JANUARY 27, 1945
WASHINGTON, Friday—In the past two days I spent a longer time on reading the newspapers than I usually spend, and that is because I have done what I hope every other interested person is doing. I have read the full statements made by Jesse H. Jones and Henry Wallace, and as much of the questioning as was reported in the papers. The reason I hope that other citizens throughout this nation have taken the time to do this same thing is that I think they will find the two statements, with the questions and answers, a great help in clarifying their own thinking.
Mr. Jones has been for years a gentleman well known in business circles. Mr. Wallace was primarily a farmer, and the one business he was engaged in grew out of his scientific farming knowledge.
We are frequently told that farming is not an occupation where people accumulate vast incomes, but that we are a nation where a great many people still go in for farming because they like it as a way of life. Mr. Wallace has been, in his chosen field, successful; but much of his time has been given to government work, and some of his most successful experience in business has come through government work. Directing the Commodity Credit Corporation, the Farm Security Administration, the Farm Credit Administration and the Rural Electrification Administration, and making some $6,000,000,000 worth of loans is proof of vast experience, however.
What stands out, as you read—at least, for me—is that one man is looking backwards and the other man is looking forward. We are at a period, it seems to me, where this attitude of mind is not something which you can judge by physical age. Some old men, like Albert Einstein, are always looking forward.
I do not think it is time wasted to read carefully what these two men have to say and to decide where one stands oneself, because it is a fundamental decision which is going to face many of us, and not just in any one field. Who is to be the Secretary of Commerce and who is to have the powers of the RFC are perhaps the immediate questions before Congress, and the rest of the country is deeply interested; but the interest of the rest of the country is even deeper than this particular decision. We know, we people in the United States, that the world is facing new and unpredictable conditions. We know that to meet these conditions we will have to have realists leading us who face what the conditions are. At the same time, we know that adherence to old and outmoded answers may lead to destruction.
I have always had complete faith in the power of the American people to make up their minds as to what they wanted, and to be wise in their decisions, if they had at hand the facts on which to base their judgments. In this particular moment of our history, I think the statements made by Mr. Jones and Mr. Wallace are essential facts which the American people need to have in making their decisions for the future.