Election 1944: Pre-convention news


Background of news –
Presidential candidates

By Harold Kellock, editorial research reports

Because of war uncertainties, the election year 1944 has begun with the identity of the presidential candidates to be selected by the two major parties veiled in more than usual mystery.

If the European phase of the war ends before the nominating conventions assemble in June or July, a hasty reassessment of campaign values may bring last-minute changes in the political picture; the situation would be complicated by the fact that post-war problems in Europe would demand attention concurrently with problems of speeding up the war in the Far East. Any candidate who offered glittering generalities as solutions to these diverse puzzles might find himself highly embarrassed before the electorate in November. The war has injected various imponderable factors into the choice of candidates for both parties.

The enigma of the fourth term is another factor of uncertainty which hangs over both nominating conventions. According to established political techniques, President Roosevelt will probably not reveal whether he will be a candidate to succeed himself in office until after the Republican convention. The dearth of candidates for the Democratic nomination this year indicates the extent to which a twelve-year President forces other leaders of his party into political obscurity.

Byrnes a possibility?

In 1940, Vice President Garner and National Chairman Farley, both opposed to a third term, were candidates for the nomination. The names of both, and that of Senator Tydings (D-MD), were placed before the Democratic National Convention, but Mr. Roosevelt was nominated by acclamation on the first ballot. None of these three seems in the picture this year.

War Manpower Commissioner McNutt and Vice President Wallace have lost political face recently, through reallocations of administrative power. None of the New Deal executives, except possibly James F. Byrnes, chief of the Office of War Mobilization who served in the Senate from South Carolina for 10 years, apparently would be acceptable to the powerful Southern wing of the party. Some Southern leaders, led by Senator “Cotton Ed” Smith (D-SC), have proposed to nominate Senator Byrd (D-VA) on an anti-New Deal platform, but Mr. Byrd has said he is not a candidate.

The Republican race is wide open. The four leading candidates thus far are New York Governor Dewey, Wendell Willkie, Gen. MacArthur and Ohio Governor Bricker. Others mentioned include Harold E. Stassen, who resigned after his third election as Governor of Minnesota to enter the Navy, and Governors Warren of California, Saltonstall of Massachusetts and Griswold of Nebraska.

Willkie most outspoken

Gen. MacArthur and Mr. Stassen, as officers in the Armed Forces, cannot engage in political activity, but would be permitted to resign to accept high public office. Gen. MacArthur’s friends have organized MacArthur-for-President clubs in nine states and Mr. Stassen’s supporters are preparing to enter his name in the Western primaries. Mr. Bricker has announced his candidacy and will file in the Ohio primaries.

Mr. Willkie has said his candidacy is contingent on adoption by his party of a satisfactory program of post-war international cooperation.

The most outspoken of the Republican presidential possibilities, Mr. Willkie has urged his views before party gatherings and public forums over a wide area. A number of party leaders are openly opposed to his nomination.

After Mr. Dewey was elected Governor of New York in November 1942, he said he planned to stick to his job for four years and added:

I am not and shall not be a candidate for the Republican nomination for President in 1944.

He reiterated this stance a year later, but has never stated that he would refuse the nomination if it were tendered him.

Mr. Dewey leads in most straw votes for a Republican nominee to date, with Mr. Willkie close behind him.


AFL digs up labor views of MacArthur

Magazine’s release was ‘relevant’ in June 1942

Washington (UP) –
The statement by Gen. Douglas MacArthur that “labor has never failed the Army or the nation,” which the American Federationist, the official magazine of the American Federation of Labor, said would be a feature of its next issue, turned out today to be about 20 months old.

As distributed in advance yesterday, the publications’ handout suggested to editors that Gen. MacArthur’s statement was relevant to “a somewhat contrary statement made by an anonymous high personage.”

The reference was to the “informed source” statement warning that rail strike threats might prolong the war. AFL President William Green last Monday charged the statement was “inflammatory” and said “press reports” had attributed it to Gen. George C. Marshall, Army Chief of Staff.

Mr. Green disclaimed any knowledge of the AFL magazine’s release on Gen. MacArthur, and Philip Pearl, AFL representative, said he had no connection with the publication and that the release had not been issued by “anyone in authority.”

Gen. MacArthur’s statement was first carried by the American Federationist in its June 1942 issue.

The Pittsburgh Press (January 7, 1944)


Ex-Akron mayor may snub jury on ‘Hopkins letter’

Washington (UP) –
C. Nelson Sparks, former Mayor of Akron, Ohio, said today he may stand on his constitutional rights and refuse to surrender to a federal grand jury the original copy of a letter purportedly written by Harry Hopkins, President Roosevelt’s No. 1 adviser, predicting that Wendell L. Willkie will be chosen the 1944 Republican presidential nominee.

Mr. Sparks made his statement after the Department of Justice announced a grand jury will begin an inquiry next Wednesday into circumstances surrounding the letter, which Mr. Hopkins has branded a forgery.


Editorial: Wartime voting needs

Secretary of War Stimson and Secretary of the Navy Knox have laid down a number of minimum requirements which they believe essential to any soldier-voting plan.

The secretaries sent their recommendations to the Council of State Governments, obviously with the idea that the Council would distribute them among the states.

The requirements which Mr. Knox and Mr. Stimson say are necessary to enable the Army and Navy to carry out an election among the members of the Armed Forces are reasonable and to the point.

