Election 1944: Pre-convention news


Fourth term talk just like 1939-40 pattern

So, when Democrats meet this week, they probably will lay plans

Washington (UP) –
The Democratic National Committee meets here this week probably to elect a new chairman and to prepare for the 1944 campaign in which President Roosevelt is now generally regarded as an inevitable fourth-term candidate.

There is little support here for reports that Southern states would bolt a Roosevelt candidacy. But many persons do believe Mr. Roosevelt is the only Democrat who would have a chance to carry such vital states as Pennsylvania, New York and New Jersey.

Therefore, practical politicians hereabouts incline to the belief that Mr. Roosevelt is the only Democrat with a chance to win this year. The National Committee meeting is likely to develop some fourth-term enthusiasm, and there is no hint that it will be discouraged from the White House. The committee’s scheduled business is to select the time and place of the nominating convention. Chicago in mid-July is expected to be the decision.

Wagner-Dingell bill attacked

Washington (UP) –
Rep. Stephan A. Day (R-IL) charged today that President Roosevelt has endorsed a program to place all practicing physicians and hospitals under government control as part of a “fourth-term platform.”

He said the Wagner-Dingell bill is a detailed program for socialized medicine and:

…a faithful epitome of what the New Dealers have in mind for the communistic America they now have on the Washington planning boards.

He said the bill, now before the House Ways and Means Committee, is the “boldest attempt of the New Dealers to date to apply communism by legislative compulsion.”

Rankin sees victory for vote bill

Washington (UP) –
John E. Rankin (D-MS), of the House Elections Committee, insisted today that the committee-approved “states’-rights” soldier-vote bill meets all fair objections and predicted its speedy passage by the House soon after debate begins Thursday.

The measure has been denounced by House Democratic Leader John W. McCormack as meaningless and ineffective.

The Army and Navy Journal, the unofficial service publication, has warned Congress that swift action on the soldier vote is vital if the Armed Forces are to gain balloting privileges this year. It called the legislation as essential as the Selective Service Act.

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Editorial: A demand from the people will get results

Some of the members of Congress either didn’t go home for their Christmas recess, or they didn’t get around much while they were home.

They would be the members of the House Committee on Election of President, Vice President and Representatives in Congress, who have rejected a soldier-vote bill.

The committed has voted, 7–5, to present to the House what the committee chairman, Congressman Eugene Worley (D-TX) calls a “ghost bill.”

It simply authorizes the War and Navy Departments to send a postcard to the members of the Armed Forces suggesting that they write to their home states for ballots on which to vote in this year’s elections.

This is not giving the Armed Forces the right to vote. Like the Senate measure, which merely recommended that the states set up an absentee voting system for the Armed Forces, it sidesteps the issue.

It doesn’t do anything.

Some of the states have made provision for taking a vote among the Armed Forces. Some have not. Some which have enacted such legislation, like Pennsylvania, did so before these was any idea that seven million fighting men might be overseas before the next election.

The Pennsylvania law was not adequate last year. It will be less adequate this year.

But it is not easy for the states to do an effective job of providing for a vote among the Armed Forces.

It is much easier for Congress to do the job. And it is Congress’ duty to do it. The responsibility of Congress to these men is greater even than its responsibility to the home front.

And there is one good way to get Congress to act, poll-tax Congressmen, coalitions, “unholy alliances,” or whatever.

That is for the people to act, to let Congress know how the voters at home feel about it. And the way to do that is to write them letters about it.

Depriving these men of a vote would be an unspeakable betrayal of the trust they left in the home front when they went abroad to fight and die.

The Pittsburgh Press (January 18, 1944)


Constitution violation seen

Washington (UP) –
The House Elections Committee, formally reporting its “states’-rights” soldier-vote bill, asserted today that proposed compromises involving a federal ballot could open the door ti violation of the Constitution.

The charge was denied promptly by minority members who said they did not share the majority’s “sanguine faith” that each of the 48 states will provide necessary machinery so that all members of the Armed Forces can vote.

The approved committee bill, an amended version of the Senate bill leaving overseas balloting up to the states, limits federal participation to handling of mail applications for ballots and airmail transmission of ballots to and from the voting service personnel. First reports said debate would begin Thursday but it may not come until next week.

A United Press dispatch from Allied headquarters in Algiers said censorship had been clamped down on an expression of soldier opinion on overseas voting. Correspondents may report the attitude of military personnel on the issue.

In Washington, the War Department gave no explanation of the interview ban.


Chairman job is acceptable to Hannegan

Internal Revenue Commissioner will take over if Walker resigns
By Lyle C. Wilson, United Press staff writer

Washington –
Commissioner of Internal Revenue Robert E. Hannegan has agreed to accept chairmanship of the Democratic National Committee if that position is vacated Saturday by Postmaster General Frank C. Walker.

