JULY 12, 1944
DAYTON, Ohio, Tuesday—I left Poughkeepsie yesterday afternoon and reached Dayton, Ohio, this morning. I am spending part of the day visiting Wright and Patterson Fields, and the late afternoon and evening at Antioch College, where I am to speak at a conference on international affairs held under the auspices of the American Friends Service Committee.
I will travel back tonight to New York City so as not to be away from my grandchildren any longer than I have to. I have never enjoyed anything as much as having so many children with us this summer.
It is a little late perhaps for me to pay a tribute to China, but in spite of the fact that July 7th, which marked the seventh day of the seventh month of the seventh year of China's warfare against Japanese aggression, is now past and though other people have already noted this date, I want to say a few words about the significance of the fight which China is now making.
It has been a very hard fight of late, with Japan putting in all the strength she can, and trying to establish on the mainland of China a situation which would neutralize whatever victories were accomplished by us in the Pacific Islands. Japanese success would not mean, in the long run, the conquest of China, but success might give new resources to Japan which would make the Allies' struggle for eventual victory all the harder.
For that reason, China, which has fought all this time, is being called upon for even greater effort than before. We here in this country find it hard to visualize what we really are asking of China.
We are a great industrial nation with none of our industries impaired. Our difficulty has only been in obtaining certain basic materials, and the attack upon us was largely upon the shipping which brought us these supplies. But China has been driven out of her great cities along the coast. Her industries are now largely hand industries. She never had an industrial development like ours. She has had to do without, to substitute and to suffer and fight without the things she needed. In short, manpower has done over and over again what machinepower would do for us.
This means, however, that it is the people of China who suffer—mothers who weep for their lost children, wives who no longer have husbands, children who no longer have fathers. The hospitals in China are short of medical supplies and instruments, the people of China are short of food, inflation makes what they can produce almost impossible for the poorer people to buy, and yet these people have fought for seven years and are still fighting.
Their resistance means less loss of life for us and a shorter war, so we owe a debt of gratitude and a tribute of honor to the people of China and their courageous leaders.