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James M. Fenwick

Off Limits

(19 January 1948)

From Labor Action, Vol. 12 No. 3, 19 January 1948, p. 3.
Transcribed & marked up by Einde O’Callaghan for the ETOL.

Here Come the Marines!

Equipped with tanks, guns, flame-throwers, bulldozers, trucks, jeeps and other materiel for whiling away the tedium of shipboard life, 1,000 marines left the United States early this year for Mediterranean waters.

Afraid that some idiot somewhere, somehow, sometime might consider the movement a purely routine affair, the State Department declared that it “was a routine administrative action by the Department of the Navy, undertaken without consultation because of its relatively minor importance.”

Almost everybody got the point, including even, battled-scarred Admiral “Bull” Halsey, fresh from his recent encounter with the WCTU, who declared that the Marine Corps might well be making history once again in 1948.

The move was the most recent in the series of steps taken by U.S. imperialism to contain the Stalinist penetration in the Mediterranean area. This latest measure in the cold war conveniently coincided with the establishment of the Stalinist puppet government in Greece.

Other measures taken recently in Greece through U.S. initiative include: a 12,000-man increase in the Greek regular army and an increase in the national guard, bringing it to fifty battalions; the assignment of U.S. advisers for combat operations; and an increase in the table of organization for heavy machine gun and mountain artillery units. In addition, the British have turned 40,000 rifles over to the Greek army.


The contemplated retirement of British forces from Palestine is another factor leading to U.S. involvement in that critical area. According to reports from both Washington and Jerusalem, Zionist leaders are beginning a drive to secure arms from the United States for the prosecution of the struggle against the Arabs which flared up as a result of the UN partition decision.


U.S. imperialism’s plans for Panama have struck a snag. A treaty for the establishment of thirteen air bases outside the Canal Zone area has been voted down by the National Assembly of Panama, 54 to 0. Frank T. Hines, whose chief qualification for ambassador to Panama was a first-rate failure as Veterans Administrator, has been withdrawn and less crass proposals and methods are being devised. The State Department brass is finding out that South America, as yet at least, is not merely a bureau of the War Department.

Notes on World War III

There’s one in every crowd. In the army it was the character who genuinely liked C-ration hash. Among the capitalist politicians it’s the person who doubts the inevitability of World War III. “Unless we behave like raving lunatics,” recently said Sir Hartley Shawcross, the British attorney general, addressing 2,000 school children, “there will not be another war. But there is always the possibility that men may be lunatics.”

We have characters like Shawcross on this side of the Atlantic, too. Listen to the New York Times: “No World War III is expected, according to information available at the Chemical Industries Show.” And why? “No orders have been placed, spokesmen said, either for munitions and explosives or the machinery to make them.” Further – and this is the clincher: “No Russian orders have been received for war materials.”


That there is an exceptionally large group of men in this country happy in their lunacy, at least as described by the profound Shawcross, is revealed daily in the paper:

Washington (AP)The National Security Resources Board has asked 14 industrial leaders to meet with it next Wednesday to, advise the board on forming a general program for industrial, civilian and military mobilization.”

Washington (AP)A group of atomic scientists and a military team of admirals and generals have been assigned to organize and staff the new proving ground for atomic weapons at Eniwetok, in the Far Pacific.”

Washington (AP)The highly secret operations at Sandia Base, New Mexico, were referred to for the first time yesterday by the Army as a ‘guided missiles project’.”

Washington (AP)Admiral of Fleet Chester W. Nimitz says the United States Navy holds ‘undisputed control of the sea’ and could establish floating air fields off any shore to attack inland areas.

“The former chief of naval operations predicts ... the Navy will arm its carrier-based planes with atom bombs.”


Echoes from World War II

“Gen. Dwight D. Eisenhower, Army chief of staff,” the New York Times states, “is reported by close associates to be on the verge of closing a deal for his wartime memoirs for an amount ‘in excess of $500,000’.” ... INS reports: “House investigators today probed the ‘Mexican promotions’ of several hundred army reserve officers who retired with life-time tax-exempt pensions after receiving last-minute boosts in rank.” ... “House members,” reports the AP, “applauded but rejected today a proposal that they ‘make a little sacrifice’ by giving up their customary mileage allowances.” ... Truman prefaced his State of the Union message to Congress by saying to its members: “I sincely hope you won’t have too much hard work in the coming year.” ... One out of ten World War II veterans is still unemployed. ... 90,000 disabled veterans do not have work ... New York State veterans jammed offices distributing bonus application blanks when they were opened ... Newsweek, discussing the problem of “illegitimate” children of Negro GIs and English girls, says: “The United States Army refused to entertain paternity claims when Negro soldiers were involved. In some cases, their parents wanted to marry and their fathers’ commanding officers refused to permit it for racial reasons.” ... The Christmas amnesty of conscientious objectors heavily discriminated against those whose opposition to military service was not based upon religious but upon ethical, political, philosophical or general humanitarian grounds.

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