Until now the National Administration has been proceeding not only on the basis of “safety first,” but of safety first, last, and all the time. The time has arrived when we must remember the truth of what Lowell so well expressed, that
perdition to be safe, when for the truth he ought
GEORGE W. WICKERSHAM.
[From THE NEW YORK TIMES, May 11, 1915.]
The army, navy, and coast defenses of the United States are declared to be inadequate in an open letter signed by Joseph H. Choate, Alton B. Parker, Henry L. Stimson, and S. Stanwood Menken, which was given out yesterday in support of the plans of the National Security League. This organization, which maintains offices at 31 Pine Street, has embarked on a national campaign for better war defenses, and its appeal for members and supporters is expressed by the catch-phrase, “a first defense army of 1,000,000 workers."
The letter of Messrs. Choate, Parker, Stimson, and Menken contains most of the arguments put forth by the league in asking public support and enrollment. Its text follows:
Careful investigation by our committees who have looked into the question of national defense brings to light the following conditions of affairs:
According to official Government reports, there are barely 30,000 mobile troops in continental United States. These are distributed among fifty-two widely scattered posts, which would make it impossible to mobilize quickly at any given point. Even this small force is short of officers, ammunition, and equipment. Furthermore, it has no organized reserve.
Our National Guard, with negligible exceptions, is far below its paper strength in men, equipment, and efficiency.
Our coast defenses are inadequate, our fortifications insufficiently manned and without adequate organized reserves.
Our navy is neither adequate nor prepared for war. This, our first line of defense, is inadequately manned, short of ammunition, and has no organized reserve of trained men. Our submarine flotilla exists chiefly upon paper. Fast scout cruisers, battle cruisers, aeroplanes, mine layers, supply ships, and transports are lacking. Target practice has been neglected or altogether omitted.
In view of this condition of affairs, and since there is no assurance that the United States will not again become involved in war, “and since a peaceful policy even when supported by treaties, is not a sufficient guarantee against war, of which the subjugation of Belgium and the present coercion of China by a foreign power are noteworthy examples; and the United States cannot safely intrust the maintenance of its institutions and nationality to the mere negations of peace, and since we are not adequately prepared to maintain our national policies, and since the present defenseless