Corporate State Not An American System


By THOMAS E. DEWEY, Governor of New York and Presidential Republican Nominee

Delivered in Charleston, W. Va., October 7, 1944

Vital Speeches of the Day, Vol. XI, pp. 13-15.

EVEN as this terrible war moves toward our inevitable victory, we are preparing to decide the whole future of our country at the polls. If every American who believes in freedom for his country will register and vote, free America will win an overwhelming victory here at home on Nov. 7th.

That victory at the polls will mean an end to a very, very tired administration in Washington. It will mean the beginning of a new, a competent and an honest Government in Washington.

This victory at the polls will also serve to speed the defeat of Germany and Japan because it will bring an end to bungling, fumbling and incompetence in Washington.

I have already made it clear that a change of administration will mean no change in the military leadership of the war. It should be equally clear that with a change in administration the work of international organization for peace will proceed with only increased competence and zeal. I have taken unprecedented steps to put that work upon a nonpartisan basis. I intend to see that it remains a nonpartisan effort with the help of the ablest Americans of both parties in command.

Beyond victory, what kind of a country will our American men and women come home to? This election will decide that question.

Hits at Roosevelt Charge

We have a fateful decision to make, but that decision must be made not on vague and irresponsible political discussion but on the facts. On Thursday night of this week my opponent repeated his charge that "there are politicians and others who quite openly worked to restrict the use of the ballot in this election." Now I do not know whom Mr. Roosevelt means, because he seems to lack the courage to name names and say what he means. So let's look at the facts.

He sadly complained that not enough people vote. But he pointed with pride to the fact that in 1940 62 1/2 per cent of the eligible voters of this nation went to the polls. Well, in the State of New York not 62 1/2 per cent but 77 per cent of the eligible soldiers and sailors of our State have had ballots mailed to them already. Despite my opponent's attempt to play politics with the soldier vote every evidence indicates that as a nation we will have an even larger percentage of soldier votes than we will of civilians.

Let's have no more of this political pretense on a matter of importance to us all. Now we know where the truth is. And let me point out my opponent is relying for his main support upon a solid block of votes in States where millions of American citizens are deprived of their right to vote by the poll tax and by intimidation. Not once in twelve years has my opponent lifted a finger to correct this and his platform is cynically silent on the subject.

In his speech of Thursday night my opponent softly denies that he welcomes "the support of any person or group committed to communism or fascism."

Browder Speech is Cited

Now, that is news. But doesn't this soft disclaimer come a trifle late ? Only last week in Madison Square Garden Earl Browder, the head of the Communist party in America, proclaimed to 15,000 cheering adherents that the election of my opponent was essential to his aims. This is the same Earl Browder, now such a patriot, who was convicted as a draft dodger in the last war, convicted again as a perjurer and pardoned by Franklin Roosevelt in time to organize the campaign for his fourth term. The soft disclaimer does come a little late.

Now, why is my opponent's election so essential to the aims of the Communists ? The answer is right in the record of this Administration. The aims of the New Dealers were stated on May 23, 1939, by Adolf Berle in a carefully written memorandum submitted to the Temporary National Economic Committee, an official agency set up to decide upon our future for us. There he said: "Over a period of years the Government will gradually come to own most of the productive plants in the United States."

Now, who is this Adolf Berle? He is one of the original brain trusters and today he holds the office of Assistant Secretary of State.

What does he mean by the Government owning "most of the productive plants in the United States." That means, of course, a system where Government would tell each of us where we could work, at what, and for how much.

Denies Our System Is Now Free

Now, I do not know whether my opponent calls that system communism or national socialism, or fascism. He can take it any way he likes it. It's his program, not mine. But I do know it is not an American system and it's not a free system.

Let's just see how far we have traveled down that New Deal road. A report just released by a Congressional committee headed by a Democratic United States Senator shows there are fifty-five Government corporations and credit agencies with net assets of twenty-seven billions. The Federal Government now owns or operates one-fifth of the manufacturing plants in the country.

Little by little, the New Deal is developing its own form of corporate State. It becomes clear why the twice convicted Comrade Browder and his friends are so eager for the re-election of my opponent. There is another reason. They love to fish in troubled waters. Their aims can best be served by unemployment and discontent. They remember that the New Deal in all its seven peace-time years never cured unemployment. They remember that in the spring of 1940 we still had 10,000,000 unemployed. They remember that under the New Deal we had to have a war to get jobs. That's why they want a fourth term and sixteen years of the New Deal. That is one of the very good reasons why it's time for a change.

"Secrecy" on Report Assailed

Just for a moment let's look at the way this tired Administration bungled its way into conversion for war production. Then we will know how well they can convert for peace and for jobs. In August, 1939, more than six years after Hitler came to power, Mr. Roosevelt finally created a War Resources Board under Edward R. Stettinius. It worked for three months and brought in a report, but the report was buried and the board quietly died. The report is still a secret after five years. Like so many other things, we will never know about it until a new Administration opens the record of these past twelve years.

With Poland conquered, Hitler took Norway and invaded the Lowlands. At last, in response to public pressure on May 25, 1940, Mr. Roosevelt acted. He created the Office for Emergency Management under Executive Order No. 8,248.

But just four days later he piled on top of this one a seven-man advisory commission. In doing this he was repeating with exact fidelity the most notorious blunder of the first World War. Of course it failed.

