MARCH 15, 1940
CHICAGO, Thursday—Such weather as we had yesterday afternoon in Kokomo, Indiana. I was so discouraged that I stayed in the hotel all through it and held a press conference which was largely attended by high school students, then met a group of Democratic women who were accompanied by two gentlemen, and finally saw the WPA and NYA directors. I was sorry not to see some of their projects, but I made up for it this morning. Unfortunately, none of the young people were on the job, so I only saw the results of their labors.
The dinner given last night before the lecture was very pleasant. Part of the choir of the Grace Methodist Church, which sang at the World's Fair last year, sang for us and added very much to our pleasure. This morning I was driven around the city. Mr. Frederick, who went with us, certainly knows how to dramatize the story of Kokomo's comeback from the depression. He said that all the banks had failed and that only three of their plants were running. Still, without help from the Government, they reorganized and built up the city. He bases the success which they have had on the fact that they have a successful understanding between the employers and the labor groups. They are an organized city which has granted even to unorganized industries the right of collective bargaining. During the depression through the cooperation and joint efforts of both labor and capital, they have rehabilitated the industrial life of the city.
They rebuilt some of the buildings of industries which had closed. New industries came because of the goodwill which existed between the workers and the employers. They still have some unemployed, but if what they told me this morning is true, this should be one of the first places to find the solution to our unemployment problem. I have a feeling that they should be asked to do some intensive work and experimentation here.
In a speech made not very long ago, Mr. Milo Perkins suggested that the principle of the stamp plan used for surplus food and surplus cotton might be used in solving the unemployment problem. There might be people here who would consider working on that idea.
Apparently peace has come to Finland, but not a very happy peace. Somehow, it seems to me that the nations of the world must find a way of guaranteeing the rights of small countries to live unmolested within their own borders in the way that they desire to live, so long as they do not interfere with the rights of their neighbors. Unless some such agreement is brought about, it seems to me that the rule of force will continue inevitably and that rule endangers all small independent peoples.