JUNE 14, 1945
HYDE PARK, Wednesday—There is much discussion now about the McDonough bill, which would "authorize the release of persons from active military service and deferment of persons from military service, in order to aid in making possible the education and training and utilization of scientific and technological manpower to meet essential needs both in war and in peace."
It seems fairly obvious now that we should carefully screen the men in the Army and Navy, because we know that a nation strong in both war and peace must not allow the education of certain gifted people to be neglected. The type of mind which is creative, the type of disposition which makes an individual a good research student, and many other attributes and abilities should now be screened out and given a chance to develop for the benefit of the peace which must follow the war.
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Certain countries skipped a generation after the last war, and I think they suffered as a result. Now many countries are in danger, and we, too, are not exempt from the danger of losing a whole generation of scientists and able men in many fields because they have been inducted or have volunteered for service in the armed forces.
Consideration of the McDonough bill leads us quite naturally, I think, to the consideration of how we shall best give our country security in future years. I read two articles in the last few days—one by Max Lerner and one by Josephus Daniels—opposing compulsory military service. For months past, on the other hand, advocates of compulsory military service have sent me books and pamphlets showing the need for keeping our country strong by giving our young men military training. I am convinced that our country will be stronger if we give not only our young men, but also our young women training. I am not convinced, however, that this training has to be exclusively under the Army, or exclusively military training.
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We are trying to build an organization where the peoples of the world will meet together, and we hope that our young people will work and build for peace. We know that this may not be completely successful, that we may make mistakes, that we may still have wars. But we hope that we can limit these wars so they will not spread and wipe out our civilization. We hope that in time people may learn really to outlaw war.
But we are not yet ready to say that that can be done completely by an organization which we are only beginning to create and which we must learn to use. Our search, therefore, must be for that which gives us the greatest security and, at the same time, the greatest hope for developing confidence among nations and peace in the future.