MARCH 17, 1947
LOS ANGELES, Sunday—One of the nice things about traveling is that you meet old friends, and because you are in strange places it gives you a particular sense of pleasure. When my press conference assembled yesterday morning, I was surprised and pleased to see Miss Mary Hornaday, one of the members of my Washington press conference group. The last time I saw her was in London, when she had just returned from a trip to Yugoslavia and was still deeply impressed by the hardships which had been undergone by the women and children of that country.
I wish that the men and women who serve as correspondents on the United Nations could always have had experience in some theatre of war. It would give them a greater understanding of the reasons which lie back of some of the situations that come up for discussion, and, I think, would on the whole give us better reporting.
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One thing has particularly impressed me in our Northwestern country, and that is our lack of awareness of the need for conserving and replanting our trees. I see constant reference in the papers to restocking fish and even protecting game, both of which are very important; but I notice less and less reference to the horrible waste occasioned by forest fires and excess cutting. I was told that in some sections we are cutting something like 16 billion feet of lumber and growing only 4 billion. These figures may not be accurate, but if the proportion is correct we will wake up someday to find we have exhausted our lumber supply, injured our water supply and followed in the footsteps of the Chinese, who prepared years ago for the floods of today by denuding their hillsides of trees and leaving them bare.
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I understand perfectly why people who are on vacation love to come to Southern California. As we sat in the dining room eating our lunch, we could watch people sunning and swimming in the hotel pool. My grandson was fascinated as they dived off the board at different heights, and I could not help thinking of the shivering hundreds at home who would enjoy basking in the hot sun with the temperature at 83. However, I have a distinct feeling still that this kind of climate is not invigorating and not conducive to building up energy or the kind of endurance which our New England ancestors developed. One of my daughters-in-law who comes from New England acknowledged yesterday that, though she enjoys living here very much, she does not think the very slight changes in temperature and the fact that one is never obliged to combat a wintry climate is as good for children. It does not take long, however, to get up into the mountains, where one can enjoy all of the winter sports; and she told me of a two-weeks vacation, only two and a half hours by car from here, where the temperature was below freezing every day. I imagine that is the charm of this country; you can so easily get a variety of climate.
I am regretful that I did not plan for a few extra days and drive down from San Francisco through my favorite national park, the Yosemite. It is so early in the spring that I think the water falls would have been at their best, and I have never seen them until they had begun to shrink in volume with the disappearance of the snow.