Election 1940: Willkie Urges More U.S. Aid For England (10-17-40)

The Pittsburgh Press (October 17, 1940)


G.O.P. Nominee Calls on Roosevelt to Act 'Effectively’

Washington, Oct. 17 –

The U.S. Army Air Corps and the Canadian Air Force each will get about half of the 250 to 300 American pursuit planes and light bombers originally ordered by Sweden.

En Route to St. Louis, Oct. 17 (UP) –

Republican presidential nominee Wendell L. Willkie today called upon President Roosevelt to send further material aid to Great Britain immediately.

He hoped New Dealers “can forget that they are candidates for a third term in Washington and act promptly and effectively at once.”

The candidate issued his statement aboard his campaign train after delivering to 12,000 persons in Evansville this morning as assertion that Republican victory in November would mean “a real job with a real future for the head of every family” instead of unemployment and growing dependence upon the state under the New Deal.

Text of Appeal

Mr. Willkie’s appeal for further immediate aid to England follows:

There are many newspaper stories being published daily to the effect that further materials to aid Britain await only the approval of the President.

If there is substance to these stories – and I have seen no denial from the Administration – then I should like to ask what is holding up any effective aid it is now possible to give immediately.

The New Deal record of delay and procrastination in the building of our own defense is a formidable one.

’Act Promptly’

We must hope that in the instant of such aid to Britain they can forget that they are New Dealers and can forget that they are candidates for a third term in Washington and act promptly and effectively at once.

If the dispatch of further materials is being considered by anyone in our office in Washington, why is it not at this time permitted to the consideration of the representative of all the people in Congress? There is no reason why Congress and the American people should be fully informed regarding possible further dispatch of materials to Britain at once.

In view of the high places in the councils of New Dealers that is held by the unseen “masterminds” and the city bosses, it is conceivable that there may be a wish to delay sending further materials in order to make a good impression at the right time for purely domestic political purposes.

Warns of 'Trickery’

But that would be a reprehensible trifling with Britain’s safety for the sake of an unworthy partisan political trick.

If it is desirable for us to send any further aid now available, we should do so at once, within the limit of our laws. With Britain and democracy in peril, this is no time for the Third Termers to play politics with any possible deliveries of equipment. It could serve not only to strengthen Britain but to raise the hope for democracy over the world.

Departing from his prepared text on employment, in a speech at Evansville, Ind., Mr. Willkie asserted the New Deal has restrained American enterprise and “gone down the road to defeatism.”

’New World’ Urged

He implored:

Release us. Release us so that the people can build a new world in America. Here in this country composed of all racial origins, we have the yeast to be productive and to become strong, and if we do that, we will be free. But if we do not produce, we will be weak – and we will not be free.

He said the Democratic National Committee, disputing his pledge to provide jobs for all the unemployed, “tells us that no man now living or whoever lived can hope to bring about jobs in private industry for every worker in America.”

Mr. Willkie said:

Obviously, no administration that doesn’t believe it is possible to get jobs will ever be able to get them. The New Deal said to you: Why take a chance? Why take a chance on changing administrations at this time? We say to you: What have you got to lose?

Mr. Willkie left Ohio, where he made several speeches yesterday in quest of the state’s 26 electoral votes, and headed west today across Indiana and Illinois and into Missouri, which have a total of 58 electoral votes.

In St. Louis Tonight

He delivers a major speech on foreign affairs in St. Louis tonight.

WJAS will broadcast Mr. Willkie’s address at 10:30 p.m.

Mr. Willkie climaxed his Southern Ohio campaign last night with a sharp attack upon New Deal relief policies before an applauding, flag-waving crowd in partially-funded Crosley Field. Police Chief E. T. Weatherly estimated the crowd at 14,000. It was a cool, crisp night.

Mr. Willkie charged with “our modern society and the New Deal” had created “a new form of slavery unemployment – that does not shut men in – it shuts them out.” He asserted that “the New Deal has looked upon unemployment as an opportunity to exchange bread for votes,” coercing relief workers to vote the New Deal ticket and to contribute to campaign funds.

Mr. Willkie pledged that his administration “will continue, and will reinforce, federal relief as long as any man in America is out of a job” and will seek other methods than the Works Projects Administration to aid the unemployed. He said Republicans will “investigate carefully the usefulness” of proposals that “all the functions of relief be turned over to the states, supported by federal grants-in-aid.”

Outlines Program

But until a new and better method is developed, Mr. Willkie said he would continue the present federal relief system, improving it is these ways:

  1. Placing greater emphasis on developing “valuable public works projects under private contracts,” including barracks, airports, bridges and highways.

  2. A merit system for WPA administrative employees and Congressional allocation of relief funds to states in accordance with the number of employed so "no official in Washington would have the right to withhold money from one facility while increasing payments to another.

  3. Work relief employees should be treated as government employees and not “as a class apart.”

  4. Conferences of AFL, CIO and other groups to develop a national apprentice training program.

  5. Establishment by Congress of machinery to co-ordinate federal, state and local relief efforts.