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A SECRETARY WHO BELIEVES IN PEACE AND A GOOD ARMY. HIS PERSONALITY
AND HIS PLANS
ARTHUR W. PAGE
HE Secretary of War believes public learned that Mr. Garrison was in peace. To his mind, the a judge from New Jersey, it was taken very name of his department is for granted that he was a friend of the an anomaly. He believes that new President. This was hardly true, for
the great nations of the world although they had met formally, both can get together and agree to settle their being officers of the state of New Jersey, differences amicably.
their personal knowledge of each other But until they do so agree he believes really began when the President offered that we need an army. He is very positive Judge Garrison the war portfolio. The that if we need an army at all we need a President had become convinced that this good one, concentrated, trained, and post demanded the services of an able equipped. He does not want a larger lawyer (the five preceding Secretaries were standing army but he does believe in a lawyers: Taft, Root, Wright, Dickinson, reserve and in the better use of the and Stimson) and Mr. Garrison's reputaNational Guard as a supplement to the tion and achievements marked him as such regular forces.
a man. The President offered him the The appointment of Mr. Lindley M. post. Mr. Garrison was disposed to Garrison to be Sec
refuse it. It would retary of War came
interrupt his judicial as a complete sur
career. It meant inprise to the public.
convenience. From It was an equal sur
his own personal prise to the great
point of view he did department over
not want it. The which he now pre
President explained sides. Probably not
that the same objecone of the people
tions would occur if now under him knew
he should ask any that he existed. A
first-class lawyer, piece of "inside in
and said that he did formation” reached
not think it fair to them that a man
the party nor to the named Garretson
country that he was to have the war
should be forced to portfolio. That little
take a second-class they knew, and that
man because the
better men already When the an
had work in which nouncement was
they were vitally infinally made and the THE SECRETARY OF WAR
“How long will you give me to think it Mr. Garrison has hardly time to do over?” Mr. Garrison asked.
the first job thoroughly, and until the Twenty-four hours, was the President's long session of Congress meets he will have reply.
no opportunity to try the second. But Mr. Garrison decided the case in that in the first two months he has done a time and accepted.
very striking act: His first great task is to get hold of the The first criterion of any man in a organization of his department and make position of power in the first six months of
an administration is his treatment of the job-hunters and other patronage seekers. It is a thermometer of political and moral courage. Any one who knows anything about the army knows that the most demoralizing influence upon the conduct of officers is that political influence which is used to obtain promotions, transfers, and desirable details. Mr. Roosevelt when President issued two executive orders intended expressly to stop this abuse. But the abuse continued. Senators, Representatives, and other people with political influence were constantly bombarded with requests from army officers or their friends, and in many cases they carried the requests on to the War Department. This condition existed when Mr. Garrison took office. The incoming of the new Administration made it particularly acute. This was the form in which the question of patronage - the conflict between the personal interest of influential people and the welfare of the Government service came up to Mr. Garrison.
It was an insidious form. The regulations were clear that prohibited an officer using political influence for his advantage, but the War Department could not prohibit an influential friend from voluntarily exerting his influence.
While he has not prohibited it, the
Secretary has found a way to prevent it. MEETING HIS FIRST BIG PROBLEM He has issued a general order that whenGARRISON,
ever a request for an officer's promotion, AIDE, DIRECTING
transfer, or detail comes to the department, QUARTERS AT DAYTON, 0.
except through the proper military chan
nel, the request shall be referred to the it work for him. His second task is to officer and the officer be required to state know his department and his plans well whether it was made "directly or indirectly enough to lay them before the committees by his procurement, and whether he avows of Congress so that even the busiest men or disavows the request as one on his bemay read and understand. The coöpera- half.” If he admits that he instigated it the tion and understanding of Congress is law provides that he is disqualified from particularly vital to the successful adminis- the service that he improperly tried to get. tration of the War Department. Of course, If he disavows the act the department
merely has to forward the disavowal to the person who made the request. Since this order went forth not a single improper request has reached the department, and a member of Congress whom I asked about it told me that in one week it had put an end to nine requests that he was asked to make upon the Secretary of War. The army is delighted. Even the officers who instigated improper requests under the old conditions would, most of them, rather trust to merit than
“pull” if they only felt sure that everyone else was on the same basis. With few exceptions Congressmen will welcome the end of an onerous burden which wasted time on undignified, embarrassing errands that received much censure and little thanks. In one particular at least the new Secretary of War has divorced politics from the army and the army from politics to the great relief of both.
Mr. Garrison had no military training. He has no military
whether from revolutions on the border or catastrophes at home. The army's Mexican work the Secretary sees at second hand. The army in the stricken field of the flood the Secretary saw for himself.
Major J. E. Normoyle and Capt. James Logan were in charge of the relief operations on the Mississippi in the summer of 1912. During the four months the army cared for 272,752 refugees and 54,525 head of live-stock. On Thursday, March 27, 1913, these two men went to the War College in Washington armed with daily papers containing full accounts of the floods in Ohio and Indiana. They got down their maps and began to plan, for they thought that they might be needed. In a little while a telephone message from
tendencies. He is a Quaker by descent. Most of his time is quite properly taken up with the other responsibilities of his department - the river and harbor work (though this is done by army engineers it is not military work), the Philippines, Porto Rico, the Canal Zone, etc. Yet the army has at once taken hold of his imagination. He sees the records of the soldiers along the Mexican border who for two years have handled a most difficult situation almost perfectly. There was one complaint from the Mexican Government of an American officer who had crossed the Rio Grande. The investigation proved that he had done so - and more that he had risked his life to save the lives of the remnant of a Federal garrison. The Mexican Government changed its complaint to a request that the officer's bravery be rewarded.
The Secretary confessed that when he first took up his responsibilities he was a little fearful that some of our fighting men along the border would let provocation lead them into a fight. But he has come to view the border patrol as the chief guarantor of peace in that troubled district. The army has come to be the handy instrument to restore normal conditions
MR. GARRISON'S SMILE