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Evening star. [volume] (Washington, D.C.) 1854-1972, April 15, 1940, Image 11

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Aeronautics
Revamping
Plan Hit
High Praise Given
Work of Safety
Board and C. A. A.
By DAVID LAWRENCE.
American public opinion will
Shortly have a significant test. Can
it think penetratingly of anything
else but war events abroad? Will
il mamiesi uis- ,
approval of one
of the most un
fortunate mis
takes that has
been made in
Washington in
► many years and
which must be
corrected within
the next 60 days
or else the pub
lic interest will
"Buffer?
These q u e s
tions arise out i
of an extraordi- *
jmitV VI CH - Mnimtl.
circumstances in connection with
President Roosevelt's reorganization
order abolishing the Air Safety
Board and placing the Civil Aero
nautics Authority inside the De
partment of Commerce as a subordi
nate bureau.
Of all the governmental boards
created in a decade or more the
Civil Aeronautics Board is admit
tedly the best functioning and the
Air Safety Board the most valuable.
Not only is the personnel of fine
quality and integrity, but, the law
creating the two agencies is the
product of many years of unselfish
service by some of the best legal
minds of the country. Senator Pat
McCarran of Nevada, Democrat,
known as father of the legislation,
worked over 21 different bills before
he finally pressed for passage the
one that seemed best suited to ad
minister the regulatory powers of
Government over the airways of
r America and the aviation industry.
Few examples are afforded of any
better co-operation anywhere be
* tween Government and business than
between the aviation industry and
the Civil Aeronautics Authority. Few
examples are afforded also' of keener
admiration on the part of students
of Government, even inside the New
Deal, of the fairness of procedure
and efficiency of administration of
the C. A. A.
But all of a sudden the prestige
which this new institution has en
joyed as an independent body is to
be impaired as it is made the tool
of a political department instead of
the independent servant of the Con
gress.
Nobody in the Department of
Commerce asked that the Civil
Aeronautics Authority be placed in
that department. Nobody in Con
gress who had any interest in avia
tion was consulted, certainly not
the leaders like Senator McCarran.
Nobody in the C. A. A. itself was
consulted either. This may sound
strange to persons outside of Wash
ington, but it is a fact.
. Who then started it and carried
It through to President Roosevelt
and persuaded him to sign the or
der?
The answer is that ever since the
reorganization bill came before Con
, press there has been a group of
theorists who have no use for prac
tical suggestions about governmen
tal operations, but want to fit every
bureau and commission into a pat
tern of their own designing. They
are sincere theorists. They have
no ulterior motive. They simply
believe that independent commis
sions belong in the executive branch
of the Government and they have
the ear of Mr. Roosevelt, who is so
harassed by detail and so pressed
for time by public problems that
he has assented to a change with
out giving everybody concerned a
chance to be heard.
The President cannot be blamed
In a sense for what has happened.
He has been warned that reorgani
sation orders must be planned in
secret and sent to Congress so that
R backfire cannot be built to pre
vent the order from being decided
upon. Congress itself recognized
that this might happen when it del
egated power to the President to
issue such reorganization orders,
but legislated a provision that the
orders could be disapproved if a
majority of both houses so voted
Within 60 days.
This is an important safeguard,
but it may not work because it is
not easy to rivet public attention on
ft technical order affecting reor
ganization of a particular board or
bureau. Also people who have other
responsibilities and work to do,
especially in the aviation industry,
now must come to Washington and,
In effect, lobby for a change that
never should have been ordered in
the first place.
If the President had given a hear
ing to all interests concerned, the
order never would have been issued.
In the last 24 hours since the order
was published Senator McCarran
has had telegrams from all parts of
the country expressing grave con
cern that the Air Safety Board is
to be abolished and that the C. A. A.
Is to be made a bureau. Representa
tive Woodrum of Virginia has taken
ft stand against the order in the
House.
The present executive reorganiza
tion law provides that the resolution
of disapproval must come out of con
gressional committees in 16 days and
debate is limited in both houses.
The Capital Parade
Mrs. Harriman, U. S. Minister to Norway, a Heroine,
Rose to Occasion When Blitzkrieg Hit Norway
By JOSEPH ALSOP and ROBERT KINTNER.
