The time for "final action" by the United States to insure defeat of the Axis Powers is near at hand, said President Conant yesterday in his first public address since returning from England two weeks ago. Speaking before the twenty-fourth annual meeting of the American Council on Education, in Washington, he reiterated that it is of paramount importance for this country to extend all possible aid to Britain, "not excluding steps that might necessitate active belligerency, when the strategists so advise." He is expected to elaborate on this problem tomorrow, in a scheduled radio talk on "When Shall America Fight?"
President Conant has been in Washington, conferring with high defense officials, almost continually since his mission ended. Although no details have been revealed as to his exact occupation there, it is rumored that one of his important duties is attempting to solve the complicated question of how to keep industry stocked with brainpower, and at the same time supply the army with enough men.
Most of his discussion yesterday was confined to a factual outline of the British attitude toward training men for technical positions. "This war is a technical war in which physicists and engineers in particular are at a high premium," he stated in the opening portion of his speech. Although the British realize the necessity for having doctors, physicists, engineers, and chemists, "the academic world has come to the conclusion that the war must first be won . . ."
He emphasized, however, that because certain occupations are "reserved," the scientists of Great Britain, "are now to a surprising degree mobilized for national service. . . . If men in these professions had been allowed to volunteer at the start, or had been drafted, the shortage today would be very serious indeed.
No Compromise Peace
"One wonders," he went on, "whether we in the United States will be far-sighted enough to profit by the example." It was probably with this in mind that President Conant sent a letter recently to all men at Harvard affected by the draft, advising them to decide immediately whether or not they wished to seek determent.
The President concluded his address with a reassertion of his totaled belief that "a so-called compromise peace means slavery for every man, woman, and child upon their island.
"It seems to me clear," he said, "that in all likelihood the longer we delay in sending full aid against the Axis Powers, the longer will be the war, and the greater will be the ultimate misery for all mankind.