Election 1940: Willkie Again Vows to Keep U.S. at Peace (11-4-40)

The Pittsburgh Press (November 4, 1940)



Nominee Promises Women Nation Won’t Engage In Foreign War

New York, Nov. 4 –

Republican presidential nominee Wendell L. Willkie promised the women of America today that “my every act as President will be to keep this country out of foreign wars and to keep it at peace.”

By William H. Lawrence, United Press Staff Writer

New York, Nov. 4 –

Republican presidential nominee Wendell L. Willkie concludes his campaign today, asserting that he has made no commitments and offered no Cabinet posts to anyone.

He promised to seek a constitutional amendment limiting presidential tenure to “right years or less,” and appealed to all citizens to cast their votes tomorrow.

On the final day of a campaign which took him more than 27,000 miles by train and airplane into 34 states and included more than 500 speeches, Mr. Willkie will make four nationally broadcast radio talks.

Confident of his election tomorrow, he called upon President Roosevelt to “renounce” his “distrust of the people of America after his defeat.”

The Republican nominee speaks at 3:15 p.m. (EST) over the Columbia Broadcasting System, addressing himself particularly to women; from 10:15 to 11 p.m. (EST) he speaks over the CBS with his running mate, Sen. Charles L. McNary of Oregon; and he talks twice, briefly, from midnight to 1 a.m. (EST) in a program sponsored by the Willkie Clubs, which will include talks by many other Republican leaders.

That final appeal to the voters will be broadcast by all four networks – CBS, NBC, Red and Blue, and the Mutual Broadcasting System.

In response to an assertion by Roosevelt supporter President R. J. Thomas of the CIO’s United Auto Workers’ Union that he had been offered the post of Secretary of Labor if he would back Mr. Willkie, the Republican presidential nominee repeated his declaration to the Philadelphia Convention that he was “without a single pledge, promise or understanding of any kind except the advancement of your cause and the preservation of American Democracy.”

I have neither offered top nor discussed with any person any appointment to any Cabinet position or any other position, and I have never authorized anyone else to do so.

Mr. Willkie criticized Mr. Roosevelt’s statements in Cleveland that he would, if re-elected, leave the White House at the end of his third term.

In view of the fact that within three months of his first assumption of power he broke the pledges which he had called “solemn covenants with the people,” the fate of a renunciation of a fourth term, based only on implication and indirection, is certain.

He would have us believe, though he doesn’t expressly say it, that he will be content with just one more term.

But if once our common law against a third term be repealed, there is no further law to restrain him or any of his successors, elected, hereditary or appointed, from an indefinite number of terms. And that repeal of that law will be final. It can never be revoked. Never again can there be a tradition against as many terms as a President can take for himself. The third term candidate’s own future administrations and those of all subsequent Presidents would be directed to a further series of their re-elections, and the people would not get the disinterested service to which they are entitled.

When elected, in order to prevent any subsequent demonstration of such ambitious views, in my first message to Congress, I shall recommend that they submit a constitutional amendment limiting the time any one President may serve to eight years or less.

Will Vote in New York

Mr. Willkie will cast his own ballot at a schoolhouse near his Fifth Ave. apartment here tomorrow morning, and today he declared that “tomorrow is the day on which all Americans of voting age have their chance to show the world the force and power of the free ballot in a democracy dedicated to peace and progress.”

The Republican nominee will await the electorate’s answer at his headquarters in the Commodore Hotel tomorrow night.

In a formal statement replying to Mr. Roosevelt’s Cleveland speech, Mr. Willkie said:

The Saturday night broadcast of the third-term candidate reminds me of the old saying that an acre of performance is worth a whole land of promise.

He (Mr. Roosevelt) echoed my very strenuous pleas for unity, but the echo came back thick and garbled by the interference of nearly eight years of discrepancy between his promise and his performance.

No man can bring about unity – or even put it together in a speech – if he follows generalization about unity by manufacturing discord. Unity is not achieved by classifying as an evil force the millions of people who now support me. He further promotes discord by classifying among the evil forces, the leaders of labor, agriculture and industry, the former members of his administration, and the millions who equally oppose war or any other road to dictatorship, such as the third term.

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