Election 1944: Huge crowds greet Dewey in St. Louis (10-16-44)

The Pittsburgh Press (October 16, 1944)


Huge crowds greet Dewey in St. Louis

GOP nominee repeats ‘unprepared; charge

St. Louis, Missouri (UP) –
Governor Thomas E. Dewey was given a tumultuous welcome when he arrived in St. Louis today to open his bid for the nation’s farm vote in a major campaign speech tonight.

KDKA and KQV will broadcast the speech at 10:00 p.m. ET.

Thousands of cheering Midwesterners lined downtown streets as the Republican presidential nominee rode in an open auto to his hotel.

The New Yorker said he would “bring honesty to the national government” after Jan. 20.

He said:

That is the issue of this campaign: Whether we want to continue down the New Deal road or whether we want a new administration that will bring opportunity and jobs for all.

25,000 line parade route

The Dewey party was saluted with loud explosions of cannon firecrackers, and torn paper fell from the high office buildings when he reached the downtown section. Police estimated crowds along the parade route at between 25,000 and 40,000.

Governor Dewey last night issued a statement to accompanying newspapermen contending the White House reply to his campaign speeches confirmed his charge that the Roosevelt administration failed to prepare the nation for war.

He reiterated the charge he made at Oklahoma City three weeks ago as his response to the White House statement of refutation.

Roosevelt ‘admission’

The White House statement, issued Saturday, quoted parts of the Oklahoma City speech in which Governor Dewey traced to Army officials and administration spokesmen the authority for his unpreparedness charge. Each Dewey statement was followed by longer quotations, obviously designed to accuse the New York Governor of distortion.

Mr. Dewey said:

In this statement, Mr. Roosevelt confesses that every single statement I made in my Oklahoma City speech was exactly correct down to the last period and comma.

The record is dreadfully bad. It cannot be concealed by epithets or by hiding behind the symbol of the White House.

Three-part reply

The White House refutation of Governor Dewey’s charges was in three parts – the refutation of his Oklahoma City speech, a letter from Assistant Secretary of State Adolf E. Berle Jr., accusing Governor Dewey of “misquoting” him at Charleston, West Virginia, Oct. 7, and an explanation by Maj. Gen. Lewis B. Hershey, Selective Service director, of remarks on which Governor Dewey based charges that the administration “is afraid to let men out of the Army” after the war is won.

Governor Dewey’s response to Mr. Berle’s letter was to quote the State Department executive at greater length in an effort to show that the administration’s economic trend is toward Communism.

Asked about a reply to the Hershey disclaimer, Governor Dewey’s press secretary, James M. Hagerty, replied: “Just wait,” indicating it may be forthcoming in tonight’s speech.

Statement ‘dusted off’

Mr. Dewey charged that Mr. Roosevelt had used bis position in the White House to get widespread attention for the refutation of his campaign speeches.

Governor Dewey said:

Exactly the same statement was put out by the publicity director of the Democratic Party to its speakers 10 days before. Mr. Roosevelt has found it necessary to dust it off and issue it with the sponsorship of the White House.

Repeating his quotation of Gen. George C. Marshall, Gen. H. H. Arnold, Senator Harry S. Truman, the vice-presidential nominee, and Senator Alben W. Barkley, Democratic leader in the Senate, Mr. Dewey said:

Mr. Roosevelt’s failure to prepare this country and the resulting price we have had to pay is established out of the mouths of his own followers.

As I have said, I did not intend debating the tragic results of Mr. Roosevelt’s total failure of leadership. But the facts are even more clearly etched as a result of his statement of yesterday.

Berle letter ‘amazing’

Governor Dewey called it “amazing” that Mr. Roosevelt “should find it necessary to get his subordinate and close associate, Mr. Berle… to write him a letter accusing me of misquoting, dishonesty, and of having ripped a sentence from its context.”

Mr. Dewey went on:

Once again, the facts are very simple. Mr. Roosevelt and Mr. Berle again admit my statement that Mr. Berle said in a memorandum: “Over a period of years, the government will gradually come to own most of the productive plants of the United States.”

Other language cited

Mr. Berle claims he meant the opposite and cites other language in the memorandum, But he skillfully omits to quote the relevant language in the very same passage, from which I have quoted above. It reads:

If the country desires to make wealth creation a function of government [I personally believe it must do so in a larger measure than it has heretofore], the choice should be the considered choice of the country and not the result of a policy of drift.

The government’s ability to create wealth efficiently is denied by a good many people. It seems to me a good many of these attacks are unjustified, though I am frankly biased in favor of public ownership of certain forms of wealth.

Governor Dewey said the only conclusion he could draw is that Roosevelt is continuing the slippery tactics the New Deal has always employed.

