Letters to and From the Editor
“We Need More Immigrants“
The arguments set up by Oscar Handlin in his article, “We Need More Immigrants,”in the May Atlantic seem to me to he specious and without logical grounds.
The apparent present shortage of certain types of labor in the American labor market is certainly not justification for revising our immigration laws to allow a greatly increased influx of European misfits. With a few million less population than we now have, we performed prodigies of industrial production during the last war. When more of our productive forces can be used in the production of goods other than those necessary to the full military preparedness we now maintain, there will be an easing of the tight labor situation.
It seems to be a point of particular irritation to Mr. llandlin that the quota for Great Britain under our present immigration laws is ten times as great as that for Italy, and about twenty times as great as that for Greece. He talks about the overcrowding and overpopulat ion of Italy. Italy has a land area (including Vatican City) of approximately 116,235 square miles. Her population (1949 estimate) is 46,235,000. Great Britain has an area of only 88,745 square miles, and a populat ion only 2,000,000 less than Italy’s. Of the two countries, which would you say was seriously overcrowded? Greece has an area of 51,182 square miles and a population less than that of New York City. How can Mr. Handlin construe this to be overpopulation?
Professor Handlin’s article does us an important service in that it points out that “ the specious considerations of national origin" of 1924 are reaffirmed by the McCarran-Walter Act in a 1952 scene to the point that a “pervasive hostility to aliens reaches over to injure native Americans.”The point that the Act increased the burdensome and restrictive administrative prov isions is also important.
But many people disagree that we can benefit by a domestic servant class. The South has had one for 250 years with undesirable results. In the North, the replacement of the Irish maid by the Bendix has certainly created a more democratic atmosphere between middle and upper income families, not to mention the improvement in the attitude toward the Irish ex-maid.
It is also questionable that cheap immigrant labor elevates the salaries of “native" Americans. The Bureau of Labor statistics do not agree. The record of the South is that the cheap Negro labor has depressed all labor standards for all workers.
Another fallacy is the contention that we must siphon off the surplus population of Europe. The record of history is that emigration does not solve t he problems of overpopulation.
ORVILLE R. MEYER
“Training for Statesmanship”
George F. Kennan’s article, “Training for Statesmanship,”in the May Atlantic contains several valuable comments. Emphasis on quality, character, and an understanding of man by man is, of course, the core of any liberal arts college worthy of the name. As a teacher of an International Relations course in such a college, and a onetime practitioner in the field, I wish to comment, on one point.
I have never yet met a teacher of International Relations who did not pride himself on presenting the materials in this field in a “realistic" fashion. I feel that Mr. Kennan set up the straw man of “utopianism and then vigorously knocked it over. “Realism” today rules the roost. So does “objectivity,”since (for one reason) a teacher can take easy refuge in it and never display his own altitudes regarding politically dangerous problems. I would suggest that the danger in International Relations courses stems not from “utopianism,”bul rather from the attractive and simple claims of “realism,”which so often equate national interests with national desires. Teaching that moral and ethical standards have political relevance is the challenge these days.
CHANNING B. RICHARDSON
I Personally —
Raul L. Porterfield in Atlantic Repartee for March, 1953, demonstrates the truth of Professor Toynbee’s contention that the scientific intellect far outdistances the subconscious psyche. He points to the English Channel barrier and its logistic problem in World War II. Has he forgotten that logistics is a science and, as such, subject to improved applications? How soon after World War II was a city supplied ent irely by air? That city had a population far larger than the Allied invading armies. It is true that, the bulk of the supplies were delivered over a period of time, whereas the invasion required huge amounts of supplies at once. Yet consider the cargoes in the Berlin airlift — they even carried coal!
Since the airlift, troop cargo planes of far greater capacity have been developed, not to mention the everincreasing load-lift and range of the helicopter.
My occupation in the merchant marine takes me to many places, and I know how many people in America and Europe are content to seek protection in the manner of the ostrich. Such a tactic, like inability to recognize the significance of technological progress, may prove fatal.
MARK H. WINNER, JR.
New York City
SIR : The Report on India in the April Atlantic aptly describes the significance of the experiment in democracy being conducted in the young republic. In a sense, the Five-Year Rian is a misnomer, for there is little resemblance between the Russian plans, which entailed untold human misery, and the Indian one, which seeks to uphold the rights of the individual and to preserve human liberty.
If the Five-Year Plan is to be successfully implemented and if runaway inflation or serious depletion of our foreign assets is to be avoided, $1.1 billion of external assistance is essential, inasmuch as the optimum marshaling of domestic voluntary savings together with the foreign aid already received leaves this gap to be filled. Economic development, no doubt, is a painstaking, slow, and cumulat ive process, especially for an “underdeveloped” country like ours. Prevailing world conditions and thinking, however, necessitate a speeding up of this process, and consequently the fulfillment of this modest plan is a prerequisite to the functioning of a stable democracy in India.
Prosperous countries like the U.S. are under no obligation to help the growth of poorer ones, but history shows that a rising prosperity in poor nations has a favorable effect upon the conditions of rich ones. Mr. Eisenhower in his inaugural address asserted that “assessing realistically the needs and capacities of proven friends of freedom,” the United States would “strive to help them achieve their own security and well-being.” Only time can tell whether the new administration will follow up its avowed policies wit h action.
P. N. AMERSEY Bombay, India
I should like to append a postscript to Donald Culross Peattie’s article, “The Douglas Fir” (April Atlantic). As a source of valuable timber, that, tree will last forever. But the magnificent virgin forests which so impressed him will be gone in another quarter century, except for the remnants now preserved in the Olympic National Park. These too will vanish if the lumbermen have their way in Congress.
For sawmill and plywood purposes, the Douglas Fir has a sustainedyield cycle of 80 to 120 years. Such trees are puny things compared with the giants 400 to 1000 years old, 8 to 16 feet in diameter and more than 200 feet tall, found in the “large growth” forests of the rain-swept west slopes of the Olympics and on the west coast of Vancouver Island. The finest of these wonderful “rain forests” were added to the Olympic Park in 1940 by President Roosevelt, under authority given him by Congress. He also authorized the acquisition of a small but important strip by exchange of national forest timber, and that was added by President Truman just, before he left office. Every year for fifteen years, the conservationists of America have had to fight off bills which would turn these scenic forests over to I he lumber interests. As we enter the “give-away years,” defenders of our national parks must be more alert, than ever, or they will have nothing to defend.
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