Editorial: Let’s hope it’s temporary
Sentiment, however, is linked with popularity of White House incumbent
By George Gallup, Director, American Institute of Public Opinion
For the first time in six years, a periodic sampling of public opinion on the issue of amending the Constitution to limit the presidency to two terms, a majority of Americans voters are today in favor of such a plan.
An anti-third-term amendment, approved this year by the legislatures of four Midwestern states, will be taken up by many other state legislative bodies in the coming months, and because of heavy support among Republicans, may find its way into the GOP presidential platform next June.
The sentiments of the nation’s voters on the two-term amendment have been recorded at regular intervals since as early as 1937. Always a majority of voters with opinions on the subject have opposed the idea until the present date. Now, more favor it than oppose it.
Present trend shown
The trend is revealed in Institute surveys on the following issue:
Interviewing Date 11/25 – 12/1/43 Survey #307-K Question #3a
Would you favor adding a law to the Constitution that would prevent any President of the United States from being reelected in the future if he has already served two terms?
In both surveys this year, only one person in every 14 (7%) had no opinion.
Depends upon party
Sentiment on the two-term issue is closely bound up with the question of how well-liked the incumbent in the White House happens to be.
Republican voters are overwhelmingly in favor of limiting the presidency to two terms. Their vote is 81% today. Democratic voters, on the other hand, oppose the idea by 72%.
Still another reform often proposed concerning the presidency is to limit it to one six-year term with no reelection. Senator O’Daniel (D-TX) has introduced a resolution in the Senate calling for a six-year term, and Ohio Governor John W. Bricker recently came out in favor of the same reform.
While the majority of voters oppose a six-year term, nevertheless there has been a rise in the number approving the change.
Six-year term opposed
The trend is revealed in surveys by the Institute on the following issue:
Interviewing Date 11/25 – 12/1/43 Survey #307-T Question #3b
Would you favor changing the term of office of the President hereafter to one six-year term with no reelection?
‘Old Doe New Deal’ cured patient, he says
Franklin D. Roosevelt – he called in a new doctor.
Washington (UP) –
Here is a play-by-play account of President Roosevelt’s news conference recital yesterday of the accomplishments of the New Deal and its replacement by a “win-the-war” administration.
The discussion began when a reporter asked:
Mr. Roosevelt, after our last meeting with you, it appears that someone stayed behind and received word that you no longer liked the term “New Deal.” Would you care to express any opinion to the rest of us?
The President said he supposed someone would ask that, and that he would have to be terribly careful in the future how he talked to people after press conferences. He went on to say that what the newspaperman had printed was accurate reporting. Mr. Roosevelt said he had hesitated for a bit as to whether he would say anything further about it, and it all came down, really, to a rather puerile and political view of things.
Some people, he said, have to be told how to spell “cat,” even people with a normally good education. A lot of people have forgotten entirely.
How did the New Deal come into existence, he asked himself, answering that it was because in 1932 there was an awfully sick patient called the United States of America. He was suffering from a grave internal disorder – he was awfully sick. And they sent for the doctor.
In 1933, many things had to be done to cure the patient internally. And they were done – though they took a number of years, the President continued.
There were certain specific remedies that the old doctor gave the patient. The people who are peddling all this talk about “New Deal” today, he said, are not saying anything about why the patient had to have all those remedies. He thought those critics should be asked directly just which of the remedies should now be taken away from the patient, especially if he should come down with a similar illness in the future.
The patient is all right now – he’s all right internally now – if they will just leave him alone, he added emphatically. The President continued that two years ago, after the patient had become pretty well, he had a very bad accident. This time it was not an internal trouble. Two years ago, on Dec. 7, he got into a pretty bad smashup – broke his hip, broke his leg in two or three places, broke a wrist and an arm. Some people didn’t even think he would live, for a while. And then he began to “come to” again. The President said since then, he has been in charge of a partner of the old doctor. “Old Doctor New Deal” didn’t know “nothing” about broken legs and arms. He knew a great deal about internal medicine, but nothing about this new kind of trouble.
So, he got “his partner, who was an orthopedic surgeon, Dr. Win-the-War,” to take care of this fellow who had been in this bad accident. And the result is that the patient is back on his feet. He has given up his crutches. He isn’t wholly well yet, and he won’t be until he wins the war, the Chief Executive continued.
He added that he thought this allegory is almost as simple as learning again how to spell “cat.”
The “Old Doctor” saved the banks of the United States and set up a sound banking system.
