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Evening star. [volume] (Washington, D.C.) 1854-1972, October 07, 1949, Image 11

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Something Deep Seen
In Fact Naval Officers
Risk Loss of Careers
Intimidation and Threats
Fail to Halt Statements
On Nation's Defense Need
By David Lawrence
Something deep and soul-stir
ring must account for the fact
that men in naval uniform,
trained to obey instantly orders
that might send them to their
deaths, should now risk the loss
of their careers in order to bring
to the attention of the public what
they regard as a serious blow to
our national defense.
Capt. John Crommelin is now
under technical arrest by orders of
President Truman, Commander
In-Chief of the Armed Services,
who admitted to a press confer
ence that he had a hand in sus
pending the naval hero—at least
he failed to stop a disgraceful
procedure.
The same John Crommelin isn’t
aquawking about his fate any
more than he did that tragic day
—November 30, 1943—when his
aircraft carrier, the ‘‘Liscombe
Bay,’’ was blown up by a Japanese
torpedo and set ablaze, and he
found himself burning.
Described by survivor.
Here is how a survivor describes
that episode:
"Capt. Crommelin, chief of staff,
although wrapped in flame by the
blast, was one of the few survivors
of the flag organization. The ad
miral was killed. Stick your fin
ger in a match flame some time.
The captain can tell you how that
feels, spread all over your hide.
He jumped over the side, swam to
a raft and for some time calmly
discussed with the others on the
raft the proposition of whether or
not he was roasted to the point
where it wouldn’t be worth while
for him to hang on.
"Later, however, lying in the
sickbay of the ‘Leonard Wood,'
wrapped up like a cocoon, he had
the same old grin for anybody
who dropped down to see how he
was taking it. ‘Glad to see you
made it, too,’ was the word. Odds
were about 10 to 1 among the
crew that he’d never pull out, but
it seems he did.”
Just what did Capt. Crommelin
do this week that should invite
such ignominious punishment as
house arrest? He gave the press
letters that discussed America’s
naval future in an abstract way,
with not a single mention of any
thing secret or classified therein.
Since when is it a crime or must
a naval officer be punished for
being interviewed by the press or
for giving information to the
press that is not secret or class
ified? At the worst, he might
deserve a court of inquiry and a
chance to be heard on his con
stitutional right to speak his
views and give the public informa
tion in his possession on national
policy.
<i Why Did He Take Step?
’ Why, It must be asked, did
Capt. Crommelin take the step he
did? Why are so many naval
officers so deeply aroused? Presi
dent Truman, who ought to be
more respectful since he is Com
mander-in-Chief, treats it all flip
pantly—as if it were just a
squabble between children. Sec
retary of Defense Johnson treats
it likewise and talks about knock
ing heads together. Secretary of
the Navy Matthews takes the
position that a naval officer loses
his rights as an American citizen
and dare not criticize the laws
of his country.
The American people should be
seriously concerned—not because
there is a controversy over a na
tional policy but because mili
taristic methods are being used
to squelch puhlio discussion and
because the prerogatives of the
Congress are being impaired.
If officers in the armed services
are to be intimidated by threats
of punishment when they, seek to
discuss the very subject on which
they are qualified to speak, it can
only mean that Prussian militar
ism has taken hold in the United
States and that the ways and
methods of the Nazi general staff
—which brooked no opposition
from the Reichstag—are being
duplicated in supposedly free
America.
Threats of Punishment.
Talk of tapped wires and
threats of punishment if members
of the armed services even speak
to Members of Congress are
emerging as collateral phases of
a controversy as to whether Amer
ica is preparing the right offense
and defense against a potential
enemy.
But why are the officers of the
Navy so apprehensive? Why are
they so eager to get their story
to the public? Why did Secre
tary of Defense Johnson and
Secretary of the Navy Matthews
try to squelch all .testimony?
Why did the House Armed Serv
ices Committee at first decide to
hear Admiral Radford, command
er-in-chief of the Pacific Fleet,
in open session and then order
his testimony to be given in
secret session and then reverse,
itself and order open sessions?
What kind of pressure is being
exerted on the vacillating House
Armed Services Committee, and
by whom?
President Truman frankly con
fesses that he uses lobby meth
ods and puts pressure on mem
bers of the Senate in dealing
with appointments. How much
assurance can anybody, inside
or outside the armed services,
have that the American people
will get all the facts if the uni
fication law now is being con
atrued as a “gag” law? The
issue transcends all questions of
defense planning and goes di
rectly to the right of the Amer
ican people to freedom of infor
mation about what is going on
Inside their own Government.
(Reproduction Rights Reserved.)
