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Evening star. [volume] (Washington, D.C.) 1854-1972, February 17, 1944, Image 8

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With »nlw Mernlaag Kditioa.
THEODORE W. NOTES, Editor.
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^*__raURgDAY^Febrnary 17, 1944
Easier Said Than Done
It is easier to talk about relieving
Congress of the tedious details of
local legislation, a subject produc
tive of many crocodile tears in the
past, than it is to do it.
a Dili oy Representative Hebert
of Louisiana, giving the Commis
sioners authority to take care of
certain routine administrative mat
ters now requiring action by Con
gress, was before the House on
Tuesday. But Representative Stefan
questioned whether it would deprive
the Appropriations Committee of
any of its powers and, a satisfactory
answer not being immediately avail
able, the bill was withdrawn. Mr,
Stefan, who is not an obstructionist,
will doubtless obtain the informa
tion he wants and the bill may some
day become law. It has been under
consideration a long time. But Mr.
Stefan was merely voicing a pre
vailing sentiment in Congress when
he expressed skepticism about giv
ing to the Commissioners any
powers at the expense of those pos
sessed by Congress. Congress re
gards them jealously.
While the House was clearing up
its calendar of other local legisla
tion, the Senate was at work on the
same chore and a number of bills
were approved. MacArthur boule
vard, for Instance, will be known by
that name for its entire length, in
stead of being MacArthur boulevard
only to the District line—correcting
a situation due to a legislative error
when the name of Conduit road
first was changed by act of Congress
as a compliment to the general.
Senator Clark of Missouri at first
suggested that the MacArthur boule
vard bill go over, but Senator
Tydings’ explanation evidently re
moved any suspicions he may have
had as to implications beyond those
involving correct nomenclature.
The Senate also approved a House
bill enabling shad and herring to
be sold here during December—thus
amending an old statute based on
an original misconception regarding
the spawning customs of these ex
cellent fish. A good thing to have
cleared up.
The Senate also passed a bill to
grade restaurants on the basis of
their compliance with sanitary reg
ulations, a measure which nobody
at the District Building seems to
think is necessary except as a make
work project,-as the Health Depart
ment already had its hands full
trying to enforce simpler and
equally effective sanitary regula
tions. But the Senators wanted it,
so there it is.
The transaction of local legis
lative business by Congress un
doubtedly could be made less com
plicated and time consuming. But
only Congress can make it that way.
Does any one remember the good
old days when a man was far more
apt to lose his shirt at a race track
than a laundry?
The Unconquered
As President Roosevelt suggested
in transferring it to the French
Navy, the new American-built de
stroyer escort Senegalais is not only
a symbol of the ancient friendship
between France and the United
States but additional direct evidence
that despite the surrender of June,
1940, Frenchmen are still very much
in the war and are, in fact, playing
an ever-increasing role in it.
In the President’s words, “The
land of France fell to the enemy,
but not so the ships of France."
And although a great portion of
the French Army continues to be
held captive by Hitler, a powerful
new French Army—equipped largely
with American material and trained
in North Africa—has been brought
into being under Generals de
Gaulle and Giraud, with some of its
elements already in the thick of the
battle along the Allied line in Italy.
To quote the President again, “The
Nazis on the Italian front know only
too well that France is not out of
this war.” They know it from the
French soldiers who are helping to
beat them back there and from the
French ships which have bom
barded them at the Nettuno-Anzio
beachhead.
From the military standpoint,
from the standpoint of shattering
a nation’s armed forces and occupy
ing its soil, no victory could have
been much more complete than Hit
ler’s victory over France. Yet,
though he defeated them in this
sense, he failed to defeat Frenchmen
Iti their souls. With the exception
of the traitors and the weak-willed
and the collaborationists, he failed
to bend them to his will or make
them betray their traditions. In a
word, the “land” of France fell to
him but not the spirit of France.
The people of France, in their
darkest hours, never quite lost all
hope, and now, at long last, they
A
see the day nearing when it will be
fulfilled. They see this in relatively
small things like the transfer of an
American-built warship to the
French Navy, and in the large
things like the new French Army
that has been organized in North
Africa, and in the Immense Russian
victories and in the mighty British
and American forces poised to strike
against Hitler on new fronts in
Europe.
Upset in Argentina
The violent action of the faction
known as the United Army Officers
reveals two salient factors—the in
stability of the Ramirez regime and
the intransigence of militant na
tionalism in Argentina. This is a
coup d’etat within a coup d’etat,
which means an open quarrel be
tween the makers of the revolution
which deposed 'President Castillo
last year. Furthermore, that revo
lution itself implied a schism be
tween the conservative elements in
Argentina whose united action had
originally brought Castillo to power
and supported his government.
