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Evening star. [volume] (Washington, D.C.) 1854-1972, December 22, 1929, Image 37

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Editorial Page
Part 2—B Pages
Debates in Upper House Revive Talk
About Quality of Senators and
Value of Rule..
WE have with us again today,
as the saying is, for the
thousandth time the old
story about the Senate. It
arises, this time, out of the
delay ovsr the tariff. It has two parts.
The first is the complaint against the
Senate rules made familiar by Ambas
sador Dawes when he was Vice Presi
The second is the familiar discussion
about the quality of the Senate, whether
the Senate today is as able, contains
as large a preportion of able men, as
Jt did at some other time.
This second topic is perennial. Dur
ing the second session of the Senate,
In the 17905. one supposes there must
have been much odious comparison
with the first; and then of the third
With the second, and so on to this day.
By this process, it is a familiar human
trait to arrive at a point of view which
Would assume that the first Senate, or
any other group that functioned in the
beginning of the Government, was a
body of supermen.
Tariff Delay Causes Instability.
I*, is true that two complaints can
be made about the present Senate in
connection with delay on the tariff—
fit at least one assertion and one com
It is a fact that the Senate’s delay
about the tariff is unfortunate. We
are in a period when practically every
business leader and business man in
America is exerting himself to create
and preserve stability. In the midst
of this effort the one great uncer
tainty is expressed in the question,
what are the tariff rates going to be
next year? The Justifiable complaint
Is that no one can know what the rates
are going to be.
No one can demand that the Senate
should pass quickly one kind of tariff
or another, a low tariff or a high tariff;
the only justified complaint is that the
Senate ought to pass some kind of
tariff quickly. Absence of information
about what the tariff rates will be
next year is the one area of uncertainty
—in a scene in which heroic efforts are
being made to assemble all the other
figures and facts by which business
must chart its course. The one great
lack of certainty is about the tariff.
As one Senator put it, “The Senate is
the only important organized body
failing to respond to the need for co
operation in the Interest of stability
and certainty. Organized labor is co
operating, so is organized agriculture
and organized business—but the Senate
is not."
Demand for Action Called For.
It would be hard to dispute, now or
at any time during the last six weeks,
the justice of the demand that the Sen
ate do quickly whatever it is going to
do about the tariff. We are barely out
of the shadow of what coulif have been
a major business disaster—what was
prevented from being a major calamity
only Jjy the prompt and generous co
operation of practically every impor
tant group in the country. Most of the
younger persons in this generation will
never know what has been avoided.
They will go on without serious disloca
tion; by Spring business will be as
usual and the younger persons will ac
cept their Immunity as a matter of
course. Persons over 35, however, will
remember 1907; and persons over 55
will remember 1893. Probably no per
son in the United States under the age
of, roughly, 40, knows fully what is
meant by a “soup house” or ever saw a
line-up in front of one.
The conditions and the persons that
have averted an economic calamity by
energetic and generous effort are not
unreasonable if they criticize the Sen
ate for falling to make the one con
spicuous contribution within the Sen
ate’s power—that is, to give to business
early information about what the tariff
rates are going to be.
Dawes Objection Misunderstood.
The complaint that Dawes made con
spicuous about the Senate rules was not
perfectly understood. Commonly, peo
ple thought Dawes’ criticism was about
delay and about filibustering. Dawes
did say that the rules and practices of
the Senate result in woeful delay. He
said further that the delay has the ef
fect of piling up legislation toward the
end of the session He then pointed
out that with legislation piled up at the
end of the session filibustering becomes
easy and probable.
But Dawes' complaint went deeper
than this. He said the rules of the
Senate result in laws being passed or
not pased—not as the result of 96 votes
on the Senate floor, but as the result of
private negotiations in Senate cloak
What Dawes meant by this is intri
cate and needs to be made clear. He
meant that under the Senate rules one
Senator, or a small group of Senators
(often literally one Senator), can post
pone, and in many cases by postponing
kill, important legislation. Since one
Senator has this power, he is likely,
frequently, to use the power to his per
sonal advantage. If filibustering and
deliberate delay were confined to cases
of a few men holding strong conscien
tious convictions against certain legis
lation—in that case the practice might
be partially defended.
