JUNE 3, 1944
WASHINGTON, Friday—Yesterday morning, in New York City, I went up to the three houses which are run by the Women's Division of the American Jewish Congress. Originally they ran these houses to take care of refugees and to help them get started in this country. Now thousands of boys have stayed there—men from our armed forces and from the armed forced of our Allies.
The organization is doing a double job—making our men feel at home in the big city no matter where their real homes may be, and giving them a chance to talk to men who have fought their battles under different flags, but for the same cause as ours. All these men, no matter what their nationality may be, find a welcome here, and the letters which come back to Mrs. Stephen S. Wise and her fellow workers are a revelation of what kindness means to lonely men.
At breakfast there yesterday morning, I met a number of our own boys from the Coast Guard, the Merchant Marine, the regular Army and Navy, plus a group of French boys, two South Africans, and some British boys. One of the Navy boys had the coveted "A" on his pre-Pearl Harbor ribbon, which means action before we were in the war. I learned later that he had been on the Reuben James, one of our destroyers whose name will remain famous in the annals of our Naval history.
All the work is done by volunteers. Breakfast looked extremely good—two fried eggs on every plate. They have turned their backyards into a very pleasant garden with umbrellas and tables and chairs, and a friend of the organization has planted it very nicely, so that I think it will be increasingly attractive during the summer.
At one o'clock I went to the annual luncheon of this Women's Division. I had not been with them in ten years. Ten years ago the group consisted of a handful of women who wanted to do work which was not being done by other groups. They found plenty to do and their membership has increased astonishingly. Several thousand women must have been at the Commodore lunch, and I was told that the efforts of each one had caused a definite sum of money to be raised for the work of the Congress. I imagine it is their variety of interests that has brought them so many members, since new people have been drawn in to carry on each new activity.
I came back to Washington in the afternoon, and was rather late, but I managed to be on time to greet my guests of the Women's National Press Club, when they appeared at nine o'clock. This was a farewell party for the outgoing president, Mrs. Elizabeth May Craig. Some movies were shown and then we had some light refreshments. There was a great deal of conversation and wandering around the White House rooms, which some of the members had not seen before.