March 27, 1955

In recent years, and increasingly lately, this country has read and heard a great deal about universal military training (UMT) as a fixed part of our national policy. This subject is such an important one from the standpoint of our national security, with respect to our national traditions, and in regard to our civic and religious beliefs as a people, that it merits more than usual consideration from all of us.

The president said some time ago that he meant to make UMT his administration’s number one objective in the 84th Congress, in spite of statements to the contrary during the 1954 political campaign. Military leaders have wanted to institute UMT for a long time, and the American Legion has announced UMT as its major legislative goal in this Congress.

Legislation to extend the draft for four years was introduced January 25. Committee hearings which were hardly open to the public were held February 1 and 2, and the bill went to the House of Representatives the next day and was passed five days later 394 to 4. H.R. 2967 was introduced also on January 25 to reactivate UMT. It establishes a permanent, long period compulsory reserve plan which would claim eight to ten years of the life of every man between the ages of 17 and 35, regardless of how much active duty he saw, and regardless of whether he enlisted or was drafted. It is the first time legislation would make all fit men be part of the reserve system, so all of America’s manhood would be militarized for many years. It would offer six months of active training to 17-19-year-olds and put them then into a ready reserve for nine-and-a-half years. In essence, this proposed legislation makes military service compulsory for all American men, claims at least eight years of their time, and is a big step toward eventual drafting of the youngest, most impressionable in the group – boys just out of high school, inexperienced in managing their own lives, forming their own independent philosophies, planning their own security. Sec. Wilson has said the plan would retain for free Americans their tradition of voluntary service as citizen-reserves. But, considering that free Americans would be given no choice, there is a question as to whether they would continue to feel free.

These are the facts. What do they mean? For you and me as citizens, for the boys of this country, and for us as a nation of people?

It means, first of all, that military leadership would control the nation’s manpower in peacetime. It means that American men would be taught the habit of obedience to command rather than encouraged to think for themselves.

It means, second, that Americans in time would come to look upon the bearing of arms as the ultimate in citizenship, rather than voting, community service, or taxpaying, all of which leave an individual with his freedom of choice in operation.

It means American life and expectations on a free, individual basis would be seriously crippled –  under military discipline the individual’s chance to make free choices almost disappears. Robert M. Hutchins has pointed out that “It is surely one of the greatest differences between a slave state and a free country that the one relies on external discipline applied to the citizens by the state, and the other relies on their own self control and discipline.”

But, the proponents of UMT argue that this plan is a formula for peace. If this were the case, many of us who oppose it would support it. But history is against this argument. Europe has had conscription of a universal military training kind earlier than anywhere else. If UMT were a formula for peace, then, Europe should have been the most peaceful continent of all. Instead, it has been the center of more war outbreaks than anywhere else. In 1926 prominent citizens of 14 European countries appealed to the world to ask the League of Nations to propose abolition of compulsory military service as a first step toward true disarmament. In their words, “Conscription involves the degradation of the human personality and the destruction of liberty.”

UMT gives not security, but a gambler’s hope of victory. In a hydrogen era, no victory is possible. War cannot be prevented by armed force. Instead it begets more and more force until the world is an armed camp. We cannot scare our enemies into submission. If our monopoly for a few years of the atom bomb did not frighten Russia, She will not be frightened by UMT.

Under the American tradition of nonaggression and peaceful staying at home unless attacked, we have been able to mobilize quickly and with a spirit unmatched by the professional soldier.

All of this poses the question of what we can do then instead of UMT? We must first of all accept the inevitable fact that war does not work as a means of solving international problems. War is useless as well as wrong. Even through such a relatively feeble organization as the U.N., wars can be at least partially avoided through the forum of world opinion.

