FEBRUARY 24, 1950
NEW YORK, Thursday—Winter is really paying us all a visit, and I must say that I rather enjoy it. I imagine, though, the Mayor is delighted that the snow turned to rain before the downfall became too heavy. It would have been impossible to use any water to clean the streets!
Miss Thompson and I went yesterday morning to have a look at Douglas Chandor's portrait of me. It is certainly a beautiful piece of work. I suppose if you are going down to posterity in a portrait, the most pleasant way is being painted by a delightful and very finished artist who makes you look as nice as possible. He made the sittings as painless as such things can be made. I hope my son, Elliott, to whom the portrait belongs, will enjoy it.
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Yesterday was not only George Washington's birthday, but was beginning of Lent. Several people I met spoke of the old-fashioned custom we used to observe of giving up something we really enjoyed from Ash Wednesday to Easter Sunday. I don't think many people indulge in the habit any more, but it really is a good habit and might be of real help to those of us who need a little dieting now and then.
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It was sad news to read of Edwin R. Embree's death. Many people have much to be grateful for when they realize how much he gave of himself in the service of others. Those who worked with him on the board of the Rosenwald Fund will always remember him with the deepest regard for his character and integrity.
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I had the pleasure of meeting yesterday afternoon Madame Vialle, representative in the French Parliament from Equatorial Africa, who is over here as a member of the United Nations Committee on Slavery.
I am sure that the report of this committee will shock a number of people who probably felt as I did, that slavery was one of the things which had long since passed out as a practice anywhere in the world.
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In the late afternoon Miss Thompson, Miss Hickok and I drove out to Scarsdale for a meeting of the Scarsdale Democratic Club at which I spoke on "The United Nations Today." It was not good driving weather and I felt a little guilty at being driven both ways. But it certainly was a very pleasant and easy way to keep this engagement. We had a very delightful buffet dinner before the meeting at the home of Mr. and Mrs. Arthur S. Meyer. They live in a very old house which they have done over with taste and charm, blending modern comfort with the beauty of the old woodwork.
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I cannot understand why it has taken so long to arouse any interest in Congress in admitting Hawaii into the Union as a state. It would seem to me that this group of islands, with an estimated population of 509,000, should have the rights of a state. It certainly is an important part of our nation as far as our defenses in the Pacific are concerned.
Since we are talking about statehood I think it might be well to accept Alaska at the same time! There are advantages to being a sovereign state in full standing with all the rights, privileges and obligations of a state. I hope that Congress will be able to consider at this session, admitting both Hawaii and Alaska as states.