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Address by New York Governor Thomas E. Dewey
October 16, 1944, 10:00 p.m. EWT

Broadcast from St. Louis, Missouri


Fellow Americans:

I am happy to come to Missouri tonight to carry on the battle for honest and competent government. I am happy also to salute your distinguished Republican Governor, who, next January, will become United States Senator, Forrest C. Donnell, and your next Governor, Jean Paul Bradshaw.

It is clear by now that the New Deal has been taken over by the combination of corrupt big city bosses, Communists and fellow travelers. The people of Missouri have shown their independence before by throwing off the rule of the corrupt Pendergast machine. In the light of that record, I am sure they will never permit men who are products of that machine to succeed in their current attempt to take over our national government.

The war in Europe is drawing to a close. But hard tasks remain. We must speed the drive for final victory. We must put behind our fighting men the backing of competent, effective government at home.

We must make sure that when total victory is won, those fighting men are brought home promptly. We must take the leadership in bringing about effective international cooperation to prevent a future war.

We in America face a mighty decision. Ten million heroes will be coming home, entitled to the fruits of victory – a prospering country with security and opportunity to get ahead. Millions of workers in war plants will demand their right to a good job in peace industry at good wages with security and stable employment.

The farmers of America have a right to know that their tremendous efforts in the face of inadequate help and machinery will be rewarded by a new future of freedom from regimentation with stable and good prices for the fruits of their labor.

Is the tired and quarrelsome New Deal all America has to offer? Must we go back to leaf raking and doles?

Must our returning heroes go on the same old WPA?

Must our farmers go back to detailed control by a host of New Deal agents, with falling prices to boot?

These questions will all be decided in this election. The freedom and future of our country are at stake. Never in our history was it so important that we have a government which will be respected at home and respected abroad.

Never was it so important that we choose a government which can restore our job-making machinery. Jobs and opportunity for every American and our chance for a lasting peace – all depend on this election.

Now, what kind of administration do we need for the mighty problems we shall face after the war? As never before we shall need a government that meets these simple tests:

  • Is it honest?

  • Are the people who run it trained and competent for their jobs?

  • Is it a government with faith in the future of America and a wholehearted determination to make our system work?

Let us apply these simple tests to what we now have so that we can find out whether it’s time for a change.

For 12 years the New Deal has treated us to constant bickering, quarreling and backbiting by the most spectacular collection of incompetent people who ever held public office. We must not trust our future to such people as Harry Hopkins, Madam Perkins and Harold Ickes. Certainly, America can do better. I propose that we will do better.

But we can never do better under the New Deal. The scars of its own failures and its own quarrels are too deep. Going right back to its beginning, if it wasn’t a free-for-all fight in the NRA, it was Messrs. Ickes and Hopkins fighting over who got four billion borrowed dollars to spend on PWA or WPA.

It was Henderson and Ickes squabbling over the right to be gasoline czar or a fight between the Rubber Director and the Under Secretary of War.

If it wasn’t the OPA fighting with itself, it was Mr. Ickes denouncing the War Labor Board for its part in what he called a “black – and stupid – chapter in the history of the home front…”

The most disgraceful performance came when Vice President Wallace accused Secretary of Commerce Jones of having “done much to harass the… effort to help shorten this war…” and Mr. Jones charged the Vice President with “malice, innuendo, half-truths and no truths at all…”

What kind of government is this that even a war cannot make it sober down and go to work? Little men rattling around in big jobs. Our country cannot afford the wasteful luxury of incompetent people in high places who spend their time fighting each other.

Even Mr. Roosevelt publicly confessed on August 21, 1942, that these conflicts within his administration have been a “direct and serious handicap to the prosecution of the war.” How costly they have been we will never know. But we do know one thing. Twelve years of this kind of government are too long. Sixteen years of it would be intolerable.

This administration has lived on conflict. They plan it that way. Listen to the President’s Executive Order No. 9334. It says in part:

The Secretary of Agriculture and the War Food Administrator… shall each have authority to exercise any and all of the powers vested in the other…

In other words, Mr. Roosevelt gives two men the same powers and then turns them loose to fight about it. He has been doing that for 12 straight years and it is one of the major reasons the New Deal failed in peacetime and would fail again if it got a chance. We can’t afford this kind of planned, noisy chaos and bungling in the days ahead. That’s why it’s time for a change.

Now there is another important reason why this New Deal administration has been one long chapter of quarreling and confusion. That reason is the consistent practice of evading responsibility. High officials issue statements. Nobody rebukes or removes them. But when the statements later prove embarrassing, they are lightly disavowed or turned aside as unauthoritative.

Last month, I challenged a statement by the National Director of Selective Service in which he said:

We can keep people in the Army about as cheaply as we could create an agency for them when they are out.