He continued his roll call with one of the old remedies – the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation – to guarantee bank deposits, supposing there must be some people, because they raise so much smoke, who would like to go back to the old system and let any bank, at will, go and lose all their depositors’ money without redress.
In those days, he said, two other remedies prescribed were saving homes from foreclosure, through the Home Owners’ Loan Corporation; and saving farms from foreclosure by the Farm Credit Administration. He supposed some people today would like to repeal all that and go back to the conditions of 1932, when the people out West mobbed a judge who was trying to carry out the law of the land and foreclose a farm.
Then there were such remedies as rescuing agriculture from disaster by the AAA and the Soil Conservation Act; providing truth in the sale of securities and protecting investors through the SEC. He recalled saying that there is an undercover drive going on in this country today to repeal the SEC – urging that people be allowed to sell any kind of securities to the widows and orphans and everybody else in this country. A lot of people would like to do that, to take off all the protection, and let “Old Mr. Skin” skin the public again.
Another remedy was slum clearance – decent housing. There hasn’t been enough done yet in slum clearance. He did not think that most people who have ever seen slum developments would advocate stopping that, or curtailing the program, saying of course there may be a few – a small percentage of – real estate men who would like to stop all government interest in housing.
Reduction of farm tenancy was another specific.
Again, in the old days, “Doctor New Deal” put in old-age insurance; he put in unemployment insurance. He did not think the country would want to give up old-age insurance or unemployment insurance, although there are a lot of people in the country who would like to keep us from having it.
He said the “Old Doctor” took care of a great many crippled and blind people through the federal aid system and some people want to abolish all that.
And then there was the public works program, to provide work, to build thousands of permanent improvements – incidentally giving work to the unemployed – both through the PWA and the WPA. There were provided federal funds through FEEA, for starving people who had reached the end of their resources; minimum wages and maximum hours; the Civilian Conservation Corps and reforestation; the NYA, for thousands of literally underprivileged young people.
Abolishing child labor was another remedy. It was not thought to be constitutional in the old days, but it turned out to be, he said.
There were also reciprocal trade agreements, which of course do have a tremendous effect on internal diseases; stimulation of private home building through the FHA; and the protection of consumers from extortionate rates by utilities; the breaking up of utility monopolies, through Sam Rayburn’s law.
The resettlement of farmers from marginal lands that cannot be cultivated profitably; regional physical developments, such as TVA; getting electricity out to the farmers through the REA; flood control; and water conservation; drought control and drought relief; crop insurance and the ever-normal granary; assistance to farm cooperatives; conservation of natural resources.
Although his list totaled up to about 30, he said he probably left out half of them.
But at the present time, he added, the principal emphasis, the overwhelming emphasis should be on winning the war. In other words, we are now suffering from that bad accident, not from an internal illness, he said.
Mr. Roosevelt said that when victory comes, the program of the past, of course, has got to be carried on, in the light of what is going on in other countries. It will not pay to go into a military isolationism. This is not just a question of dollars and cents, although some people think it is, he said. It is a question of a long-range policy, which ties in human beings with dollars, to the benefit of capital and the benefit of the human beings.
This post-war program, of course, hasn’t been settled on at all – except in generalities. Recalling the meeting in Tehran and the meeting in Cairo, he said we are still in the generality stage, not in the detail stage, because we are still talking only about principles. Later on, the United Nations will come down to the detail stage. He said we don’t want to confuse objectives by talking about details now.
He said it seems pretty clear that we must now plan for an expanded economy which will result in more security, more employment, more recreation, more education, more health, better housing – so that the conditions of 1932 and the beginning of 1933 won’t come back again.
Now, have those words been sufficiently simple and understood to write a story about, he asked the reporters.
He was asked:
Does that all add up to a fourth-term declaration?
The President replied:
Oh, now, we are not talking about things like that now. You are getting picayune. That’s a grand word to use – another word beginning with a P – picayune. I know you won’t mind my saying that, but I have to say something like that.
By Ernie Pyle
In Italy – (by wireless)
On the way back from the front the other day I stopped in an evacuation tent hospital to see Dick Tregaskis, the war correspondent for International News Service, who was so badly wounded a few weeks ago.
Dick got a shell fragment through his helmet and it ripped his skull open. He is alive at all only by a seeming miracle. Even after he was wounded, other shells exploded within arm’s length of him, yet he escaped further injury.
He still has his battered steel helmet. It has a gash two inches long in the front and a smaller one at the left rear where the fragment came out. The blow knocked off his glasses but didn’t break them.
