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Evening star. [volume] (Washington, D.C.) 1854-1972, April 04, 1938, Image 11

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Houses Alert
to Danger
of Power
Roosevelt Meets His
Master, the People,
Says Writer.
By DAVID LAWRENCE.
THERE'S a majority in both
houses of Congress ready to
oppose President Roosevelt on
measures that go to the heart
of constitutional democracy.
That's the big news of-the hour in
the National Capital. It does not
matter much what form the compro
mise on tne re
organization bill
* finally takes. The
events of the last
10 days have
conftr m e d the
fact that both
houses of Con
gress are alert to
the dangers of
concentration of
power in the Ex
ecutive and also
to the implica
tions of radical
ism that might
Involve the con
fiscation of pri
David Lawrence.
vate property or tne destruction 01 ,
the business system of private capital j
Investment.
Mr. Roosevelt has at last met his
master — the people of the United j
States. For if the first few months j
of 1933 constituted, as some authors
have phrased it, a "Roosevelt revolu
tion.” the first few weeks of 1938 have
developed a "people's revolution”
against autocracy or arbitrary power.
So widely has this spirit been
aroused that members of Congress in
both houses are feeling its effects al
ready. They are not deceived by the
feeble cry of “propaganda” which
administration leaders have raised.
That type of smoke screen is gone with
the wind of other muckraking days,
when the public was misled into be
lieving that the New Deal had the
highest virtue and the greatest amount
of humanitarianism and hence could
do no wrong.
Today the New Deal mask ms oeen
drawn. Fascist designs were never
perhaps deliberately fashioned, but the
unremitting effort to sweep away con
stitutional safeguards and to operate
a one-man government was clearly
« detected in the President's effort to 1
dictate to and control the Supreme j
Court. Now the effect of that cam
paign has been fully tp awaken the 1
public to the present plan of the
President to make Congress subservi
ent to him through his hold on ex
ecutive agencies and commissions j
where the tenure of the jobholders,
who form the nucleus of congressional
■ political strength, would be entirely
at the mercy of the Chief Executive.
Court Plan Recalled.
If any other President besides Mr.
Rooseveit were to put into effect the
reorganization bill, there would not
be a dozen votes cast against the
measure. That’s why It is absurd to
*ay reorganization bills have bepn
favored by Presidents on other occa
sions. Before the President’s plan to
pack the Supreme Court was an
, nounced. this correspondent felt en
thusiastic about the reorganization
plan wdth the exception of the two
provisions about the controller gen
eral and the quasi-judicial commis
sion*. For President Wilson once had
In wartime even greater powers
through the Overman act than*Mr.
Roosevelt has sought from Congress.
The difference is. of course, that
Mr. Roosevelt gradually, by one meas
ure after the other and particularly
by his effort to enlarge the Supreme
Court to obtain favorable decisions,
has forfeited the trust of many of his
fellow countrymen, who now feel that
. he has no respect for constitutional
restraints and really believes in the
, philosophy of a dictatorial executive,
however much he may protest that he
does not have the qualifications for a
“successful dictator.”
Interesting Sequels.
Now that Congress has seen the
temper of the people, some interest
ing sequels may be expected. For one
thing, the Nation may demand that
the President, if he is to prove his sin
cerity about the dictatorship ambi
tion. should keep his hands off pri
mary elections for Congress. As it is,
Mr. Roosevelt is directly and indi
rectly taking a hand in primary
fights. Thus, if by his presidential
influence he obtains the nomination
for Senator Barkley of Kentucky, how
much independence can the people
of Kentucky expect from Mr. Barkley?
Both Mr. Hitler and Mr. Mussolini
hand-pick the deputies for the na
tional legislative body in each of their
countries. When a man owes his nom- j
ination and chance of election to the !
President, he is under such deep obli- !
gation that he cannot very well oppose i
the measures offered by the Execu
tive. A majority of Congress, hand
picked by the Executive, gives form
but not substance to constitutionalism.
Then there is the use of public funds
to award projects at the psycholog
ical moment to certain districts and
States, so as to give the impression
that the President's candidate can get
favors while his opponent cannot. If
a private citizen or group of citizens
used money to get votes in that way
■ the chances are we would hear plenty
of hue and cry about bribery and
corruption.
Ik Conduction of Elections.