The National Committee meets here then. Mr. Walker is prepared to present his resignation. Mr. Hannegan, a Missourian, named to the commissionership last year, is being touted here as “a second Jim Farley.” His job, apparently, will be to manage a fourth-term campaign for President Roosevelt.

Mr. Hannegan will have tougher going than did Mr. Farley in the 1932 and 1936 campaigns, when Mr. Roosevelt won with lopsided popular and electoral vote majorities.

Qualify Senate claims

Republican National Committee statisticians have been analyzing 1940-43 elections returns from Northern and border states and they come up with some figures upon which the GOP bases its claim that it will win the White House and the House of Representatives in November. Republican spokesmen are inclined to qualify their claims about winning Senate control this time, but not so with the Presidency and the House.

An RNC report says:

In 1940, in the 38 Northern states, which represent a majority of 150 votes in the electoral college, we lost the Presidency by 2.7% of the vote.

In the 1942 Congressional elections, our party in the same Northern states in the aggregate vote for Republican candidates for Congress had 53.9% of the total. If Mr. Roosevelt had been running in that election and had maintained the same three-percent advantage over his party which he had in 1940, he would have been defeated in the electoral college.

Six vacancies in House

Republicans may come close to House control even before the general election. There are now six vacancies in the House. Five of the seats were formerly held by Democrats, including one in Alabama, which is certain to remain Democratic. But the GOP seems to be confident in keeping the seat which had been Republican and of winning four of the five Democratic seats in Pennsylvania, Colorado, Oklahoma and Illinois.

If they are able to do so, the House standing will be:

Democrats 219
Republicans 212
Minor parties 4
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Modern David Harums –
Stokes: South will support Roosevelt again, but in return it will demand much

Will seek conservative Vice President and domestic policy at national convention
By Thomas L. Stokes, Scripps-Howard staff writer

Washington –
President Roosevelt gave Southern governors his most charming smile, a pleasant half-hour at the White House over tea and cakes and sandwiches, and the encouraging word that he was in favor of lowering discriminatory freight rates, which is the subject that brought them here for a one-day protest meeting.

But he said not a word about the fourth term. Nor did he talk about the numerous grievances, economic and political – aside from freight rates – which Southern governors have been discussing for months, and which they discussed with members of Congress from the South at a dinner last night full of oratory about freight-rate discrimination and other subjects.

The President preferred to keep the conversation to such subjects as their children and wildlife, including the ivory-billed woodpecker.

Commitment good omen

But the freight-rate commitment was something, and governors took it as a good omen for the case now pending before the Interstate Commerce Commission, of which the President is fully advised.

Disturbed as they are over some administration tendencies, the governors are not going to chance political revolt. They will acquiesce in a fourth term if Mr. Roosevelt chooses to seek it. They are confident, too, that the South will remain Democratic in November.

The Southern governors are traders, not bolters, no matter what they hint.

Are seeking concessions

They came here to raise a din, in the shadow of the White House, in the interest of getting concessions from Mr. Roosevelt, and it is very likely they will get some of what they want.

Their other grievances include:

  • Lack of recognition of the Southern viewpoint in national politics.

  • Encroachment on state and local affairs.

  • Federal regimentation of business and industry.

  • Neglect of the South in war contracts.

  • Discrimination in patronage by appointment of Republicans to key Southern posts in war agencies.

  • Agitation of the Negro problem by New Deal agents and agencies.

At the national convention, they will seek:

  • The selection of a conservative, preferably a Southerner, as vice presidential candidate if the President is nominated.

  • Representation in the platform of the Southern desire for more conservative administration of domestic policy.

Seek common front

The strategy will be to get Southern delegations, as far as possible, to join in a common front at the convention to achieve these objectives and to seek allies in other delegations. It is obvious, however, from conversations with governors here, that the South does not have a common front now, and cannot have a common front at the convention, for really holding out against renomination of the President until they get all they want.

Georgia Governor Ellis G. Arnall, a leader in the Southern protest movement, will handpick a delegation from his state which will be uninstructed and should be in a good bargaining position. There is some talk that Senator George (D-GA) might be put in nomination for trading purposes.

But other Southern delegations will not be so independent.

Wallace explains South’s problem

Washington (UP) –
Vice President Henry A. Wallace asserted last night that the South had failed to build a balanced regional economy because vested interests have sought to protect uneconomic profits through control of finance production, markets and monopolistic transportation.

In an address before a banquet attended by eight Southern governors who met here to urge removal of allegedly discriminatory rail freight rates, he said the South’s problem must be solved on a national rather than on a regional basis.

The Pittsburgh Press (January 19, 1944)


In 2 state elections –
GOP wins new seat in House

Democratic majority is cut to 8 votes

Philadelphia, Pennsylvania (UP) –
The Republican Party cut the Democratic majority in the House of Representatives to eight votes today by retaining one seat and picking up another in two special Congressional elections in Pennsylvania.

