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Evening star. [volume] (Washington, D.C.) 1854-1972, October 17, 1951, Image 12

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WM» Sunday Morning Edition
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_WEDNESDAY, October 17, 1»51
Irresponsible House
Minority Leader Joe Martin may be right
When he says that the House vote to reject the
compromise tax bill means that “it will be mighty
difficult to get any tax bill through the House
how.” If he is right, however, the Republicans
and the Fair Dealers, who, for different reasons,
combined to defeat the measure, have done a
thoroughly reckless day’s work.
The rejected measure would have raised
‘ $5,750,000,000 additional revenue. That is about
half of the requested amount and quite probably
less than should be collected. But it certainly
would be much better than nothing. Without a
new tax bill, the forthcoming deficit will be
correspondingly larger, inflationary forces will
be stronger and the price structure inevitably
will climb higher.
No responsible Congressman can want to
face his constituents with the tax job left undone.
The bill should be returned to conference for
another look. A reasonable effort should be
made to meet the House objections. Then the
bill should be resubmitted and passed. If this
is not done the President will have every reason
to call Congress back into session and insist
that it measure up to its responsibilities.
The Bar Gets Kicked Around Again
» Although there is no reason to quarrel with
the appointment Itself, there is plenty of reason
to criticize the abrupt and discourteous way in
which President Truman’s choice of a new
United States attorney for the District was made
and announced. Charles Morris Irelan, nomi
nated to succeed George Morris Fay, is a
respected, long-time member of the District Bar
Association and has the qualifications of char
acter and legal experience that contribute to
making a good prosecutor. The method of his
selection, however, was an affront to the Bar
Association on the part of the President and
Attorney General McGrath.
This is not the first time, of course, that the
District Bar Association has been kicked around
by the President and the Attorney General. Mr.
Fay’s appointment, like that of Mr. Irelan, was
made without consulting the local bar and with
out awaiting the proffered advice of the associa
tion. In the case of Mr. Fay the nomination was
Announced at the White House while a committee
of the association waited on Attorney General
Clark with w petition in behalf of another candi
of a bar association poll to determine a pro
spective slate of candidates for the vacancy caused
by Mr. Fay’s resignation. It came only a few
hours after Senator Wiley, a member of the
Senate Judiciary Committee, had made a written
request to Attorney General McGrath that the
appointment be held up until the recommenda
tions of the Bar Association could be considered.
Results of the association’s poll were to have
been compiled at a meeting of a bar committee
The attitude which Mr. Truman has mani
fested in the past toward bar association efforts
to assist him in picking good judges and prosecu
tors is incomprehensible and inexcusable. He
has spoken out strongly at his press conferences
at bar association criticism of some of his judici
ary appointments. He has bluntly served notice
on such organizations that he has the sole power
to make such appointments. But no bar asso
ciation has contested this power. Bar associa
tions are in an excellent position to be helpful
to the executive branch, however, in choosing
qualified lawyers for the bench and for prosecu
tive posts. When the Attorney General and the
President deliberately turn their backs on such
authoritative counsel they do a disservice to the
appointees, for the suspicion naturally arises
that political or other considerations than fitness
for the post were primary factors in the choice.
UMT Progress in Slow Motion
President Truman must have had his tongue
In his cheek when he told the American Legion
that the so-called universal military training law
passed by Congress last June was “a notable
advance” toward the UMT goal. Many persons
concerned with the national defense regarded
that legislation as a maneuver to stall off effec
tive UMT action at this session. Actually, that is
what the law is about to do—pass the buck to
the next Congress.
Mr. Truman himself has abandoned hope of
getting an effective UMT law from this session
of Congress. As sponsors of the legislation un
doubtedly intended, the appointment of another
AAmmfeefnn fn cfiiHv fVia cnhippf artri t.hp nrpnftrft.
tion of a report to Congress have consumed so
much time that the chances of further UMT
legislation before adjournment are nil. The
report, under the law, must be submitted by
October 29. The President said the commission
will present its findings and recommendations
within a few days.
Whatever the commission’s findings* and
however urgent its recommendations for action,
nothing is likely to be done now until next year.
Yet Mr. Truman told the Legion that “we must
lose no time in placing on the statute books a
sound system of universal training.” He asked
for support of the Legionnaires in securing such
legislation. The reasons which he cited for the
urgency are the same good reasons that were
pertinent last Jane and which Congress saw fit
to ignore, despite the critical military manpower
shortage then prevailing. Will Congress next
year be any more courageous in facing the issue
than it was this year?