We can work for and insist that our public officials work for establishment of a system of world law binding upon would-be aggressors and non-aggressive alike. Only through the development of some such system can peace and democracy be assured. A military system cannot function democratically; it just is not made that way. Many thoughtful Americans are convinced that the real effects of UMT will be, not peace and security but:

  1. To bring every American young man under exposure to and influence by the military mind for eight years;
  2. To destroy the civil security of the individual young Americans; to destroy civilian manpower controls; and to give the professional military leadership control at all times of all Americans of fighting age;
  3. To give the armed forces an excuse to continue in service thousands of officers who otherwise never would be kept on active duty in peacetime;
  4. To make strong in all of us the habit of obedience to military command, or in other words, to militarize America.

There are many other considerations that should be thought over carefully before we rush blindly into adoption of a permanent policy that will mean a radical departure from anything we have done in the past. Every UMT plan in history has been inaugurated under the guise of national security and the promotion of peace. None has guaranteed security nor prevented the outbreak of war. On the other hand, wherever is has existed, UMT has meant reduction of civil freedoms and the promotion of the spirit of militarism. Unless we wish that to happen in America, we should inform ourselves, then act by letting members of Congress and of the executive department know what we think. Once fastened upon us in law, such a system will be perpetuated through one excuse or another until it becomes a permanent fixture. Then we shall have neither assurance of peace nor a possibility of preserving democracy.


A moment ago in connection with UMT, I mentioned the matter of money involved. A breakdown of our national finances shows that 65 percent of our federal tax money is now being spent for military purposes; 24 percent for fixed charges to pay for debts and veterans resulting from past wars. Thus, 89 percent is being spent for creeping suicide. The remaining 11 percent goes for what some call constructive purposes and others call “creeping socialism.” How mixed up can we get as a nation? What values do we really cherish when we get ourselves maneuvered into a position where we are willing to or have to waste our substance upon such unbalanced expenditures?


Dean James A. Pike of the Protestant Episcopal Cathedral of St. John the Divine in New York City says, “There is too much noisy religiosity on the public level. When,” he says, “we put ‘In God We Trust’ on our postage stamps, open up a meditation room in the U.S. Capitol, and make constant reference to spiritual values and then fail to live up to our words with our deeds, we give an impression of hypocrisy to the rest of the world.” And to that, this reporter might add, we give an impression of hypocrisy, not only to the rest of the world, but to many of us here at home who wonder whether religion is something to be felt and thought and lived, or a label of respectability that is proper because of the suspicion and spirit of the times.


This week saw the passing of a great American. Walter White, said to be one sixty-fourth Negro, could easily have passed for a white man, but chose to retain his identification with the colored race because he believed that by so doing, he could make a greater contribution to the welfare of one-tenth of the American population. At 61 he suffered a heart attack and died last Monday night. He did live to see his career climaxed by the Supreme Court’s ban against racial segregation in the public schools.

Since 1931, Mr. White had been executive secretary of the NAACP. He once explained that his father, an Atlanta postman, died because of neglect after an injury, caused by his being a colored man. He joined the staff of the association at the age of 25. He tackled the Negro problem in particular and problems of race relations in general, and became a bitter and caustic foe of white supremacy. Governor Herman Talmadge of Georgia denounced him as a professional agitator. He may have been just that to the racial supremacists and to political demagogues, but to millions of Negro Americans he was a staunch supporter of their rights as citizens, under a Constitution that makes no provision for second-class citizenship.

Whether agitator or crusader, his contribution to American life has left an imprint that cannot be erased with his passing. Whether one always agreed with his methods, liberals of both races rarely disagreed with his motives.

There has always been, and most of us hope there always will be, a place for people like him in the American picture. He is one of a long line of many Americans who, in their day, refused to believe that this was the best possible of all worlds, and set about to do something to make it better. Patrick Henry, Carl Schurz, Dorothy Dix, Susan B. Anthony, Abraham Lincoln, Eugene Debs, Theodore Roosevelt, as well as his distant cousin Franklin D., believed that by their own efforts they could promote the well-being of people, and did so in a way that carved out for themselves a niche of prominence in our history. We can only think with regret what our country may be like had it not been for the contribution of these and many more who had the courage to enlist in a cause and fight for their principles. Walter White is one of them.


