JUNE 28, 1947
HYDE PARK, Friday—The more I read of floods and homeless people and the tremendous losses in cash and crops, the more I wonder whether anyone remembers that once upon a time we had in the Government a special group, the National Resources Board, whose job was to study our national resources and to make recommendations for conservation and development. Had they been allowed to continue to function, this board could have helped the regular conservation agencies of the Government to prevent much of this loss.
With all these floods in the Middle West, tons of good topsoil is washed away, leaving our farmers poorer and our future less bright. We have held up the proposal for a Missouri Valley Authority, supposedly because we do not want to spend the money. If you add up all that we have lost in floods in the past five years, I think it would reach a sum of money which would have been enough to start a Missouri Valley Authority and to start the necessary work for flood control on many of the streams leading into the Mississippi River.
The States that have been benefited by the Tennessee Valley Authority are proof enough that such a project brings in good revenues and improves the life of the people over a large area. It can't be pleasant to wake up and find yourself surrounded by water and to have your house and belongings badly damaged, as well as seeing the fields or the streets around you flooded and knowing of the loss this means to your neighborhood.
Our delay on such a program as the proposed Missouri Valley Authority shows our shortsightedness, for it would add greatly to our national wealth and the cost would be amortized in a very short time.
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The papers yesterday carried a story giving another evidence of shortsightedness. This was that the General Federation of Women's Clubs, at their convention in New York, defeated a resolution to endorse the Stratton bill which proposes that we should allow 400,000 displaced persons from Europe to come into this country in the next few years. Under this bill, we would receive people of various nationalities and religions, highly educated people like doctors and lawyers, as well as skilled workers and farm laborers—all of them people who have suffered greatly and who would come with gratitude in their hearts and with a determination to make good in their new homeland.
One delegate from Florida was most vociferous in her opposition, claiming that charity begins at home and that there are veterans coming out of our universities who are unable to find jobs. There are plenty of jobs in this country at present. It isn't necessary to stay in Miami. Another delegate—from New York—said that we should not—take the people that Europe did not want, that they should stay in their own countries.