San Francisco is the place where “The United Nations Conference on International Organization” is being held. This meeting makes the news today. With Germany in her death throes, delegates of 46 nations of the world, representing four-fifths of the world’s population and nine-tenths of the land area of the world, are met here to erect a structure for international security. The world’s power and strength are represented in San Francisco.
The purpose of this meeting should be clear to you. This is not a peace-making conference, but rather a peace-keeping one. It will not deal at all with the defeated Germany; her punishment or boundaries: that problem will be left to the victors after the war is over. The chief problem here is future security, including, of course, plans to prevent future wars. That is not all for this organization aims to set up plans to solve international problems, such as industrial, social, food, health, educational, and all related problems that need attention for peace and progress the world over. It has been said that two-thirds of the people in the world never had enough to eat, about half of the adults in the world cannot read and write, factories in general are still sweatshops. This conference is to set up organization to solve such problems. That is its purpose.
Machinery of the Plan
Young people should be familiar with the set-up of the Dumbarton Oaks proposed plan. Remember this conference is working on the Dumbarton Oaks proposals and naturally will make many amendments. The machinery follows these definite forms: the United Nations will consist of three main branches and the Secretariat. First there is the General Assembly which will include all the “peace-loving” nations—eventually may even include Germany and Japan. The Assembly meets once a year to discuss problems of relief, air routes, trade, etc., and under it will be associated many agencies as Economical and Social Council, Labor Council, Food Organization, Health Agency, Monetary Council. Second there will be the International Court which will deal only with international laws. The third branch is the Security Council—the real power house. It proposes to have eleven members: five permanent (the U.S., Great Britain, Russia, China, France) and six rotating members; the latter members are elected by the Assembly for a two term period. Hence the Council has the Big Five and six small nations. It will be in session the year around. This body can make decisions and even call upon military forces to put down threat of war. In case of trouble the Council may investigate and make recommendations providing seven out of the eleven are in favor of it. But it is a different case when it comes to enforcing; the Big Five must vote alike before any action can be taken. Even if ten of the eleven are in favor of it, one of the Big Five can block an action. No force can be applied to small countries if one of the five is not in favor of so doing. The Big Five must stick together in order to enforce a decision. A military staff is to be associated with the Security Council. A fourth branch is the Secretariat, the function of which you can conclude from its name.
Forty-six nations are met to reach objectives under such machinery. Problems are easily seen. Where does the small nation come in? The Big Five will have dictatorship for they can control, prevent, or veto any step; even if the whole world be against one member of the Big Five, that member can protect itself by veto power. Will the small nations be able to safeguard their interests in this set-up? Look what happened to Poland just recently. Russia did it and that ends it. What can the small nations do? Can they rely on Senator Vanden Berg’s idea of “justice” to be done always? This voting in the Council and the place of small nations seem to be the big thorn to be threshed out.
Another problem is the demand of Russia to have three votes in the Assembly. The original plan calls for only one vote for each. This was announced after the Yalta Conference and F.D.R. seems to have given Russia the green light on it. Russia evidently figures that the British Dominions all count up and Russia will add a vote each for her Ukraine and White Russia. Why she should want two more votes in that large Assembly of fifty or more, we do not know; probably no more than mere demand for diplomatic recognition.
How shall the Colonies be handled after the war? The idea of trusteeship has been suggested. Shall the U.S. be trustee over the Japanese islands (the Marianas, Marshall, Caroline, etc.) or shall a strong power control over a dependent area and report to the United Nations regularly? How can that be worked out?
Finally there is the problem of alliances. Shall we have them? It is said that it is possible but they must be under strict supervision of the United Nations. Shall the Wilsonian idea of open alliances be practiced?
The Last Step
The whole plan will be drawn up into a treaty or an agreement. Then what? Stalin, or one appointed by him, needs only to affix his signature and it goes into operation. Churchill can do the same; it is not necessary for Parliament to pass on the document. The heads of other nations represented at the Conference need only to do the same—sign. But it is different for the U.S. This agreement or document must be ratified or approved by a two-thirds vote in the Senate.
To Our Boys In Service
Winter with all its cold, ice, and snow is gone and spring has come again. The lawns are already covered with a nice green blanket of grass, and many a fruit tree is in full blossom. A wonderful sight, but also in this does God prove His might and glory. But are we always conscious of this? And not only of His great power and glory but also of His love towards His children? How often He seems to be so far away from us—like you who are far away from home, parents, brothers and sisters, yes, all those who are dear to you! Far away from church, among strangers who do not know or do not want to know about God nor His Word and who despise the things you hold dear. Led in a way that is hard and may seem unjust. Yet, let us remember, He Who leads the destiny of nations, also has laid the pathway which we must tread. But the most blessed of it all is that the Lord Who has marked out this pathway for you says, “that all things work together for good to them that love God.” But life’s pathway is so much harder than it was a few years ago! I agree with you. Years ago any one could be a Christian and no one would molest you. But times have changed and more and more this fact has come to the foreground. One must deny our Lord and have peace with the world or confess Him to be God alone and be persecuted and mocked. But may God give grace and strength to be faithful to the end whatever the cost may be. And thou shalt have joy and peace in your hearts which passes all understanding. May the Lord bless and keep you.
Your brother in Christ,
Mr. Ben Veldkamp
Somewhere in France
Just a few days ago I received three copies of Beacon Lights. I wish I could convey to you just how much this meant to me. Like a starving man wolfs his food, so I devoured the contents of all three numbers at once.
Let me briefly sketch my activities since leaving the hospital in England on December 11 of last year. Spiritually there were many privileges which I enjoyed in England. I conducted a few midweek meetings at the hospital chapel and gave a chalk talk. Also worshipped in some of the churches in nearby cities and met some Christian fellow patients with whom I had many pleasant conversations. After leaving the hospital I was shunted about England for a while—thru various replacement depots and finally across the channel for the third time and back to France. Along with many other fellow soldiers I made the icing, slow, cold journey from Le Havre to Paris—thirty of us in one of those famous 40 and 8s of World War I fame. Christmas even was spent in the freight yards of Paris, and Christmas night we slept on the hard frozen ground in a woods. New Year’s eve and day was spent in a former German armory, the walls being adorned with swastikas and a huge banner on the wall contained the following statement in German: “To the German soldier nothing is impossible.” On the 2nd of January, I arrived at this outfit—my new army “home.”