This means that the basis of au
thority has undergone a' process of
fragmentation and that the holders
of power are becoming an increas
ingly small minority.
Nevertheless, they are a well
organized minority, with apparently
no effective opposition. The United
Officers Group was the driving force
behind the anti-Castillo revolution.
It incarnates the touchy, national
ism which sees in Argentina the
natural leader of South America
and resents any foreign influence
which even indirectly opposes that
ambition. This spirit is responsible
not only for traditional suspicion of
the United States and aloofness to
Pan-Americanism as conceived in
Washington; it likewise inspires the
equally traditional rivalry with
Brazil as the other candidate for
South American leadership. Close
relations between the United States
and Brazil during the war period
automatically produces a coolness
toward both in Buenos Aires.
All these factors should be taken
into account when considering Ar
gentina’s “isolationist” neutrality
and reluctance to break with the
Axis. The situation cannot be ex
plained merely in terms of pro-Axis
ideology, it is too simplicist to
think of the nationalist leaders as
mere Axis stooges. They themselves
think and act as Argentine patriots.
The internal split has come about
largely because of practical consid
erations. President Ramirez, his
ousted Foreign Minister, General Gil
bert, and most of his cabinet, faced
with direct responsibility and know
ing all the facts, have concluded
that Argentine isolationism from the
United Nations and most of Latin
America was untenable and thus
broke with the Axis. But the Army
Officers Corps maintained their orig
inal position and have acted to
prevent what appears to have been
an impending declaration of war on
the Axis by President Ramirez.
The army has won a temporary vic
tory and the President is in a posi
tion which may be untenable. But
the army stands perilously isolated
from the bulk of the nation. Al
most anything may now happen.
It has got now~so that the handiest
way for the Japs to expend plaites
and ships is to send them to Rabaul.
Sir John's Contribution
In receiving the Howland Me
morial Prize from Yale University,
Field Marshal Sir John Greer Dill
has won a becoming and well-earned
honor. The prize, the most distin
guished of Yale’s special awards,
goes only to those who have
achieved something particularly
outstanding in literature, the fine
arts, government or politics, and
under this broad heading, as chief
of the British Joint Staff Mission
to the United States, Sir John has
certainly, made a contribution
meriting the widest possible recog
nition.
up 10 now this contribution has
been more or less overlooked by the
American public, since it is not the
sort of thing that stands out dra
matically like some great personal
record in battle. But it is nonethe
less brilliant and significant—a fact
emphasized by'General George C.
Marshall, our Army chief of staff,
who was among those doing honor
to Sir John at New Haven yesterday.
In General Marshall’s opinion, “the
greatest single Allied achievement
of the war” has been the frustra
tion of Hitler’s effort to sow discord
between Britain and the United
States and the creation of genuine
harmony and co-ordinated com
mand between the armed forces of
our two countries. This achieve
ment is unique in history, for, as
President Seymour of Yale declared
in making the award, “only those
who have studied the difficulties
and the weaknesses of coalitions m
the past will be able to appreciate
the importance and the historic
'grandeur of the joint and co-op
erative effort which has been welded
by the British and American
peoples”—an effort so vital to vic
tory over Germany that General
Marshall does not hesitate to de
scribe it as being more decisive even
than “air power, ground power or
naval power.”
Through his warm personality
and his ability as a top-flight,
battle-tried soldier, Field Marshal
Dill has played an immensely im
portant role in making all this
possible. And although General
Marshall, his good friend and close
working associate, has made an
equally striking and historic con
tribution, it is fitting that an
American university has chosen to
single out this Briton for its highest
special award. The event sym
bol!zes the very real unity now
existing between Britain and the
United States—a unity which is
A
bound to be of momentous help to
our armies in the great battles
ahead and which is likely to have a
happy effect on British-American
relations long after the war is
finally won.
Casualty of War
Although the bombardment of the
Benedictine Monastery atop Mount
Cassino will be deeply regretted
wherever there is reverence for the
ancient shrines of the Christian
faith, it is clear that the destruction
of the monastery was dictated ex
clusively by considerations of mili
tary necessity.
