WASHINGTON, Dec. 20, 1939 — Efforts to keep naval warfare away from the coasts of the Americas engrossed the United States Government. The news highlights of a swiftly developing series of incidents were these:
1. At the White House, it was categorically stated that no violation of the inter-American safety belt had taken place in the scuttling of the German liner Columbus by its crew yesterday. . . .
2. It was definitely ascertained, contrary to earlier reports, that the sinking of the Columbus occurred well within the safety zone, which is nearly 750 miles wide at that point.
3. Both the White House and the State Department reserved opinion on the case of the German ship Arauca, driven into a Florida port by a British warship.
4. The State Department bluntly denied the accuracy of a report from Montevideo that the US had offered naval ships to help in ejecting the Admiral Graf Spee, in case it remained in defiance of a move to compel it to leave.
5. There was no doubt here that this Government expects the joint measures to enforce the safety belt, now under negotiation between the American Nations, to be vigorous.
The Monitor is looking back at the events of World War II.