ition of the
-Admiral Ben Moreell's twenty-nine years of outstanding naval service has brought him
many honors, including the Distinguished Service Medal, the Legion of Merit, several
honorary degrees, a decoration from the British government, and two from the Republic of
Haiti. Of all his citations, however, he is proudest of being called "King Bee of the Seabees,"
for he was organizer during the first part of World War II of that remarkable group of
"Can-Do Boys," the Naval Construction Battalion.
Well known as a brilliant student, naval engineer, impromptu speaker, and a tireless
worker, Moreell came up through the ranks, becoming a lull admiral in 1945. Consistent
with his belief in hard work is the remark he once made to a friend: "If you can't find
enough work to keep busy, you can always write a book," which he did early in his career
with marked success.
When Admiral Moreell retired from active naval duty in 1946, his "active duty" in private industry and in government service was just beginning. Both labor and management
have lauded his ability and objectivity in dealing with strike problems. He has served as
chairman of the important Task Force on Water Resources and Power of the Hoover Commission. At present he is Chairman of the Board of the Jones & Laughlin Steel Corporation,
one of the largest steel companies of the world.
By ADMIRAL BEN MOREELL
WANT TO sell you an idea. And till I ask in payment
is that you think it over, and if you like it, sell it
II want to sell you the idea that individual freedom, an
separable part til which is moral responsibility to God
Id to one's neighbor, is the secret of our survival as a
if nation, just as il was the inspiration of the founders
our republic. This concept of individual freedom de-
ands that we do something about it — that we re-estab-
|h as our guiding beacon those moral values and pimples of government which found expression in our
eelaiatitm of Independence and our Constitution.
Let us begin our discussion of freedom on the mundane
v'el of material prosperity and the reasons therefor.
Perhaps the most intriguing question of our times, one
liieh baffles our friends and enemies, is this: what makes
c lias io"r - morita so productive?
and .t is a nation with barely 6 per cent of the world's
"ople which produces almost 40 per cent of the world's
<><ls. How does this happen? Some have attributed it to
r great natural resources; i.e., the abundance of our raw
terials, the fertility of our soil, the blessings <>i a tem-
rate climate, and the protection against enemies afforded
natural barriers. It is generally conceded that our
°ple have no more innate intelligence than the peoples
the countries whence the) came. So our favored posi-
11 is attributed to gifts showered upon us as manna
>r just two
£cts Forum News, February, 1956
But doubts arise when one compares our advantages
with those of others. For there are some countries even
more favored than ours in raw materials, fertile soil, climatic conditions, protective harriers and other geological
and geographic gifts. Furthermore, our natural advantages
lay for centuries relatively unused, supporting fewer than
a million inhabitants. Now they support 165 million people
of our own who, in turn, support much of the rest of the
What is the answer? It is my purpose to explore that
question with you, to learn what accounts for our present
pre-eminence, and whether the things we are now doing
will serve to maintain or destroy it.
Every productive organization needs three essential
elements: men, money and machines. The greatest of these
is men! For with men of high moral character, ability and
devotion to a worthy purpose, one can acquire the mone)
and the machines. The basic essential is the right kind
We have many proofs of this in our industrial corporations. There are many examples of outstanding success
which sprouted from lowly beginnings. And always the
measure of success is the reflection of one man, or of a
small group of men, who have imbued the organization
with their character, ability and devotion!
As it is with industrial corporations, so it is with our
nation. National productivity is the summation of the productivities of the groups and individuals who comprise