MARCH 10, 1942
NEW YORK, Monday—We had some very interesting discussions yesterday afternoon at the White House on the subject of what the general attitude of the people should be during this war period. I've come to one very clear decision, namely, that all of us—men in the services, and men and women at home, should be drafted and told what is the job we are to do. It seems to me there should be immediately a freezing of prices, of profits and of wages. No one can be frozen without freezing all.
The only way I can see to get the maximum service out of our citizens, is to draft us all and to tell us all where we can be most useful and where our work is needed. So long as we are left to volunteer, we are bound to waste our capacities and to do things which are not necessary.
We are bound, quite thoughtlessly, to waste materials which we have wasted in the past, but which we no longer have a right to waste. I would be relieved beyond measure, and so would many people throughout the nation, if an authority greater than our own personal decision told us where we could be most useful. I realize that in the White House this is a more difficult question with which to cope, than it is outside. In the last war I ran a private home and complied with whatever the government asked of us. We were never sufficiently involved in the last war, either in a military or an economic way, to require much regulation beyond what could be obtained from people of goodwill on a volunteer basis.
We are in quite a different situation this time. I personally, am in a different situation in the White House because the President, as head of the nation, requires in his household certain things which would not be necessary in any private house. In private life, however, I should like to feel that I was complying with the wishes and doing the things which those in authority thought should be done.
In talking with someone this morning, I discovered I had not conveyed one point which I think important when I spoke over the air last Sunday. I want to emphasize it in this column—we wish to increase our production of foodstuffs. The large and well-managed, and often absentee-owned, farms in this country are already producing to the maximum.
Our great hope is to increase the production on the small farm. The Farm Security Administration, working with the lowest income farmers, has proved that this can be done through wise advice in management, small loans and assistance in marketing produce. Therefore, I believe it is a good investment to increase the use of Farm Security Administration methods.