Filibuster Called a Club.
But Dawes pointed out a graver de
fect, a decidedly less justifiable use
that one Senator can make of his
power to fiilibuster at the end of the
Chemists Tracing Origin of Coal
Study Peat and Other Formations
To uncover fresh knowledge of the
origin of coal, peat from a bog in Mani
towoc County. Wis., known as Hawk
Island Swamp, is being studied by
scientists of the Federal Government.
The area is a typical wooded swamp
formed by uneven deposits of gravel
after the retreat of the last Ice Age.
Tt 1s hoped to discover more defi
nitely what plant substances con
tributed to coal and what are now their
chemical and physical natures," says a
paper prepared for the American Chem
ical Society by Reinharrt Thlessen and
R. C. Johnson, o& the Pittsburgh ex
periment station of the United States
Bureau of Mines.
“A work of this kind includes the
study and consideration of every com
pound and product of all plants. The
chemistry of plant substances is re
markably well known. Only one chief
and important constituent, lignen, de
fies solution. This is unfortunate, as
it is the most Important contributor to
peat and coal.
"The study also involves the chemis
try of decay, the action of fungi, bac
teria, actinomyces, burrowing insects
and other lower organislqis. During the
last 10 years much has also been
learned of the chemistry of decay.
Much, however, is yet to be learned.
With these available data the compo
sition of peat can in some measure be
postulated, yet many questions and
problems remain unanswered.
session, or—what is the same thing—
cause delay in the midst of a session.
One Senator so disposed can hold up
or postpone legislation needed by the
country as a lever through which to
bring about legislation needed mainly
by himself.
This has been illustrated in the
Senate within very recent weeks. A
proposal was made to take up and ex*
pedit? one of the most Important items
of legislation on the program. This
could only be done, under the Senate
rules, by unanimous consent. When
unanimous consent was asked for one
Senator arose and said quite frankly
that he would not give his indispens
able consent unless the important bill
in question were united with a bill
which was mainly in the interest of
this one Senator’s home State.
Another illustration will make the
situation clear. There may be a most
important bill calling, let us say, for
the building of post offices in several
.cities, or increasing the pay of Federal
district attorneys throughout the coun
try, or increasing the number of Fed
eral judges throughout the country. In
su?h a situation one Senator can say,
in effect, "I will take advantage of the
Senate rules to prevent or delay the
passage of this legislation until my
State is taken care of in the shape of
a new post office building or an addi
tional Federal official, or what-not.”
Practice Leads to Deals.
One Senator can do more than that.
He can say, in effect, or without saying
so, in words, his attitude can have the
effect of saying: "I will delay the tariff
bill or I will delay the tax reduction
bill until I am assured that I get my
post office building or my local Federal
official.” (These cases are wholly hypo
thetical; the writer knows of no such
cases arising in connection with the
pending tariff or the pending tax re
duction. Such cases have arisen in the
past, often.)
If a Senator does that, what hap
pens? Some other Senator, who hap
pens to be in charge of the important
bill, thereupon has a small conference
with the recalcitrant Senator in the
cloak room. The result, after a good
deal of maneuvering, is that the recal
citrant Senator gets the post office or
the other local legislation, or local
officeholder, that he demands.
That is what Dawes meant by say
ing that the Senate rules result in toe
much legislation being determined by
small conferences in the cloak room—
and not enough through open discus
sion on the floor of the Senate.
The answer frequently made by those
who defend the present Senate rules
are chiefly two. One is that the Senate
is the only important legislative body
remaining in the modem world in
which every member can speak his
mind at such length as he wishes about
every subject that oomes up. This is
a unique distinction of the Senate.
Some earnest persons say it ought to
be preserved.
Quality of Senators Questioned.
The merit of this distinction obvi
ously depends in part on the quality of
each and all of the 98 men who com
pose the Senate—on whether all of them
are, or some are not, men who would
not abuse this privilege. And that
brings up the familiar question whether
the Senate of today is of as high qual
ity, on the average, as preceding
The other defense of the existing
rules of the Senate is an assertion that,
in the net, for over a hundred years
they have worked to desirable results.