We are living in a small rural village; the people here speak German and all of them wear wooden shoes. On Sundays they come out in their finest to attend the 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. services in the local Roman Catholic Church. I originally drove a 2 1/2 ton truck hauling gas, ammunition, etc. but my nerves were not equal to this. I now have a steady job in the kitchen which is much better for me. Our kitchen is housed in the village school. There are many interesting things I could say about the life here—but I do not want to take up too much space. Now to come back to my opening statement about how much Beacon Lights means to me.
You see I am required to work 7 days a week and so there is no opportunity to observe the Sabbath. Besides this there is no place to worship if I did have the time, and finally, I have not found a single Christian fellow although I’ve been here nearly two months now. Spiritually therefore it is a lonely life, hence any Christian literature means so much to me. I hold a sort of a service by myself, reading one of the Lord’s Days and follow it with the reading of one of Rev. Hoeksema’s explanations in the Standard Bearer, and I also sing a few Psalter numbers to myself, but one cannot realize how much Christian fellowship means until it is denied us as at present. Yet the Lord is faithful and I can testify of His grace and nearness, and with Paul I am learning by His grace, to be content in whatsoever state I am. I have not written these things, dear friends, to evoke pity, but that you may see how great a privilege is yours, who can worship with God’s people on the Sabbath and meet during the week in Christian fellowship to learn to know Him better Who is the author and finisher of our faith. Avail yourselves of every opportunity to grow in the knowledge of Christ for it is then that we build up ourselves spiritually for times of dearth as I now am experiencing. And so in closing may God richly bless you all and may you continue to present the Protestant Reformed truth in Beacon Lights, for it means so much to us who are away.
With Christian greetings,
Since the war began, letters from all over the world have appeared—on the pages of our magazine and now I would like to throw one in from Panama. As you know, the government has a great interest in this part of Central America because of the Canal. A few months ago I found myself flying over the Caribbean Sea and shortly thereafter I was made a part of Uncle Sam’s defense forces here.
One of the most interesting things about this area is the mixture of races which is found here. You can almost trace the history which has taken place in this section by observing the people. The basic population was once Indian, but today only one variety of pure bred Indian remains. This is the San Blas Indian located on the nearby San Blas Islands. The purity of this race is strictly guarded and so much intra-marriage has taken place that a relatively large percentage of the children are albinos.
Most of the other Indians have long ago intermarried with the Spaniards who first took this country away from them. The Panamanian is then a mixture of white and red bloods. There are some real Spaniards left, but the number is small. When the canal was built, negroes and orientals were imported as cheap laborers. Today many of the children and younger people have both negro and oriental blood in their veins as well as Indian and Spanish, while the older people are pure negro, oriental, or a mixture of Spanish and Indian.
Since this area is only about nine degrees north of the equator, the vegetation and wild life is strictly tropical. There are many coconut palms and banana trees and all the growth is luxuriant. The warm weather and heavy precipitation of the rainy season which, by the way, runs from May to December, largely accounts for the thick vegetation. There are many birds of bright color, but although you can always hear them, they are hard to find. The jungle is full of iguanas, wild pigs, deer and other creatures. Two very common snakes found here are bushmasters and boa constrictors. Just as a matter of interest, my roomie has found a little honey bear who is fast becoming a real pet.
This just about completes my contribution from Panama. I might add that the beauty and interest which can be found here make but a poor substitute for home.
Ens. Herman Hoeksema (Fuller)
It has long been in my mind to write a letter in appreciation for the many issues of the Beacon Lights that I have received, but somehow, and probably typical of most other boys in the service, I always keep putting my writing off. However, in my recent reading, I saw that some of the boys have found a bit of time to send in a word of thanks, so I thought possibly I should do likewise, and this time without delay.
This past week I just received two issues of the Beacon Lights. Mail of this nature sometimes takes very long in getting to us. Nevertheless, in spite of the fact it may take such a long time in getting here, the contents never become stale as would an ordinary newspaper. Therein lies its great treasure to us boys who receive them. In the October issue, I enjoyed particularly the article written by the editor entitled “Don’t Do It.” Yes, it takes a long absence to actually realize what a great privilege it is to be able to attend the regular meetings from week to week. Then the “picture page” of the various boys is also an added attraction which I enjoyed very much. Not only that, but to me, each and every page has a great value of its own, which makes it such a grand publication. And I am sure all the other boys must enjoy it just as much as I do. A word of praise to all those who put forth their efforts to make the Beacon Lights the paper that it is!
It’s been approximately 20 months since I left the states, which is not too long. Most of this time was spent in the United Kingdom, and the greatest share of that in the small country of North Ireland. During all this time I have met but one of our boys, and incidentally, one of my best friends, Joe Gritter. That was almost a year ago when I spent a short furlough in London and was very fortunate in being able to locate him. We certainly were overjoyed in meeting each other, and those three days we spent together went by all too fast.
It was early last July when we came up the beaches in Normandy and have been on the continent in various places since that time. During the campaign thru France I had a couple of experiences of what might be called “being at the point” in a spearhead. However it was not so bad back in those days, but the most enjoyable thing of it all was the fact that we were always amongst the first to enter a town to receive the welcome. Those are but the nicest experiences. Other things are not so pleasant. I have seen war and its effects and can only say it is a bitter experience, as any fellow would say who has tasted some of it. To see the wounded and the dead, to see the trail of destruction in some places, and to see the misery it all causes, are things which will be hard to forget.
Due to conditions at the present time, we are forbidden to reveal our present location. From our earliest days thru France we came thru the cities of St. Lo, Angers, Chartres, Rhiems, Verdun and finally in the mighty fortress city of Metz, where our outfit spent Thanksgiving Day. For now I cannot say more.
Once again the holiday seasons have gone by. They were very uneventful as far as life goes on around here. I was hoping to be able to go to church services on Christmas Day, but there were no services. A week previous to Christmas was the last time I had opportunity to attend church and we made that service a Christmas service. To you it probably would look strange. Not a church building, but an old theatre. Not a group of nicely dressed boys, but boys in battle dress carrying their weapons into church with them. We sang many an old Christmas carol, “Peace on earth, good will toward men,” while outside the guns were throwing shells of destruction into the enemy lines. Sounds strange, doesn’t it?