The clean sweep by the GOP in both elections left the House standing:

Democrats 217
Republicans 209
Minor parties 4
Vacancies 5

Complete unofficial returns from Philadelphia’s 2nd Congressional District gave Republican Joseph M. Pratt an easy victory over his Democratic opponent, William A. Barrett, in a contest to fill the vacancy created by the resignation of Democrat James P. McGranery. The vote was Pratt 24,910, and Barrett, 19,329.

McConnell leads Brunner

Although returns from the second election in Montgomery County’s 7th Congressional District were only three-fourths complete, Republican Samuel K. McConnell was leading Democrat Marvin S. Brunner by nearly 10,000 votes in one of the state’s leading Republican strongholds. Tabulations from 158 of 191 precincts gave McConnell 13,636 votes, and Brunner 3,892.

Mr. McConnell will fill the vacancy caused by the death of J. William Ditter, chairman of the Republican National Congressional Committee, in an airplane accident last November.

The elections were watched closely by leaders of both major parties, especially the Philadelphia contest where the Republican candidate had campaigned on a strictly anti-Roosevelt platform. Mr. Pratt, an electrical appliance manufacturer, had predicted before the election that “experienced Republican Committeemen will win this election.”

Opponent backed Roosevelt

His defeated Democratic opponent, a former mercantile appraiser, had pledged support to President Roosevelt, and received the backing of Mr. McGranery and James P. Clark, Philadelphia Democratic city chairman.

In winning both seats, the Republicans substantiated earlier predictions that they may come close to controlling the House even before the November election. There are still five vacancies in the House and four of them are seats formerly held by Democrats. One of the districts, however, is in Alabama, and is virtually certain to remain Democratic.

Should the Republicans win the other four seats, it would reduce the Democratic majority to only five votes, and only a margin of one over a combined vote of Republicans and minor party representatives.

McGranery’s record indication of trend

Philadelphia, Pennsylvania – (special)
Congressman James P. McGranery, who resigned to become an assistant to Attorney General Francis Biddle, was first elected to Congress in 1935.

Indicative of the trend in this district, which takes in nine wards in the central section of Philadelphia, here are Mr. McGranery’s majorities:

1936 21,591
1938 4,677
1940 23,555
1942 713

Mr. McGranery sought the seat in 1934, but was defeated by a Republican by more than 12,000 votes.

The Congressman-elect, Joseph M. Pratt, like his defeated Democratic opponent, was a local ward leader.

Songwriter gains in Louisiana race

New Orleans, Louisiana (UP) –
James H. Davis, Shreveport songbird who has composed more than 200 hillbilly songs, today gained on the candidate of the old Huey Long machine, Lewis L. Morgan of Covington, in the Democratic gubernatorial primary.

A recapitulation of returns late today gave Mr. Davis 60,351 votes to 66,998 for Mr. Morgan, a gain of some 6,000 votes since early morning. It was predicted that Mr. Davis would overtake Mr. Morgan before night as the returns came in increasingly from rural boxes.


Ickes punishes an office aide in letter quiz

Hopkins-Willkie missive ruled a forgery; paper traced


Washington (UP) –
Secretary of the Interior Harold L. Ickes testified today before a federal grand jury investigating authorship of the mysterious “Hopkins letter.”

Washington (UP) –
White House stationery – of the same type on which the so-called Hopkins letter was written – has been and is now available at the Interior Department, it was learned today as a federal grand jury moved ahead in its study of the political-explosive document.

The grand jury was expected to call soon on Secretary of the Interior Harold L. Ickes, who sought permission to testify after he suspended George N. Briggs, an assistant identified by Senator William Langer (R-ND) as the man who obtained a letter written on White House stationery, purportedly by Harry L. Hopkins, the No. 1 adviser to President Roosevelt.

Forgery tale upheld

My. Hopkins was also expected to appear before the investigating body to repeat his denial of having written the letter, which represented him as believing that Wendell L. Willkie would be the 1944 Republican presidential nominee.

Justice Department officials back up Mr. Hopkins’ assertion that the letter was a forgery. Briggs will remain suspended from his Interior post without pay pending outcome of the grand jury investigation.

Senator Langer entered into the controversy by producing photographic copies of alleged correspondence between Briggs and C. Nelson Sparks, former mayor of Akron, Ohio, and author of the anti-Willkie book One Man – Wendell Willkie.

Stationery checked

Mr. Ickes has denied any knowledge of the letters purportedly written by Briggs’ aid and which linked Mr. Ickes’ name with the “Hopkins” letter.

A United Press correspondent visited Briggs’ office in the Interior Department and saw there White House stationery which an employee said always had been on hand. This stationery, it was learned, is generally supplied to various government departments for use if officials who occasionally prepare letters for the President’s signature.

