NOVEMBER 18, 1947
NEW YORK, Monday—I received from Martha Dodd Stern a copy of a very indignant statement caused by a recently published tale about her father, the late Prof. William E. Dodd of Chicago, former Ambassador to Germany. This tale, indicating that perhaps the wrong Prof. Dodd was accidentally appointed ambassador, appeared in Edward J. Flynn's book.
I am afraid that I only remembered the very valuable service rendered by Ambassador Dodd in Germany and never ascertained whether he came from Chicago or Princeton, and so in speaking some time ago of a book which Martha Dodd had written, I casually said that she was the daughter of President Dodd of Princeton. It was a slip on my part but I did not think it very important until this tale arose.
In that connection, I never remember hearing my husband say that the Dodd in Germany was not the right one! There might have been some joke, since I understand there were two Dodds in Chicago, and both Louis Howe and my husband were given to joking with completely straight faces. Hence, many times people thought they were serious when they were merely carrying on, for their own amusement, their own particular type of humorous conversation.
This might have given rise to this tale of the wrong person having been appointed. The story might have seemed so improbable that it would have given Mr. Howe and my husband much amusement. I only regret that it has caused Ambassador Dodd's daughter any unhappiness.
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One of the groups I used to be interested in when I was in Washington were the page boys at the Capitol. They seem so young, and their lives seem unnatural for boys. Many people consider this service to be a very great opportunity for a boy, and for many pages it has proven to be a real advantage in his later life. Nevertheless, they work hard, live under rather curious conditions away from their families, and their education is fitted into their work in a way which makes the job a real tax on the youngsters.
However, the head of their school, Mr. Ralph W. Lewis, was deeply concerned about their welfare. The other day he wrote me of something which he had done to create better international understanding among these boys—something which I think might be usefully done by schools in many other places. He organized a travel club and they visited the embassies and legations of foreign nations.
A flag was always presented to them by their hosts, also much reading material and maps which they used in their classes relative to the country whose embassy or legation they had visited. Their hosts usually gave them refreshments and talked with them, and in that way the boys learned about the life and the thoughts of individuals who come to us from other parts of the world.
In every big city there are foreign consulates, and I wonder if our schools might not do some very practical international education by bringing together the representatives of foreign countries and the young people in our schools and colleges. I think there would be great interest developed in the recreation and cultural opportunities of different countries, and this would be heightened by talks from the representatives of these countries. They might even tell what a typical daily round-of-life would be for various groups of citizens in their countries. We need this kind of understanding and education, and I hope the idea will spread.