The weather during recent weeks, has been similar to our own Michigan weather, although lacking in the great amount of snow. The ground is frozen hard and solid, the fields and forests are covered with a light blanket of snow, which all paints a pretty picture, but not quite so nice to the soldier who must live in it. Fortunately most of the time we are able to sleep under cover, even though at times it may be in some old house, a barn or a cellar, but at least it keeps away the worst of the weather.
Before closing this letter, I might add that last evening I received several copies of the radio sermons. It certainly would seem so much more pleasant for us boys if we could actually sit at home and listen to them, but for the present we must be content with reading. Even at that, they are very much appreciated as are all the rest of the papers. Without them, I think our church life would seem very far from us. Once again, many thanks to all those who make it possible for us to receive our papers. In closing, may God’s blessing rest upon you and all the work being put forth and hoping also if it may be His will, that some day in the near future, we all may be brought together again as in former days.
As ever, your friend,
George Kunz (Creston)
Hello from Washington! My husband and I are stationed in Tacoma, Washington and have been here for nearly eight months now. A long time to stay at one place considering how much the boys in service are transferred from camp to camp.
I am working at the Fort Hospital and this surely is a large place. Yes, this hospital covers 85 acres and contains 2,000 beds so you can get some idea of how large this general hospital is. The boys from the Fort are treated here and now the boys are coming from overseas and I surely have learned a lot since working here. I type up the diagnosis of the boys after they leave the hospital, but very seldom do I come across a Grand Rapids boy.
Enclosed is a contribution to Beacon Lights, which we surely enjoy. One thing by being in the States, this type of literature comes regularly and seeing we do not have our reformed church in Washington, this reading material is of much value. Regularly we receive the radio sermons, Standard Bearer, and Beacon Lights. A word of thanks from both of us!
Cpl. & Mrs. Wm. Kamps (Creston )
Somewhere in France
It is sort of hard for me to start this letter. It isn’t because I don’t want to write, but because that in my two years of army service I have never written you before and I am ashamed of it. I surely hope I can improve that score in the future. Beacon Lights has always followed me wherever I have been. During the past 13 months that I have been overseas, I have never missed a copy and I want you and all the readers to know that your efforts to make Beacon Lights the magazine it is are really and truly appreciated by those of us who are in the service. It was through Beacon Lights that I found out that Wm. Koster of Roosevelt Park was in the same battalion I am although he is in a different battery. We met in Africa and since then we have spent many happy hours together both in Africa and England. We would arrange to meet at every opportunity and I’m sure we both enjoyed them. Needless to say our conversation was always about the same topics: home, church and loved ones. Since we came to France it has not been possible for us to get together, at least not yet, although I surely hope to. Let me say that Beacon Lights and our other church magazines and papers do mean much to us and do help to bridge those thousands of miles between us. May God bless you and give you strength to continue your work.
Yours in Christ,
Cpl. Jacob Regnerus (Oskaloosa)
England, February, 1945
I received the January copy of Beacon. Lights and was very glad to get it. I have been at this rehabilitation center for some weeks now, and expect very shortly to be heading back up. Everything seems to be going pretty well at this end of the line.
Well, I will close for now, hoping everything is fine back home.
John P. Hazenberg (Fuller)
As this is written the great event on the National scene is the Rail strike; at the time of your reading this will be a review and probably other strikes such as Anthracite Coal, Chemical Plants in South, Shipping, and others will be actuality.
This great Rail strike is not the first of its kind in history. Extensive railroad strikes occurred throughout the Northern States during the administration of Rutherford B. Hayes. In Pittsburgh a mob of strikers took advantage of the strike to plunder freight cars and even to set fire to the railroad machine-shops and other buildings, destroying nearly 10 million dollars worth of property. The President finally sent troops to Pittsburgh to prevent further destruction. This was in 1877 and called in protest of a 10% reduction in pay. After two weeks the strike ended with the arrest of many of the leaders. In 1894 a Pullman Co. strike was called against working conditions and wage cuts and President Grover Cleveland sent out troops on grounds that there was a stoppage of mail.
In the resent Rail strike there were no riots, fires, bloodshed, or destruction of property. It was due to an attempt to get wage increases and to get about 45 changes in working conditions; it was properly called and apparently broke no laws. Of the twenty Brotherhoods, eighteen of them were ready to go to work according to President Truman’s proposals but two unions, engineers and trainmen, flatly refused. 18 to 2 in favor–yet the rail strike went on because of the 2. Concerning these two unions it may be said that they are highly paid; I don’t remember the exact figures but I do recall that the Passenger engineers received close to $5,000 in 1945, the Freight engineer received a little over $4,000, the Freight brakemen and flagmen around $3,000. These were offered good increases yet they struck! One at once jumps on the fact that the strike was called by really high paid workmen who have made money their god. Cash-happy is their philosophy of life. Besides, they included 4, desired changes in working operations, some of which are: extra pay for the crew called to duty fifteen minutes of advance train schedule departure time, more pay for time spent at terminal points, ice water and awnings for the engines and cabooses (think of an economic tie-up including such a demand), watches supplied at cost by carriers, management to pay for cleaning and repairing of their watches, free uniform and free cleaning and pressing of uniforms, proper size coal provided for firemen and put in the coal tender at easy reach, passenger trains to be held to maximum of 14 cars and freight trains to 70 cars, not less than one conductor, and two brakemen to be employed on most runs, paid sick leave up to 30 days pay, time and a half pay for Sundays and Holidays, etc. etc. etc.
The recent rail strike was called by Johnston and Whitney. The ire of the public was aroused. Would Truman do nothing? In fact, what has he done up to date? The reader must remember that this strike is different than those of ’77 and ’94 in that this one represents labor unions and labor leaders with great power. Since the New Deal of F.D.R. labor has gone to town as it were, gaining one right upon another. Its power had become great. Unionization has given labor high wages and has found the government favoring their demands. Labor unions represents votes and today finds them organized with 14,000,000 members. That has been the progress of Labor in the last 13 years. The Rail strike brings up this alternative: Union interest or National interest? Shall the President accept the union terms or assert the power of the nation? Which? Should a group of men totaling less that 900,000 strike and directly interfere with the lives of 140,000,000 people of our nation? The Rail strike brings this question to the head and an answer to it is of historical significance.
