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Bonds of Better Understanding-5
Condensed from Our World (Feb.)
"The International Institute of Agriculture, founded through the perseverance of David Lubin, an American, and the cooperation of an Italian King, unites the Old World and the New in bonds of economic service."
VERY now and again someone arises who actually carries the world a step forward toward the realization of the ideal of a world set free. One such was David Lubin of Poland and California. "What is government?" he asked. "A government, after all, is but a series of departments for carrying on the business of a nation. And as international needs lead to the formation of departments to carry on business of the several nations in their relations to each other, we shall one day awake to the fact that international government has been evolved, not so much as the result of a deliberate, conscious effort toward that end as in response to positive, practical
It was in this belief that David Lubin took up his advocacy of a cause which at last found concrete form in the International Institute of Agriculture in Rome. What David Lubin brought to Europe was nothing less than the idea of the first League of Nations for economic purposes which, as a result of his untiring efforts, was established through the initiative of King Victor Emmanuel III of Italy, and has been operating for the past eleven years under a treaty now ratified by 62 nations.
Brought as a fatherless infant to the United States from Russian Po
land, David Lubin had been trained in the hard school of poverty and labor. At 12 years of age he was earning his living as a jeweller's apprentice. Later, he opened a small clothing shop in Sacramento, California. In a few years he had bea prosperous and respected merchant and a pioneer in the Department Store and mail-order business. He wished to master agriculture, and was as successful on his fruit and wheat ranch as he had been in his store. Lubin was led to realize that the markets for agricultural staples were international; that cereals, cotton, wool, and the like are sold by public auction on the produce exchanges of the world, and that the prices obtained for them are world prices affected by world conditions. Moreover, he found that certain countries had their own systems of crop-reporting, but the reports they got out were belated, more for the purposes of official statistics than for current commercial use, while the producing centers of most importance for international trade-Russia, Rumania, Argentina, Canada-had no system beyond occasional reports. The markets of the world used data furnished by private concerns. The reports were biased by the interests represented, opportunities for price. manipulation were not neglected, and the markets vibrated in response.
Lubin attempted to show the authorities at the Department of Agriculture that here was a field which called for international action, but he I was looked upon as a crank and a bore. He then went to England, in 1904, but made no headway there. He failed also in Paris, and went to Rome. He took with him a scrapbook in which he had pasted certain
letters of introduction "to all whom it may concern," and various papers proving his status as a merchant of good repute in Sacramento. That was all the outside help he had. He knew no one in Italy, and the only language he spoke was the forcible English of the Far West. He said to the King: "I bring you a proposal of great historical importance. Italy is well suited to be the initiator of this work, for she is neither a preponderating buyer nor a preponderating seller of the staples of agriculture; she is, in this respect, a neutral power, and a proposal emanating from her will not arouse the suspicions either of the buyers or of the farmers."
In May, 1915, the official representatives appointed by the Governments of 40 nations met in Rome and drew up the Convention establishing an official international crop-reporting bureau, a world clearing house for information on the economics and technique of agriculture, a permanent international economic parliament with power to propose to the adhering governments measures for the protection of the common interests of farmers. The International Institue of Agriculture is housed in a palace presented by the King of Italy, and endowed by him out of his private means to the extent of 300,000 lire a year. Besides this endowment its annual income, amounting to well over a million francs is derived from the yearly quota which each adhering government is required to pay.
The work of this Institute--its bulletins on agricultural cooperation and credit, on the science and practice of agriculture, its yearbooks of agricultural legislation and statistics-are well known to students of these subjects. Its monthly reports showing the world acreage under the various crops, their conditions, the harvest prospects and yields, etc., cabled to the several governments, afford all concerned official, reliable data on the supply available to meet current demand; and this knowledge, officially published at stated intervals, tends
to minimize the weight given to the conflicting rumors with which "bull" and "bear" seek to influence the market. The Institute inaugurated this service in 1909, just after James Patten had made himself notorious by cornering the Chicago wheat market. Since that date we have heard no more of corners in wheat.
New countries have arisen in Europe and Asia. It is essential that they be assisted in their agricultural policies if they are not to become pawns in the hands of international price manipulators. The Institute, in which they enter as equals, is the body through which such guidance and assistance can best be given without arousing national jealousies. There are grave questions of policy to be settled as regards carriage, pure food legislation, emigration and immigration of agricultural labor, crop insurance and credit, the development of the resources of backward and tropical countries, and the regular, unimpeded movement of staple raw materials to industrial centres which do not possess them but where they must be had if unrest and revolution are to be avoided.
