SEPTEMBER 19, 1942
WASHINGTON, Friday—Wonder of wonders, I have just come across a woman who is not inquisitive. This woman wrote me a little while ago and accused the Student Assembly, held in Washington under the auspices of the United States Committee of the International Student Service, of being a strange mixture—in her own words: "This mob of Hitlerites and ex-Communists." Quite a mixture!
I answered and tried to tell her something of the truth, but she has returned my letter unopened. I wonder if she is just not curious, or so convinced that she knows everything there is to know, that she doesn't want to know anything more!
Of course, whatever she believes, does no one any harm. However, I have a theory that when you feel bitterness and rage against other people, even against groups of people, it is a help to find that it is not necessary. The only harm that comes from self-indulgence in bitterness and anger is what happens to the person so indulging herself. The doctors tell us that there is a chemical change which takes place inside of people who go through such emotions, so it is injurious to the attacker but not to those attacked.
I have had a request from the publicity director of the American Industries Salvage Committee to bring out certain facts about the need for scrap metal. She tells me that four million tons of materials, now hidden away in our homes, are needed on the battlefield.
An old wash pail, for instance, would provide three bayonets. A set of skid chains will provide twenty thirty-seven millimeter anti-aircraft shells. A bicycle tire and tube will make one gas mask. Therefore, the committee begs that you will go rummaging through your house, from garret to cellar, and find everything you no longer use and see that it goes to your local salvage committee. Now that I have told you what the Central Committee wants you to do, I am going to ask them to do something in return.
I find a great many people who have no idea where their local salvage committee is. They have collected scrap metal and rubber, and find no one to notify. Sometimes they hear of someone to telephone, days go by, and the scrap still stays where it was first collected. I realize all the difficulties of synchronizing all the needs with the collections. I know that eventually all this material we find in our households will be used by industry, but many people are discouraged when nothing is done with the scrap their particular community has collected.
The need is for local committees to acquaint individual householders of their existence and with the details of what they want, and how and when they want it. Different parts of the country could collect at different times to facilitate transportation, or to meet needs in various industries. Thus, the individual community would be less discouraged.