Justice Department officials were attempting to determine whether similarities in typing noted in the so-called Hopkins letters and letters allegedly written by Briggs were significant or mere coincidences.

The two typewriters in Briggs’ office – one for his own use and the other for his secretary – were removed yesterday on orders from Mr. Ickes’ office.

Ickes is irked

Briggs, who did not appear at his office yesterday. Issued a statement from his home charging that Senator Langer’s action was part of a plot to “wreck” Mr. Ickes. He and his wife later left their apartment in nearby Arlington, Virginia.

Mr. Ickes declared that he knew “nothing whatsoever about the alleged events” referred to in the purported Briggs’ letters.

He said:

I do not relish the bandying about of my name in connection with a matter which seems to be as bizarre and absurd as it appears to be contemptible and vicious.

Justice Department Attorney Henry A. Schweinhaut, who characterized the Hopkins letter as a “definite forgery,” said he “wouldn’t be surprised if the forger turned up shortly.”

A Senate elections subcommittee postposed for “two or three days” a decision on Senator Langer’s proposed investigation of Willkie’s 1940 Republican presidential nomination pending a check on the committee’s legal authority.


Soldier poll probed

Washington (UP) –
Secretary of War Henry L. Stimson revealed today that Gen. Dwight D. Eisenhower is making an “intensive investigation” to determine whether the political sentiment of soldiers overseas was polled for Republican National Committee chairman Harrison E. Spangler.

He said the inquiry was ordered by the War Department after Mr. Spangler told reporters in Chicago 10 days ago that at his request four Army officer friends had polled American soldiers in Great Britain and reported that 56% were opposed to the administration.

In a letter to Senator Theodore F. Green (D-RI), Mr. Stimson said Gen. Eisenhower has submitted a preliminary report saying that any survey or poll so made was done without the general’s consent or knowledge. Gen. Eisenhower added that he was continuing the investigation.


Squabbles in the making –
Stokes: Rift in Democrats’ ranks may be brought into open

Quigley ready to demand ousting of Wickard when DNC meets Saturday
By Thomas L. Stokes, Scripps-Howard staff writer

Washington –
The meeting of the Democratic National Committee here Saturday will bring into focus the rift between the New Dealers, notably Harry L. Hopkins, and the conservatives and practical politicians who formerly looked to James A. Farley for guidance and jobs.

There is likely to be a lively session, characteristic of Democratic performances before the assembled party leaders sit down with government officials at dinner to celebrate their patron saint, Andrew Jackson, and hear Speaker of the House Sam Rayburn and others praise the achievements of the administration, with undertones of unsure hope that it may continue in power.

Squabbles are in the making. How much gets into the open may depend on the finesse of Democratic chairman Frank C. Walker who is retiring – and partly because he can’t stomach so much friction – to give away before the younger Robert E. Hannegan of Missouri, Internal Revenue Commissioner, who is slated for election to the chairmanship Saturday unless there is a last-minute hitch.

Quigley leads malcontents

The leader of the malcontents is National Committeeman James Quigley of Nebraska, a Jim Farley man who has been raising Cain for some time in his Midwestern bailiwick, has organized a bloc of protest in that section with some support in the South, and is ready to speak out Saturday just as he did at the Chicago meeting a year ago.

His complaint, in general, is that the bureaucrats won’t pay enough attention to the politicians out along the line, and, specifically, that they don’t see eye to eye with him and other organization leaders on recommendations for jobs.

Currently he is sore at Secretary of Agriculture Wickard and Governor A. G. Black of the Farm Credit Administration because they did not follow his recommendations, approved by organization leaders in his area, for two appointments to the Omaha Land Bank Board. He is demanding the ouster of Secretary Wickard.

Hot against Hopkins

He is also hot against Mr. Hopkins and David K. Niles, Mr. Hopkins’ chief political lieutenant.

Later in an interview, Mr. Quigley denied the United Press reports that one of the objectives of the Friday meeting was to “blast” Mr. Hopkins and Mr. Niles.

He said:

That’s rubbish. You don’t hear Hopkins’ name mentioned in a blue moon where I come from and I didn’t even know who Niles was until I came to town.

Mr. Quigley has the support here of Eugene Casey, who like Mr. Niles is one of President Roosevelt’s “anonymous” assistants. Mr. Casey, a staunch supporter of the President, has many friends on the National Committee, and he has taken the politicians’ side generally against the Hopkins-Niles dispensation.

Another controversy brewing

Mr. Casey won a resolution of commendation from the National Committee a year ago – a resolution presented by Mr. Quigley, Mr. Casey and Mr. Niles occupy adjoining offices at the State Department.

There is another controversy brewing for the Saturday meeting, growing from the criticism among some members over the presence among committee officers of Oscar R. Ewing, a vice chairman, and George Allen, secretary, because both represent corporate interests which have business before government agencies or Congress.