International departments of the post-office, of agriculture, of hygiene, of labor, have come into being; international departments of commerce, of transports, of finance, are growing up, arising out of the crying needs of the hour. Thus, gradually, step by step, that League of Nations, in danger of shipwreck danger of shipwreck on the shoals of political interests, will yet come safely into port under the flag of economic necessity. In this life the Institute of Agriculture is fitted to play an important part. It touches on the most intricate problems of modern life, the production, distribution and price-fixing of the staples which feed and clothe the men, women and children of the world. Arising from the efforts of an American idealist and the action of an Italian King, it symbolizes that close cooperation between the Old World and the New which alone can insure peace and prosperity to mankind.
The Set-Back of Civilization
in the Near East
Condensed from Asia, The American Magazine on the Orient (Feb.)
An authentic account of events in the Near East, the equal of which, according to historians, has not happened since the days of Carthage.
T is remarkable that so few Americans know what is going on in the Near East. It should be understood that events of deep significance to the Christian world have been unfolding there.
One of the first phenomena of the war in Asia Minor was an antiChristian propaganda. Violence against Greeks, together with a general boycott, was openly advocated. It was proposed that Greeks should not be allowed to work in their vineyards or their fields, since, it was said, all of these properties really belonged to Turkey. As a result sporadic murders occurred in the hinterland of Smyrna. Greeks and Armenians were called to the doors of their farmhouses at night and, when they opened them, were chopped down with axes and swords. Greeks were shot in their vineyards by Turks, and a reign of terror very generally commenced. This ended in the deportation or flight of the whole Christian population of a considerable area. The number of Christians affected is probably between 250,000 and 300,000.
The treatment of the Christians during the war was abominable. I have told how they were driven out of their villages and shot in their vineyards. They were also forcibly enlisted for military service but were
given no guns or uniforms.
They were set to doing work for the army, such as digging trenches and were not provided with blankets or food in any quantity. They were also without shelter and naturally a very large percentage of them died of exposure and hunger. They were supervised by Turkish officers who carried whips and did not hesitate to use them. Very often the Allied communiques would announce that the British had successfully bombarded the enemy while they were digging trenches and that they had been seen to fly in all directions. These reports furnished considerable amusement among the Turks in Smyrna, since the "enemy" thus bombarded were the native Christians who had been put purposely in exposed positions.
Most of the Greeks who have recently been deported from Asia Minor or who are slowly dying in the interior, into which they have been driven, are descendants of forebears established in that region since the days of the Byzantine Empire. In the cities they were the merchants, carpenters, shoemakers, mechanics, in general the industrial backbone of the country, and in all the big business firms, French, American and English, they nearly made up the staffs of clerks, etc. In the country they were the skilled farmers. It was they who were cultivating the famous sultana raisin. Had these Greeks been left alone and allowed to pursue their peaceful industries, in time they would have brought Asia Minor back to some degree of the prosperity which it enjoyed in antiquity. They had nothing to do with the politics of
Greece or the landing of troops in Asia Minor.
When they were driven out and fled in the early days of the war, a comparatively small number of Turks of the nomad type, moved into the deserted villages to take the place of the former Greek proprietors. In a few years these Turks wrought from one end of the country to another a destruction that is almost incredible. They dug up on a vast scale the valuable vineyards to use the roots for firewood.
They turned their goats into great stretches of vineyards. They destroyed also practically all the houses in the villages and on the farms. The Turk would settle in a house, and then, to get firewood, would wreck the houses in a radius around him until the distance became too great for convenience. Thereupon he would settle in another house and begin another circle of destruction.
A sufficiently large number of the Greeks who had fled from Asia Minor and had been robbed in this fashion were sprinkled through the troops which landed at Smyrna. In sending them, the so-called "statesmen" who have brewed the hell-broth now boiling in the Near East were pursuing a course simply idiotic. When the Greeks landed at Smyrna they took a number of prisoners, whom they marched down the quay in full sight of the hotels, European houses and battle-ships. They stabbed with a bayonet a number of these prisoners, and some bodies were thrown into the sea. People of different nationalities living in Smyrna estimate the number of Turks killed as being not over 200. One of the first acts of the Greek High Commissioner was to see that Greek troops did not receive their arms until they reached their ultimate destination. The conduct of the Greeks was deplorable. But it has been made the most of by proTurk propagandists and to be understood should be viewed in the light of what preceded it.
