Roosevelt Myth - John T. Flynn

Roosevelt Breaks with the Past

On July 17, 1940, Franklin D. Roosevelt was nominated for the presidency for the third time. The prologue to this event was supplied by Europe.

After months of raging at the Poles and while Britain and France were negotiating with Molotov for an alliance against Hitler, on August 23, 1939 the whole western world was shocked by the news that Hitler and Stalin had made a deal. A week later, on September 1, Hitler sent his panzer divisions and his motorized infantry into Poland in a new kind of war. While Hitler was taking western Poland, Stalin was occupying eastern Poland in accordance with the agreement they had made. Stalin took the three Baltic states into "protective custody." Two days later Great Britain and France declared war on Germany. French armies moved to the German border and an English army appeared in France. There were skirmishes and minor actions. But the Maginot Line was supposed to be impregnable and the hostile armies settled down on both sides of it for that long stretch of inactivity which was called the "phony war."

Then on April 9, 1940, out of the quiet of this sleepy western front, the German army erupted into Denmark, while the German navy seized Norway. A month later the Nazis took Luxemburg in a day, the Netherlands in four days and Belgium in 18 days. The attack on France was launched with terrifying fury. The British were driven swiftly into a corner at Dunkirk from whence their entire army was forced out of France—335,000 men, leaving all their equipment on the beaches of Dunkirk. The Nazi panzers were thundering along various French routes, past the Maginot Line and into Paris by June 14. The French cabinet resigned and on June 21, French officials went through the melancholy ceremony of meeting Hitler and his marshals in the Compiegne Forest in that same military dining car in which Marshal Foch had received the surrender of the Kaiser's army in 1918. Having witnessed this, Hitler ordered the historic car sent to Germany. At that moment the delegates to the Republican Convention were arriving in Philadelphia.

As the convention assembled, therefore, the war was the supreme issue. The government had already appropriated billions for defense. Business was surging upward. The war contractors were crowding into Washington. There was no longer a question of unemployment, low prices or depression. The great question was: Are we going into the war or not? The Gallup poll showed an overwhelming vote against going in; but almost as big a vote for aiding the allies short of war.

The leading candidates before the Republican Convention which met on June 24 were Governor Dewey, Senator Robert A. Taft, Senator Arthur Vandenberg and Wendell Willkie. When the convention met, Willkie seemed the most unlikely of these candidates, but his strength grew. Dewey was eliminated on the fourth ballot and on the sixth, in a contest between Taft and Willkie, the latter was nominated in one of the most amazing upsets in convention history.

The Democrats believed that Willkie would make a formidable opponent. But from the moment he was nominated the result of the election could no longer be in doubt. Charles McNary, Republican leader in the Senate, was nominated for the vice-presidency.

The joining of these two men—Willkie and McNary—was so impossible, they constituted so incongruous a pair that before the campaign ended McNary seriously considered withdrawing from the race.

There was a moment in that convention when one voice was lifted in solemn warning, the full meaning of which was utterly lost upon the ears of the delegates. Former President Hoover, in a carefully prepared address, talked about the "weakening of the structure of liberty in our nation." He talked of Europe's hundred-year struggle for liberty and then how Europe in less than 20 years surrendered freedom for bondage. This was not due to Communism or fascism. These were the effects. "Liberty," he said, "had been weakened long before the dictators rose." Then he named the cause:

"In every single case before the rise of totalitarian governments there had been a period dominated by economic planners. Each of these nations had an era under starry-eyed men who believed that they could plan and force the economic life of the people. They believed that was the way to correct abuse or to meet emergencies in systems of free enterprise. They exalted the State as the solvent of all economic problems.

"These men thought they were liberals. But they also thought they could have economic dictatorship by bureaucracy and at the same time preserve free speech, orderly justice and free government. They might be called the totalitarian liberals. They were the spiritual fathers of the New Deal.

