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Carl Davis

PM Laments, CP Lauds New State Dep’t

(December 1944)

From Labor Action, Vol. 8 No. 52, 25 December 1944, p. 4.
Transcribed & marked up by Einde O’ Callaghan for the Encyclopaedia of Trotskyism On-Line (ETOL).

At the time of going to press, President Roosevelt made an announcement that he had presented the nominations for the new millionaires club known as the State Department. Spitting in the face of those who excused these reactionary nominations on the ground that they were really not those of the President but of some reactionaries and ill-advisers, Roosevelt emphatically notified the Senate and the House that if his nominees were rejected he would send them right back again.

In face of this determination of the President to get his nominations passed on, the liberal opposition among senators and representatives crumpled and the nominees were duly confirmed.


Those blood-curdling shrieks you’ve been hearing in recent weeks come from the camp of the assorted liberals who were unceremoniously outraged by the Great White Father’s selections for the reorganized State Department. These gentlemen from in-between were indignant enough when Roosevelt, the great American liberal, the indispensable man, only just elected President as the savior and protector of mankind, slapped his beneficiaries across the mouth by nominating as Secretary of State, Edward R. Stettinius. The latter is a graduate of Wall Street under the tutelage of the House of Morgan and erstwhile president of another liberal institution, the U.S. Steel Corporation.

Just a Slip

The President just made a slip, wasn’t in his right mind at the moment. Anyway since he, and not Stettinius will set the tone to foreign policy, we’ve nothing much to worry about, said the in-between gentlemen. But to their great consternation, that man in the White House proceeded to nominate as Under-Secretary of State, Joseph C. Grew, former Ambassador to Japan, related to the House of Morgan, a conservative who thinks kindly of the Japanese Mikado who should, he believes be retained on the throne after the war.

As Assistant Secretaries, the “indispensable man” nominated William C. Clayton, cotton king, who did business with Hitler, Tojo, and anybody else who could give him profit (in the midst of the war, too); Nelson Rockefeller (’nuff said), and the poet, Archibald MacLeish, who moves from left to right and vice-versa according to the economic index and the numbers of unemployed.

“A millionaire’s club,” shouted the liberals with PM in the van. Some evil influences have reached Roosevelt, came one explanation. The big business interests have won out because Roosevelt doesn’t really know what he did, since he relies on vicious advisers. But how can you really attack the Great White Father? Makes you feel kind of silly after the support given him for the fourth term, doesn’t it? But the liberals have a way out, however.

In the December 17 issue of PM, its labor editor and ex-Communist, James Wechsler, concluded that not everything was lost in the fight over Roosevelt’s nominations. The liberals made a great fight in and out of the Senate and the House. They made Roosevelt take noticed And even if the only “liberal” he nominated (MacLeish) was defeated, their battle would show the President that the liberals will fight for their cause. He will not repeat such a mistake again! Most important, adds Wechsler, the men nominated will be under the public eye and therefore they will not act rashly in anything they do! The liberal gaze is certainly a withering one. God save the mark!

Stalin’s Boys Embrace the Millionaires

But if you want the pure, true, unadulterated reactionary point of view, you have to go to – no, not the Chicago Tribune, Hearst Press, New York News – but the Daily Worker. It stands four-square behind the President’s nominations. Not because these men do not “bring their faults with them, but they will function under the President ...”

The Communists, in their complete (!) devotion to President Roosevelt, the ex-”war-monger and imperialist,” now turned “world’s greatest benefactor next to Stalin,” accept everything he does.

No they don’t believe that Roosevelt was ill-advised, or did hot know what he was doing. Roosevelt nominated a team, don’t you see. “We need not state our own feelings,” says the Daily Worker, “on the past record of some of these men. It would be easy to object to them as individuals. But they have been presented to the country as a team, dedicated to the NEW policies of the United States and NOT THE OLD ONES.” (Emphasis in original.)

How can you possibly object to the nominations of big business, U.S. Steel, General Motors, Girdler, Weir, presented as a team? Is it reasonable? Is it cricket? After all, not all the capitalists are bad – only a few like Sewell Avery. But the big job is to win over capital, big business, U.S. Steel, General Motors, Girdler Weir, Crawford, Thompson, Winthrop, Wilson, etc., ad nauseam to labor. They will learn to love labor if you give them a chance – if labor always surrenders to them! So the Daily (Wrecker) Worker, yells, yea team! Support the President. Never question him unless ... unless he has a fall-out with Stalin!

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