Mr. E. L. Blystone, of Ardara, Pennsylvania, sends this little poem that, while smacking of satire, is all too true in reality of the world of today. He calls this poem, “In God We Trust, I Wonder.” It goes like this:

“Printed on our coins and stamps, states, In God We Trust.

’Tis but a bubble of thin air, that common sense will quickly bust.

A falsehood doing untold harm that gullible will swallow;

But when we look the facts in the face we find this claim quite hollow.

When preachers go to bed at night they usually lock their doors

They don’t trust this God of theirs, to carry out his chores.

Most all these modern churches are equipped with lightning rods,

No sensible congregations put their faith in Christian Gods.

Our government doesn’t trust this God, to guard it from all harm

But places its trust in well-trained men recruits from city, town, and farm.

Bombs, aeroplanes, and battle ships, and weapons of every king;

Are now employed to guard our land, in God We Trust, is wisely left behind.

Well-lighted streets at night we find will guard against thug and thief

In God We Trust are idle words we’d sooner trust a good police.

From pulpit, press, and radio In God We Trust, they bellow

But he who does will soon find out that they are wrong dear fellow.

In surgeons most of us will trust, and not our trust in God

Many who fail to practice this are resting ‘neath the sod.

A word to the wise is sufficient as along life’s highway you trod

Put your trust in your fellowman but never trust this Christian God.”

It certainly is not good poetry. Is it a true analysis of the difference between what we say we believe and what we actually believe? What do you think?

March 20, 1955

From Dr. Harold Scott, pastor of the First Unitarian Church of Salt Lake City, comes a comment on preaching that makes sense. Dr. Scott says, “Once in a while I have to go to court to identify someone, testify that someone sustains a good or bad reputation, or was sane when he signed his will, or something else. I hear lawyers interrupt with ‘irrelevant, incompetent, and immaterial.’ Ain’t them gorgeous words? So often when I hear preaching, those words come to me. Sometimes when I preach and get off the subject running some minor thought down an alley, those words flash in my mind and get me back to my thesis in a hurry. Perhaps all preaching would be better if there were a competent person in the congregation who, when it was needed, would rise and thunder, ‘irrelevant, incompetent, and immaterial.”

One cannot help but wonder what would happen if some penetrating soul should attempt to give voice to just such comment outwardly for I am sure that many of us have done so inwardly. Ministers, perhaps even more than teachers, are unaccustomed to having what they say challenged, hence they go along uttering much that really is incompetent, irrelevant, and immaterial, knowing that nobody is going to have the temerity to brand it as such, and those who need it most would be the first to attack such an affront not only as a personal attack but as sacrilege against something holy. And yet they, as well as we, should recognize that any preaching, indeed, any religion, that will not bear the most merciless scrutiny of one doing an honest analysis of its meaning is not worth much as a sermon nor as a religion. Religion and preaching have no place for that which is irrelevant, immaterial, and incompetent. And Dr. Scott has tossed us a thought well worth considering.


In another area there comes to our attention an indication of how sick our society is today. Chief Justice Warren made the comment that a group of state employees charged with responsibility for determining what announcements could be posted on the employee bulletin board refused to permit the Bill of Rights to be posted on the ground that it was a controversial document. Only after the governor in writing vouched for its non-controversial nature was the Bill of Rights permitted to occupy a place along with routine items of interest. And this happened in the U.S. on the 15th of December 1954, the 163rd anniversary of our Bill of Rights. It is straws in the wind like this which cause some thoughtful people to ask the question whether ratification of the Bill of Rights could be obtained today if we were faced squarely with the issue.