The answer may depend largely on how
strong a report the UMT commission presents
to the legislators. Another factor wj^ be the
world situation at the time of congressional con
sideration of the report, ^t Is to be hoped that
there will be no more “notable advances” of the
type which forestalled forthright action this year.
Congress should have faced up boldly to this
problem long ago.
'Mr. Republican' Makes His Bid
Senator Taft, now an announced candidate
for the Republican presidential nomination, has
many qualities that will appeal to the rank
and-file of Republican voters. He also has other
qualities that will raise doubts in the minds of
some voters.
No one seriously questions the ability and
the integrity of the Ohio Senator. No one thinks
that he will ever conduct a “me-too" campaign.
In his last senatorial race he proved himself to
be a tireless and effective campaigner. He carried
his case to the people in speech after speech
after speech, and his margin of victory was
greater than any one, including Senator Taft,
had thought possible.
_ It is one thing, however, to win an election
in Ohio. In that contest the issues were pri
marily domestic in nature. The labor bosses
_ _a a _ i_a ««_ui:._if
WC1C UUu tu ucaii mi, ivtpuuiiuau, awu mvu
arrogance certainly made votes for Senator Taft.
In the end, when his better than 400,000 majority
had been tallied, it is safe to say that the
majority of the American people heartily wel
comed the result.
Foreign policy played a minor part in the
Ohio campaign. It will play a very Important
part, however, in the Republican pre-convention
maneuvers, and, if Senator Taft should be nom
inated, it will play a still more important part
in the presidential campaign.
It is on this question of foreign policy that
so-called independent voters and some tradi
tionally Republican voters have their fingers
crossed with respect to Senator Taft. In the
minds of those who believe that foreign policy
is the overriding issue, who believe that the
security of our country will depend on how we
discharge our world responsibilities, there are
doubts and misgivings.
It is hard to tell just where Senator Taft
stands on specific questions that have arisen
and where he would stand on those that will
arise. On such matters as the defense of Western
Europe he has blown hot and he has blown cold.
In one statement he says that of course we must
arm o ’ European friends; in the next he seems
to leun toward the Western Hemisphere Gibral
tar conci it.
He alst has a capacity for careless statement
that can b disturbing. For instance, speaking
at Detroit on the eve of announcing his can
didacy, Senator Taft said that while we cannot
now withdraw from Korea without admitting a
military defeat, a “stalemate peace at the 38th
Parallel is better than a stalemate war at the
38th Parallel.” Some one should ask Senator
Taft why that Is so. Our military men are op
posed to a stalemate peace at the 38th Parallel
because such a line is militarily indefensible.
They are trying for a stalemate peace—not a
stalemate war—at a line north of the 38th Par
allel which would be defensible. If Senator Taft
thinks that is a mistake he should tell us why.
In his statement announcing his candidacy,
he said: “No argument can change the fact that
we lost the peace after we had won the war.”
That is largely true. But we have not
reached the point of a third world war, and the
key foreign policies oi tne present administration
are designed to head off and prevent that
calamity. If Senator Taft wants the support of
those who believe in those policies because they
do not see any acceptable alternative he will
have to make his own position a lot clearer and
firmer than it has been in the past.
A Mirage of Neutralism
The twin decisions of the Egyptian govern
ment to abrogate by unilateral action the 1936
Anglo-Egyptian treaty and to reject the proposal
to join as a founder member a new Middle East
Defense Command are regrettable and untimely.
Those who are familiar with the Middle East
and the national aspirations of the people of
that area are aware of the impulses which have
brought Egypt to this extremity. British troops
have been on Egyptian soil since 1882 and the
British Foreign Office too often has dealt with
the Cairo government as if it were a colonial
subject. The 1936 treaty Itself was not fully a
voluntary accord and efforts during the past five
years to negotiate a revision of it have been
unfruitful. There have been other manifesta
tions of Western political behavior in the Middle
East in these postwar years which have added
to the resentments and suspicions that are now
boiling over in such violent forms.