Even with such a ghastly wound, Dick walked half a mile down the mountain by himself until he found help. Late that night he arrived at the hospital, was put to sleep on morphine, and Maj. William Pitts performed the brain operation.
It was Maj. Pitts’ fourth head operation that night. He took more than a dozen pieces of bone and steel out of Dick’s brain, along with some of the brain itself. He and the other doctors are proud of pulling Dick through – as well they might be.
At first, Dick had little use of his right arm, he couldn’t read his letters, and he couldn’t write. Also, he couldn’t control his speech. He would try to say something like “boat” and a completely different yet related word like “water” would come out.
But his progress has been rapid. During my visits he made only a couple of small mistakes such as saying “flavor” when he meant “favorite.” But he always keeps trying until the word he wants comes forth.
He works at recovery
The doctors say he is a marvel. While other patients usually lie and wait for time to do the healing, Dick works at it. He constantly uses his arm to get it back into action, and he reads and talks as much as he can, making his mind practice.
While I was visiting him the second time, a corporal in the Medical Corps came in with a copy of Guadalcanal Diary, which Dick wrote, and asked if he would autograph it. Dick said he’d be glad to except he wasn’t sure he could sign his name.
He worked at it several minutes, and when he got through, he said:
Why, that looks better than the way I used to sign it.
And after the boy left, he said:
I always like to be asked to sign a book. It makes me feel important.
Dick Tregaskis is a quiet and scholarly type of newspaperman. His personal gear is in the same room I’m living in back at the base camp, and I notice his books are the Shakespeare type. He wears tortoise-shell glasses and talks slowly and with distinctive words. He is genuine and modest.
His manner belies the spirit that must drive him, because he has by choice seen a staggering amount of war. He has been through four invasion assaults in the Pacific and the Mediterranean. He wrote the famous Guadalcanal Diary, which sold half a million copies in America and has been made into a movie. He is a very thoughtful person and was as eager to know about my book as if it had been his own.
Mark Clark looks up
Dick is married and his home is in Elizabeth, New Jersey. He is the tallest correspondent over here, being 6’5”. Gen. Mark Clark, who is 6’2”, always says he’s glad to see Tregaskis because he’s one of the few men he can look up to.
One of the surgeons laughingly remarked that if Dick had been short like me, he might never have been wounded, but Dick said no, that where they were that day, with no cover anywhere, even “the tallest midget in the world would have got it.” He meant the shortest midget, but we understood.
Dick wears a size 14 shoe and once had to travel all the way from Guadalcanal to New Caledonia to find a new pair. He is strong and muscular but really thin, and his health is not too rugged. The last thing he did before going to sleep with morphine the night he was wounded was to warn the doctors against using any drugs that would stimulate his diabetes.
The hospital where he spent the first three weeks was only a few miles behind the lines. It was swathed in mud, and Dick lay on a cot in the middle of a dirt-floored ward tent crammed with other patients.
A few days ago, they moved him to a general hospital farther in the rear, and in a short time the Army will send him back to America for final recuperation. They’ve now taken a big patch of skin off his leg and grafted it onto his head to cover the wound. They predict he will be ready for the front again within six months.
U.S. troops move in and things are changed!
By Max Cook, Scripps-Howard staff writer
Reading Eagle (December 29, 1943)
By Dorothy Thompson
New York – (Dec. 28)
Victory, says the President, the Vice President, and Gen. Eisenhower – is a certainty, probably during the New Year.
The sobering complement to these statements is that this victory will be bought by rivers of blood, spilled for our cause by the youth of the nation.
This youth is recruited, regardless of class and occupation. Workers’ sons and boys from Exeter and Yale, hillbillies and Park Avenue scions serve in equal danger. All are paid according to the Army schedule, and none, from private to general, in any proportion to his hazards and responsibilities.
On all fronts, a united nation fights – joined in common discipline and common democratic comradeship.
In all wars, the contrast between the spirit of the front and the spirit of the civilians has given rise to breaks between the nation at the front and at home, and between the generations, too. In all wars, the compensation of the soldier is the discovery, under fire, of the living reality of comradeship and mutual dependence.
Returning soldiers from all wars hope to bring home this spirit and reconstruct the nation they have saved, in this spirit.
And in almost all wars, they have been disappointed. The shattering of this illusion is what has repeatedly created the “lost generations,” turning the bright faith of democratic brotherhood into cynicism and despair.
One would think that the hope of early victory and the knowledge of its cost would occupy every American to the exclusion of any other consideration; that hearts would be suspended in prayer, minds concentrated in the most fundamental thinking, and hands be moving ever faster, as the supreme test approaches.