They say, in effect, they can’t stop the war while soldiers and sailors vote, but they also say the armed services will do everything in their power to carry out whatever laws are enacted.

But the necessary provisions which they have outlined should be sent to Congress because it is Congress which must enact the basic legislation if there is to be any uniformity in an election among the Armed Forces, or for that matter any election.

Congress resumes sessions Monday and a suitable arrangement for enabling the Armed Forces to vote should be the first order of business.

The purpose of the plan, however devised, is to give the 11 million men in the Army and Navy an opportunity to vote and any method which is so restrictive that it bars any of these men, save possibly those in actual combat at the time the vote is taken, will be satisfactory.

The only way to guarantee that all, or nearly all, of these men will be supplied with appropriate ballots is to set up a uniform system. As Mr. Knox and Mr. Stimson point out, they cannot adapt the military facilities to 48 different systems.

It would be impossible for the states to get together in the next few weeks, or even months, on a uniform voting plan. It is relatively simple for Congress to act. Congress should waste no time in being about it.


Martin boosts Pittsburgh for GOP convention

Governor says Hunt Armory would be ‘ideal’ for purpose

Pittsburgh was advocated by Governor Edward Martin today as a possible site for the 1944 Republican National Convention.

Noting that wartime transportation difficulties will be a chief factor in the selection of the convention city, Governor Martin said “Pittsburgh wouldn’t be so badly located.” He added that the Hunt Armory in East Liberty would be “ideal for the purpose,” especially with the addition of two galleries that would raise the seating company to 15,000.

It was Governor Martin’s first public pronouncement on the subject. Previously, he maintained the stand that any site advocated by the Office of Defense Transportation would be acceptable – and that agency has suggested that the GOP and Democratic conventions be held in Chicago.

The place and time of the Republican convention is to be chosen by the GOP National Committee in Chicago next week.

Governor Martin would not commit himself on possible Republican candidates for state offices in the 1944 elections, declaring “it’s still too early for such talk” and that:

The ball won’t start rolling until after the national convention site is picked.

He said “I have no idea” whether Attorney General James H. Duff will be the party’s candidate for the seat now held by U.S. Senator James J. Davis.


Bricker opens drive, assails New Deal

Detroit, Michigan (UP) –
Ohio Governor John W. Bricker launched his drive for the Republican presidential nomination today with an attack on the New Deal and an assertion that “win the war” became the motto of “every real American” when the Japanese bombed Pearl Harbor.

The three-term Ohio executive, addressing Wayne County (Detroit) Republicans, took cognizance of President Roosevelt’s recent statement favoring substitution of a “win the war” slogan for the term New Deal.

Mr. Bricker said:

Every American citizen today has the right to resent ay political leadership that assumes to take unto itself credit for winning the war.

In his first political speech since he announced his candidacy for the Republican nomination, Mr. Bricker denounced New Deal “inefficiency” and declared a Republican victory this year “will assure us here at home that no one party or officeholder is indispensable.”

The Pittsburgh Press (January 9, 1944)


State to stand on present law in soldier vote

Governor Martin tells Senate group he won’t call special session
By Robert Taylor, Press Washington correspondent

Washington – (Jan. 8)
Pennsylvania Governor Edward Martin has advised the Senate Elections Committee that he believes the state law on absentee voting is sufficient to handle the soldier vote in the 1944 election.

As a result, the Governor said in answer to a query by the Senate committee, it will not be necessary to call a special session of the State Legislature to consider soldier vote legislation.

The statement contrasts with recent announcements by Governor Martin that he intends to call a special session to make state laws conform with prospective action by Congress to grant men in the armed services a military ballot for federal offices.

Present law cited

The query, sent by Senator Theodore F. Green (D-RI), coauthor of the Green-Lucas Soldier Vote Bill, asked if the Governor contemplates calling a session “to consider legislation relative to absentee voting for those in the armed services.”

Governor Martin replied:

It now looks as if it will not be necessary for Pennsylvania to call a special session of its Legislature. We believe that, with some cooperation from the Army and Navy, which we are sure we will secure, we can take care of absentee voting by our present laws.

Under Pennsylvania law, soldiers and sailors can register by mail, make application for a military ballot 30-90 days before election, fill it out and take an oath before an officer and mail it back to be added to returns from the home districts.

Objections stressed

It was this procedure that was denounced in Congress by the advocates of a federal soldier vote bill, on the ground that it required at least five long-distance transactions by mail and was unworkable as far as most of the men in military service, in particular those on the fighting fronts, are concerned.

The federal soldier vote proposal, as contained in the compromise Green-Lucas Bill, calls for distribution by the armed services of ballots to every member, and distribution by a war ballot commission of the complete ballots to the states.

Such a system would require, in most cases, new state legislation to provide for addition if the military returns to the civil vote for federal offices.

Some wait on Congress

Senator Green made his poll to determine what state officials plan to do about the soldier vote. Seven governors replied that they had called or will call a special session of their legislatures and another added that he would do so if necessary. Six others said they would take no action until Congress acts.

Governor Martin was one of seven state executives who indicated they are standing on their state laws.

Senate opponents of an unrestricted federal ballot for men in the armed services succeeded in killing the original Green-Lucas Bill and substituting for it a measure that would refer the whole question of soldier voting to state legislation. They were led by Southern Democrats and included a number of Republican Senators from Northern states.

