Election 1944: Democrats charge MacArthur ‘negligence’ in the Philippines (9-13-44)

The Pittsburgh Press (September 14, 1944)


In Washington –
Democrats charge MacArthur ‘negligence’ in the Philippines

Replying to ‘Pearl Harbor tactics’ of GOP, foes open up in rebuttal

Washington (UP) –
Congressional Democrats yesterday opened a counteroffensive against repeated Republican charges that the administration is responsible for the Pearl Harbor disaster and that it has been “covering up the true story” of the Dec. 7, 1941, debacle.

In the first full-dress Democratic rebuttal, House Majority Leader John W. McCormack and Reps. George E. Outland (D-CA) and Daniel L. O’Toole (D-NY) denied the GOP charges and accused the Republicans of playing politics in their demands for full facts of Pearl Harbor.

Between speeches, Republican members reiterated their charges and, in turn, accused the Democrats of injecting politics.

Mr. O’Toole told the House that, at the start of the war, Gen. Douglas MacArthur was “guilty of carelessness” in defense of the Philippines, but no charges have been made against him.

‘Lost his air force’

O’Toole asked:

Has anyone told the House that 95 percent of MacArthur’s air force was destroyed in the Philippines despite the fact that Pearl Harbor was attacked first? He, too, was guilty, but no charges have been made against him.

He said:

Seven weeks before election, the Republicans become suddenly interested in the defense of RAdm. Husband E. Kimmel And Maj. Gen. Walter C. Short [Navy and Army commanders in Pearl Harbor when the Japanese attacked].

Is it because Short is listed as a Republican in Who’s Who?

‘A political speech!’

He put full blame on Kimmel and Short for not taking “proper precautions” when they knew war with Japan was imminent, and he charged Republicans with using innuendo for political gain.

Rep. Earl Michener (R-MI) replied that Mr. O’Toole’s talk was “a political speech if one ever was made” and said Congress has been requesting the facts about Pearl Harbor since the attack.

Mr. Outland touched off the debate by challenging Republicans to prove their charges that Australia furnished advance warning to the United States that the Jap fleet was steaming toward Pearl Harbor. He quoted Australian Prime Minister John Curtin that reports of such a warning were “pure invention.”

‘Withholding full story’

Then, Rep. Harold Knutson (R-MN) renewed charges that the administration is withholding the full story of Pearl Harbir, saying that “when the facts are known the blame will not be on Tokyo, it will be in Washington.”

Mr. McCormack replied that charges the administration is covering up the story of Pearl Harbor is “entirely without foundation and made out of whole cloth.”

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the fact that MacArthur kept his job after the philippines disaster is a great shame.