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AMERICA’S NEXT MOVE
by William 1. Nichols Editor of This Week Magazine A plan which puts surplus war goods to work for you This is the story of one town. As you read it. let your imagination go. Multiply it by a thousand, and you will see what you — the reader of this copy of This Week Maga zine — can do to keep your men in civilian clothes and off the bread lines. My story has to do with the town of Antwerp in Belgium which I visited during the closing days of the European war. Antwerp is the port through which sup plies were rushed to support our armies as they drove deep into Germany. That’s why the Nazis concentrated all the fury of their V-l and V-2 bombs on the city. Shell of a City By the time we arrived, Antwerp was just a shell. Everywhere were gaping holes. People picked their way through piles of rubble, their faces blue with cold. Yet in spite of everything, the port stayed open. Over two million tons of supplies were cleared during the rain of murderous V bombs. The job done by those Belgian dock workers was one of the great achievements of the war. Thousands of your men owe their lives to it. Now the war is over. But the ruined city stands as a reminder. I could see it well as we ate at an Army mess in a shattered hotel. Through broken windows we could see smashed buildings, feel the bitter cold. My companion was tall, gray, sensitive Camille Huysmans, Burgo master of Antwerp. We talked about his city, of what was left of it, of hopes for the future. He and his people didn’t want Ger man prisoner help, they didn’t want any body’s help — they’ll do the job themselves. “How long will it take?” He shrugged: “At least a year. That’s our trouble. Our people need housing to carry them through the winter. That’s why I want to build a temporary city across the river, to build it of your leftover Army houses — Nissen huts and winterized tents. That would help keep our people alive.” “Have you spoken to the Army authori ties?” I asked. "Yes,” he said. “But it’s always the same with armies: It’s easier fqr them to acquire things than to dispose of them. The authori ties are very sympathetic, but there are many difficulties. And I am afraid our peo ple will be cold next winter.” Since my return to America I’ve talked to many people about those Nissen huts for Antwerp. Soon I hope they’ll be made available. But meanwhile I’ve run into a problem much bigger than Antwerp. It's a problem that exists in England, France, Italy, Poland, Czechoslovakia — all of Europe. The problem of all our surplus war supplies — trucks, ships, houses, loco motives — piled up everywhere. We needed that surplus — it helped us win and it saved lives. But now — what’s to be done with all the leftover materials that can’t be shipped to the Pacific? In the long run, Washington officials tell me, the answer rests with you. What they do will depend very largely on what you want them to do. And now is the time to face the problem. I know it’s hard to talk about surplus war goods while our men are still fighting a war, are still in hospitals. But we can't waste time in building peace. If we wait, Europe can slip into anarchy and pave the way for another Hitler. Choices Before Us There are a thousand cities like Antwerp, where the people are cold, hungry, insecure. Alongside these cities are huge ware houses filled with trucks, tractors, bulldoz ers, building materials, blankets and many other things. We own that surplus. What are we going to do with it? Agencies have been formed to dispose of it, but policy is still in the formative stages. Here are some of the choices we can make: 1. Let it rot. In other words, do nothing. I guess we can reject that choice without much argument. We could — 2. Send it home. But that’s out of the question because: There aren’t enough ships, for one thing. Even if there were, this sud den dumping of surplus war goods would demoralize production in U. S. plants and create wide unemployment. And the payment received would hardly justify the effort anyhow. But there’s another choice — 3. Sell it abroad. That sounds sensible, too. Maybe it is in some cases. But remem ber, many governments have little or no cash or foreign exchange which could be converted into dollars for the American taxpayer. So while these transactions would look good on paper, they wouldn’t mean much. Ten years from now we’d find Continued on page 8 4 HANDLE WITH CARE. Corp. Larry Rose writes us from Okinawa about the Engineer Corps which has erected road signs all around its base of operations: “drive care fully — MEN WORKING HERE WITH 85 POINTS OR MORE.” HAPPY ENDING. Some weeks ago we printed an article in tribute to the thousands of volunteer Draft Board workers who have given as much as four and a half years of faithful service in a singularly thank less task. The article was titled “Men Without Medals,” by E. T. Leech. Now we’re pleased to report that they will probably get. medals after all. A bill to that effect has been pending in Congress since early this year. The Monday after our article appeared, the House passed it, at the same time introducing "Men With out Medals” into the Congressional Record. As we go to press, the Senate is preparing to act on the measure. CAUTIOUS. Movie producer Robert Riskin. formerly chief of OWI’s film bureau, says that modem red tape can’t compare with the World War I vintage. One day in 1918 he received four communiques — the first marked RESTRICTED!, the second CONFI DENTIAL!, the third SECRET! The fourth really floored him: DESTROY BEFORE OPENING! EMBARRASSED. Lieut, (jg) Frank Ryder, an interpreter of Japanese in Navy Intelligence, tells us of an amazing case of face-saving that he ran across when questioning prison ers. One tiny Jap wept with humilia tion because he could not answer Ryder’s questions about enemy troop positions. He finally broke down, apologized in all sincerity: “Had I known that I would be captured, I would have studied up on these things so I could answer properly.” This Week Magazine FOR A BETTER AMERICA MY LIFE WITH A JEEP. 4 by William R. Stoll, USCG QUICK WORK, LILYI. 6 by Ellon Gotti HOMES REPAIRED — FREE. 7 by Robert H. Shoemaker JEEP TAMER. 9 by Arthur Bartlett THE DARK SHEPHERD.10 by Cynthia Hap* and Front*i Antkt MYRNA LOY-S BIG JOB.15 by Louis B*rg FOOD FOR CONVERSATION.16 by Clamantlna Raddle ford HOLD THAT TRAINI.19 by Mary Zurharst Cover by International Names end descriptions at ell characters in fiction stories and semi-fiction articles in this magazine are wholly imaginary. Any name which happens to be the same as that of any person, living or dead, is entirely coincidental.