"These men are not Communists or Fascists. But they mixed these ideas into free systems. It is true that Communists and Fascists were round about. They formed popular fronts and gave the applause. These men shifted the relation of government to free enterprise from that of umpire to controller. Directly or indirectly they politically controlled credit, prices, production of industry, farmer and laborer. They devalued, pump-primed and deflated. They controlled private business by government competition, by regulation and by taxes. They met every failure with demands for more and more power and control . . . When it was too late they discovered that every time they stretched the arm of government into private enterprise, except to correct abuse, then somehow, somewhere, men's minds became confused. At once men became fearful and hesitant. Initiative slackened, industry slowed down production.

"Then came chronic unemployment and frantic government spending in an effort to support the unemployed. Government debts mounted and finally government credit was undermined. Out of the miseries of their people there grew pressure groups—business, labor, farmers demanding relief or special privilege. Class hate poisoned cooperation."

That was a perfect description of Europe in the years immediately preceding and following the First World War. And out of these vexations and dislocations came Communism in one place, fascism in others and social-democracies, so-called, in others, which were really societies one-fourth socialist, three-fourths capitalist, administered by socialist ministries winding the chains of bureaucratic planning around the strong limbs of private enterprise.

Mr. Hoover then undertook to describe the progress of this baleful idea here in a series of headlines: Vast Powers to President, Vast Extension of Bureaucracy, Supreme Court Decides Against New Deal, Attack on Supreme Court, Court Loaded with Totalitarian Liberals, Congress Surrenders Power of Purse by Blank Checks to President, Will of Legislators Weakened by Patronage and Pie, Attacks on Business, Stirring Class Hate, Pressure Groups Stimulated, Men's Rights Disregarded by Boards and Investigations, Resentment at Free Opposition, Attempts to Discredit Free Press.

This, of course, was the great problem before the country. The onset of fascist governments in Europe as described by Mr. Hoover corresponded precisely with the schemes of the Tugwells and Hansens and Hendersons and Hillmans and Wallaces and Hopkinses which had now become the motif of the Third New Deal—not Communist, not fascist, but a common program on which for the moment Communists and fascists and various grades of pinks could unite under the great goal of the State Planned and Managed Capitalism for abundance.

But nobody was interested in this now. The billions were flowing again, everything was going up—wages, prices, sales and—government debt. But it didn't matter because now we had learned from the Harvard and Tufts economists that government debt is a mere nothing—something we "owe to ourselves." We were all off on a grand crusade to save the liberties and the "democracy" of Europe, now caught in the great final disaster which marked the climax of all those crazy ideas that had bred fascism and Communism in Europe and which were now being introduced into America by the same kind of minds that had given them to Europe.

The Republican party platform denounced Roosevelt for fanning the flames of class hatreds, bringing the judiciary into disrepute, fomenting war between capital and labor and for the mounting taxes and debt and the expanding regimentation. There were in the Republican convention, however, a number of delegates, chiefly from the East, whose position on the war was not very different from that of Roosevelt. And they made an all-night fight in the resolutions committee for a strong plank committing the party to a course similar to Roosevelt's. This was defeated. The war plank adopted read:

"The Republican Party is firmly opposed to involving this nation in foreign war.

"We are still suffering from the ill effects of the last world war, a war which cost us a 24 billion dollar increase in our national debt, billions of uncollectable foreign debts and complete upset of our economic system in addition to loss of human life and irreparable damage to the health of thousands of our boys."

The Roosevelt administration was denounced for the poor use it had made of the vast sums appropriated for national defense and then the platform declared:

"We declare for prompt, orderly and realistic building of our national defense to the point at which we shall be able not only to defend the United States, its possessions and essential outposts from foreign attack but also efficiently to uphold in war the Monroe Doctrine . . . In the meantime we shall support all necessary and proper defense measures proposed by the administration in its belated effort to make up for lost time; but we deplore explosive utterances by the President directed at other governments which serve to peril our peace and we condemn all executive action and proceedings which might lead to war without the authorization of the Congress of the United States."

The plank expressed sympathy for all unoffending nations whose ideas most closely resembled our own and favored the extension to all peoples righting for liberty or whose liberty is threatened "of such aid as shall not be in violation of international law or inconsistent with the requirements of our own national defense."

