OCTOBER 14, 1944
WASHINGTON, Friday—Yesterday afternoon, being Columbus Day, the President gave a radio speech which was attended by the ambassadors and representatives of the various Latin American Republics. Then they joined us at tea. It was very pleasant to see familiar faces and to meet the new representatives, and I know that the President enjoyed it as much as I did.
A young woman from India came to see me yesterday, a niece of Tagore, the Indian philosopher and poet. I have always loved his writings and therefore I felt it a privilege to see this young woman, who lived so closely to him in her early youth. She has been 11 years in this country studying, and hopes someday to return to India and help her own people. She has studied largely in the field of the arts, and hopes to preserve the native cultures of her country.
We hurried our dinner a little last night, as the President had to speak again over the air in recognition of an award which was made to him by the Italian American Labor Council.
Burgess Johnson wrote to me the other day from Schenectady, N.Y., and sent me a pledge which the Citizens Unity Committee of that city circulated. When they found that their two great war industries were bringing them an influx of workers of various races, creeds and color, they feared that unless an attitude of tolerance and common sense was encouraged, some difficulties might arise. They therefore tried to have a clear understanding as to what are the "rights" of citizens as distinct from the "privileges," and to see to it that the "rights" were assured to all. The pledge, which I give you in the hope that you will keep it before you and live up to it daily, is as follows:
"MY COUNTRY is engaged in total war to preserve itself and its ideals. We at home are as deeply involved as the men on the fighting front, and should respond to the best of our ability when asked to give our money, our blood, or our time and strength in public service. As important as any of these is our contribution to the national morale. THEREFORE:
"I MAKE THIS PLEDGE to my nation and my community: That I will promote unity instead of discord, true democracy instead of Fascism, by refusing to heed any words written or spoken for the purpose of arousing racial or religious hate. I will discourage by my own words and actions all rumors or reports, however lightly expressed, which reflect upon the character of groups of my fellow Americans who may differ from me in race or creed. I will give no aid or comfort in this or any other way to the enemy."