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Evening star. [volume] (Washington, D.C.) 1854-1972, January 19, 1944, Image 10

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$f)e Petting ptaf
With Sunday Mamina Editiaa.
THEODORE W. NOTES, Editor.
WASHINGTON. D. C.
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A-10 * WEDNESDAY. January 1971944
Expediency Wins Again
The railroad wage controversy
involving the fifteen nonoperating
unions has been adjusted along ex
pected lines, with the more than a
million workers receiving a grad
uated increase of nine to eleven
cents an hour, instead of the flat
eight-cent increase vetoed several
months ago by Stabilization Director
Fred M. Vinson as a breach of the
“Little Steel’’ formula. Theoretical
ly, the settlement preserves the
stabilization formula, as but part of
the increase is in basic rates, with
the remainder being granted in lieu
of overtime after 40 hours—a con
cession obtained by the brotherhoods
twho work 48) with a strike threat.
The general public is apt to become
slightly confused in attempting to
reconcile approval of the new scale
with Director Vinson’s rejection of
the eight cents as inflationary. The
explanation, of course, is that the
administration wanted a way out
and resorted to the same device used
In settling the dispute of the five
train and engine brotherhoods, who
also received an overtime allowance.
The net result is that the rail unions,
which were exempted from the
Wage and Hour Act on their own
insistence, because they preferred
the traditional collective bargaining
procedure, now, as a matter of ex
pediency, have won benefits of the
overtime principle of that law, al
though their wage standards are far
better than the minimums set by
the Wage-Hour Act.
The rail wage settlement follows
the general pattern finally adopted
In the long-standing controversy
involving the United Mine Workers,
which finally was resolved by the
introduction of new factors permit
ting the miners to get all but a frac
tion of the $2 daily Increase for
which they staged four strikes, but
at the same time “preserving” the
“Little Steel” formula. While the
mine wage increase is being passed
on to the consuming public, how
ever, the railroads presumably will
absorb the added cost of the new
wage out of present revenues.
In the light of the success attend
ing the wage campaigns of the
miners and rail workers, unusual
interest attaches to the negotiations
now being conducted by the CIO
steel workers. Under the “Little
Steel” formula, this group Is en
titled to nothing as a cost-of-living
adjustment. But, as shown before,
that may be no reason to deny an
Increase.
Marriages Declining
In theory, war stimulates an In
crease in the number of marriages.
An Associated Press report from
London, however, suggests a con
trary point of view. Marriages in
Britain, it was explained, totaled
81.454 in the third quarter of 1943,
the lowest figure for % similar three
month period since 1918. For each
thousand of population, according
to official estimates, there were only
between fifteen and sixteen mar
riages. But the birth rate in the
same quarter year was 16.2 a thou
sand, a* relatively high figure, a
trend paralleled in America with
3,200,000 births in the year just
finished.
Statistics compiled by the Metro
politan Life Insurance Company in
New York are interesting in this
connection. Marriages in the United
States during 1943, it has been an
nounced, will total about 1,725,000, a
drop of 75,000 from the peak of the
year before. “Rapidly declining
marriage rates” allegedly may be
expected “until the war is over.”
The decrease “was bound to come”
because of “the many marriages in
anticipation of active military serv
ice in the preceding years.” Admit
tedly, “many hundreds of thousands
of men, still marriageable, have been
shipped overseas. These are the men
who, on their return, will swell the
tide of the marriage rate in postwar
years.”
Study of the Metropolitan survey
brings to light certain details of
significance in respect to what is
happening and what may happen.
American cities, for instance, issued
only '4.8 per cent fewer marriage
licenses in 1943 thap in 1942, while
Canadian cities experienced a drop
of 14.6 per cent. But the obvious
comment is not justified. Closer ex
amination serves merely to add to
the mystery implicit in the contrast.
With but five exceptions—Quebec,
Des Moines, Kansas City (Kansas),
Denver and Spokane—all cities in
the northern portion of the conti
nent reported decreases in the num
ber of marriages. The gains regis
tered were in the South—specifically
In Atlanta, Jacksonville, Miami,
Tampa, Memphis, New Orleans, Fort
Worth, Dallas, Los Angeles and San
Diego.
Of course, some allowance must
be made for the fact that the popu
lation of the United States is "dis
located” lly changes of residence
involved in training assignments in
the Army and the Navy, not for men
only but for many women also.