President Truman went to bat and settled this question. On that Friday night he informed the nation that the Rail strike was against the government and that the army would take over on Saturday at 4 p.m. if the strike had not ended. In no uncertain terms he told the nation what he thought of Johnston and Whitney. The President took the initiative; he was positive; he was angry. On Saturday he addressed a joint session and went to this extreme: “I request the Congress immediately to authorize the President to draft into the armed forces of the U. S. all workers who are on strike against the government”. During the speech a notification was given the President that the strike was called off. The settlement was evidently made on the President’s proposal of 18½ cents an hour increase and improvement in some working conditions as demanded. In the settlement of this strike we find a new phase on labor control. Since ’33 labor has received its favors but today in the Truman administration the organized labor has received its first blow. Labor leaders will be checked who, as did two in this case, could bring much suffering and hardship to our nation. Congress is now busy in long range planning regarding a revision of labor laws and procedure.
The United Nations Security Council was called upon to break up diplomatic relations with Franco, Spain. Poland demanded this action because according to Dr. Oscar Lange, the Polish delegate, Spain presents a definite international problem for, said he. Spain today is “an armed camp with a standing army of 600,000 to 700,000; manufacture of arms flourishes; sections of the Spanish border with France have been heavily fortified; tank traps have been built on the roads, bridges and passes; 200,000 men are massed in Catalonia alone.
Four specific charges were listed for the Security Council to prove the actions of the Franco regime have led to International friction and endangered international peace and security. “(1) The Franco regime has been put into power with the support of Fascist Italy and Nazi Germany, against the will of the Spanish people, who resisted Franco and the Axis for almost three years. (2) The Franco regime was an active partner in the Axis war against the United Nations. It willfully gave aid and comfort to our enemies. (3) The Franco regime has caused a state of international friction by compelling the French Republic to close her borders with Spain by massing troops on the borders of France. (4) The Franco regime has allowed the territory of Spain to become a refuge for German assets, for German personnel and for German scientists engaged in pursuits dangerous to the peace of mankind.”
Briefly summing up the matter the delegate said that Spain is the “last surviving partner of our enemy, the Axis,” and because of the existing situation Spain presents a danger signal. The UNO should in no way minimize this danger for delay action “until guns are shooting, until bombs are dropped, until men are killed and cities destroyed in order to certify the situation as international friction.”
Naturally this move is strongly supported by France and Russia but both Great Britain and the U.S. have balked a little in interfering in Spain, hoping and suggesting that Franco be removed by his own people and a democratic regime be set up.
FOOD CRISIS AND CAMPAIGN:
A definite campaign is now under way throughout the nation to make people eat less food and avoid all waste. Because of war destruction, Europe is not growing its own food. Drought and cyclones have ruined the wheat crop in India, South Africa, and Argentina–the places Europe was depending on to supply her with grain. The situation is indeed critical. At present there is mass starvation, scores of thousands of men, women, and children are going to starve to death in the weeks and months immediately ahead. UNRA reports famine in China bringing death to 4 million and in all 30 million are starving. This threat of famine in Europe and Asia can be headed off only by America. The task is gigantic and we in the U.S. will be called upon to tighten our belts and to “Hooverize” again in a very real way. Herbert Hoover, who gained fame during and after World War I for organizing relief campaigns for Europe and who is now on an inspection tour in Europe and Asia, has been appointed to head this campaign. The campaign will use the ordinary avenues of newspapers, magazines, and radio to make recommendations to housewives as well as to hotels and restaurants. It will not only mean darker bread but there will be an actual cut in the consumption of good.
The Senate began a debate on the British request for about $4,000,000,000. The British now find themselves in an economic mess; hence the request for money. The Truman administration wants Congress to approve the loan and all indications point that it will. The interest on the loan would be two percent, no payments on principal or interest would be required until 1951, and the British Government would have until the year 2001 to clean up the debt; and when British exports are below prewar levels, the interest could be omitted.
Those who favor granting this amount to England point to the fact that England needs it because war has brought it on. It will take England quite some time to build up her foreign trade with other countries. She depends upon trade for half her food supply. The United States is the only one who can help her; we were the only major nation that escaped the devastation of war. By extending aid to England we will help make her stable and prosperous and in the long run we may contribute to our own prosperity by lending. The cost, $4 billion, may seem great but had the war gone on for another month we would have had to spend the amount which we are being asked to lend to Great Britain. The cost of help therefore is small in comparison to the cost of war. Then we must never forget that the defeat of the Axis nations was only the first step toward victory; world economic stability must be included and be a part of the victory to be won.
On the other hand it is argued that there is a limit to our money. We cannot afford to let out billions now, for the war cost us about 325 billion dollars and we have a national debt of 275 billion. There is a limit. Let us reconstruct our own house first. Then too, it is argued, that granting loans causes sore feelings sooner or later. And how about repayment of these loans? There is more than 46 billion dollars worth of war materials and supplies that our Allies received during the war which shall probably never be paid back. Isn’t that enough? We are giving outright gifts to the UNRA to relieve suffering. It goes without saying that we have done our part and are doing it. Then, too, if we load Britain the money, can we refuse Russia, France, and the others? Why should Uncle Sam come around and bail humanity out every time nations get into economic trouble?
Russian troops on the move! Turkey would fight to the last man! United States would back Iran! People talk of another war! Let us try to explain a little of this action of Russian. In order to get a good understanding of the Russian moves, the reader should familiarize himself with the map of the Middle East. Russia desires here to bring her in direct conflict with Iran and Turkey but it may be said at once that it is more than a dispute among these three; it rather boils down to a direct clash between two powers–Great Britain and Russia–for both of these seek control in the Middle East or roughly speaking, the area between the following bodies of water: Mediterranean Sea, Black Sea, Caspian Sea, Persian Gulf, and the Red Sea. A glance at the map tells us that this area has strategic value for it is somewhat of a “bridge” between Europe and Asia and it was used for just that during World War II for in 1942 the British, American, and Soviet troops moved into Iran for the purpose of opening and protecting a supply route for lease-lend material from the Persian Gulf and Caspian Sea to Russia. According to agreement Russian troops took the northern part (Azerbaijan), the province that revolted and is now under Russian domination, while American and British troops were stationed in southern Iran and all three powers agreed to have all troops leave six months after the war, that date being March 2. The U. S. left early. Great Britain shortly before the dead line, but Russia did not leave and refuses to leave, so she did not live up to the treaty terms.
