APRIL 8, 1944
WASHINGTON, Friday—In none of my columns since I came home, or while I was on my last trip, have I told you of many letters that came to me from ladies in various islands and in the South and Central American countries. Some of these ladies were writers, some of them ladies in the woman suffrage movement of their countries, some of them were leaders in the organized labor movement.
All of them wanted me to express to the women of the United States their admiration for the way in which our women are contributing to the war effort, and almost invariably they added that they hoped for closer cooperation with the women of this country in the future, and a better understanding on our part of their problems.
Many of the women with whom I talked were working on problems of nutrition and better child care. That is a natural outlet, because families are large and women have lived much within the walls of their own homes. The war is drawing them towards a point of view which has long been ours—that interest in our own homes leads us finally to interest in our communities and in our government.
The three ladies with whom I spent two full days were Brazilian ladies. They were Madame Salgado, wife of the Minister of Aviation for Brazil; Madame Amaral, head of the Legion for Assistance; and Miss Aranha, daughter of the Minister of Foreign Affairs. They were sent by Madame Vargas who has been ill for some time, but who has been very active in the organization of ladies' work along many lines.
All of them were charming, all of them were ladies of education, speaking not only their own language, Portuguese, but English and French, probably German and certainly Spanish. All three were well read, anxious to make a contribution to their own country, also anxious to build up a real link with the women of our country. They are showing great hospitality to our servicemen. I hope that if their servicemen should come to our shores, or when they themselves come, that we will be equally hospitable and build a lasting link for future goodwill.
Yesterday I had the pleasure of spending an hour in a training class for junior hostesses which is being conducted in the Department of Commerce auditorium. I felt rather inadequate, since it is obvious that I can never be a junior hostess. But I think the real problem of all hostesses transcends age and even looks. It is inherent in liking people and wanting to make them feel at home. A 70-year-old lady who heads the Guatemalan version of the USO might well be the pattern for us all.