Polish-Russian Realities
The current furor over the dis
patch published in Pravda concern
ing alleged Anglo-German Conver
sations about a separate peace
should not distract attention from
the Russo-Polish problem.
In considering the Russo-Polish
dispute, ona. should distinguish be
tween the boundary question and
the manner in which it is to be set
tled. Shortly after Russian forces
crossed the borders of prewar Po
land a fortnight ago Premier Ml
kolajczyk stated: “The question of
the line is not so important. The
greatest problem is to get security
for the Polish population.” While
protesting against “unilateral” de
cisions of Moscow, the Polish gov
ernment Jias been conciliatory in its
statements and has shown a willing
ness to negotiate. Stating its “sin
■ cere desire for a Polish-Soviet agree
ment on terms which would be just
and acceptable to both sides.” the
Polish government in exile has sug
gested that “all outstanding ques
tions between Russia and Poland
should be taken up at a meeting of
the two countries with^Great Britain
and the United States serving as
friendly mediators.”
However, Moscow has thus far re
buffed all these overtures, and has
refused to rescind its diplomatic
break with the Polish government in
exile, which would be the necessary
prerequisite to negotiations of any
kind. Moscow’s answer to the Polish
offer was uncompromising in tone.
It accused the Polish government of
having “entirely evaded and ig
nored’’ Moscow’s intimation that the
so-called Curzon line should ap
proximate the new Russo-Polish
frontier, and then drew the deduc
tion that this constitutes a rejection
of the Curzon line as a basis for
negotiation. The request for a joint
discussion of Russo-Polish issues
was not only rejected by Moscow
but was also denounced as mislead
ing. As for the suggested Anglo
American mediation, it was pointed
ly ignored. Simultaneously with this
vehement rejection of Polish offers,
the Soviet press has been filled with
dispatches from abroad, allegedly
from Polish individuals or groups,
denouncing the government In exile
and proposing that it be eliminated
and superseded by the Polish Com
mittee of National Liberation formed
last year in Moscow, which claims to
be the authentic voice of the Polish
people.
All this would seem to indicate
that Moscow does not intend to deal
with the present government in exile.
The alternative would seem to be
either a revamped Polish govern
ment containing only those com
pliant to Russian demands or Mos
cow’s formal recognition of the Na
tional Liberation Committee. That
would raise a diplomatic issue be
tween Moscow and its western allies,
Britain and America, of the utmost
gravity.
Coal Mine Ruling
Attorney General Biddle’s ruling
that Secretary Ickes need not re
turn the coal mines to their owners
at this time has a substantial basis
in common sense. But it is another
matter to find persuasive authority
for it in the language of the Smith
Connally Act.
The Government seized the mines
under the provisions of this act
after the most recent of the series of
strikes resulting from the wage dis
pute between John L. Lewis and the
War Labor Board. There is a sec
tion of the statute, however, which
requires the Government to return
the mines to their owners not later
than sixty days after they have
been restored to “productive effi
ciency,” and it was an interpreta
tion of this language which Mr.
Ickes had sought from the Attorney
General.
It was conceded that so far as the
tonnage of coal produced was con
cerned. the productive efficiency of
the mines had been restored. But
since a new contract satisfactory to
the miners had not been agreed
upon the threat of another strike
remained in the picture, and Mr.
Biddle held that this factor should
be taken into account. “To hold that
return of possession (of the mines)
is required in the face of a threat
ened recurrence of strikes or work
stoppages,” he said, “would compel
the Government to go through the
idle ceremony of relinquishing pos
session under one executive order
and retaking possession under an
other.”
as nas oeen said, this is the
common-sense view of the matter,
for the alternative of returning the
mines and then seizing them again
upon recurrence of the strike soon
would reduce this exercise of the
dovernment’s wartime authority to
a patent absurdity. But however
sensible this view may be, it is not
an entirely satisfying answer to the
statute.
The law says that the mines must
be returned not later than sixty
days after their productive efficiency
is restored. It says nothing about
holding seized property until the
last threat of a future strike has
been removed, and, on the record,
it is exceedingly doubtful that Con
gress had any such thought as that
reflected in Mr. Biddle’s ruling.
If the Attorney General’s interpre
tation of the law is valid, then it
follow’s that any irresponsible labor
leader, by the mere threat of a
strike, can cause the Government to
retain seized property indefinitely,
no matter how guiltless the lawful
owner may be, and it is difficult to
believe that Congress, in passing the
antistrike law, intended any auch
result. While Mr. Biddle's reluc
tance to put the Government
through the “idle ceremony" of seis
ing and reselzing strike-bound prop
erties is understandable, his remedy
would mem to lie in an appeal to
Congress for a more effective law.