The next struggle for constitutional
democracy will turn on the manner
and method of conducting the con
gressional elections this year. If the
members of Congress who want to
k vote their convictions and want to
line themselves up on the side of the
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The Capital Parade
Barkley Looks on Helplessly as Harrison Slashes Tax
Bill in Committee Meeting.
By JOSEPH ALSOP and ROBERT KINTNER.
TIME'S changes and the altering fortunes of great men have been
neatly dramatized of late in the drab, fusty conference chamber of
the Senate Finance Committee. There, during the past weeks, an
unrelenting conservative crew, led by Pat Harrison of Mississippi,
has been tearing the President's cherished tax structure to pieces while
the President’s handmade majority leader, Alben W. Barkley of Kentucky,
looked gloomily on.
The least contemplative must cry, “O, tempora, O mores,” at
such a spectacle, it was only last
spring, after a pressure and
temptation campaign almost equal
ing in intensity the recent pap,
patronage and projects auction be
fore the reorganization bill vote,
that the White House installed
Senator Barkley in the vacated
leader's seat of Joseph T. Robinson
of Arkansas. And Senator Barkley's
leading opponent, who would be
majority leader of the Senate today
'x'fiwc
)B»u*
*«»**<£■
if the White House had let the contest alone, was toxy Fat narrison oi
Mississippi.
The fact that Senator Barkley is a member of the Finance
Committee, and yet was powerless to do anything but vote "no” when
Pat Harrison put the motion for outright repeal of the undistributed
profits tax, only points up the new picture In the Senate. ,
In Joe Robinson’s day, the Democratic leadership exercised for the
White House an absolutist control of the Senate. Now, Senator Barkley
is no less responsive to White House commands. Indeed, his rule is to
telephone 1600 Pennsylvania avenue before each most minor move. But
he can no longer get the White House what it wants. The rebellion on the
tax bill was tantamount to a public humiliation for Senator Barkley, but it
is a truthful symbol of the general situation. Even the narrow success of the
reorganization bill was a pyrric victory.
Senator Barkley would not have had to experience the full bit
terness of complete repeal of the undistributed corporate profits tax
had not the House thrown out the President’s pet "third basket
scheme.” Senator Harrison planned, originally, to carve the "third
basket” out of the tax bill, but keep a pretense of the f'jc itself. He
changed his mind only at the last minute, a day or so a *r the House
action The House action, however, told the same story of changing
times as Senator Barkley's humiliation.
Now it is expected that the administration leadership in the Senate
will not even put up a real fight oil the floor against the reeommen
dations of Senator Harrison and his highly conservative colleagues. The
present plan, which will be adhered to unless the President suddenly revises
it. is to let the Finance Committee bill go through with a mere registration
of dissent by faithful New Dealers. Then, of course, it is hoped to bring
the tax bill nearer to the President’s dreams in conference, where the still
loyal members of the House Ways and Means Committee can fight the
White House battle.
* * * *
One of the sorest spots in employer-employe relatioas in the United
States appears to be about to clear up. Although no announcement has
been made, the negotiations between the Atlantic and Gulf ship owners and
the C. I. O.'s National Maritime Union have reached the tentative agree
ment stage. The insane bitterness, which seemed sure, not so long ago, to
prolong itself for years, has seeped away. There has been a meeting of minds
on a preferential shop, arbitration of charges of discrimination and other
important points. And, unless some snag arises, the agreement will soon
become official.
The must amusing thing about the conferences has been the
* jockeying between such high-priced ship owners’ lawyers as John J.
Burns and the delegates of the seaman. Sherman Lemmon, a simple
A. B. sailor, has been the chief spokesman for the maritime workers,
although there is no apparent reason why an unequipped able-bodied
seaman should be able to hold his own with such men as Burns,
Lemmon has matched the employers’ men. point for point, in knowl
edge of all the legal and economic factors in the problems before
the conferees.
Meanwhile, as the ship owners and maritime workers compose their
iurious cnnerence, tne wrangle oo
tween the United States Maritime
Commission and the maritime
workers grows steadily more vio
lent. Picketing of the commission
by seaman occurred recently, and
the chances are that the quarrel
will grow much worse before it
gets better.