Mr. Ewing represents the Aluminum Company of American. Mr. Allen is with the Home Fire Insurance Company. Fire insurance companies are now pushing legislation before Congress to exempt them from anti-trust statutes.

Early in the New Deal, President Roosevelt forced three members of the Democratic National Committee who had set up law-lobbyist officers here to resign from the committee.


Guffey slated to be dropped from committee

Campaign group to get along without Senator in harmony move
By Robert Taylor, Press Washington correspondent

Washington –
Senator Joseph F. Guffey, Pennsylvania New Dealer, will be replaced as chairman of the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee in the interests of party harmony, it was reported in Capitol circles today.

The charge will be made, it was said, as part of a program to wipe out effects of the bitter party split that resulted last month from Mr. Guffey’s charge that Southern Democrats and Northern Republicans teamed up in an “unholy alliance” to beat the federal soldier-vote bill.

The feud died down after compromise proposals were made by soldier-vote advocates in both the House and Senate, under which Southern states would continue to set qualifications of voters, but administration leaders were represented as eager to overcome any resentment.

Barkley silent

Senator Alben W. Barkley (D-KY), Majority Floor Leader, is said to have promised Southern members that a new chairman will be named for the party’s senatorial campaign committee – largely a money-raising job.

Mr. Barkley, whose own seat is at stake in this year’s election, would not comment on the reports Mr. Guffey told friend a month ago that he has asked appointment of a new chairman and has presented his resignation.

Byrd leads movement

Leader of the “Oust-Guffey” movement is Senator Harry F. Byrd (D-VA) who was named by the Pennsylvania Senator as the leader of the Southern Democrats who killed the soldier-vote bill in the Senate.

Mr. Byrd contended that Mr. Guffey had disqualified himself by attacking members of his own party, in whose interests the committee functions, and threatened at one time to take up the fight in the Senate caucus, if Mr. Guffey is not replaced.

Mr. Guffey has had two terms as chairman of the committee, stepping out in 1940 when he ran for reelection. The post is filled by appointment of the Senate floor leader.


McHarg forms group to draft MacArthur

New York (UP) –
Ormsby McHarg, former general counsel of the Republican National Committee, announcing formation of a “Draft-MacArthur organization,” said today that he was “perfectly satisfied” that Gen. Douglas MacArthur would accept the Republican nomination for President if it is offered to him.

Mr. McHarg said his information came to him through sources “I wouldn’t dream of exposing.”

In announcing formation of the MacArthur National Associates, Mr. McHarg said the organization was “dedicated to the proposition that Douglas MacArthur should be nominated by the Republican Party for the office of President” at the Chicago convention in June.

The Pittsburgh Press (January 20, 1944)


2 Dewey delegates go over to Willkie

Madison, Wisconsin (UP) –
Two more Wisconsin leaders of the “Draft-Dewey” movement switched to the Willkie camp today because they had not “received any encouragement that the New York Governor will be a candidate.”

The two, State Assembly Speaker Vernon Thompson of Richland Center, and Ralph Nelson of Superior, who had previously announced their candidacy for election as Dewey delegates to the GOP convention, became the third and fourth 1940 Dewey supporters to bolt in favor of Willkie.


Davis holds lead in Louisiana vote

New Orleans, Louisiana (UP) –
Tabulation of more than half the votes in the Louisiana Democratic gubernatorial primary indicated today that a runoff will be necessary to decide the state’s next governor.

James H. “Jimmie” Davis, hillbilly songwriter of Shreveport, held a lead of almost 10,000 votes over his machine-backed opponent, Lewis L. Morgan of Covington, in returns from 1,002 of the state’s 1,867 precincts. Those districts gave Davis 97,157 votes to Morgan’s 87,953.

Davis took the lead yesterday afternoon when returns from the rural areas overcame Morgan’s early margin, built up by the machine vote from New Orleans.

Earl K. Long, a brother of the late Huey Long, was leading the race for lieutenant governor and had almost attained a majority.


Willkie throws support behind federal vote bill

Washington (UP) –
The CIO Committee for Political Action today pressed a last-minute drive to mobilize support for federal soldier-vote legislation as the controversial issue came a step closer to a showdown in the House.

Sidney Hillman, chairman of the CIO committee, appealed for support for a federal plan in telegrams to Wendell Willkie and Governors Thomas E. Dewey of New York and John W. Bricker of Ohio, prominent prospects for the 1944 Republican presidential nomination.

Mr. Hillman drew almost immediate response from Mr. Willkie, who said he favored federal soldier-vote legislation.

He declared:

I do not believe that it is possible in a practical manner under state statutes for every member of the armed services to be given the opportunity to vote. I would not wish to be elected President of the United States without every member of the armed services having an opportunity to vote to decide whether I should be.

House action on the soldier-vote issue appeared likely next week. Meanwhile, there were charges that the administration was trying to stall the Elections Committee’s state’s rights bill and threats of possible “civil war” should returning servicemen find their political “freedoms” abridged.