Certainly there is little to be gained
from a strained construction of ex
isting law which, in effect, invites
Mr. Lewis to tie up the mines as long
as it suits his fancy. It would be
better, by any realistic standard, to
call such a spade as this by its right
name.
Service Act Setback
The decision of the House Military
Affairs Committee to lay aside the
President’s request for a national
service act pending “further de
velopments” marks a very definite
setback for this proposed wartime
legislation. There is no reason to
believe, however, that the action of
the House committee is out of tune
with majority sentiment on Capitol
Hill.
In the week that has passed since
the President’s request went to the
Capitol, two things have become
clear.
One is that Congress will not pass
a national service law merely to en
able the Government to deal with
wartime strikes. This does not imply
any disposition to condone or ig
nore the strikes. There is strong
feeling against them, and the
chances are that the President, if he
wants it, can secure passage of effec
tive legislation aimed directly at
preventing strikes which interfere
with the prosecution of the war.
But he has little if any chance of
securing a national service law as a
solution for this specific problem.
It has become clear that most
members of Congress will oppose a
national service law unless there is
a convincing shoeing of a broad
military need for it. The suggestion
that it would shorten the war has
failed to make the desired impres
sion. The legislators want specific
information as to the production
problems which remain to be solved
and how a service act would help to
solve them. General statements of
the desirability of such a law will
not be enough, and this should be
kept in mind by the witnesses sched
uled to testify in favor of the legis
lation, beginning today, before the
Senate Military Affairs Committee.
Finally, it is essential to recognize
that under the most favorable cir
cumstances the administration still
will have to exert a determined
effort to secure favorable act'on in
Congress. Since sending up his
recommendation, there is no indica
tion that the President has sought
to line up support for his program.
Yet it is quite evident that if he
wants a national service act he will
have to fight as hard for it as he
fought for some of the reform legis
lation put through in his first and
second administrations. . I
This and That
By Charles E. Tracewetl.
“SILVER SPRING, Md.
“Dear Sir:
“On January 7 I heard two cardinals
singing their real spring song. I have
been feeding the birds for about eight
years, and as I always whistle the car
dinal's call when I put out their feed,
many other birds as well come down
when they hear me.
“On my feeder now I have variety,
many sparrows, titmice, blue jays and
nuthatches in the yard, also two mock
ingbirds. I hope that folks will put
out warm water these cold days as well
as food.
“Sincerely, R. P. C.”
* * * *
The cardinal's song is seldom heard
so early. In some neighborhoods the
“cheer, cheer, cheer’’ comes later in
January, or even the first part of Febru
ary.
To many listeners It is the true spring
song. We believe that it was about
January 7 or 8 when we heard it.
Since the cardinal is the most faith
ful of the birds wrhich winter wifti us, it
is quite right that it should sing first.
It is a bit later, in February, usually,
that the feeding of the female by the
male takes place. This is sometimes
called “kissing” by persons who are
not close enough to see what really
happens. It is this:
The male cracks a sunflower seed,
removes the husk and holds the kernel
out to his mate. ,
Thus their bills meet, as she takes
the food very daintily.
Other birds place pieces of food on
the rim of the feeding station for their
mates.
These are all manifestations of spring
in the bird world.
As far as we have been able to ob
serve, the sparrows are too busy with
the hard facts of life to have much
romantic love. ,
Mating among the English sparrows
begins very early, sometimes in the
first week of February.
Most male birds will feed the female
when she is on the nest.
* * * *
Putting out water for the wintering
birds is almost as necessary as giving
them food.
In fact, in a way it is more essential,
because somehow most of the birds can
find food, although not as much as
they need, but often it is impossible for
them to find any water.
Folks speak of winter as bare looking,
but the best description of the winter
outdoor scene is dry.
Cold and wind dry up everything,
especially small pools and puddles.
Even when it is raining, there are
often no small depressions in which the
birds can bathe and drink.
* * * *
Baths are just as important to the
songsters in winter as in summer .
Many a newcomer to bird watching
has been amazed at the way the win
tering songsters bathe whenever they
get the opportunity.
Householders have found that if they
leave their pottery bird baths out in
the winter, the bowls are very likely
to freeze and crack.
Hence few provide the birds with
water, unless some one reminds them
of it.
Small pans are best for this purpose.
