Secretary Stimson's press conference statement last Thursday settled one thing in the minds of students. He made it clear that the ultimate destination of every man is the armed forces and ended the ambiguity presented when the demand for a 10,000,000 man army was stacked up against the policy of deferring undergraduates because they were undergraduates. He ended all thoughts of a diploma before an induction notice except for those whose graduation is imminent. But the fog has not lifted--it has only diminished. The path and the destination are clear, the relative worth to the nation of a college graduate and a buck private are set, but the details are yet to emerge.
Will the Navy and the Air Corps follow the lead of the Army and abandon their deferment programs? Men in the Marines have already received their six-months notice. What is to be the fate of the ROTC? In many quarters, sections of the Stimson dictum were taken to mean that the college units will be given up. When the lowered draft age becomes a reality, will the age limits of the ERC, and any other such groups operating under similar regulations, drop to meet it? And if they do should the colleges go into the English system of one year for everyone? What is the specific policy of the draft boards as to the status of science majors? Will the Navy call a halt to recruiting activities? All these questions and more must be answered before the picture becomes truly sharp and distinct.
In spite of these confusing details, however, the basic fact has been established: the gun is more important than the pen. But this does not mean that every college student should pack his bag immediately and leave for the nearest enlistment office. Rather it means that his task is to stay here and train himself as much as he can until his gun is ready, knowing that he will be told by means of the call to duty when it is. He must train himself to be a better soldier, and to help fill the desperate need for trained men that will exist after the armistice.