Commonly a woman nearly 70 years old, caught In the midst of a
| brutal armed Invasion, forced tr flee from her home and daily menaced
by the dangers of modem war, would not l<e expected to rise to the occa
sion. But Florence Jaffray Hurst Harriman, known to an incredible
number of people as "Daisy,” Is not a common woman. As United States
Minister to Norway, she has not only risen to the occasion. She appears
to have risen above it.
The night the invasion began, she sent the wire which gave the first
aiarm 10 uie state Department.
Having got off her dispatch, she
wisely telephoned Stockholm, to give
the news to the Legation there in
case of accidents. Then, while most
other diplomats were trapped in
Oslo, she picked up bag and baggage
and followed the Norwegian govern
ment in its flight from the capital.
In the last days she has been unable
to communicate with Washington,
but in her last report she indicated
uupru to rejoin me Norwegian government, doing her job like a trooper.
Woman of the World
Whatever hardships Mrs. Harriman may be forced to undergo—and
accompanying a government in flight in a rather barren, thinly populated
country is not an easy task—she is unlikely to complain. There can be
very few people in the world who combine such an equable temper with
such inexhaustible vitality and such an appetite for experience. If German
invasion of Norway were not so dark a tragedy, one might almost suspect
she was enjoying the excitement.
Tall, attractive, with an erect carriage, a genial expression and a
large, acquiline nose, she has the air of having enjoved excitement all her
life. Nor is her air deceptive. Her father, Frank Hurst, was an important
New York shipping man. Money was plentiful, and what with dancing,
dining, yachting, riding to hounds, going to Europe and similar pleasures,
life was very agreeable for young Daisy Hurst from the moment she grew
up. Married early to J. Borden Harriman, she seemed for a while to settle
comfortably into the easy, busy round of prosperous life in old-time New
York.
But she was not a woman to be simply satisfied by easy pleasures.
Only a few years after her marriage, when it was still thought daring for
women to have serious minds of their own, she began to be interested in
public questions. She did welfare work. She took a leading part in the
civic federation and, through it, became closely acquainted with labor
I problems. She was converted to suffragism, and began to be interested in
politics. New York’s reform Mayor, John Purroy Mitchel, was her friend,
and by 1912 she had emerged as an ardent Wilsonian. That year Wilson
made her chairman of the woman s division of his Campaign Committee,
and she romped genially around the country, routing out other women
; and infecting them with her political enthusiasm.
! It's Ml Fun
In the early years of the Wilson administration, she and her husband
moved to Washington. He died shortly before the outbreak of the war.
Left a widow, she plunged into war work, ran a canteen in France and
watched the Peace Conference in Paris. Then she returned to Washing
ton, to spend the next years watching national politics and taking a part
in it. Her house was a Democratic citadel in the Republican era. Her
friends were innumerable. And she had a wonderful time of it.
She had a little bad luck in 1932. for as national committeewoman for
the District of Columbia, she was not for Roosevelt before Chicago. It took
some time for her party loyalty and frank admiration for the man she had
opposed to cause the opposition to be forgotten. Then she was offered the
i>urwegian j-iegauon, ana accepiea
t with delight. In Norway, before the
war came, she enjoyed herself as
she had in Washington, and started
to learn to ski in the bargain.
In her busy life she wa-s perhaps
at her best at the Sunday suppers
she used to give in her pleasant, un
pretentious house on the hill over
looking Washingfon. Justices of the
Supreme Court, violent New Dealers,
* crusted Republicans, Senators, for
eigners, pretty women and newspapermen—all would be crowded together
into the smallish dining room.
After dinner, she would start them talking on an important topic,
tossing the conversational ball, now to this man and now to that, with a
sort of easy geniality which generally repressed acrimony. But sometimes
talk would grow loud and feeling strong She put a stop to one of these
disputes with a sentence which might well be called her life motto. It was,
“Isn’t it all great fun?”
(Released by the North American Newspaper Alliance. Inc.)
Senator McCarran has arranged to
have the resolution called up on his
return from a brief absence from
Washington but meanwhile the
American people will have an oppor
tunity to express their viewpoint to
the members of the House and Sen
ate on the vital precedent involved.
The airways were made safe—not
j an accident for a year. The aviation
; industry was making great strides.
No longer was there gossip of favor
i itism in the award of Government
| contracts for carrying mail or for
1 any other regulatory action. Every
body was happy—a great experiment
in Government by commission was
being carried on. Democratic gov
ernment was redeeming itself—and
then the ax came.