Naturally the Iranian government charges that Russia encouraged the rebellion in Azerbaijan and became very much provoked when the Russian troops prevented the Iranian troops from entering in order to stop the revolt. Russia justifies her action in northern Iran by saying the people there are related to the people living in southern Russian and that the people were also kept in a backward condition so that the revolt was but a natural outcome of this situation.
Probably the most important reason for Russian moves in Iran is her desire to obtain oil. Iran is a great producer of oil and has given Great Britain a lion’s share of the output. Russia claims this to be rank favoritism for why should she not receive an equal amount of oil? Many observers think that this desire for oil is at the bottom of the Russian moves and even suggest that if Great Britain would share Iranian oil with Russia, it would quickly relieve the situation. However, Iran finds two great powers competing for her valuable resource-two powers interfering with her affairs.
Turkey also fears Russia, stating rather openly that Russia is after territory. Why? The answer is the Dardanelles’ Straits thru which Russian ships must pass in order to go from the Black Sea to the Mediterranean Sea. Russia feels that she is cut off the sea! Turkey has held these straits for a long time and controls the passage of ships thru them today. In wartime Turkey has the right to close the straits to war-ships belonging to nations at war and she may close them to all ships if she thinks she herself is in danger. Russia demands a larger share in the control of these straits. Turkey fears Russia will grab some territory for this purpose.
Therefore, the Russian situation in the Middle East includes her aim to get an outlet in the south, influence here equal to that of Britain, equal share of resources, and a piece of Turkish territory or bases near the Dardanelles or both to protect her water route to the Mediterranean Sea.
The land of 400 million people, is asking for independence from Great Britain. There are 260 million Hindus and 295 Moslems, both asking for independence. The difficulty comes in the fact that these two groups openly hate each other. The Moslems especially, fear the Hindus and anticipate war when independence is granted to India. How can England satisfy both groups? One would not expect her to free India with millions opposing each other and yet Great Britain has expressed her willingness to grant India her independence. Could this be true under present situations? There must be strings attached to such an expression for anyone knows that to grant India her independence now would mean to open up a Civil war there among the millions and millions of Indians. England would certainly not allow this. Besides, India is having one of the worst famines in history which probably will cost the lives of five to ten million people this year. England will first have to work out a plan wherein these opposing groups settle their differences before becoming independent.
“Money”, including various types and their equivalent, was the topic of an article featured in the previous issue of Beacon Lights. We thought we would follow through this time and look at Uncle Sam and “Big Money” It does not seem to alarm people nowadays when they are informed that the National Debt of the U. S. is 275 billion dollars! But this debt must be paid. Now that the war is over Uncle Sam is planning to reduce this record-breaking amount. Not only is the total debt colossal, but we are faced with a huge budget for our running expenses in the next fiscal year, which runs from July 1, 1946 to June 30, 1947, for President Truman informed Congress that the sum of $36,000,000,000 is needed. To give you an idea of Big Money let us look at some items in the budget: $16,000,000,000, will be needed for national defense which includes pay for the armed services, demobilization, occupation, equipment, etc.; Uncle Sam needs $5,000,000,000 for interest on public debt, most of which goes for interest on bonds held by the people; $1,054,051,000 is called for Social Security; $1,564,742,000 is needed for salaries and expenses of governmental agencies; $1,982,906,000 will go for public work projects; and a very large item in the budget is the amount of $4,207,779,000 for Veteran’s pensions and benefits, including hospitalization and education of Vets as repay for a job well done.
Will the Government be able to meet such a budget? Through taxation it can. Uncle Sam expects to receive $21,065,800,000 from individual and business income and $6,343,890,000 just think of this amount, from excise taxes on tobacco, liquor, amusements, cosmetics, etc. All in all the Government plans to add the balance on hand of $9,000,000,000 thus giving the Truman administration the opportunity of paying off about 4 billion dollars on our total debt. These figures prove there is money in Uncle Sam’s pocketbook.
There are many who favor a reduction in taxation for the simple reason that Uncle Sam takes too much of our hard earned money; others say that high taxation should continue for now is the time to pay off some of our debt while there is money around and if reduced taxes were put in practice, there would be more money in our pockets making us willing to pay more for commodities hard to get and thus help the cause of inflation.
Russia Gets Kuriles
Is rather late news from one of the past Big Three Conferences, namely, the Yalta Conference. The Kuriles is a group of islands stretching northward from the mainland of Japan for about 700 miles toward Siberia and they were demanded by Russia because of their strategic position. It has been revealed that the late Chief Executive Franklin D. Roosevelt, had agreed with the Big Three in giving Kuriles to Russia after the Pacific war was over providing she would declare war against Japan, which she did just before the atomic bomb was dropped on Hiroshima. This plan was kept a secret for a long time because of Russia’s late entry, and now that the war is over the World finds Russia in possession of the islands which Japan has held since 1600.
This act might easily bring friction between Russia and the United States. Russia has lived up to her part of the bargain but how much power did the President of the United States have in making such an agreement? Did he have the power to do so without the ratification of the Senate? The U. S. entertains the fact that such an act must have two-thirds approval of the Senators and yet Russia has taken possession of the islands. What next from the Big Three Conferences?
Where: in London since January 10. Will be over at the time of this reading.
Time relation: 26 years after the birth of the League of Nations.
Membership: 51 nations. Each may send 5 delegates, however each delegation may have only one vote. This is the Assembly, a branch of UNO.
Secretary-General elected: Had office for 5 years; salary of $20,000 and a $20,000 expense account. Elected was Tryge Lie (pronounced Lee) who is Norwegian Foreign Minister. Chief function is to bring matters to Security Council, UNO power house.
Security Council Elected: The Big Five, G.B., the U. S., France, U.S.S.R.R. and China are permanent members. Six non-permanent members elected are Australia, Brazil, Egypt, Mexico, Netherlands and Poland. Big Five has veto power for one may veto any proceedings.
Assembly Main Branch setup: Social and Economic Council elected.
Location of UNO: not decided. Somewhere around New York.
Court: Have 15 Judges. Dispute may be brought to court, but not compulsory.
