OCTOBER 7, 1944
WASHINGTON, Friday—Last evening a few of us gathered in the Diplomatic Reception Room to hear the President make his speech. One member of the group, who had not been with us before, remarked that she had always wondered, when listening on the radio, whether the President could really be as calm as he sounded. It was a great satisfaction to her, she added, actually to see that one could speak on the radio as easily and with as little excitement as if one were speaking to a friend in the same room.
The President devoted his speech in large part to the importance of the work which is done by precinct workers in getting people to register and vote. This work is very largely done by women, and he took the opportunity to explain to women how great is their responsibility in this election. At this time of historical crisis, it seems important that all people in a democracy, regardless of political affiliation, be urged to express their will.
It is important, of course, that they do this after seeking information and giving thought to the issues at stake. But to have such important issues decided by a small group of citizens would seem to be really a tragedy. One can well understand the great preoccupation of our people with the war at the present time. It is particularly difficult for workers in cities to find the time to get the proper information, register in person, and vote. It is to be hoped that all possible effort will be made to give them the opportunity to perform these civic duties with as little harm to their work as possible.
The other afternoon Madame Manuel Quezon and her two daughters came to say good-bye. They are going to the West Coast, where they will feel a little nearer their own beloved islands. It must be very sad to contemplate their return without the late President Quezon, who worked so constructively for his people. The personal loss, of course, is very great, and in this case it is also a national loss for the Philippines.
Yesterday saw the final sessions of the White House Conference on Rural Education. The close of the meeting left us all, I think, with a feeling of determination to do something to improve rural education throughout the country. Many people went back to their homes hoping to hold more meetings, and to spread the information which they had acquired and which is essential before localities can work out new methods of meeting the difficulties which face them.