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ADDRESS GIVEN BY GENERAL LEONARD WOOD

At the Harvard Union, April 13, 1920

NO WRITER ATTRIBUTED

Ladies and Gentlemen: It is pretty hard to express appreciation of a reception of this king. It takes me back to the old days before the war when Harvard was doing, with the other universities, all they could to get ready for something that seemed to be coming. We could not see it, but we knew it was in the air. Again, as I look over your faces, it takes me back to the days of the training camp during the war when we used to get a regiment together and I told them about their duties and many of the things that they needed to know before they were ready for overseas work. There are some changes in these faces; but it is the same type of man. Now we are over with the actual condition of war and we hope for a long period of peace, but there are certain problems coming up for the country. There are big national problems which we must settle. There is nothing very emotional or exciting; they are about as substantial and unemotional as the Lord's Prayer or the Ten Commandments. They are fundamental, at the bottom of our national integrity, national force and perhaps national existence. They lie at the foundations of government, just as the Lord's Prayer and the Ten Commandments lie at the foundation of our moral and spiritual life. They furnish safe indications for our relations with other men and even with other nations.

A colored officer, in France, after the armistice, was talking to a soldier about work and the officer was telling him that he had to get to work and the soldier was refusing. Finally the soldier said: "Well, I enlisted for the duration of war and the war is over." So the officer answered, "Yes, the war is over, but the duration is just beginning."

We have got through with the war; the men did splendidly but the problems after the war are problems really of very general nature. I do not think that there is any use in criticizing the conduct of the war now as a continuing policy. We are going to take the lessons to heart for future guidance, but our policy should be forward looking. There are certain things to be disposed of. The world is uneasy; it is in a condition of world psychology. The war has left us something of the spirit of unrest and stampede. We have this great strike coming on, which is being organized by I. W. W. elements; a labor organization within Labor itself. It is a very grave and far-reaching condition. I am giving up my leave and going back to Chicago, as I think the situation warrants it. We do not know what is going to develop. It brings the matter to us forcibly that we are now threatened by a rather difficult situation. We are going to have a government of sane constructive elements or we are going to permit radicalism to rule. I don't think we are going to permit the latter.

We are going to have a government of Americans. I do not mean necessarily men of a long residence, who have been hare for generations, but I mean men willing to adhere to the constitution and laws of this country, who stand for our ideals. We have need of a number of things that we ought to dispose of, and the first is the League of Nations. We want action on it. My own views you are all familiar with, as expressed in my letter to Senator Borah, who has begun to take a touching interest in all my affairs. I told him that I believed we should accept the League of Nations with the reservations known as the Senate reservations. In dealing with this, we must not look at America from the European standpoint. We should look at European affairs from the American standpoint. We have a right to maintain the interests of our own country. We must adopt the League with reservations. We do not want America to be part of any separate state. We do want to help the world with its problems. We have done it in the world war and we shall do it again as long as we have a soul and a conscience. We want to build up a strong American spirit and do all we can to get peace in the world. If we get a League of Nations with reservations, we shall be able to accomplish this and shall be able to make a more lasting and enduring peace. We shall be able to do better what we have done before. If we cannot save the League of Nations, let us save the machinery of the league which provides for a gathering of the representatives of the nations to meet to talk things over. Two men, one honesty and one dishonest, may present opposite claims, but if they have to meet in conference, it is impossible to put over unfair and dishonest dealings. So no Harm and a great deal of good could come from these conferences.

We should build up a strong national feeling. We do not want a loose internationalism which makes anybody's business our business. We have been spanking a good many nations for their moral conduct, nations over which we have no real control. We ought to be a force for right and peace, but we shall do best by acting as Americans under some such arrangements as shall be left by adopting the League with reservations. Then let us recognize that we ought to try to save the machinery of the League. We are going to do things just as we did in the Spanish War when we went into Cuba to terminate the intolerable conditions there, and as we did in this war, to help civilization. We want to do it; we want that question disposed of now and not brought into our general election, because people cannot vote intelligently on a question, a document, of that kind. Not one person in a thousand has ever read the treaty and very few can understand it. Great pressure should be put upon the Senate and the President to pass this measure. It is not becoming in me to speak without respect of the President, but it is important to dispose of the treaty, and the President and Senate are the various means to do this. Not to settle this question means a delay in our process of adjustment.

Again, we have got to look ahead to the question of immigration after peace is sufficiently declared. We want and are going to have the right kind of immigration. We do not want the country filled with the forces of destruction. We do not want a red wave rolling in here which stands for nothing that we stand for but already has shown the absolute impracticability and futility of its views. Let us look our immigrants over a little and see that they are the right kind of men and women, and when they come, let us have a more intelligent method of handling them; give them the right kind of literature; find out their training and then use them in the positions for which they are fitted; send them to the parts of the country where their training will do the most good. We must look more carefully into the lives of those who come here. We must be as careful in increasing our population as we would in increasing a herd of cattle. We want to be a sound, well-balanced people. There has been talk of deportation. I don't think this should be done by short cut methods. Every man is entitled to fair play and they ought to be put before a court of jurisdiction and given a fair trial, and, if that court finds against them, they should be returned to their own country. Do not let us do anything outside of the law. The immigration question is a deep question.

Centralization of power in the government is necessary at times, but should never be continued for a moment after its necessity ceases. We want to get back into our normal form of government and get out of our immense national expenditures. We are now thinking of government expenses in terms of billions instead of millions; we should think in terms of millions rather than billions. We want to get rid of our army of unemployed; get back to an economical system of administration. We should build up a budget system, to be prepared by or under the direction of the President, which contains estimates of all departments. The present system is very unsound. I had four years experience in trying to get appropriations for the army, and you go before various committees and make your requests before many different heads. There is no special co-operation between any of the departments. With the budget system all that is co-ordinated by the heads of departments under the direction of the President.

We want to bring into office men of the best possible ability. No man is so dangerous as one who thinks he knows it all. You remember that Lincoln brought Steward and Stanton into his cabinet, although they had opposed him. Theodore Roosevelt brought to his aid Elihu Root, Hay, and so on. We want to get the best men possible to help us. That is a sound administrative policy. Let's not try to do it all ourselves. We also want a sound, foreign commercial policy, which is something we have never had. Our consulships ought to be filled by men who know the needs of our country, who are familiar with their business, who know about our resources and our ability to meet the demands of other countries. We want to build up intelligently our commercial policy and there never was a better opportunity than now. We should keep our newly acquired ships under the American flag and under the control of American shipping firms. Our flag has been off the ocean for a long time and we must get it back. It may become an important national matter with us whether we ship our goods in foreign ships or American. Of course we are a more or less self-sustaining people, but we do want a dignified policy. We want Americans to feel that they have about them the protecting arm of the United States. We read quite often now of Americans carried away and held for ransom and sometimes we think of the experience of another president years ago. When a North African sultan carried off an American citizen and declared that he wanted ransom, the answer was "We want--alive or the sultan dead." And in a very short time we had--alive. There is nothing more likely to breed trouble than the policy which waits while things go on from worse to worse until finally we are in trouble. We have done all we could for those people by words, but we have not been successful.

We want a strong, dignified military policy and the military establishment handled in an efficient manner. Personally, I do not think that we need an army of more than 225,000, but it wants to be highly efficient and backed by our reserve corps officers and such a system of training as you may decide to adopt. The present administration has brought up a good measure, the Universal Training, Bill, providing for a period of training of four or six months to be given somewhere between the 19th and 21st years. The boys come to the camp and are thoroughly overhauled, any physical defects are corrected as far as possible. Important general talks are given them on national history, Americanization, etc. They are given instruction in military training, and it is all under the best possible hygienic conditions. In the training, officers will be necessary, and about 80 per cent, of these will come from the Officers' Reserve Corps. The men will be instructed to keep free from vice disease, which is a very important thing, for vice diseases lie at the very fountain head of human life. What does it mean to the young men to get one such period of this training? In the first place, it means democracy, living together with other men; it means vocational improvement, educational improvement, and a general physical clean up and a fresh start. It seems to me that heat must mean a great deal. If there is any better plan for bringing the youth of America together for a short time and teaching them the duties of citizenship, let us have it. We call this universal military training, but we might better call it universal training for national service.

