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Evening star. [volume] (Washington, D.C.) 1854-1972, October 15, 1950, Image 58

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Airlines Safer Than Ever,
But Statistics Are Fatal
Mathematical Evidence of Flying Safety
Offers Little Comfort to Confused Layman
By Frederick R. Neely
America’s scheduled airlines are winning in their fight against
accidents and they can prove it. statistically, to any one familiar with
the science of air transportation and the science of understanding
statistics. With others, it is not so easy.
'Admittedly this small, specialized group, already captured, does
not represent the mass market the airlines want. Admittedly, also.
the question of safety ranks high
in the reticence displayed by mil
lions to the invitation to become
steady airline patrons. Though
appealing, alluring and ingenious
sales-promotion programs are go
ing on continuously, and getting
good results, that inevitable ques
tion: ‘‘What about accidents?”
signals the figure-wizards to come
forward with their charts, tables
and graphs made up like a gun
shot vitamin pill—hoping one of
their many types of concentrated
statistics will wipe out the worry
bug and put more people up in
the air. •
Safety in all forms of transpor
tation is a continuing program,
but of the three largest common
carriers—railroads, buses and the
airlines—the airlines suffer most
from accidents, primarily because
they usually are accompanied by
spectacular circumstances and al
most always involve people of
prominence.
Trot Out Figures
It is sad enough and bad enough
for the scheduled airlines to have
a fatal accident brought on by
a lapse or failure somewhere in
their operations, but they become
both angered and grieved when
charged with accidents that never
happen to them. This is neither
malicious nor deliberate, but when
word comes of an accident to an
airplane and people are killed,
that’s news and it is transmitted
with all possible speed, for there
is competition in that field, too.
The details that follow do not
always reach the same people who
got the first report, and the first
shock, but they do endeavor to
identify the nature of the air
craft’s operations—military or
Mvil, scheduled, non-scheduled, or
private. Yet, any airplane large
enough to carry four or more
passengers, even though privately
operated, but reported missing or
destroyed, is sometimes implied
to be an airliner until all the
facts are in.
8o, first off the airlines have
to trot out the latest statistics to
prove that, as in 1949, of all the
deaths from all kinds of civil fly
ing—amounting to. 1,134—only 93
scheduled air transport passengers
were involved. At the same time
they have to emphasize that the
16,604,143 passengers who flew on
the Government certificated routes
last year did not get killed.
The statistical analysts are not
satisfied with the 93 figure, but
they try to derive some comfort
from the fact that in 1938, for
example, when 32 airline pas
sengers were lost, only 1,475,122
were carried. Percentage-wise,
they say this means that 12 years;
ago 99.9978 per cent of the pas
sengers survived—that's their
terminology—and .0022 per cent
were fatally injured. For 1949’s
operations, the percentage is
99.9994 “survived,” and .0006 fa
tally injured, meaning that sched
uled airline flying last year was
three times as good as the year
1938. This does have significance
for in 1949 more miles were flown,
more planes were operated, more
takeoffs and landings made and
more passengers handled—thus
more exposure to the chances of
aomething going wrong.
Some Comparisons
But in their zeal to get the whole
story over, after eliminating the
accidents overcharged to sched
uled operations, the statisticians
make matters very confusing for
people who never mastered the
Intricacies of long division (like
this correspondent), but who in
sist on knowing what their chances
are against being in a fatal air
line accident.
For such as them, an enterpris
ing airline vice president has just
Issued a memo to his traffic gen
erating staff transmitting an ana
lysis of air safety data which, he
told them, “will be of value to you
in discussions with passengers,
eivlc organizations and the press.”
The analysis was:
“For the first seven months of
this year, air passenger fatalities
were 1.2 for every 100,000,000 pas
senger miles, the equivalent of
80,840,744 passenger miles per
fatality. These figures are pretty
enormous. What do they mean?
“They mean an individual pas
senger would have to fly 8 hours
a day, 40 hours a week, at 200
miles per hour for 194 years to
cover 80,840,744 miles.”
This is either enlightening or
frightening.
Question could be raised as to
whether a closer-to-home ex
ample would suffice, such as:
"It is much safer flying the sched
uled airline than smoking in bed.”
