MARCH 12, 1942
WASHINGTON, Wednesday—I received a telegram today reminding me that it is not in my power to draft anyone, that Congress will do that when the time comes. Of course, I did not need this reminder.
I only wished that this might be done in order that we could all feel easy in our conscience. None of us, with the knowledge that young people's lives are at stake, can be happy unless we feel that we are doing the things which must be done.
The Children's Bureau Commission on Children in Wartime has called a meeting in Washington, to run from March 16th through March 18th. This will bring together outstanding citizens and professional leaders from many parts of the country, "to consider urgent steps for the protection and welfare of children in emergency situations resulting from the war." Many of you may have seen reports from England, which indicate that juvenile crime has increased 50 percent on account of the unusual home conditions created by the war.
This will happen here, unless we start at once to meet the situation. The agencies which will have to work together on the problem are the Children's Bureau of the Department of Labor, the Office of Defense Health and Welfare Services, and the Office of Civilian Defense.
This three-day meeting will cover such subjects as maintenance of school opportunities and child labor standards, civil protection of children, community services needed for children in defense areas—such as the organization of part-time care outside the home, medical care and prevention and treatment of juvenile delinquency, etc.
The attention of the nation should be focused on these problems, for we cannot neglect the welfare of our children in a time of war and expect to have a future worth fighting for.
We are shortly losing our White House greenhouse, which is going to mean that one of the things which has always been a great joy here—an almost unlimited amount of flowers—will be curtailed. We must look upon it as one of the things we have to give up, because it is out of the question to rebuild a greenhouse at this time.