Within 60 days the American peo
ple must say "yes” or "no.” If they
remain indifferent the whole fight to
maintain commissions and boards
independent of politics, independent
of cabinet officer control or of execu
tive domination will be lost. If
they speak up, and the resolution to
kill the order is carried, it will be a
sign that the people are vigilant and
alert notwithstanding the many
things that tend to divert their
interest in times like these. It is an
issue of transcendent importance.
(Reproduction Riihts Reserved )
Women's Club Elects
GAITHERSBURG, Md„ April 15
(Special).—Officers have been elect
ed by the Gaithersburg Women's
Club as follows:
Mrs. Bates Etchison, president;
Mrs. Vestus Wilcox, first vice presi
dent; Mrs. John S. Larcombe, sec
ond vice president; Mrs. John Mun
caster, recording secretary; Mrs.
Samuel Riggs, corresponding secre
tary; Mrs. John Small, 3d, treas
urer. and Mrs. George A. Chadwick,
treasurer.
4%
LOANS
ON
Life Insurance
Cash Values
Also Automobile and Character Loans
on Attractive Terms
Bank of Commerce & Savings
Main Offica Branch
7th fir E Sts. N.W. H at No. Capitol
Member federal Deposit Insurance Corp.
■i ■ i in i - —
Mrs. Roosevelt to Speak
In Dedication Ceremony
Mrs. Franklin D. Roosevelt will
lead dedication ceremonies of the
$200,000 addition to the Washington
Home for Incurables at 4 p.m. to
morrow at the home. Wisconsin ave
nue and Upton street N.W.
Mrs. Roosevelt will speak briefly
and will cut a ribbon stretched
acrossed the entrance to the new
wing.
An invocation by the Rev. Dr.
Albert J. McCartney, pastor of Cove
nant First Presbyterian Church, will
start the ceremonies. Dr. Warfield
G. Loncope, physician in chief of
Johns Hopkins University Hospital,
Baltimore, will speak, and the bene
diction will be pronounced by the
Rev. Dr. F. Bland Tucker, pastor of
St. John's Protestant Episcopal
Church. Georgetown.
Mrs. Henry W. Watson is .chair
man of the Arrangements Commit
tee, which includes Mrs. Robert S.
Chew, Mrs. James S. Taylor, Mrs.
J. Harry Covington and Mrs. Hamil
ton Fish.
The addition to the home was
made possible by a bequest of Mrs.
Laura Hartman Lisner, who died in
1937. Mrs. Lisner's will stipulated
that the wing should be known as
the Wilhelmina Cj Hartmann Me
morial, in memory of her sister.
The board of managers voted to
appropriate approximately $25,000
in addition to the legacy for enlarge
ment of the old lounge and install
ment of a new fire alarm system and
certain fireproofing. Construction
was begun in July, 1939.
cTHE opinions of the writers on this page are their own, not
x necessarily The Star’s. Such opinions are presented in The
Star’s effort to give all sides of questions of interest to its
readers, although such opinions may be contradictory among
themselves and directly opposed to The Star’s.
Washington Observations
Pussyfooting in U. S. Politicians' Attitude
Toward War in Europe Charged
By FREDERIC WILLIAM WILE. ,
Pussyfooting, since time Imme
morial the favorite pastime of Amer
ican politicians, especially in a presi
dential election year, was never more
rampant than at
uii!> criwcai nour
in the destinies
of mankind. No
body seems
ready to call
spades by their
right name. Re
publicans—
Dewey, Taft,
Vandenberg
among them —
are doing most
of the sidestep
p i n g. stalling
and dodging on
foreign policy,
but from the Frederic William Wile,
standpoint of that considerable
minority of Americans who deplore
the United States’ “disinterested by
stander” attitude, even the Roose
velt administration’s moral sym
pathy with the struggling democra
cies leaves something to be desired.
The plight of Denmark and Nor
way, for example, finds officialdom
concerned exclusively with rescuing
3.000 or 4.000 Americans resident in
Scandinavia, though the President’s
platonic denunciation of the latest
Nazi aggression keeps the record
straight. Meantime the unrealistic
view persists that Uncle Sam should
conserve his energies for the peace
conference, as if either Germany
or the allies would allow us to help
dictate the peace as long as w’e re
fused to lift a finger to bring it
about. If Europe's war is “none of
our business.” is it logical to con
sider that Europe's peace is any of
our business?
★ * * *
Divided Sentiment.
