FEBRUARY 20, 1943
WASHINGTON, Friday—This morning, the President, Madame Chiang and I went over to the Executive Offices for the press conference. We were a little late, for my husband had a number of visitors beforehand. So, as soon as we were seated, the press began to crowd in. I am afraid those at the back could not see Madame Chiang at all, but they went out rather slowly, so I hope some of them had a glimpse of her as they passed by.
The President introduced the press to Madame Chiang and paid them some very nice compliments. Then she spoke to them for a few minutes, reminding them that "the pen is mightier than the sword." It is always interesting to find some one, who is not a native, knowing the current sayings and quotations well enough to be able to think of them quickly. Everyone was amused when, at one point, she retorted very aptly by using another of our axioms, on which every child in this country is raised.
We took Madame Chiang back to the White House through the Cabinet Room, and she admired the shape of the unusual table there. We stopped for a glance at the swimming pool, and she will now have a chance to rest until 4:00 o'clock this afternoon, when the Chi Omega Achievement Award Committee will present her with their annual award at a very informal ceremony.
She is the first woman not of American birth to be given this award. However, her education was received in this country, and she knows it so well that the answer, "I am a Southerner," which she is said to have given some one the other day, seems to be really true.
Incidentally, one must be very familiar with a language to indulge in repartee, and anyone who attended the press conference will attest to the fact that Madame Chiang was quick and humorous. I have never seen anyone more observant I doubt if anything could happen within her range of vision which she would not see.
I had a luncheon today for the wives of some of our high ranking commanding officers and the heads of the various women's military groups. Unfortunately for us, Colonel Hobby and Major Streeter could not be here, since they are at work somewhere in the field, but they were ably represented by their assistants. It was interesting to talk to these women who are directing the work of so many other women today. I am sure they enjoyed meeting the wives of their chiefs.
Tonight we hope to have four young singers from Howard University sing Southern spirituals for our guests. I hope afterwards that those of us who have not seen the pictures taken of the President's visit to North Africa, will have an opportunity to see them. He tells me that he will have work after dinner, but since he was the principal actor in this film, he is not quite as interested as the rest of us are!