FEBRUARY 26, 1943
WASHINGTON, Thursday—In all the manpower discussions going on at present, I do not think enough emphasis has been been laid on the fact that a young man or young woman, or an older man or older woman, trained for a job can do a great deal more than anyone who is not trained. All through Great Britain I was met by the recurring refrain—"Women can do anything that men can do, short of something requiring mere brute strength, if they are properly trained."
We are all so excited about obtaining manpower, and yet we have put little emphasis on the training that is needed for efficiency. The industries themselves like to train their own people, but it will shorten their period of training if a certain amount of basic training is given all those going to work in industry or on the farm.
That is the real reason why the National Youth Administration is training young men and young women in industry and farm work. It is of inestimable value at this time, and I wish that everyone could see the little booklet about the NYA resident project at Quoddy, near Eastport, Maine, because it shows exactly what is being accomplished to further the war effort.
After lunch on Wednesday, I stopped at the National Housing Administration office to see the furniture which they have developed for the government dormitories and government war housing. They work with the manufacturers and, by doing so, have succeeded in obtaining prices which are phenomenally low. The little dormitory rooms are nicely furnished with a bed (which can easily be used as a couch in the day time) an arm chair, a chest of drawers and a mirror. The bed has a good spring and a good mattress and the cost of it all is under fifty dollars. This furniture seemed to be well built, simple in line and good in construction.
At 4:00 o'clock, Madame Chiang asked me to be present at her conference with the magazine press, which was to me most interesting. Then Mrs. Carl Dalbey and her son, Carl, Junior, who has twice been torpedoed on a Merchant Marine Ship, came to tea with me. It was fortunate that I happened to have time enough to greet this very courageous mother and her brave son.
This boy wears the emblem which the War Shipping Board tells me is given to all torpedoed men. I feel that the honor of coming to the White House is a recognition not only of the heroism of this particular mother and son, but that they symbolize many mothers, sons, husbands and wives throughout the country who do just as much for their nation, but who, unfortunately, I am not able to see or entertain.