FEBRUARY 19, 1944
WASHINGTON, Friday—The mother of a young nurse whom I had seen in a hospital in Australia lunched with me yesterday. Her husband, a veteran of the last war, is dead, and her young son of eighteen is now in the service. It is easy to understand that bringing up the two children has not been simple, but she looks young, and having had training as a pianist, she still uses her talent playing in canteens in the evening. Every night she works on the night shift in a factory which makes airplane parts. She does not complain. She only says that when the war is over she hopes to get something which she can do to support herself, but which will not be in factory surroundings. That's a good American war story, isn't it!
At four o'clock in the afternoon Mr. Chester Williams of OWI brought in the four British labor men who have been touring our country. They have visited factories comparable to those in which they worked in Great Britain, but they have also seen other types of work. All of them are impressed by the volume of output here, and also by the hospitality and kindness shown them. They said that they would go back firmly convinced that there was no prejudice against Great Britain's workers among American workers in this country, and that there would be no bar against our working together after the war as well as now.
They felt we were a league of nations in the United States—that whereas they were one people in Great Britain, we were a group of many peoples. We have welded ourselves into a virile and strong nation, and no matter what our backgrounds might be, everyone they saw was above all else, an American.
They also felt that the workers of Great Britain had passed through some of the difficulties which are now facing our great trade unions. These men believe that in Britain, they had a better understanding that a trade union was an instrument for community service as well as for service to its individual members, and that every action taken must be for the good of the whole community. They also emphasized that they felt they had reached a more advanced point in labor-management relations, though they were surprised that our trade union groups have been able to accomplish so much in such a short time. They are going back to Britain willing and anxious to interpret this nation in a most favorable light to their co-workers over there.
Before taking the midnight train back to Washington, I attended a performance of "Mexican Hayride." The theatre was taken for the benefit of the Girls Club Association of Brooklyn, Inc., in which some friends of mine are interested. Anyone who wants a pleasant and tuneful evening will enjoy this show.