Other amazing statistical pres
entations seriously advanced to
get over the true story of sched
uled airline safety include:
"Plane miles flown per fatal ac
cident registered an outstanding
900 per cent increase—from 10.
754,612 in 1938 to 108,175,000 in
1949.”
“Plane miles pier passenger
; fatality jumped practically 100
per cent—from 2,352,714 in 1938
to 4,652.698 in 1949,” and
"For the 12-month pieriod end
ing August 31, 1950, the sched
uled airlines flew 9,578,873,000
passenger miles.” (A passenger
mile is one passenger carried one
mile.)
The statistician can continue
indefinitely with recitations of
such salient facts or until the
prospect cries: "Enough. They
are fine statistics, but I don't want
to be a statistic.”
Tell him, then, that it is safer
to travel on the scheduled airlines
(and for the sake of the common
carrier transportation industry as
a whole), the railroad trains and
the cross-country buses, because
more people get killed:
1. Fooling around in their
homes with “unloaded” firearms.
2. Riding home in a friend’s au
tomobile in the early hours of a
rainy Sunday morning after a big
party celebrating Saturday night.
3. Jumping off boats and docks
into deep water to show off swim
ming ability.
4. Going down dark stairs popu
lated with brooms and mops and
a sleeping cat, into an unlighted
basement.
‘Goal: Perfection’
5. Hastily gulping solid or liquid
poisons in the middle of the night
because they were in the medicine
cabinet and were mistaken for
life-perpetuating preparations.
Tell him. too, that the National
Safety Council's new 1950 Acci
dent Facts book shows 91,000
people died from all kinds of acci
dents in 1949, of which 31,500
were attributed to motor vehicle
accidents and 31,000 people died
as the result of accidents in their
homes.
At the last annual meeting of
the American Statistical Associa
tion. an august body now headed
by Lowell J. Reed of Johns Hop
kins University, the delegates
tackled the growing problem of
how better to portray the traveler's
cftoice of figuring in a transporta
tion accident. It became very in
volved. In desperation, one sta
tistical delegate finally gained the
floor and proposed that the public
would be properly impressed if it;
had statistics on the number of
airline hostesses who had lived
to a ripe age and married million
aires.
Intending no offense to the stat
isticians, a renowned safety expert
on a later occasion proclaimed the
aim of the air transport industry
to be:
“No fatal accidents; perfection
must be our goal. Marvelous air
safety statistics must be ignored
because the public, being mentally
conditioned to fear flying, is not
impressed by them.”
That was Jerome Lederer, an
active aeronautical engineer for
25 years director of Flight Safety
Foundation, a non-profit inde
pendent research group, and re
cently appointed director of the
newly-established G u g g e n helm
Aviation Center at Cornell Uni
versity to co-ordinate aviation
safety research. His declaration
was made in connection with a
special award to him “for his out
standing contributions in engi
neering for flight safety and for
his untiring efforts to encourage
research in this field” from the
Institute of the Aeronautical Sci
ences, America’s representative
aeronautical scientific society of
10,000 engineers and specialists.
White House Lineup Changes
(Continued From Page C-l.)
curity Council, and James Selden
Lay, jr., 39, executive secretary of
the council, relay to the President
the top secret intelligence report
of the Central Intelligence Agency.
Mr. Souers is a businessman
from St. Louis, an old associate of
the President. Mr. Lay is a native
Washingtonian, graduate of Vir
ginia Military Institute and Har
vard School of Business Adminis
tration. Both went to the top as
military intelligence officers dur
ing the war.
More in the background now,
yet still important, are Mr. Tru
man’s two prime political advisers,
William M. Boyle, Jr., 48, and Mat
thew J. Connelly, 42. Mr. Boyle is
chairman of the Democratic Na
tional Committee. Mr. Connelly is
the President’s appointment secre
tary.
Mr. Connelly is a shrewd, charm
ing Massachusetts Irishman. He
has more than any one else to say
about who shall see the President,
where the President shall make
speeches and what kind of
speeches ought to be made. He
was chief of the investigating staff
for Senator Trumun’s War Inves
tigating Committee. For some
years before that he had been an
investigator for Federal agencies
and congressional committees.
