National Affairs: Challenge

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He rapped at those who believe the Atlantic and Pacific give North and South America a "mystic immunity." But ambiguous and questioning was his ending: "Is this solution . . . [Pan-American unity] permanent or safe if it is solved just for us alone? . . . Surely it is time for our republics to spread that problem before us ... to ask questions, to call for answers. . . . I am a pacifist. . . . But I believe that . . . you and I, in the long run and if it be necessary, you and I will act together to protect, to defend . . . our science, our culture, our American freedom and our civilization." Thus, like many a Presidential speech on foreign affairs, it clarified little, influenced public opinion far less than events:

Territories. On the isles of Curagao and Aruba in the Dutch West Indies (where 72% of Venezuela's oil is processed, where a Standard Oil subsidiary operates the world's biggest refinery), the French training cruiser Jeanne d'Arc landed 150 marines to help guard the refineries against German sabotage. Although the U. S. State Department said the landing was no infringement of the Monroe Doctrine (since it was friendly, temporary and involved no change of sovereignty), the German press screamed menace, the Japanese asked if there would be such landings in The Netherlands East Indies, were pointedly told by The Netherlands that such an act would be unnecessary, in view of fine East Indian defenses.

Last month Secretary Hull spoke quietly for maintenance of the status quo in The Netherlands East Indies, while part of the U. S. fleet (130 surface vessels, 42,500 officers and men, 500 airplanes, an undisclosed number of submarines) maneuvered off the Hawaiian Islands. Last week, as German troops poured into The Netherlands, Japan's Cabinet met in a special session, came out of it to demand maintenance of the status quo in The Netherlands East Indies. Acting swiftly, Jonkheer Alidius Warmoldus Lambertus Tjarda van Starkenborgh Stachouwer, Governor General of The Netherlands East Indies, ordered 19 German ships seized, 10,000 male Germans clapped into concentration camps, proclaimed that "any outside help will be refused as unwelcome." To almost-forgotten Greenland went its first U. S, Consul, James Penfield, 32, while Washington rumor declared that the U. S. would be forced to make a decision within two weeks on the status of the Arctic island, orphan since Hitler's seizure of Denmark.

The pressure of war, and the even stronger pressure of possible Allied defeat, had already posed—whether the U. S.

liked them or not—new questions. Henceforth the nation must consider the steps which it must take and not take in the cold logic of its own imperative self-interest.

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