The charge was made at that time that cumbersome operation of state laws would result in disfranchisement of most of the men and women in the Armed Forces who would be eligible to vote under the federal ballot proposal.

The charge of Senator Joseph F. Guffey (D-PA), that an “unholy alliance” of Southern Democrats and Northern Republicans had killed the bill, started a bitter party feud in the Senate.

As a result of continued protests against the way the Senate handled the soldier vote issue, compromise measures, designed to meet the objections of Southern states, have been introduced in both the Senate and House under which the Armed Forces will still handle military voting and the ballots delivered to states for dispositions under state laws.

This system would permit states which want to do so to continue setting the qualifications for voters, irrespective of the federal ballot and permit other states to accept all military ballots.


Soldier vote sponsor cites Civil War plan

Southerners today ignore Confederacy’s example, Congressman claims
By Daniel M. Kidney, Scripps-Howard staff writer

Washington – (Jan. 8)
Although Southern Senators, with three exceptions, noted for the Eastland-McKellar-McClellan substitute which would leave soldier voting to the states, the Worley Bill to let the Army handle the voting and the states count the ballots more nearly matches the manner in which the South handled the problem during the Civil War.

This is the conclusion reached by Rep. Charles M. La Follett (R-IN), who has spent the Congressional recess in research on voting by the Union and Confederate Armies.

Mr. La Follette said:

The fact is that the Union Army was far more insistent on state control of voting than was the Confederate Army.

Soldiers’ rights preserved

Although the South was theoretically fighting for states’ rights, it placed the voting privilege of its soldiers before all else and insisted that no man be disenfranchised because he was in the field.

The Confederate Congress passed laws lying down the method of voting and spelled out the right of the states to do likewise. Whatever voting in the field was done by soldiers from Mississippi, Louisiana, Texas and Arkansas was under the Confederate Congress’ law, these states having passed none. Other states did pass statutes, but in each case Army officers handled the balloting and sent the ballots back to the state for counting.

Southerner leads opposition

Mr. La Follette said:

States without special laws could only vote soldiers for President, Vice President and members of Congress, of course.

He pointed out that the leader of the opposition against the Worley Bill in the House is Rep. John Rankin, who comes from Mississippi.

Mr. La Follette said:

Certainly Southern oppositionists are overstressing the states’-rights issue in this matter. They cannot be more fond of states’ rights than their ancestors, who fought a four-year war to preserve them.


More evidence of Roosevelt’s campaign cited

Edison: Administration keeps Hague alive with patronage
By Lyle C. Wilson, United Press staff writer

Washington – (Jan. 8)
Charges that the Roosevelt administration was keeping the Hague machine alive in New Jersey with feedings of federal patronage were being assayed here today in terms of presidential year politics.

Governor Charles Edison, retiring Democrat, who was formerly a member of President Roosevelt’s Cabinet, made the charges yesterday in citing the appointment of Dr. Edward J. Jennings, a Hague man, to be postmaster at Trenton despite opposition by the non-Hague element of the state Democratic organization.

At a Trenton press conference, Mr. Edison said that without such federal patronage, Mayor Hague “would have been a dead duck long ago – in fact that is all he is living on now.”

The policy of appeasing Mayor Hague has been cited by anti-Roosevelt Democrats and Republicans as an indication that the President intended to seek a fourth term since it is to be expected that the Mayor will control the New Jersey delegation to the Democratic National Convention this year.

Mr. Edison’s pointed complaint gives Republicans some useful presidential year arguments in support of their frequent charge that the Roosevelt administration is or has been aligned with questionable political machines in several large cities including New York, Chicago, Kansas City, Memphis and Jersey City.


Usual campaign planned by GOP

Chicago, Illinois (UP) – (Jan. 8)
Harrison Spangler, chairman of the Republican National Committee, said today the party will probably not shorten its wartime presidential campaign because “we believe the Democrats are already conducting theirs.”

Mr. Spangler said the National Committee, which begins a two-day meeting here Monday, will probably set the date for the national GOP convention in June, “around the usual time.” A campaign of the usual duration, he said, would not interfere with the war effort if it is conducted properly.

Meanwhile, observers speculated significance on a statement by Wendell Willkie, who said in New York that he was interested in no particular city as convention site. Mr. Willkie’s followers have opposed selection of Chicago as the convention site, observers said, in the belief the city is a stronghold of isolationist sentiment.

Observers speculated on whether Mr. Willkie regarded it as good strategy to appear disinterested, or whether he believes it would be useless to oppose sentiment for holding the convention here. Chicago will bid for both the Democratic and Republican conventions.


Willkie leadership best, Vermont Governor says

His arms are free and he ‘packs wallop in both fists,’ Wills says, urging fair play

Montpelier, Vermont (UP) – (Jan. 8)
Governor William H. Wills of Vermont called on the Republican Party tonight to nominate Wendell Willkie for President because:

He can give leadership better than President Roosevelt, better than any other prominent Republican challenger.

In a nationwide radio address from his home, the Republican governor of a state that has never sent a Democrat to Congress said “only Willkie packs a wallop in both fists.”

Governor Wills asserted:

Roosevelt’s right arm is in a sling labeled “Domestic Shortcoming.” In a sling, too, is the left arm of every Republican challenger except Willkie, and this sling is labeled “No Foreign Policy.”