Mr. Boyle, a Missouri lawyer,
has worked with Mr. Truman
ever since the latter first ran for
county office. The President has
privately confided that Boyle more
than any one else was reseponsible
for the whistle-stop speaking tour
that won him the presidential
election in 1948. Mr. Truman first
brought him from Missouri to be
come assistant counsel for the
Truman Committee.
Still within the inner circle but
closer to the outskirts than be
fore the Korean crisis are Presi
dent Truman’s, three old friends
from Capitol Hill days: Vice
President Barkley, 72; Speaker of
the House Sam Rayburn, 68, and
Leslie L. Biffle, 61, secretary of
the Senate—who has a direct tele
phone line to the White House.
And still with constant access
to the President is his old war
buddy, Maj. Gen. Harry H.
Vaughan, 56, the military aide.
Gen. Vaughan was known for
many years as “court jester” in
the Truman circle. The President
once used a four-letter word to
describe a writer who urged him
to shoo Vaughan out of the White
House after congressional commit
tees revealed Vaughan’s associa
tion with certain “five percenters.”
Gen. Vaughan and Mr. Tru
man met when they were lieuten
ants in the Army, and they have
been kicking around together as
Reserves ever since. Gen. Vaughan
was treasurer of Mr. Truman's
senatorial campaign in 1940, and
he became the Senator’s secretary
m 1941. Gen. Vaughan had been
a seller of loose-leaf book equip
ment in Illinois when Mr. Truman
brought him to Washington.
(Distributed br (he Associated Press.)
Switzerland Ready to Defend Its Neutrality
Strongly Fortified
To Stand Off Any
Possible Aggressor
By John C. Henry
Special to The Sunday Star
MOUNT PILATUS. Switzer
land.—This is a mountain top
7,000 feet above sea level. It is
reached normally by an electric
rack-and-pinion railway and
boasts a popular resort hotel at
the summit. Its slopes are too
steep and too broken for ski
ing in a sporting sense, so the
season runs from about May 1
until about November 1. From
the top one can see Lucerne,
Lake Lucerne and several snow
capped mountain ranges. From
it, one has a commanding view
of the Valley of Lucerne and its
penetrating approaches from
the northward into the inner
core of mountainous Switzer
land.
It is only the latter fact that
makes Mount Pilatus worth
writing about today in the press
outside Switzerland. For the
whole upper third of Mount
Pilatus is honeycombed with am
munition dumps, with artillery
posts, with fortifications calcu
lated to make it available to an
enemy only at a great and
disturbing cost.
Actually, Mpunt Pilatus is
merely an outpost, one of the
first of a periphery of rugged
mountain families that range
roughly northeast and south
west across Switzerland in such
a way as to provide an inner
fortress for this small country.
To their back are the French
and Italian Alps. And if the
traditional neutrality of this
country should be violated or
abandoned in another war for
Europe it is to this forbidding
fortress that the strength of
Swiss arms, the spirit of Swiss
resistance and the tremendous
resources of Swiss capital will
retreat. Once there it would
require a costly and bloody
assault or a costly and long
siege to bring it to surrender.
Beef-up Defenses
In the delicate balance of Eu
ropean power today Switzerland
has an importance far tran
scending its size or its popula
tion. The Swiss are a proud
and stubborn people. In mod
ern generations they have re
mained aloof from the wars of
Europe and the world’. As an is
land of neutrality they were of
value to both sides in World
War I and World War II. If a
third World War comes they do
not believe that they will have a
choice of neutrality. Certainly
if they do not, their choice will
be with the Western democra
cies. To a people whose whole
way of life is grounded in indi
vidual liberties, in capitalism of
a productive nature commu
nism is to them the most unnat
ural and revolting of ideologies.
The Swiss are disturbed by
A view of Mount Pilatus, Switzerland, the top of which is reached by the steepest cogwheel
railway in the world. The building is a resort hotel.
and sensitive to the course of
events in Europe today.
They are the only European
country west of the iron cur
tain neither needing nor receiv
ing ECA funds. They are the
only country in the world whose
currency matches that of the
United States in stability and
hard value. In proportion to
geographical size and population,
they already have the most
highly trained and effective
military force in Europe. Only
within the past two weeks they
announced a new five-year plan
of expanding, reorganizing and
modernizing their defense ma
chinery. Its cost, without ap
peal to the United States or any
other external power, will be ap
proximately 1.4 'billion Swiss
francs or about $3.5 million. In
the budget of a nation of about
4 5 million people this is an im
pressive amount.