Some of you have doubtless wondered why some reference is made to that document on this program almost every week. The answer is simple: Every religion worthy of the name places emphasis upon the divine source of man’s creation; it stresses the innate worth of the individual as a creature of the deity; it contends that every man should have the right to worship as he pleases, to be free, to be permitted to speak his own thoughts without fear of penalty. All of these freedoms rest upon how seriously we take our basic guarantee of these freedoms, and that guarantee is the Bill of Rights. Have you read it lately? And of equal importance, do you follow the news to see wherein it is being observed and by whom it is being trampled upon? Every time we permit erosion of these basic freedoms, we narrow the base of our own enjoyment of those freedoms. Get it down, read it, then follow through with the news from day to day to see what is happening. It might possibly jar us out of our lethargy if we did.

It is a bit shocking in talking with people who are supposed to be well-educated to discover they are unaware of the stresses and strains of our national life. I have a notion it is because they do not read periodicals that deal with contemporary struggles. If anyone is to be alert to the onslaughts on our rights and liberties, and the plots for economic exploitation, he must make an effort. He cannot get much of it from his daily newspaper, or from many high-priced slick magazines. He can get some vital warnings, however, from some labor papers. He can get it also from reading magazines and newspapers that are committed to the American way of circumspect regard for our traditions and freedoms. People of religion need to be informed about such things more than any other.


Doubtless many of us take our ministers for granted. We assume that he has time, or should take time, to respond to our calls, our desires to seek his assistance, whether it be a sacred or secular matter. Probably the average minister, who is alive and to whom his parishioners looks for assistance, can appreciate the somewhat whimsical notice that one pastor tacked on his bulletin board. It went like this:

“Unless it is an emergency I wish you wouldn’t phone me until 10 a.m. I would like to shave without having to phone while the lather dries on one side of my face. Also cold coffee isn’t so hot if you know what I mean. I sort the mail at home and read what looks intriguing, that is, that looks as though it had money or a kick in it. I get over to the study at 10 a.m. I am available until 11 p.m., when I amble over to the manse, read the newspaper, and go to bed.

“Another thing, why when you have a message to me do you give it to my wife and tell her to tell me? I’m not hard to talk to or with. I’m jealous.

“Still another thing, on Saturday I’m sweating over my sermon. Please don’t call on me unless you have made an appointment.”

How many of you ministers listening in have a feeling of envy for the minister who dared do this? I dare say that most of you have felt the same way at times, and rightly so.


Poughkeepsie, New York: Twenty-two year old William Johnson is under court orders to attend church every Sunday for one year as a condition of his suspended sentence for 11 traffic violations. Johnson was also placed under probation for the year to a blind minister, the Rev. Delmar Cooper of the Dutch Reformed Church of New Hackensack, New York, Johnson’s hometown. Justice of the Peace George Dietz of the town of Poughkeepsie set the conditions in suspending a 30-day jail sentence for Johnson, who pleaded guilty to all charges.

It may be merely a schoolteacher’s slant to comment that while this may have some effect insofar as social conduct is concerned, it is highly doubtful as to whether it is of any religious virtue. Church affiliation and churchgoing should rest on some interest other than that of punishment for a civil offense. It smacks of our Puritan ancestors who placed people in the stocks for nonattendance at church as well as for other habits of conduct unapproved at the time. It would seem that we should have other and better scales and patterns of values than to look upon churchgoing as a form of punishment.


The task of preparing the nation’s Protestant Sunday school population of more than 30 million for responsible living as adult Christians will be the theme of a gathering in Cleveland this summer. The 23rd International Sunday School Convention, designed to provide information and inspiration to volunteer church workers, will be held July 27 – 31. Preparations for the meeting are well under way. Sponsoring groups are the National Council of Churches of Christ U.S.A. and the Canadian Council of Churches. Some 10,000 persons are expected to attend.


From a high Roman Catholic churchman comes a statement that is not new. In fact it is trite, but that does not detract from its validity. Archbishop Karl J. Alter of Cincinnati says a closer-knit family life, with more accent on religion is needed to meet the problem of the broken home and its consequent effect upon juvenile delinquency. The archbishop’s comments were made at a sermon at the High Mass opening the 23rd Annual Welfare Conference in St. Paul. He goes on to observe that millions of dollars have been and are being spent on child guidance clinics and other social centers. Yet the ratio of juvenile delinquency has risen 45 percent in the last five years.