They should be filled with slightly
warm water and put out in the after
noon, preferably in the sunshine.
It is best to place them not too far
from the feeding place.
It is also a good idea to provide the
birds with sand, too. A quart or two
taken from the household air-raid pre
caution batch will never be rfiissed, and
will help the birds digest their dinners.
Letters to The Star
Ask* Popular Zeal
In Behalf of Veteran*.
To th« Editor ot Tht Star:
Yesterday this notice came to my desk:
“Help Our Returned, Demobilized
Soldiers. ■
“While Congress debates the amount
of bonus they shall receive, many of
them are almost destitute. The District
of Columbia Red Cross has sent out an
urgent appeal for clothing for them.
They have no money, no jobs and no
civilian clothes. It seems incredible,
but it’s true—American veterans of
World War II are in need, desperate
need. Think what these men have done
for us. • * * It seems an insult to give
them old clothes, but since we’ve been
asked to do it, let’s not hold back.”
Do we have a system so lacking in
human sympathy that it will subordi
nate our principles to the dry bones of
contention while the object of our com
passion is neglected or dying? Has
our Christianity been so reduced, so
nullified—so strained of its life-giving
substance that it has disappeared en
tirely from the national scene?
Does our Congress negate its “good
intentions” in arguments about how a
thing shall be done while not arising
to the emergency and intervening with
some adea.uate if temporary relief while
straightening out its own bias and its
prejudices?
There seems no excuse for the deplor
able condition exposed in that tragic
sentence "they have no money, no jobs
and no civilian clothes”: and a populace
that would not rise up in compas
sionate indignation and demand that
these returning soldiers be provided for,
and given “civilian clothes” as readily
as they arose in patriotic zeal and gave
them uniforms, is not worth fighting for.
It seems if we, the populace, would
ferret out and recognize our sins—our
lackings toward our responsibilities—
as eagerly as we hold up our merits and
make of them responsibilities in our
behalf, and demand that our elected
representatives pass laws to dissolve
those deficiencies, the time might come
when we shall be worth living with as
well as dying for, and these returning
soldiers might be able to look into our
faces without the agonizing question:
“What for?”
And then we might be able to sing
in tlie same breathless zeal, “My country
’tis of thee” and “Nearer, mv God.”
GLADYS LOVE.
A Rhymester's Preoccupation
With Mystery of Co-ordination.
To the Editor of The Star:
I see by the papers that another
co-ordinator has been appointed to co
ordinate the activities of Government
and private agencies in the fields of
health, welfare, recreation, etc. When
a worker in the field of social welfare
meets a colleague these days, his greet
ing is “Good morning. Have you been
co-ordinated yet this week?"
Or in other words:
Health and welfare, recreation,
Social guards throughout the Nation,
E'en though they be well officialed,
Must be supervised, initialed.
Though we've worked for years together
Sans this governmental tether,
Still we all are destined, fated,
Now to be co-ordinated.
Though our teamwork's been successful.
Though results are real—not guessful,
Agencies of rank and station
Face enforced co-operation.
And anon the time’s arriving
For some over-all contriving
When a chief of regulators
Correlates co-ordinators!
There are those with reasons flimsy
■Who condone this costly whimsy,
But to some it isn't funny—
Those who have to find the money!
RAY H. EVERETT.
Wants to Know If Congress
Will Enact “Total Mobilization."
Xo the Editor of The Star:
Who remembers, or. had we best in
quire who doesn't, those fateful days of
early December, 1941?
We then were assured by the isolation
ists that we had nothing to fear from
abroad; that we were protected by two
great oceans; that the holocaust that
was sweeping Europe and Asia never
could reach our shores, and that all we
really needed to do was to mind our own
business.
But out of the mysterious ether of the
vast Pacific came an almost unbelievable
message: our assembled fleet, presum
ably safe in Pearl Harbor, had been
attacked by a professedly friendly na
tion.
Who ever will forget that day, when a
plainly harassed and anxious President
confirmed the news to a joint session of
the Congress, and asked for a formal
declaration of war against the nation
which, in violation of all practice among
civilized states, already had begun it?
Two years have gone. The near
panic of 1941 has passed and we again
are talking about “business as usual”—
or, at least “postwrar business” as usual.
Also, "strikes as. usual,” although it is
agreed by all authorities that the great
est battles, with the greatest sacrifice of
human life, are still to come.
