17 MARCH 1961, Page 13


SIR,—The establishment by President Kennedy of an 'experimental peace force' to work in the under- developed countries has already met with a great response. It recalls to memory another plan : that of the New White Fleet, devised by Commander Manson and placed before Congress some years ago.

Commander Manson was, at the close of the

Second World War, appalled by the vicious circle of the poverty misery-go-round: malnutrition leading to weakness, disease, underproduction and hence further malnutrition. Out of this concern the plan was born. Ships from the US mothball fleet lying obsolete and unused in American docks should be brought into service. There should be a battleship, equipped as a hospital ship and staffed with volunteer doctors and nurses; a converted Navy transport carrying rice, wheat, milk from the US surplus food stocks to famine areas, and a floating educational centre, complete with dormitories, classrooms and television transmitting station, to coast around the shores of the underdeveloped lands offering guidance in agriculture and public health. 'Much can be done,' said Commander Manson, 'people to people. It is my hope that the New White Fleet will bring people closer to people.' (Life, August, 1959.)

It is the view of this movement--having within

little over two months received and passed on £87,000 for the Congo Emergency—that once the facts of world poverty are grasped by Western peoples as a whole the response to such appeals as this will he overwhelming, and may well shape history in the 1960s. In an age when the war method as a means of defence—whether of freedom, honour, or ways of life- --has had its day, may it not be that by all nations the mothball equipment of armies, navies and air forces will be released, and the waging cf positive peace bring about an arms race in reverse, —Yours faithfully, War on Wain. cum I Ai RAYEERSBY War on Wain.

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