At the same time there is an unrealistic
quality to the psychology of neutralism which has
developed in the Middle East and which is re
flected in sharpest outline in the Egyptian, and
Iranian, decisions to throw the British, the prin
cipal "villains” of the West, out of these coun
It is true, however unfortunate, that the
world today has been divided by one aggressive,
imperialist force—the Communism of Soviet
Russia. No part of the world is safe from that
aggression and no part is a more tempting target
than the Middle East. Indeed, the Middle East
was a target of Russian imperialism long before
Communism became the ideology of Russian
aggression. The statesmen and the politicians
of the Middle East, including Egypt, know all
this; they know, too, that if the present cold war
progresses to an outright conflict at arms they
can neither remain out of it nor be neutral in it.
ueriaimy tne responsioie elements m tnese coun
tries are aware that they do not have the military
power to guarantee their own security, and that
a trading of Western influence in exchange for
domination by Muscovite Communism would
bring disaster far surpassing their unhappiness
of either past or present.
The four-power proposal advanced by the
United States, Britain, France and Turkey offers
to Egypt the opportunity to participate on a
basis of partnership and equality in a regional
security program. It likewise offers the explicit
commitment of the British government, if Egypt
should accept the proposal, “to agree to super
session of the 1936 treaty.”
Since many of the details of the proposed
partnership are not set forth, in fact are left
to subsequent conversation among the partici
pants, it is clear that considerable room is left
for resolving such points of contention as have
long irritated Anglo-Egyptian relatiorts. The im
minence of a proposal of this nature has been
known to the Egyptians for some weeks past,
a circumstance which makes their abrogation
action seem most untimely and their rejection
overly hasty.
It is to be hoped that the violence of emotion
which they have now unleashed will be brought
under control in time to permit a more states
manlike and dignified consideration of the
mutual best Interests of their own country, of
the Middle East nations for whom they represent
leadership and of the entire free world.
) '
Refresher Course for Amateur Statesmen
By Belmont raries
ONCE upon a time, America’s foreign
policy was a somewhat alien,
striped-pants business involving intan
gibles that the average citizen could
and did ignore.
•Today it involves two years of military
service for every healthy 18-year-old
boy, taxes such as earlier generations
never dreamed of. inflation that melts
our savings, and billions to aid for
eigners we scarcely know and don’t
especially like.
Members of Congress receive letters
by the hundreds from worried constit
uents; our Allies abroad talk about
preventing "the wild men in Washing
ton” from plunging the world into an
other war. A great many people seem to
doubt that we have any foreign policy
at all.
The fact is, we do have a foreign
policy master plan, put together with
considerable skill and thought. There
is no secret about it. It has been ex
pounded in dozens of speeches and in
testimony before congressional com
But somehow, it is hard to find the
whole plan explained in terms that
any one can understand. In a book
published today, “Master Plan U. S. A.”
(Harper; $3), John Fischer has at
tempted to do Just that.
Nearly all Americans, he says, would
agree that we expect our foreign policy
to defend the United States, if possible
without war; if we have to fight, to
make sure that we win, and to work
toward the kind of a world in which
everybody, someday, can live in peace
and freedom.
The reed argument is how to reach
these goals in the particular set of
circumstances we are up against right
Just what are we up against? Here
is the situation as our policy makers
see it:
1. The men who run the Soviet
Union are determined to bring the
whole world under their dictatorship.
2. No permanent “peace settlement"
can be negotiated with them. They
neither want one nor believe one pos
3. But they don’t want a full scale war.
They are convinced that capitalism will
eventually collapse as a result of its
own internal decay, and they can pick
up the pieces. Meanwhile, touching off
an atomic war is too much of a gamble.
4. Nevertheless, the Russians believe
war is inevitable. They expect us to
attack them.
5. The immediate aim of the Kremlin
is to strengthen its own position for
—H*rrU-Ewin* Photo.
There are many questions.
the expected struggle and to weaken
us by every means short of full scale
6. The United States is the only na
tion strong enough to organize an effec
tive defense against Soviet imperialism.
7. By itself, with Europe in Russian
hands, the United States wouldn’t stand
much chance of survival.
8. The Soviet system can’t last. If
its expansion can be halted at about the
present line the structure of Stalinism
will collapse, in time, of its own accord—
and without war.