Our President has asked for total
mobilization of manpower and capital
to the end that all may contribute to
ward hastening the end of the cruel
slaughter. The War and Navy Depart
ments concur. Polls indicate that a
majority of the people favor such a law.
Will Congress enact it?
WILBUR H. CLOSE.
Agree* With Complaint
Against Prohibition and Lobbying.
To the Editor of The Star:
I heartily agree with "Sharp Shooter’’
regarding prohibition and lobbying.
Why must they wait until the men are
out of the country to try to put a dry
law across? It happened the same way
in the last war and if we had never had
prohibition we would never have had
the hip-pocket flask and the wholesale
drinking among our young people that
has come down to our present day.
Let the reformers spend their time
and money advocating temperance but
let them respect the rights of others,
and let the Congressmen do their job
conscientiously and for the people.
Truly, lobbying in the halls of Con
gress is as great a sin or evil as the
drinking they think they will overcome.
A. E. D.
Reflection
Now for the first time in a dozen years
His room is tidy, there's no cluttered
space,
His clothes are hanging neatly, as they
should,
And everything is in its proper place.
The bureau top where havoc reigned
supreme
Stands soberly devoid of odds and
ends,
The radio that alivays was too loud
Seems mutely anxious now to make
amends.
The sun still lingers warmly on his bed.
But in the heavy silence there’s a
chill,
For soon or late I must acquaint myself
With this new pattern, much against
my will. 4
vnrar wilder.
| On' the Record ^
Dorothy Thompson
In Das Reich, Dr. Ooebbels’ weekly
newspaper, issue of December 5, an
entire pace Is given to an article
describing the present situation of
Germany and the
strategy she must
follow to avoid de
feat. There is no
mention of victory.
The writer takes it
for granted, and
seeks to educate the
German .people to
acceptance of the
fact that the Ger
man war of ag
grandizement is al
ready lost. The war
now being fought is
purely defensive,
and its object is only
to win a tolerable peace, from the
victors.
For the first time, as far as I know,
it is openly acknowledged in this article
that the war turned against the Ger
mans exactly when opinion in the
Allied countries thought it had. namely,
in the fall of 1942, a period which en
compasses the successful defense of
Stalingrad, the German retreat in
Egypt and the landing of the Ameri
cans in North Africa.
* * * *
In domestic propaganda it is obvious
that the best strategy today is the
truth. Thus the author of the article
says, "The contemporary picture is that
we are everywhere on the defensive,
and the enemy everywhere is attacking,
not only in the continental theater of
war. in Russia and in the south, but also
in the air, while the U-boat weapon has
lost its offensive power. At the ap
proach of the fifth war year, the war is
going over into the two-front period.”
In such a situation, the tasks facing
Oermany are, he holds, these: Con
centrate all strategy on defense. With
this In mind, turn the path of the
enemy, who must attack, Into a road
of blood. Convince him that It Is either,
first, impossible - to capture the main
central position, or, second, that the
price will be too high.
The writer says that except for the
United States, all Germany's enemies
are also tired, as Germany Is. Britain,
he says, has been strained to the break
ing point since 1942; the Soviet Union
is suffering from superhuman efforts;
and only the Americans will appear In
the European theater completely fresh.
But the Americans, he says, are torn
between Europe and Eastern Asia, and
their divisions, he asserts, are fighting
too far from home to understand the
meaning of the war.
* * + *
On this basis, the writer speculates
that the Russians will not indefinitely
continue their offenses; that the real
test will come when Russian soil is
freed of German troops. At this point,
he hopes and believes the Allied coalition
will split. He has similar hopes In the
Mediterranean campaign, that when
Anglo-American troops reach the Bal
kans, the Inner solidity of the coalition
with Russia will not withstand the
political test. He speculates that
America will revolt at heavy casual
ties, and that in this combination of
circumstances there will be a chance
for Germany to make a deal.
He quotes two first-class German
authors, Prof. Delbrueck, the historian,
and Marshal Ritter von Leeb, on the
strategy of defense. It has two possible
purposes; the one, so to weaken the
enemy that you can take the offensive
yourself; the other, to break down the
enemy to the point where he is willing
to negotiate peace, even though (till in
the superior position. The author ad
mits that the first of these is Impos
sible. Germany never will recapture
the offensive and never be victorious.
But the second Is possible, and must be
the political and military aim.
I find this article significant for its
complete candor. It is obvious that
the German people know the situation
and that further false optimism is
useless.