Before the convention assembled, Roosevelt executed a political maneuver that beyond doubt caused great embarrassment to the Republicans. He announced the appointment of Henry L. Stimson, who had been Secretary of State under President Hoover, as Secretary of War, and Frank Knox, candidate for vice-president with Landon in 1936, as Secretary of the Navy. Both Stimson and Knox were eager and ardent supporters of Roosevelt's war policy. There were some features of this curious episode which, so far as I know, have never been fully told. We will come to them in the events of a few weeks hence.

On July 15, the Democratic National Convention opened in Chicago to name a "successor" to President Roosevelt. The great question before this convention, of course, was the nomination of the President for a third term. Some years later many of those who played leading roles in that noisy and truculent comedy told their several stories of what happened so that now it is possible to tell how the business was managed.

In a previous chapter we have seen how Roosevelt, in the summer of 1939, had confided in the deepest secrecy to Jim Farley at Hyde Park that he would not run for a third term. Nevertheless, Farley had begun to gather that Roosevelt would run and that he was laying his plans in that direction without taking Farley, Garner or any of the other leaders into his confidence. He was laying his plans cunningly to have himself "drafted."

The movement began some time in 1939 and the leaders in it were Ed Kelly of Chicago and Frank Hague of New Jersey. Some time later, Harold Ickes and Harry Hopkins uttered public demands for Roosevelt's nomination and later Attorney-General Jackson and Senator Joe Guffey joined in the public clamor. Guffey, Hopkins and Tommy Corcoran began contacting the state leaders. It is entirely probable that Roosevelt did not confide fully in any of these people save perhaps Hopkins, but Ickes, Hopkins, Wallace, Corcoran and Jackson were a part of the White House political entourage and they carried on the campaign without hindrance from the President and knew, without being told, that they were operating in accordance with his wishes.

In August, 1939, at a meeting of the Young Democrats, Roosevelt said that if the nominee were a conservative or one who just gave lip-service to the New Deal on a "straddle-bug" platform he could not offer active support to the ticket and indicated what kind of candidate he would support. Arthur Krock in the New York Times said "his description of the ideal candidate seemed like a self-portrait." And a day or two later Mayor Kelly told the Young Democrats "they must not take 'no' from Roosevelt."

By December, 1939, Vice-President Garner had decided that Roosevelt would be a candidate. He had declared himself unalterably opposed to the third term and he announced his own candidacy as a public protest against that idea. Curiously enough, Garner's announcement did not bring him an offer of support from a single party leader. In Illinois, Ed Kelly after talking with Roosevelt, entered the President's name in the Illinois primary. Roosevelt did not withdraw it. And then on March 23, 1940, Farley declared that he had consented to have his own name entered in the Massachusetts Democratic primary.

On July 1, 1940, two weeks before the convention was to meet, Roosevelt asked Farley to visit him at Hyde Park. When Farley reached the house he was greeted by the President's mother. The morning papers had a story that Jim was going to resign from the national committee chairmanship and go into business. The old lady greeted him cordially and wanted to know if there was any truth in these stories. "You know," she said, "I would hate to think of Franklin running for the presidency if you were not around. I would like you to be sure to help my boy." Inside the house, Mrs. Eleanor Roosevelt met Farley and said she was shocked at the thought of him not directing things in the coming campaign. There was no doubt in Roosevelt's home who the candidate would be.

After luncheon, Farley sat down with the President in his study. Roosevelt began by explaining that he had not written a letter indicating that he would not be a candidate around February 1, as he had promised the preceding summer. He said the war had started and to have issued the statement would have nullified his position in the world and handicapped the efforts of this country to be of constructive service in the world crisis. As we shall see, Roosevelt was putting on a carefully studied act with Farley. He shook his head dolefully and said: "I still don't want to run for the Presidency."

He repeated: "I don't want to run, and I am going to tell the convention so." He suggested various ways in which he would do this, but the implacable Farley, who apparently was not falling for the little comedy, told him he should not have waited so long, that he had, by his own maneuvers, killed off every other candidate and that the leaders were afraid to be against him lest they suffer punishment and that if he didn't want to run he should do what General Sherman did many years ago—issue a statement saying: "I will not run if nominated and will not serve if elected."

