President Roosevelt’s administrative assistant Jonathan Daniels gave the opening address at a three-day conference, sponsored by the student-faculty Vassar Political Association, on “The Returning Service Man.”  After the last war, he told the conferees, the peace was lost and as a result the homecoming men developed a “sense of futility and cynicism.”  The troops returning soon from the present war would insist on security, not pensions, he said.  Victory could not become “a dead-end street for heroes.”

Daniels outlined the processes falling in place to avoid this from happening, such as rapid recomputation of service rating cards to allow the most needy or deserving troops to be the first home and varied educational programs overseas—from literary classes to post-graduate university study—for those waiting to come back.  “The Government does not leave the veteran when he leaves its military or naval services,” he assured the gathering. But, he added, “Obviously this is a job for free business and free labor as well as government.  This is a job for us all.”

Other speakers at the conference included Dean C. Mildred Thompson ’03 and John J. Sullivan, state director of the Labor League for Human Rights, affiliated with American Federation of Labor (AFL).  Dean Thompson pledged that Vassar was ready to receive and accommodate women returning from military service and, as one of six American delegates to the recent Conference of Allied Ministers of Education (CAME) in London, she spoke of those deliberations, urging that the CAME framework for international education be ratified by the countries represented.  She especially advocated rapid governmental aid for foreign students to attend American institutions.  “They would be a healthy influence for peace,” she said, “American students would get a better insight into the problems of peace….  At the same time it is important that Europeans live in a free society and see the democratic process in operation once more.”

Mr. Sullivan provoked lively argument with his assertion that men returning from the war should have first chances at available jobs. Responding to queries from Professor Helen Lockwood ’12—“Are you just going to consider one class of people, women, as being dumped out? What about women whose husbands are killed in service?—Mr. Sullivan suggested that a “means test” could sort out those problems.  Miss Bess Bloodworth, a member of the women’s advisory committee of the Federal War Manpower Commission, declared that “if you start with a ‘means’ test then you should not stop at women.  You should give the same test to men.”  “I agree with Miss Bloodworth 100 per cent,” said Pauline M. Newman of the International Ladies Garment Workers Union (ILGWU).  Mr. Sullivan responded, “if you provide high enough wages for the men the women will not want to work.  They will be happy enough to remain at home and take care of their families.”    

Elizabeth Miller ’45-4, president of the Political Association, chaired the conference sessions.     The New York Times