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OUR SPECIALTY
This Changing World
De Gaulle Seen as Counter-Balance
On Fly-Wheel of French Politics
By Constantine Brown
The first really disastrous fruits
of the British pound devaluation
now are being harvested, with the
outbreak of a raging cabinet
crisis in France,
which could
have the most
serious con
sequences not
only for West
ern Europe but
for the entire
Western bloc of
powers.
Henri Queu
ille is out now
as premier of
France, forced
to resign by the
deadlock which
gripped the Con.Lntlne Brown.
French government over the So
cialists’ demands — linked with
those of the Communisms—for sat
isfaction of labor’s demand for
wage increases to meet the rising
cost of living which resulted from
devaluation of the franc in sym
pathy with the pound.
Mr. Queuille’s successor is not
easy to see at this time. BuJ, both
the Communists and the De Gaul
lists have lost no time in demand
ing they get some part in the
French government. There is
more than a little danger that the
Socialists will be forced into a
coalition with the Communists by
the wage issue, although their mu
tual animosities would make such
a coalition something less than
a happy union. But the exigencies
of politics frequenly make strange
bed-fellows.
Counter-Balance to Reds.
How the De Gaulltsts could ever
come to power by constitutional
means at this time is impossible
to see. The only means by which
Gen. Charles de Gaulle could take
over the government would be by
a violent overthrow of the consti
t u t i o n a 1 administration, and
everything indicates that he is not
ready for that kind of action yet.
Gen. DeGaulle performs a rather
peculiar but useful function in
French politics. His extreme
rightist movement exists as a
substantial force in the political
life of the country, not because
it offers a party organization which
could take over the government
of France immediately, but be
cause the mere threat of violent
action by its members is a counter
balance to the Communists. Any
Communist attempt to take over
the French Government by force
would provoke immediately a
violent counter-reaction by the
DeGaullists,
This function of counter-bal
ancing would be lost if Gen. De
Gaulle and his followers should
launch into a revolutionary move
ment designed to subvert the
French Government to rightist
control and if the Communists,
then prodded into violent activity
themselves, should frustrate the
rightist coup.
As long as Gen. DeGaulle re
frains from violent activity against
the established French Govern
ment he can continue to serve as
the counter-balance on the fly
wheel of French politics. When
and if he ever resorts to bullets
instead of ballots he will jeopard
ize the whole position he has built
up in the political system of his
country.
With Gen. DeGaulle almost cer
tainly out of the running as a
possible constitutional premier for
France and with it highly un
likely that he .will launch a re
volt to gain power, the fear in
many Western circles is that the
wage issue will force the Social
ists and Communists, who together
control a big majority of the
French National Assembly, into
a coalition.
Could Sabotage Gains.
If the Communists should come
to power in France, even partial
power in a coalition, the ground
would be laid for some drastic
revision of our calculations about
the Atlantic Pact and arms im
plementation. If by chance the
Communists should obtain the key
ministries of interior and war
they would be in position not only
to take steps to outlaw the De
Gaullist movement—most likely
with charges of conspiracy to
overthrow the French Government
and spying for foreign powers—
but also to sabotage what military
improvement has been achieved
in France.
The Marshall Plan would go
by the board as far as France is
concerned, eventually if not im
mediately, and there would be no
sense in our continuing to plan
arms aid for France as the force
which would initially resist a So
viet movement into Western Eu
rope.
Of course, there are possibilities
for avoiding a Communist-Social
ist coalition, which would be as
unnatural as it would be disas
trous. The resistance to general
wage increases, demanded by all
branches of labor including the
Catholic federation, centered in
Mr. Queuille. It might be pos
sible to find some other premier
who would hold together the coal
ition he built by making some
concession to the wage demand.
Finally, the whole matter might
be put up to Parliament, but if
negotiations there failed to bring
a solution the whole issue could
be thrown into a general election,
which would be a new opportunity
for the Communists to get out
and exploit economic hardship for
their own political purposes.
Case History of Our Times
House Vote on Social Security Program
Reveals Changing Attitude in Nation
By Thomas L. Stokes
Overwhelming approval by the
House this week of the expanded
social security program offers a sig
nificant case history of our times.
With all the
attendant cir
cumstances it
reveals the
slowly chang
ing attitude in
our Nation.
This was plain
enough in the
last election—
for those who
would see.
Since then,
however, it has
become some
what obscured
by the noisy *- ,t,k“
wolf-cry from some quarters about
“the welfare state.”
Many who have joined in this
hue and cry were talking about
this bill in their broadsides, among
other measures, though they did
not specify it. Why they did not
identify it by name is explained
by what happened in the House.
Only 13 Against BUI.
For, when the representatives
of the people were counted, only
a baker’s dozen —13—voted
against the bill which extends
coverage to 11,000,000 more per
sons, increases old-age pensions,
and provides compensation for
those incapacitated to work,
through no fault of their own.
