New York Times

Commerce Organization Wants a Council of National Defense.

WASHINGTON, Feb. 10. — Closing the business sessions of its annual convention here today, the Chamber of Commerce of the United States adopted resolutions calling upon the railroads and their employes to adjust their wage controversy by arbitration. The organization also ratified a program of national defense which proposed universal military training, an increased navy, and the creation of a council of national defense to mobilize, when needed, all the nation’s forces, fighting, industrial, commercial and scientific.

Other resolutions adopted provided for a referendum to the Chamber’s membership of 703 business organizations throughout the country on the desirability of providing pensions for Federal civil service employes and of amending the Federal Constitution to permit the President to veto specific items of appropriation bills. Elimination of objectionable riders to these bills, which the President cannot veto now without disapproving the entire bill, it was urged, would be accomplished through such an amendment.

All of this afternoon’s session was devoted to a discussion of national preparedness. Charles Nagel, former Secretary of Commerce and Labor, said that the army and navy were only "the point of the arrow," and that national preparedness consisted of the mobilization of all the country’s resources.

Secretary of the Navy Daniels defended the Administrations’ naval defense program and advocated immediate building up of an adequate merchant marine.

"We can no longer live unto ourselves," said Mr. Daniels. "On our farms we grow more than the Republic can consume. We must feed much of the world. We have the right also to have a large share in clothing the work and supplying people in every clime with whatever is manufactured in our mills and factories. But how can we fill our larger mission ? What avail teeming harvests and large production in factories without adequate and reasonable water transportation ? The securing of an adequate merchant marine is a pressing problem, and it is so tied up with the enlarging and strengthening of our nave that the two cannot be wisely separated.

"The naval program offered by the Administration is a constructive, progressive one, and if built according to the continuous five-year program — the first continuing program ever proposed by and Administration — it will give us, by the year 1921, thirty-three capital ships of the first line and twenty-five battleships of the second line, with ten armored cruisers, 108 destroyers, 175 submarines and similar small craft in proportion."

Mr. Daniels declared himself to be a disciple of Benjamin Franklin on the question of preparedness. "This philosopher-statesman declared that ‘there never was a good war nor a bad peace,’ but he did more to prepare for the impending revolution than any other man," he said.

In a report submitted at an early session today the National Defense Committee of the Chamber of Commerce advocated universal military training, the restoration of the American nave to second place and creation of an Advisory Council of National Defense, composed of men representing all forms of national strength. The proposed council of national defense would be composed of the President, the Secretaries of State, War, Nave, Commerce, Labor and Treasury, chairmen of important Congressional committees, ranking officers of the army and navy, and some civilians. The recommendations of the committee were subsequently adopted.


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