MARCH 15, 1946
WASHINGTON, Thursday—I greatly regret the resignation of former Governor Herbert H. Lehman as Director of UNRRA. I am particularly sorry that it has come because of ill health. Yet when we look back over the years during which Mr. Lehman has battled to make the various governments conscious of the need for UNRRA, and when we think of the trips he has taken under wartime conditions, one cannot be surprised that his health has suffered. These trips were necessarily arduous.
All men working in any official capacity through these past few years have been under a very great strain, and a man like Mr. Lehman, who is sensitive to human suffering and who has been so very close to it because of his post, must have endured a great deal. I have come to think that, for those who realize the weight of human suffering in the various parts of the world today, the mental and spiritual anguish is far greater than the physical strain.
We can only hope that, in retiring, Mr. Lehman will have the satisfaction of realizing that he has helped to alleviate the sorrows of the world as a whole, and that no man could have given himself to a worthier cause.
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It looks now as though, with all the cooperation possible throughout the world, it will be difficult to avoid mass starvation in many areas. The Famine Emergency Committee which the President has formed has an extremely difficult task before it.
I am really sorry that its chairman, Mr. Herbert Hoover, with the vast experience which he acquired from his work after the first World War, is going abroad. I feel that he can do less good by taking a trip over there than he could by staying here.
He is a good business organizer, and I believe he would have more influence in promoting the things which must be done in this country and the cooperation which must be obtained from our Central and South American neighbors. In all probability, to increase their production of the needed foodstuffs will require a very careful surveying of their capacities and perhaps the allocation of farm machinery and the enlisting of personnel in this country to initiate new types of production in our sister countries in this hemisphere. For all of this, Mr. Hoover's help would be invaluable.
It seems to me that the reports coming from Europe and the picture of the Asiatic situation which can be obtained from people already on the spot are sufficient.