MARCH 2, 1945
WASHINGTON, Thursday—Early this morning Admiral and Mrs. Wilson Brown and I attended the memorial service at St. Matthews' Cathedral for the late General Watson.
At noon we all went up to the Capitol to hear the President deliver his report to Congress and to the American people over the radio.
I almost forgot it was going over the radio, because the President seemed to be talking so informally to the men immediately around him. A good deal of the time he did not even look at his manuscript, so it was quite evident that he was thinking as he went along and using his own impressions and recollections to point up the more careful wording of the written manuscript.
There is nothing in the message, as far as I can see, that will bring any comfort to the enemy, because from beginning to end it breathes a spirit of unity and of determination to keep that spirit alive. If only the peoples of the world can have the same feeling that these leaders have had, and that their staffs have evidently succeeded in carrying out in their work together, much can be accomplished, I feel sure, in the future.
There is one place where people who wish to render a steady day by day war service might find a useful job, I am told. The Veterans Administration is very short of clerical workers. Their personnel division places the shortage in Washington, D.C., alone, at 1,000 employees. I realize that everybody cannot act as a stenographer or a clerk. But perhaps if you went to the Veterans Administration offices in various cities they might find something you could do which would free someone else who had the qualifications they needed and who could therefore give more time in essential work.
They must need help pretty badly, because when I telephoned to ask if people who applied had to have civil service status they told me "No," adding that the Veterans Administration would help applicants to attain this status if necessary. They feel that all their work has been slowed down and that this is going to affect the families of disabled men, as well as the men themselves. I know that this is true, for I have come across several cases myself where the records are not coming through in the usual period of time, which at best was none too rapid. Incidentally, if shortage exists now, the day by day load carried by the Veterans Administration is going to go up, so things will be worse and not better.
Yesterday afternoon I had a call from quite a large delegation. This delegation came from Minneapolis and St. Paul, the twin cities of Minnesota, and they were here to give as much support as they could to the passage of a strong Fair Employment Practices Act. They asked to see me and they stated very clearly the reasons why they felt that now during the war, as our men were coming home, as well as after the war, this legislation was essential to the well-being of our minorities.