The most forcible form of this asser
tion is that more bad legislation has
been “talked to death” than good
legislation has been lost.
To say whether that is true or not
would require a minute examination of
just what bills have been “talked to
death,” that is, permanently killed by
filibustering. That would be an inter
esting investigation for some of those
men in colleges who write theses to
get advanced degrees.
Senators “Feel They Must Talk.”
The present delay about the tariff
is different from what has been so far
described. Some of the delay about
winding up the tariff debate has been
caused by the hesitancy of some or all
the factions to take a final position
on the tariff and foreclose the possi
bility of changing their position there
after. They are not quite certain just
what kind of tariff would be popular
in the country as a whole. Individual
Senators know what kind would be
popular in their States. But parties
as parties, and factions as factions, are
less certain about the country as a
whole. There is reluctance to take
final responsibility for one kind of
tariff or another.
Another reason for delay about the
pending tariff bill is the familiar speech
making one. In the Summer, when
the coalition of Progressives and Dem
ocrats began their fight against the
tariff, they assigned certain schedules
to certain Senators. Each opposition
Senator was told to familiarize himself
completely with one commodity or
schedule and be prepared to make a
speech against the tariff on it and de
bate it. As a means of defeating the
tariff it was excellent tactics. Now
that the original bill is beaten In the
Senate, those accumulated speeches
dammed back to the minds of indi
vidual Senators are a cause of delay.
Each Senator feels he ought to be per
mitted to make his speech on the item
about which he has prepared himself.
“It is generally agreed that coal is
of plant origin and was formed in a
manner similar to that in which peat is
being formed today. A thorough study
of peat from its inception to the more
mature stages at its greatest depth be
comes essential to the understanding
of the constitution of coal and its for
“With this objective a study was un
dertaken of the transformation of plant
substances into peat and the compo
sition ot a deposit in profile from top
to bottom with respect to its major
components, their nature, their changes
and their relations.
"Peat formation is largely a problem
of microbiology. The most important
changes and eliminations during the
transformation of plant substances into
peat occur while the plant substances
are still exposed to free access to air.
“It has now been satisfactorily proved
that bacteria exist in peat and are
functioning to all depths of the deposit.
A large number of lnnoculatlons have
been made from the top to the bottom
of several peat deposits and it is rare
that cultures are not obtained.
“These cultures are being propagated
on wood in the form of sawdust and
shavings, on cellulose and on other
plant materials contained in flasks and
bottles with proper mineral culture so
lutions. They are still active after
seven to nineteen months. Available
nitrogen is essential for their activities.”
She Suntlaii Slat
Auii utljcrp Mm (Three Mtae Men!
v m w ..' - wifiSM
■h l'M jy hhLJrf Bill 11 RiHU
Drawn for The Sunday Star by Marie A. Lawsons
Christmas Is Not Dead
A Cynical Challenge Accepted and Proofs Given That Old-Time Spirit Reigns
/ / HRISTMAS,” said one of the
• •# cynics, “is a useless article
I wrapped up in flimsy pa
per and cheap tinsel and
given in exchange for a
‘doofunny’ done up in tin foil and cot
ton ribbon. It is a merchants’ holiday;
an ogry of extravagance; a day of
platitudes; imitation sentiment; a lot
of hurry and bustle and nerve strain
—and the bill comes in on January 1.”
“Christmas! Christmas?” said one
of our hard working authors. “There
is nothing more to say about Christ
mas. It has become a commercial feast.
It is as highly organized and imper
sonal as the charity organizations and
the Government tax. You know the
day you have to pay—and you get
ready for it. Christmas spirit is dead
and the last Christmas story has been
written. In a highly efficient age
where all our emotions are catalogued
and condemned by the psychiatrists,
and the psychologists can prove an evil
motive behind every good deed, what
chance has Santa Claus? There is no
more Christmas more Christ
mas stories.”
We learned about Christmas from a
President of the United States and a
taxicab driver, from John Erskine and
Owen D. Young, from a poet and a
priest, from a pious woman and a
woman of the world, from a man just
out of prison. They were efficient
people, but being good at their various
jobs had not killed their souls. They
taught us that Christmas is one of the
great common denominators of the
human family, that it can touch all
peoples alike, Christian and unbeliever,
saint and sinner—it is the one kind
thing the scoffers have not been able
to laugh into its grave. But it is a
day for action. It calls for deeds.