Mr. Roosevelt was quite upset. In fact, he spoke about “reckless words, based on unauthoritative sources…” and last Saturday he handed out from the White House a letter from Gen. Hershey in which the general said the idea was all his own.

Now, is Mr. Roosevelt quite accurate when he calls Gen. Hershey his own appointee, unauthoritative? The fact is that the Director of Selective Service is charged by law with the duty of helping to get jobs for returning veterans. If anybody in the country is an authority on that subject, he is the man.

Now, where did Gen. Hershey get this idea Mr. Roosevelt calls “unauthoritative”? I’ll tell you. He got it from another one of those “White House” releases put out by Mr. Roosevelt himself.

Moreover, it was submitted by Mr. Roosevelt’s own uncle, Frederick A. Delano, chairman of the National Resources Planning Board. It was the report of the conference on post-war readjustment of civilian and military personnel, appointed by the President.

This discussed the pros and cons of speedy demobilization. After saying that good reasons exist for desiring a rapid rate of military demobilization, the report goes on to say that: “despite… compelling reasons for rapid military demobilization, the prospects of economic and industrial dislocation at the close of the war are so grave and the social consequences are so far-reaching that a policy of orderly, gradual, and, if necessary, delayed military demobilization has been strongly advocated. The following reasons,” it goes on to say, “have been advanced.”

“Rapid demobilization might throw into the labor market large numbers of men just at the time when the industries might be least able to absorb them. It might create unemployment and depression. Those in the services,” this report continues, “will constitute the only large group of persons over whom the nation could, in the event of economic crisis, exercise any degree of direct control…”

Then it says:

The economic and social costs of retaining men in the services would be less than those involved in dealing with an unemployment depression through civilian relief…

So, this idea of keeping men in the Army for fear that they won’t get jobs after the war was in a report made public last year by Mr. Roosevelt himself. The New Deal has had it in mind right along.

Now, let my opponent try to pass the buck to one of his assistants. They can slip and squirm in this New Deal but when my opponent uses the word “falsification,” as he did on the radio in the Teamsters’ speech, it comes home to haunt him.

And let me add that as long ago as last April, Mr. Roosevelt remained silent while his Director of Selective Service, in a public speech in New York, said he saw no purpose in letting men out of the Army “into some kind of a WPA.”

I do not see any such purpose either. Our fighting men ought to be brought home from the armed services at the earliest possible moment after victory and to jobs and opportunity. And that will be done when we get a new, an honest and a responsible administration in Washington.

The truth is that the New Deal has been afraid all along that when the time came to let men out of the Army there would be no jobs for them – that it would be a case of back to normalcy under the New Deal with 10 million unemployed.

When the New Deal took office on March 4, 1933, the worldwide depression was already nearly four years old. In its first seven years it had more power than any government in our history. It spent nearly $58 billion.

Yet the last official figures of the League of Nations prior to the outbreak of the World War show that among the major nations of the world the United States had almost the poorest record of all. Out of 22 leading industrial nations of the world, 19 had made greater recovery than the United States from the crash of 1929.

All but five had exceeded the 1929 level of production and gone well beyond it. The fact is that the New Deal depression in the United States was actually holding back economic recovery all over the world.

It was Winston Churchill who, late in 1937, said:

The Washington administration has waged so ruthless a war on private enterprise that the United States… is actually at the present moment leading the world back into the trough of depression.

Then he added:

Those who are keeping the flag of peace and free government flying in the Old World have almost the right to ask that their comrades in the New World should… set an example of strength and stability.

But Mr. Roosevelt ignored the warning. He went on with his war on business and employment, his experimentation – his quarrels and his chaos.

The New Deal’s record at home is one long chapter of failure. But some people still tell us:

We agree that the New Deal is a failure at home but its foreign policies are very good.

Let me ask you:

Can an administration which is so disunited and unsuccessful at home be any better abroad?

Can an administration which is filled with quarreling and backbiting where we can see it be any better abroad where we cannot see it?

Well, the answer to that seeps through even the thick wall of censorship.

For example, on February 11, 1943, while we were seeking vital war materials in Brazil, an article in The New York Times told how the conflict between Mr. Wallace and Mr. Jones was being echoed among our representatives in Brazil.

It went on to say that dissension among the scores of agency representatives had actually “led the Americans to participate in departmental rows among agencies of the Brazilian government itself.”

Last year a special committee of United States Senators was sent to our war theaters overseas. Read what a Democratic Senator, Richard B. Russell, said in a report to the Senate on October 28, 1943. These are his words:

Our civil agencies abroad are numerous, but too often they are, either working at cross purposes, or, worse to relate, in some cases have no apparent purpose.

Here is a report from the July 30, 1943, issue of the United States News. It says:

…in North Africa… field agents of half a dozen agencies – the Treasury, BEW, Lend-Lease, State Department and others – are reported to have brought confusion to the brink of chaos.

