JUNE 19, 1943
NEW YORK, Friday—Wednesday we had the pleasure of having Mrs. Jan Struther, the author of "Mrs. Miniver," spend the night with us in Washington. She was a delightful guest and left me a new poem, which she had written as a result of one of her trips through the country. Mrs. Struther has been on a lecture tour, and has had an opportunity on many trains, to see men in the armed services and their families, who form the major part of the travelling public at the present time.
Yesterday afternoon I came up to New York City, stopped to see Mrs. Henry Morgenthau, Jr., in the hospital and spent the night at the apartment, so as to get off this morning to keep an appointment in Orange, N. J., for the middle of the day. This evening I am going to Hyde Park and am looking forward to nearly ten days in the country, which will not be idle days because I have several engagements that have to be met. There is great joy, however, in getting back to the trees and the familiar countryside.
I wonder if you have seen a little reading list entitled "Reading For Democracy," with 31 important books which "every American should read." It is published by the Chicago Round Table of Christians and Jews, and I think everybody will find it an interesting list.
I keep getting letters which point up the prejudices in which so many of us indulge, even in wartime. They are not always prejudices against a race, sometimes they are religious prejudices. For instance, some people do not wish to be where Catholics or Jews predominate in their environment. Sometimes, it is Protestants who are banned.
All this seems out of place in a country with so many racial origins and so many religions. Our soldiers fight and die, side by side, and are comforted by priests, ministers or rabbis, as the case may be, quite regardless of whether the dying boys belong to the particular church represented near them at the moment.
It seems to me this might teach us, as civilians, a lesson. What is really important is not what religion or race we belong to, but how we live our lives, whether we deal with others with honesty and kindness, or whether we lie and cheat and take advantage of our neighbors. I wish that out of this war might come to us a truer evaluation of the worth of human beings and far less interest in the labels of race and religion.