The archbishop is exactly right, and this reporter cannot help but wonder when we as a people are going to awaken to this fact. Proposed remedies consist merely of more and more appropriations of money, more social workers, more diagnostic clinics, and more probation services.

Obviously such things are necessary in our present state, but they are palliatives, rather than real cures, somewhat like taking an aspirin for a headache, they do not remove the cause. Little is being done to remove the cause. It is in the homes of the nation that loyalty and integrity and devotion to the truth can first and best be taught to the young. Such ethical and spiritual qualities in individual Americans are fundamental to our continued progress as a nation.

Here in our own area, newspapers have recently carried considerable news about meetings of people conferring on juvenile delinquency. Emphasis has been laid on needs for more money for more facilities. I do not recall seeing anything about a program to arouse families to action, to stimulate better home conditions that will strike at the root of a social and personal problem of vital importance to all of us as individuals and as a nation.


A Seventh Day Adventist church leader says permission has been obtained to publish Bibles in Russia for the first time in 28 years. Vice President H.L. Rudy of the Adventists General Conference says the Russians agreed recently to ease Bible printing restrictions. He adds that 100,000 Adventists in Russia have also been granted permission to print religious literature.


The oldest retired Methodist Church missionary died this week. She was Mrs. Elizabeth Brewster, 93 years old, of Cincinnati. For 66 years she was a missionary in China and was known to thousands of Chinese. She went to China as a missionary at the age of 22, married another missionary there, and took over his duties as district superintendent when he died in 1916. She wrote many religious and school texts in Chinese. Three of her four sons and her two daughters are missionaries.

March 13, 1955

An all-state student civil liberties conference is being called for students on California campuses, April 22, in Los Angeles. A temporary steering committee has emphasized that the conference is not to present any organization’s ideology, nor to be sponsored by any one group, but to focus attention of students on the problem of attacks on student civil liberties, and to achieve student unity for action. A spokesman for the move says that “Civil liberties in our day are intricately related to political events and armament races. Abrogations of human rights are justified, for the most part, in the name of military necessity.”

Endorsement of ministers, business and civic leaders, labor leaders, and faculty members is being sought for the conference, in addition to student leadership.

It is encouraging that students themselves are becoming aware of the importance of the rights of the individual in these times when those rights are being ignored, violated, and trampled upon, for upon them rest our freedoms to worship as we please, vote as we choose, think and say what we please. And it is these rights that distinguish democratic freedom from dictatorial tyranny. Church leaders have been in the forefront of rushing to the defense of human freedoms. Ironically and discouragingly enough, it has been the school men, the colleges and universities that have been the most timid and uncertain. Freedom of the intellect is as important in our way of life as is freedom of religion, and it is indeed a sad commentary that those who are loudest in their preaching of the democratic way have been the least certain as to whether they should take a forthright and determined stand. It would appear that our students are better defenders of our own responsibilities than we teachers ourselves are.


And in line with the preceding news note, comes this week from the U.S. Postal Department a ruling that the Soviet newspaper, Pravda Izvestia, and other publications of like nature originating in Russia, can no longer be delivered to private subscribers in America. This hostility to men and women of thought which is found among our national and state legislators is startling, disturbing, and strikes at the root of fundamental right to knowledge. (And let me assert here that for two reasons I subscribe to none of the prohibited reading. 1st, I could not read them if I had them; and 2nd, my salary as a teacher will not permit this luxury if I could read them.) However, were I financially and educationally able to read them, I should very much like to do so, and would, were it not for the fact that a political appointee in Washington has just said that I do not know what is good for me to read, but that he does. Hence, he will censor my reading materials.