Why is it that our representation in the vital areas abroad is on the brink of chaos? The answer is exactly the same as at home.

In addition to the duly constituted officers of the State Department and the Army and Navy, there are now operating wholly or partly all over the world the following agencies of this administration: The FEA, RFC, WFRA, OCIAA, OSS, OWL, WSA, WRB, OAPC, OC, OWM, PWRCB, OFAR, FRC, and the ACPSAHMWA.

There are more, but that’s enough.

Our country has a very important role to play in the world in the years to come. We can never achieve our objectives under an administration too tired and worn out to bring order out of its own chaos either at home or abroad.

This nation of ours can be an inspiration to the world. We can be a steadying influence for freedom and peace. But first we must have peace in our own government. We must set our own house in order.

That can never be done by a weary and worn-out administration. It can and must be done by a fresh and vigorous administration which will restore honesty and competence to our government.

There things we pledge to you:

An administration devoted to public service instead of public bickering.

An administration working in harmony with Congress.

An administration in which the Cabinet is restored as a responsible instrument of government.

An administration in which you will not have to support three men to do one man’s job.

An administration which will root out waste and bring order out of chaos.

An administration which will give the people of this country value received for the taxes they pay.

An administration made up of the ablest men and women in America who will receive full authority to do their jobs and will be let alone to do them.

An administration free from the influence of Communists and the domination of corrupt big city machines.

An administration in which the Constitution is respected so that the liberties of our people shall again be secure.

An administration which will devote itself to the single-minded purpose of jobs and opportunity for all.

My distinguished associate, John W. Bricker, and I are united in our determination to these ends. We know that they can be achieved.

We are united by these objectives and a firm determination under God to achieve them. America must never go back to the insecurity, unemployment and chaos of the New Deal. Because she must. America can and will go forward once again.

The Pittsburgh Press (October 17, 1944)


Dewey: New Deal rifts peril peace

Bickering, backbiting charged by nominee

Aboard Dewey campaign train (UP) –
Governor Thomas E. Dewey added today to his charge of Roosevelt administration failures at home an accusation that its conduct of foreign affairs also suffers from “constant bickering, quarreling and backbiting” and internal dissension.

The Republican presidential nominee, speaking last night on a nationwide radio hookup from St. Louis, said the failures he complained of abroad could be traced to the same conditions which have made the Roosevelt administration’s record at home “one long chapter of failure.”

‘Bosses, Communists’ assailed

He charged that “the New Deal has been taken over by the combination of corrupt big city bosses, Communists and fellow travelers.” He renewed and elaborated his charge that “the New Deal has been afraid all along that when the tame came to let men out of the Army there would be no jobs for them.”

The crowd, estimated at 15,000, loved it. When Governor Dewey asked whether post-war period must bring a return of “leaf raking and doles,” and the WPA his audience shouted a vehement “No.” They booed the mention of Harry Hopkins, Mrs. Perkins and Harold Ickes.

They laughed when he recited disputes within the administration’s official family and called it a case of “little men rattling around in big jobs.”

Ability challenged

Governor Dewey didn’t argue about policies. But he challenged the Roosevelt administration’s abilities to carry them out successfully.

He asked:

Can an administration which is so disunited and unsuccessful at home be any better abroad? Can an administration filled with quarreling and backbiting where we can see it be any better abroad where we cannot see it?

He listed New Deal agencies by alphabetical definitions but didn’t reach the final one – ACPSAHMWA designating the “American Commission for Preservation and Salvage of Artistic and Historical Monuments in the War Areas” – because of the crowd’s laughing response.

Governor Dewey went on:

This nation can be an inspiration to the world, can be a steadying influence for freedom and peace. But first we must have peace in our own government.

Here’s that list Dewey named

Washington (UP) –
Governor Thomas E. Dewey, in his attack on “bickering and backbiting” in Washington, last night recited the initials of 15 governmental agencies but did not take time to identify them.

His enumeration sent reporters scurrying for their complete names. This is what they came up with:

  • FEA: Foreign Economic Administration
  • RFC: Reconstruction Finance Corporation
  • WFA: War Food Administration
  • OCIAA: Office of Coordinator of Inter-American affairs
  • OSS: Office of Strategic Services
  • OWI: Office of War Information
  • WSA: War Shipping Administration
  • WRB: War Refugee Board
  • OAPC: Office of Alien Property Custodian
  • OC: Office of Censorship
  • OWM: Office of War Mobilization
  • PWRCB: President’s War Relief Control Board
  • OFAR: Office of Foreign Agricultural Relations
  • FRC: Filipino Rehabilitation Commission
  • ACPSAHMWA: American Commission for Protection and Salvage of Artistic and Historic Monuments in War Areas