AUGUST 16, 1943
HYDE PARK, Sunday—I have been asked to participate in the campaign which the Office of War Information is launching today. The purpose of this campaign is to increase the use of V-mail, and they have adopted as their slogan: "Use V-Mail To Be Sure."
The reason for this campaign is that we need to conserve space on both planes and ships. Mail is felt to be one of the great morale builders for our soldiers overseas, particularly if those of us at home write the kind of letters that will give the boys pleasure and will not cause them unnecessary worry.
V-mail has a priority over all other types of mail, other than official government dispatches. It saves 98 percent of the space on planes and ships. When the United States uses V-mail 100 percent for overseas correspondence, the equivalent of the full time service of 25 huge Liberty Ships will be released for the transportation of vital medical, food and munitions cargo.
Seventeen hundred letters converted into V-mail occupy a space not much larger than an ordinary pack of cigarettes. V-mail is now available to most of the principal theatres of war and will get there much faster even than airmail letters in the future, because regular airmail can no longer be sent by plane to any place where V-mail is established.
Of course, the ships carrying mail are safer as we get more control over the seas and the U-boats are less active, but since V-mail letters are carried by plane, it is interesting to know that all original letters are kept at the port of embarkation. If a plane carrying V-mail meets with an accident, or is brought down by enemy action, a duplicate film is immediately forwarded.
It is impossible to do this with any other type of mail, and that is why so many letters have never reached our boys or, when they write them, never reach us at home. Some boat or plane has met with a mishap and the bags of mail are in Davy Jones's bcker at the bottom of the ocean.
For me it will be hard to write only V-mail letters. I have never been quite able to bring myself to the feeling that there was any of the direct personal touch in a V-mail letter, that there is in a piece of paper that someone I love has actually written on. Nevertheless, if that is what we have to do, perhaps it will bring the war to a close sooner. There isn't one of us, I know, who would not do anything to bring our loved ones home from the South Seas, Africa, Europe or India, even a few days earlier.