Both Willkie arms free

No slings hamper Willkie. Both arms are free. Willkie’s left glove is stamped “Sound Foreign Policy,” his right glove is marked “Sound Domestic Policy.”

Governor Wills said he felt that too many “professional politicians” believed that Republican victories last November indicated the GOP could win with anyone.

He said:

The last ballot in Kentucky was hardly counted… when the four-year locusts of Republican politics blackened the horizon to blight the victory crops. This cloud had some leaders and some spokesmen. I do not have to tell you who they were: Alf Landon, John Hamilton, Joseph Pew, Senator Nye and the Rev. Gerald L. K. Smith; and, of course the Metropolitan McCormack-Patterson newspaper axis. They were loud. They were angry. They indulged in much loose talk.

Nothing constructive

But Governor Wills said, he could not believe these were the “voice of the resurgent Republican of 1944.” He said the resurgent Republican is “forward looking… seeks to build and strengthen… wants ours to be a better country, this a better world.”

Governor Wills said:

These political locusts… had nothing constructive to say. They agree on no candidate. They simply agreed in their hatred of the outstanding Republican of our times – Wendell Willkie.

Governor Wills said he did not mean to infer that Mr. Willkie is the only Republican qualified to be President.

Plea is for fair play

He said:

Nevertheless, I think Wendell Willkie is the only Republican certain to beat the strongest Democratic candidate.

My plea… is for fair play in our convention. If Willkie is given an honest chance to win the Republican nomination and loses it our party will still be one of which we can be proud, even though we go down to defeat at the polls with a lesser man as candidate.

If, however, he becomes the victim of smart political manipulation in a Stop-Willkie drive, with a handful of bosses dominating the Republican National Convention in 1944 as they did in 1920, I fear for our survival. Such a course, I fear, means suicide for the Republican Party.


Willkie: People forced Big 4 sessions

Now they must demand economic, political pacts

New York (UP) – (Jan. 8)
Wendell L. Willkie said today the Moscow, Cairo, Tehran conferences had “established effective military coordination and cooperation of the four great Allies” but had not “produced sufficient political and economic and moral understandings.”

The 1940 Republican presidential nominee told the sixth Victory Rally of the Metropolitan Opera season that:

The force of the peoples’ opinion was responsible for the very fact that the conferences took place and for such progress as has been made.

Pravda criticism ignored

He said:

The people must now assert their opinion clearly to bring about those political, economic and moral understandings which alone can make real the great principles for which we fight.

Mr. Willkie did not refer to the criticism of him by Pravda, Moscow-published official Communist Party publication, which called him a “meddler” because of a magazine article in which he referred to boundary lines in territories Russia recognizes only as its own.

Casualty lists will be “heartbreakingly long,” he said, “unless internal collapse comes soon in Germany.”

He focused his remarks regarding the home front on the Roosevelt administration.

Seizures are disturbing

He said:

In 1933, it was pointed out our specialist was Dr. New Deal; today, he is Dr. Win-The-War. Now this idea – even though facetiously suggested that American people are always sick and are not robust individuals is an insidious doctrine – a doctrine that would make morale hypochondriacs of us all if we accepted it.

Mr. Willkie said:

The recurrent seizures of factories and mines and the recent seizure of the railroads are disturbingly present in all our minds. Those were the drugs prescribed by the doctors when the case became too painful. But the disease remains, and it will not be cured by giving drugs to the people. For it is a disease of the doctors, not of the people. And it will only be cured by attacking its fundamental cause – maladministration.


Eyes Presidency now –
Moody: Dewey just waits for ripe moment to toss in hat

Governor says he’s not an active candidate but he’s careful to leave door open for draft campaign
By Blair Moody, North American Newspaper Alliance

Albany, New York – (Jan. 8)
Tom Dewey, the Owosso, Michigan, boy who became Governor of New York at 40 and the country’s leading political mystery man at 41, is running for President. Make no mistake about that. The only question is: When?

Ever since Governor Dewey flatly refused to “line up” delegates to the Republican National Convention next June, his real intent has been a prime subject of speculation, especially among those Republicans who are determined to nominate him anyway.

His name continues to lead all the polls. His record as a racker-buster, which built him early a reputation for clean government and effective management, endures. Above all, they think he might carry New York, even against Franklin D. Roosevelt.

Publicly, Mr. Dewey has taken no notice of all this except to declare himself out as an active candidate, while carefully leaving the door ajar not to shut out the draft. He is almost ostentatiously “busy being Governor of New York.”

Goal is White House

If the political weather should appear unpropitious at convention time, or if the party should swing toward Wendell L. Willkie or some other candidate, not by a single word or act of Mr. Dewey will it be possible to demonstrate that he had any other idea than to serve out his four-year term at Albany.

But no political reporter could spend much time with Mr. Dewey, especially not with his close associates, and carry away the slightest doubt that his ultimate goal is the White House.

He is acting on state issues, but thinking in national terms. He is laying a pattern of policy at Albany which can be used to forecast what he would do in Washington.

Watching the winds

And, basically, he is doing just what he thinks President Roosevelt is doing – watching to see how the political wind blows, meanwhile maneuvering quietly to make his path toward nomination smoother.

Dewey knows, of course, that he could not be nominated for President and refuse to accept; not and ever have another chance.

By convention time, he may be eager, though in the light of previous statements he cannot actively campaign. He certainly will want it if by then it is clear Mr. Roosevelt won’t run.