Plainly Roosevelt did not expect this reply. He fell into a reverie for a moment, explained to Farley that if nominated and elected he could not in these times refuse to take the inaugural oath even if he knew he would be dead in thirty days. That ended the subject so far as Farley was concerned. He knew that Roosevelt was going to be nominated and run. He told the President he had made up his mind he was going to allow his own name to go before the convention.

After this the conversation proceeded in the most singular manner with literally three persons present—Farley for one, Roosevelt the man who was not going to run as the second and Roosevelt the man who had decided to run as the third. In one breath he began to discuss vice-presidential candidates. He dismissed Lucas and Stark. He dismissed Bankhead because he was too old and not in good health—because the man running with him must be in good health because there was no telling how long he could hold out. "You know, Jim," he said, "a man with paralysis can have a break-up any time."

He seemed to think it was all right for a presidential candidate with a strong expectancy of death to be elected, but that the vice-presidential candidate had to have good health. He dismissed Maloney of Connecticut and Jesse Jones because his health was not too good either. He was against Rayburn or James Byrnes or Garner. Thus having discussed who would run for vice-president on the ticket with him, he then began to outline the letter he would write to the convention telling them he didn't want to run and at what point he should send the letter. Then having gone into details about how he would eliminate himself he said "Undoubtedly I will accept the nomination by radio and will arrange to talk to the delegates before they leave the convention hall."

Miss Perkins says that she was never sure just when Roosevelt made up his mind to run, but that Frank Walker and others responsible for the campaign knew around March or April that he would be willing "if it could be handled properly" but they were pledged to absolute secrecy. She said that Harry Hopkins had been selected to take charge of Roosevelt's headquarters because he had got acquainted with a lot of Democratic politicians while administering relief. He was to make all the decisions in Chicago and have a private wire to the White House.

Cordell Hull says that Roosevelt, during all this time, had been urging him to run for the presidency. But Hull had insisted that he did not wish it. We must keep in mind that Miss Perkins said Walker and some others knew of the President's plans as early as March. Jim Farley had seen through the President's comedy a long while before this. Then on July 1, Roosevelt told Farley he didn't want to run and was going to tell the convention so, mixing up with all this talk a discussion of his plans to run, who his vice-presidential candidate would be and how he would accept the nomination by radio.

On June 20 Hull saw the President who again urged him to run. And then on July 3, two days after he told Farley how he would accept the nomination when it was made, Roosevelt invited Hull to lunch. He told Hull how he was going to tell the convention he did not desire to run, whereupon, said Roosevelt, "they will nominate you." He asked Hull's opinion of the letter he proposed to write.

Hull said such a letter would not delay Roosevelt's nomination more than a minute. Whereupon Roosevelt began immediately to discuss his own chances of being elected and there ensued a bizarre conversation in which he talked alternately of who would run for vice-president with Hull and of his own plans to run. Hull says he now knew the President had made up his mind to be a candidate. Hull did not know that Roosevelt had said to more than one that Hull wouldn't do, that he was "too much of a free trader" and that "he was too old and too slow."

Roosevelt fooled no one. But why did he try? He was building up the "draft" illusion and seeking to create witnesses to that pretension.

The convention opened in a somewhat somber mood. Jim Farley was there, still chairman of the national committee, calling the convention to order. The delegates, with few exceptions, were mere pawns in the hands of the leaders and the leaders mere puppets in the hands of the President. Nevertheless, most of the delegates did not know what the intention was. They didn't know for whom they were supposed to vote. And they didn't like the situation. Miss Perkins was shocked when she got to Chicago at the bitterness around the corridors as the prospective candidates for the Presidency and the delegates who were for them began to believe that the President was really going to run. The leaders, she says, didn't know what was going on. They were angry about the purge. Many of them were deeply disturbed about the Supreme Court fight. Many thought that we had had more than enough of the New Deal. The delegates knew that John Garner had refused to run for a third term as vice-president. He wasn't even in Chicago.