The abbey was founded by Saint
Benedict more than fourteen cen
turies ago. Unfortunately, its loca
tion on Mount Cassino imparts to it
a military value which was never
contemplated by its founder, and this
fact has served to expose the monas
tery to the destruction of war several
times in ,the past. The Germans,
needless to say, were quick to appre
ciate both its military and senti
mental importance. As Allied troops
approached the town of Cassino,
the Germans occupied the abbey,
and used it as an observation point
for artillery fire directed against our
troops and as a fortified stronghold
in its own right. This was a viola
tion of the conventions of war
which cost the lives of many Amer
ican soldiers before the decision to
destroy the monastery was made.
The Allied assault began with
leaflets, notifying the occupants of
the decision which had been taken
and warning them to leave. After
ample time for this had elapsed, the
big bombers and the heavy guns
opened up in what one corre
spondent describes as the heaviest
bombardment ever directed against
a single structure.
Today the ancient monastery is in
ruins—an unavoidable casualty of
war. But it has been restored before
and it will be restored again, when
the Germans have been driven from
the scene. Meanwhile, Catholics and
all other civilized men will accept the
judgment of Archbishop Curley that
the destruction of the abbey was an
act of necessity—a military decision
forced upon us by the conduct of
the enemy and taken only with the
greatest reluctance by the respon
sible Allied commanders.
This and That
By Charles E. Tracewell.
"FORT MYER, Va.
Dear Sir:
"In E. A. C.’s recent letter to you he
mentions seeing flickers, bluebirds, red
headed woodpeckers and sapsuckers, and
he asks if they are not unusual in this
area at this time of year.
“All of these species occasionally
winter much farther north than the
District.
“The red-headed woodpecker is the
mcst erratic, sometimes being found here
in numbers and being absent other win
ters. Perhaps the food situation governs
its decision to remain. However, we have
no assurance the unusual winter resi
dents haven’t come from farther north.
To them this may be south.
"The owls are early nesters and the
weird calls mentioned may be a part of
their mating ceremony. The barred owl
is the ‘hootiest’ of the hooters, though
the horned owl is know as the hoot owl.
"I enjoy the cries of all owls, proving
one man's discord is another man’s
music. Anyway, after 'Pistol Packin’
Mama’ and 'Mairzy Doats,’ who can cen
sure me?
"Sincerely, Pvt. J. E. C.”
4c 4c 4c 4c *
Owls have always intrigued mankind.
From the ancient days of the Greek
heroes down through history owls have
been regarded as pretty wise old birds.
This is. one may feel, mostly because
these odd birds so much resemble hu
man beings.
They have two big round eyes, two
little ears, two legs and a real face de
fined by a ruff.
They resemble some fat old person
out on a spree w-ho is trying his best
to look dignified.
Owls have a notable connection with
the history of the District of Columbia.
It was here that much scientific work
was done on the barn owl. In the old
dajls this owl nested in the towers of
the District Jail and at the Smithsonian
Institution. Deceived as to the season
by the heat from the building, young
were hatched in late fall and winter.
According to May Thatcher Cook, in her
“Birds of the Washington Region,”
young barn owls just from the nest were
seen on the ground December 8, 1893,
and February 27, 1895. The latter prob
ably were hatched in late December or
early January. Young not over two
weeks from the nest were seen January
7, 1896. On May 11, 1914, a female was
found in the northwest tower incubating
five eggs.
it was one of these owls which was
studied by Dr. A K. Fisher, the great
authority on the food habits of hawks
and owls. The owl’s food habits are
easy for a scientist to study. This is
because he eats his entire prey, holding
it down with his feet and tearing it to
pieces with his powerful beak. In this
way he never misses a scrap, eating
meat, bones, fur and all. You might
think this would harm him, but it does
not, because the indigestible matter is
formed into round pellOTs and disgorged.
Nature is really marvelous. These pel
lets can be picked up from the ground
beneath the owl's roost.
The barn owl is said to eat his own
weight in food every night.
Dr. Fisher examined 200 pellets from
a pair of barn owls. They showed a
total of 454 skulls. There were 225
meadow mice, 2 pine mice, 179 house
mice, 20 rats, 6 jumping mice, 20 shrews,
1 star-nosed mole and 1 vesper sparrow.
This is an example of the careful work
scientists have done on owls and it
shows beyond doubt that the owls are
among the beneficial birds.
Hawks are great mousers during the
day, and owLs take over at night, so
that between them these two misunder
stood species are very helpful to man.
Dr. Fisher also examined 107 stomachs
of the long-eared owl, of which 15 were
empty. Of the 92 remaining, 86, or over
93 per cent, contained remains of small
mammals. Yet these owls sfre favorites
for shooting, Just as the sparrow hawk.