Location will be at Hague, Holland.
Atomic Energy Commission: Membership elected were members of Secretary Council and Canada. To regulate problems of atomic energy and “related matters”.
Trusteeship Council: Leading nations with colonies are members to decide on dependent areas of world. Shall we give Okinawa and others to Council? Truman favors this. So does Russia.
Growing Pains: UNO delegation from Iran asks Security Council to check Russian motives in Iran. Russia charges Britain motivated this move. Russia wants an investigation of British soldiers in Greece and removal of them.
Next Meeting: Security Council in March in New York.
Shall we keep it….? Shall we reveal it? Now that we, the U.S., Great Britain and Canada, have the secret of the Atomic Bomb, know of its great destructive power, know too that within a few years other countries will discover the formula, and having in mind the objective to keep the Atomic Bomb from being used in sudden destruction – what is best now to keep or to reveal the secret?
Our President favors secrecy. A leading atomic research scientist answered “I’m afraid so” to the question of the possibility of having one atomic raid wipe out 40 million of the U. S. population. Probably a good reason, therefore, to keep it a secret and also to keep ahead or maintain real leadership in the development and production of the product, and at the same time prepare for proper methods of defense against the bomb; then in this position the U. S. will have the leadership that will cause a nation to think twice before using it. Furthermore, this is surely not the time to reveal such a secret. It goes without saying that there is suspicion, strife, and bitterness among the nations today. To release atomic information would put us in danger at once. We at least should wait for a more propitious time, or wait for a so-called cooling off period.
President Truman advocates the policy of U. S. leadership. Evidently he figures there is safety thru strength and the manifestation thereof, for an all powerful U. S. would check an aggressor. In keeping with this policy the President has recently asked for compulsory military training for all youth which means there will be a display of militaristic strength and other preparedness including scientific leadership in modern warfare. This seems to be his formula to keep the world at peace. The old saying of might makes right is switched to might will stop the fight. Hence, the longer we keep the bomb secret, the better informing the power we want to display and the more time we will have to prepare a counter defense for the weapon. Power and more power is our answer to peace.
The question of giving the information to the United Nations, the “league of nations” formulated by the Frisco conference, and to let them control the use of the Bomb is brought up time and again. Would it be wise to give the control to the Big Five where one vote will check the rule of the majority? Would it be wise to give to an imperfect organization the power over life and death? Can we take the risk to rely on this imperfect and as yet untried organization? The answer of course is negative.
On the other hand, the revelation of the bomb would give the U.S. an international stamp. We entered this war not for territory or gain but to rid the world of tyrants; let us now manifest that we really are peace-loving, and the best way is to reveal the secret formula. That would create the proper good will among nations. If we kept it, other nations will gather or come to a conclusion that we use it for our own purpose. This would create fear. Then too, it is true that nations will get the formula sooner or later, if they haven’t it already. It has been said that it is only the manufacturing difficulty that remains in the production of the bombs. Thus, American leadership is only temporary. Hence, reveal it.
President Truman recently informed an inquirer that a race is already on in the development and production of the bomb. The revelation of the secret now would put an end to that race which everyone knows will bring disaster in the end. And remember, in this race it is not an all out industrial cooperation that is necessary, but rather it means a science room and a few scientists. Secret competition between nations is dangerous.
Leadership of the U.S. in the development and counter defense of the Atomic Bomb, the suspicion and rivalry among the nations today, a lack of a strong organization to control the power cooperatively, and the basic reason that there is safety in the manifestation of strength are the leading arguments for keeping the secret: a display of international good will and cooperation, the fact that our secrecy will only be temporary, plus the truth that it would prevent a secret competitive race in the development and production of the Bomb are the arguments raised for revealing the secret.
Hiroshima was a city on the island of Honshu, Japan. The atomic bomb wiped it off the map. For years the scientists the world over have been trying to find a way to split the atom. Scientists in the U. S. under the direction of the government now know how. The product is the atomic bomb. This is the answer of thousands of scientists who did research work for the last three to five years. The use of superlatives fails to describe its power and destructiveness. The most one can say is that it is the most terrible destructive force in the world! The atomic bomb contains more power than 20,000 tons of TNT whatever that may mean. It shocks human thinking. In this war age it is terrifying. But this is the answer to a two billion dollar research—and the U. S. has the secret formula.
For Japan it is to quit or to die. One day air activity with this destructive power would wipe out all the Japanese on all their islands. Japan must quit. We have given her a tablet of atomic power on Hiroshima. As this is written military strategist figure that in a few more weeks the most bloody and costly war will be terminated. Russian entry plus atomic power demonstration on Hiroshima leave no choice for Japan but to surrender.
The atomic bomb is the great news of the day. It was used on our foe for killing; it means destruction and nothing more. In the experiment on Hiroshima such terrific power was released and so complete was the devastation that the future holds “we live together or we die together.” The scientists have found a way to liberate energy from atoms; they can now release tremendous energy from atoms of an element called Uranium found Colorado, Utah, and Canada. They can do it only in one form of Uranium, number 235. The splitting of atoms wiped out a city. Not long ago we wondered about the rocket guns, rocket planes, buzz bombs, but these are made insignificant by the atomic bomb. It is regarded as the greatest invention and I think this is true. It is a fundamental discovery. We must not limit its use in the future only to war; this release of energy will be used for example in industry and transportation.
This invention of the release of energy will usher in the atomic Age. As the invention of steam brought on the Industrial Revolution, so this invention will bring on the Atomic way. It certainly will bring great changes. Speculation already finds this energy heating homes for less than two cents a day and factories needing little or no human effort. We will be ushered into a speed age which gives a thousand or more miles an hour, and mankind using atomic energy will find himself in leisure and in abundance. You would almost say that the world could be run by its own energy.
But this Atomic invention also brings some important questions. What shall we do with this killing weapon? Right now the possessor of it is the victor. The possessor of it is the Master. But can the U. S. keep the secret alone? Has not the trend of big invention been to spread it over the whole world? Shall we allow the United Nations Organization to control its use? Will it make small countries with this atomic information equal to big nations in strength? Will large armies be needed for combat in the future? Is the day of soldiering over?
There is one thing in which the world is agreed and that is the invention of the Atomic bomb means world cooperation or world suicide. On that they agree.
