industrial areas in the north.