* * * *
Senator Ellison D. (Cotton Ed)
Smith of South Carolina has
\
stayed in the Senate for a great many years, chiefly by a consistent exercise
| of the shrewdness of a back-country mule trader. Of late he has been in
some trouble in his State because of his strongly anti-New Deal stand on
many issues. South Carolina likes its democracy strictly orthodox.
But Cotton Ed has found an answer for his critics. He is running for
re-election this year, and recently he made a preliminary speaking trip
across the State. The theme of his orations was simply, it pays to be
rebellious. He intimated to the eager voters of South Carolina that he was
able to get more pap and more cotton benefit money for the State by
pretending not to go along until he had been appropriately mollified.
(Copyright. 1 sets, by the North American Newspaper Alliance, Inc )
people's Government were really to
learn that presidential reprisals would
be offset by a popular uprising on
their own behalf in their respective
districts aftd States, there would be
an even bigger majority against Mr.
Roosevelt in both houses of Congress
than has been mobilized thus far.
There is much misrepresentation
and many red herrings being drawn
across the scene to give the impres
sion that the patriotic men in the
House and Senate who are resisting
encroachment by the Executive on the
legislative branch of the Government
are lined up with ‘‘selfish interests,”
but that gag has been considerably
overworked. It strikes no terrors now
to the independent-minded majority
which has determined to thwart a
dictatorship and to make it unneces
sary for the President to be making
denials about something over which
he ought have not the slightest power
of decision anyway.
Congress is on the watch, and as
Congress shows its independence busi
ness will get the confidence it so
much needs now in order to reopen
plants and put people to work. What
Congress does this very month may
change the whole business situation
for the better. The fight here is a
thousand times more important than
the reorganization bill itself. It is a
fight for constitutional independence,
which means a fight against ruthless
destruction of property and savings—
the nerve center of business enterprise
: and business expansion and hence of
revived employment.
(Copyright. 1938.)
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(THE opinions of the writers on this page are their own, not
*■ necessarily The Star's. Such opinions are presented in
The Star's effort to give all sides of questions of interest to its
readers, although such opinions may be contradictory among
themselves and directly opposed to The Star’s.
The President’s Letter
Dictatorship Declared Precluded by Executive
Office—Majority Rule, Minority Rights.
By DOROTHY THOMPSON.
HE President’s letter to Mr.
I Anonymous gives several rea
1 sons why he cannot be a dic
tator, but omits the obvious and
imixirtant one. Psychologically speak
ing, that is the most interesting thing
about the letter. He says he has no
inclinations to be
a dictator, no tal
ents for the role
and that he
knows the coun
try too well.
But he omits to
say that he can't
be a dictator even
if he wants to, be
cause he is an
American Presi
dent, ai d the two
offices are incom
patible.
He omits to say
that even if he
were more talent
Dorothy Thompson.
ed and inclined for dictatorsnip man
Julius Caesar or Napoleon, not to
mention present duces tfnd fuehrers,
he can't be a dictator as long as we
have majority rule, minority rights,
congressional control of the purse and
the balance of powers in government.
As long as we have these, dictators
are against the law.
Possibility of Power.
Democracies don’t live by favor of
the chief executive. And what we
are interested in is neither the dic
tatorial talents nor the dictatorial {tte
dilections of the President. We aren’t
concerned with whether he wants too
much power, but with whether he can
get too much. The President oughtn’t
to take the whole fight over the re
organization bill so personally, as
I though it were a matter of his amour
propre.
This column, at least, would feel
exactly the same with any other Presi
dent. And. after all, no chief executive
is perennial. He hRS unpredictable
successors. That, after all, is the point,
so the bright boys who thought up
that letter in the middle of the night—
if that is the way it happened—
weren't doing any very exact thinking.
They only contributed to bringing
about a fine confusion of the whole
issue.
It doesn’t add anything to the con
structive consideration of the reorgani
zation bill, either, and the specific pro
I visions in it that have created so much
opposition, to fulminate against "or
ganized propaganda" or "organized
misrepresentation.” as though there
were some nefarious and sinister plot
ters abroad.
Of course, there is Father Coughlin,
who I always thought was keen about
authoritarian government, and has, in
his day, made considerable propa
ganda for it.. He ought to be able to
spot an authoritarian drift when he
sees one. and presumably has. He
wouldn't like New Deal authoritarian
ism; that seems to be the difference.