Chairman Adolph J. Sabath (D-IL) said his House Rules Committee would open hearing tomorrow to determine rules under which the bill would be debated.

Mr. Hillman’s statement urged Congress to maintain the honor and justice of the nation, its people, its Congress and its Constitution by supporting a federal ballot. He called on the Senate to reverse itself and pass a federal ballot law and the House to recommit this “disgraceful bill” which would keep all the machinery except the carrying of the ballots by mail in the States.

He said he had appealed for the third time to Chairman Harrison E. Spangler of the Republican National Committee to rally the GOP to the support of the federal ballot proposal.

House may avoid soldier-vote roll call

By Robert Taylor, Press Washington correspondent

Washington –
Soldier-vote Congressmen today tried to head off a parliamentary situation which would enable their opponents to avoid a House roll call on the proposal to give every member of the Armed Forces a federal ballot.

The Eastland-Rankin “states’ rights” bill, referring the soldier vote to state legislation, will come before the House as a result of its approval by the House Federal Elections Committee.

Chairman Eugene Worley (D-TX) and other soldier-vote supporters plan to offer the Worley compromise measure for a federal soldier ballot as a substitute for the Eastland-Rankin Bill.

Under House rules, however, there can be no roll call on the Worley substitute bill, because it was defeated in committee and will be offered as an amendment to a bill already amended in committee.

Accordingly, Congressmen who are shaky about voting for a federal ballot, can avoid placing themselves on record for or against it by supporting the bill which comes before the House – the “states’ rights” version.

Rep. James A. Wright (D-PA) pointed out:

It permits them to duck. By supporting the Eastland-Rankin Bill, they can say they voted for a soldier vote. If they vote against it, through preference for the Worley Bill, they can be represented as against the soldier ballot.

The sole chance of getting a clear-cut expression of the House on the Worley compromise bill lay with the Rules Committee.

The Pittsburgh Press (January 21, 1944)


Farm protest viewed as aid to fourth term

Midwest group proposes to oust Wickard and Black
By Lyle C. Wilson, United Press staff writer

Washington (UP) –
Democratic National Committee members gathering here for tomorrow’s one-day meeting were developing enthusiasm today for a fourth term for President Roosevelt.

Representatives of Midwest Democrats have been invited to convene today in a protest meeting curtain-raiser to the national committee session. But all concerned explain there is no protest against Mr. Roosevelt, but only against some of his farm policy advisers.

Today’s meeting has been widely advertised as directed against Harry L. Hopkins and David K. Niles, two of the President’s political intimates. But the farm-conference sponsors deny that, too.

Nebraska committeeman James C. Quigley, who invited representatives of 13 farm states to meet today, said they would be gunning for Secretary of Agriculture Claude R. Wickard and Governor A. G. Black of the Farm Credit Administration.

Invited to the conference were national committeemen and state chairmen from North and South Dakota, Wyoming, Colorado, Nebraska, Kansas, Oklahoma, Missouri, Iowa, Minnesota, Montana, Indiana and Wisconsin.

Mr. Quigley said he hoped the conference would help win back to the Democratic Party the farm vote “lost by such misfits as Wickard and Black.”

Looks to ‘the peace’

Mr. Quigley is for a fourth term, explaining that “President Roosevelt should write the peace.”

He added:

Who should make the peace is going to be the whole issue this fall. If the Republicans ever hope to win, they will have to produce a statesman who can sit down with Stalin and Churchill and hold his own.

Maine committeeman F. Harold Dubord said he was for a fourth term and predicted that Mr. Roosevelt could carry Maine this time. He lost in his first three tries.

California committeeman Culbert Olson said he and many other members were for the President again. Oregon committeeman Howard Latourette said his state would send a Roosevelt delegation to the Democratic National Convention.

It’s purely personal

Reports of Midwest rumblings against Mr. Hopkins and Mr. Niles have been interpreted as reflecting considerable farm sentiment against a fourth term for Mr. Roosevelt.

Mr. Hopkins was the actual ringmaster of the 1940 Democratic National Convention at which the President was nominated for a third term. Until the war began to absorb his interest, Mr. Hopkins was generally regarded as the administration’s most active political figure, next to Mr. Roosevelt.

Mr. Niles has been charged in the anti-Roosevelt camp with responsibility for fourth term strategy. He is one of six administrative assistants to the President.

According to report

Mr. Hopkins is a special assistant to the President in addition to his responsibilities as a member of the Red Cross Central Committee, chairman of the Munitions Assignment Board, member of the War Mobilization Committee, and trustee of the Franklin D. Roosevelt Library.

Other than persistent published reports, however, there is no evidence here that the farm state conference is intended as a challenge of any kind to a fourth term.

