JANUARY 4, 1944
WASHINGTON, Monday, Jan. 3—On Friday afternoon of last week, in New York City, I went over to the Stage Door Canteen at the Shubert-Belasco Theater to see an art exhibit. It consisted of portraits of soldiers, sailors, marines and Coast Guardsmen done by outstanding American artists at the canteen. These portraits are now on exhibition but later will go to the mothers of the boys. The artists do this as their contribution to the war effort.
The admission to this exhibition was to be paid in kind. We were to bring with us a dollar's worth of candy, pickles, olives, potatoes, canned soup, milk or homemade cookies. If we did not have any of these articles on hand, we could enter by paying a dollar which I am ashamed to say is what I did.
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Yesterday afternoon I had a series of rather interesting visitors. It began with the sister of a young Red Cross man, Don Montgomery, who has an enviable record for his work with the soldiers on New Guinea. Later, the four American labor people who had made the trip to Britain came to tea. They visited the industries which are a counterpart of the industry in which they work here and then actually saw the performance at the front of the materials which they made.
They were accompanied by four British labor people, who have now come over here to visit our plants and to study our system. Talking to them was of very great interest to me. I shall be interested when the British men finish their tour to hear what their impressions are. They said that already they had learned some new things by visiting our factories.
These men also felt that they had been able to contribute something to us, both from the labor and management point of view. They have had labor management committees for 20 years or more over there, so, of course, on that score they are way ahead of us. But where we have these committees, they think we are doing an extraordinarily good job.
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They cherish an American flag given by the workers of America to the workers of Great Britain in appreciation of the labor effort made during the war over there. They showed me the flag with the greatest of pride. I asked them what they felt about their women workers. They replied that they felt the women had done an extraordinary job and earned for themselves the consideration and recognition for the future.
A young sailor and his wife, Mr. and Mrs. Jack Egar, came to tea with me. It certainly is wonderful what seeing the White House means to those who never had the opportunity before. They were breathless with excitement over the historical significance of each room.
One of the many things I regret about the war is that it closes the White House to so many people who gain much inspiration from seeing it. I shall welcome the day when it can be opened again to all citizens of the United States who come to see their capital city.