"The Confession of Faith of An American"


By COL. ROBERT R. McCORMICK, Publisher, The Chicago Tribune

Delivered before the Executives' Club, Chicago, Ill., March 3, 1944

Vital Speeches of the Day, Vol. X, pp. 367-370.

MR. TOASTMASTER, members of the Executives' Club, and guests:

There are 130,000,000 citizens in the United States of America, of whom not more than 1,000,000 are Communists, and yet this million Communists—less than eight-tenths of one per cent of our population, have dominated our government for eleven years.

They have done so because there some 410,000 of them in New York state. Unless they vote with the Democrats, no Democrat can be elected and unless the Democrats accept their dictation, they will not vote for the Democratic candidates. Bear in mind that New York state has the largest vote in the electoral college.

These Communists and their abbetors not only dominate the Democratic party but are actively trying to control the Republican National Convention as the New Deal did in 1940.

As long ago as 1936 the Chicago Tribune exposed this Communist-Democratic alliance, but the exposure was vigorously contradicted by all of those who profited by the New Deal.

Now in its issue of January 24, the near-Communist publication, the New Republic, frankly proclaims it.

In other cities the Communists are not sufficiently numerous to affect elections, but they agitate in the CIO unions, hold meetings which are exaggerated in the fellow traveler press, and furnish interrupters at other meetings.

The fact is above contradiction that troops had not been sent to the Pacific in numbers to hold the Philippines, and have not been sent in sufficient numbers to recapture them and free American prisoners suffering untold tortures in Japanese prison camps, because the Communists wanted them sent elsewhere.

It was the Communists who taught the New Deal the tactics of smear and vilification and the vilest of the vilifiers are Communists. They do the dirtiest work, while near-Communists deal in the less rancid language of the New Deal, and New Deal newspapers and radio chains publish these loathsome diatribes and call attention to them in editorials of more restrained language, in order to pretend they are not partial to the organization.

These newspapers are without influence with the people, but not without influence with the politicians who do not relish abuse and vilification and have been largely reduced to silence.

Modesty compels me to recognize that your invitation to me is due not to any oratorical skill of mine, but to a distinct lack of competition in standing up against Communist and fellow traveler abuse.

However, the smears, the misstatements, and the falsifiestions of history, put out at great expense, with which we have been deluged, have furnished audiences for patriots to refute them. Is that not why you have invited me here?

My Creed

Very well then, I will state my creed as an American which I offer as the creed to which every Republican and every Jeffersonian Democrat can subscribe.

I believe in the American political doctrine as conceived by the Great Virginia philosophers, expressed by Thomas Jefferson in the Declaration of Independence, codified in the Constitution, perfected in the Bill of Rights, interpreted by John [arshall, and expounded by Abraham Lincoln. I see the need of but one more amendment—a provision to limit the Presidential term.

Lincoln, at Gettysburg, epitomized our American doctrine when he said: "Four score and seven years ago our fathers brought forth on this continent a new nation, conceived in Liberty, and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal."

I believe in this doctrine—all of it. I believe in the first principle of the Declaration of Independence, "that all men are created equal," as strongly as the men who wish to rule others and those who buy into the foreign nobility—and their hangers-on—disbelieve in it.

Millions of men have come to this country in search of equality. Some thousands have gone abroad to avoid it and to assert arrogant superiority over the many by accepting servile subserviency to the few. Many of them are back here now as refugees and prating of all things—of patriotism.

Where else in this world will you find the doctrine that all men are created equal? Perhaps in Switzerland and possibly in Norway. Elsewhere the doctrine of superiors domineering over inferiors is universal.

The doctrine of equality never was attained in France. Oceans of blood were shed in the attempt to establish it, but every Frenchman retains in his mind his own particular place upon the social ladder. That is why the French republic could not last.

During the period of the German republic the courts held that marriages contracted between the high born and the low born were illegal.

I believe mat "all men are created with certain inalienable rights, that among these are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness."

At times of clear and present danger, these rights have to be suspended where the danger exists. Many lives are taken in war. When our fleet was surprised and destroyed in Peart Harbor, and great peril came upon the Hawaiian Islands and the Pacific coast, many liberties were suspended and many unavoidable injustices were done, but soon the American spirit asserted itself, the courts began to function, and liberty is being restored where it is due.

In other parts of the country, efforts to invoke arbitrary arrest and banishment were overcome. Attempts by the department of justice to imprison political dissentients have been defeated by the courts—up to the present. The tyrannies of the unconstitutional alphabet-governments are meeting with increasing resistance and will be swept away.

Compare this with all of the other warring countries, where imprisonment without warrants and without trial is universal.

I believe that "in all criminal prosecutions, the accused should enjoy the right to a speedy and public trial by an impartial jury of the state and district wherein the crime shall have been committed," and I regret that our courts have seen fit to violate this amendment to the Constitution.

I have personal reason to believe that "no person shall be held to answer for a capital or otherwise infamous crime unless on a presentment or indictment of a grand jury."

I believe that governments should "derive their just powers from the consent of the governed."