Since this column on April 5—four
days before the Nazi invasion of
Denmark and Norway—ventured to
suggest the hour was at hand for
this country to take serious stock
of the war situation, there has been
noteworthy response to that sugges
tion. Bouquets and brickbats have
arrived in about equal proportion,
reflecting what undoubtedly is the
Nation's manv-angled state of mind.
It is a state of confusion and di
vision which clamors for construc
tive leadership. It transcends party
lines. On the same day last week,
for example, Democrat Col. Henry
Breckinridge, Col. Lindbergh's close
friend and personal counsel, who
was Assistant Secretary of War
under Woodrow Wilson, vied pub
licly with Republican Nicholas
Roosevelt, vice governor of the
Philippines and Minister to Hun
gary, under Herbert Hoover, in ex
pressions of bitter anti-Nazi feeling.
Lawyer Breckinridge would have
the United States declare war on
Germany instantly, if Hitler's ma
rauding legions set foot on Iceland
or Greenland. Author Roosevelt de
clared "We can no longer sit by in
smug isolation and say the war's
outcome does not concern us—that
it makes no difference whether Ger
many or the allies win.” It con
cerns, in fact, he added, “our souls
and our skins—our souls, because
j the vein' principles of the civilization
I we hold dear are being destroyed
| before our eyes, and our skins,
because if Germany is victorious,
we shall face a new world in which
we will be the Nazi’s public enemy
No. 1.”
* * * *
Politics “Ueber Alles.”
That both President Roosevelt
and Secretary Hull personally are
passionately anti-Nazi, despite re
quired official neutrality, is every
body's secret. But either of them
may be the Democratic nominee for
the presidency in November; if he
chooses to run he will wish to be
elected. As seasoned politicians,
each knows it would be suicidal
openly to take any position that
goes beyond our cash-and-carry
readiness to stop Hitler. One won
ders what the judgment of his
tory is going to be on the contribu
tion of the world's most powerful
democracy to the preservation of
civilization, if our contribution re
mains confined to selling war
sinews to anybody who can come
and get them c. o. d.? If the suc
cessive fates of Austria, Czecho
slovakia, Poland, Finland and China
failed to jerk us out of our apathy,
there is slim prospect that Scan
dinavia’s travail will do so. "It
can’t happen here" seems for the
moment to have supplanted "E
Pluribus Unum” as our national
motto. Even the condemnatory
words the President has just ut
tered butter no allied parsnips.
* * * *
Vandenberg’s Mistake.
Where Senator Vandenberg fum
bled and stumbled was in not heed
ing a well-known axiom attributed
to Will H. Hays—that in politics
"nothing just happens; things have
to be brought about.” Ever since
the presidential microbe lodged it
self in Vandenberg’s bosom he has
ostentatiously proceeded on the
theory that the office should seek
the man. He has been content to
strut up and down the Senate
chamber in self-satisfied confidence
that if he waited long enough, the
G. O. P. would come along and
tender him its standard bearership
on a silver platter. The Michi
gander has eminent White House
qualities, far exceeding, in the opin
ion of many, the claims of either
Dewey or Taft. But the Grand
Rapids editor-statesman is discov
ering to his dismay that Will Hays
is right and that a presidential
nomination is not obtainable by
default.
* * * *
Dawes to Speak.
Former Vice President Dawes will
make one of his rare public reap
pearances in Washington on April
30, when he will address the 28tn
annual meeting of the Chamber of
Commerce of the United States. His
remarks, it is announced, will be
"a thoughtful address to the Amer
ican people and will deal with the
job confronting the next President
of the United States in averting a
national financial crisis.” It was
early in 1932 that the R. F.*C.
loaned the Dawes bank in Chicago
some $90,000,000 to avert a local
financial crisis.
* * * *
Useful Maps.
President Roosevelt has just ad
vised the country to get oufc its
maps and encyclopedias in order to
keep abreast of kaleidoscopic war
events. A compact 93-paged "War
Atlas," containing 45 maps, has just
been issued by the Foreign Policy
Association. Prepared by expert
map makers and elucidated by in
ternational specialists, the booklet
will help one to follow the war
wherever it may spread throughout
the world. Map No. 26. though it
must have been prepared weeks be
fore the Nazi invasion, bears the
prophetic caption. "The Threat to
Scandinavia." No handier or time
lier compendium has left the press
in many a day.
Six Danish Ships Lie
in American Harbors
By th* Associated Press.