Of the short-eared owl, Dr. Fisher re
ported that fully 75 per cent of its food
consists of mice. As many as six mice
were found in one stomach. He discov
ered that fully 50 per cent of the food
of the barred owl consisted of mice. The
little screech owl eats—well, one guess,
that's right—mice, as well as insects,
grasshoppers, crickets, beetles and cut
worms. Dr. Fisher found the remains
of more than 100 rats beneath the nest
of & pair of great horned owls. The
smallest owls are the elf owl, which is
six inches long, a veritable gnome of a
bird, and the pygmy owl, which is six
and one-half inches long, and which
eats birds as large as the robin. '
Letters to The Star
Puts Strike Issue Up to Members
of Congress
To the Editor ol The Star:
Gov. John W. Bricker of Ohio, whose
hat definitely is in the ring for the
GOP nomination for the presidency,
seems to have made a favorable im
pression in Washington. He appears
in a turmoil of idealistic pother and un
realistic speculation to have both feet
on the ground—on at least some issues
of “the world of today." Particularly
refreshing was his comment on strikes
in time of war. Not only is he against
them, but he also advocates specific
legislation to prevent them.
In this connection, would the sponsors
of the Connally-Smith Act explain why,
when the purposeful disablement of
one engine of war is sabotage punish
able by death, the stoppage of work on
thousands of ships, planes and tanks
by strikes is punishable only under
the act by a year in jail or a fine of
$5,000?
No other subject, unless it is the
atrocities perpetrated by the Japanese
in their treatment of American prison
ers of war, has so aroused the American
people as strikes in time of war.
While our boys are undergoing the
tortures of hell in Italy and in the
South Pacific, we read of strikes at
home to determine some jurisdictional
issue or the question of “portal to portal
pay.”
Yes, there is an election coming on
and the first question members of the
Seventy-eighth Congress may be asked
when they get back home will be: What
did you do to stop strikes in wartime
production? WILBUR CLOSE.
Discusses Nazi Praise of General
To the Editor of The 8t»r:
May I comment upon an A. P.
dispatch from Madrid which quotes a
German newspaper as praising the
personality of Gen. Dwight D. Eisen
hower without a single disparaging
comment? It praised his great abil
ities as an organizer and admitted that
he had demonstrated great good sense
in leadership and tactics in Africa. The
paper said that he is what Americana
call a "he-man.’’
What difference does it make what
the Nazis think of Eisenhower? They
seem always to be wrong eventually, so
it is rather alarming for them to admire
one of our leaders.
What they think is of little conse
quence, but why they take such a stand
at this time is of great importance. If
' we haven't learned anything else by
1 now, I hope that we have learned that
! Nazis always have ulterior motives
I which they hope will operate in their
favor but which often do not. Nazis
’ never are naive.
Why are they making a point of
praising Gen. Eisenhower?
Is it because they know that they are
licked and are beginning to curry favor,
as they always do when facing defeat?
Or are they trying to save face? Are
they giving a buildup to the commander
who outgeneraled them as they were
outgeneraled in Africa? The more su
perior the enemy who ousts you, the
less inglorious your own defeat. In
short, it would take a really great fellow
to do such a Job.
In the Nazi philosophy coercion and
force are considered the most effective
weapons but praise as a softener-up
runs them a close second. Perhaps they
hope to cripple our general by praising
him. One thing is certain. This at
\ titude is not on the level. Let us hope
i that no one with the power to make
! big mistakes will fall for it.
* LAURA K. POLLOCK.
Wants ‘Motorists’ Investigated
! To the Editor of The star:
In The Star for February 10. John S.
j Jenkins offered an interesting sugges
tion. An "amazingly large number" of
j persons, he said, are picked up along
i the highways and carried to employ
; ment centers by “conscientious motor
ists who are disturbed about empty
seats in their cars.” If each passenger
now carried free would give the driver
a War Stamp for his ride, “every car
owner in the country would be the pos
sessor of a partially filled War Stamp
book,” and millions of dollars’ worth of
War Stamps thus could be sold.
But it is highly probable that a
driver accepting War Stamps from per
sons picked up along the highway could
be charged with operating a taxicab
without the necessary license. At any
rate, he probably would nullify his lia
bility insurance. And how are so many
“conscientious motorists” able to come
! into employment centers with “empty
seats”? Where do they get sufficient
gasoline, unless they patronize the black
market? Without at least three pas
sengers whose signatures are filed with
his ration board, the tmver of a private
automobile is entitled to only an A
card, good for a meager gallon and a
half a week. The situation depicted by
Mr. Jenkins certainly merits an In
vestigation. CHARLES H. PROBERT.