This arbitrary ruling is, or certainly should be, a matter of concern to Americans, since it is apparent that we in America can know very little of what is taking place in the Soviet Union or other Iron Curtain countries unless we have full access to the publications originating in these lands. We need no barriers to cultural freedom here. Apparently the powers that be these days are consecrated to freedom of enterprise in all areas but that of ideas, but their bureaucratic arrogance can well do harm to American scientific and humanistic learning. The ironic part of the recently exposed regulation is that it contrasts strangely with the continued operation in New York of two concerns that arrange for the import of thousands of dollars worth of books, magazines, and newspapers annually from the Soviet Union. Hence, while we draw an Iron Curtain over one entrance of thought to this country, we keep another one open, without any concern about it. Also, school libraries and similar institutions are permitted to receive the banned publications. Apparently there is no harm in them if they go to institutions where individuals have free access to them, but they are highly dangerous, even explosive if they go directly to those same scholars by subscription. One cannot but be reminded of the observation of our own Emerson of a century ago when he remarked that “A foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds.” It would seem that our Postmaster General is not troubled by consistency, whether it be of the foolish or any other variety.


At least twice before on this program I have reported the efforts of the Protestant Church of Christ to win legal recognition and the right to worship unhindered by the Italian government. Again this past week, police have torn down, for the third time, signs erected near or on their Rome church, indicating the name of the denomination.

Italian courts have already held that the church had legal freedom to maintain its services. However, the police, in destroying the signs before insisted that they “had other orders.” The U.S. is extremely cautious in the matter, for it is not clear what if anything we can do about it. Our chargé d’affaires, Francis Williamson, acting in the absence of Ambassador Clare Boothe Luce, has made no protest, though the embassy has voiced official regret about the matter.


This week has seen continuing close attention by the United Nations to the tensions between Egypt and Israel as a result of the costly border fighting touched off near Gaza recently. You will recall that in this clash, 42 Egyptians and eight Israelis were reported killed. This tension was heightened by militant statements from both Egyptian and Israeli premiers regarding progress toward a new Arab lineup against Israel.

While some of the factors in this dispute are still obscure, the Arab-Jew conflict is always involved in religious overtones. Basic religious differences between these two people make more difficult the settlement of nonreligious differences, and it is these latter differences that the U.N. Security Council is watching, for Israel has charged that Egyptian armies attacked Israeli troops; that a virtual state of war has been brought about by Egyptian belligerency; that propaganda and threats have been used against Israel; and that Egypt has refused to negotiate their differences.

March 6, 1955

A term that is much in the news these days is that of “coexistence.” From the pages of a recent issue of The Christian Century comes a heart-warming example of coexistence in practice, an example far removed from international wrangles, but one indicative of our own domestic problems. St. Louis recently re-zoned a residential block in a white neighborhood to permit two-family dwellings. “For Sale” signs began to appear. Then two Negro families moved in. More signs were put up. Many surmised that deterioration had arrived. Then the owner of one of the most stately houses in the block put up his sign. It read: “This house is not for sale. We like our fine neighbors. Your race, religion, politics, are not our concern. All who take pride in their homes are welcome on this street.” The “For Sale” signs began to disappear and finally all were removed. The neighbors began to get acquainted. Newspaper reporters, after investigating the phenomenon, got the impression that at least one block of solid citizens had found out that variety and a shifting status is the American way. The only thing this reporter wishes to add to this is that any comment on his part would be in the nature of anti-climax.


Harvey Matusow admits he lied for the McCarthy committee for $25 per day extra, which he did not get after all. Communist philosophy embraces the doctrine that the end justifies the means. According to testimony it appears that congressional investigative committees adopted this odious doctrine. Can anyone help wondering about the truth and veracity of people who rat on their fellow workers? We wonder how many laboriously built reputations have been ruined by perjured testimony. Professional informers have been proved liars again and again. Not one has been indicted for perjury. They go right on recalling more and more names, which is made necessary of course by their ghoulish profession. Apparently neither they nor their hirers are concerned about the commandment that enjoins us not to bear false witness.

