NOVEMBER 18, 1944
WASHINGTON, Friday—Late on Wednesday afternoon I went over to the Walsh Club, where a group of government girls were entertaining wounded servicemen from Walter Reed Hospital.
These girls are planning to use their club, which is really very attractive, as a place where they can invite servicemen for parties, and they would also like to be able to visit them in the hospital. This first group of men from Walter Reed were invited partly so that the girls could ask their advice as to the best way of breaking the ice, making friends and getting on with the men. I think I was asked over in the hope that I would be able to contribute something to the discussion.
Unfortunately, I cannot help a great deal, because the only real value that I have when I visit hospitals is that I bring the men the assurance of the President's interest in them. When I ask them how they are or where they come from, they are not thinking about me as an individual; they are just thinking that the President is interested in them, and that usually gives them a lift. In addition, I have traveled a great deal in this country, and the chances are that I will have some familiarity at least with the part of the country from which they come, and that makes it easy to find a point of contact. I also have four sons and a great many friends in the services in different parts of the world, and therefore know a little about what most of them have been through.
Yet these girls can bring with them what is probably the best medicine possible. They have youth, and the chance of giving the young man a feeling that he can do something for them. As one of the boys said: "It would be nice if you didn't always try to do things for us, but let us do more normal things in the way of entertaining you."
Yesterday afternoon I attended the bazaar of the French-American Wives, and was very much interested in an exhibition of the first French clothes to be received here since Paris was liberated. Two of the dresses had the old leg-of-mutton type of sleeves which I remember in my youth, and I hope that it isn't going to become a "must" for all of us, because I don't think it was a very pretty fashion. An American officer bought these dresses on his first day in Paris and sent them back to his wife. I think it was an excellent idea to put them on exhibition for the benefit of French relief.
Later in the afternoon the Charge d'Affaires of Yugoslavia and Madame Franges came to see me and one or two other friends, and in the evening a number of young aviators, back from the European area, dined with us.