This happened when Calvin Coolldge
was President of the United States
It is an old custom of the Coolidges to
bring to their board on holidays friends
whose cups have been emptied, or who
find holidays a torment. Three times
while Calvin Coolidge was President of
the United States he took into the
White House for the holiday week
Senators whose homes had been broken
by death.
One year they had lost an old friend,
a man of no political importance, just
an old friend who had gone to war and
come back with a broken body, but
enough spirit left to keep him alive
through those years when the war was
being forgotten. It was near the holi
day time. Many friends were kind.
The Coolidges were more; they were
understanding. They knew about holi
days and broken families. So they in
vited the w-idow of their friend to spend
a few days in the White House. It
would be something new in her life
something to crowd out heartbreak
Calvin Coolidge escorted her through
the great halls and drawing rtoms
filled with the portraits of the Nation’s
Presidents—Lincoln, Garfield and Mc-
Kinley, who had given their lives to
their country. And in this unspoken
gesture, Calvin Coolidge had woven the
life of a simple citizen soldier, who also
had given his life to this country, into
the golden fabrlos of the Nation’s
There was no talk of personal things,
but much was said of this or that his
toric bit in the mansion, and Mrs.
Coolidge finally took the soldier’s widow
to the south window for the lovely
view of the Washington Monument and
recalled the lines of a schoolboy: “From
Arlington, where sleep the men who
have given their lives for their country,
the Washington Monument seems a
giant spike God might have driven into
this earth and said, ’Here, I stake a
claim for the home of liberty’.”
The terror of lonely holidays for the
long years ahead had been softened by
a beautiful memory.
So we learned something about the
spirit of Christmas from Calvin Cool
ldge and his gracious lady.
But life cannot be measured by the
mountain peaks. Few of us may reach
the heights. There Is only one White
House, only one Calvin Coolidge. But
the good that is in him is legion.
Our next adventure in our quest for
Christmas deeds was with a taxicab.
He was just an ordinary sort of a man,
a little rougher looking than some and
driving a cab not any too clean. On
Christmas eve last year we were riding
uptown delivering Christmas presents.
We had checked off about half our
steps when the driver came around to
the door and said:
“I wonder if you would mind if I
picked up a barrel of china and
strapped it out here? It means goin’ a
coupler blocks outter our way, but 111
turn off the clock. A friend of mine
wants to surprise his wife tomorrow and
I told him I’d keep it in my flat for
him. If I go way uptown with you I
won’t get back in time, maybe, to get
the barrel. And I wouldn’t disappoint
him for the world. I’ll get you another
taxi, if you mind.”
“We will get the barrel ” we said, with
a sneaking suspicion that it probably
contained another kind of Christmas
cheer. We stopped at the back door of
a loft building. No china shops in
sight. Our driver disappeared in a dark
delivery doorway and presently came
out with another man helping him
carry an apparently very heavy, open
barrel. Our suspicions increased. We
headed back to a congested and fash
ionable part of town. A reckless young
IN front of a Fifth avenue
store I saw a man and a
little girl.
Some object in the win
dow attracted her; she stopped
and pointed at it. The father
hesitated, obviously counting the
cost. She looked up eagerly into
his eyes, tugged at his hand, and
his hesitation vanished. To
gether they crossed the sidewalk
and disappeared into the store.
I stood for a moment looking
after them, and I thought:
“There is human history in a
single scene. There is progress;
there is the foundation of pros
perity; there is the assurance of
better days.
“If the world were peopled
only with adults, it would quickly
stagnate. Adults pause, and fear
and figure. The wants of age
are few and quickly satisfied.
“Childhood wants everything.
Childhood knows no hampering
fears, no fettering economies. It
tugs at our reluctant hands and,
to satisfy its cravings, we find
within ourselves greater capaci
ties for production and expendi
ture than we had suspected."
No one seems to know the
r *»son, but it is a fact that a
majority of the financial upsets
in America have coma in the
October and November
there is gloom. The coming of
(Copyright. 1929.)