Single Tax View of Slums
To the Editor of The St»»:
It looks somewhat as though our real
estate dealers, intent on speculative
profits and our benevolent-minded
i slummers were in cahoots to keep our
slums as a basis for bilking the tax
payers with futile and costly palliatives
and filling press columns with shockers
about the unsanitary conditions they
disclose.
Slums are a result of our methods of
taxing land improvements and every
thing involved ii\ their making, in
preference to taking over for social use
the ground-rent values of land, which,
as social values due to the presence and
activities of the people, are earmarked
for such use, and are the only equitable
sources of public revenue.
In communities abroad where the
switch from improvements to land
values in taxation has been made, slums
have disappeared, and real estate
brokers who were violently opposed to
the change now uphold it. The reason
is that it accelerates land transfers with
the shifting of population, there being
no profit in landholding for other pur
poses than use.
We would learn a lot by looking
abroad, and the signs are that we will
need to if we wish to maintain and
improve upon our so-called American
way of life.
WALTER N. CAMPBELL.
Winter Etching
Against the night’s gray wall, fine
drawn and thin,
The naked limbs weave intricate and
slow,
Like trailing notes from some plucked
violin,
Or faint bird-tracings on the virgin
snow.
The secrets of the summer wood, that
brief
Entrancing interval when seasons
veer,
Lie bare as this torn nest now come to
grief,
Which once held life’s small drama,
warm and dear.
Mystic and beautiful the stately beech.
Can this chaste etching be the friend
ly tree
Where venturous children climbed its
top-most reach?
Can these slim fronds in moon-white
witchery,
This arabesque, ethereal and still,
Be bridal-wreath where bloomed the
daffodil?
IVY UND8LKY.
This Changing World
Constantine Brown
ii tne news aispatcnes irom Algiers
present the situation correctly, there is
a temporary lull on the Italian front.
According to reports from London,
the Allied command
has banned since
Sunday all direct
on - the - spot radio
facilities to war cor
respondents and de
creed that news copy
must be carried by
courier service to
Naples for censor
ship on policy and
security grounds.
In view of the fact
that we are encount
ering heavier re
sistance than ap
parently had been
anticipated, Lt. Gen. Mark W. Clark's
decision to ban all radio newscasts from
the scene of action makes people won
der if the true situation is being prop
erly represented to the American people.
In this connection it is pointed out
that last Friday, before the order was
put into effect, a dispatch from Algiers
announced that Allied planes had made
heavy attacks Thursday in support of
beachhead operations—“virtually every
available combat plane, including giant
four-engine bombers, were thrown into
one of the greatest ground-supporting
operations ever undertaken.”
Correspondents on the spot told a
different story. Homer Bigart of the
New York Herald Tribune wrote that
the Allied air forces flew "several
flights” during the morning, but that
rain prevented aerial activity in the
afternoon.
Had it not been for the reporters on
the spot the error, which was rectified
by Algiers a few hours later, might not
have been corrected and the people in
this country would have remained under
the impression that the air umbrella
was once more active in force. Many
people would have wondered why, under
such conditions, the 5th Army still was
stymied on the Nettuno-Anzio beach
head.
The War Department is now looking
into the situation and is querying Gen.
Clark for details.
According to reports from Reuters
British news agency the decision to
centralize all war news at Algiers, some
500 miles from the battle front, was
taken by the American comma'nder be
cause he became annoyed at some of
the reporters comparing the situation
on the Anzio-Nettuno front with
Dunkerque.
* * * *
The principal responsibility for con
tinuing to enforce the ill-advised ruling
rests, of course, with Gen. Sir Henry
Maitland Wilson, commander in chief
of Allied forces in the Mediterranean,
and Gen. Sir Harold R. L. G. Alexander,
commanding the Allied forces in Italy.
Whether Gen. Clark has submitted
his decision to his superior officer or
not Is not yet clear. The matter will
be elucidated as soon as replies to the
War Departments queries have been
received in Washington. It is assumed,
however, that If Gen. Clark consulted
his superior officer, Gen. Wilson gave
him a free hand to handle what the
military regards as a relatively un
important matter.
It Is doubtful whether the War Depart
ment shares this viewpoint. After two
years of war it has become obvious to
all concerned that concealing or color
ing of news from the battle front is much
more damaging to morale at home than
telling the blunt truth.