Edward J. Flynn, who would succeed Farley as national chairman, said "The convention in Chicago was not a very cheerful gathering," and that "the political leaders thought a mistake was being made, that never before had the third-term issue really been brought to a test." They didn't know how it would go. They thought the "President's ambition for a third term was being supported largely by the political machines." He described the organization leaders as bitter. "I think it is only fair to say," he said, "that the majority of the delegates in Chicago were not enthusiastic for the renomination of the President although they felt that if they did not go along the Party would be so hopelessly divided that no candidate would have a chance of winning." Looking back over the events, he felt sure that the leaders "did not support Roosevelt because of any motive of affection or because of any political issue involved but rather because they knew that opposing him would be harmful to their local organizations."

Harry Hopkins, of course, was present but not very much in sight. His headquarters were in Rooms 308-309 of the Blackstone Hotel, with a direct wire to Roosevelt. He was in constant communication with the President on every move that was made. With him were such ill-assorted collaborators as Boss Ed Kelly and Boss Frank Hague and David K. Niles, a White House attache and long-time left-wing hater of people like Kelly and Hague. To Hopkins' rooms went a steady stream of state leaders to find out what they were expected to do. According to Miss Perkins, the job of contacting the leaders and communicating to them the President's intentions was in charge of Frank Walker. The President was not a candidate but was to be "drafted," which of course all the delegates knew was a pure comedy.

As the convention opened with the band playing and Farley pounding the gavel, most of the delegates' seats were empty. A lone voice yelled "We Want Roosevelt." Farley presented Mayor Ed Kelly of Chicago who would welcome the delegates officially. The mayor ended on the words "Our beloved President, Franklin D. Roosevelt." A delegate in a white suit from Oklahoma jumped to his feet, waved his straw hat and about half the delegates stood and cheered.

The following day the real fireworks began. Senator Alben Barkley, named permanent chairman of the convention, delivered his address. When he finished the formal speech, he cleared his throat and said:

"And now my friends, I have an additional statement to make on behalf of the President of the United States." A hush fell over the convention. Farley knew what was coming. The President had telephoned him the night before and said: "I wanted to tell you that Alben has the statement we talked about. I decided it was best to release it after the permanent organization was set up:"

Barkley continued:

"I and other close friends of the President have long known that he had no wish to be a candidate again. We know too that in no way whatsoever has he exerted any influence in the selection of the delegates or upon the opinions of the delegates to this convention. Tonight at the specific request and authorization of your President I am making this simple fact clear to this convention.

"The President has never had and has not today any desire or purpose to continue in the office of the President, to be a candidate for that office or to be nominated by the convention for that office.

"He wishes in all earnestness and sincerity to make it clear that all the delegates to this convention are free to vote for any candidate. That is the message which I bring to you tonight from the President of the United States by the authority of his word."

Not a syllable about not being willing to run, not a line telling the delegates to select another candidate and taking himself completely out of the race; merely that he has not "any desire to continue in office or to be nominated." The delegates were all set free to vote for any candidate while every man in the convention knew that Harry Hopkins, a resident of the White House and the President's alter ego, Frank Walker and members of his cabinet present were all assuring the leaders that if the President were nominated he would run.

There were 1094 delegates to the convention, that is there were 1094 politicians who understood the language of politics when they heard it. It was not necessary for anybody to translate for them. Just as Jim Farley knew on July 1 when Roosevelt told him he didn't want to run that he had really decided to run, so all these delegates en masse, some of them instantly and others after a moment's reflection, knew precisely what the President meant and what they were supposed to do.

However, the managers had taken no chances. Ed Kelly had been entrusted with the job of managing the demonstrations. On the floor, of course, over the heads of each delegation, stood the standards of the states with the states' names on them. Kelly had prepared a collection of duplicate standards and a bunch of choice spirits, well-muscled, from the stockyards and other districts of Chicago, were mobilized off in the shadows. Loud speakers were distributed around the hall, the wires of which led down into the bowels of the Chicago Stadium under the earth where there was stationed Chicago's Commissioner of Sewers. As Barkley finished the message, it took a moment for the delegates to get it, but only a moment. In that moment, the Voice of the Sewers went into action and from out the loud speakers all over the floor burst the voice "We Want Roosevelt."

