Election 1940: Willkie Raps Business Gag (10-10-40)

The Pittsburgh Press (October 10, 1940)


G.O.P. Nominee Offers Six-Point Program

By William H. Lawrence, United Press Staff Writer

Aboard Willkie Train, En Route to Providence, R.I., Oct. 10 –

Republican presidential nominee Wendell L. Willkie appealed for the support of little business today as he turned into industrial Northern Connecticut and Rhode Island, whose economy is based on a multiplicity of small factories and relatively few large scale employers.

He offered a six-point program “for the rebuilding of American business” and declared that victory for the Republican ticket would mean needed “help” for “small business in America.”

’Enemy of Business’

He charged that the New Deal has “been the enemy of little business” and that big business concerns have fared better in the last seven years than their smaller competitors.

Mr. Willkie is en route to Providence, R.I., for a major speech tonight.

At New London, Conn., Mr. Willkie said that “even the best apologists for the Administration admit that its domestic policy has been a complete failure.” He added that the Administration has “bungled foreign affairs,” and again urged the nation to “change horses in mid-stream.”

Crowd Cheers Him

The crowd, estimated by Police Chief William T. Babcock at 10,000, sang “We Want Willkie in the White House.”

Mr. Willkie assailed the New Deal for attempting to break the 150-year-old anti-third term tradition.

The only excuse offered, they make no argument – they say Europe is in a crisis involving the democratic system of government and, therefore, we should violate our tradition which was established for the purpose of preserving our democratic form of government.

No man appreciates more than I the seriousness of the crisis aboard, and its consequences to the United States.

In my judgment, this administration has been one of the principal contributing factors in producing the crisis.

Mr. Willkie asked the crowd to assume that the war ends in six months or two years, and to consider the European conditions then – thousands of soldiers idle, inflation and economic chaos.

Mr. Willkie asked:

Do you want this administration in power leading this nation down the road to bankruptcy in the difficult period that will come when the war ends?!

’No!’ Crowd Replies

“No!” the crowd shouted.

Mr. Willkie asserted he would keep “driving these arrangements to the American people clear up to the last day of the campaign, and I have not the slightest doubt what the result is going to be.”

A pledge to revise the federal tax structure and to set up government laboratories to seek new uses for industrial products highlighted Mr. Willkie’s business program which he offered in a speech at New Haven, Conn., last night. Its other points were:

  1. Stop changing the rules under which business operates, and give to “little businessmen just as many guarantees concerning the attitude of the government as we possibly can.”

  2. A clear government attitude favoring little business.

  3. Simplification of business regulations and a reduction in the number of reports required by the government farm businessmen.

  4. Efforts to free “frozen” capital, including simplification of “complicated” and “expensive” regulations of the Securities and Exchange Commission.

42,000 Hear Him

Mr. Willkie’s audience on New Haven’s historic “green” was to a crowd estimated by Police Chief Philip T. Smith at 42,000.

Thousands had turned out to hear him yesterday as he moved from Stamford, Conn., through Norwalk, Bridgeport, Derby and Naugatuck. His long motorcade was two hours behind schedule when it reached Waterbury just before 3 p.m.

Brief speeches scheduled for Bristol, New Britain, Middletown and Meriden were canceled, and Connecticut Republican leaders apologized by radio last night to the thousands who had waited for hours at those towns to hear him.

Speeches Canceled

As a result of yesterday’s delays, which forced Mr. Willkie to drive at more than 60 miles an hour to reach New Haven from Hartford in time for his speech last night, Willkie aides decided to call off speeches scheduled tomorrow morning at New Bedford, Fall River, Taunton, Brockton and Lynn, Mass. en route to Boston. They said he would drive through these towns and might say a few words of greeting, but would not make formal speeches. He speaks in Boston tomorrow night.

KDKA will broadcast Mr. Willkie’s speech at 8 p.m. Friday.

In his New Haven talk last night Mr. Willkie reiterated his demand that President Roosevelt state his views on “the principle of a man aspiring for a fourth term.” He asked again that Mr. Roosevelt tell the country whether “there are any secret treaties of which we do not know that may involve this country in war.”

No Answer Received

Mr. Willkie first put these questions to Mr. Roosevelt in New York speeches Tuesday night, and he told the crowd last night that "up to this moment the candidate for the third term has refrained from answering.

I want to say in passing that the policy of the United States is not now and never will be one of appeasement. We will not appease dictators. I can promise this for the Republican Party, but we likewise will not appease Communists in Washington or any place else.

Both Connecticut and Rhode Island gave their electoral votes to Mr. Roosevelt in 1936, but both elected Republican governors two years ago.

Warns of Extravagance

Mr. Willkie told his hearers, thousands of them workers in munitions plants, that if the country continues to pile up federal debt:

…we will but build armaments to fall into the hands of some dictator who will arise from our own ranks.

He asserted the New Deal “waste, extravagance and untruthfulness” was leading the nation toward “the chaos of bankruptcy and inflation” in which social gains and democracy itself would be lost.