1 i 1
holiday driver crashed into us. There
were grindings of brakes and a terrific
jar. i
“Hell!” said the taxi man, “I’ll bet
he broke some of that china.”
Gently, and then a little more vigor
ously, the taxi man shook the barrel.
There was no rattle of broken china.
Gingerly he ran his hand down among
the papers and excelsior. With a re
lieved smile he looked up. “Want to
see it?” he asked.
Yes, we wanted to see that china.
We wanted to believe in the goodness
of that plain man who had taken us
down one of the deserted streets to a
back door to load a suspicious looking
barrel onto his taxicab.
It was a rough, oily hand that drew
forth a pink and white china saucer.
“It’s a wholesale house,” he was ex
plaining, “handles high-class stuff. The
sets that ain’t perfect and them that’s
got some broken or lost, they sell awful
cheap to people who works for ’um and
folks with some pull.” And then with
a toss of his head —"My friend’s got a
friend works in there. Sixty-four pieces
in this barrel. It ain’t a whole set as
sets go, but Lord, even with three kids
and company, 64 pieces is enough
china. I’m glad he got It.”
One day in New York we stumbled on
a man who had just come out of jail.
He came to us with the hang-dog look
of a man beaten by life. This was his
story. Wrongly convicted on a techni
cality—case in court 18 times—in a
State prison nine years. He had been
a player of gay music in a dance or
chestra. HLs clarinet and a saxophone
had beat out a happy sort of rhythm
of life. Then came the crash. Arrest,
; conviction, imprisonment with 2,000
Spring is given credit for the re
turn of courage and hope. Ac
tually, I think, the recovery
begins earlier. It has its start
at Christmas time.
Shops are filled with Christ
mas goods. Trains run full and
trucks and drays are loaded
AWAY. When men will not
buy for themselves even the very
essentials, they will buy for their
children under the Christmas
So business begins to grow
better at Christmas time, for
every Christmas purchase helps
to start the machinery of selling
and making into quicker motion.
“It is more blessed to give than
to receive,” said the Founder of
Christmas, and He uttered sound
political economy as well as great
religious truth.
Men misunderstood Him, and
abused Him, and crucified Him.
Children loved Him and basked
in His smile. It is fitting that
His day should be their day.
Theirs was the unquestioning
loyalty, and theirs was, and is,
the enduring wisdom.
Only when we have grown
very wise indeed do we coma to
understand that life is faith, and
good cheer, and courage, and joy
in the moment—the very stuff
out of which is fashioned the
soul of each little child.
other men branded as evil doers. Years
and years in one of the State’s houses
of imprisonment. Nine years. A final
hearing and release. A clean discharge,
a suit of clothes, a bit of money—and
the warden’s warning to go straight
down the unstraight path of life.
What was left after nine years wasn’t
much to look at. Gaze at bars long
enough and you can’t meet the eyes of
other men. Keep step with a prison
gang for nine years, then try to walk
alone. Get a job, go straight and be a
man—with the smoke of hell upon you.
He had directed the prison orchestra
for which Otto Kahn had given the in
struments. So he had his hand in a
trade he might turn to. But——
It costs $5O to join the union in New
York and a good deal more to buy the
Instruments—and then find a job.
There are always more musicians than
jobs. Come out of jail with your spirit
broken, something gone wrong with
your backbone and it’s hard to stand up
and face the world. Hard to tell the
story that is almost certain to be met
with a sneer.
“Go over to the Juilliard Foundation,”
we told him, “and tell your story to Dr.
John Erskine. He will probably find a
way in his organization to help you.”
Resourceful John Erskine —distinguished
musician, leader of youth, maker of
literature—and, above all, defender of
weak human nature.
Later in the day John Erskine came
on the phone.
“The Foundation has no funds for
this sort of thing,” he explained. “But
I should like to help the man myself.
There is only one thing I wanted to
straighten out. He says you offered
him money, but he could not take
money from a woman—even as a loan
He wants to go on his own.”
Poor devil. He wanted to make a
good story better. He wanted respect.
