SEPTEMBER 24, 1962
NEW YORK—I have received an anonymous letter, from a career soldier, dealing with the economic situation of American overseas personnel living in France in the Paris area. There have been changes recently in the housing allowances furnished to the men in this area, and it seems that the lower the grads and the larger the family, the greater the decrease in the allowance.
Whenever they revise, according to my correspondent, they always revise downwards. Some of the personnel have written their Senators for action, asking that allowances occasionally be revised upward, but their Senators don't answer.
The tables accompanying this information are very revealing. An E-4 with three or four dependents, for example, loses $42.00 each month. An 0-10, with no dependents, receives an increase of $4.50 each month. Other figures in the table are equally enlightening, and the fact that the soldier does not dare give his name is not surprising.
Housing is one of the basic things that affect the morale not only of soldiers but of every kind of worker. We are apt to forget how, in the past, unsatisfactory housing situations have caused deterioration of morale in various areas with which the government was working at the time. One thing we can be sure of: Whatever we do in housing will always be one of the most important ways of changing the morale of people.
Correspondents writing to us on this subject may have to remain anonymous, but they are nevertheless real flesh and blood.
We should pay attention to them and should try to meet their difficulties.
I have just been reading William S. White's book, "Majesty and Mischief." So far, I find it entertaining, and I feel quite sure that the author has his own very particular slant on the way in which very many things President Roosevelt did worked out in the long run.
I have also been dipping into "Roosevelt and Howe," by Alfred B. Rollins, Jr. I understand that after the middle of the book it becomes almost entirely a Roosevelt story, and I should be sorry if this is so, for I think Louis Howe is entitled to a book of his own.
Louis Howe was an unusually interesting man. He moved almost entirely in his own areas of thought, and, of course, had much to do with the formation of the early political years of Franklin D. Roosevelt. He also had many intellectual interests, such as etchings and collections of various kinds, and was an unending source of interest to the President. Though he was an invalid for many years, he kept his interests going and never allowed them to get interfered with. He has left an extremely intelligent son in Hartley E. Howe of the English Speaking Union, and a daughter who taught school in Massachusetts for years.
I hope this book will prove to be of interest to the general public, for I do think Louis Howe had a right to recognition.