Knows his business

But Mr. Dewey shares none of the blithe hope of some wishful-thinking Republicans that resentment against the New Deal and wartime irritations have made the Presidency a pushover. And he knows that “bad timing” can be disastrous to his career.

Mr. Dewey’s estimate of Mr. Roosevelt as a vote-getter may be measured by keen interest in the current report that FDR may take himself out of the race by “getting himself elected President of the United Nations” before the Democratic convention.

This report has the President planning to get together with Prime Minister Churchill, Marshal Stalin and Generalissimo Chiang to establish the nucleus of a world organization, which would immediately choose Mr. Roosevelt, not by virtue of office but personally, as “President of the world” for a 10-year team.

Change called beneficial

One picks up the impression that Mr. Dewey thinks this would be top-notch idea, because (1) the country would retain the services of Mr. Roosevelt in the field in which he is most competent and (2) it would pave the way to the periodic change in leadership which has kept our democracy healthy.

Mr. Dewey seems to think that Mr. Roosevelt is about as interested in home-front issues now as the Governor of New York is in being a District Attorney. He has covered that field and moved on.

And one gathers the impression that, if nominated against Mr. Roosevelt, Mr. Dewey would counter the President’s foreign experience by contending that what the nation needs above all else in the next four years will be a leader who can avoid an economic crash at home.

Aided by war

Even his political enemies admit that Mr. Dewey has weathered his first year as governor of a state which has more people than Canada with an excellent record. He is first to admit that the “hurricane of war” has been a help.

He has played canny, but clean, politics. He enraged Republican wheelhorses, seeking plums after 20 hungry years, by making major appointments by merit.

But he disarmed a Legislature poised to “show that cocky little so-and-so” by calling in its leaders, reading them his first message paragraph by paragraph, asking them to “tear it apart,” and changing it where he could be convinced.

He raised a “land-army” of 111,000 volunteers last summer and harvested a 2,500,000-ton fruit crop, much of which would otherwise have rotted.

Consults farm leaders

A farm owner, whenever he makes a rural move, he calls in leaders of the big farm organizations.

He named as conservation chief a game and wildlife enthusiast who heads a statewide network of organizations which will be no political handicap.

When the war helps pile up a surplus of $140 million, the largest in state history, Mr. Dewey resisted demands of pressure groups to “tap” it, insisting on laying it away for jobs for returning soldiers.

His tax program is geared to a readjustment of exemptions, the key to a fairer system, which has long been overlooked by the federal government.

Cooperation favored

Mr. Dewey thinks America’s post-war interests require working closely with Britain and Russia, especially if Stalin gives us a hand with Japan, and China.

Of his message to the Legislature last week, one associate remarked:

At any point, cross out “New York,” write in “the federal government,” add three ciphers, and you have it.

Many politicians, including some in Albany, believe that if the President runs, Mr. Dewey would prefer 1948 to 1944.

Give Mr. Roosevelt a fourth term, they say, especially a second victory over Mr. Willkie, and the Republican Governor of New York could not miss in the inevitable swing back four years hence, while a defeat by “The Champ” this year might ruin him.

Danger in waiting

But there is another angle. If Mr. Dewey should “wait” and Mr. Willkie should win the nomination and be elected, then the GOP would become a Willkie party and Mr. Dewey’s next change would be eight years hence, if ever.

If the party really wants him, Mr. Dewey can’t wait. And at the moment there is certainly not the slightest indication he would welcome the nomination of Mr. Willkie.


Editorial: Is Stalin mixing in our politics?

Folks are laughing about the way Pal Joe Stalin has turned on Wendell Willkie. It is amusing. But it will not hurt Mr. Willkie politically. One Willkie liability was that he was said to be too cozy with the Russians. Now, Marshal Stalin has disowned him.

We doubt that the fourth-termers are rejoicing over the implication that Moscow wants Mr. Roosevelt reelected. Certainly there will be no Republican candidate with a record of more friendliness for Russia, and the President can hardly be less critical of Moscow’s Polish policy than Mr. Willkie’s mild references which provoked Pravda’s bitter attack.

Indeed, Mr. Willkie’s plea, “Don’t Stir Distrust of Russia,” was so gentle in its admonitions to Moscow to go easy on territorial grabs that the reason for Marshal Stalin’s violent reaction is not entirely clear. In Washington, there are two guesses. One is the political. The other is diplomatic – the idea that Marshal Stalin, by striking at Mr. Willkie, is warning the President to keep hands off the Russian-Polish dispute.

It seems rather far-fetched that Marshal Stalin has to speak to Mr. Roosevelt through a Pravda editorial denouncing Mr. Willkie. After all, the Marshal and the President only recently spent many hours together discussing the Polish problem, along with others, and Marshal Stalin at least spoke very frankly – according to all reports. Anyway, there have been many Pravda and other Moscow statements claiming eastern Poland, and there are plenty of official pegs upon which to hang a repetition without seeking some wild Willkie article for that purpose.

However that may be, Marshal Stalin’s official organ did definitely take a partisan position on Mr. Willkie as a presidential candidate. That is what disturbs us. We don’t like the idea of Marshal Stalin trying to influence an American election, whoever his candidate may be. It was bad enough when his defunct Communist International took a hand in our elections through its American subsidiary. It will be worse if Moscow tries to mix into Republican and Democratic nominations and the presidential election.

The danger is not that Marshal Stalin might succeed, if such were his desire. He could not.