* * * *
But It Is also Important that this
article was written before the Teheran
statement was published. Actually, it
appeared on the same day, but must
have been written before. The Teheran
statement deals a heavy blow to the
speculation that Russia may give rut
once she has driven out the German.-,.
It does prove, however, that the Gar
mands intend to withdraw entirely fro n
Russia. Teheran also dealt a blow to
the speculation that differences mijht
arise between Russia and the we.:'.- .1
Allies over the Balkan campaign. The
military strategy is mutually plamr-1,
and a few days after Teheran Tl.-'s
army of liberation was recognized in
London.
There is therefore little left of t’ h
whole strategy except the hope of bre .
ing down the American will. So v.e
may expect that the mouthpieces of
Germany in this country will do every
thing to build up American losses in
lives and materiel in the next months.
In the light of this I think it unwise
of our Government to make such pessi
mistic forecasts.
Symptoms that this German propa
ganda is already under way showed
themselves when in reporting a recent
raid on Germany the German reports
doubled our losses.
(Relented by the Bell Byndleete. Inc.)
The Great Game of Politics
Frank R. Kent
No degree of success has attended the
earnest efforts of docile Prank Walker,
chairman of the Democratic National
Committee, to put into effect the two
very smart pieces of
fourth-term political
strategy which the
President thought up
entirely by himself.
But that isn’t Mr.
Walker's fault. Cer
tainly. he tried.
Always Mr. Walker
tries.
In this matter,
while he made al
most no progress at
all, he should have
the satisfaction 'of
knowing that no one
else could have done
more. One of these
was to bury the New Deal name until
after the election. The other was to
postpone both 'Democratic and Re
publican conventions until some time in
September, thus reducing the campaign
from a four-month to a five-week affair.
The President made quite plausible
arguments for both propositions. The
manner in which he presented them
imparted a fine nonpartisan flavor, and
that was the way Mr. Walker tried to
sell them, too. His failure was complete
and he Is a discouraged man.
• • • •
So far as burying the ‘‘New Deal"
name is concerned, it is true it is no
longer used in the official Democratic
publicity. It will not appear in the
committee literature of the near future
and will be shunned by some of the
Democratic orators who speak under
committee sponsorship. Ana, of course,
if, as expected, Mr. Roosevelt is again
the candidate, the platform, the nomi
nation speech and the speech of ac
ceptance all can be kept free of it.
One would think this would be enough.
But. it just Is not. The trouble is that
neither the wicked Republicans nor the
even more wicked anti-New Deal Demo
crats nor the bulk of the still more
wicked newspapers will co-operate. Even
part of the New Deal press and some of
the New Dealers are not co-operating.
Under these circumstances, the efforts
of Mr. Walker to implement the desire
of his chief have bogged down. It was a
good political idea if everybody would
co-operate, but the committee can't do
it alone, and to keep on trying threatens
to become ridiculous.
The Republicans and anti-New Deal
Democrats regarded it as an attempt on
the part of the President to rid himself
of a discredited designation, while cer
tain strong New Dealers felt that, de
• spite the President's rhapsodical recital
of the New Deal achievements, if he is
permitted to abandon its name, the next
step will be to abandon its “principles.”
* * * *
Accordingly, the suggestion has met
with a feeble response, though it has
not fallen quite as fiat as the suggestion
for a five weeks’ campaign dating from
September conventions. That is “out the
window.” The Republicans already have
fixed their date as June 22 in Chicago
and the Democratic committee, which
will meet in a few days, is scheduled to
pick the same city, and for approxi
mately July 10.
The basic idea behind the short-cam
paign proposal, as advanced by the Pres
ident, was to “minimize politics” while
the war is on. At least that was the
way it was advertised. Of course, it is a
laudable notion, but in this case it was
a little too obvious that it would be very
greatly to the advantage of Mr. Roose
velt's fourth-term candidacy, operating
strongly against whatever Republican
should be named against him.
President for 12 years, intrenched in
the White House, with a vast jobholder
army behind him and supported by
well-nourished political machines in ail
th^ great cities, a short campaign
would be Just pie for the President, who
needs neither a new organization no’"
further advertisement.
On the other hand, five weeks wr* -
not give the Republicans time to organ
ize nor the Republican candidate a
chance to cover the country, much less
raise money and distribute literature.
The whole thing was so transparent
that it was not taken seriously by many
Democrats and was treated with scorn
by the Republicans.
