Editorial: Is Stalin mixing in our politics? (1-9-44)

The Pittsburgh Press (January 9, 1944)


Editorial: Is Stalin mixing in our politics?

Folks are laughing about the way Pal Joe Stalin has turned on Wendell Willkie. It is amusing. But it will not hurt Mr. Willkie politically. One Willkie liability was that he was said to be too cozy with the Russians. Now, Marshal Stalin has disowned him.

We doubt that the fourth-termers are rejoicing over the implication that Moscow wants Mr. Roosevelt reelected. Certainly there will be no Republican candidate with a record of more friendliness for Russia, and the President can hardly be less critical of Moscow’s Polish policy than Mr. Willkie’s mild references which provoked Pravda’s bitter attack.

Indeed, Mr. Willkie’s plea, “Don’t Stir Distrust of Russia,” was so gentle in its admonitions to Moscow to go easy on territorial grabs that the reason for Marshal Stalin’s violent reaction is not entirely clear. In Washington, there are two guesses. One is the political. The other is diplomatic – the idea that Marshal Stalin, by striking at Mr. Willkie, is warning the President to keep hands off the Russian-Polish dispute.

It seems rather far-fetched that Marshal Stalin has to speak to Mr. Roosevelt through a Pravda editorial denouncing Mr. Willkie. After all, the Marshal and the President only recently spent many hours together discussing the Polish problem, along with others, and Marshal Stalin at least spoke very frankly – according to all reports. Anyway, there have been many Pravda and other Moscow statements claiming eastern Poland, and there are plenty of official pegs upon which to hang a repetition without seeking some wild Willkie article for that purpose.

However that may be, Marshal Stalin’s official organ did definitely take a partisan position on Mr. Willkie as a presidential candidate. That is what disturbs us. We don’t like the idea of Marshal Stalin trying to influence an American election, whoever his candidate may be. It was bad enough when his defunct Communist International took a hand in our elections through its American subsidiary. It will be worse if Moscow tries to mix into Republican and Democratic nominations and the presidential election.

The danger is not that Marshal Stalin might succeed, if such were his desire. He could not.

The danger, rather, is that such foreign interference in our domestic affairs would destroy the American-Russian cooperation which is so greatly to the interest of both nations, so essential to a speedy victory, and so necessary to a lasting and prosperous peace.

Russia is not alone in the temptation to mix in American politics. A British group wants the President reelected. Several European governments-in-exile indirectly are agitating among foreign-born American minority blocs in a way which could easily become interference in our domestic affairs.

No foreign government can be blamed for recognizing that its interest will be touched by the American election, just as our interests will be affected by the fate of ministries abroad. But we don’t interfere. Any foreign government which tries to pick an American President will earn the enmity of the United States.

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