APRIL 1, 1944
WASHINGTON, Friday—Looking back over my trip to South America, I want to tell you today about my brief visit to Dutch Guiana and my trip from there to Brazil.
My few hours in Dutch Guiana were all spent at Zandrey Field, where we landed. This is about 30 miles from the city of Paramaribo, and I think it must be a rather lonely place, though they tried to give our men stationed there good recreational facilities.
I was sorry our schedule did not give us time to go into the city, near which we have a fairly large military establishment. There we have a USO club which is visited by the men from Zandrey Field whenever they can get in, but is primarily used by our servicemen stationed nearer town.
His Excellency the Dutch Governor and a number of officials came out to greet me and went with me to visit all the various field activities. Afterwards, there were some formal ceremonies at which a few of our men paraded with some Dutch units. I was particularly interested to meet the head of the Dutch WACS in this colony and to see one of their battalions parade.
After lunch, we took off for Belem, Brazil. For hours we flew over dense jungle and finally over the mouth of the Amazon, which has formed many islands because of the silt which makes it a muddy river. The Para River, which we crossed just before landing, is really just the southern mouth of the Amazon.
I was impressed by the difficulties which have been overcome in the building of facilities in the jungle. It grows up so fast and encroaches on cleared land so quickly that it requires constant vigilance to keep it down, and yet, around our military areas, they have even managed to do very efficient malaria-control work. There is comparatively little illness among our men and the climate must be fairly healthy in spite of the humidity.
It was early autumn there, since we had crossed the equator, and it was the end of the rainy season. During the rainy season, it rains six or seven times a day at other times, only about once a week.
Our men there are homesick, of course, but many of them told me that they were much impressed by the possibilities that the country offered for development. One of them told me he felt sure there were rich iron ore deposits and that anything we grew in the United States would grow there almost continuously the year round. Perhaps this is one of the areas where displaced populations can settle in the future.
At Zandrey Field in Dutch Guiana, it seemed a little odd to be walking along a path made of material which is rich in bauxite, and the governor told me afterwards that that particular material was their greatest contribution to the war effort.