JUNE 16, 1950
HELSINKI, Finland, Thursday—We spent the first part of Wednesday looking at some of the Finnish glass, ceramics, pottery, and copper work and wood carving. Later we visited Arabia—one of Finland's largest pottery plants. The museum here is interesting because it showed what the plant had produced on its opening day, and what it was able to do two years later. There were models lent by Sweden and the duplicate copies made in the Finnish plant. I was particularly interested in one model. This showed the original small building in which the industry had started, and the chimney of the original kiln which is still being used although it is 75 years old.
Today the picture is a very different one. Building after building has been added, and it is now one of the largest plants of its kind. They make what is called rice china—this is beautiful and translucent.
From the museum we went on to visit the children's nursery. This is run by the plant for the mothers who have to come to work. The children are accepted from the age of two months up to seven years old, then they have to go to school. It is a beautifully planned and organized nursery and the children look extremely healthy.
They operate with twelve nurses and twelve volunteers. The idea being that the volunteers get a preliminary training here, with healthy children, before they take their courses which prepare them to nurse sick children.
Throughout the country practically every large industry undertakes some welfare work of this kind. The cost is certainly minimum—about 30 cents a day for which a child gets two hot meals and a snack of bread and butter and milk. The child is left at 6:30 in the morning and called for after 4 p.m.
We lunched with the President and Madame Paasikivi—a very pleasant party. Mme. Paasikivi expressed the thanks of all Finnish women for the aid sent to their children from America. The Red Cross, the Save The Children's Fund and the Quakers are the three organizations most frequently mentioned. Mme. Paasikivi spoke particulary of the gratitude they felt for the streptomycian and the anti-tuberculosis vaccine which had been granted them through the Children's Emergency Fund of the United Nations and the World Health Organization.
Wednesday was a real summer day. We went to tea with the members of the Diet and Miss Kyllikki Pohjola received us. In the evening I spoke at the University Auditorium to a joint group of women's organizations.
I am struck more and more by the fact that fundamentally people are much the same the world over, and though different nations may do things in different ways, their aims and objectives are very similar.
If I were to sum up my impressions of Finland, I would say that from a summer visitor's point of view it is an enchanting country. People here, as everywhere else, have been friendly and welcoming. I leave with a sense of deep admiration for a people that can build, and rebuild, and preserve its optimistic spirit in the face of so many discouragements in the past. I shall be watching the people of Finland in the future with great interest and my good wishes will be with them all.