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A New Code WASHINGTON, D.C. For Americans between the ages of 18 and 26of whom I am onefew pieces of news .this year, and certainly none this past month, have been as interesting or important as the Code of Conduct for American servicemen officially proclaimed August 18 by President Eisenhower. The Code immediately became controversial. It has been assailed by such diverse personages as Sen. Estes Kefaiiver, who might be assumed to be politically motivated, and Maj. Gen. William F. Dean, the Korean conflict’s highest-ranking prisoner-of-war, who. might be assumed to know what he was talking about. The Washington Post argued that “strict adherence” to the Code “under such conditions as existed in the North cost the prisoner his ‘sporting chance’ of survival.” To anybody who Might yet wind up in such a prison camp, that’s a sobering thought. The significance of the Code was well explained by the Washington Star: “All these rules have long been in effect through special regulations or custom. But now they are written down in a form any soldier can understand.” The language is certainly simple enough. Four syllables is about the limit, and then just easy words like “American” and “responsible.” Words the Claude Batchelors could be expeCted to spell almost as well as the Gloria LockerinanS. What’s more, by golly, we’re thinking positively as all get out. Thanks no doubt Peale, or to some Pentagon press agent Interpretive THE TEXAS OBSERVER Page 3 September 14, 1955 who’s inspired by him, the Code is stated like an oatheverything in the first person: “I am,” “I will.” Simple, strong verbs. Nobody, however, is .going to have to swear to this; it’s just that I and anybody else who winds up in the armed services will be court-martialed for treason if we fail to live up to every “I will” and there are 13 df them in the Code. THAT MAKES IT more difficult. If it were a formal oath, one could simply demur if he ‘disagreed; there is still a strong American tradition that a man should not be compelled to say what he does not believe. But as it is, -in order to avoid affirming the Code one has to refuse military servicelegally very difficult and understandably unpopular with the general public, including one’s future employers. And so, when I am drafted, Iwill be compelled to act as though these were my own words: “I serve in the forces which guard my country and our way of life. I am prepared to give my life in their defense. \(Am I? I’m not sure; I never surrender of my own free will. \(Does that mean that I must be either dead or unconscious when taken pristinue to resist by all means available. \(If “means” includes bare hands, one would assume once again that prisoners must remain either dead or unconscious as I will make no oral or written statements disloyal to my country … God and in the United States of America. \(And how will the Pentagon know if I do or not? How do they propose to That last sentence”I will trust,” etc. I include both as a sample of the numerous platitudes the Code contains and because it was emphasized by one of the authors of the Code, Assistant Secretary of the Army Hugh Milton, in a television’ debate August 21. When his opponent, a New York University government professor who spent the half-hour tying Mr. Miltonexcusetne, Gen. Miltonin careful knots, ventured to suggest that no-. where in the Code was there even a hint of a promise , that courts-martial would take extenuating circumstances such as torture and youth and ignorance into consideration \(as they have notably General’s reply was to read that last sentence: “I will trust in my God and the United States of America.” W ELL, there’s an oldfashioned phrase to the effect that the Lord helps those who help themselves A Lee Legend To the Editor: To invoke our Southern heritage in defence of violent words and totalitarian deeds necessitates counter stories of the finer South of past and present, and of gentler Southerners. My devout mother enlivened the catechism we had to recite every Sunday afternoon with a fund of stories illustrative of the teachings of her church. General Lee’s life was a favorite source, and this is her story of his testimonial that we are all equal before God. Shortly afterAppomattox, the congregation: of General Lee’s church in Richmond was startled one Sunday to see a strange Negro man kneel at the communion rail before all the white people had communicateda procedure entirely contrary to custom. White members turned back in confusion but General Lee, kneeling in his pew, looked up and saw what had happened. He rose immediately and went up and knelt beside the Negro. The people returned and filled the rail. This story must have been current all over the South for it to have reached us in Texas, but I had looked for it in vain in Lee biographies until The Robert E. Lee Reader came out about 1949. Dr. Douglas S. Freeman, author of the definitive Lee biography, asserted that there was no proof of the story at all, although he had heard it all his life. The good old New York Times, comparing the story to the Lincoln letter to Mrs. Bixby, commented editorially that it was just the sort of thing the just and generous Lee would have done, and that truth or myth, both North -and South have much need for such legends. E. S. GORES Burnet An Integrated Parade To the Editor: grated high school , bands marched through the streets of this city as part of the Annual Kids’ Rodeo Parade. I’ve checked since with other observers in the crowd, whose reports jibe with my owfl, to-wit: In general onlookers noticed, did a double-take, and -then uttered murmurs of approval. I haven’t heard so far of any utterance of disapproval. Lawsuits or not, it is evident that -the El Paso School Board has stuck to its guns …. DICK MARSHALL El Paso P.S. Both bands played exceptionally well! The Big Wigs To the Editor: We enjoy reading the articles on individuals who are prominent in Texas politics, such as your recent ones on Judge Hart, Reuben Senterfitt, John Ben Shepperd, and others. J. C. WHITFIELD Houston 01′ Houn’ Dog To the Editor:. Keep the ‘Or Houn’ Dawg’ sniffin’ Boy! What a nose. CORDYE HALL Dallas which I trust in pretty generally: and if I should ever find myself in the hands of a bunch of Communist brainwashers I am not sure that I would know exactly how to trust in Gen. Hugh Milton to take exclusive care of this human personality which bears my name and with which I am no doubt overly concerned; on what foundation would I build my trust? The Communists are perfectly capable of destroying a human personality, a rather fragile thing at best. If I were at grips with that situation, I hope I would behave commendably and thwart the destruction of my personality by some device; but I do not think it will suffice to recall to mind at that time an assortment of fatuous phrases from a Code of Conduct imposed upon me against my willand imposed by a group of four generals, one admiral, and five Republican politicians, at that. G. F. J. The Idler, Thoreau To the Editor: That Monitor \(the NBC network dedescription of procedure in making his investigation of the breeding habits of frogs and merely edified the public with a few croaks is an indication of longstanding American contempt for frogwatchers.”