AUGUST 21, 1945
NEW YORK, Monday—Above everything else, today, I want to thank the many thoughtful and kind people who since the end of the war have sent me telegrams and letters expressing their joy and their regret that my husband is not here to share this joy with them. I am deeply grateful for the many kind things they say about his work in the past, which helped to bring about this longed-for day.
During the war, he always reminded me of the fact that first things come first, and that the war must be won before we could put our major effort on anything else. Now, however, our major effort must be placed on building peace, and for that reason I am sorry to see so much pressure brought on our government officials to do away quickly with all wartime controls.
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Take the question of food, for instance. We are a well-fed nation. We have not liked dealing with ration points and not being able to buy whatever we could pay for, as in the past. But, with very little ingenuity, we have managed to keep our children and ourselves well nourished. The Army is now able to release food which in the past they stored up for future shipment, and that food, I believe, should go immediately to UNRRA.
There will probably be protests from certain selfish people, whose shortsightedness prevents them from seeing that a few months more of discomfort (not hardship) for us may mean a far quicker recovery in other countries—and in the end, therefore, greater benefit for us. It is impossible, of course, to cover here the many ways in which we might help the people of Europe and Asia to a more rapid recovery. If we as a nation, however, ask our Congress to allow us to make the rather small sacrifice of continuing certain discomforts for ourselves for another year or two, it will mean much to people in many parts of the world. Congress will not dare to impose restrictions on us unless we make known our willingness to accept them.
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In this direction, the Girl Scouts, with a number of other youth service organizations, are sponsoring a rally in the near future for the purpose of bringing home to young people and their parents what the food allowance for an adult or a child actually is in Europe and Asia today. The difference between what they consider necessary to life and what we actually have is something which should give us pause. UNRRA has lately raised its standards and hopes to provide 2000 calories per person. That amount is considered essential because heating facilities next winter will probably be very much curtailed, and the people of many foreign countries will need a higher calorie level than we do here, where we have warm houses and warm places in which to work. Yet our calorie level is 3300 per capita.