The Pittsburgh Press (October 17, 1941)
Civilian defense director recruits speakers to explain program
By Marshall McNeil, Scripps-Howard staff writer
Washington, Oct. 17 –
The Office of Civilian Defense is preparing to present the “real facts” about this country’s foreign policy in a series of speeches by “outstanding leaders.”
Mayor LaGuardia of New York, director of civilian defense, has written to a small group of persons asking them to make themselves available for speaking engagements.
To one of them, he wrote:
As you know so well, there has been much gross misrepresentation of facts lately by speakers who oppose this country’s foreign policy. It is essential to meet this challenger by presenting the real facts as forcefully and fully as possible. In line with this policy, I am asking a small group of outstanding leaders to make themselves available for a limited number of speaking engagements at points where their efforts will be most effective and reach the greatest number of people… your assistance is urgently needed and I hope I can count on you.
Pile up record
Meanwhile, backers of the President’s program are piling up an immense record in the Senate Foreign Relations Committee in support of repeal of the Neutrality Act.
More than 20 mail sacks of postcards, all demanding “action now,” have already been received by the committee, Ther number of cards must run into the tens of thousands.
On one side of the cards is printed the name of Senator Tom Connally (D-TX), chairman of the committee, and on the other side this appeal:
As freedom-loving citizens of the United States, we recognize that our liberty, that democracy everywhere will be ended unless Hitlerism is smashed.
‘Demand action now’
We, as well as the great majority of American citizens, support the foreign policy of the President of the United States. We therefore petition the Congress of the United States to repeal our suicidal, hypocritical and dangerous Neutrality Act, to remove the prohibition against arming our merchant ships, and dissolve the ban which prevents vessels flying the American flag from sailing the seven seas.
We demand action now.
Space is left for the sender’s signature and address.
The cards are coming from all sections of the country.
Open hearings urged
Senator Connally’s office understands they were supplied by the Fight for Freedom Committee.
The Senator has called a meeting of the Foreign Relations Committee for Monday, when members will decided whether there will be hearings on the House bill to permit arming of our merchant ships, and, if so, whether the heartings will be open or closed.
The Senator is being advised by persons close to him to make the hearings open, and to give non-interventionists a full chance to present their case.