* * * *
That the campaign in Italy has not
been as successful as originally had
been expected is obvious to all. But
there has been little if any criticism of
the conduct of the operations. The
people on the home front have confi
dence that the best available com
manders have been chosen to lead the
American forces and that setbacks are
Inevitable.
So long as the unadulterated truth Is
given without revealing military in- 4
formation to the enemy, the home front
will accept the good and the bad news
with equanimity. But when command
ers in the field begin to interfere with
legitimate reporting a serious suspicion
arises that the local commander wants
to conceal the real facts from the
public. Such a policy has repercussions
that are not helpful.
The Political Mill
Gould Lincoln
Representative “Joe ’ Martin of Massa
chusetts, Republican leader of the House,
is being urged strongly to accept ap
pointment as permanent chairman of
the coming Republi
can National Con
vention. The prob
abilities are when
the proper time
comes he will accept.
Mr. Martin was per
manent chairman of
the 1940 convention
—and a mighty good
one. The office of
permanent chairman
of one of these na
tional conventions is
important and no
easy Job. He fre
quently has to make
decisions which have
in the battle for presidential nomina
tions. The Republican party, in recent
years, has selected its House leader—or
Speaker as the case may be—to preside
over their national conventions. So the
choice of Mr. Martin this year will follow
precedent.
Pour years ago, the Democrats picked
Senator Barkley, their Senate leader, for
permanent chairman of their national
convention. He may be their choice
again—or he might be keynoter and
temporary chairman and leave the job
of presiding over the convention to
Speaker Rayburn. The selection of these
ofllcers is left to the committees on
arrangements for the conventions of
both parties. Walter S. Hallanan of
West Virginia is the chairman of the
Republican arrangements committee
this year. Democratic National Chair
man Hannegan has still to name his
party's committee.
* * * *
In at least one Democratic national
convention the election of a permanent
chairman was of great significance.
This was in 1932, when President Roose
velt was trying for his first presidential
nomination. The pro-Roosevelt forces
in that convention centered on the late
Senator “Tom” Walsh of Montana^-the
same man who had ruled over the tur
bulent Madison Square Garden conven
tion in 1924 when John W. Davis finally
emerged as the Democratic nominee for
President—after 103 ballots had been
taken. Th# anti-Roosevelt Democrats in
1932 wanted Jouett Shouse, former
Representative and Assistant Secretary
of the Treasury. The election of Walsh
was the first victory of the Roosevelt
backers in the convention. Senator
Walsh held the convention in session all
through the night and the next day
came the famous “break” to Roosevelt.
Mr. Martin is regarded as an essen
tially wise choice for the chairmanship
of the coming Republican convention.
He was chairman when Wendell L.
Willkie was nominated in 1940, and he
later became chairman of the Republi
can National Committee and campaign
manager. This year he is not grinding
any axes for the various potential presi
dential nominees. He has the confi
dence of the Republican forces in and
out of Congress. So far as the Demo
cratic convention is concerned, the
choice of a permanent chairman this
vq^r Is not so important, since it is
generally believed that President Roose
velt is again to be nominated, and the
selection of a running mate for the
President will await his nod.
* * * *
The Republicans have not yet agreed,
it is said, upon a "keynote” speaker for
their convention. Former Gov. Stassen
of Minnesota, now a lieutenant corti
mander in the Navy and unannounced
candidate for the presidential nomina
tion, was keynoter in 1940. He caused
considerable annoyance at the time by
stepping down from the office of tempo
rary chairman of the convention to
become a floor manager for Mr. Willkie.
In picking a keynote speaker this year,
the committee may bear this in mind.
Mr. Willkie’s formal announcement
that he is a candidate for President, as
he commented, was scarcely necessary’.
He has been a candidate for renomina
tion ever since his defeat in 1940. He
made a good run then and has believed
he was entitled to another try. ?Tie
Willkie supporters undoubtedly will
seek to have a voice in the selection of
the officers of the national convention.
A number of Willkie men are members
of the Arrangements Committee. He
will be anxious to have a keynoter, for
example, who will voice his own atti
tude on foreign policy. It does not
seem likely he will oppose Mr. Martin
for permanent chairman—but whether
he does or not will make little difference,
since Mr. Martin seems destined for
the lob.
The Great Game of Politics
Frank R. Kent
Close on the heels of the settlement
of his controversy with Robert Sher
wood last week, Elmer Davis, head of
the OWI, was called on to explain why
its dispatches for
foreign consumption
concerning Gov.
Bricker's press con
ference, instead of
identifying him as a
presidential candi
date, referred to him
merely as “a promi
ne n t Republican”
and the “Governor
of Ohio.”
Never at a loss for
an explanation, Mr.
Davis explained—
not convincingly, of
course, to Gov.
Bricker's friends nor to Republicans
generally, but adequately enough for all
other purposes. The truth is it was a
| trivial matter and not worth further
comment except that it accentuates Mr.
Davis’ extraordinary talent for getting
into trouble.
However fine he was as a radio com
mentator before coming to Washington,
as a public official he seems a veritable
child of misfortune. One of the least
sinister of men, he is often unjustly
suspected. With the very best of in
tentions, nearly everything he does goes
wrong. Bad luck dogs his steps.
Solemnly he proceeds from one unto
ward incident to the other until it does
appear he should have exhausted the
possibilities. The unimportant Bricker
incident is small but typical.
A few months after he assumed of
fice, a feud broke out in his organiza
tion, resulting in the resignation of a
number of men who had revolted
against one of his aides. A short time
later the aide also resigned. Very early,
too, Mr. Davis got in bad with Congress.
He was severely criticized for the some
what indefensible output of his foreign
division and forced to defend the activi
ties and size of the domestic division.
In the end, Congress heavily slashed
his domestic appropriations and reluc
tantly left the foreign appropriation in
tact. The failure of the President to
take him along to the Quebec, Cairo
and Teheran conferences was generally
accepted as meaning that his White
House relations were neither close nor
cordial—at any rate nothing like as close
as those of Mr. Sherwood. His absence
from those conferences was*widely com
mented on and certainly did not
strengthen his position.
Last year he delivered a speech in
Boston in which he rather patronizingly
lectured the American newspapers on
their duty. Naturally that did not
endear him to the press. And he is
notoriously unloved by the Army and
Navy public relations divisions, which
rightly but vainly, he has tried to have
adopt a more liberal policy in giving out
news. Finally, Mr. Davis “fell out”
wdth his most important aide, Mr.
Sherwood. In this controversy he had
justice on his side and certainly was
well within his rights when, as chief,
he ordered Mr. Sherwood, his sub
ordinate, to fire certain men. But Mr.
Sherwood flatly refused.
The natural consequence of this re
fusal should have been the firing of
Mr. Sherwood. But either Mr. Davis
did not have that much authority or did
not care to exert it. Anyhow, the. whole
business was put up to the President,
who “sustained” Mr. Davis on the re
moval of the Sherwood aide6, but Mr.
Sherwood, the defiant subordinate, re
mains. Mr. Roosevelt could not have
done less without creating chaos. This
has been called a “triumph" for Mr.
Davis, but it does not seem the sort of
triumph over which one might rejoice.
Certainly it has not raised the prestige
of Mr. Davis either inside or outside
his organization.
* * * *
Since the President's decision in this
matter the Bricker incident is the only
reason any one has had to question the
correctness of Mr. Davis’ direction. But
most observers think it is only a matter
of time before other incidents will
occur. The Davis record seems to make
this fairly certain. Some of his mis
fortunes as head of the OWI have been
his own fault. But some of them have
not. An able and upright man. yet he
appears to have more internal and ex
ternal trouble than any other wartime
administrator in Washington. Though
steps have been taken to rid him of re
sponsibility for the transmission of *
political news to the soldiers during the
coming campaign and place responsi
bility on the Army special service, in
all probability he will not escape criti
cism. Something will happen to put
him on the spot. It always does. His
is such a thankless job that one wonders
why he holds on.
| Green Islands Thrust
Maj. George Fielding Eliot
Gen. MacArthur's forces have scored
a notable success in the occupation of
the Green Islands, lying in the strait
separating Buka (at the northern end of
Bougainville Island)
from the eastern
end of New Ireland.
Gen. MacArthur has
thus effectively in
terposed between
the Japanese base
at Rabaul and the
remaining Japanese
garrisons In the
Solomon Islands.
The latter — on
Bougainville, Buka
and Choiseul — are
now in the same sit
uation as the garri
sons of Jaluit and
the other Eastern Marshalls. They are
cut off from thftir base and can be left
—in Vice Admiral Turner’s expressive
phrase—“to wither on the bough.”
But something more than this has
been accomplished by the advance to
the Green Islands. We have there ob
tained an advanced air base only 135
miles 4rom Rabaul itself; this is much
closer than we have previously been. At
Empress Augusta Bay and at Cape
Gloucester, we were in both cases,
though in different directions, about
250 miles from Rabaul. Now we have
almost halved that distance, and dis
tance is a vitally important factor in
the efficiency of air operations.
* * * *
More than this, we are now only about
60 miles from the eastern end of New
Ireland, that long, narrow strip of land
some 200 miles in length which lies like
a protecting shield athwart the ap
proaches to Rabaul from the north and
northeast. The Green Islands would
form an admirable covering position for
an amphibious attack against New
Ireland, and if New Ireland were in our
hands, Rabaul would definitely be
untenable.
Here, however, a note of caution is
required. The conquest of New Ireland,
which is heavily garrisoned by the Jap
anese, will not be easily or quickly ac
complished. If attempted, it probably
will produce the most extensive land
fighting of the whole Southwest Pacific
campaign.
Thus Gen. MacArthur's right flank
is advancing toward a possible battle
of decision as far as the Rabaul area
is concerned; his left flank, meanwhile,
is not idle. The Japanese are now
completely cleared out of the Huon
Peninsula on New Guinea, and the
islands (Long Island and Umboi
Island i in the strait between New
Guinea and New Britain are in our
hands. American troops are established
on the mainland of New Britain at its
western end.
* * * *
The Japanese are reported to have
abandoned their base at Madang,
farther up the New Guinea coast; even
if this is not already done, their tenure
of Madang is certainly precarious.
Their next coastal base, at Wewak, lies
275 miles to the northwest of Madang.
It has been under heavy air attack,
and there seems little reason to'doubt
that our air power can prevent the
Japanese from accumulating sufficient
strength at Wewak to threaten our flank
in any move north from our present
positions.
That northward thrust now seems well
within the realm of early possibility. It
might be directed at Rabaul itself, or,
in accordance with the "by-passing”
technique which has served us so well,
it might be directed at the Admiraltya
Islands. These islands lie about 200 miles
north of our present northernmost base
on Long Island. They are likewise
about 200 miles west of Lavengai, at
the western end of New Ireland. They
command all the approaches to Rabaul
from the north and west. If they were
in our hands, the Japanese probably
could not send ships or even barges into
Rabaul at all, considering that the
Green Islands control the passage Into
Rabaul around the eastern end of New
Ireland.
* * * *
Thus the patient and well-considered
campaign of Gen. MacArthur and Ad
miral Halsey begins to pay dividends of
a tangible nature. As in other opera
tions where we began on a shoestring,
so to speak, we have seen a great deal
of hard fighting with comparatively
little to show for it; but now the pat
tern begins to appear, like the slow
emergence of definite lines on a photo
graphic film as the developing fluid
gets to work on it.
Already the ability of the Japanese
to stay in Rabaul and in this area,
generally, is open to question. Very
definitely we may say that their posi
tions there are no longer of any use
to them except for delaying purposes.
We probably shall see some stern fight
A
ing before we are able to return the
Australian flag to Rabaul. and before
Gen. MacArthur can look northward
from the beaches of New Ireland across
800 miles of open sea toward the Japa
nese naval base at Truk. But those
accomplishments do not seem anything
like as deeply buried behind the mists
of the future as they did only a few
months ago.
(Copyright. 1944. N. Y, Tribune. Inc.)
His Words Will Live
From the Topekt Capitml.
There Is something shocking and
tragic in the news that Edgar Lee
Masters, one of the best known poets
on the American scene, has been found
suffering from impoverishment so seri
ous that he is critically ill. Malnutri
tion and pneumonia had taken heavy
toll by the time he was found in New
York and taken to a convalescent home.
The author of "Spoon River Anthol
ogy" and other famous verses was evi
dently too proud to ask for aid and. at
74, was resigned to death at a time
when he was starving. The Authors'
League is caring for him now, and
throughout America those who knew
him through his literary production are
extending sympathy.
All too often, fame is like that, and
the man on top the heap today is at
the bottom tomorrow. But in the case
of Edgar Lee Masters, his printed mas
terpieces will survive long after he and
contemporary mortals are gone.
Youth Defended
From the Ottawa Citizen.
It is a grotesque exaggeration to take
the view that the comparatively small
minority, as of young people in
divorce courts, represent the younger
generation. Few people of the older
generation could honestly claim to have
lived better, on a higher standard of
morality, than the youth of today. The
evidence of the present state of the
w’orld is the answer. The young people
cannot be blamed for bringing about
the collapse of civilization. They are
making the sacrifice of life to save
civilization from total wreck. When
they come home from defeating the
enemy abroad it is earnestly to be hoped
that they will do better than any for
mer generation in the building of a
civilized social order. The signs are
that Canada will go forward to‘better •*
times with youth at the helm.
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