Election 1944: No Pearl Harbor action expected (9-19-44)

The Pittsburgh Press (September 19, 1944)


No Pearl Harbor action expected

Washington (UP) –
Rep. Forest A. Harness (R-IN) said today he would press for prompt consideration of his resolution for a special investigation of the Pearl Harbor disaster, but all indications pointed toward a delay until at least after the November elections.

Mr. Harness said a principal obstacle was that of getting the resolution cleared by the House Rules Committee, since Committee Chairman Adolph Smith (D-IL) is not in the Capital.

Another obstacle, however, is the fact that leaders do not want to consider new legislation before an election recess.

This virtually destroys Mr. Harness’ purpose of having the investigation before the election. He told the House that if President Roosevelt was “not responsible for the Pearl Harbor disaster, he could be cleared promptly of such grave and serious charges.”

He said:

On the other hand, if, as Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces, he has been culpable in directing our military activities in Hawaii, the American people should have the facts before they are called upon to pass judgment on his fitness for reelection to a fourth term as President.

The Harness Resolution followed several days of Republican speechmaking blaming Mr. Roosevelt for American unpreparedness at Pearl Harbor when the Japs made their surprise attack.