VOLUNTEERS IN FRANCE
There are many men who regret the President's decision not to accept, under the authority granted him by Congress, Mr. Roosevelt's offer of a volunteer force for immediate service in France. There are many men who see in such decision the wisest and the most helpful course.
However, the President's decision does not bind individuals as individuals, France needs men. Abundant opportunity is offered to any or all of the two hundred thousand men whom Mr. Roosevelt declared had volunteered to see service at once. The Foreign Legion has done some ugly work. It has not been pampered too much with leisure in which to grow fat between its decimating battles. There is room in that historic legion for men in whom the desire for action burns so very fiercely that they may not stay to go when our troops go.
Surely we cannot believe that the purpose of those two hundred thousand men was to serve under Mr. Roosevelt rather than to serve their nation, to fight under Mr. Roosevelt rather than to fight Germany. One man avails as much in the Foreign Legion as in the proposed volunteer army. So would two hundred thousand.
It might be said that does Mr. Roosevelt desire to serve, he may offer his sword to our ally, France. She would no doubt give him a position commensurate with her opinion of his abilities. That might be as captain of a company, or as a successor to Petain. We cannot say.
But Mr. Roosevelt is needed here, to inspire that enthusiasm which we must have, and which his tremendous magnetism may give. Perhaps here, arousing this nation to its fullest courage in fighting for a great cause, he could do as much as an adviser of the French general staff in directing the armies at the front.
We may assume that France does not need more generals for a time yet. We need Mr. Roosevelt.