February 27, 1943
Hon. Will Leach
I hope you will pardon my delay in answering your good letter of January 6. I can assure you that I was very pleased to hear from you and to learn of your recent successes. The results of the polls in 1927 up to the present time have certainly been a tribute to your ability and it is a real pleasure to learn that one who can survive the battle of Valdahon could return to his native city and pick up where he left off prior to the last World War.
I recall very clearly your interest in entomology with Lt. Cliff, but your test did not seem to warrant any suggestions from me. You will probably also remember when Alphabet Fields and someone else returned from leave with infestations of cooties. The clothing was removed and placed under the cover of a motor box where it was fumigated with a cyanimide gas. Fortunately Artin had some sodium cyanimide and sulfuric acid in the shop – just exactly what we needed for fumigation of the clothing. At the time I knew of no tests with this fumigant on cooties, but we did observe that all stages including the eggs sere killed and that there was no further infestation in Flight C. I have since had an opportunity to check on such fumigations and found that they are very effective. They are not recommended for use in the Army because of the extreme danger of hydrocyanic acid gas. We have developed one which we think is much better, and we hope that the soldiers in this conflict will have the same opinion.
The article which you saw in the Country Gentleman might lead you to believe that my interest is entirely in cooties. As a matter of fact, we are making studies and experiments on a number of pests that affect combat troops. We have made some recommendations which are already in use, and we are striving for even better materials in order to prevent typhus, malaria and the annoyance caused by the pests.
I hope that you will come to Washington in the near future and that you will have time for a good visit. We have three sons in our family ranging from two to thirteen and Mrs. Dove does a good job in looking after their wishes. If possible let me know a day or two before you come to Washington so that we can make definite plans.
It was mighty fine of you to write to me as soon as you had my address, and I also appreciate your mention of our interest to the Hon. John W. Murphy who has succeeded Congressman Boland.
With very best wishes, and looking forward to seeing you at some early date, I am,