It continued: "Pennsylvania Wants Roosevelt! Virginia Wants Roosevelt! New York Wants Roosevelt! Massachusetts Wants Roosevelt!" and so on through the states. And as the Voice boomed, the goons emerged from the shadows with the fake standards of the states and began parading around the hall.

The delegates, now shouting and cheering, fell in, except certain delegations which resented the appearance of the fraudulent standards of their own states marching around the floor. A number of fights were set off as attempts were made to grab these standards, but the marching goons with their spurious banners started filing by the platform in front of the smiling Senator Barkley who had really just nominated Roosevelt for the presidency, and as each standard went by Barkley leaned over and kissed it. It was really all over then and the delegates, by their quick translation of Roosevelt's false disclaimer, registered their understanding of the man perfectly.

The next problem confronting the managers of the "draft" was how to put it over. They didn't want to have Roosevelt formally nominated. That might present him with the necessity of refusing. Their first scheme was to have some delegate rise on the first roll call, when Alabama was called, and move to dispense with the roll call and nominate Roosevelt by acclamation. But Farley ruled that out on the ground that it would be a violation of the rules and furthermore, looking rather significantly at the proposers, he said "If you do that it won't be necessary to have an election." Various other plans were suggested. Finally they were compelled to have a formal nomination which was made by Senator Lister Hill of Alabama.

Senator Wheeler had a headquarters as a candidate for the presidency but Wheeler's chief purpose was to get a plank in the platform which would give some hope of keeping out of the war and he did get a plank which satisfied him, whereupon he withdrew.

Farley, however, went through to the bitter end. He was nominated by Carter Glass, now a venerable patriarch of the party, who was hooted and booed as he made the nominating speech. Ed Flynn had tried to get Farley to withdraw. Farley refused. He said: "Don't get the impression that I am running for the presidency. Everyone knows the President has the votes but what they are trying to do is to put on an act to make it appear to the world that this is a unanimous draft. I am determined to let the people know I am opposed to a third term and this is the only way I can do it."

Roosevelt, of course, was nominated. On the roll-call the vote was 946 for Roosevelt, 72 for Farley, 61 for Garner, 9 for Tydings and 6 for Hull. Farley, at the end of the roll-call, and before the vote was announced, moved to make it unanimous. Thus was the President "drafted" by his party.

But now came the most disturbing feature of all—the selection of a vice-presidential candidate. There were a number of hopefuls—Senator Bankhead, Speaker Rayburn, Paul McNutt, Jesse Jones, Governor Lloyd Stark of Missouri and others. The delegates thought this at least was an open race. Before Miss Perkins left Washington she had discussed the subject of the vice-presidency with Roosevelt and after various names had been dismissed, she asked Roosevelt if he thought Henry Wallace would do. Roosevelt thought it over and said he thought Wallace might strengthen the ticket and that he would be a good man if anything happened to the President because he was not an isolationist.

However, at the convention nobody seemed to know who Roosevelt wanted for vice-president. The battle royal between the vice-presidential candidates got to be pretty bitter. Coming on top of the nomination, in which the delegates felt they had been used as mere pawns, the disaffection of Garner, the withdrawal of Jim Farley, they were in a black mood. Miss Perkins says the feeling was sour, which is putting it mildly. She said that Bob Allen (of the columnist team of Pearson and Allen) came to her in great excitement to say that the situation was terrible. It will end in a terrific rise of Roosevelt haters in the Democratic party, he said, and he wanted her to call Roosevelt and urge him to come out to the convention.