It isn’t the difference, however, ir
most of our minds. We don't like it
one way or the other.
Making propaganda for or against
something one does or does not want
1 is part of the democratic process
I Presumably the public has the right
to choose between the arguments.
One thing that the administration |
can be criticized for, is that It.has
practically abandoned' presenting a
case for its projects. The case has
become, invariably, that reactionary
forces are against them. But that’s
not enough of an argument.
Opposition Clear.
The opposition to this bill has stated
the grounds for its disapproval very
clearly. They are that it puts the
President — any President — who is
usually the head, as well, of a political
party, in sole command of the civil
service, through his power to appoint
(and presumably remove) the sole
chief of the service. That the bill
abolishes the pre-auditing of appro
priated money, and so abolishes the
congressional check on the power of
the purse; that it gives the President
control over agencies designed to be
completely independent, and that, with
the President's veto power remaining,
it would take a two-thirds vote of
Congress to override him.
It is certainly beside the point for
the President to declare that he hasn’t
the slightest intention of abasing these
powers. That is no argument against
their being created. And if these
arguments are misleading, how are
they misleading?
"Checks and balances were estab
lished in order that this should be a
Government of laws and not men,"
said Mr. Jastice Brandels in a famous
dissenting opinion in the Meyers ease.
; in 1926. (It is the Meyers case which
1 furnishes the President the basts for
his authority in removing Mr. Arthur
Morgan as chairman of the T. V. A.,
long before his term has expired ) "An
uncontrollable power of removal in the
Chief Executive is a doctrine not to be
learned in American governments.'1
(It will become a doctrine to be learned
if this reorganization bill passes.)
"The doctrine of separation of powers
was adopted * * * ncft to promote
efficiency, but to preclude the exercise
of arbitrary power.” (The opponent'
of this bill argue that although it if
necessary to promote efficiency, tin;
bill neither does it, nor does it put any
check on arbitrary power.) "The pur
pose was not to avoid friction, but by
means of the inevitable friction’ inci
dental to the distribution of govern
ment powers between three depart
ments. to save the people from autoc
racy.”
So much for Mr. Justice Brandeis
apprehensions of what can happen i:
the President alone has extendec
powers of removal, which he woulc
certainly get under this bill.
Other Advocates.
| Many Presidents before Mr. Roose
' velt have advocated reorganization o
the executive departments. Reorgani
zation is necessary. But why? Foi
the promotion of efficiency. Simpl;
that, and nothing more. What is th
chief test of efficiency? Getting bette:
work done for less of the taxpayers
money. The argument previously ha
been that reorganization would mak
Government more economical. Tha
argument is not advanced even by it
supporters in behalf of this bill.
Another real task of reorganlzatioi
should be to restore already sadl:
undermined democratic responsive
ness and responsibility, for which w
need considerably more than thi
' bill, with its ‘ selfless six” attached t
This Changing World
Franco, Victory Near, Will Find Foreign Troops
Useful in Rehabilitation.
By CONSTANTINE BROWN.
THE Spanish war is ekpected to end shortly; it is a matter of a few
weeks only. German troops are being poured into Spain to assist
Gen. Franco for the final clean-up.
When the campaign is over, Franco will find out that there are
very few young men left to help him rebuild the country. The flower of
Spain's youth has been destroyed in this murderous war. Men between the
agee of 16 and 65 have been conscripted by both factions; the combat has
oeen a nerce one witn no quarter
given or requested. Prisoners in
most rases have been hilled be
cause the respective combatants
could spare neither guards nor
food.
What with the actual
losses on the battlefronts the
casualties caused by the air
bombardments, the young
sters who died of starvation
and disease, it is reckoned
that barely 20 per cent of the
young population is still alive and capable or starting to woric in
fields, mines and factories. Beside the high death rate there have
been many who are maimed for life and consequently cannot be
counted upon to resume work. These men will be charges of the new
government.
It is for this reason that Franco Is not objecting to the Italian and
German suggestions that many of the foreign combatants be maintained in
Spain. Furthermore, there is a movement afoot to send young men from
Germany and Italy to settle in Spain; men who cannot be employed at
the present time in either of Franco’s allied countries. German professors
say that within 25 or 30 years there will be, thanks to these measures, a
new Spain.