The danger, rather, is that such foreign interference in our domestic affairs would destroy the American-Russian cooperation which is so greatly to the interest of both nations, so essential to a speedy victory, and so necessary to a lasting and prosperous peace.

Russia is not alone in the temptation to mix in American politics. A British group wants the President reelected. Several European governments-in-exile indirectly are agitating among foreign-born American minority blocs in a way which could easily become interference in our domestic affairs.

No foreign government can be blamed for recognizing that its interest will be touched by the American election, just as our interests will be affected by the fate of ministries abroad. But we don’t interfere. Any foreign government which tries to pick an American President will earn the enmity of the United States.

The Pittsburgh Press (January 10, 1944)


Congress due to keep eyes on elections

Taxes, consumer subsidies and soldier vote among problems

Roosevelt on radio at 9:00 p.m. Tuesday

Washington (UP) –
President Roosevelt will not deliver his State of the Union message to Congress in person tomorrow but will make a radio address at 9:00 p.m. ET tomorrow, giving a brief version of the message which will go to the Capitol at noon.

The President’s physician, RAdm. Ross T. McIntire, asked the Chief Executive not to go before Congress in person tomorrow.

Adm. McIntire sought to avoid a possible recurrence of the light case of grippe from which Mr. Roosevelt has been suffering, although he is now virtually recovered.

Washington (UP) –
The 78th Congress, its members freshened in outlook after a three-week holiday among their constituents, moved into its second session today confronted with important problems of both war and peace.

The new session faced an ambitious program in a year of presidential elections, an event certain to influence the activities of the most evenly-divided Congressional party ranks in a decade.

There were irksome questions of taxes, consumer subsidies and the soldier vote carried over in half-finished form from the first session.

Opening to be routine

In addition, because the war in Europe may be won before this Congress expires next January, it must plan now for at least partial demobilization of the nation’s huge war machine.

Today’s schedule was only the routine formality of getting the second session underway,

Mr. Roosevelt’s annual State of the Union message will be read in Congress tomorrow.

The budget message, to be sent Thursday, is likely to call for an outlay in the neighborhood of $95 billion.

Tax bill in Senate

Taxes were first on the Congressional agenda. The Senate may start floor debate tomorrow on the $2,275,600,000 tax bill which it was unable to finish before the Christmas holiday.

The program for the rest of the year will probably include:

  • SUBSIDIES: There is a Feb. 17 deadline on efforts to develop a compromise on the outright ban on consumer food subsidies voted by the House. A limit on their amount appeared possible.

  • LABOR: Either national service legislation, if the President asks for it, or an extension of the penalty provisions of the present anti-strike law to non-government-operated war industries is in prospect.

  • BUDGET: The first of the annual appropriation bills will probably be introduced in the House before the end of this month. New appropriations may reach nearly $100 billion by June 30.

  • SOLDIER VOTE: The House Elections Committee will meet tomorrow on the Senate-approved resolution leaving to the states the job of providing votes for members of the Armed Forces. Federal-enabling legislation is still definitely in prospect, however.

  • LEND-LEASE: Existing authority for the Lend-Lease agreements expires June 30. A movement to nail down world post-war petroleum and aviation rights for the United States may be made when extension legislation is considered.

  • OFFICE OF PRICE ADMINISTRATION: Existing OPA authorization expires June 30. Republicans will probably attack its administration of price-fixing and rationing when renewal legislation comes up. Farm Senators have threatened to press enabling legislation if OPA does not take pork off the ration list during the current surplus.

  • VETERANS BENEFITS: The Senate has approved mustering-out payments for veterans ranging from $200 to $500, depending on length of service. The House is expected to cut it to a single uniform figure. There probably will be added later programs of unemployment compensation, educational aid allotments, disability allowances and perhaps even adjusted service compensation.

  • FOOD: A sizable bloc in the House is still demanding that all food production, pricing and distribution be placed under a single federal agency. They may seek to make it a rider on the OPA continuation bill.

  • PROHIBITION: Rep. Joseph R. Bryson (D-SC) is planning a determined drive for wartime national prohibition. He has already introduced a bill and a House subcommittee will hold hearings of it this week. Meanwhile, a committee by Senator Frederick Van Nuys (D-IN) hopes to find some means of breaking the current whisky shortage.

  • FOREIGN RELIEF: Legislation to authorize financial participation by the United States in the United Nations Relief and Rehabilitation Administration is already started through Congress. Specific appropriations may be made before the end of this year.

  • INDUSTRIAL DEMOBILIZATION: Congress will probably set forth a policy for terminating war contracts and disposing of war plants which protects both the government’s financial interest and the civilian economy. It may also set up a federal program of public works to ease unemployment during the conversion period.

May decide strategy

The strategy that Senate Republicans will employ in this election-year session may be decided at a party conference scheduled for Wednesday.

The meeting was called to fill the posts of conference chairman and party whip, vacant since 1935. It may bring a showdown between the GOP Old Guard and Republican freshmen.

The issue was brought into the open by freshmen who feel the party has a good chance to win control of the Senate in next fall’s election if it will attack the New Deal with vigor at every possible opportunity. They are not satisfied with the quiet, soft-spoken leadership of Acting Minority Leader Wallace H. White Jr. (R-ME).

