MARCH 31, 1947
NEW YORK, Sunday—I went to Washington on Friday to speak at the Women's Action Committee banquet. This group of 15 affiliated organizations visited their Congressional representatives during the day, and had an educational time. Some of them were well received and felt they had been courteously treated and enlightened. Others had a variety of experiences, such as waiting a very long time only to find that the gentleman they wished to see was not going to receive them. Nevertheless, I am sure that this sort of interchange of views, face to face, is valuable both to the Representatives and their constituents, and I hope it will continue.
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Most of us have been greatly saddened by the coal mine disasters. I feel that Mr. John L. Lewis, who is undoubtedly grieved about the loss of the men in his union, still had a sense of satisfaction when he could blame the government for lack of proper inspection and attention to the safety of the mines. It is true in this case that the Federal government might do a little better job of enforcing safety measures than the state governments have done in the past. But even if the enforcement in both cases had been excellent, I think it is only fair to recognize that the United States Bureau of Mines in all probability has never had a sufficient appropriation to make the number of inspections necessary to check on whether their recommendations had been carried out.
This is something which the people of the mining states should bring to the attention of their representatives in Congress, since the Bureau of Mines gets its appropriation from Congress. I see that Mr. Lewis has protested the nomination of the head of that bureau. I know nothing about the gentleman in question, but I believe that some attention should be given to the competence of any man entrusted with the lives of so many men in an essential industry. The men themselves, or their representatives, should probably be consulted and be convinced of the efficiency of the appointee.
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When I was in California a group of young veterans came to see me who were studying city government, and I was told of the Coro Foundation, which had been established in San Francisco with the object of educating men to administer city affairs. This is a very good idea, and one which might be carried on in many of our larger cities if some forward-looking citizens could be found to take a real interest in training for this type of work. We have long had young people, chosen in their last year of college, doing work with the Federal government; and many of them have remained in government service. It seems to me that the testimony of Arthur Fleming on the improvement in the Civil Service system might lead us to consider some new ways of training all types of people for government positions in city, state and national work. A comprehensive plan worked out for training and promotion might be an incentive to schools and colleges to prepare young people to take these particular postgraduate courses, and might give us a new type of public servant.