That included only two Demo
crats, showing the solidarity of
President Truman’? party on this
issue.
The Senate is sure to complete
action in the next session of this
Congress, beginning in January,
on this keystone in President Tru
man’s welfare program, and thus
make it the law of. the land.
The overwhelming vote caused
surprise in some quarters. It
should not have. A current factor
in hurrying up House action, it
is true, was the issue in the steel
strike—the union’s demand for
the companies to pay the whole
cost of a pension plan in that
industry. It was believed that
assurance of a Federal law pro
viding bigger old-age benefits and
with employes also contributing,
as the Federal system requires,
would minimize drives in other in
dustries for higher benefits paid
for by the companies alone which,
like that in the steel industry,
might precipitate more strikes.
But; aside from this current and
minor factor, the real story in
the House’s overwhelming vote is
the general acceptance now of so
cial security among our people, in
cluding industrial leaders. The
House vote dramatized that.
For. as was pointed out in the
debate by Representative John
Carroll, Democrat, of Colorado, not
only the U. S. Chamber of Com
merce but the insurance industry
advocated an extension program,
though the insurance companies
were against the increase from
$3,000 to $3,000 in the wage base
to be used in estimating benefits.
Why Position Has Changed.
Insurance companies were
against the original law in 1936.
Why has their position changed?
“Well,” explained Representa
tive Carroll, “they have changed
because they discovered that as
these millions of Americans were
given this limited type of insur
ance, the people became insurance
conscious, and therefore it stimu
lated private insurance business.”
This is exactly what has hap
pened in the case of another re
form of recent years which is em
braced in the Federal Govern
ment’s “yard-stick” public power
program, as President Roosevelt
termed it, and in more effective
regulation of private utilities. The
former induced private utilities to
expand their own services which
enlarged their own market both
for electricity and for accessories.
More effective regulation has low
ered rates and thus enlarged the
volume of electricity sold, all of
which has increased revenues of
private utilities
For this reason it is hard to un
derstand why the utilities still are
fighting the “yard-stick” public
power program and trying to
weaken Federal regulation, the lat
ter manifest at present in the at
tempt to defeat confirmation of
Leland Olds, a champion of ef
fective and fair regulation, for a
third term on the Federal Power
Commission where he has served
already for 10 years.
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LOUIE
l
—By Harry Hanan
iti
Scouts Break Ice
U. S. Boys Gamp Happily With Japanese,
But Adults Are Cool to Fraternizing
By Doris Fleeson
DOOLITTLE FIELD. Tokyo (By
Airmail).—At a Boy Scout rally
all little boys look alike as they
try frantically to light a fire
with only two
mate he s and
boil a pot of
water for the
ediflcat ion of
an emperor
and emp r e s s
who behave in
the matter
about like the
leading citizens
of Indepe n d -
ence. Mo., do
on similar oc
casions.
That, of
course, is the *»"'• F1«“«
idea behind the revival of the Boy
Scout movement here. Like Gen.
MacArthur’s new pro-fraterniza
tion order, it is part of his effort
to promote democracy by cutting
the social barriers between Amer
icans and Japanese. The order
opens native hotels, inns, thea
ters to United States personnel
and allows the exchange of gifts.
It has not proved easy to in
still in United States personnel
the “friendly interest and guid
ance toward the Japanese people”
that the general wants. Amer
icans here say they enjoy Japan,
they are happy and comfortable,
but they don’t warm up to the
people! In the last six months,
only three from the thousands of
occupation troops have asked per
mission to marry Japanese girls.
As they were* very young, if was
refused. Gen. MaeArthur speaks
feelingly of the “abnormal and
cruel” manner in which Japanese
troops waged war.
Camp Together.
But the Boy Scouts, including
an American troop of children
from occupation families, were
camped happily together for
three days in the palace grounds,
complete with pup tents, scout
knives and badges galore. At the
climactic moment, the national
rally, the “Trumans” of Japan—
emperor, empress, crown prince
and Prince Yoshi—dropped in.
Crossing the palace moat which
once divided them from their peo
ple, the imperial family walked
quietly to the reviewing stand, a
cluster of brocaded chairs, in Doo
little Field. Now devoted to sports,
Doolittle Field is the royal park
where Gen. Jimmy Doolittle’s
raiders dropped a warning souve
nir in their 30 seconds over Tokyo.
About them buzzed the insistent
photographers, instructing them
to smile, look ahead. The Em
peror looked a little nervous. In
his first press conference held
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It used to take too much time
On each office payday
To hike ten blocks to the bank
And put my dollars away
When I'd finally get the chance
The money would be spent
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shortly after the surrender, the
United States press had proved
rather strong medicine for his im
perial inexperience and he has
been a little wary of it ever since.