Atomic release means power and the world used superlatives to describe it, but did you notice not once did the world recognize that this is a tiny reflection of God’s power? No, the world never does this. Christians see in this invention another step that God is using in directing the world to the certain determined end.
Dead now is the issue of compulsory military training. For some time the plan for compulsory military training of youth between the ages of 17 and 21 for one year has been debated. The main argument was that we must be prepared because if World War III comes, it will be more terrible than this conflict. There will be a sudden attack by modern methods and weapons of war. This means that preparation is most necessary; hence military training in peace time for all youth for one year. The Atomic Bomb spells doom for this idea because the attack will be altogether too sudden. Probably the new trend will be the training of scientists by the government in the development of Atomic release. Science will fight the next war. Science will prepare.
San Francisco is the place where “The United Nations Conference on International Organization” is being held. This meeting takes the news today. With Germany in her death throes, delegates of 46 nations of the world, representing four-fifths of the world’s population and nine-tenths of the land area of the world, are met here to erect a structure for international security. The world’s power and strength are represented at San Francisco.
The purpose of this meeting should be clear to you. This is not a peace-making conference, but rather a peace-keeping one. It will not deal at all with the defeated Germany, her punishment or boundaries; that problem will be left to the victors after the war is over. The chief problem here is future security, including, of course, plans to prevent future wars. That is not all for this organization aims to set up plans to solve International problems, such as industrial, social, food, health, educational, and all related problems that need attention for peace and progress the world over. It has been said that two-thirds of the people in the world never had enough to eat, about half of the adults in the world cannot read and write, factories in general are still sweatshops. This conference is to set up organization to solve such problems. That is its purpose.
Machinery of the plan—
Young people should be familiar with the set-up of the Dumbarton Oaks proposed plan. Remember this conference is working on the Dumbarton Oaks proposals and naturally will make many amendments. The machinery follows these definite forms: the United Nations will consist of three main branches and the Secretariat. First there is the General Assembly which will include all the “peace loving” nations—eventually may even include Germany and Japan. The Assembly meets once a year to discuss problems of relief, air routes, trade, etc. and under it will be associated many agencies, as Economical and Social Council, Labor Council, Food Organization, Health Agency, Monetary Council. Second there will be the International Court which will deal only with International laws. The third branch is the Security Council—the real power house. It proposes to have eleven members: five permanent (the U.S., Great Britain, Russia, China, France) and six rotating members; the latter members are elected by the Assembly for a two term period. Hence the Council has the Big Five and six small nations. It will be in session the year around. This body can make decisions and even call upon military forces to put down threat of war. In case of trouble the Council may investigate and make recommendations providing seven out of the eleven are in favor of it. But it is a different case when it comes to enforcing; the Big Five must vote alike before any action can be taken. Even if ten of the eleven are in favor of it, one of the Big Five can block an action. No force can be applied to small countries if one of the Five is not in favor of so doing. The Big Five must stick together in order to enforce a decision. A Military Staff is to be associated with the Security Council. A fourth branch is the Secretariat, the function of which you can conclude from its name.
Forty-six nations are met to reach objectives under such machinery. Problems are easily seen. Where does the small nation come in? The Big Five will have dictatorship for they can control, prevent, or veto any step; even if the whole world be against one member of the Big Five, that member can protect itself by veto power. Will the small nations be able to safeguard their interests in this set-up? Look what happened to Poland just recently. Russia did it and that ends it. What can the small nations do? Can they rely on Senator Vanden Berg’s idea of “justice” to be done always? This voting in the Council and the place of small nations seem to be the big thorns to be threshed out.
Another problem is the demand of Russia to have three votes in the Assembly. The original plan calls for only one vote for each. This was announced after the Yalta Conference and F.D.R. seems to have given Russia the Green Light on it. Russia evidently figures that the British Dominions all count up and Russia will add a vote each for her Ukraine and White Russia. Why she should want two more votes in that large Assembly of fifty or more, we do not know; probably no more than mere demand for diplomatic recognition.
How shall the Colonies be handled after the war? The idea of Trusteeship has been suggested. Shall the U.S. be trustee over the Japanese islands (the Marianas, Marshall, Caroline, etc.) or shall a strong power control over a dependent area and report to the United Nations regularly? How can that be worked out?
Finally, there is the problem of Alliances. Shall we have them? It is said that it is possible but they must be under strict supervision of the United Nations. Shall the Wilsonian idea of open alliances be practiced?
The Last Step-
The whole plan will be drawn up into a treaty or an agreement. Then what? Stalin, or one appointed by him, needs only to affix his signature and it goes into operation. Churchill can do the same; it is not necessary for Parliament to pass on the document. The heads of other nations represented at the Conference need only to do the same—sign. But it is different for the U.S. This agreement or document must be ratified or approved by a two-thirds vote in the Senate.
is no longer neutral. Ever since the beginning of this conflict, Turkey has maintained a so-called neutrality. During this time, however, she has sold her minerals to the Germans and at the same time manifested certain leanings toward the Allies. Had she joined with the Axis she would have aided Germany greatly in invading and conquering the Middle East and Africa. Had she joined the Allies earlier she would have been of great value to them because of her strategic location and with her modernly equipped army of one million.
Turkey’s neutrality has come to an end. She has gone thru two stages in so doing: one of giving assistance to the Allies and the other of actually declaring war upon the Axis.
Some time back, Turkey began to assist the Allies by giving permission to send war materials to Russia via the Dardanelles. As map reading will show, the Dardanelles, Sea of Marmara and the Bosphorus connect the Black Sea with the Mediterranean. This waterway is 175 miles in length. The tiny part of Turkey in Europe is separated from the Turkey in Asia by this strategic waterway. Up until this time the Turks had closed these straits to both Germans and Allies. Now since the Germans are out of the Black Sea area and the Russians are in control, the permission to use this route greatly cuts distance and time in bringing supplies to the Russians. This route is at least 3000 miles shorter than the one previously used by the Allies.
Turkey has followed this assistance to the Allies with the actual declaration of war upon the Axis. Turkey evidently thinks this a wise move seeing that victory appears near for the Allies. This action will also give her permission to have a voice in the United Nations’ planning of peace and the post-war world. One can see that Turkey had that in mind when she came thru with this assistance and declaration. She is thinking of her own future. Yet, it is clear, too, her future is tied up with Russia since Russia will emerge as a strong power on the European continent. Russia has long been looking for an outlet to the Mediterranean Sea. The question of Russia using this strategic waterway remains a problem yet to be solved between Russia and Turkey.
