8 SEPTEMBER 1939, Page 2

America's Position

On Tuesday President Roosevelt, taking the only course that was open to him under existing American law, signed a general proclamation of American neutrality. The consequences of the opposition by Congress to the amendment of the Neutrality Act—inspired in large measure by domestic political considerations—are now made clear in this and subsequent proclamations. A complete embargo on shipments of arms, including aeroplanes, is placed on all belligerents—even aeroplanes already on order from France cannot be exported either in American or foreign ships. Thus Britain and her allies are unable to take advantage of their command of the sea to buy munitions in America and carry them in their own vessels. For the moment the great industrial resources .of the United States will no more be at our disposal for war equipment than at Germany's. But there is no lack of assurance that the sympathy of the American people is with us. The sinking of the Athenia with American citizens on board has brought home to them the character of the enemy we have to deal with. Yet isolationist feeling is deeply ingrained in the American mind, and will certainly find expression when Congress meets again. President Roosevelt is not likely to let the present Neutrality Law remain long unamended. But he will move warily, and let the growing volume of American feeling produce the pressure which he himself refrains from applying.