* * * *
Air defenses in Europe take priority over the actual building of large
aviation forces. This is due to the belief that there will be no declaration
of war in Europe, if war comes, but an unexpected surprise attack against
the most vulnerable and vital points of the enemy’s country.
The French, for instance, are convinced that with the new bombers in
existence, Paris cannot be defended. The German air bases are only 25
minutes’ flight from Paris. It does not matter how quick the attacking
force can be detected, it cannot be put into shape to beat back the squad
rons of enemy bombers in such a short period of time. The new bombers
can fly at a rate of 4 miles a minute and pursuit planes have not a much
greater speed. By the time they are in the air, the bombers could have
disappeared after having completed their destructive task.
Military experts, even in Germany, admit that It is the infantry
which will win the next war. But the air force can undermine morale
of the civilian population. No wonder that under these circumstances
Europe's diplomats don't
know any more whether their
policies are based these days
on a cool head or cold feet.
* * * *
The present governor of Aus
tria. Seysz-Inquart, and former
Chancellor Kurt Schuschnigg were
classmates in a Catholic college in
Austria in their younger days, Both
followed later the legal profession,
with the difference that while
Schuschmgg wont into poltics Inquart maintained a more or less remunera
tive practice. His business became extremely prosperous when the Nazis be
gan their activities in Austria, after Dollfuss' assassination. Every time the
Nazis got into a jam. needed protection or some faked papers, it was In
quart's law offices which provided them with all that was necessary.
After Schuschnigg's “resignation" former President Miklas sent for
Inquart and pleaded w ith him to spare Schuschnigg's life. Inquart promised
solemnly to do his utmost with Hitler to save the former chancellor. It
appears his efforts have been successful.
the President. We might consider, for
, instance, technical bodies attached to
1 congressional committees, to exercise
critical and advisory functions. Actu
ally, every proposal for reorganization
made by this administration thus far
| tends to vest the legislative power in
j evitably more and more in the execu
tive.
We hear a great deal about “feudal- j
’ ism." But with the great agencies
; 1 which control billions of dollars, ex
> ; clusively in the hands of the President,
t I where then will “feudal baronies” be?
> How about a feudal barony of the
; W. P. A.? Or of the T. V. A.? Or of
i a Bituminous Coal Commission? These
r | agencies have the power to throw
■ monkey wrenches into State adminis
• traitons and into economic life.
; (Copyright, 1938, by the New York Trib
) 1 une, Inc.) {
Headline Folk
and What
They Do
Franz Von Papen
Moves Along Road
to Mosul Oil.
By LEMUEL F. PARTOX.
THIS writer, meeting Franz von
Papen several times In war
days, remembers him as a
masked, subtle, gray man—all
monotones—who might be expected to
infiltrate quietly into a country a
Von Papon.
year or two ahead
of the armed le
gions. He did that
in Austria, ready
ing the country
nicely for seizure,
and now he
moves along down
the road to Bag
dad, the road to
Mosul oil, to be
come the Reich
envoy to Turkey.
"B1 o dsinnins
keit” was his word
for Yankees in
wartime, as re
vealed in a lec
ture to a mend. Lexicographers bat
j tied over its exact meaning, the Ger
| mans saying it meant "naive,” ar.d
our side "idiotic.” Herr von Papen
had been nabbed by the British on
i his way home from his post as mil
i itary attache at. Washington. Docu
; ments seized then flared the story,
now dimly remembered, of his sup
i posed job as paymaster for German
dynamiting operations ,rf this country.
He is a fervent advocate of German
colonial expansion and has repeatedly
told the world that the Reich intends
to keep on branching out. In 1933, in
an article In the Saturday Evening
Post called "Germany’s Place In the
Tropical Sun,” he wrote:
" ‘Wanderlust,’ according to the
dictionary, is a 'loan word adopted
from the German.’ It is not an ac
cident that the word was invented in
Germany. The wanderlust of the
Germans is not merely a vague desire
to roam the world . . . Germany
must expand or explode.’’
He is of the old army caste, slim,
j straight, with a thin-lipped set smile,
] one of the most astute and quietly
| ruthless of Germany's artificers of
j destiny. Eyes, hair, moustache, suit,
j shirts and spats are gray and his
speech is similarly unstressed and
| noncommittal. The road to Bagdad
i Is in the direction of the "tropical
sun.”
i (Copyright, 1938.)
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