The Pacific War
has been in the headlines of late. The tough battle on Iwo, with casualties running around 6000, has raised the question of the method used. The conflict on this isle has been characterized as “worst of the worst,” and the loss has been “greater than that of Tarawa.” The first quotation may be true; but in comparing the loss with that of the Tarawa conflict, we must remember that a far greater number of Marines are being used in this battle.
As one looks at the map of the Pacific, he is at once impressed with the greatness of the area—with its thousands of islands. The grouping of these islands has been familiarized by publicity: Netherland Indies, Carolinas, Mariannas, Philippines, etc. One must conclude too that the Japs held a great area, nearly all with the exception of Australia.
Now it goes altogether without saying that it is impossible to gain control of every island in that area. Instead the United States has followed the method of gaining control of strategic islands and passing by the others. This plan was followed to get nearer to Tokyo and at the same time to cut the supply line of the Japs to the other islands. This plan of island hopping has worked; the U. S. has been able to cut the supply lines and now on Iwo we are at the door of Tokyo.
The question arises: what or where next? Invasion of the Asiatic continent at China and cut that land’s supply route too? Remember the Jap’s land strength is great in China. Probably French Indo China would be the place to invade? Then we must not forget the island of Formosa. It has been said that Formosa must be had. Is that next?
Recent events bring out the possibility of invading the Japanese island of Honshu direct. This is based on the fact that our naval power is so strong that it can lead us into Japan proper.
is the goal! On the West, Marshal Runstedt’s counter offensive is history. The Allies now have the initiative and are on the move. The first and ninth armies have started the offensive toward the Rhine and it is believed “that the fate of the Germans will be decided in this battle.”
On the other hand, the decision of the conflict may be made in the moving in advance 10 to 20 miles a day along a front from Budapest on the south to the Baltic on the north. Posen, third largest city in Poland, has been taken.
But—Berlin will fight to the end! The cost of lives will be undoubtedly great! If the casualties come in as they do now, the million mark will be reached within two months!
The Atlantic Charter was supposed to have been drawn up in August, 1941 by President Roosevelt and the British Prime Minister, Churchill, when they met on a warship in the Atlantic. This so-called Atlantic Charter included the war aims of their nations. In order to achieve destruction of the Nazi tyranny and to build a better world, they agreed upon eight points:
- No territorial aggrandizement.
- No territorial changes without the free consent of people concerned.
- All people should have the right to their own form of government.
- Free international trade.
- World-wide collaboration between all nations for “improved labor standards, economic advancement and social security.”
- After victory, an assurance of peace for all lands and “freedom from fear and want” for all.
- Freedom of the seas.
- “Abandonment of the use of force”, disarming of aggressor nations and lightening “for peace-loving peoples the crushing burden of armaments.”
This is what we are fighting for. This is our ideal as expressed in 1941. Today, while we are in the midst of it, our boys are giving their all; the President laughingly informs us that there is no such Charter. This startles us! Can war ideals be put aside so lightly? Or is it that the leading European countries cannot agree with this Charter and hence discard it and consider the thing a joke?
That the Charter has been discarded is evident from the recent European events. Poland, who has fought so valiantly all through the conflict, has been notified that Russian demands of territorial changes in Poland have been approved by Great Britain and that she would be compensated by parts of Germany. The Polish government considers this a disgraceful plan. Now consider this action with rule number 2 above in the Atlantic Charter. It is very clear that the Charter has been scraped: it even looks very much like the Big Three, during past conferences, agreed upon this very action. Was this done at the Teheran Conference? How Poland has sacrificed! Now the Liberators have agreed to partition her territory!
There is much trouble within the Liberated countries. Intervention in Greece, Italy and Belgium also indicate that the Atlantic Charter has been null and void for some time, for is not this a direct violation of rule 3 in the above list? England and Russia evidently agreed on action in Poland and Greece intervention. But no Atlantic Charter ever was written and no signatures affixed.
From these trends we clearly see that strong powers are commencing to work together to reach their objectives. England and Russia—Russia and France—seem to agree rather well on certain objectives. The question may well be asked: where does the U. S. come in? The old germs of war, military alliances and spheres of influence seem to come up even now as we are in the midst of war. One concludes that such terms as expressed in the Atlantic Charter, which has been jokingly put aside, can never be inculcated in any other peace organization set-up. This action relative to the Atlantic Charter and recent agreements between strong powers in Europe give the Dumbarton Oakes plan of the United Nations a solid blow.
Time to change from this present optimism of victory in sight to the sober reality that war is still tough and that the enemy is still very strong and has plenty of men, reserves and abundant military equipment of the latest type. Time to stop talking about total Reconversion plans and better stress the total utilization of industry for war because the greatest battle is being waged today and this needs an all out industrial production for the much needed supplies. Time to change the talk about peace plans concerning world cooperation when before our eyes Russia grabs parts of Poland and the British are seeking to subdue the liberated country of Greece. Time to change your mind from the idea that war will soon be over to the stark reality that the great German Offensive may prolong this war for who knows how long. Time to alter the opinion that when this war is over, all is over; revolutions may break out here and there to bring new complications which may be difficult to solve.
The present German thrust into Luxemburg and Belgium bring some of these facts to mind. The seriousness of the great German Offensive, which has caught the Allies by surprise, has informed the Americans that it is time to change from wishful thinking to the fact that we still are at war and that victory must still be won in the future. Whatever the purpose of this offensive may be, whether it is to split the American and British Forces in two, whether it is to bolster the much needed German morale, whether the Germans are fighting for time, or whether the Germans still think they can do it, is hard to determine at this stage. At any rate here is an obvious lesson for the Americans, namely, to stop planning for the morrow and what we will do in the future and awake to the simple fact that we must consider the present and do the things which we have to do now. This is a hard trend to change. The official statements that war may be long and hard, the O.P.A. clamping lids on foods, industrial pressure from Washington on production, pleas for workers to stay on jobs, and the W.P.B. openly stating that they are working on the theory of an indefinite war in Europe are a few reminders that it is time to change.
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