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The day book. (Chicago, Ill.) 1911-1917, March 18, 1916, LAST EDITION, Image 8

Image and text provided by University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign Library, Urbana, IL

Persistent link: http://chroniclingamerica.loc.gov/lccn/sn83045487/1916-03-18/ed-1/seq-8/

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By Gllson Gardner.
Washington, March 18. A censor
ship on all Mexican war news has
been instituted by the war depart
ment The MexicaH-affair is not a
war yet being, on the contrary,
only a punitive expedition, a little late
in starting and there is no law au
thorizing a censorship. But we have
it. Correspondents who want to send
stuff from the Mexican border (or in
terior) are obliged to give a bond for
$2,000 and put up a certified check
for $1,000 and to join the army. Be
ing in the army, they are obliged to
submit to all military rules and regu
lations, which means that no "copy"
goes over the wires or through the
mail which would not please the
officers in command.
If a correspondent does not wish
to give a bond or is not able to put
up a certified check, or is unwilling
to mortgage his freedom to tell the
truth or express a critical opinion,
he has the privilege of staying home.
The military authorities merely say
they will not allow him to accompa
ny the expedition.
There is every evidence that the
censorship at El Paso and other
points on the border is working as
censorships generally work. For in
stance, a week after the event; it is re
ported on what seems to be good
authority that Villa and his raiders
took with them the horses of the
United States cavalrymen stationed
at Columbus, N. M. upward of 100
of them having stampeded the cor
ral. This was one reason, possibly,
why the soldier boys did not take up
the "hot trail." But for army reasons
the fact did not get wired out with
the early accounts of the Columbus
attack. Another reason for not pur
suing Villa a reason not reported
comes from similar sources, namely,
that VHIa took with him the two ma
chine guns which "failed to wdrk."
The censored dispatches also fall to
explain Why there were not sentries 1
I posted when Villa and his bandits
were known to be within 12 miles of
this post. All this is "military infor
mation which might assist the
Army officers at El Paso and other
border towns have been reading all
the press dispatches filed at the tele
graph offices and even exercising su
pervision over the 'telephone lines
over which news might be sent. Auto
mobiles, it is said, carrying'dispatches
have been stopped and censored.
If the United States were at war
the military authorities would no
doubt be authorized to exercise cen
sorship under proper limitations on
purely military news. In time of
peace the war department, or the
army officers, have no more authority
to interfere with the gathering, send
ing or publishing of news than tie
traffic officer on "the street corner.
All this business at the Mexican bor
der is executive usurpation of tha
crudest kind.
Washington, March 18. With
Speaker Clark taking floor this after
noon and leaders of both parties mak
ing final "set" speeches, real battle
over army reorganization was in full
swing today.
Publication of Sec'y of War Baker's
letter to Representative Gardner of
Massachusetts, openly criticizing Hay
bill, threw plans of leaders askew.
Many officials predicted shake up in
war department would result. Others
believed that possibly administration
dissatisfaction with Hay measure,
both as to small increase authorized
for regular army and scheme to feder
alize state militia, was outlined in
Baker's letter.
Fres. Wilson approves Hay army
reorganization bill, Chairman Hay of
house military committee declared in
house today. He also declared Sec'y
of War Baker approved bill, denying
that Baker's letter to Rep. Gardner
constituted repudiation.

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