JANUARY 11, 1946
LONDON, Thursday—In Grosvenor Square where the American delegates to the United Nations Organization have offices, I saw quite a queue of young women at the entrance of a building on the opposite side of the square, over which flies the American flag. The young women are our soldiers' British wives, and now after much confusion the army finally is able to consider their problem. Gradually they are making arrangements for them to join their husbands in the United States.
Since my arrival I have had several letters about them and I imagine their position has been none too easy. No one has been able before to give them any definite answers to their questions. In some cases their husbands would get home and be demobilized and the government allotments would automatically stop. The man instead of realizing that now he was resuming full responsibility as a civilian for his dependents would sometimes write the Embassy and inquire why his wife was not receiving support.
However, I think the end of the confusion is in sight. Transportation, which has been the great difficulty, is improving and it is possible to allocate some ships to bring the wives and children of our servicemen home without curtailing the facilities for returning our own soldiers to the United States.
President Truman on December 28, signed legislation which makes visas unnecessary for the wives of United States citizens serving in or having an honorable discharge from the armed forces of the United States during the second world war. The American Embassy and the American Red Cross have cooperated in doing all they possibly could for them even before the army policy was announced.
Many of the personal welfare problems which arose while the wives waited for shipping have been handled by the American Red Cross. The wives who already have been cleared by the American Embassy are not required to do anything further under the new legislation. They simply will be notified when shipping is available.
The first priority goes to about 400 wives whose husbands are in hospitals in the United States. They are scheduled to sail on the U.S.S. Argentina towards the end of January.
Staging areas are being set up so the families can be cared for during the three or four days prior to sailing. The transportation is free from their homes here to their future homes in the United States and reception areas are being prepared for them on landing until their transportation in the United States is ready. Complete information as to food, baggage, etc., is given them both as to themselves and their children before leaving their present homes.
The initial application must be made to army headquarters and the following documents must be produced: 1. Marriage certificates in all cases. 2. Proof of husband's citizenship (birth certificate or letter from his commanding officer certifying citizenship or copy of discharge certificate). 3. Husband's affidavit of support (if husband is not already in the United States). 4. Cable or postmarked letter from husband (if husband is in the United States) requesting her to join him. 5. Birth certificate for each child.
Each dependent will receive through the mail, after this first application has been made, a questionnaire from the Army Transportation Corps. This must be filled out and returned promptly or a needless delay will occur in transportation assignments.
Some of the young women over here from the United States are trying to meet these young wives and tell them something about the country which soon will be their home. One hopes that the adjustment to their new surroundings in the United States will not be too difficult.