So next we are handed the prize monstrosity of all, the Office of Production Management under two different heads, William Knudsen and Sidney Hillman.

Truman Comment Is Stressed

It was Sidney Hillman's performance in this job that led the chairman of a Senate investigating committee to say, "If Mr. Hillman cannot or will not protect the interests of the United States, I am in favor of replacing him with some one who can and will."

The Senator who said that is now my opponent's hand-picked running mate, Harry Truman. In spite of his unkind remarks the Democratic National convention was allowed tę nominate Mr. Truman because he was "cleared with Sidney."

Of course that agency was a failure, too. So Mr. Roosevelt piled on still another one, the Supply Priorities and Allocations Board. That was on Aug. 28, 1941, and of course that failed too. It was not until five weeks after Pearl Harbor that Mr. Roosevelt did what should have been done at the beginning. At last we got a War Production Board with a single responsible administrator at the head of it.

But that was not the end. By way of coordinating all this confusion, and, as he said, "to resolve and determine controversies," my opponent created a sixth agency, the Office of War Mobilization. That was on May 27, 1943, eighteen months after Pearl Harbor. Still conflicting orders, overlapping responsibilities, backbiting and character assassination handicapped the war effort.

Inevitable Happened Again

So the inevitable happened again, a little over a month ago. The War Production Board itself, fell apart. One official after another resigned in a torrent of recrimination and the head of the board was given a ticket to China.

Now, during all these months that the war effort was being hampered by open warfare in Washington, the responsible head of our Government was doing nothing about it. For weeks our daily papers carried stories of internal dissensions within the board. After it finally blew up, Mr. Roosevelt's only comment was that he had, of course, been aware of dissension but he had "hoped it would disappear." Judging by the words of my opponent it has become dreadfully clear that his Administration is too tired even to do the job at hand. It is obviously too tired for the job ahead.

We need a house cleaning in Washington. We need clear lines of authority with competent men to carry out their jobs.

We need team work in our Government. That's why it's time for a change.

The American people have succeeded in the face of every difficulty in sending overwhelming supplies to our armed forces. Within a new administration we can speed victory and also be ready for reconversion to peace-time jobs.

Is there any chance the New Deal can ever do this job ahead ? Not according to its own best friend. Even Henry Wallace last year described the whole picture as bureaucracy at its worst, and he added, "it is utterly inexcusable in a nation at war."

Auto Union Leader Quoted

Now listen to Richard T. Frankensteen, vice president of the CIO Auto Workers Union and delegate to the national convention in which the great Democratic party was taken over by Earl Browder and Sidney Hillman. Here's what he said:

"The trouble is that no adequate over-all planning is being done to insure orderly reconversion which will lead into a post war period of full employment."

How in the name of the future of our country can such an administration be trusted with the vital task of creating peacetime jobs? How can we move ahead to peacetime jobs and opportunity under an administration that has no cure for dissension within its own ranks except for the feeble hope that "it would disappear?" How can we trust our future to an administration which talks out of one side of its mouth about Government ownership of all factories, while out of the other side of its mouth it softly disavows its Communist supporters?

On Jan. 20 of next year we shall restore honesty to our Government so that its spoken word can be trusted. We shall proceed to put into effect a program to recover those things we have lost and to make them secure.

This program I have already outlined in part.

To labor we are pledged to restore the Department of Labor with an able and experienced man from the ranks of labor at its head. We are pledged to abolish or transfer to the Department of Labor the almost countless bureaus with which die working men and women of our country now have to struggle. We are pledged to full support of the guarantees of free, collective bargaining through the National Labor Relations Act and to restore freedom from Government dictation to labor in this country.

World Peace Pledge Recited

We are pledged to work with all our hearts and souls to bring about a lasting peace through international organization with adequate force to back it up. And I may add, I have stated such a program at Lousiville in detail, something my opponent has never yet done.

We are pledged to an expanding Social Security for the people of this country. Twenty million Americans have been forgotten by this Administration in the nine long years the old-age pension laws have been on the books. We propose to bring security to them as well as to make our Social Security system sound and supportable by an expanding economy. For there can be no security without a strong, free society to support it. ,

We are pledged that our Government shall not again use its power to set race against race, creed against creed, or class against class. We are pledged to a Government which has equal respect for the rights of agriculture, labor and business, and for every race, creed and color.

We are pledged to a future of freedom and abundance for agriculture with assurance by Government that the former will never again suffer ruinous prices. We are pledged to a scientific and expanding soil conservation program so that the soil of our country may be preserved and built up.

"Ghosts of the Dead Past"

We are pledged to a specific program of tax relief, which will permit our job-making machinery to go to work. We are pledged to bring an end to the tired defeatism of this Administration, which talks glibly of opportunity and did nothing about it for seven peacetime years.

And what has been the answer of the New Deal to the specific proposals of our platform and the detailed statements of policy I have made on the radio in these recent weeks? We have heard nothing but glittering generalities, ghosts of the dead past and wisecracks. We have heard no answer because my opponent has no answer. We have had no answer because, in truth, as the New Deal itself has said, it wants a Government-owned America. It has no other solution.

I say there is a better way. I have outlined much of that way in detail. Ten million returning heroes will demand that better way under the freedom they have fought to win. Under divine guidance they will have here a land of security with freedom and opportunity for all.