Election 1944: GOP refuses to end fight on Pearl Harbor (9-23-44)

The Pittsburgh Press (September 24, 1944)


In Washington –
GOP refuses to end fight on Pearl Harbor

‘People want facts,’ Congressman says

Washington (UP) – (Sept. 23)
Republicans continued their efforts to smoke out the facts about the Pearl Harbor disaster today despite every indication that the administration has no intention of saying a word until official Army and Navy inquiry boards have completed their investigations.

Rep. Ralph Church (R-IL), indicating GOP dissatisfaction with waiting for the military board to report, said again that “the people want the facts.”

The work of those boards is going forward steadily, but there is no knowledge as to how much of their factfinding task has been completed. Neither has there been any indication as to when they expect to make public their findings.

General summoned

Evidence that the factfinding is being accelerated was seen yesterday in a War Department announcement that Maj. Gen. Leonard T. Gerow, commanding general of the V Corps of the 1st Army now fighting in Europe, has returned to testify before the Army board.

Removal of an officer from his post during active operations indicates anxiety to obtain vital information at once. Both Army and Navy authorities had previously objected to investigations until after the war partly because key witnesses might be engaged in fighting and unavailable for questioning here.

The Navy last winter sent Adm. Thomas C. Hart to Pearl Harbor to conduct an on-the-post investigation His findings have not been made public.

GOP may be aided

The Republicans might have much to gain politically should any high administration officials be involved in responsibility for the surprise with which the Japs caught U.S. forces at Pearl Harbor Dec. 7, 1941.

On the other hand, they would have little to lose if the guilt lay on the accused Pearl Harbor Army and Navy commanders or on non-administration shoulders, since the Republicans were not in power and could scarcely be held accountable for the Pearl Harbor disaster.