Starting from there, the problem was
to draw the line at which the Soviet
Union was to be held. Military aid to
Greece and Turkey and economic aid to
Greece, then seriously threatened by
Communist guerrillas, were the first
steps in 1947. Today the line has been
pushed almost all the way around the
Soviet Union, backed by interlocking
alliances and commitments of various
kinds. Some of them, like the North At
lantic treaty, represent specific obliga
tions. Others, such as our support for
Yugoslavia, are less well defined. But
we have made it abundantly clear that
We will resist any Russian push into
Western Europe, the Middle East,
Southeast Asia or the Pacific.
The Korean war, the eloquence of
Gen. Mac Arthur, and the frantic con
gressional post-mortems into our role in
the collapse of Nationalist China have
focused our attention for the last year
chiefly on the Far East. This, says Mr.
Fischer, is a little like watching a snake
charmer on the midway while the main
show is going on in the big tent.
Whatever happens anywhere else, the
main show is still in Europe. Its skilled
manpower, industrial strength, air bases
and control of strategic materials make
it, acre for acre, more important to us
than any other piece of real estate on
the globe.
The Marshall Plan, operated through
the Economic Co-operation Administra
tion, has made progress in restoring
Western Europe’s war-ravaged economy.
Barring a Russian attack the patient,
strengthened by a transfusion of Ameri
can dollars, will recover.
Progress also is being made in the
organization, under Gen. Eisenhower’s
command, of an international army
which some day may be strong enough
to stop the Russians.
In Asia the problem is different. In
almost every country dark-skinned peo
ple are in revolt against white domina
tion, against hunger, hopelessness and
humiliation. It’s a revolution that can
not be stopped. The only question is
whether it is to be directed from Mos
cow or the U. 8. A. The point-four
program, so far only in the pilot stage,
and without adequate funds, is our pol
icy for helping the people of Asia help
There have been mistakes, of course.
Even though Chlang Kai-shek made it
difficult, we might have played our hand
a little better in China. The military
decision not to defend Korea was a
realistic one, but we failed to foresee a
situation of naked aggression in which
we could not let the South Koreans
down without losing the confidence of
every other small nation in the Com
munist path.
It is not a pleasant situation we find
ourselves in. To avoid an atomic war
that nobody can win, we face the pros
pect of long years of heavy military ex
penditures, and possibly other Koreas.
But we do have a master plan for seeing
it through. As Mr. Fischer points out,
some of the comers are rough. A few
key spots are weak. It h&sn’t always
been handled skillfully. Even so, it
seems to be working rather well.
• i « “T“l P . Pen-names may be used if letters carry
_0T|0|S TO HP iTOr writers’ correct names and addresses.
° 4 ■ * IW JIUI • . AH letters are subiect to condensation.
Political Crossroad Ahead
The year 1952 is going to be a very
important political crossroad in America.
Are we going to continue on our path
towards socialism and the eventual ruin
of the United States as it has destroyed
the British Empire or are we going to
return to true Americanism? Are we
going to allow Mrs. Rosenberg to have
her program of compulsory draft of
women or are civilian G-girls going to
work for Uncle Sam? Are we going to
have red-tinged Jessup or the anti
communist Honorable Joseph Mc
Carthy? Are we going to fight to win
in Korea or are we going to play around
at Kaesong, etc.?
I. as a loyal American, would like to
see a true American administration in
1952, forgetting about past party posi
tions. This can be accomplished by
electing Robert A. Taft for President,
Harry P. Byrd for Vice-President, with
the assurance of having Gen. ^Douglas
MacArthur as Secretary of Defense.
This would give us a system of checks
and balances in the Executive: Taft
for his excellent domestic policy, Mac
Arthur against Taft’s isolationism, Byrd
for "white supremacy” as opposed to
Republican "equality of man”. '
Paul A. Norris.
'My Country, Right or Wrong'
I take exception to statements of
Theresa H. Russell in her letter October
11 entitled “Our Side Always Wrong?”
The two columns she saw, one de
nouncing Stalin's A-bomb, the other
praising our A-bomb superiority, did
not coincide with any of the press re
leases I read, which told, with due em
phasis. of the latest explosion in the
U. S. S. R. and included no note of de
“Lip-service to peace," Miss Russell
says, has managed to get us into every
major conflict since 1897. People like
Miss Russell and I owe our very lives
to the principle, practiced by America,
that peace without individual freedom is
no life at all.
As the veteran of 27 told Miss Russell
“it is the old war,” but the United
States of America has not changed
sides as he supposedly said. We are still
on the same side, Freedom’s side.