With this sum the Swiss in
tend to buy or produce the most
modern of defensive ground and
air equipment and to train an
increasing number of troops.
Compulsory service will be ex
tended and an army will be
maintained in being, not merely
on paper. With typical Swiss
thoroughness, civilian defense
will be a reality, not merely a
subject of political conversation.
Records and documents which
are important not only to Swit
zerland but to the whole struc
ture of capitalism throughout
the world—patents, copyrights,
royalty agreements, scientific
formulae and all the associated
“invisible resources” of the
country — will be microfilmed
and hidden in the dank caverns
of Mount Pilatus and a dozen
other forbidden natural for
tresses.
For the Swiss are convinced
■ that if another war comes their
stake will be too great to permit
them merely to stand by; they
are thoroughly convinced that
they constitute too great a prize
to be ignored or even by-passed
by Communist aggression.
On the surface they are fol
lowing a meticulous neutrality.
They exchange military attaches
with foreign powers and have
invited observers and advisers
from other powers. To Russian
complaints that Western military
experts have lectured at Swiss
military schools, the Swiss point
to an invitation that the Rus
sians send comparable authori
ties—and to the Russian answer
that their experts were “too
busy.” If that is the way the
Russians want it, the Swiss are
willing to stand on the record.
Well Fortified
Perhaps it was only to en
courage publicity for tourist
travel that a group of American
journalists were taken recently
up the rugged railway on Mount
Pilatus. But en route we saw
the strategically located air
fields, and their half under
ground revetments, from which
highly maneuverable fighter
aircraft were buzzing angrily,
barbed-wire barriers which em
broidered the slopes at inter
vals adjoining the steep rail
way, heavily barred caverns
which we were told quite cas
ually held enough ammunition
and supplies for an army corps
and observation posts of far
greater potential utility than a
50-centime tourist telescope.
There even seemed an impli
cation of significance in the
choice of this “exhibition moun
tain” and the legend of its name
given us substantially as fol
lows:
Centuries ago it was one of
' the famous mountains of Switz
erland. Written records on it
go back as far as the 13th cen
utry. In early times the moun
tain was known as Frakmont—
an appellation probably be
stowed upon it by some Latiniz
ing ecclesiastic—because it was a
rugged or fractured peak. Spe
cifically, the name of today
came in this way:
Pontius Pilate,- procurator of
Judea, who delivered Christ to
death on the Cross, was sum
moned by the Emperor Tiberius
of Rome and cast into prison
where he took his life. The
body was thrown into the Tiber
but at once a tremendous storm
arose upon the waters, causing
terrific devastation. Retrieved,
the body was sent to Vienne in
Prance and there cast into the
Rhone, but here also a terrific
storm occurred. A third time
the body was thrown into the
waters of Laasanne, but was
guilty again of the same recal
citrant conduct.
In order to be rid of it for
good, the body was then trans
ported to the peak of Frakmont
and tossed into a small lake.
The result was even more
violent in the mountains and
the nearby valley, until a
student, returning from nearby
Salamanca, succeeded in driving
the body deep into the moun
tain lake by invoking appropri
ate and dreadful curses. There
Pilate remains, permitted to rise
only on one day of each year,
Good Friday, when he sits in
state in his judicial robes. On
this day special prohibitions are
invoked against any word or
deed to anger the ghost of Pilate,
lest he bring back the violence
of weather which has seemed
so closely in his control.
Twin Sickles of Communist Forces Ring Korea
By Joe Wing
Korea, standing out like a
thumb from the Chinese main
land, seems likely to remain a
sore point in Far Eastern pres
sure politics.
Its geographical position, of
course, accounts for this. His
torically, Japan looked upon it
as a “dagger” pointed at the
Japanese islands, and laid it
under conquest in consequence.
Now the South Koreans and
their United Nations allies are
ascendant there but under pres
ent political and military condi
tions their hold must remain
uneasy.
The Koreans. depending
largely on the sea lanes of the
broad Pacific for their supplies,
are ringed by a double sickle of
Red forces.