‘A hundred years ago a Concord farmer spoke contemptuously of the writer and naturalist Henry Thoreau: “Why, one morning I went out in my field across there to the river, and there, beside that little old mud pond, was standing Da-a-vid at that pond, and when I came back at noon, there he was standin’ with his hands behind him just lookin’, down into that pond, and after dinner when I come back again if there wan’t Da-a-vid standin’ there just like as if he had been there all day, gazin’ down into that pond, and I stopped and looked at him and I says, ‘Da-a-vid Henry, what -air you a-doin’?’ He kept on lookin’ down at that pond, and he said, as if he was thinkin’ about the stars in the heavens, ‘Mr. Murray, I’m a-studyin’–the habits of the bull-frog!’ And there that darned fool had been standin’the live-long day a-studyin’the habits of the bull frog!” \(From Mrs. Daniel Chester French’s Memories of a Sculptor’s Denied the pertinent information on the importance of Dr. Blair’s study, Monitor listeners could glory in their middle class sanity and ridicule the college professor just as busy farmer Murray scorned the idler, Thoreau. GEORGE HENDRICK San Marcos \(Mr. Hencliick is a member of the English Department of Southwest Texas Discovery To the Editor: …. The Governor is finding out that he is not bigger than the Democratic Party … that the splinter is not larger than the log.’ S. A. LaRUE Austin Hard To Follow To the Editor: We who have closed our eyes to coexistence with communists, now can open our eyes with the world and feel the effects. We spent thousands in men and money fighting communists, and apparently now we are protecting same in Koually stopped by coexistence by either agreement, or a surrender, or protecting our enemies against our own allies, and being against our Constitution, the Bricker Amendment, and doing nothing about the shooting our planes down and ECA, whether it is a surrender, or agreement, by coexistence or otherwise is hard to follow. L. S. ROBNETT Klondike NEW WAVERLY Summer is drawing to its closeits calendar-close but not for two months yet its thermometer-closeand the farm is a busy place. What are we doing? Its so dry, how can we be doing anything, our city friends ask us. If we have cotton we are picking it. If we have pastures we are changing the cattle from one to another so that they will not tramp the grass to death this dry season. If we have calves to sell we are watching the market and creep feeding the calves. If we have gardens we are planting the fall vegetables. Yes, it’s dry, But you won’t lose anything but the seed if you plant in the dust, and a kindly shower may bring them up triumphantly on some enchanted, dew-spangled autumn morning. But probably the most important thing we are doing is planning for the future. The near future: like winter cover crops and grazing. The long time future: like soil building and wind breaks. Recently I made a trip in West Texas, visiting Abilene, Lubbock, and Amarillo. Here and there we drove between rows of stately Sunday School To the Editor: A very amusing conversation I had with my four-year-old nephew, Dannie Higginbotham of Killeen; only yesterday. if he was a Republican? “No, Uncle Frank, I go to Sunday School every Sunday.” I am glad he is going to be an. honest Democrat. Even though we can’t always feel proud of some people who are in high office in Texas. …. Had Texas had an up-to-date \(twoand one Republican would have been on the Soldiers’ Land Board, I am sure the Republican would have done .a better job than the tovernor and Attorney General did. Continue your paper. You are doing good. FRANK HIGGINBOTHAM Belton Give Them Light To the Editor: I have often heard “give the people light, and they will find their own way.” Congrats for giving that light. I hope enough people find their way before the reactionaries hood-wink the public and offer Allan Shivers as a presidential canTelegram of Aug..10 PAUL H. MATTHEWS Fort Worth Four-Year Term To the Editor: I enjoy reading The Texas Observer. especially when you give ole Allan hell. Since I subscribed for the paper I have moved to Oklahoma. We Aave a wonderful Governor up here. Oklahoma’s constitution gives the Governor a four-year term, and he cannot succeed himself. That would be one of the best amendments to the Texas Constitution …. CHARLES L. GRIFFIN’ Oklahoma City The Indian Incident To the Editor: The discriminatory treatment of the Indian ambassador and his secretary by a Houstonrestaurant employee, who subjected them to the same indignities of segregation which are accorded Negro citizens under Texas law, has brought discredit upon this country in the eyes of the world. No doubt the Communists, in their struggle for the domination of Asia, will capitalize on such an unfortunate incident for propaganda purposes. Who knows how much damage is done to the cause of the free nations by enforcement of Jim Crow laws in the United States! Does the Houston fumble not highlight the fact that racial discrimination sooner or later leads down a blind alley? EUGENE W. SUTHERLAND Fort Worth By Countryside and Town trees. And off yonder we saw many a farm home surrounded by green trees and shrubs. I can remember when the Experiment Station out there began pro viding young stuff for planting shelter belts on the Plains. I can remember the scoffing, the sarcasm, because shelter belts were of the New Deal farm pro gram. Call them wind breaks if you would rather, but if you have not already planted, include them in your fall planning this year. And don’t forget that the P.M.A. will help you with that planning. Universal Farmer and Rancher has these wise words for us: “We need a whole-farm approach. And that calls for whole-farm planning of our agricultural research and our farm advisory service. “No, farmers can’t afford faulty planning. Neither can the nation. our swelling population demands more food and fiber. This must come largely through efficiency, especially sound farm management.” Planting on a Hope