Mrs. V. F. B.
• •
Theresa H. Russell thinks the slogan
“My country, right or wrong” is unmeri
torious sentiment, and decries the fact
that this country has managed tp get
into every major conflict since 1897,
while not having had its own shores
invaded since 1812. While silent as to
whether any defense or our shores is
meritorious, she at least Is apparently
unwilling to concede that a good or
timely offense is the best defense.
In condemning the waging of defen
sive warfare 10.000 miles from our own
borders, she asks “What would we think
if the Russians and Chinese were in
Mexico?” Let's rephrase that question—
What would Miss Russell think if the
Russians and Chinese were in Cali
fornia? Getting back to her question,
I for one would think that my country,
rightly or wrongly, had up to that point
been pursuing an unrealistic policy.
To an American, any policy or act of
his country honestly directed or reason
ably related to the perpetuation and
preservation of the democratic form of
government which is “my country”
evokes the espousal of Decatur’s slogan.
If under the stated circumstances Miss
Russell or myself feels that the slogan
is inapplicable, then it simply isn't her
or my country. Personally, I’ll buy De
catur's slogan! Fred W. Turpen.
Supreme Court Docket
In The Star’s Sunday editorial section
of September 30 John Gerrity comments
upon the fall term dockets of the
Supreme Court. After noting that more
than 500 cases are on these dockets, Mr.
Gerrity says: “Of these, not one now
even brushes a politically controversial
Among the cases listed of national im
portance is Land et al vs. Dollar et al.
This is the case in which, as security for
a loan, the Dollar Steamship Company
pledged its stock to the United States
Maritime Commission with control and
operation of the company, the name of
which was forthwith changed to Ameri
can President Line, with the top jobs
going to a succession of men notable for
their influence in the New Deal Ad
This seizure of the Dollar Company’s
property was deliberately contrived by
the New Dealers in 1938 by driving the
company to the verge of bankruptcy by
(1) cancellation of the line’s mail con
tracts, (2) refusing to grant operating
subsidies or to pay subsidies already due
and (3) rejection by the Maritime Com
mission of proposals for settling the
debt, which would have left the line in
private operation. Of course, the Dollars
were not New Dealers.
By the end of the war the debt, with
interest had been fully paid off, but
when the owners demanded the return
of their property the Maritime Commis
sion refused and blatently asserted that
the Government now owned the stock.
After six years of continuous legal war
since 1945 by the Government and two
decisions of the United States Court of
Appeals, confirmed in effect by the
Supreme Court, Commerce Secretary
Sawyer was ordered to return the
pledged property to its rightful owners.
When Mr. Sawyer refused to obey the
first order of the court, his contemptu
ous attitude was approved by presiden
tial directive, in which Mr. Truman
wrote: “Impairment of the Govern
ment’s title to this stock will seriously
affect the public interest. Accordingly
yovj are directed to continue to hold this
stock on behalf of the United States.”
This reference to “the Government’s
title” suggests that Mr. Truman really
believes that “possession is nine points
of the law."
When this letter was presented to the
court, Justice Bennett Champ Clark
said: “If you have any idea that a letter
from the President has any weight in
this court you are mistaken. He has no
more standing in this court than any
other citizen. He has no right to influ
ence litigation."
The San Francisco Chronicle said we
have seen such actions “by Adolph Hitler
and Joseph Stalin and we have seen the
results. The results have been the end
of the rule of law and the beginning of
systematic cynical proscription of indi
vidual rights.”
In other words, by his directive to
Secretary Sawyer, in the effort to bring
the scheme of his predecessor to fruition,
President Truman, like Boss Hague, pro
claimed “I am the law.”
Therefore, this case presents to the
Supreme Court for its decision the most
momentous question since the Civil
War and from this decision, the people
may learn how far they can rely on
their Government, as now constituted,
(in the words of the San Francisco
Chronicle) “in preserving the rights of
the individual against a capricious and
arrogant administration.”
Will ownership rights to private prop
erty be recognized and protected from
the machinations of a socialistically
minded administration—or will the
argument that political expediency justi
fies the expropriation of private property
Not a politically controversial issue!
Tut-tut, Mr. Gerrity.
Lettus Pray.
'Nominees for Hall of Fame
Regardless of what David Lawrence
or the other columnists say about them,
I think that -Dean Acheson, Ambassador
Jessup, Senator Benton and our great
President are honest and sincere and
are among the great Americans of our
time or any other time.
J. Raymond Morris.
Cambridge, Mass.
This and That . . . By Charles E. Tracewell
Old magazines have their uses.
They have a way of cheering the
reader up in an amazing fashion.
Attics hold many such volumes, and
their perusal from time to time is whole
We know one local man who never
reads new ones. He simply piles them
up in his attic, where they stay for
years before he gets around to them.
Then he finds that their woes and
alarms have settled themselves.
* *
What worried the world in 1937, for
Instance, means little to it now.
Some problem, large then, has settled
Itself by 1951.
Or it is now seen not to have been
such a problem as was thought then.
“I have had many troubles,” wrote
a wise man, "most of which never hap
It is a good state of mind to get into,
that what worries one now will either
tend to resolve itself, or later will be
seen to be far less troublesome than was
* *
The problems of the present—
How large they loom, but how will
they look 10 years from now, 20 years?
In the well-stocked attic there will
be many old copies of book reviews.
How memorable they seemed then,
how forgotten now!
^ The names of "best sellers” hav^jiven
way to new “best sellers.” which have
their moment in the publishing sun,
and then fade from view.
What is deader than last year’s “best
seller,” usually?
* *
Attic reading is at its best when there
is a chair there, a comfortable one,
where the browser may settle down for
a session.
We mean an unheated attic, of course.
Those that are heated are more like
rooms. We like the very smell of the
real unheated attic.
This means that it is at its best in
the fall. All summer it ran a tempera
ture of 120 degrees—or more.
One was afraid to take a thermometer
up there.
Never a thermometer, then, but al
ways a barometer.
* *
Templeton Jones’ barometer hangs
above the west window.
It has been rising and falling for 20
years, with more to read it ordinarily.
But when Jones goes up, to find some
old book or magazine, he reads the
That barometer, with its glass face
and brass barrel, was a high spot in
Jones’ quiet life.,
This particular instrument showed
him at his most stubborn level, too.
He had ordered it fr^p New York,
and found it had to be "set.” The
instructions told how to do it, but Jones
refused to consult them. He set it
by guess.
* *
Some months later, he happened to
read the instructions, and found that
he had done it incorrectly.
So what did Jones do?
He sent to New York for another one,
which he set correctly.
The older one he installed in the
attic as a symbol to himself of his own
The joke is, and always has been,
that the first Instrument, on his hap
hazard setting, does a better job of it
than the one he set correctly!
Sometimes it pays to be stubborn.
Perhaps that is the reason Jones likes
his attic, with its old books in neat rows,
and its old rocking chair, and its barom
eter, forever rising to and falling, with
no one to read it except now and then.
Nobody bothers about the weather
there, and no one bothers any more
about those old problems that loomed
so large 15, 20 years ago.
The world has whole new sets of prob
lems. which it attacks ferociously, as if
all depended upon it being done fero
ciously. Perhaps it does. But those
old magazines in the attic, with their
old problems, and so many of them now
seem to have been no problems, really—
Do they n^t give one hope?
Blue Aurora Borealis
Seen in Arctic Dawn
Rare Occurrence Reported
By Naval Test Station
By Thomas R. Henry
A blue aurora borealis, hitherto unob
served phenomenon of the Arctic dawn,
has been reported here.
It is believed to be at least as rare an
occurrence as a “blue moon” and much
more striking.
The strange event is described by Drs.
D. Barbier and D. R. Williams of the
U. S. Naval Ordnance Test Station at
Inyokern, Calif., who saw it while carry
ing out studies of the physics of the
upper atmosphere near the University of
Ordinarily, the northern lights, most
striking display of the Arctic heavens,
range from shimmering white through
pale greens and reds. Their cause siill
is not entirely understood. It now is
generally believed, however, that they
are due to sft-eams of minute particles
spurted from the surface of the sun,
moving through empty space with a
speed approaching that of light, and
being pulled toward the polar regions
by the attraction of the magnetic pole
There the particles break up or
•MnnloA” ofnme in tho oyfromolw innimne
atmosphere 200 miles or more above
the earth. As the atoms lose outer elec
trons, the energy released appears in
the form of light which takes the shape
of long, flickering arches across the sky.
Disappears at Sunrise.
