Election 1944: McCloy denies White House dictated ruling (8-29-44)

The Pittsburgh Press (August 29, 1944)


McCloy denies White House dictated ruling

Stimson’s aide upset ‘politics’ radio ruling

Washington –
Acting Secretary of War John J. McCloy said today that he personally made the decision to reverse the Army ruling granting the Socialist Party broadcasting facilities on the grounds that President Roosevelt’s Bremerton (Washington) speech was political in nature.

Mr. McCloy, a Republican, said the White House neither expressed any views with respect to the Army’s original stand nor exerted any effort to have the decision changed.

‘Equitable basis’

Mr. McCloy said:

I made the decision myself.

I had nothing to do with the first decision. I thought it well to get rid of that and start on an equitable basis for providing facilities with regard to the prior decision with respect to the Bremerton speech.

There was no White House dictation.

Mr. McCloy said officials of both Secretary Henry L. Stimson’s and Under Secretary Robert P. Patterson’s offices called his attention to the original Army announcement last Friday. This decision granted the Socialist Party shortwave radio time equal to that used by the President in speaking from Bremerton Aug. 12, when he returned from the Pacific.

Made on wrong premise

McCloy said he felt that decision was made on the wrong premise, and that he therefore overruled it. He was, and is, Acting Secretary in the absence of Mr. Stimson and Mr. Patterson. Mr. Stimson, he said, had no knowledge of the matter until it was all over.

A White House official called Mr. McCloy Friday to inquire for information on the basis of the first announcement but expressed no White House views in the matter, he said.

Mr. McCloy said the original decision was reached by Col. Robert Cutler, Mr. Stimson’s coordinator for soldier voting, and Maj. Gen. Frederick H. Osborn, director for Morale Services, without referring the matter to higher authority.

Cautious attitude

Mr. McCloy acknowledged that Col. Cutler customarily took a cautious attitude in interpreting whether a matter was political and indicated he approved leaning over backward in this respect.

Mr. McCloy acknowledged that the new plan announced yesterday, whereby equal broadcast time will be allotted to political parties on a schedule to be announced later, avoided any decision whether the Bremerton speech was political in nature.