Old Guard nominees

To meet this challenge, the Old Guard has put up this slate for Wednesday’s meeting: For chairman, Arthur H. Vandenberg (Michigan); whip, Robert A. Taft (Ohio); secretary and acting leader, Mr. White.

The freshmen are expected to offer an opposition slate. If they do it is certain to be topped by someone who would miss no opportunity to challenge each item of administration legislation.

Thus, the outcome of Wednesday’s meeting may determine whether the Republican minority will attack the administration almost daily or follow the Old Guard strategy which, to date, has been to establish more quietly the record they wish to submit to the voters in November 1944.

How Congress lines up

Washington (UP) –
Here is the political division of the 78th Congress at the start of the second session, as compared with the lineup a year ago:


1943 1944
Democrats 57 58
Republicans 38 37
Progressive 1 1


1943 1944
Democrats 222 218
Republicans 208 208
Progressive 2 2
Farm-Labor 1 1
American Labor 1 1
Vacancies 1 5


Kidney: Western Democrats yell for Wickard, Black scalps

Fourth term, Wallace, Hopkins and farmer-labor issues due for blowup at meeting
By Daniel M. Kidney, Scripps-Howard staff writer

Washington –
Western and Midwestern Democrats are making plans for some hellraising at their national committee meeting here Jan. 21.

Invitations for the Westerns to gang up before the meeting and present a program of demands have been sent to state chairmen and national committeeman and chairman of the Western States Democratic Conference organized at Omaha in 1942.

“No holds will be barred” when the Westerns caucus here, Mr. Quigley said over the long-distance telephone from his home. Topics will include the fourth term, Vice President Wallace, Harry Hopkins, post-New Deal planning, and farmer-labor problems.

Wickard, Black must go

Here in Nebraska, the Democrats want “a complete housecleaning in the Department of Agriculture,” he said.

He said:

Secretary Wickard should resign and take A. G. Black, governor of the Farm Credit Administration, with him. We can never again win votes in the farm belt with those two staying on the job.

Mr. Black is the man who sold Wallace the idea of killing the little pigs. Now he is just a stooge for Wickard, who is running things all wrong.

Our No. 1 plan is for them both to get out.

Hull, McNutt, Farley

Mr. Quigley had just talked to a “prominent Democrat” who told him he didn’t mind a fourth term for the President “if the war is still on,” but felt that “a strong Democratic leader should replace Wallace on the ticket.”

Should the President choose not to run, there is talk in Nebraska about Messrs. Hull, McNutt and Farley – in about that order – Mr. Quigley reported.

There is no complaint about the war on the international conferences, he said, and aside from the farmers wanting things run differently, the main criticism is the lack of a labor policy.

Little talk of Hopkins

Mr. Quigley said:

We haven’t much industrial unionism out here, but what union men we have never have struck in wartime, and they are just as much against strikes as are other citizens.

There has been little criticism there of Harry Hopkins, he declared, and added:

You just hardly ever hear of him or Wallace.

In fact, he would prefer Mr. Hopkins to Mr. Wickard as Secretary of Agriculture, he indicated.


GOP Army survey shows Republican trend is 56%

Spangler lets news of move slip as national committeemen gather in Chicago
By Thomas L. Stokes, Scripps-Howard staff writer

Chicago, Illinois –
Members of the Republican National Committee, state chairmen and chairwomen, and promoters of various presidential candidacies arrived here with the first big snowstorm, moved into the still-disarranged Stevens Hotel, occupied until a few months ago by the Army and things immediately began to happen.

Most talked-of was something let slip by the somber national chairman, Harrison E. Spangler. This was the revelation that he had enlisted the help of four Army officers – captains and lieutenants whom he knew – to make a survey of four battalions of American soldiers in England to see what percentage would vote Republican and what “New Deal,” as he put it.

The fact that this cross-section indicated soldiers would vote about the way Mr. Spangler estimates the folks at home will vote – 56% Republican, 44% Democratic – was interesting, but not as interesting to correspondents as the disclosure that the RNC chairman had asked Army officers to make such a poll.

Dope from South Pacific

Republican National Committee aides fidgeted nervously as the chairman was led on by reporters’ questions after he had let slip the story about the survey of soldier sentiment.

He also had information from the South Pacific – which he said he wouldn’t describe as a survey, just informal reports – and he also said that “we’re getting letters from soldiers every day.” He would not name the four officers who made the survey in England, but he thought they were within their rights.

Did he have evidence that Democrats were making similar surveys? No – but he had seen their claims about the soldier vote, which indicated they were getting information.

Candidates are praised

The Spangler episode was the highlight as Republican leaders went into session. But reporters were kept busy chasing off to headquarters of the promoters of various presidential candidates. Represented here are Governor Dewey of New York, Governor Bricker of Ohio

Mr. Willkie, as usual at such party affairs, is in the role of outcast.

That the 1940 nominee is ready to go to the mat with party leaders trying to block his renomination was made plain by the speech Saturday night by Governor Wills of Vermont, one of his champions, who ruffled the old-liners by accusing them of courting party suicide if they think they can win with anybody, and reject Mr. Willkie’s capabilities and popular appeal.

Bitter undercurrent

The fighting mood of Mr. Willkie and his lieutenants was also manifest in the attitude of his group here, headed by National Committeeman Ralph H. Cake of Oregon, his campaign manager, who indicated Mr. Willkie would enter the California primary against Governor Earl Warren.