The Greek High Commissioner had been charged with one of the most
difficult tasks ever allotted to a human being. He took hold of the situation with an iron hand and enlightened methods. His first act was to have a number of Greek ringleaders publicly shot. He had collected in a large warehouse practically all the loot taken by the Greeks, and he advertised that all Turks who had been looted should come there for their stolen goods. Over a large area of the occupied region he established peace and tranquility, so that Turks and Greeks regained their normal state and worked together upon their farms and at their business. He dealt so severely with all Greek offenders that he became unpopular with the native Christian element.
He was, however, among an incorrigible population. Bands of Turkish irregulars were continually operating in the interior, killing isolated Greek gendarmes and from time to time committing hideous acts of brutality. In proportion to the extent of the area occupied, the number of Greek troops was small, and the police stationed in the various villages in many cases consisted of only two or three These would live on the greatest terms of friendship with the Turks for weeks. But suddenly some fine morning they would be found with their throats cut. Every Turk in the village would deny knowledge of the incident. A demand would be made to give up the offenders within a certain time under penalty of having the village burned. In no case were the offenders given up and the village was consequently burned.
After the arrival of the Greek army the homesick farmers had immediately begun to pour back. They found their houses in ruins and their vineyards and farms in a pitiable state. They contrived makeshift shacks and tents and began the work of restoring their fields. The work they did was extraordinary, The High Commissioner greatly helped, and ordered a large number of plows and American agricultural implements to be distrib
uted equally among Greek and Turkish farmers.
One has only to ask the headquarters of the Y. M. C. A., the Y. W. C. A. and the American Board of Commissioners for Foreign Missions to learn the truth of the benevolent attitude of the Greeks toward the American educational institutions in Asia Minor. They were helped to obtain buildings, were aided and couraged in every way.
The Greeks of Asia Minor were never well disposed toward the politics going on all this time in Athens. In view of this fact, the general demoralization of the Greek army, a great part of which had been on foot since the Balkan Wars, a period of nine or ten years, is easily understandable. As money grew scarcer, it became more and more difficult to furnish the troops with food and clothing. The information was gradually
spread among them that they were in Asia Minor, suffering and separated from their families, to no purpose, because the great Powers had decided in any case to give Asia Minor back to the Turks. With their morale undermined by propaganda, they had finally come to the limit of human endurance. As it became known that the Greek army had given up and was retiring toward the coast, the people in the hinterland began to flee toward the coast. They knew how they had been treated before the Greek occupation. Many of them, perhaps 75,000, got away in sailing vessels and steamers before the actual arrival of the Turks.
What happened during the retirement of the Greek troops is not in its entirety known. It is certain that the Greek troops burned the villages as a military measure. They were closely pursued and desperate and the main object of the officers was to save as many of the troops as possible. It is also certain that there was killing on both sides. Native-born Americans who were in the interior, eye-witnesses, have given me descriptions of attacks by Turkish bands upon isolat
ed bodies of Greek troops and upon trains bearing Christian fugitives towards the coast. Straggling Turkish soldiers were captured and their throats promptly cut. Mustapha Kemal says 100,000 Turks were killed; the Greeks say they did not kill anybody.
One thing was said by the 500,000 inhabitants of Smyrna and by all the foreigners present. For several days the Greek troops were passing through Smyrna, tired to the extreme limit of human endurance and without committing one single act of hostility or rapine. Their one object was to embark before the arrival of the Turks. The Turkish cavalry_arrived in Smyrna on September 9. The hope of the Christian inhabitants that the Turks would establish order and protect the population was soon dissipated. Killing and looting began that same evening and continued, increasing in ferocity and unmistakably systematic development, until the final destruction of the unhappy city by fire. Only a Dumas or a Victor Hugo could picture what took place. It combined on a colossal scale all the elements of horror and ferocity. Nothing was lacking-massacre, rape, fire, loot, execrable cruelty. I have heard historians say, in commenting upon the event, that nothing equal to it has happened since the destruction of Carthage. Corpses were lying everywhere in the streets and were strewn even along the roads to the country villages. Wagon-loads of dead bodies were driven away and wagons were employed also for carrying off the loot. A conservative estimate of the number of Armenians massacred is 6,000. Of course the whole number of dead resulting from exposure and starvation and the continued killing that went on after the fire would reach a figure much higher than this, and the final count of deported men carried into the interior and of children and aged who will die of hunger and disease will bring the dreadful total to a very high figure.