MAY 31, 1951
HYDE PARK, Wednesday—I spent Tuesday in Washington reporting to the President and to the State Department on the Human Rights Commission's work in Geneva during these past weeks.
I am always surprised to find people who carry as much responsibility as the President and the Secretary of State looking moderately well. On this occasion I thought both Mr. Truman and Mr. Acheson looked very fresh and vigorous, which denotes an ability to shoulder not only the problems that are theirs from day to day, but to accept criticism with calmness.
When one has reached the point where one can take criticism and analyze it, profiting by it when it is constructive and ignoring the rest of it, one has gone a long way toward being a useful public servant. Until a person has learned to do this, he is apt to be so wrought up and torn over past and present actions that his ability to think and act clearly is impaired.
My grandson, Curtis, and his wife, came up on the late train with me on Tuesday and I gave them the Covenant of Human Rights as it now stands to read. It was a good thing to do, for it showed me very quickly what were the things that the layman is going to find difficult to understand. Just the language in this sort of document can be a stumbling block to anyone not accustomed to legal phraseology, and when you think what it must be to some of the people who do not know how to read or write but can only listen to the document being read to them you get an idea of what it will take to have it really understood by the peoples of the world.
In the real estate section of one of the newspapers on Tuesday, I happened to see a story about the Home Owners' Loan Corporation. This was one of the agencies set up by a bill introduced on April 14, 1933, during the first hundred days of my husband's Administration in which so much legislation was passed.
It is true that not every borrower was able to keep his property, for conditions did not improve at once, but to have an average of four out of five borrowers avert foreclosures means that a great many people saved their homes. Altogether the HOLC refinanced 1,017,321 homes, according to this article, in non-farm areas on which the owners had defaulted on their mortgages at a time when foreclosures were taking place at a rate of about one thousand a day.
There were other activities in which the HOLC engaged that helped out financial institutions and private lenders and city and town administrations. These were suffering because of nonpayment of taxes.
On closing out its books, the HOLC handed the United States Treasury a check for nearly $14,000,000, which represents the surplus the agency had accumulated after having redeemed bonds amounting to $3,489,000,000. It also paid back the original capital of $200,000,000 supplied by the Treasury. This, at least, was one New Deal venture that made money for the government rather than being an expense.