* * * *
So. Mr. Walker isn’t pushing anything
particularly at the moment except the
"support - the - Commander in Chief"
slogan, which is fundamental for the
fourth-term effort. What Mr. Walker
wants most to do now is to turn the
chairmanship over to his scheduled suc
cessor, Mr. Robert E. Hannegan of Mis
souri.
He never wanted the place anyhow.
For 12 years he has been doing one
mean little odd job after another for
the President, none of which he sought
and at none of which he has succeeded,
not because of any lack of ability or
spirit in himself but because he con
sistently was asked to do almost im
possible things without being given re?!
authority. Nevertheless, Mr. Walker
always has tried. No one can say he
has not tried.
New Ranks Advocated
Maj. George Fielding Fliot
The American people traditionally ,
have beep reluctant to grant high ntflii
tary rank to the leaders of their armed
forces.
There have, for example, never been
more than two per
manent grades of
general officers in
our Army — major
general and briga
dier general—except
for a brief period
after the Civil War
when It was provid
ed by law that there
should be one gen
eral and one lieuten
ant general. These
higher grades some
times have been
granted by Congress
as rewards to indi
vidual officers or during the progress of
w'ar as a temporary expedient necessary
for the command of large armies. Cer
tainly there have before never been so
many "four-star” generals and "three
star” lieutenant generals as there are
today, but this is all temporary rank.
Gen. Marshall wears his four stars by
virtue of the law which gives the rank
of full general to the chief of staff
during his incumbency in that office,
tut his permanent rank is that of major
general, to which he would revert at
the end of his service as chief of staff
in the absence of any legislation or
temporary appointment giving him
higher rank. Every other general and
lieutenant general holds his rank by
virtue of a temporary presidential ap
pointment. under powers granted to the
President by Congress duriiig the period
of emergency.
t The rank situation in the Navy was
much worse than that of the Army in
the early days of the Nation's history.
Up to the time of the Civil War Congress
did grudgingly allow the Army to have
one permanent major general and two
brigadier generals, and permitted a
certain amount of what was called
"brevet” rank in addition.
* * * *
Thus, Winfield Scott was for some
years a "brevet” lieutenant general. But
in the Navy up to the Civil War the
highest rank was that of captain, cor
responding to colonel in the Army. A
captain appointed to command a squad
ron of naval vessels was usually called
commodore by courtesy, and was con
sidered senior to other captains while
exercising his appointment But there
was no permanent rank involved. The
title of admiral was considered by our
early congresses to smack particularly
of monarchy and European pomp. The
enormous expansion of the Navy during
the Civil War did. however, require
the creation of the grades of rear ad
miral and commodore; for a little while
after that war there was a permanent
admiral and vice admiral as well. But
rear admiral soon became the senior
permanent grade in the Navy corre
sponding to that of major general in
the Army—and it still is so. In time
of peace, the grade of admiral <4 stars»
is granted temporarily to the Chief of
Naval Operations and to Commanders
in Chief Afloat and that of vice admiral
(3 stars) to certain specified ferce com
manders but they all revert to the 2
star rank of rear admiral when their
term of service in the higher appoint
ment expires. At present, of course,
under war-time conditions, these grades
are temporarily granted wherever re
quired.
* * * *
Probably American reluctance to grant
high military’ rank has been partially
due to the fact that W’e have rare y
had peace establishments either military
or naval which warranted very’ much
rank. As <»ur forces grew larger, it
took a little time to overcome old preju
dices. Now we seem to be faced with
the need for even higher grades than
general and admiral. Most foreign
armies and navies have such higher
grades. The British have one rank
higher than our “4-star" rank, which is
called Field Marshal. Admiral of the
Fleet or Marshal of the Royal Air Force.
In the German, French and Russian
armies there are two grades higher than
our four stars. At the present time the
chief of staff of British Army and the
senior British military representative in
Washington are both field marshals, the
chief of the naval staff is an admiral
of the fleet: the chief of the air stalf
is a marshal of the RAF. The chief of
staff of the Russian Army is a marshal
of the Soviet Union. Knowing how
important rank, and the prestige of
rank, is among military men. it would
seem advisable for some higher grade
to be authorized, at least temporary
for our Army and Navy. In one respect,
the Navy will have an advantage. The
new admiral of the fleet needs only
add one more stripe on his sleeve or
one more star on his flat gold shoulder
strap;, but it will take a little figuring
to find a tasteful arrangement for five
stars on the narrow shoulder strap of
the olive drab Army blouse.
(Copyright, 1»44. N. Y. Tribune. Tne.t
Peace Bid Inspired?