I believe in the Republican form of government. I believe in an elective senate and house and an elective President and that the President is president, not the "chief of state" nor "the ruler of America."

I believe in courts empowered to interpret the Constitution.

I believe in separation of the powers of government into legislative, executive, and judicial, and in the right of the first to impeach the other two.

I do not believe in any one supreme governmental body, and I do not believe in titles of nobility such as are forbidden in our Constitution.

I believe the groveling acceptance by official Washington that foreign royalty and nobility are superior to American citizens is disgusting.

I rejoice in the provision of our Constitution that the terms of members of congress and of the President are fixed and cannot be extended. A self-perpetuating government, under whatever form, is not a free government.

I believe that "the United States should guarantee to every state a republican form of government," but I do not believe that it should guarantee this form of government to any outside state. If we do not guarantee our own form of government to an alien state, certainly we cannot guarantee to an alien state any other form of government.

I believe in freedom of religion, which I distinguish sharply from mere toleration of dissent. I therefore, of course, believe that all citizens should have the right to bear arms and that this right should not be a privilege limited to any religious or political faction, as obtains elsewhere.

I believe in freedom of speech and have spent a large part of the last twenty years defending the freedom of the press.

Freedom of speech and of the press include freedom to remain silent. Therefore, if you or I, or any one asks candidates or asks publications what is the backing behind them, they have the right to refuse to answer, and the public has the right to put its own interpretations upon this refusal.

I believe, with Jefferson, that "here we are not afraid to follow truth wherever it may lead, nor to tolerate any error so long as reason is left free to combat it."

So I repeat:

Do we not perceive that the smears, the misstatements, and the falsifications of history, put out at great expense, with which we have been deluged, have furnished audiences for patriots to refute them?

I know not what others may do, but I will not repudiate the sage advice of Washington when he said in his farewell address:

"We may safely trust to temporary alliances for extraordinary emergencies. It is our true policy to steer clear of permanent alliances with any portion of the foreign world."

In war I believe in taking allies where we can find them. In the Revolutionary war we had as allies France and Spain, nations with governments more tyrannous in both civil and religious law than that of Great Britain. I recall that these allies interfered in our political affairs, and that, in consequences, we went to war with both of them.

I believe in very definite commitments with allies, such as we had with France during the Revolution, but I do not believe in making commitments which we cannot fulfill, as we did in that war. In that treaty with France, we guaranteed to maintain the French in possession of the islands she occupied in the Caribbean sea. Later, when the war arose between the French directory and Great Britain, we could not and did not attempt to carry out this obligation, and the failure caused us both ill repute and humiliation.

During the Civil war we had an agreement with autocratic Russia, revengeful for the Crimean war, that in the event of English and French intervention Russia would make war on them. The czar went so far as to send his navy to New York and San Francisco harbors to be in places where they could oppose a British landing in Canada and could prey on British commerce. This prevented the intervention, and in compensation we purchased Alaska.

In the last war our government not only made arrangements with its allies, but refused to inform itself of the arrangements made among them.

In the early days of our participation in that war, when I was the American liaison officer with the French army, its liaison officer handed me all of the secret treaties, and I, in turn, delivered them to our headquarters.

The reason for the French action was obvious. The British empire and its ally Japan, had agreed to divide the German held islands in the Pacific. The French army, charged with defense of French islands in that part of the world, felt that it would be in a better position to hold them if the United States insisted upon possessing its fair share of the German held islands.

I do not take any exception to the French and British foreign offices double-crossing our state department—because they thought it to their advantage to keep us in the dark, and the doctrine of diplomacy is to "see to it that the sucker never gets an even break"—but I cannot forgive the officials of our government who refused to take advantage of the momentous information brought to them by the army, a refusal which, of course, was primarily responsible for all of the catastrophes in the Pacific.

Lincoln said in his first inaugural address: "This country, with its institutions, belongs to the people who inhabit it." I maintain that it does not belong to the mendicant group of nations whose representatives lately have been living lavishly in Atlantic City at our expense.

I will say this much of the post-war world: We should insist on retaining such of the islands as we have saved from, retaken, or taken from the Japanese as will secure our future safety from attack; we should retain air bases and radio stations wherever we have built them; and we should secure now, by treaty, the right to fly directly everywhere we want to go.

We should make such other arrangements as will provide for our security. After that is taken care of, we may do what we can for the general welfare of the world.

As one means to that end, I think all European governments should be required to liquidate their holdings in this hemisphere.

I have no sympathy and little patience with people who blame all the evils of the world on my country. If they are foreigners they are objectionable, but their attitude may be natural. If they are American citizens, their conduct is unnatural. There is much precedence for them to copy. Millions of men born abroad, but preferring this country, have become naturalized American citizens. Therefore, let those born Americans who prefer other countries become naturalized aliens. It is not to be countenanced that they remain here and use their citizenship to betray your country and mine.

The league of nations failed because its members would not stand by their agreements. It is utterly false to say that our non-participation had anything to do with the failure.

We became one of the parties to the nine power agreement to protect the integrity of China. When our state department wished to act in accordance with that agreement and stop the Japanese aggression, all the other parties, including the British empire, refused to keep their agreements.

