Stoneman and Kirkpatrick: U.S. is Britain's only hope (4-23-41)

The Pittsburgh Press (April 23, 1941)

Two war reporters believe –
American declaration against Axis now a matter of desperate urgency, Stoneman writes

The significance of these two similar dispatches lies primarily in the fact that they were alleged to get past the tight British military censorship. The blunt language that is used in them indicates strongly a British desire to speed up America’s entrance, if any, into the war.

By William H. Stoneman

London, April 23 –
Highly competent American experts, who are intimately acquainted with the situation both at home and in Europe and who are fully qualified by their intelligence and long experience to judge the broader aspects of the present crisis, are now agreed that immediate participation of the United States in the war is a matter of desperate urgency.

These experts cannot be quoted, for obvious reasons, but, in my opinion, their conclusions are of such importance that they should be immediately available to the American public.

These people are neither “pro-British” nor “interventionist” in the ordinary sense of these expressions. If they are interventionist now, it is because they have examined the situation in the manner of so many doctors and have just happened to make that diagnosis. Their conclusions are:

  1. They feel that the situation is extremely serious and is bound to become more serious unless a miracle occurs. They regard an outright German victory as a distinct possibility in the course of the next few months, unless Britain is reinforced in a very important way.

Great Britain now possesses almost 1,000 assembled American and Canadian airplanes, Lord Beaverbrook, Minister of Aircraft Production, told the House of Lords at London today. He said that he was “now in a position to tell you that we have received immense American deliveries.”

  1. They believe that an immediate declaration of war would still have a good possibility of turning the tide, first, in the Battle of the Atlantic, and very soon afterward in other war theaters. Even the promise of all-out American assistance would allow the British to employ their manpower in a freer manner.

  2. All these experts, who know just as much about American production, the American Army, and the American Air Force as practically anybody in the world, say that only a declaration of war would cause the totalitarian effort which the United States must make, (a) to keep the battle going on this side of the Atlantic, and (b) to save itself from being left at the mercy of Germany, Italy and Japan. They point out that Yugoslavia had nearly one million tough fighting men, at the outbreak of its war with Germany, and that the United States itself has barely one million to defend all its territories.

  3. An American declaration of war would bolster the hard-tried spirits of the invaded nations and would encourage them to fight on. It might still make the hardboiled opportunists who run the Soviet policy think again and limit their assistance to Germany.

By Helen Kirkpatrick

London, April 23 –
With German occupation of Samothrace and possibly Lemnos, islands between Turkey and Greece, reports of increased German activity in French Morocco, and recurrently strong indications that Spain and Portugal may be forced in, the war has reached the most critical point since it began.

Reports from the United States continue to indicate that the American people do not understand the seriousness of the situation. It is this serious:
The outcome of this war may be decided within the next two months, and very probably by September.

The German movement to encircle the Mediterranean has made tremendous progress. German domination of North Africa is virtually an established fact. The next moves will undoubtedly be to try to reach the Suez Canal, in the East, and Gibraltar in the west.

The position of French West Africa, with its highly important and strategic port of Dakar, is now precarious and carries a definite menace to all Atlantic shipping.

German seizure of the Aegean islands of Samothrace and Lemnos, following the hard-fought Greek campaigns, is probably preliminary to an assault upon Turkey. It is assumed that Turkey will fight, though the Germans are active in spreading rumors of imminent Turkish diplomatic capitulation. With German dive bombers active throughout the Eastern Mediterranean, the position of the British fleet there io bound to become more and more difficult. The chances of the Germans breaking through to the Suez cannot be lightly dismissed.

Meanwhile, Britain is being subjected to unbroken and relentless warfare from the air and on the sea. British cities are being battered and pounded as no other cities in the world have ever been.

The British are more capable of standing up to these blows than probably any other people in the world, but it would be madness to assume that these unceasing raids have not affected production.

But it nevertheless remains an incontrovertible fact that American supplies become more essential everyday. Sinkings in the Atlantic continue at an exceedingly high rate and it is obvious to everyone here, as it must be in the United States, that a certain proportion of American war materials goes to the bottom of the Atlantic.

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