The inner sickle, to which
most attention has been paid,
consists of the Russian and Red
Chinese forces actually at or
near the Korean borders.
First, there are the two key
ports of Vladivostok and Port
Arthur. They flank Korea close
ly. In Vladivostok of recent
months the shipping has been
reported particularly heavy. The
trans-Siberian railroad termi
nates there. Vladivostok is a
submarine base and Chinese Na
tionalists say Port Arthur is. too.
Air installations near Vladivos
tok doubtless are elaborate but
just what they may be is not
known.
When it comes to guessing the
numbers of troops on the inner
sickle line, you might almost as
well pick some of the figures out
of a hat.
Chinese Nationalist forces say
the Chinese Reds have 80,000 on
the border and 200,000 more in
Manchuria. There have been re
ports also that there were two
Red Chinese armies of 200,000
on the border. What the Rus
sians have in the Vladivostok
region hasn’t been hazarded.
In the outer sickle behind the
first, Washington sources figure
there are 3,000,000 Chinese Reds,
and that the Russian Far East
ern army numbers 500,000. Chi
nese Nationalists make out that
the Chinese Reds have an army
of 5,000,000.
South of these groups are the
150,000 troops reputedly in the
field for the Indo-Chinese Reds.
The number of United Nations
troops in Korea is, of course, not
public property, but if each
American division contains 15,
000 men and each South Korean
10,000, the total would approxi
mate 120,000 Americans and 50.
000 South Koreans. There are
several thousand English, Aus
tralian and Filipino troops in
the U. N. forces, too.
The Chinese Nationalists say
they have 500,000 soldiers on
Formosa and 1,800,000 guerrilla
fighters on the mainland.
Another factor is, of course, the
United Nations fleet of some
250 vessels now in Chinese wa
ters and committed to the pro
tection of Formosa as well as
the supply of Korea.
' U.S.S.13.
BuJutia^l
f ?
.«»f fm
I
l
= EACH EQUALS APPROXIMATELY 100,000MEN
Wage-Price Controls May Result From Pressure
(Continued From Page C-l.)
ent when one looks down to the
bottom of the two columns. The
latest available index figure for
urban wage rates is that for last
March and is 201.5. For the Con
sumers’ Price Index, the latest
available figure is that for last
August, and is 173.
This skyrocketing of prices and
wages began as soon as World
War II was over. The War Labor
Board was abolished soon after
V-J day, leaving wages free to
rise. The OPA which had con
trolled prices, began to relax its
operations, and was out of busi
ness entirely by the following
summer.
Mr. Millis, in his book, sum
marizes it nicely: t
“We had greatly changed (dur
ing the war period) the indus
trial situation and the modes of
thought of many groups of peo
ple. But neither Congress, nor
the administration developed be
fore V-J day, or later, a well
thought-out, well-co-ordinated
and comprehensive reconstruction
policy.
“President Truman announced
immediately after V-J day that
controls should be removed as
soon as possible. The War Labor
Board was to be terminated, al
though no plans had been made
for Government’s role in the in
evitable conflicts during reconver
sion to free collective bargaining,
as well as to a postwar free
economy.
“Wages and purchasing power
must be kept up, the administra
tion said repeatedly, but a large
part of any increased labor cost
k
could and should be absorbed by
business: any necessary price ad
justment would be considered
when the need became evident.”
After further discussion of the
subject, Mr. Millis inserted a
pungent paragraph:
“The details of all this need not
detain us. The immediate point
is that lack of consistent and con
structive consideration of prob
lems and neglect ofvcauses breeds
fear and bad industrial relations.
It also breeds narrow, selfish
groups. ...”
All this might have been writ
ten today, and with equal applica
tion to the circumstances of today.
The French had a word for it—or
rather a proverb—the sense of
which is that the more things
change, the more they remain
the same. (
(Bj Special Arrangement With the
St. Louis Post Dispatch.)
1
THE SUN I • T' STAR, Washington, D. C. C—5
SUNDAY, OCTOBER 15, 1950_
Limit to U. S. Capabilities
In Making Europe Secure
Allied Co-operation Imperative to Stop
Reds, but British and French Still Stall
By Constantine Brown
The box score on the Korean “police action” up to October 10
shows American casualties 24,460, -of which some 9,000 are dead or
missing.
