JANUARY 19, 1945
WASHINGTON, Thursday—I had a very troubled letter the other day on the subject of the sale of 28,000,000 first-aid dressings by the Treasury Procurement Division, and though I know it has already been explained, I think so many were troubled by it who are working in the Red Cross that it will do no harm to tell them again the exact facts about these particular bandages. The Treasury Department report says:
"The dressings were bought by the Army in 1942 as a part of the stockpile of medical equipment built to meet anticipated lend-lease needs. In purchasing for the stockpile, the Army provided centralized procurement for various lend-lease countries and assured rapid delivery of essential supplies. Purchases for the stockpile were made on the basis of the best information available on war needs. Eighty percent of the total lend-lease requirements were satisfied from this stockpile.
"After the bandages were acquired, the anticipated heavy requirements for this item from lend-lease did not develop. At the same time, the Army shifted from the use of white to a brown first-aid bandage, as a result of its combat experiences. In the Southwest Pacific, white first-aid bandages made wounded men a target for snipers. Because of this, brown dressings replaced white in kits issued to troops in all theatres of operation.
"Unwrapping the white first-aid dressings, dyeing the outside bandage and re-wrapping and re-packaging proved more expensive than to buy the brown bandages new.
"These bandages were machine-made and designed for one purpose only, and therefore had almost no hospital use. They are not to be confused with dressings made by the American Red Cross, which are folded by hand and which are used primarily in surgery. There is still an urgent need for Red Cross bandages."
I got back from New York City this morning. A group of dramatists met with me yesterday afternoon to discuss the ways in which writers in this field could be of help to the public and to returning servicemen.
Last evening before going to the midnight train, I took some young friends of mine to see "The Seven Lively Arts." Mr. Rose has certainly put on a wonderful show and Beatrice Lillie was as amusing as ever. There are so many people of fame connected with this play that one can't mention some for fear of leaving others out, but one could never leave out Miss Lillie.