Foes panicky, GOP head says

Chicago, Illinois (UP) –
New Dealers are “panicky” and “in their panic, they have become ridiculous,” Harrison E. Spangler, Republican National Committee Chairman, today told GOP committeemen, gathered here to choose the city and date for the party’s 1944 presidential nominating convention.

The group is expected to select Chicago as the convention city at a meeting tomorrow and to fix the date for the gathering as the last week of June.

Mr. Spangler told the committeemen that they have good reason for being confident over the outcome at the polls in November.

Jim Farley quoted

He said:

An administration which sought to feed on class prejudices has been rebuked.

He quoted James A. Farley, former Democratic National Committee chairman who managed President Roosevelt’s first and second campaigns but broke with the Chief Executive over a third term, as saying the American people are “tired, terribly tired, of being kicked around.”

He said:

They are quarreling among themselves. A potent number of Jeffersonian Democrats, fed up with the New Deal, threatens to bolt and form a party of their own, free from executive domination.

The record in domestic affairs for the last 11 years rises to haunt them. In their panic, they have become ridiculous.

New Deal terms won’t die

Mr. Spangler said that the term “New Deal” which Mr. Roosevelt proposes to replace with a “Win-the-War” party label “is now an embarrassment,” but he said the term would not die.

He said:

It will live on as a description of the kind of government people of this country will not tolerate again.

Mr. Spangler earlier said the Republicans will not make their plans with an eye to what the Democrats will do.

He said:

We can beat them with any candidate we name.

‘Victory through unity’

Meanwhile, the committeemen read a pamphlet entitled “Victory Through Unity” which was headlined by the declaration that “Indications Point to Smashing Victory for Republican Party in November.”


Prohibitionists name attorney as candidate

Los Angeles, California (UP) –
Claude A. Watson, formally notified of his nomination as the National Prohibition Party’s presidential candidate, today called for a fight against governmental bureaucracy and extravagance and against the “strongly entrenched liquor power.”

His acceptance speech was the first political platform to be announced officially by a 1944 presidential nominee.

The Los Angeles attorney said:

Today we find the liquor power again strongly entrenched, in legal and quasi-legal partnership with government everywhere. It is the same old liquor power, the same liquor traffic, but in even more insidious form than when the righteous wrath of an aroused nation sounded its death knell.

Mr. Watson described his platform as a “four-square” stand and urged an end to “overlapping, liberty-destroying bureaucracy” and demanded “real economy” in government.

Calling for freedom of individual enterprise and an end to government competition with private business, he said his party was still opposed to establishment of monopolies of trade and wealth.


Communists ask new name

Browder urges wide discussion on change

New York (UP) –
Earl Browder, general secretary of the Communist Party, recommended last night that the organization at its May convention delete the word “party” from its name, but continue under a title “indicating its character as a communist association for political education.”

The recommendation was in a report by Browder to a meeting of the national committee, which unanimously approved the proposal and others involving policy and party organization changes.

Browder asked that the proposed name change “be thrown open for wide discussion, in which the general public is invited to participate,” before the May convention.

Challenge national policy

He suggested a name:

…more exactly representing its [the party’s] role as a part of a larger unity in the nation, not seeking any partisan advancement – a name, for example, like “American Communist Political Association.”

The committee, which concluded a three-day session today, issued a statement warning that the “Win-the-War” policies of the nation will be challenged in the coming national election.

The statement said:

A rejection by the people of all defeatist attacks on the President’s and the nation’s war policy is an inseparable part of the successful and speedy victorious conclusion of the war. The national election of 1944 is as much a test of the people’s support of the war as was the election of 1864.

Big Three conferences lauded

The statement said it was evident that present political issues “will be decided within the form of the two-party system traditional in our country” and said the party’s contribution in the election:

… will be to aid the struggle for the unity of the people in support of the nation’s war policies, without partisan or class advantages.

The committee lauded the Moscow, Tehran and Cairo agreements and described them as “a program to banish the specter of civil wars and war between nations for several generations,” but warned that the war “is not yet won. The really decisive fighting lies ahead.”

The Pittsburgh Press (January 11, 1944)


Soldier vote compromise due

Washington (UP) –
House and Senate leaders predicted compromise legislation assigning specific duties to the federal and state governments to break the soldier-vote deadlock inherited from the last session of Congress.

Speaker Sam Rayburn said the soldier-vote bill could be passed this week if it were approved by the Elections Committee today or tomorrow, but indications were that House action would not come before next week.

Eberharter challenges GOP

By Robert Taylor, Press Washington correspondent

Washington –
Now that Republican National Chairman Harrison E. Spangler has predicted a pro-Republican vote by the men in the armed services, the Republicans in Congress ought to support federal soldier-vote legislation, Rep. Herman P. Eberharter (D-Pittsburgh) told the House.

Mr. Eberharter, reopening the issue as the 78th Congress’ second session convened yesterday, based his challenge on Mr. Spangler’s assertion that a survey by four officers showed a majority of the Armed Forces “against the administration.”

That estimate contrasted with Democratic claims that 70% or more of the Armed Force vote would go for President Roosevelt if he is a fourth-term candidate.

The Pittsburgh Congressman pointed out that there won’t be any soldier vote to speak of for the Republican or Democratic nominee “unless Congress does something about the pending soldier-vote bills.”

He said:

The Spangler announcement ought to mean that the Republican members of this House will cease their efforts to make voting by the soldiers and sailors difficult, if not impossible.