FEBRUARY 5, 1944
NEW YORK, Friday—Just as I left for the train yesterday, the news came of Raymond Clapper's death. It is a curious thing to feel any sense of personal loss when you have hardly known a person. I had met Raymond Clapper only a few times, and have occasionally differed with his attitude on public questions, but I have read so much that he wrote I feel as though I knew him well. In my mind I have a picture of an individual—intelligent, honest, adventurous, devoted to his job and with high standards of integrity and of workmanship. I always read what he wrote feeling that I was getting not only a picture of what he had seen, but an honest opinion of what he, as a person, felt. I respected and admired him.
To his wife and children this must be a terrible blow. Even though every one of us, when we say goodbye to our men going on dangerous missions, tell ourselves that this is possibly the last time we will see them, and we think we are prepared to meet whatever comes, still there is in all human hearts a belief that the worst will not happen to us. The blow, when it falls, is always a shock, always unexpected, never mitigated by what may have happened before, or what we know is happening to other people.
For Mr. Clapper it is probably the way he would have wanted to go, the way all of us would want to go—serving as best we know how—and he would know that he left his children the most important thing they could possibly have—a name to be proud of, and an example in his work which they will find it hard to emulate.
I had come from Washington yesterday for the Round Table meeting at Princeton University. The vast majority of students are now in the Army and Navy groups, but there are still a few civilians left. They are very young and will soon be in the armed forces or in some branch of study which is considered important to the carrying on of the war, such as medicine or engineering.
The Round Table as an institution must be of value to these young people because it gives them an opportunity to talk with many people of various points of view. On the threshold of life, this is a valuable experience. They put a difficult question to me and I wonder how my readers would answer it. "How can the quality of our citizenship be improved and how can our active participation in government be stimulated?" If anyone could give a good answer to that question, one of the great problems of democracy would be solved.