MARCH 11, 1947
SAN FRANCISCO, Monday—The United Nations seems to be a subject in which people are vastly interested. I begin to be more hopeful that the people of this country really understand the necessity for making this machinery work and that they are more understanding of the world situation than I had realized. Everywhere I go on this lecture tour, they greet with applause concrete suggestions that Congress must appropriate money for the International Refugee Organization and for relief, and they seem to accept equally enthusiastically the suggestion that we take our share of displaced persons by filling the unused immigration quotas accumulated during the years of the war.
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While I was in Portland, I had the pleasure of seeing a young man from Tacoma who, years ago, worked in Bear Mountain Park, New York, and then with the CCC. Lately he has been in the Army, in which he rose from a private to a lieutenant. Now a civilian again, he has brought his family to Tacoma and has decided to stay in the Northwest. It seems to be the land where young men can branch out and dream dreams of the future.
He has a landscaping business already well started. He told me that the easy way of spending money, which was prevalent immediately after the war, has already come to an end, but he is doing well. He corroborated what is always felt about this part of our country—namely, that young men who want to be on their own have a chance here which they might take far longer to develop in the East.
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On the train from Portland to Orland, California, the other morning, I was struck by the great variety of people one sees travelling these days—and travelling very comfortably. This country of ours, through its natural resources and because of the energy and ingenuity of its people, has provided an astonishing number of its inhabitants with an ease of life scarcely matched in any other country in the world for such a varied group of individuals.
I watched an old couple across from us in the dining car. The woman had a sweet face. The man wore an old-fashioned watch and chain of my grandfather's day, and drew from his pocket the old type of purse which I had not seen, except in the country, in fifty years past. He looked like a well-to-do farmer, or someone who had spent many years of his life working with his hands, and now, in the evening of his life, was enjoying his ease and freedom from care.
Travel always renews my confidence in the American people and in the United States itself. We have such varied resources. All one has to do is to travel for a few days, and all these resources and all the strength of our people passes before us in a truly formidable array.
From Orland we drove to Chico, California, where I spoke on a forum series of the State College. Chico is the center for a vast farming valley, and this forum series was well attended as it served not only to bring the people food for thought, but also a chance for social get-togethers, which are evidently popular. The questions after my lecture were many and interesting.