•6AN PEDRO. Calif. April 15.—
The Danish motorship Nordpol,
chartered to British interests, rode
at anchor today beside two other
Danish ships, the Erria and the
Hulda Maersk.
She turned back from a trip from
the Orient to Europe when, half
way to Panama, she learned of the
German invasion of Denmark.
Also newly-arrived from the
Orient are the Norwegian motorship
Sophooles. under charter to Danish
interests, and the Norwegian motor
tanker Havkong.
JACKSONVILLE, Fla., April 15
(>P).—Three Danish vessels were tied
up here today awaiting clarification
of their status after the German
invasion of their tiny homeland.
The Caroline Maersk. twin screw
7,691-ton tanker, anchored in the
St. Johns River yesterday to await
orders from its principals. Already
in port were the 3.889-ton Nora,
discharging a cargo, and the four
masted square-rigged training ship
Danemark.
Mackenzie King Resting
At Virginia Beach
By the Associated Press.
VIRGINIA BEACH, Va.. April 15.
—Prime Minister W. L. Mackenzie
King of Canada, arriving here yes
terday for a three weeks’ rest, said
he was delighted to hear of the Brit
ish naval victory at Narvik, but de
clined further comment on the war.
The Prime Minister also vaca
tioned here in 1938.
L. C. Tubbs, representing the
United States Department of State,
and Mr. Mackenzie King’s secretary
accompanied him here.
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_A_A_A_A_A_A_A_A_A_A_A_A_A_A_A_A_A_A_A_A A A A A A A A AAA_A_A_A
This Changing World
Scandinavia Held Likely to Assume Role
Belgium Had in 1914; Allies' Task Hard
By CONSTANTINE BROWN.
Scandinavia is by way of becoming what Belgium was in 1914. Allied
expeditionary forces were landed at "various points" in Norway early this
morning and it is unknown yet whether contact between the expeditionary
corps and the Invading forces has been made.
Prom news available here there seems to be no doubt that in the
region north of Trondheim—particularly at Narvik—there will be little
resistance. The German forces there, estimated at 1,500 to 2,000 men,
have no contact with their bases except by airplane. The sea line has
been Interrupted by the presence of British naval units. Their situation
has been precarious ever since they landed.
Narvik, however, is of capital importance to the British. While there
is no railroad between Narvik and Southern Norway, there is a modern
line* between Narvik and Kiruna in Sweden. Once the British are well
established there, important forces and war material could be sent to the
Swedish border, thus giving Sweden the assurance that if she resisted
German pressure she could count on effective allied assistance.
Allies' Task Difficult
Military authorities are watching with keen Interest the operations
likely to develop in parts of Norway, where the German Army is solidly
entrenched, such as Bergen and Trondheim. The allies’ task in those
regions will be a difficult one despite the fact that the British and
the French are past masters in landing operations.
As far as is known here the German forces in Norway by the end
of the week reached some 60,000 men and a number of mechanized units.
The ports of Bergen and Trondheim have been placed on a defensive basis,
but the heavy artillery required to fight ofT warships covering the land
i *n8 of troops is not available. A certain amount of coastal artillery at
Bergen was left behind by the surprised Norwegian garrison last Tuesday.
But it appears that this is of an antiquated type. The railroad from Oslo
to Bergen is a narrow-gauge line and passes through a large number
of tunnels. This makes it impossible for the Germans to rush heavy
artillery to the coast.
Troubles racing the Allies
The allies’ task is still difficult, in that region, however, because a
comparatively small, but determined and well organized force, can make
the position of the landing forces a difficult one even if they obtain a
foothold. German aviation can harass the expeditionary corps seriously, .
The allies cannot count on a too energetic assistance from the
Norwegian Army. The Norwegian troops are brave, but lack equipment.
The surprise occupations of Oslo and the surrounding cities have deprived
King Haakon's army of much war material stored in depots in and near
the capital. The mobilization is difficult since the most populous part
of Norway is already in German hands. The maximum co-operation the
allies can hope for from their Norwegian wards is rear guard actions and
ambushes of the German patrols.
German Stakes
There is no doubt that the Germans will try to overcome all diffi
culties put in their way by the British fleet which is endeavoring to cut
communications between Germany and Norway.
The question of Italy joining the Reich and of the neutrals being
cowed into submission depends on the success or failure of the German
grab on Norway. Hence, the German general staff will use everything
at its disposal to make the expedition in Scandinavia a complete success in
the face of any counter move of the allies.