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Racial groups plan active part in 1944 vote drives

By Fred W. Perkins, Pittsburgh Press staff writer

Washington –
Color and racial discrimination will be kept a live issue through this session of Congress and the 1944 political campaign, according to plans being made here by a conference of more than 100 leaders of Negro and other minority groups.

Their main effort will be centered in the next few weeks on urging Congress to enact legislation, just introduced, to make a statutory and permanent agency out of the Fair Employment Practices Committee, which was established by presidential order June 25, 1941.

March is planned

This committee, now under investigation by a House committee on a charge of exceeding its authority, would be made into a commission of seven $10,000-a-year members, and would be empowered to issue orders and cause the punishment of persons who resist them, including employers in interstate commerce and officers of labor unions maintaining bars to membership on color or racial grounds.

A “mass march on Washington” to impress Congress with the demand for this bill is in a stage of advanced planning, said B. F. McLaurin, national organizer of the Brotherhood of Sleeping Car Porters, who declared it would be “a peaceful demonstration intended to prevent possible violence and rioting in the middle of war, or after the war.”

Such a march was planned in early 1941, and is said to have been averted when President Roosevelt agreed to appoint the Fair Employment Committee. A. Philip Randolph, the Harvard graduate who heads the sleeping car porters and is guiding the present Washington conference, went on the radio on two nationwide hookups to call off the march.

Committee called blunder

In the first session of the conference, Mr. Randolph charged President Roosevelt with “a great blunder” in appointing a committee to seek a solution to the present controversy of FEPC with 16 Southeastern railroads and some of their unions of white employees. The committee has met with outright refusal from these railroads to obey its directives ordering employment of Negroes, and the unions have ignored the committee.

The committee is headed by Judge Walter P. Stacy of North Carolina. Its appointment, the Negro leader said, was:

…a delaying tactic which kept us from being farther on our way. Some Southern railroads already have begun to give jobs to colored men who were heretofore barred, and there has been definite progress. The President must be made to see that he made a great blunder in that the Stacy Committee serves to give aid and comfort to the recalcitrant railroads.

To write political planks

The conference also plans a meeting of Negro politicians prior to the Republican and Democratic National Conventions this summer, to draft proposals for incorporation into the party platforms.

The International Ladies’ Garment Workers’ Union, headed by David Dubinsky, is announced as contributor of $5,000 to an expense fund now at $25,000.

Among well-known names listed in the membership of the National Council for a Permanent Fair Employment Practices Commission are those of Senators Capper (R-KS), Gillette (R-IA) and Wagner (D-NY); several members of the House; William Green, Philip Murray, R. J. Thomas, Walter Reuther and other labor leaders; Msgr. John A. Ryan, Roger Baldwin, Norman Thomas and Wendell Willkie.


Soldier vote fight near

Washington (UP) –
The House and Senate moved toward an inter-chamber battle today over soldier-vote legislation as administration opponents professed to see fourth-term propaganda in administration support of federal balloting machinery for servicemen.

The Senate Elections Committee late yesterday approved by a 12–2 vote the Green-Lucas compromise designed to meet protests of Southern Democrats and Republicans against earlier proposed soldier-vote legislation.

Meanwhile, a widely divergent measure approved by the House Elections Committee, leaving soldier voting in the hands of the states, was before the House Rules Committee.

Rep. Calvin D. Johnson (R-IL), in a speech prepared for delivery in the House, charged that administration interest in the soldier vote and President Roosevelt’s “insincere suggestion” that national service legislation be enacted were motivated by the hope that service personnel will “support the administration for a fourth term.”

The Pittsburgh Press (January 22, 1944)


In Washington –
Soldier vote scheduled for House debate

Rules committee approves controversial states’ rights measure

Washington (UP) –
The House Rules Committee today gave the go-ahead for floor consideration next week of controversial legislation that would leave control of soldier voting with the states, and the Senate arranged to decide Monday whether it will act then on a compromise version of its previously-approved state’s rights measure.

The prospect that the Senate will vote twice on the same subject before the House even takes initial action drew a protest from Senator Robert A. Taft (R-OH), who said he considered it “an extraordinary parliamentary procedure.” Senate Democratic Leader Alben W. Barkley (D-KY) said it was not at all unusual.

This was the situation:

Last December, the Senate approved a substitute measure giving states control over soldier voting. The measure was sent to the House, but the Christmas recess blocked House consideration. Now, the Senate is preparing to act on a compromise which calls for federal distribution and collection of the ballots and leaves with local election boards the counting of the ballots and determination of their validity.

This week, a Republican-Democrat coalition forced House Elections Committee approval of a bill similar to the original Senate state’s rights measure, Committee chairman Eugene Worley (D-TX) was in the minority. He backed a bill similar to the compromise measure now pending in the Senate.