The moment will come when thousands of our sons have an eye on a wristwatch, not to see whether it is time to stop, but time to go – time to hurl their so-young bodies at the enemy’s steel, each knowing exactly what is at stake, for himself, his comrades, and his country.
On the fronts, the vision of victory means a tightening of all ranks.
At home, it means a loosening of all ranks.
At the front, every soldier prays that his own life will be spared. Not one of them wants to die. The instinct for survival is as strong in them as in you or me.
But each, confronting the enemy, knows that his life is only protected by the life of the whole. He is one with his comrades. If one is wounded, the other will try to save him at the risk of his own life, for so he would be done by, and so therefore he must do.
At home, the enemy presents himself through distant communiqués. Presumably he will soon be beaten, and then, where will each of us be? The specter of victory looms on the horizon, and with it the reckoning of the cost. Each begins to eye the other with envy. Who is getting the most? Which industrialists? Which workers?
The greater the pressure for winning the war, the greater the pressure each group can bring. Stabilized farm prices? Everybody needs food – and they’ll pay for it.
Renegotiate contracts, to squeeze out unconscionable profits? Where would the country be without the industrialists?
Raise wages? Easy, when even the threat of a strike can bring a nation to its knees.
And there’s an election coming, and of course it matters almost equally with victory which set of politicians holds the jobs.
Peace for the soldier means the reprieve of his life, the grant of the transcendent boon.
And peace for the soldier, because he is still young, and envy and greed have not frozen his blood, means the chance to help make a future for his country in which envy and greed are not the invisible rulers.
The worker at the front looks forward to an America with a decent living for himself and his comrades. If the workers at home are improving conditions, he is glad. But what is improvement? Something that only can last for the short period of the war boom?
What the worker-soldier demands of his labor leaders is that they shall back him now and be planning for the future, not plotting to grab another 10¢ at his cost.
What the soldier who dreams of a business of his own demands of business is that it should leave some place for him and not monopolize the works while he is gone.
What the soldier-student interrupted in his studies is thinking of, is how the world got into this mess and how he can help pull it out, if he survives. Nor does he believe that modern democracy is just a continuous war between self-seeking pressure groups all worshipping Mammon.
Let politicians, labor leaders, industrialists, farmers, and black-market operators beware of youth that comes home disillusioned of their own people. That should worry all of us more than wages, dividends, or prices.
For, at the front, our sons have learned that the life of the community is more than the profit of the individual and that one can contemplate death only in the company of those who share a common purpose.
Völkischer Beobachter (December 30, 1943)
Von unserer Stockholmer Schriftleitung
dr. th. b. Stockholm, 29. Dezember –
Die innere Lage in den Vereinigten Staaten bleibt auch nach dem Eingreifen Roosevelts in den Streik der Stahlarbeiter und der militärischen Abwendung des drohenden Eisenbahnerstreiks weiter gespannt. Schon ist der Verband der Automobilarbeiter, der Hunderttausende von Mitgliedern umfaßt und dem die Arbeiter in den Flugzeugfabriken und Panzerwerkstätten unterstehen, mit neuen Lohnforderungen aufgetreten, dem sich auch 330.000 Arbeiter in der Bekleidungsindustrie angeschlossen haben.
Als besonders bedenklich wird es in Washington und Neuyork bezeichnet, daß der Präsident selbst von seinem Stabilisierungsprogramm abgewichen ist, als er im Gegensatz zu dem Beschluß des Kriegsarbeitsamtes einer rückwirkenden Aufbesserung der Stahlarbeiterlöhne zustimmte, um die Wiederaufnahme der Arbeit in der Stahlindustrie zu sichern. Bis jetzt sind aber erst wenige Arbeiter wieder zur Arbeit erschienen, und es ist nicht ausgeschlossen, daß sich Roosevelt auch in der Stahlindustrie genötigt sehen wird, militärische Machtmittel einzusetzen. Vorläufig sehen die Arbeiter das Zurückweichen des Präsidenten geradezu als eine Aufforderung zu neuen Lohnerhöhungen an. In kürzester Frist sei, so meldet Svenska Dagbladet, die Stahlproduktion in den Vereinigten Staaten auf den tiefsten Stand seit Bestehen des amerikanischen Rüstungsprogramms gesunken.
