SEPTEMBER 29, 1944
NEW YORK, Thursday—I was reading a letter the other day from an army boy in England. He had been there only a short time, and he was noticing the shortages in food and the fact that women on the streets were poorly dressed. He was a little critical at first, until someone reminded him that England has been at war for quite a number of years, and that he would find even worse conditions in some of the other countries of Europe and Asia.
To be sure, some people always seem to come through any situation comparatively comfortably. They are usually the exceptions—like the lady who told me she impressed the sentry on the border between France and Spain so effectively that, even after the occupation, she was able to leave with 36 trunks! That certainly must have been an impressive eye she cast on the sentry.
For the most part, however, the people who have been through several years of this war are going to show signs of wear and tear. Complaints about civilian hardships in the United States must sound like luxury to the people who have been closer to the war than we.
Even though we read in the papers of the great military successes we achieve, we must not forget that they are achieved at a heavy cost. The men who are actually doing the fighting must sometimes wonder why we talk about looking for peacetime jobs, when there are still people needed in wartime occupations.
A letter came to me the other day explaining that a recent announcement stated that it would shortly be possible to release two to four million people for civilian production. When this time comes, we hope that the materials needed will be available, and that jobs in civilian production will be found by them through the U.S. Employment Offices. In the meantime, in this same communication, I read that 200,000 people are needed immediately for specific and urgent war jobs, requiring special qualifications. The articles to be made are needed by the armed forces, and at once. The U.S. Employment Offices will know what the requirements are, and before anyone looks for a job in civilian industry, he should be sure to find out if he can fill any of these requirements.
Directives have been issued by James F. Byrnes, Director of War Mobilization, and I am sure everyone will willingly cooperate. We know that men's lives are saved today by having an abundance of superior war weapons, and we in this country care greatly that as many lives as can be saved, shall be saved. Every worker at his wartime job knows that he is contributing to the safety of some soldier when he expedites the making of better war material.