Keep the Record Straight
"WE MUST HAVE INTEGRITY IN OUR GOVERNMENT"
By THOMAS E. DEWEY, Governor of New York and Republican Presidential Nominee
Delivered in Oklahoma City, Okla., September 25, 1944
Vital Speeches of the Day, Vol. X, pp. 741-743.
FOR two and a half weeks I have been laying before our people the program I believe we must adopt if we are to win at home the things for which our American? men are fighting abroad. In six major speeches I have set forth a part of that program. There is much more to come.
In doing this I have been deeply conscious that this campaign is being waged under the most difficult circumstances and at the most trying time in the history of our nation. Our national unity for war and for the cause of lasting peace must be strengthened as a result of this campaign. I believe the conduct of the campaign on our side has greatly strengthened that unity.
I had assumed that every American joined me in hoping that would be the spirit of this campaign. Last July, Franklin Roosevelt, in accepting his party's nomination for a fourth, term said, and I quote: "I shall not campaign, in the usual sense . . . in these days of tragic sorrow, I do not consider it fitting . . ." he said.
Last Saturday night the man who wants to be President for sixteen years made his first speech of this campaign. Gone was the high-sounding pledge. Forgotten were these days of tragic sorrow. It was a speech of mud-slinging, ridicule and wise-cracks. It plumbed the depths of demagogy by dragging into this campaign the names of Hitler and Goebbels; it descended to quoting from "Mein Kampf" and to reckless charges of "fraud" and "falsehood."
Let me make one thing entirely clear. I shall not join my opponent in his descent to mud-slinging. If he continues in his desire to do so, he will be all alone.
I shall not use the tactics of our enemies by quoting from "Mein Kampf." I will never divide America. Those tactics also I leave to my opponent.
I shall never make a speech to one group of American people inciting them to hatred and distrust of any other group. In other nations the final product of such discord has been communism or fascism. We must never reap that harvest in America.
The winning of this war and the achievement of a people's peace are too sacred to be cast off with frivolous language. I believe that Americans whose loved ones are dying on the battlefronts of the world—men and women who are praying daily for the return of their boys—want the issues which vitally affect our future discussed with the utmost earnestness. This I shall continue to do with full consciousness of the solemn obligation placed upon me by my nomination for President of the United States.
My opponent, however, has chosen to wage his campaign on the record of the past and has indulged in charges of fraud and falsehood. I am compelled, therefore, to divert, this evening, long enough to keep the record straight. He has made the charges. He has asked for it. Here it is.
My opponent describes as, and I quote him, a "fantastic charge" the statement that his Administration plans to keep men in the Army when the war is over and that it intends to keep them there because it fears there will be no jobs for them in civil life. Well, who brought that up?
Here is the statement of a high official of the Administration as reported on Aug. 23, 1944, in the publication of the United States Army, The Stars and Stripes. He said:
"We can keep people in the Army about as cheaply as we could create an agency for them when they are out."
Now, who said that? It was the National Director of Selective Service appointed by Mr. Roosevelt and still in office.
But, says Mr. Roosevelt, the War Department thereafter issued a plan for what he called "speedy discharges." You can read that plan from now until doomsday and you cannot find one word about "speedy discharges." It is, in fact, a statement of the priority in which men will be discharged after the war. It does not say whether they are to be retained in service a month or years after victory. That will be up to the next Administration. The present Administration, with its record of peacetime failure, is afraid to bring men home after victory. That's why it's time for a change.
Now why does my opponent first describe what is a matter of record as a "fantastic charge" and then try to laugh off the problem of jobs after the war? He jokes about depressions—about the seven straight years of unemployment of his Administration. But he cannot laugh away the record.
Attributed to AFL
In March, 1940, Mr. Roosevelt had been in office seven years. Yet the depression was still with us. We still had ten million Americans unemployed. Those are not my figures—those are the figures of the American Federation of Labor.
Is that fraud or falsehood? If so, let Mr. Roosevelt tell it to the American Federation of Labor.
By waging relentless warfare against our job-making machinery, my opponent succeeded in keeping a depression going eleven long years—twice as long as any previous depression in our history, and the somber, tragic thing is that today he still has no better program to offer. That is why the New Deal is afraid of peace, that's why ft resorts to wisecracks and vilification—when our people want victory followed by lasting peace in the world—and jobs and opportunity here at home. That's why it's time for a change.
Now I had not intended in this campaign to rake over my opponent's sad record of failing to prepare the defenses of this country for war. It's all in the past—a very tragic past. It has cost countless American lives; it has caused untold misery.
But my opponent has now brought that subject up. He seized violently upon the statement that we were not prepared for war when it came. In his speech of Saturday night. He calls that a "falsification" which not "even Goebbels would" have attempted, invented.
Now, were we prepared for war, or were we not? It's a perfectly simple question of fact.
In 1940, the year after the war began in Europe, the United States was in such a tragic condition that it couldn't put into the field as a mobile force 75,000 men. The Army was only "25 per cent ready." Now, Mr. Roosevelt, did those statements come from Goebbels? Was that fraud or
falsification? Those are the words of Gen. George C. Marshall, Chief of Staff of the United States Army, under oath.
I quote again: "Dec. 7, 1941, found the Army Air Forces equipped with plans but not with planes." Did that come from Goebbels? That statement was made in an official report on Jan. 4 of this year by H. H. Arnold, commanding general of the Army Air Forces of the United States of America.
Does my opponent still desire to use the words "falsification" and "Goebbels?" Does he still claim we were prepared? If so, let's go further.