The phenomenon disappears generally
at sunrise because the sun’s light drowns
it out. These aurora displays are closely
associated with magnetic storms and
radio disturbances on earth and afford
one of the few means by which informa
tion can be obtained on conditions in
the atmosphere at extreme altitudes.
The blue aurora described by Drs.
Barbier and Williams came at dawn in
late February, according to their report,
recently published in the Journal of Geo
physical Research of the Carnegie Insti
tution of Washington.
Just before dawn they observed a '
broad auroral arc of conventional type
extending completely through the zenith
of the Arctic sky. The change occurred
“instantaneously.” Filaments of the
aurora increased in brightness 10 to 20
fold and became an unearthly blue in
color. The phenomenon continued for
about 10 minutes. Then it vanished
nearly as suddenly as it had appeared.
The filaments are described as looking
like gigantic squirming blue snakes in
the heavens.
Drs. Barbier and Williams tentatively
attribute the phenomenon to a combina
tion of events in the high atmosphere
which probably has existed rarely since
the beginning of time. Far to the east
ward dawn was breaking. Although not
apparent at the Alaska station, solar
radiation had struck the extremely high
altitude at which the aurora existed.
The effect of this ordinarily would be
to cause the aurora to fade away.
Effect of Combination.
But simultaneously, Drs. Barbier and
Williams believe, there must have been a
great increase in auroral activity—per
haps an exceptional large stream of the
infinitesimal particles. The effect of
the combination was to produce the blue
As the "blue snakes” faded away, a
brilliant band of green flashed through
xi _III V . l l _ I «
Hie uaici, WW(UU tile dUUtll,
there appeared a patch of white light
like a strato-cirrus cloud which persisted
for a few minutes before melting away
in a sky which by that time had become
too bright with the normal light of
dawn to permit it to be observed.
The colors of the aurora are due to
the wave-lengths of light emitted by the
atoms ionized by the particle streams or
possibly by ultra-violet light, accord
ing to other theories. Each element
emits light of different wave-lengths,
and hence different colors. By isolating
these wave-lengths with a spectrograph
it is possible to determine what ele
ments, such as nitrogen and oxygen, are
present at extreme altitudes.
The spectrogram of the blue aurora,
however, did not reveal anything un
usual, probably due to the very brief
interval during which it could be ob
Throughout much of the proceeding
night, Drs. Barbier and Williams re
port, the aurora had been very active,
with ill-defined brick-red patches inter
spersed through a diffuse veil of green
which extended over a large part of the
sky. The patches apparently were unre
lated to the veil.
Drs. Barbier and Williams made ex
tensive spectroscopic observations both
of the aurora and the normal faint lu
minescence of the night sky. They
found about 15 light lines which could
not be identified because of their ex
treme weakness but which probably be
long to elements known to be present
in the high atmosphere.
Questions and Answers
The Star’s readers can set the allswer to
any question of fact by either writing The
Evening Star Information Bureau, 1200 I street
N.W.. Washington 5. D. C.. and inclosing 3 cents
return postage or by telephoning ST. 7363.
Q. How are jockeys paid?.—A. A. O.
A. The Jockey dub speciflies a jock
ey’s fees in the absence of a specific con
tract with his employer, and the terms
of all contracts between jockeys and
employers must be filed with the
stewards of the Jockey dub.
Q. Who was the first American to
drive an automobile?—C. H.
A Am prir.fi’s first. snrrp.ccfnl eracnlirta
engine-propelled vehicle was designed
by Charles E. Duryea and driven by his
brother, J. Frank Duryea, September 21,
1893, in Springfield, Mass.
Q. In how many languages does the
Vatican radio broadcast?—H. R.
A. Radio Vatican broadcasts in 22
October Scene
Color has brushed the maple and the oak
With lavish hand. The woodland brook
runs cold
At early mom; and reapers harvest gold
In meadows that are blurred with
autumn smoke.
The dogwood revels in its scarlet hour.
Each roadside aster wear* her purple
Where ragged sumac flaunts a crimson
And dusk is cool with fragrant earth
and flower.
The stars break through the blue-black
veil of night,
Forming a jeweled necklace in the sky
Around a golden harvest moon on high
That shows the new stacked sheaves in
mellow light.
Tranquility is here to play its part.
And this is beauty now to break the
William Amatta Wofford. .

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