Die amerikanischen Kriegsgewinnler und ihre Presse versuchen zwar, Stimmung gegen die Forderung der Arbeiterschaft mit der Begründung zu machen, daß die amerikanischen Soldaten an der Front kämpften, während die Arbeiter nur an Lohnerhöhungen dächten. Dieser Behauptung steht allerdings die Tatsache gegenüber, daß die Arbeiter am Kriege nichts verdienen und die von ihnen gestellten Forderungen nur darauf zielen, die Löhne den immer weiter steigenden Preisen anzupassen. Dafür ziehen Rüstungsindustrie und Wall Street sowohl aus den gesteigerten Preisen wie aus den niedrigen Löhnen gleichzeitig Nutzen.
Ein unangenehmes Verlangen
Einig ist sich die amerikanische Öffentlichkeit in der wachsenden Erkenntnis, daß Roosevelt wie im Frieden nun auch im Krieg auf wirtschaftlichem Gebiet völlig versagt hat. Bezeichnend ist ein Aufsatz in der New York Herald Tribune, in dem der Präsident scharf angegriffen wird und in dem es heißt, der Verlauf der Lohnkrise habe bewiesen, daß es Roosevelt nur um seinen persönlichen Einfluß gehe. Während des ganzen Krieges habe Roosevelt es immer wieder zugelassen, daß sein persönliches Ansehen bei den Arbeitern praktisch die einzige stabilisierende Kraft im Wirtschaftsleben der Nation war. Wenn sein Ansehen diese Probe überlebte – es sei schon gefährlich ramponiert – werde es nicht ausreichen, um das Land durch die Stürme zu führen, die noch vor ihm liegen. Denn dieses Land müsse noch weiter für den Krieg mobilisiert werden, und das könne nur durch eine allgemeine Dienstpflicht geschehen.
Mit der Forderung nach Einführung der allgemeinen Dienstpflicht wirft die republikanische New York Herald Tribune Roosevelt einen recht unangenehmen Knüppel zwischen die Beine. Denn es handelt sich dabei um eine Forderung, die von der Arbeiterschaft immer wieder abgelehnt wurde, weil diese mit Recht befürchtet, daß die allgemeine Dienstpflicht nicht der Nation, sondern wiederum nur den Rüstungsgewinnlern zugutekommen könnte.
dnb. Genf, 29. Dezember –
In einer Pressekonferenz nahm Roosevelt zu den kritischen Äußerungen über seinen kürzlichen Vorschlag Stellung, daß „der New Deal“ beendet werden sollte. Der Präsident gab einen langen Überblick über das innenpolitische Programm des New Deal und meinte, jetzt brauche er ein neues Programm, um nach dem Krieg mit der neuen Lage fertig zu werden. Damit gab Roosevelt das Scheitern seines New-Deal-Programms offen zu. Was er aber nicht sagte ist, daß er sich über das Fiasko durch eine maßlose Aufrüstung hinwegrettete, durch die schließlich das Land in den Krieg getrieben wurde.
v. m. Lissabon, 29. Dezember –
Wie New York Times zu berichten weiß, habe die innere Gleichgültigkeit der amerikanischen Massen gegenüber dem Krieg Ausmaße erreicht, welche die Regierung beunruhigten. Radio Boston stellte der Weihnachtsrede Roosevelts folgende Bemerkung nach:
Soeben hat uns der Präsident die Errichtung der zweiten Front für 1944 und damit eine Unzahl von Opfern angesagt. Wir werden zu bluten und zu leiden haben und täten gut, uns schon jetzt seelisch darauf vorzubereiten, anstatt an der Wirklichkeit des Krieges vorbeizuleben. Siege werden in der Geschichte nicht verschenkt und auch nicht nur mit einer großen Produktion erkauft. Wir sollten weniger Wahrsager konsultieren und mehr auf die Fachleute hören, die Hitlers und Hirohitos gewaltige Kriegsmacht richtig beurteilen und einschätzen können.
