The Pittsburgh Press (September 17, 1944)
President’s ban on testimony hit
Washington (UP) –
Republican members of the House committee investigating the Federal Communications Commission today threatened to make a “cause celebre” out of the President’s refusal to permit testimony of military personnel, despite FCC Chairman James Lawrence Fly’s accusation that they had resorted to “cheap political trickery.”
Reps. Louis E. Miller (R-MO) and Richard B. Wigglesworth (R-MA) referred to a 15-month-old White House order restricting any members of the Army or Navy from giving information to the committee as “comparable to the suppression of facts surrounding responsibility for the disaster at Pearl Harbor.”
‘Gag rule’ discussed
Earlier, Mr. Miller said he had discussed the “gag rule” with other House Republicans and would make other measures to obtain military information on FCC “interference” with the war effort which he called “one of the most sordid and offensive records in the annals of government.”
The two Congressmen failed to obtain committee consent to request President Roosevelt to lift the ban now but were assured by Democratic members that it would probably be asked when the committee reconvenes, probably after the election.
Both Congressmen said the “suppression of facts” by the President “leads to the inescapable conclusion that their revelation would result in public condemnation which the administration is unwilling to face.”
Assailed by Fly
The statement was characterized by Mr. Fly, who has long been a target of committee criticism, as following “the same pattern of unfairness and cheap political trickery” he said had been established earlier.
Mr. Fly called Mr. Miller’s refusal to inquire yesterday into an undisclosed matter based on the testimony of a high-ranking Navy official a “runout.” Mr. Miller said he was abandoning the inquiry to protect the officer’s career.