FEBRUARY 1, 1944
WASHINGTON, Monday—On Saturday I had a most interesting talk with Mrs. Hugo Cedergren. Mr. and Mrs. Cedergren are over here for the YMCA and YWCA, visiting prisoners' camps and internee camps. She has been allowed to visit camps in Germany, to go to Geneva, and she has probably seen more of enemy territory than most neutrals. She told me that with the aid of the Red Cross packages from this country, Canada and Great Britain, the women and children in enemy camps were managing to get along fairly well as far as food and clothing go. Barracks life, however, is harder on women than on men, but the effect on the children has not yet been seriously harmful from the nutritional standpoint.
The president of the Navy Wives, an organization composed of the wives of the enlisted men of the Navy, Marine Corps and Coast Guard, came to lunch with me to tell me of the organization. The group is growing, and I am sure it will accomplish great things as time goes on.
In the afternoon, I visited the "American Mariner," a liberty ship which has been here to aid in the Fourth War Loan Drive. This is a training ship and some 200 men are on board. We went over it and saw various shops and classrooms on board, where a man is taught the tools of his trade. The galley, of course, is far larger than on an ordinary ship because so many meals have to be served. While the ship is here, the men are nobly doing their share for the bond drive. They act as hosts to more than 6,000 visitors a day, help children up and down ladders and reunite people who get detached from their particular parties.
The quota set for the ship has been exceeded. I think it is safe to say that many people who visited it will have a better understanding of the amount of cargo that these ships can carry and the job which is done by the Merchant Marine. Four men were given their combat ribbons while we looked on.
Saturday I did the rounds of the birthday balls, which were more numerous this year than ever before. I ended up at the Hotel Statler, and met many of the movie stars there. We listened to the President's broadcast. Then I cut the birthday cake and gave a piece to every star present. The only other place where I cut a birthday cake was at the Stage Door Canteen, which was so full of servicemen that I think they crowded out most of their hostesses. I only saw a few girls on the outskirts!
On Sunday we had lunch at the White House for all the movie stars and as usual, showed them around. I am always impressed by the historical sense which actors and actresses seem to have so much more strongly than people who do not project themselves into other people's lives as an everyday occurrence. My last activity in connection with the campaign for infantile paralysis was to attend the United Nations Benefit on Sunday evening, at which 40 nations were represented.