He would rise nearer to the stature of a
man if he could make this real man be
lieve some shred of pride had stayed
with him. That was what happened in
books—in the kind of books that go into
the prison reading. “To proud to take
money from a lady.” He might have
refused money if we had given him the
chance to measure up as a hero. But
we hadn't. We hadn’t mentioned
“Sorry,” said John Erskine.
And we dismissed the case. We
thought we did, but we began to think
about the poor devil and how easy it
would have been for him to get tripped
up on one little boastful lie. Se we
wrote to the man who had sent him to
us and confessed that we did not think
that we should sit in judgment on a
man who had been punished by life.
The answer came back with this in
formation :
“It will probably interest you to know
that John Erskine gave him the instru
ments after all and got him a job.”
A friend asked John Erskine about it.
She wanted to know what had changed
his mind. And here is the answer:
“I felt that no matter what the man
said, he was straight—and that consid
ering the Injustice he had suffered, we
all owed him something. It was time
for him to have a Christmas gift.”
And then we learned about Christ
mas from a priest.
We were in the rectory when a nun
came in leading a weephig child.
“He is a bad boy, father,” she said
in shocked tones. “He did a sacrilegi
ous thing. Terrible, father!”
“What did you do?” asked Mgr. La
velle. Fifty years and more he has been
listening to the sins of mankind. What
could a weeping child have done to dis
turb him? “What did you do?” he re
peated gently.
The child was speechless.
“He went into the sanctuary, to the
7 (Continued on Sixth Page.)
Reviews of Books
Difference of Opinion in U. S. and Abroad
Is Held to Show Parity and Reduc
tions Are Incompatible.
NO aspect of the approaching
London Conference is at once
more surprising and more dis
turbing than the total absence
of any clear notion on the
part of the general public of the Issues
involved. While it is true that the two
slogans of "parity” and “reduction”
are universally proclaimed, and equally
true that the popular expectation is
comprehended in the utterly vague
word of disarmament, the limits of
possibility, expressed in tonnage terms,
are rarely appreciated.
Actually, of course, any consideration
of the questions to be dealt with at
London falls naturally into four divi
sions. And these divisions may be
described as parity, reduction, limitation
and abolition. Moreover, since Presi
dent Hoover has emphatically vetoed
any discussion of policies, such for ex
ample of "Freedom of the Seas,” the
whole discussion is limited to more or
less technical naval terms.
Issue Is Narrowed by Time.
As to the question of parity, the
eight years which have elapsed since
the Washington Conference have served
to narrow the issue down to a small
compass. At Washington the United
States, which had prospective supremacy
in capital ships, surrendered this ad
vantage without obtaining the formal
assurance of a corresponding sacrifice .
on the part of the British in respect of
cruiser tonnage, where they had actual
As a consequence of this failure at
Washington, we have had eight years
of agitation provoked by the fact that
successive governments in Great Britain,
beginning with Labor, have not merely
retained but extended this advantage in
the cruiser line. During most of this
time the United States has vacillated
between two conceptions, the one to
persuade the British to reduce their
cruiser strength to ours, the other to
build our cruiser fleet up to theirs.
Until the Geneva Conference Mr. Cool
idge held to the former view, after
Geneva he abandoned it, and in his
Armistice day speech last year and in
his indorsement of the fifteen cruiser
bill he diseased his change in yiew.
Britt h Opinion Divided.
At the name time British opinion
has also bafa divided. At bottom the
naval law, shr-.ed by many of the Tory
leaders, notably Winston Churchill, was
that If Great Britain refused to accept
the American claim to parity and de
clined to reduce its own strength,
American public opinion would in the
end refuse to back Congress in the
great expenditures necessary to bring
our fleet up to British levels. This
view explained the rupture of the
Geneva Conference.
But after the effect of the Geneva
rupture in the United States had been
correctly appraised in England, the
Great majority of the British public
concluded that the Churchill view wfes
mistaken, that America meant to have
parity, that it possessed the financial
resources adequate to achieve it and
th? only question was whether the
actual arrival of parity was to be at
tended with bitterness and recrimina
tion or was not to be permitted to dis
turb Anglo-American relations.
The Labor government which came
to power last Summer received a more
or less tacit mandate from the British
people to settle the issue of parity with
the United States and to settle it in
the only way possible, by the substantial
recognition of the American claims.
Moreover, since the battleship issue
had been disposed of at Washington,
the issue really came down to cruisers.
When Macdonald came to see Hoover
the state of facts was this: The Brit
ish program envisaged 70 ships and
400,000 tons. The American. 33 ships
and 300,000 tons. In addition, while
the British purposed to have 15 Wash
ington conference cruisers, that is,
10.000-ton boats, our program envis
aged 23. Meantime, Mr. Hoover had
suggested that manifestly not alone the
total tonnage of the fleet but the
character of the ships must be reck
oned, and had thus brought in the
now famous "yardstick” idea.
Tentative Agreement Reached.
As a result of the Hoover-Macdonald
conversations a tentative agreement
was reached, the exact terms of which
have been announced by the British
prime minister in London, but so far
withheld in Washington. Great Brit
ain agreed gradually to reduce her
cruiser fleet from 70 ships to 50, and
her tonnage from 400,000 to 339,000.
At the same time she retained her pro
gram of 10,000-ton cruisers, which
amounted to 15.
The United States, on its part, pro
posed to raise its cruiser program from
300,000 tons to 315,000. but to reduce
the number of its 10.000-ton cruisers
from 23 to 21. Thus, instead of build
ing two 10,000-ton cruisers, the United
States undertook to build five of the
7,000-ton type, or more exactly to dis
tribute the 315,000 tons claimed'by her
in such fashion as she chose, but not
in 10,000-ton boats.
This Hoover-Macdonald agreement
was based upon the notion that while
the United States was to have only 36
ships and but 315,000 tons, against 50
and 339,000 for the British, the superior
size, gunpower, etc., of the American
fleet, resulting from her superiority in
the number of 10,000-ton boats mount
ing 8-lnch guns, insured parity.
So much for parity. But it will be
“Americanism” Declared Term Misused
By Europeans Credited With Invention
“ ‘Americanism* is a word we Euro
peans use a lot and which we often use
and interpret ill,” writes Arthur Rundt
hr the Vossiche Zeltung. “This word
‘Americanism’ is a European invention.
No American can tell you what it
means, except if he first asks Europeans
about its meaning.
“We call certain conceptions ‘Ameri
canism’ because we believe the Ameri
cans have them most strongly of all
nations —a cult for anything that is
huge; a sober, practical attitude in
life; a quiet calm which nothing can
stir; optimism, prudishness, a wonder
ful ability to do business and even to
bluff, and, finally, a goodly portion of
self-assurance, particularly concerning
the 48 States of the Union, which are
‘God’s own country.*
"Are all these really characteristics
of the American?
“They picture the American rather
badly or, at least, only half way. The
American character is sketched in its
complete form only if one adds Just
the opposite to all the above qualities.
“Do the Americans adore anything
that is huge? Are huge figures and
superlatives the idols of America?
Certainly. But. on the other hand, the
spirit of saving is being preached as
the ideal of the nation, and the old
Puritans, whose spirit cannot be ex
noticed that in arriving at parity. Mr.
Hoover’s advisers were obliged to face
the fact that it could not be had by
reduction. So far from reducing her
program of 300,000 tons, the United
States was obliged to expand it by
15,000 tons, as she was obliged to in
crease the number of her boats from
33 to 36, assuming she put her excess
tonnage in 7,000-ton boats. This con
dition resulted from the fact that the
British placed the minimum figure of
security at 339,000 tons. Thus in point
of fact Nplty is foreshadowed by a
double process, the gradual lowering of
the British tonnage from 400,000 to
339,000 and the equally gradual expan
sion of the American from the 300,000
of the 15 program cruisers to 315,000,
the end to be attained In 1936.
On balance this does represent a re
duction in world tonnage of 46,000 tons,
the difference between the British re
duction and the American expansion.
But on the other hand—and the point
is important in view of its political im
plications at home and abroad—it does
mean a further expansion of American
armament. The United States is going
to a conference ostensibly called to pro
mote reduction of armaments, commit
ted to a program of expansion of her
own. And manifestly this point will be
seized upon by the Japanese, the French
and the Italians.
Tacit Condition Holds.
Moreover, even in the case of the
Macdonald-Hoover agreement, there is
a more or less tacit condition. While
the British have fixed their own needs
at 339,000 tons, that estynate is based
upon the existing and proposed strength
of the other three naval powers—France,
Italy and Japan. But if one or more
of these powers shall appear at London
demanding an Increased cruiser ton
nage, the British will be compelled
automatically to increase their figure In
the Interests of security and then the
United States will have to do likewise
in the name of parity.
Manifestly, then, the real issue at
London Is not reduction but limitation.
Whatever happens the United States
will have to build more cruisers and
expand tonnage beyond the limits of
the Coolldge programs. But limitation
depends upon the arrival of an agree
ment between the British on the one
hand and the French and Italians on
the other as to some ratio of strength.
If. as now seems likely, the Latin
powers refuse to accept any ratio, the
British can agree with the United
States that they will maintain a naval
strength equal to the French and
Italian combined and recognize the
right of the United States to equal that
strength. But then that means an
ever variable parity, with the Ameri
can program always contingent upon
the British and the British upon the
French and the Italian?
Dangers Are Unmistakable.
Given the difficulties of the British
situation, which are real, the dangers
of misunderstanding are unmistakable.
As far as the British government and
public are concerned the issue of parity
has been settled by the general accept
ance of the American claim. Even If
the American definition of parity seems
inexact, the British are not going to
fight about it, even diplomatically.
They have washed the United States
out as a prospective foe.
But British public opinion has not
reached the stage where it is prepared
to accept a reduction of British strength
vis-a-vis France and Italy, which seems
to endanger British security, merely to
satisfy the American demand for both
parity and reduction. But on the
other hand America can make no case
for limitation with the Latin powers,
since she has not only outdistanced all
the world in her recent building pro
gram, expressed in the fifteen cruiser
bill, but is also contemplating a further
expansion to reach the Hoover-Mac
donald figures of parity.
There remains the question of aboli
tion, which applies exclusively to sub
marines, but since Japan and France
have formally declared their purpose to
retain these boats, it is a foregone con
clusion that nothing of real Importance
will be done in this direction.
In sum, then, there is a very real
contradiction between the Americaif
and European views of American policy.
On this side of the Atlantic it is be
lieved that the United States is going
to Europe to support the principle of
reduction, of effective disarmament.
But in Europe America appears as the
nation which, in its fifteen cruiser bill,
has undertaken the most grandiose of
armament programs of recent years,
and in the Hoover-Macdonald conver
sations even adopted an additional
This paradox between American
principles and American policy arises,
of course, from the fact that parity and
reduction are incompatible. To attain
parity the United States last year
adopted a construction program of
150,000 tons. The Hoover-Macdonald
conversations almost Inevitably commit
us to an additional 30.000 tons.
How can the United States urge re
duction upon France. Italy or even
Japan in the face of such an expansion
on her own part?
Within the area'Of the possible, what
then is to be expected? Parity pre
cludes reduction in cruiser tonnage.
French and Japanese policies exclude
submarine diminution. There remains
the field of battleships and this after
all promises to be the central Issue.
(Copyrisht, 1939.)
terminated over there, certainly didn’t
believe in superlatives.
“Are Americans matter of fact and
practical? Jiowhere else in the world
have people invented such fantastic
masquerades of stirring effect; the Ku
Klux Klan is only one example of the
innumerable secret and mysterious
clubs and associations which a man
gets into from his college age on. We
might even write a heavy volume about
The United States, a Nervous Coun
try,’ despite the fact that every Ameri
can tries to appear outwardly calm.
‘‘Even before the war made America
one of the richest nations in the world,
every word over there breathed opti
mism—everything is a success, every
thing must be a success; the struggle
against an obstacle is only the first
step toward success. Yes, optimism is
obvious in the United States; but, on
the other hand, Americans lack any
real understanding for a really pleas
ant sort of life.
“The fanatic love of an American for
his home country and his disdain for
anything non-American, and especially
for old Europe, mingles, on the other
hand, with a deep longing for the Old
World, and this longing is satisfied by
a sort of migration to Europe every
Summer—almost 1 per cent of the en
tire population of the United States go
sightseeing on the European Continent
in the Summer.”

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