JANUARY 31, 1939
WASHINGTON, Monday—All of our guests last night sang "Happy Birthday" to the President just as the clock struck midnight, which was a nice beginning for his birthday. All the young movie stars are here today to help him celebrate his birthday by making the birthday balls a success throughout this city.
This morning I attended Mrs. Lawrence Townsend's concert and heard our friend Mr. Rene Le Roy, who is over here from France, play his flute. He has become well-known and popular in this country but I can remember his very first trip when he could hardly speak any English. He brought a letter from friends in France to introduce him to us as "the best flutist in the world." At that time I took him to see his first American play, "Green Pastures." After we saw "Outward Bound" last night, he reminded me of this and said both plays were good for the soul.
Mr. Robert Casadesus played on the program this morning. He is a fine pianist. Madame Bidu Sayao sang charmingly and Mrs. Hull who was with me, was much interested in her because she remembered four years ago that Madame Sayao made her first trip to the United States on the same boat which brought Secretary and Mrs. Hull home. At that time Madame Sayao could hardly speak a word of English. Today she sang her English songs with a perfect accent.
That is an interesting statement by Minister Goebbels to the school children of Germany: "We see our Reich today respected—or at least feared." No one will deny that he speaks the truth, but many of us wonder whether we want that to be the attitude of the world where our own nation is concerned. I would prefer to have it amended and use the word "loved" instead of "feared."
With us it is still raining and I imagine that in other places it is snowing. The winter which started out so kindly, has turned out to be a hard winter after all. Those of us who have a warm place to sleep, plenty of clothing and enough food are really not concerned, beyond a mild desire to see the sun now and then.
However, I cannot help wondering about the share croppers' families in Missouri. I fear that human suffering is not confined to Europe these days. It is true that an investigation is in progress as to the rights and wrongs of these people and their attitude toward their former employers, but from the point of view of the women and children this investigation is really immaterial. A child can catch pneumonia whether his family is camping on the main road, where it can be seen, or off the road where the passers-by are not so apt to notice conditions. Pneumonia may be just as serious whether your family is in the right or wrong in making a protest against the conditions under which they worked and lived. I hope the people who live nearby are keeping in very close touch with these families and making sure that as much suffering as possible is being alleviated.