0 For the first time in our nation's history, a Military Code of
Conduct has heen issued for the members of the Armed
Forces who become prisoners of war.
O The Advisory Committee responsible under President
Eisenhower for drawing up tins code contend they were ever
mindful that in no way would it diminish America's
eminence anion"; the nations of the world, and that all
six points of this code conform to the precepts of
our great Constitution.
lioper: How iloes the new code differ
from llie instructions which American
soldiers have received in the past?
Thurmond: The' difference is thai
American soldiers in lhe past, under
the Geneva Convention, were only required to give their name, rank, service
number, and now they also give their
dale of birth. Under this new code
they would still he required lo give
onlv those things. Of course, this code
is a standard of conduct and tells what
the soldier should do. In lhe pasl there
has heen more of a negative approach
in telling him what he should not do.
Roper: Hui is it going to really have
any effect on whal ha- heen done in lhe
pei-t 1 la llii- reeilh just patting (low 11 ill
writing what the practice has been in
Thurmond: Well, it is putting in writing a great many principles that have
been practiced in the peist. This code will
be inslilled into lhe minds and the hearts
of the members of lhe Armed Forces
and they will he trained in the principles of ihis code. They will be instructed in the camps, in the stations
over ihe nation—ihe regular forces and
lhe reserve forces.
Roper: Could you tell us how this
training would hi' done?
Thurmond: This training will he carried on in classes eunl in many differenl
ways. I niloubtedly, then' will la' films
and lectures, and probably there will
be \eirious other techniques and methods used by the Army in conducting
Doherty: Senator, do yon think it will
work? Ilo yon think that in the event of
future v»eir-. our men who are unfortu-
neite enough to he eeiptured will he better
.elite' to stand up to the enemy withoul
Senator Strom Thurmond
(Democrat, South Carolina)
is a ranking; authority on civilian and military affairs of llie
United States. During World
War II he served in the Ku-
ropean and Pacific theaters,
ami participated in the .Normandy invasion, and until recently Senator Thurmond was
national president of thc Reserve Officers' Association of
the U. S.
Obviously, he is well qualified to answer the questions
about the new Military Code
of Conduct fired at him hy
veteran reporters, James
Koper of thc Washington
Evening Star, and Jack Doherty of thc New York Daily
Neirs with Robert F. Ilurleigh
serving as moderator on this
Facts Forum KKPORTFKS'
Thurmond: 1 would nol -ay that it
will he perfect. Thai depends to a great
extent on the individual, hui ihe average
man can greatly enhance his training
ind education if he has had the opportunity lo receive special training in ihis
code. I here are siv articles of this code.
They are all positive and they emphasize
lhe willingness of the man lo give
his life if necessary. But it also has
protection in lure then if coercion is
used, then lhe circumstances will hi'
considered in each eunl every i eise pertaining lo the man.
Roper: Senator, don'l you think that
i- ei suggestion for the soldier to he wceik
when you sny we will forgive him if he
Thurmond: No, I do not think it is a
suggestion. The psychiatrists seiv lhat
ever) man has a breaking point. There
may In- some who do not have ei break-
ing point some who would go to death.
I ndoubtedly there arc probably many
who would go to death rather than re-
veeil information. On the other hand,
some men, for instance, upon being
threatened with burning hy a cigarette
might succumb. Others mighl nol suc-
cumb unless tiny were threatened i" he
burned with an iron. Olhers would not
succumb at eill. This code gives them
an ideal—il reminds them of their duly
to iluir country and lo their comrades.
It reminds them of whal lluir country
expects of tin in. emd it is ei standard lo
go hy emd il se-ts a high ideal.
Doherty: In spite of that. Senator,
isn't it true thai the will for self-preservation is a little stronger than love for
Thurmond: Well, that's a hard epies-
tion to decide. The will for self-preservation, of course, is a very impelling
reason. On llie olher hand, if ei man
has had proper religious education,
proper training in his community emd
in school, he should have learned lo he
a true patriot, emd learned theii he has
em obligation lo liis country, llieit he
should he willing to serve his country -
and, if necessary, to die for his country.
If those principles are inslilled in the
mem when lie is a child, and then in-
-lillial in the members of the Armed
Forces afler they reach there, with spe*
rieil training, ihis will have great sig-
iiile eiiiie. will help him to make a heller
soldier, will help him lo have a stronger
will, and lo hold out for his country and
he a much hreiver and liner soldier.
I'M Is RlldM NKWS, November. 1055