Unfortunately, a larger number of missing than in World War
II are not expected to return. The Asiatics, when they do not
massacre their prisoners, spirit them away to the vastness of Siberia.
The Russians am tms to tneir
Japanese and German prisoners.
The Koreans are following the
orders of their masters.
There has not been a complete
survey of the expenditure in dol
lars and cents. But up to this
moment, it is estimated that the
cost is in 10 figures.
The expenditure is irreplacable
in lives and hard cash/which will
have to come from the already
burdened taxpayer. It was neces
sary, since we had not been suf
flcently cautious to make the
necessary preparations to defend
our position in the Far East at
a time when this could have been
| done with far less sacrifice.
We could have armed and
trained the republican army of
South Korea. The remarkable
recovery and ability to fight of
the divisions, newly reorganized
| from demoralized elements, shows
that with sufficient preparation
these m6n could have defended
| their territory.
The administration could have
heeded the storm warnings which
the Central Intelligence Agency
and Gen. MacArthur's intelligence
services had been giving since
early this year.
Need Outside Help
But all this is water over the
dam The thousands who were
killed cannot be resurrected by
recriminations and criticism. Nor
can those who will remain per
manently disabled gain any satis
faction by listening to the argu
ment that all this could have been
J avoided, partially at least.
The reason this gloomy picture
must be painted is that we must
avoid, if possible, further similar
: mistakes in the future.
! The war in Korea is considered
:by most military men only as a
curtain-raiser for other Soviet
sponsored aggressions, which if
not suppressed “With the same
speed and energy will lead us
I inevitably into a disastrous world
war.
Because of a mistaken policy
ion the part of our administrators
we began to prepare to meet such
an emergency only last July. The
country is far ahead of the Gov
ernment in accepting, without
grumbling, the new burdens ne
cessitated by this rush to become
prepared in time.
Unlike the years before Pearl
Harbor, enlistments in the armed
services are satisfactory and there
is no opposition to the appropria
tion of tens of billions of dollars
needed for the military prepared
ness of the United Nations and its
Allies.
But great as our effort must be,
it will be impossible for this coun
try to meet the threat, particu
larly in Europe, with our power
: alone. Our Allies have been stim
ulated by the feats of arms of
American forces commanded by
Gen. MacArthur in Korea, but
they will still lag badly in their
efforts to get ready for the final
showdown, which appears more
inevitable to their military meh
than it does to our own.
In fairness to our French and
other continental European Allies,
it should be said that their lack
of enthusiasm is understandable.
They have been bled white in two
previous wars and are tired out.
By pouring many billions of dol
lars into their countries we have
managed to bring about their
economic recovery.
Allies Resist
It is a nightmare for the aver
age Western European to think
that now. after the miracle of
recovery, he must face the possi
bility of another war.
The will to resist another ag
gression, while increased since
the spectacular victories on the
Korean battlefield, has not yet
reached the point of seeing
through the last threat to West-!
era civilization. The defeat of
the French in Indo-China at the
hands of the Communist Viet
Minh is expected to have such a
deflating effect on the French
masses that their government will
still keep from them the news of
the recent disaster,
i In order to embarrass the West
ern will to resist the French gov
ernment is urging us to send be
fore the end of this year at least
five additional American divi-j
;sions to Germany, where the East1
German forces, armed by the Rus
sians with the latest military
equipment, constitute a real
threat to the West.
The plea of the French, sup
ported by the other MAP coun
tries, will be met as soon as the
new American divisions have had
sufficient combat training.
But while the United States is
ready to make the heaviest sacri
fices in history to save not only
this country but also Western civ
ilization. there is resistance—
which is difficult to understand—
on the part of our Allies to mak
ing our task easier.
Conditional Support
While we show a definite un
derstanding of their problems, the
French and British who lead the
Atlantic coalition refuse stub
bornly the assistance which may
be obtained from countries with
adequate manpower. Since last
May the American Government
has urged, the French particu
larly, to agree to a formation of
a* German military force to co
operate in the defense of the
West.
