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International Socialist Review, Fall 1957


Weren’t Prepared

From International Socialist Review, Vol.18 No.4, Fall 1957, p.106.
Transcription & mark-up by Einde O’Callaghan for ETOL.


At a Boy Scout celebration organized by the Moroccan Ministry of Youth and Sports in the Atlas Mountains of North Africa in July, the US contingent aroused doubts about how well they had applied their motto “Be Prepared” before setting out for the encampment.

The two dozen young Scouts, in the charge of six officials of the US Armed Forces, ran into hazards they might have avoided with more forethought. As a consequence they had to pull out early, leaving the field to the British, Tunisian, Iraqi, Iranian and Algerian Scouts and Spanish Falange Youth.

“The major complaint of their adult leaders,” reports the July 21 New York Times, “was that the crusty bread distributed to the Scouts was not wrapped in wax paper. It was not sliced, either.”

Each day the Moroccan government handed out fresh meat, vegetables, potatoes, fruit, bread, butter, tea, soft drinks and American-processed cheese in American cans. “But the American Scout leaders were distressed – the meat did not bear the ‘US Inspected’ stamp.”

The Moroccan government, attempting to do a good turn for the American Boy Scouts in their unexpected plight, gave them special funds to buy their own foods, “and trucks from the United States military commissaries began rolling into the Atlas Mountains with wrapped bread and the canned nourishment that the Scout leaders knew how to cope with.”

While Operation Rescue was going on, however, the descendants of Daniel Boone and Davy Crockett ran into another unforeseen difficulty. The Armed Forces “did not think to provide a single leader who could speak French, let alone Arabic.”

One of the Scouts, who had attended a French school, acted as interpreter but “when he was not on hand the Americans were isolated.” So they “stayed very much to themselves in their little sub-camp and withdrew from group activities.”

The Scouts were well prepared, it seems, in only one respect. When the Moroccans offered their guests the services of three physicians trained in French faculties of medicine, they were firmly turned down.

“One American leader from Europe was said to have told the boys to pay no attention to the foreign doctors, saying he had a course in first aid and would take care of everything.”

The Boy Scouts of France seem to have come closer to the “Be Prepared” ideal of Scouting. They did not attend at all. “Political reasons” were given for their refusal to participate in the jamboree: “The Algerian Scouts,” says the Times, “carried the rebel flag of the National Liberation Front.”

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