MARCH 22, 1948
HYDE PARK, Sunday—As I was watching the birds eating the bread crumbs on my dining-room windowsill the other day, I looked down and there I saw the first green shoots poking their heads up through the ground. Somehow the first green you see in your garden in the spring never loses its thrill. We still have snow through the woods, and when I walked along a road that I thought was passable I found myself sinking at least two feet at every step. But everywhere one feels that spring is on the way. Even my little dogs have spring fever. They go dashing into the woods and stay out for hours, giving me much anxiety!
Spring is the time for dreams and the renewed conviction that death in some mysterious way brings new life. I wish that with the coming of spring we could think of all the young lives that were lost in the last war and devote ourselves more earnestly than ever before to seeing that, out of those deaths, life comes to young people all over the world, instead of more suffering and devastation.
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It seems to me that Secretary of Defense James V. Forrestal was indulging in a dream when he suggested to Congress a two-year draft to which about 3,000,000 men between the ages of 19 and 25 would be subject, and a boost in the authorized strength of our army to 900,000 men. That is not preparation for security and peace. That is preparation for war.
A draft on a smaller scale for a limited period could be considered a justifiable preparation to enforce peace in the world. But on the scale that Secretary Forrestal suggested, I would feel that, before we had made the effort to come to international agreements, we were taking it for granted that we had to prepare for ultimate war. And I doubt whether the country would forgive its public officials for that kind of preparation. When they suggest it, they are going on the supposition that our country does not wish to make every effort to keep the peace in spite of what may seem a lack of desire on the part of any other nations.
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These last few days have been rather hurried. Because I wanted to be at home as much as possible these last few weeks, I have crowded into a few days, here and there, more engagements than one should really try to keep! On Friday I found myself speaking at a luncheon of the Business and Professional Women. Then I took a plane for Pittsburgh, speaking there in the evening. I returned for more engagements in New York City on Saturday. Now I am back in Hyde Park to stay here through the week until I go to New York to sail for England on the Queen Elizabeth.