The Germans, who are not at
all enthusiastic about fighting :
another war, nevertheless are I
willing to defend their own coun-, :
try, which lies in the path of ag- i
gression from the East. Whether 1
we like it or not, there is no de
nying that the Germans are part ‘
and parcel of the Western world, i
Their warlike qualities, which I
caused the last two wars, could '
be put to good use for defense of i
the very countries which they at
tempted to subjugate under the
Kaiser and Hitler.
For reasons of their own the
French will not admit that if
they had co-operated with the
United States and Britain during
the years before the Hitler era,
when the Weimar republic should
have been kept alive, World War
II might have been avoided.
When they talk about the “Ger
man threat,” they remind us of
the days when the Kaiser and
Hitler were reigning supreme in
the Reich. But they overlook the
interim period between 1920 and
1931 when the German republic
might have been saved if France
had adopted a more unselfish
and understanding policy toward
the Weimar republic.
The Bonn government has in
dicated to us that under certain
conditions it would be willing to
join in defense of the West. The
primary condition is said to be
that German manpower not be
used as mere cannon fodder.
Chancellor Konrad Adenauer in
sisted that if a German force is
to be organized under the overall
command of an American general,
it should be provided with the
best w^ material available.
This is a reasonable condition
since, in the event of aggression
from the East, the Germans, to
gether with the present meager
American, British and French
forces, will have to stand the
brunt of the attack, supported
by American and British tactical
and strategic air force.
Western Germany could put in
the field in record time no less
than 10 divisions, which will need
only short training. Another 10
divisions could be mustered if
needed within less than a year
from the youngsters who had no
part in World War II.
Diplomats Blocked
This is, in effect, a force larger
than the French can hope to
mobilize in addition to what they
already have today under arms.
Yet the French government stub
bornly refuses to entertain tha
idea of creating a Western Ger
man army.
The French indicate that they
fear more a limited German fores
than they do the Russians. To
our argument that so long as the
Germans must depend on the
United States for their war ma
terials, and are not given the
chance to create an air force, they
can constitute no threat to
France’s security, the French
shrug their shoulders. They an
swer that no French government
could survive the ire of the French
people if it were to approve or
even encourage such a scheme.
American diplomats represent
themselves . as powerless, since,
they say, we cannot blackjack our
Allies. Blackjack diplomacy
never pays dividends. But there
is a world of difference between
blackjacking a country into sub
mission and using strong and real
arguments into making a govern
ment realize the truth.
What the French and other con
tinental countries in Western
Europe want, in effect, is that
American men should fight on
their territory with only modest
help on their part. The French
position, supported by the Benelux
countries, may be summed up as
follows: Let America spend many
more billions on the recovery pro
gram. Let America spend many
billions on providing arms and
ammunition for their forces. Let
America provide the manpower
needed to meet eventually the
large Russian and satellite ground
forces which are estimated—con
servatively—to aggregate more
than 200 divisions.
Suspicions Misplaced
Their suspicions of Germany at
| this time of intense crisis are mis
j placed. American diplomats
should tell our good friends on the
Western banks of the Rhine that
the American people so far have
made unparalleled sacrifices and
f are willing to continue them in
■ the future for the common cause
of the security of Western civili
i zation. But there is a natural
[limit to our capabilities.
Since it is obvious that the
[creation of 40 Western European
' divisions will remain a- blueprint
for a long time, it is essential for
them and for us. too, that we at
tract whatever support we can
find.
The British are more reasonable
I on the question of rearming Ger
jmany but are playing European
politics on this subject. They hope
that by supporting the French
stand on rearmament of Europe
they will benefit by nullifying the
attempt to create a German
French steel and coal merger.
But both the Attlee and Pleven
governments in London and Paris
are determinedly opposed to in
clusion of Spanish manpower in
the Western defense setup. There
is not much enthusiasm in ad
ministration quarters in Wash
ington. The myth that Franco
was hostile to the Allies in World
War II still persists in certain
ideological quarters which have
something to say in our foreign
policy.
But the m i 1 i t a r y—American.
British and French—has urged as
well as they could that their po
litical men be realistic. Spain, they
argue, offers an ideal beachhead
in the event of an early Soviet
aggression when we may not yet
be prepared to defend the Rhine.
Spain has a fresh army of
400,000 men. That force lacks
modern war material, especially
tanks, radar and other equipment
which was developed in the latter
part and after World War IL

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