But the Empress was smiling and1
composed; the little boys, in their
navy-blue peers school uniforms,
perfectly disciplined.
Empress Speaks English.
The Empress, unlike her hus
band, speaks English and has fur
ther signified her modernity with
a kimono of her own design, grace
ful and flowing but substituting
for the elaborate back drapery
a simpler sash knotted at the side.
Her hair is softly waved with a
roll at the back, suspiciously like
the neat American hairdo of Mrs.
MaCArthur.
Article 1, chapter 1 of the new
Japanese Constitution announces
that the Emperor shall be the
symbol of the people with whom
resides sovereign power; so, like
the British King, he reigns but
does not govern. He has volun
tarily renounced his claim to di
vine origin.
The little Princes were really
absorbed in the fire - building
which, in the excitement, did not
go too well. The Empress smiled
maternally, and the Prince was
polite about it all. It can be
stated as a fact that the effect
on the spectator is the same when
children, whatever their race, are
trying to do their stuff on display. I
(Released by the Bell Syndicate. Inc.)
McLemore—
Victor, Britain, Finds
War Doesn't Pay
By Henry McLemore
LONDON.—War doesn’t pay.
I can swear to that.
I am confident in swearing to
that because I am in England.
England won
a war. Take a
look at her
now. T a k e a
look at her
right after you
fly in from
Paris.
France was
conquered .
France, against
G e rmany’s
might, rolled
over and played
dead, but look
at Paris today
and London to- »*"" M.L*».r..
day. On the surface France
must have won the war and
England must have lost it. You
can eat your head off in Paris.
There’s no end of meat, butter,
cream and one thousand and ten
fancy things. Night clubs run all
night, bands play night and day.
the boulevards are crowded with
well-heeled men and well-dressed
w’omen.
Victor Is Dead Broke.
What does London look like?
London, the victor. Dead broke.
Not enough beer to keep a pub
open longer than two hours. Not
enough food to make eating any
thing but a chore. I’ll have to be
honest and tell you that I don’t
believe any other people on earth
could have endured for ten years
what the English have endured,
and I say that with the full
knowledge that I have never been
especially fond of England.
England has never gone out of
its way to endear itself to Amer
ica. I first went to England in
1932 and the English, insofar as
Americans are concerned, have
always been kind of snooty, let
us say. They always acted as if
they knew all the gentle, gracious
answers and Americans were just
noisy chaps in store-boughten
clothes. I have spent half of my
time when in England trying not
to make a scene because of the
treatment they have given me as
an American.
There are a thousand things
today that still make me mad in
London. For example, pick up a
paper, which because of the
country’s poorness consists of only
four pages, and see half a column
devoted to the court circular, with
announcements like these: “Lady
Smithstone-Smithfleld attended
the Duchess of Gloucester today
at the West Tottenham riding
show . . . Lord Helpus is the new
privy purse to His Majesty George
VI . . . The King’s party at Bal
moral bagged 118 pheasants In
yesterday's shoot over the royal
grounds.”
This sort of thing. A pity.
But that's not the English
people.
You can yell at Attlee. Cripps,
Bevin, and yet at the same time
you know that doesn’t have any
thing to do with the grief that the
little people of England are un
dergoing each and every day.
Cripps crosses on the “Queen Eliz
abeth,” but the little man in
Liverpool has no bacon. Attlee
and Dalton enjoy fame and world
prominence, but the women of
Manchester spend weary hours
queueing up for things that house
wives in Italy can buy across the
counter. ,
Italy Still Rides High.
Speaking of Italy, if you think
war pays, go to Italy and then
come to England. Italy chose
to go with Hitler. Italy rode high,
wide and handsome for several
years and her armies killed many
Englishmen and many Americans.
But Italy has roast beef and Eng
land has none. Italy has all the
wine and night clubs you can ever
ask for, and Italians today live
a hundred times better than Eng
lishmen. That’s not right. When
the going got really tough, the
Italians threw hands in the air in
high surrender.
What did the English do when
the going got tough? They got
tougher. They never thought of
quitting. And today in England
—well, pick up any English news
paper and read the In Memoriam
notices. It’ll tear your heart out
to read them. "To Sergts. John.
Philip and Joseph Williams, who
laid down their lives for their
country in North Africa, in 1042.
Mother and Dad.” . . . “To Flight
Squadron Leader Herbert Mac
Pherson, killed in action in the
Battle of Britain. He will never
be forgotten by his devoted wife.”
To wind up this column, just
let me say one thing—it’s a shame
that such worthy people have
such unworthy leaders. I can’t
prove that statement, but I feel
it with all my heart.
(Distributed by McNausht Syndicate, Ina)
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