Nothing could be more fatal to our country, and for the countries which some of our citizens prefer to our own, than some grandiose scheme of world government.

Our soldiers are enduring great hardships in this war, and after it is over they will not allow themselves to be used as Hessians to carry out the ambitious views of people at home who have large foreign investments and who are thoroughly enjoying the war.

You will remember that with the armistice in 1918 the army in this country practically disbanded, and that although the high ranking officers overseas wished to prolong their tenure of power, the insistence of the soldiers was such that they were hurried home as fast as shipping could be provided. This history will repeat itself when this war ends. You also will remember that Winston Churchill wrote in his autobiography that there was mutiny in the British army immediately after the armistice. There also were mutinies in the British navy.

There were two other incidents following the peace, which not many people remember. The first was the attempted Communist revolution in the United States in 1919.

The Communists incited a strike at Gary, Indiana, and planned to disrupt the railroad center of the country by violence in order to break down our economic life and open the country to revolution. General Leonard Wood, by tact and firmness, suppressed the attempt without bloodshed.

You may have forgotten the tremendous tension that arose between Great Britain and this country over our naval building plans before the treaty limiting our navy was adopted. Both countries regret the treaty now, but Great Britain's insistence forced it.

At that time the tension was so great that our general staff feared an army of 300,000 regulars, then in England, would be landed in Canada and marched against this country, which had completely demobilized.

The idea appears fantastic, but it did not appear fantastic to our general staff at that time. I know, because I worked with the general staff on plans of defense—for the defense of Detroit.

When I spoke of this in Detroit and Cleveland, it aroused so much interest among certain foreign newspapers and foreign controlled newspapers in this country that it seems appropriate to be specific The plan was to establish a line about forty miles long across the isthmus between Lakes Huron and Erie which would protect Detroit and keep the St. Claire and Detroit Rivers open to the ore ships and keep possession of all the tunnels under them.

The under-cover New Deal papers exposed themselves a second time after I made this last statement. I will add another to give them a chance to bite again. The plan also contemplated holding both sides of the St. Mary's River between Lakes Superior and Michigan.

I since have looked up the wars that took place between the two world wars. How many do you suppose there were? You will be surprised to learn that there were more than forty. Should we have put our nose into all of them? We only interfered in one, the Spanish Revolution, where our State Department followed Great Britain in siding with the Fascist rebel Franco, while a good many American individuals fought for the Spanish communist government.

I have not time to discuss all of these wars but some of them we cannot overlook. Should we have interfered in the Irish revolution? And if so, on which side? If the revolution be rekindled shall we interfere? And if so, which side shall we take?

We did not interfere in the revolutions in Mexico and Cuba. If they break out again do we want British, Russian, and Chinese armies occupying these countries? For my part I stand on the Monroe doctrine—no European or Asiatic interference in America.

As long as our foreign policy was realistic and patriotic, it was enormously successful.

During the Revolutionary war it brought France and Spain into the war on our side. At the conclusion of the war it achieved a highly satisfactory peace. Later it purchased Louisiana, expelled the Spaniards from Florida, annexed Texas, secured Oregon, and occupied all of the territory to the Pacific.

The Monroe Doctrine, which was a distinctly unilateral American declaration, and by no stretch of the imagination could be called a treaty, firmly backed up by Presidents Johnson, Harrison, and Cleveland, has prevented the many attempted aggressions of European nations upon this continent.

In our time an American foreign policy drove Spain from the western hemisphere and providentially secured the Hawaiian islands.

Since then the record has been as uniformly bad. The Hay-Pauncefote treaty provided that the Panama Canal should not be fortified. Fortunately, the senate corrected that. It is terrible to think what would have happened to us after the fleet at Pearl Harbor had been sunk if Panama had been left unfortified.

Later, the United States government, unknown to its citizens, notified France and Germany that if they came to the aid of Russia, hard pressed by Japan, the United States would join the Japanese-British alliance and make war on them. In consequence, Japan won the war and occupied Corea. The United States government thus was largely responsible for launching Japan on her career of conquest.

In the treaty of Versailles, the Shantung province of China and German-held islands in the Pacific were yielded to Japan, and while the senate refused to ratify the treaty it had no power to prevent the transfer of the islands fro© which the successful attack upon Pearl Harbor was launched and from which we still are threatened.

Is it not plain that the trouble in which we find ourselves came from overambitious Presidents who fished in troubled waters ?

I can see no encouragement for further grandiose operations from the two futile invasions of Russia in 1918.

Russia's failure to aid in our war with Japan may be dot to our three uncalled-for aggressions against her.

Our history appears to me plain. As long as this country was true to itself, it prospered and waxed as no other country ever did; but when it accepted foreign tutelage, when foreign ideologies and foreign systems of government were pressed upon it, it fell into these catastrophies, the end of which it not in sight.

However, I believe devoutly in the American system. I believe in the American spirit. I believe that we will recover from the calamities that have been brought upon us and that we will continue, long after the foreignisms have been forgotten, to be the free Republic of the United States.

To this end let us ". . . here highly resolve . . . that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom—and that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth."