APRIL 12, 1944
WASHINGTON, Tuesday —In National Red Cross Headquarters the other morning, I looked at some familiar pictures. An exhibition of paintings done in New Guinea, which I had seen in Australia, was displayed. Some of them, of course, were done by men who were artists or illustrators in civilian life. Some were done by men who never before had painted anything. All of them are interesting, both in subject matter, which shows so well the artists' present living conditions, and in the material and techniques used.
The only prize that was offered was the promise that the paintings would be exhibited in this country, and I hope that anyone who happens to be in Washington will wander into the lobby of the Red Cross building and see the work.
I had hoped that these paintings would be sent to other galleries in the country, for I am sure that many people would like to see these vivid impressions from men in the fighting forces, particularly if their own men happen to be in a similar area. I am told, however, that the artists in many cases want them delivered as soon as possible to their families. In other cases, the paintings have already been sold and the buyers are anxious to acquire possession. So I fear that the present exhibition is all that will be possible.
In addition, I understand that Frederick Douglas Greenbowe, a member of a Marine raider group, has sent a number of crayon and pencil drawings which he made on one of the combat islands in the Pacific, back to the Red Cross. They will shortly be on exhibition, so I am looking forward to seeing these and hope they may be shown in other cities as well.
Incidentally, while we were on Galapagos, one of the officers wrote some verses inspired by a Navy commander's pets, two iguanas, which I mentioned to you before. The verses amused me and I am sure they will amuse you, so with the author's permission I quote them here:
They have the very plainest features.
Their lives are simple, happy, blameless;
Their meat for stew is simply famous.
They nest in most outlandish places,
From corner-stones to packing-cases;
Since each is homelier than the other
Their mating is no bother.
And so they propagate their race
Without regard to form or face.
I wouldn't mind their wooing smugly,
If they weren't so gosh-darn ugly."