MARCH 13, 1945
RALEIGH, N.C., Monday—Yesterday, after receiving the Canadian Wrens at 10 o'clock, we had a number of luncheon guests. At 3 o'clock I received the graduates from the first group of veterans attending American University who will work with the Disabled American Veterans organization. They had many members of their families with them, and held a service in St. John's Church. Afterward they came to see the White House and gave me a delightful time listening to one of their number play his violin for our entertainment.
At 4 o'clock our usual Sunday afternoon group of veterans came from Walter Reed and St. Elizabeth hospitals.
In the evening Miss Thompson and I left on the night train to come to Raleigh. We are now at Josephus Daniels' house getting a little rest and refreshment before we start on a very busy day. More of this, however, tomorrow.
Just now I want to tell you a little about what the American people have been able to do through the organization of American Relief for Italy. The story has doubtless been told before in the press, but many people apparently missed seeing it and have written me deploring the fact that we were not able to do anything for Italy. So I want them to know what really has been done.
Last December and January, the first shipments of clothing, milk, vitamins, medicines and other supplies donated by people in this country were distributed to the six provinces of central Italy most damaged by the war—Pescara, Chieti, Aquila, Campobasso, Littoria and Frosinone. The Allied armies and the Allied Commission helped with transportation when it was not available by train.
More than one-fifth of the total population of these provinces was provided with clothing, which was distributed on the basis of four garments and a pair of shoes to each individual. In this way 128,030 men, 133,164 women, 72,352 boys, 72,768 girls and 85,422 infants were helped. The distribution was made without regard to race, nationality, religion or political belief. Later, distributions of supplies were made in Foggia, in the districts of Naples, and in the province of Rome.
This relief has been continuing systematically. The February shipments alone are estimated to have been 3,000,000 pounds, so I think we may feel that Italy has had some tangible evidence of our interest in the people's welfare.