FEBRUARY 19, 1943
WASHINGTON, Thursday—I am still a little breathless, for this has been a busy day. At 10:00 o'clock I went to make a recording, which is to be used on one of the Treasury Star Parade Programs. Home again, and a few of the usual complications about tickets for the Senate and House Galleries were awaiting me at my desk.
The speech by Madame Chiang was not only an interesting occasion, but quite unique. It marked the recognition of a woman who, through her own personality and her own service, has achieved a place in the world, not merely as the wife of Generalissimo Chiang Kai-shek, but as a representative of her people.
We left the White House a few minutes before twelve to go to the Capitol, and people along the way waved and smiled their recognition of Madame Chiang Kai-shek. I went at once to the gallery overlooking the Senate Chamber, where she was to appear for a few minutes and deliver an extemporaneous, short speech.
When I saw her little, slim figure in her straight Chinese gown, coming down the aisle, she seemed overshadowed by the men around her. I could not help a great feeling of pride in her achievements as a woman, but when she spoke it was no longer as a woman that one thought of her. She was a person, a great person, receiving the recognition due her as an individual valiantly fighting in the forefront of the world's battle.
I hurried from the Senate to the House Gallery to hear her deliver a speech which she had prepared. Then we went to the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, where Senator Connally and Representative Bloom greeted us. Here, Madame Chiang tried to gain a few minutes to correct her extemporaneous speech. For she knows, as we all do, that one may say things in rather careless fashion, which in print look very different from the way they sound when spoken.
People kept crowding around her congratulating her on her speeches. Even when she retired to another room, one member with a special message came to talk with her. It was fortunate that lunch was a little delayed, so she finally had a chance to go through the manuscript.
Lunch was pleasant and restful. At the end, the entire membership of the Foreign Relations Committees of the Senate and the House shook hands with Madame Chiang, after which we hurried back to the White House. I hope she will get a little rest and we shall make no demands on her until dinnertime.
I shall remember for a long time the applause which both sides of the House gave her when she made a plea that we look upon Japan as our major enemy. It was evident that the plea struck a responsive chord in the hearts of the men and women before her. This balance between our two fronts certainly brings up difficult questions for decision, but I imagine we shall have to trust our military authorities to plan the wisest strategy in both oceans.