Truman Replies Are Quoted
Four months before Pearl Harbor, there was a debate in the United States Senate. The chairman of a Senate committee described on the floor of the Senate the shocking state of our defense program. Senator Vandenberg asked the chairman where the blame should be laid, and the chairman replied, "There is only one place where the responsibility can be put." Then Senator Vandenberg said, "Where is that—the White House?" and the chairman of that committee replied, "Yes, sir."
Who was the committee chairman? It was Harry Truman, the New Deal candidate for Vice President of the United States.
Again, in a magazine article in November, 1942, this statement appeared: "The reasons for the waste and confusion, the committee found were everywhere the same: the lack of courageous, unified leadership and centralized direction at the top." Again, on the floor of the Senate in May, 1943, these words were uttered: "After Pearl Harbor we found ourselves woefully unprepared for war." Was that Dr. Goebbels on the floor of the Senate?
The very words my opponent calls a falsification came from the mouth of his running mate, Harry Truman, the Democratic nominee for Vice President.
Now listen to this: "When the treachery of Pearl Harbor came we were not ready." Mr. Roosevelt was that from Dr. Goebbels? The man who said that was Alben Barkley, your majority leader of the United States Senate. And where do you suppose Alben Barkley said when the treachery of Pearl Harbor came we were not ready. Right in his speech nominating Mr. Roosevelt for a fourth term.
Roosevelt Words in '35 Given
Now, why is it we weren't ready when we were attacked? Lets look at my opponent's own words. In a message to Congress in 1935, he said: "There is no ground for apprehension that our relations with any nation will be otherwise than peaceful."
In 1937 he said, and I quote: "How happy we are that the circumstances of the moment permit us to put our money into bridges and boulevards * * * rather than into huge standing armies and vast implements of war."
But war came just two years later. It was in January of 1940 that I publicly called for a two-ocean Navy for the defense of America. It was that statement of mine which Mr. Roosevelt called, and I quote his words: "Just plain dumb." Then as now, we got ridicule instead of action.
The war rose in fury. When Hitler's armies were at the gates of Paris, Mr. Roosevelt once again soothed the American people with the jolly comment: There is no need for the country to be "discomboomerated."
The simple truth is, of course, that my opponent's record is desperately bad. The price the American people have had to pay for that record is desperately high. This is not a record on which any man should seek the confidence of the American people.
My opponent now announces his desire to be President for sixteen years. Yet in his speech of Saturday night he called it a "malicious falsehood" that he had ever represented himself to be "indispensable."
Lets look at these closely supervised words of his handpicked candidate for Vice President. Mr. Truman said of my opponent, and I am quoting him: "The very future of the peace and prosperity of the world depends upon his reelection in November." Now I have not heard Mr. Truman repudiated by Mr. Roosevelt as yet. He usually waits to shed his Vice Presidents until they have served at least one term.
Here are the words that Boss Kelly of the Chicago machine, who was the manager of that fake third-term draft of 1940, you remember? He said: "The salvation of this nation rests in one man." Was that statement ever repudiated by my opponent? No, it was rewarded by increased White House favors. So it was repeated again by the same man at the same time in the same city and for the same purpose this year: "The salvation of this nation rests in one man."
And was it a falsehood that one of the first acts of Mr. Roosevelt's newly selected national chairman was to announce last May that he was for a fourth term and—that he was looking forward toward a fifth term?
Let's get this straight. The man who wants to be President for sixteen years is, indeed, indispensable. He is indispensable to Harry Hopkins, to Mme. Perkins, to Harold Ickes, he's indispensable to a host of other political job holders. He's indispensable to America's leading enemy of civil liberties—the Mayor of Jersey City. He's indispensable to those infamous machines, in Chicago—in the Bronx—and all the others. He's indispensable to Sidney Hillman and the Political Action Committee, he's indispensable to Earl Browder, the ex-convict and pardoned Communist leader.
Plea for "Integrity"
Shall we, the American people, perpetuate one man in office for sixteen years? Shall we do that to accommodate this motley crew? Shall we expose our country to a return of the seven years of New Deal depression because my opponent is indispensable to the ill-assorted, power-hungry conglomeration of city bosses, Communists and career bureaucrats which now compose the New Deal? Shall we submit to the counsel of despair that in all the great expanse of our nation there is only one man capable of occupying the White House?
The American people will answer that question in November. They will see to it that we restore integrity to the White House, so that its spoken word can be trusted once again.
On battlefronts and at home Americans have won the admiration of the world. Under the stress of war, we have thrown off the stupor and despair that seemed in the decade of the Nineteen Thirties to have settled permanently upon the land.
Today we know our strength and we know our ability. Shall we return to the philosophy that my opponent proclaimed when he said our industrial plant is built? Shall we go back to the seven straight years of unemployment? Shall we go back to the corroding misery of leaf-raking and doles? Shall we continue an administration which invokes tbe language of our enemies and recklessly hurls charges of falsehood concerning things it knows to be the truth?
I say the time has come to put a stop to everything that is summed up in that phrase, "the indispensable man."
If any man is indispensable, then none of us are free. But America, America hasn't lost its passionate belief in freedom. America has not lost its passionate belief in opportunity. It need never lose those beliefs. For here in this country of ours there is plenty of room for freedom and for opportunity, and we need not sacrifice security to have both freedom and opportunity.
To achieve these objectives we must have integrity in our Government. We need a new high standard of honesty in the Government of the United States. We need a singleness of purpose, a devotion to the people of this country and to the gigantic problems we face at home after this war. We need a whole-souled devotion to the building of a people's peace that will last far beyond the lives and friendships of any individuals.
We need humility and courage. With the help of Almighty God we shall achieve the spiritual and physical strength to preserve our freedom in the pursuit of happiness for all.