The allied high command, however, feels confident that it can punc
ture the German plans.
In well informed quarters it is believed that before the week is over
the neutrality of other nations will be violated by the Reich in an effort
to cinch the operations started last Tuesday. There is no doubt now that
the German high command was confident that the occupation of Norway
would be the same military march as the one on Denmark. Recent de
velopments have upset somewhat its calculations, but it would be fool
hardy to believe that possibilities of Norwegian resistance and of an allied
; intervention had not been discounted by the German general staff.
Escaped Bank Robbers
Captured Near Tacoma
By the Associated Press.
TACOMA. Wash., April 15—Near
exhaustion from lack of food and
! rest. Joseph Paul Cretzer. 28. and
| Arnold Thomas Kyle, 29. known as
I "the Nation's No. 1 bank-robbing
team." were captured last night only
2’2 miles from McNeil Island Fed
eral Penitentiary. The pair escaped
from the prison last Thursday.
They were taken without re
sistance by a posse of 12 prison
j guards after a searching party had
' discovered them hiding in a bushy
! area near the island schoolhouse.
' The fugitives accidentally made
their presence known when one rus
tled the bushes as he shifted his
! position.
Klyle and Cretzer escaped from
the penitentiary by driving a deliv
! ery truck, which had been left in
the prison yard, through the rear
i inspection gate under gunfire from
a guard. The truck was abandoned
2 miles from the prison.
Both were serving 25-year sen
tences for robbing the Bank of
America in Los Angeles in 1938.
Open House at School
The annual open house of the
Charles Stewart School of East
Falls Church, Va., will be observed
in connection with a meeting of the
school's Parent-Teacher Associa
tion at 8 p.m. tomorrow at the
school. Grant Clark of the A. A. A.
safety department will show a film
on safety.
Gov. Dickinson, 81 Today,
Eschews Celebration
By the Associated Press.
LANSING. Mich . April 15.—Gov.
Luren D. Dickinson is 81 years old
today, but to him the anniversary is
just another day in which to “keep
moving right along."
"Some people make a fuss over
birthdays." he remarked wryly, “but
I never could see just why."
He's looking forward with eager
ness to the opening of the baseball
season in Detroit tomorrow. A con
fessed “nut” on baseball, he will be
in the stands if tl^ weather is at
all favorable. Furthermore, he'll
toss out the first ball if any one asks
him to.
Gov. Dickinson's health and
strength have improved constantly
during a year in the office he in
herited upon the death of Gov.
Frank D. Fitzgerald.
Republican Attacks
Reorganization Plan
Representative Halleck. Repub
lican. of Indiana charged last night
j that in proposing to place the Civil
Aeronautics Authority under the
! Commerce Department “the New
Deal is junking the principle that
quasi-legislative and quasi-judicial
functions should be kept separate
from administrative functions."
President Roosevelt's regorzaniza
tion order of last week provided for
the transfer.
Mr. Haileck's statement criticizing
the order was issued through the
1 Republican National Committee.
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OF LEWIS & THOS. SALTZ STANDARD QUALITY
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Quality of fine weave . . . The tailoring is
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We doubt whether they can be duplicated
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We therefore urge an immediate selection.
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IN REGULARS, SHORTS, LONGS AND STOUTS
CUSTOM IMPERIAL GABARDINES_$55
GARNETT GABARDINES from ENGLAND....$75
AZURE ISLE SILK GABARDINES....».$85
LEWIS & THOS. SALTZ
1409 G STREET N.w!NC
Sett: Both Lewii Salta and Thoa. Salta are at thia Store on G Street. There are no Salta*,
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Big Riddle
Studied by
O'Mahoney
Method of Seeking
Answer to Job
Question Praised
By CHARLES G. ROSS.
The temporary National Eco
nomic Committee (the O'Mahoney
committee) has begun a hearing on
“the all-important riddle of our
1/1 in c, nriiiiuiv,
why it is that in
a world of inex
haustible natu
i ral resources, in
habited by men
who know more
I about the physi
cal and chemi
cal secrets of
nature than all
the generations
who preceded
them, we still
have not learned
how to apply
me wonaers oi
charin G. Rom. technology 1 n
such a fashion as to provide de
cent jobs for the millions of idle
who are able and willing to work.”
The words are those of the cb#r
man in outlining the study.
Why is it that w'ith production
hitting the 1929 prosperity level, as
it did toward the end of last year,
we still had 10.000.000 unemployed0
Why is it that we have 8.000.000
families with incomes of less than
$750 a year and an additional 11,
000.000 with incomes between $750
and $1,500?
Why is itr—to lump a hundred
questions into one—that the genius
which has enabled us to solve the
problem of production has failed
tragically before the problem of dis
tribution?
Prospectus Admirable.
To put the question is to show
the profound importance of the
committee's inquiry into the social
and economic effects of technology
Chairman O'Mahoney's prospectus
is altogether admirable: “The
leaders who have been invited to
testify are under no restriction of
any kind. We are not trying to
prove a case for any remedy or for
any approach. We are not seeking
to solicit evidence to justify more
Government or to justify increased
expenditures.”
Admirable, too. was the manner
in which the hearing was opened by
the committee's economic adviser,
Dr. Theodore J. Kreps, an economics
professor at Stanford. It is possible
here only to glance at his paper,
for any one who will take the trou
ble to go through it and study its
charts and graphs, there's a liberal
education in the subject.
One of the statistical facts at the
root of the problem of technological
unemployment: From 1924 to 1938,
thanks to the machine—by which is
meant all forms of improved meth
ods of production—the productivity
of labor increased 40 per cent. Since
1929 the output per man hour has
increased 25 to 30 per cent.
Another point brought out by Dr.
Kreps: The percentage of available
workers from 45 to 64 is increasing
rapidly and “finding jobs for men
over 40 will in the near future re
quire every scrap of ingenuity that
leaders in business and Govern
ment can summon.”
The Brighter Side.
On the brighter side, suggesting
the infinite possibilities that lie in
industrial pioneering: Substantial
portons of the output of some of the
largest chemical companies consist
of products that a few years ago
were unknown. For example, the
Monsanto Chemical Co. of St. Louis
reported recently that products put
into commercial manufacture since
1929 accounted for 39 per cent of
its sales in 1938. Forty per cent of
the business of the Du Pont Co. in
1937 was done in products relatively
unknown in 1929.
The present needs of industry:
Not more capacity but more market.
Industry is equipped to produce a
national income of 90 to 100 billion
dollars.
At this point Chairman O'Ma
honey summed up: "That is an
other way of saying that the prob
lem now is one of distribution rath
er than of production.”
Dr. Kreps: “Yes, I think that
would follow.”
The question was posed: Who has
received the benefits of technology
in the last 20 years? The answer,
roughly, was that benefits had been
distributed to the consumer, in the
form of lower prices, but not to the
extent that they should have been—
not to the extent that they must be
if the beneficent possibilities of the
machine are to be realized. As the
case was stated by Dr. Kreps: “The
best argument for, if not the proof
and substance of. technical prog
ress, consists in the lower prices
that are quoted to consumers. These
savings from increasing productiv
ity, if passed on to consumers, in
crease the purchasing power of mil
lions of people and thereby give in
creased opportunities for employ
ment to millions of businesses
throughout the country.”
Problem Stated Graphically.
This is what might happen. It
has happened up to now in a degree
far from sufficient, to make the ma
chine the unmixed blessing that it
ought to be. Instead, along with its
benefits, the machine has helped to
produce “complete absence of em
ployment in a quantity we don’t
know.’’
Dr. Kreps stated graphically the
problem with which the committee
is wrestling: “There are some truly
gigantic bridges to be built, eco
nomic bridges connecting the needs
of these families (the 19,000,000 at
the bottom of the economic scale!
with the goods which our superb
machines can produce.
“There are, in short, two frontiers
—the industrial frontier and the
frontier of economic adjustment
* • • If we vigorously push advances
in technology and refuse to make
the requisite economic adjustment
we will set up grave tensions In our
society. To call a moratorium on
the progress of the machine is both
unwise and impossible. But the
shortsightedness of those who argue
that the industrial frontier is gone
is only exceeded by the stupid de
featism of those who wish to call
a halt to economic adjustment."
\yhat form should this adjust
ment take? Chairman O’Mahoney
and the economist, between them,
arrived at this answer: There
should be no limitation of produc
tion, but a building up of the con
suming capacity of those 19.000,000
families.
It gets the T. N. E. C.'s hearing off
to a good start to have the problem
so clearly recognized and stated.

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