NOVEMBER 28, 1942
WASHINGTON, Friday—I am going to New York City today for a brief visit. I shall try to see a number of my friends who have been ill, and tonight I hope to go the theatre to see Thornton Wilder's "The Skin of Our Teeth." This will be the first play I have seen since I was in London, where I went to the theatre just once.
There one goes at 6:45 and has supper somewhere around 9:00 and returns home rather gropingly in the blackout. So I look forward to this evening, rejoicing that things are still so much pleasanter here.
I have a letter from which I want to quote:" Does it not seem to you that the hatred and resentment that is growing in the mind of everyone here on account of 'rationing' as it is now being thrust upon the people is much worse?
"People out in rural localities and small cities want to win this war, they all have sons or dear ones being killed—but they also know that taking their tire away from them and storing it (Heaven only knows where) to 'rot' —until someone can do something about it—paying almost nothing for it, limiting their necessary activities, restricting them beyond all reason. The masses of people don't like this nor feel it is necessary, and are doing plenty of thinking—each in his own way about it. One hears it from the colored porter, the clerk, the janitor—as well as from others. And they are all good Americans who are sacrificing to win this wicked war. They are the masses.
"People everywhere are hoping that Congress will see that more investigation be given this tire and gas rationing, with a hope that the drastic thing can be done away with. Why is it that as soon as a man is appointed at Washington, he 'becomes so drastic in his methods' and acts like all the other good Americans were 'just dogs' to be kicked and hounded?"
This letter is unsigned, so I cannot answer the writer directly. I want, however, to say publicly that I think it very curious that anyone should think that rationing was being done without adequate reasoning. People who believe that, must believe uninformed people who sometimes write in newspapers and magazines knowing little or nothing about the facts. They pay heed to some uninformed radio commentator or ordinary gossip among their acquaintances.
Your government, in which men of both political parties are now functioning and giving the best they know how to give, is being run with an eye to the future needs as well as present necessities. You, as a citizen, are frequently asked to have faith in your fellow human beings. Repeating stupid things such as this letter repeats, is disservice to the war effort and endangers the winning of the war. Your loved ones are fighting against an enemy who takes great joy in reading and hearing the type of thing the sort of person who wrote this letter spreads abroad.