December 26, 1914

by Richard van Pelt, WWI Correspondent

The day’s headlines from the Capital Journal

Cruisers North Carolina and Tennessee Prevent Massacre of French
Requisitioned American Ship and Loading Foreigners On It Saved Them

Washington, Dec. 26. – Inquiry concerning the truth of a report that they threatened to shell the port of Tripoli, Syria, to quell a demonstration against French citizens, being taken away on an American steamship, was cabled today by Secretary of the Navy Daniels to the commanders of the American cruisers North Carolina and Tennessee, at Beirut. It was the second time within ten days that Secretary Daniels had heard that the two cruisers had “threatened bombardment” of Turkish towns in order to sea aliens.

This, If True, Marks the Most Spectacular Advance Yet Made by Allies
French Claim Other Gains Though None of Any Very Great Importance

The paper reported on the state of the state militia:

Says Those Who Do Not Agree With Him Are “Undesirable and Loud Mouthed”

If there is any lack of efficiency in the present organization of the Oregon national guard, naval militia or any other branch of the civilian soldiery, in the estimation of Captain R. W. Collins, of the U. S. Coast artillery corps and inspector instructor of coast artillery reserve of Oregon, the fault lies mainly with the attitude of ignorance indifference and lack of moral and financial support on the part of the general public.

He also ascribes much of the attitude of indifference and non support manifest upon the part of certain classes of the public to ignorance of the true conditions and status of the militant and pronounces those who compose one class – a “small number who look upon the defense of the country as a crime, but who are very loud-mouthed” – as undesirable citizens and declares they should be drummed out of the country for their “room is better than their company.” He also endorses Adjutant General Finzer’s suggestion for the organization of a state constabulary, for the enforcement of the law in aggravated cases and for strike patrol duty, as a solution to the problem of securing membership of the state militia as many of the younger generation eligible for military duty are opposed to the national guard and would otherwise enlist were it not for those features.


A part of the lack of proper support by the different communities, declare Captain Collins, seems due to the following influences: –

1. Of a comparatively small number who look upon the defense of our country as a crime, but who are very loud-mouthed.
2. Of those who think that the American citizen does not have to be trained to be a good solder.
3. Of those who believe that the United States, without any preparation can lick the whole world.

“Those under the first division,” says Captain Collins, “should be classed as undesirable citizens for, no matter how exalted their present positions, they do more harm than many who for other reasons, are considered undesirable; their room can be better taken by others who concede the privileges enjoyed under our system of government constitutes a debt to the community that can only be repaid by service.

“The short comings of the second and third classes are due to ignorance; if those of these classes can be made to realize the consequence of their swashbuckler attitude and the falsity of their assumption, and then with indifference can be awakened to the necessity they will gladly aid in obtaining and supporting an adequate defense force.”


About whclarc

We are devoted to providing information fresh from the Archives, Library and Collections of the Willamette Heritage Center in Salem, Oregon. We specialize in the history of Marion County and the greater Salem area.
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