Hannegan made new chairman of Democrats

Unanimously elected to succeed Walker as head of party
By Lyle C. Wilson, United Press staff writer

Washington –
The Democratic National Committee today unanimously elected Robert E. Hannegan of St. Louis as the party’s new chairman to lead the anticipated fourth-term campaign for President Roosevelt.

Mr. Hannegan, now Commissioner of Internal Revenue, was chosen by acclamation after James P. Aylward, Democratic national committeeman from Missouri, had placed him in nomination in a speech which roused the committee to a burst of applause when he referred to Mr. Roosevelt’s election to a fourth term.

Mr. Hannegan succeeds Postmaster General Frank C. Walker in the national chairmanship.

Resigns revenue post

Mr. Aylward began:

When the history of the next campaign is written and we win another presidential election with President Roosevelt for a fourth term–

…when he was interrupted by the committee’s enthusiastic response.

In a brief talk following his election, Mr. Hannegan did not mention the fourth term, but said the party could win this year if members all pulled together.

Hannegan continued:

I am a plain, ordinary, everyday, 100%, straight organization Democrat. I’m not angry at any Democrat. I am very proud to have worked under Jim Farley for years and I don’t think we will ever had another chairman as able as he.

I’m frightened up here, this is the big league for me. I am used to the bush leagues out in the Ozarks.

Immediately after his election, the White House announced Mr. Hannegan’s resignation as Commissioner of Internal Revenue.

Practiced law 15 years

Secretary of the Treasury Henry Morgenthau Jr. appointed Assistant Commissioner Harold N. Groves as acting chief of the Internal Revenue Bureau.

Mr. Aylward, in proposing Mr. Hannegan as Mr. Walker’s successor, said that Mr. Hannegan said practiced law for 15 years in St. Louis, had served as chairman of the Democratic City Committee in that city for four years and “under his leadership the Democrats regained control of the city.”

He described Mr. Hannegan as an active, aggressive and progressive” man who “knows politics from the bottom up.”

Tribute paid Walker

Mr. Aylward told fellow committeemen:

You may be sure that he will deal with your problems with honesty and in a very practical way.

While a committee sought Mr. Hannegan to escort him to the platform, members paid tribute to Mr. Walker’s service. Mayor Edward Kelly of Chicago said that he was regretful that Mr. Walker was leaving his post because “I think he is perfectly competent to again lead this party to victory.”

Mrs. Mary T. Norton of New Jersey said that no man was more loyal, patriotic and sincere than Mr. Walker.

Calling the New Deal administration period the “glorious decade,” Mr. Walker said the future demanded the election in 1944 of a President and a Congress who will fearlessly lead the country to victory in war and victory in peace.

Resigning with regret

Democratic leaders here for the meeting generally agreed on making President Roosevelt their nominee again.

Mr. Walker told the committee he was resigning the chairmanship “with genuine regret.” War, he said, had brought fresh problems and a constantly growing volume to the Post Office Department which now requires “the full attention and energy of the Postmaster General.” He asked that there be “no misunderstanding” as to his attitude.


GOP gains send Democrats rushing back to Roosevelt

Willing to forgive and forget, they concede President is only hope of November success

Washington –
The effect of a fear psychosis is illustrated in the attitude of Democratic leaders who have gathered here to plan their National Convention and to celebrate Jackson Day at dinner tonight.

They are somberly reflecting the constant succession of Republican by-election victories. Gone is the buoyancy of old.

In their fear they are rushing pell-mell to President Roosevelt as their only possible hope of success in November, with a “Save u “ gesture. They are ready to forget and forgive.

Glibly they predict that the President will run again.

‘Revolution’ fizzles

The lion-to-lamb transformation was symbolized in the fizzle of the one-man revolution plotted by National Committeeman James C. Quigley when he faced reporters who had listened to him blowing hot and heavy for several days about the revolt he was engineering among Midwestern members – about Secretary of Agriculture Wickard and farm policy, about lack of recognition in patronage for the regular organization.

He sat at the head of the table, among the remains of the luncheon consumed by the supposed “revolters” from a dozen Midwestern and Northwestern states. Chagrin overspread his round face. The fire was gone from his eyes.

Meeting in complete unity

This committee, Mr. Quigley said, had been delegated to–

Eyes were alert. Pencils poised.

“– meet the press.”


The meeting, he said, was “in complete unity.”

Pencils dropped.

They had adopted a resolution unanimously.

Once more attention.

Mr. Quigley read it.

It declared for a fourth term for President Roosevelt and for the election of Robert E. Hannegan of Missouri as new national chairman to succeed Frank C. Walker, who is retiring.

Still against Wickard

Several questions were popped at once. All right, but what had happened to the advertised revolt? How about Secretary Wickard?

Lamely, Mr. Quigley said he was still against him personally, wanted his ousted from the Cabinet, but this question was not before the conference. It was learned later that Mr. Wickard had not even been mentioned at the closed luncheon session.

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