Diese realistischen Auslassungen stellen den Beginn der großen agitatorischen Aktion dar, die Roosevelt nach seiner Heimkehr mit seinem Reklamechef Elmer Davis verabredete, um der wachsenden Kriegsmüdigkeit der Yankees entgegenzuwirken. Diese brennend notwendig gewordene Aufrüttelung wurde auf Grund eines ausführlichen Rapports des Leiters der Bundessicherheitsbehörde Edgar Hoover beschlossen. Dieser faßt in diesem Bericht Wahrnehmungen und Erfahrungen seiner Beamten im gesamten amerikanischen Bundesgebiet zusammen, übereinstimmend stellten diese von der amerikanischen Bevölkerung fest: Wachsende Indolenz gegenüber jeder Form der Kriegsanstrengung, weil immer lauter gesagt werde, daß ein Sieg wie im letzten, so auch in diesem Weltkrieg nur Früchte für den Kapitalismus tragen könne; wachsende Zunahme des Fatalismus, des Aberglaubens, weil die Menschen eher geneigt sind, mehr Prophezeiungen als Zeitungsberichten Glauben zu schenken; einen gefährlichen Ruck nach links in der gesamten öffentlichen Meinung Amerikas unter gleichzeitiger Steigerung der bolschewistischen Agitation, welche sich im Schatten der kriegsbedingten Verwilderung der Sitten und der niedrigen Moral sehr geschickt ausbreite.
So etwa sieht das „Großwerden der defätistischen Mystik“ aus, welches Edgar Hoover so große Kopfschmerzen bereitet.
U.S. Navy Department (December 30, 1943)
For Immediate Release December 30, 1943
Army heavy bombers of the 7th Army Air Force attacked Maloelap on December 28 (West Longitude Date). Our planes encountered heavy opposition by Zeros. Two Zeros were destroyed, 10 were probably destroyed. Two of our planes were shot down.
Army light bombers of the 7th Army Air Force escorted by Army Airacobras made low-altitude attacks on Mille on December 28. Several of our planes received minor damage. Navy search Liberators of Fleet Air Wing Two were intercepted near Kwajalein on December 28 by 10 enemy fighters. Three planes were destroyed. We lost one plane.
Enemy bombers made high-altitude evening nuisance raids at Tarawa on December 27 and again on December 28, causing no damage.
U.S. State Department (December 30, 1943)
Moscow, 30 December 1943 Secret Op priority
The minutes prepared by Bohlen relating to the question of the Italian ships will be found beginning with the 2nd paragraph of the minutes of the 6 p.m. meeting 1 December. These minutes are as follows:
Mr. Molotov inquired whether it would be possible to obtain any answer on the Soviet Union’s request for Italian ships.
The President replied his position on this question was very clear; that the Allies had received a large number of Italian merchant ships and a lesser number of warships and that he felt they should be used by our three nations in the common cause until the end of the war when the division based on title and possession might be made.
Mr. Molotov answered that the Soviet Union would use these ships during the war in the common war effort, and after the war the question of possession could be discussed.
The Prime Minister asked where the Soviet Union would like to have these ships delivered.
Marshal Stalin replied in the Black Sea if Turkey entered the war. If not, to the northern ports.
The Prime Minister said it was a small thing to ask in the face of the tremendous sacrifices of Russia.
Marshal Stalin said that he knew how great the need for war vessels was on the part of England and the United States but that he felt the Soviet request was modest.
Both the President and the Prime Minister said they were in favor of acceptance of the Soviet suggestion.
The Prime Minister said it would require some time to work out the arrangements and that he personally would welcome the sight of these vessels in the Black Sea and hoped some English war vessels could accompany them in action against the enemy in those waters.
He said it would take a couple of months to work out the arrangements with the Italians, since they wish to avoid any possibility of mutiny in the Italian Fleet and the scuttling of the ships.
It was agreed that the ships would pass over to Soviet command sometime around the end of January, 1944.
I have compared Bohlen’s notes with those of Major Birse now in Moscow who acted as interpreter for the Prime Minister and they agree on all points of substance. Major Birse has some more detail in regard to the Prime Minister’s explanation as to why the delay of a couple of months was necessary and the desire of Great Britain to help in the reconditioning of Soviet ships when the Dardanelles was open. Both Bohlen and Birse recall the Prime Minister asking Eden during the discussion how many war vessels were covered by the Soviet request and Eden replied “1 battleship, 1 cruiser and 8 destroyers and 4 submarines.” This is the number which the Soviet Government asked for at the Moscow Conference. My recollection is quite clear[ly] confirmed by both Bohlen and Birse that the number of ships under discussion at the meeting recorded above was that requested at the Moscow Conference and no mention was made of ½ of the Italian Fleet being turned over to the Soviet Union, nor do we know of any discussion about Italian ships at any other time during the Tehran Conference.
The Pittsburgh Press (December 30, 1943)
British drop 2,210 tons on capital; France also raided
By Phil Ault, United Press staff writer
Canadians advance despite booby traps
By C. R. Cunningham, United Press staff writer
Showdown battle starts on New Britain
By Don Caswell, United Press staff writer
Plans drafted to shift Allied might into the Pacific