DECEMBER 20, 1944
NEW YORK, Tuesday—Yesterday Mr. Melcher, chairman of the committee of book publishers which presents books to the White House at stated intervals, came to see how they were housed at present. He seemed pleased with the library which we are creating downstairs, and with the way the books are scattered through the house. I am so happy to have these books in the White House that it gave me a great deal of pleasure to find that Mr. Melcher also approved of our arrangements.
In the afternoon I held the annual tea for the foreign students in the Labor Department auditorium. They sang two Christmas carols and then after a word of greeting, they all came in to shake hands with me and to have tea. Before I left I think I must have signed every invitation card! I am always happy to have this tea, which gives me a chance to tell these foreign students how much I think their years of study here should affect our whole international relations in the future. It is only through the friendship and understanding formed among our young people that we can hope really to bind the world in closer understanding in the future.
In the evening, 45 government students came with Dr. Davenport for an hour and a half of discussion. They are college graduates who are taking a year of post-graduate work in some government work. Many of them hope eventually to find themselves in administrative or executive offices in government permanently. The object, of course, is to develop better public servants for executive positions, and Dr. Davenport seemed pleased with the record made by some of his students, both in government service and in the war.
I came back to New York City on the midnight train to go this morning to the funeral of my aunt, Mrs. Stanley Mortimer. My only other engagement today is the board meeting of Wiltwyck School late this afternoon.
There has been sent me in the last few days a "Declaration of Human Rights," signed by many of our prominent citizens. This declaration calls for six points, the first being An International Bill of Rights—"To guarantee for every man, woman and child of every race and creed of every country, the fundamental rights of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness."
All the points seem to me to be excellent, but to make them worth the paper on which they are written will require some really concentrated work, not only on the part of those who signed the document, but on the part of many other people in this nation and throughout the world.