MARCH 3, 1944
WASHINGTON, Thursday—We had a most profitable trip down on the train yesterday! I have been accumulating things which had to be dictated and though the road bed seemed anything but smooth, Miss Thompson managed to take my dictation. It is fortunate that she can read her hieroglyphics even when they have added squiggles from the motion of the train!
The family had dinner alone, which is an unusual and very pleasant occurrence. We sat and talked until nearly eleven-thirty, which meant that I had to do rather late writing, but it was worth it since we so rarely have a chance to talk together as a family, and there were six of us here last night.
Today I have the last of a series of lunches, and after lunch, a group of men from the Army School at Fort Myer is coming over to give us a half hour's entertainment. This music school is sending musicians out as leaders and members of bands and orchestras all through the Army and among them are some wonderful young composers. So this afternoon we are to hear a number of original compositions given for the first time. Among them is "The Unknown Warrior Speaks" by Kent Kennan, who is a former winner of the Prix de Rome. "The Cowboy's Lament," arranged by John S. Barrows, is based on an American folk song encountered by Mr. Barrows's father in 1880, and several others.
An opportunity such as this emphasizes how much real artistic ability we have in this country and how it is being used in the war.
This afternoon I have a succession of visitors, and we have a few people dining with us tonight.
I was asked at my press conference this morning if I had read Mr. Baruch's report, and I should like to stress something which I think many of us are prone to forget. Excellent reports can be written, the most careful plans can be laid out on paper, but their real value can never be gauged until we see what is actually being done by people out in the field. The heads chosen to administer these plans can be excellent, but if they do not have staffs under them who are loyal and able and industrious, the best plan in the world will not bring successful results.
This particular report is a far reaching report. It deals with ways and means by which we will return from a state of war to a state of peace, and it attempts to make our present economic structure meet the needs of a situation which we cannot blue print. Therefore, the people who carry out this plan must have flexibility and imagination. They must be able to take responsibility, to make decisions quickly, since speed will be one of the elements in the success or failure which we will make of the future postwar period.