We must remember that the times will come when we shall have to do what we did in this war, and we must remember that we made our preparations behind that line of British, French, Serbians and Italians. We made our preparations while they held the line. They furnished all our artillery, our flying planes, and our training was completed with the aid of French and English officers. They were absolutely invaluable. They made our army and were responsible for its effectiveness. The next time we may not have their aid and we shall certainly have need of some kind of training. If the dead in the cemeteries in France could rise and speak to you, at least one-third of them would say, "We are your dead. We are not the dead of the enemy. We died of American neglect, of your lack of vision, of your lack of preparation. We went to death willingly, but we were almost unavailingly sacrified. You drafted us in July and the enemy, killed us in September. You did this after four years of warfare and you are going to do it again." God has given us intelligence and a memory. Let us not listen again to this same advise of people who state that war is over. Before the Civil War Sumner declared that the world had seen its last great war. Now we have this same loose, dangerous international influence springing up against armaments. We do not like war, but must sometimes get ready against war.

We want a good navy, always ready for any emergency. This is our first line of defense. You can keep the peace just as well if you are strong. Do not let people lead you off your feet. You have all been through the war experience, and you men are going to have a tremendous influence in building up a national policy. I hope you will hold on to a safe policy. I do not think that there is the slightest doubt that if we had been ready, there would have been no world's war. I remember years ago when Germany was building up her military policy, I was with Lord Roberts, and we were talking about this German machine, and he said, "I am going to devote the balance of my life to try to wake England up." And he did devote most of his life to that effort.

We have industrial conditions coming up. I think that American women coming into politics are going to have a good influence. They are going to stand for better public administration and provide a better morality. We can legislate many things, but we cannot legislate a spirit of fair play in the hearts of men, and it all turns on that question of square play. We want to build up a general condition under which our men and women may work under reasonable wages. These are the things we must work for. The Candidates have a good system. A strong public opinion is built up which supports the right, and they have very few strikes in Canada. It has been my experience that if you know how to handle men you will have no trouble with them. If you have an quality of leadership or capacity for putting yourself into the other fellow's place, you can soon have 90 per cent of the men following you.

I remember meeting one fine looking young fellow at a training camp. He had no knowledge of military affairs or of the signs of military recognition, at least as far as I was concerned. After he had passed me without saluting, stopped him and said, "How long have you been here?" And he answered, "Why, I have been here about four days, and how long have you been here, old man?" He was a splendid young man, but knew nothing of military service. All he needed was tactful handling.

You have to go carefully in handling men who are working with you. Discipline is founded on respect for the officer or soldier. The basic qualification for an officer is that he show the men that he always has their best interest and welfare at heart. This applies to men in war, industry, or anywhere else.

We have the problems of our schools; educational conditions throughout the stability of the country depends on the educational system. Three hundred thousand men and women are teaching without certificates. Our best teachers are leaving their positions in order to earn a living wage. We must look over our provisions for teaching and must pay our teachers and professors better wages.

We must have honesty on the part of the government, honesty on the part of labor, an honest day's work for an honest day's pay. You have the problem of agriculture, the problem of keeping the arid lands occupied. If there were one thing that I could do, I would keep as many men as possible on the land. The better for the farmers by such means as to the cities. We must make condition better for the farmers by such means building good roads and improving their living conditions and giving them good schools. And there are scores of other problems which we must meet. We country are slipping backwards and must stand firmly for our American ideals, and stand against all class legislation. We want no autocracy of any one class; we want to stand together under one flag under the old spirit of liberty and loyalty. We want to harmonize the elements in this country. There is no greater danger in the country than those political fakirs who are threatening our national existence. Let us bend every effort to keep alive that fine spirit of friendship and co-operation. So let us pull together and I think all these difficulties and problems will disappear easily and quickly

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