George Weller
Forty-eight hours of speculation have
added nothing to the fact about Pravda’s
Cairo report that Britain has opened
negotiations with Germany. But the odor
of Berlin inspiration which overhung
the story immediately on publication is
getting nauseatingly strong.
One of the disadvantages of a totali
tarian. politically censored press like
Russia's is that everything is official.
There being no free air for flying trial
balloons, the Soviets have attempted to
create an indoor sky in the Pravda
“rumor” column.
Whether such rumors are genuine or
false, they are equally dangerous because
they fatally involve the Kremlin's con
sent to their publication with all its
political consequences. Under such a
system the government’s policy is as
shackled to the press as the press is
subordinated to the government.
Most American comment today seems
to accept the British denial, not only as
factually true but as politically believ
able. Even without such a denial there
seems little likelihood that Britain, in a
situation which Field Marshal Smuts
has described as the weakest among
the three powers, would undertake a
headlong step whose discovery would
irremediably compromise our position.
Observers are thus thrown back to
querying why the Soviets should publish
the story. Its brutally explicit terms
leave little left unsaid even under the
reservation of rumor. And the exist*
ence of Soviet censorship largely can
cels that reservation.
* * * *
In the view of most American edito
rialists and correspondents, the Pravda
rumor is connected with the all-out
Russian pressure on the Poles, evident
in handouts by the Russian Information
Bureau which have been hitting the
Poles polemically from every direction.
What the British and Americans seen)
td object to In this case is the choice of
weapons which the New York Herald
Tribune, for example, calls a product of
“useless maladroitness.”
What is objected to is that the spite
bludgeon of the direct charge hits all the
Allies merely in order to gain a few extra
leagues of Polish territory for which
there is still ample time for calm nego
tiation.
Observers to whom it seems impos
sible that the Russians can believe what
they are saying—except up to the point
they consider it politically expedient to
pretend to believe it in order to rush the
Polish settlement—are asking themselves
where the Russians got this story in the
first place.
Without overrating Germany’s Mach
iavellian abilities, it is fair to say that
this story follows so beautifully what
the Germans would want published in
the Russian press at this time that one
cannot exclude the possibility that the
Soviets have bitten—perhaps deliber
ately—at Nazi bait.
Germany would like to have peace
with either the Anglo-American forces
or the Russian forces. The Teheran
agreement forbids that. Hitler’s prob
lem is to break the Teheran agreement.
Russia’s war against Germany is the
more nearly won of the two fronts. The
Anglo-American war against Germany
is still uncertain and critical. Russia
threatens the invasion of Germany.
Th£ Anglo-American Allies are still
far away. The German problem is to
get the Russians to treat for terms. But
without some justification the Russians
cannot break the Teheran agreement.
The Germans aim to furnish them that
justification.
Hitler realizes that such agreements
cannot be broken overnight. It is neces
sary to split before breaking. But it is
clear that Germany needs peace with
Russia, not Britain, and that as soon as
passible. Such a story would be an act
of diplomatic foresight for eventual
overtures to follow.
* * * *
At any other time than when the
Polish question is burning in the Soviet
press such a canard would be unprint
able. But the Germans may have rec
ognized here a chance to get published
what would be otherwise an official
breach of faith even to mention.
Thus in a sense both parties get
benefit: The Russians in that their
hand in the Polish question is osten
sibly strengthened, and the Germans
in that their splitting of the Allies is
begun in anticipation' of peace over
tures to Russia.
When rescanned, the story has more
than ever the odor of German inspira
tion. All the sources mentioned are
Allied — Moscow, Cairo, Yugoslavia.
Greece. There is not a single one of
the "neutral capitals” which old ru
mor-planters are accustomed to use as
sources. Whoever fabricated this story
wanted to be sure that, even if it failed
of its intention of splitting the Allies,
it should shower Jagged fragments in
every quarter of the Allied camp.
Only Washington was snubbed;
everybody is included. Just to be sure
that the mixture was extra strong,
Ribbentrop himself was selected as the
chief German dummy—another pre
posterous overstatement for such early
and tentative negotiations.
There is really no way of telling
whether the Germans sold the atory to
the Russians or the Russians sold it to
themselves and, with European political
sleuthing so heavily censored, there is
little possibility of hunting down the
author unless Moscow reveals it. As a
strictly short-end bet, this correspond
ent would guess Ankara as the source
and Von Papen as the author.
(Copyright, 1944, Chicago Dally Im, Inc.)
X

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