In this situation of heated arguments and red faces, much has been said about the degeneracy of those paid informers who knowingly lied to the detriment of people against whom they testified. And this is as it should be; they are degenerate, morally. Curiously enough, little has been said about moral degeneracy on the part of those who encouraged and paid these informers to lie. Perhaps there is an area for further investigation of investigators, though there is indication that as a people we are, understandably, more than weary of inquisitions.

Snoopers, gossips, tattlers and others of their ilk would not thrive unless there were those willing to encourage snooping, tattling, and gossiping. It is reprehensible, whether it be before a legislative committee, within a school staff or student body, within a community, or where it is, and it all represents moral degeneracy, whether it be on the part of the snoopers, or of those who encourage snooping. Those who encourage it admit by their acts that they do not have the moral courage or the mental ingenuity to do open, honest inquiry and to face the objects of their inquiry. The whole rotten procedure is a despicable one, and one with which honest, moral people will have nothing to do.


And as something of an antidote to the above critical comments upon one aspect of the current scene here in America, comes something of a mash note from a Norwegian bishop who has just spent five months here. He says, “To me, American church life seemed to be more attractive, more in contact with people in general than is the case in Europe. This may be the result of the warmth of your church atmosphere…. In the USA a pastor or a parish worker may be approached by any man wanting his advice … about how to secure a good used car or something. This in Europe is not considered the proper thing for a Gospel man to be engaged in.… We think we are more pious and we claim to be more directly converting people…. Result: lack of contacts, lack of conversion.” He says further that “European churches consist of individuals, the American ones more of families.” The club like sociability of the U.S. Protestant churches reminds him of the “social trend so often noticeable in the New Testament.”


From San Francisco comes a dispatch that a body of self-styled “conservative” Americans are soon to meet there in an announced effort to get the U.S. out of the U.N. and to get the U.N. out of the U.S. This group calls itself the Congress of Freedom. San Francisco, you will remember, is the city where the U.N. came into being, and it is somewhat ironical that the fifth annual meeting of a group of radicals who call themselves conservative should choose the birthplace of the international organization as their meeting site. The roster of names prominent in this movement is also rather striking: Spruille Braden, former U.S. ambassador under the Truman administration; Merwin K. Hart, long the subject of considerable notoriety for his efforts to repeal anything that smacks of the 20th century; Lt. Gen. A.C. Wedemeyer, US Army, Retired; and Herbert U. Nelson, head of the National Real Estate lobby, a member of the Board of Regents of the University of California, one-time attorney for Wm. Randolph Hearst. Interesting also is the fact that a considerable number of prominent Americans whose names appeared on the list for the meeting last year in Omaha no longer grace this year’s roll. Could it be that these Americans realize that the only freedom involved in such a radical venture as that proposed by the self-styled Congress of Freedom is the freedom to commit national and international suicide? Certainly the veterans in the movement should be more keenly aware than anyone else of the futility of war as a reliable means of promoting peace. How illogical and ridiculous can some of us become?


On March 1, Tuesday of this week, Sir Winston Churchill addressed the House of Commons. He proposed as the most sensible course for the Free World to follow to achieve as much disarmament as we can all round among the nations, and at the same time to place our reliance upon the deterrent effects of our nuclear weapons as a preventive of war. You would do well to read his entire speech, for it comes from a man whose wisdom we respect, whose judgment we find not unreliable. However, the prime minister failed realistically to admit and deal with the simple fact that no weapon, however horrible, has been a reliable deterrent to war in the past, and there is no visible sign to make us hope that it will in the future. Admitting the need for possession and possible use of such weapons at present, is it not about time for human kind to realize, and act upon that realization, that the only substitute for war is the rule of law, that this rule of law will not come into existence without the long and sustained effort on the part of leaders to bring it about, and that until and unless we do, there is nothing apparent to keep us from continuing to proceed headlong into the abyss which our own incentive and scientific ingenuity is driving us? It is not only later than some people think; it may already be too late, but it is not too late to try.