AUGUST 14, 1944
HYDE PARK, Sunday—Friday night our Ambassador to Cuba, Mr. Spruille Braden, and Mrs. Braden spent the night with us, and that brought to my mind the terrible mistake I made, or which was made somewhere along the line, in my account of the morning spent at the Lincoln School.
I said I attended a class which was largely made up of "Mexican" students, and I meant to say a group of "Cuban" students. Both countries have always seemed to me so close to the United States and of so much interest and importance to us, that perhaps in my mind I was thinking of both of them. But it was a stupid mistake. I explained to Ambassador Braden how embarrassed I was when it confronted me the next day in my column.
Ambassador Braden has spent so many years in different parts of South and Central America, that I find him extremely interesting to talk with. He emphasizes the fact which we should all remember—namely, that every South and Central American country is quite different from any of its neighbors. Each country has its own individuality, its own customs, its own culture, and there is no more generalization possible about this part of the world than there would be about the different states of our own union.
Mr. M. Stanley McLean, who is not, I imagine, a writer by profession, has sent me a little story printed in pamphlet form of his experiences at sea—primarily of the thirteen days which he spent adrift after his ship was sunk. I do not know if it is possible to buy this pamphlet; but it makes interesting reading, and if you ever run across it I think you will realize better what being in the merchant marine, in the present war, has meant.
The McGraw-Hill publishing company has a rather interesting advertisement called "The National Debt and Your Post-War Job," which has been sent me. There is just a little part of it which I would like to quote here: "A huge debt may so draw out the hidden powers of a people that it makes the nation wealthier rather than poorer, stronger rather than weaker.
"Up to now, Americans have not met the test of a big public debt too well. Individuals have saved more in cash than in government bonds, and the country has shown little interest in avoiding the kind of taxes that reduce the demand for labor. These shortcomings, I am sure, stem largely from the fact that the American people never have had the problems of debt and taxation honestly and adequately explained to them. I have confidence in the American people."
I have confidence too, in the American people, for what we set ourselves to do we always accomplish, and just now our first concern is full employment.