She called Roosevelt, told him about the bitterness, the confusion, the near fights and urged him to come to Chicago and address the delegates. He refused but suggested that Eleanor might come, which she did. He asked about the vice-presidential race. She told him of the confusion and ill-feeling there and urged him to make up his mind and settle the fight. He said he hadn't made up his mind and asked about Wallace. There was no sign of a Wallace campaign around but she urged him to try it. He began talking it over, more or less to himself and ended by saying: "Yes, I think it had better be Wallace. Yes, it will be Wallace. I think I'll stick to that." and he told her to give the news to Harry Hopkins.

Hopkins was surprised when he heard it. He called the President for verification and then told the newspaper men it would probably be Wallace. On the morning of July 18, Roosevelt called Farley and gave him the news. When this got around it set off another conflagration. Ickes said it was a damned outrage. Jesse Jones was sore. The other candidates were indignant.

The delegates didn't want Wallace and they were very ugly about it. Ed Kelly called the White House and urged the nomination of Byrnes but the President objected. A lot of the leaders wanted to fight it out but one by one the candidates withdrew in disgust. As Wallace was nominated the delegates booed and they booed every time his name was mentioned. Ed Flynn took the floor and told the delegates that the President wanted Wallace. Senator Lucas said the same thing in a speech and both were greeted with boos.

About this time Mrs. Roosevelt arrived by plane and Farley introduced her to the convention. She made a gracious speech very generously expressing her deep gratitude to Farley for all he had done—something Farley said he had never heard from the lips of Roosevelt. When Mrs. Roosevelt arrived, however, she agreed that the nomination of Wallace was a mistake. Elliott Roosevelt put in an appearance to protest against the nomination and told Farley that if Farley would nominate Jones he would make a seconding speech. Mrs. Roosevelt telephoned her husband. She told him she agreed with Farley that Henry Wallace just wouldn't do. Roosevelt told her to put Jim on the telephone. He said to Farley: "I've given my word to Wallace. What do you do when you give your word?" That was a terrible question for Roosevelt to put to Farley. Farley snapped back like a blow in the face: "I keep it!"

This convention was now on the edge of rebellion. It had not yet heard from Roosevelt whether he would "consent" to be "drafted." Back in Washington, at the White House, with Sam Rosenman Roosevelt was preparing the draft of the speech he would deliver over the radio accepting the nomination. Through Steve Early, it was announced at the White House that the President would not make any statement or deliver any address until the convention's work finished and by that, Early admitted, he meant not until Wallace was nominated.

The voting started in an uproar. The delegates and spectators got out of hand. The ballot was conducted in the midst of boos and catcalls. But in the end the lash of the Boss did its work. Wallace got 627 7/10 votes, Bankhead 327 4/15. There were scattered votes for Farley, Lucas, Jones, Barkley and others. Wallace had prepared a speech of acceptance but the feeling was so bad he never delivered it. He kept away from the convention.

Apparently Roosevelt's decision on Wallace was really an eleventh hour one. There is good reason for supposing that he wanted Hull for vice-president. This would have served a double purpose. He would have liked to have been rid of Hull as Secretary of State but would be glad to have him as vice-president in the Senate, where he could serve his political use more effectively in keeping the Southern senators in line. But Hull thought he ought to be President or nothing. Hull told Farley that he believed he "was unfairly treated by that fellow in his not letting my name go before the convention."

Hull said: "He tried everything he could think of to get me to take the vice-presidency. He argued and smiled. Then he smiled and argued. I said No, by God and by God, no and that's all there was to it. I felt he was trying to kick me upstairs."

As for Farley, Ed Flynn and others tried to get him to stay on as national chairman but he resolutely refused and quit both as national chairman and as Postmaster General. Ed Flynn was made national chairman and Frank Walker got the cabinet post.

Roosevelt was elected. To the uninitiated the Republicans seemed to have a golden opportunity—the Democrats divided, many leaders declaring they would "take a walk," still others supporting the Republican candidate, the natural resistance to a third term, the failure of all the Roosevelt policies, his violation of every promise, his taxes and debt along with the anxieties created by his labor policies to say nothing of the split in labor itself, with John L. Lewis urging his miners to vote for Willkie. But all this ignored the new line-up.

Roosevelt had the South and he needed to get only 109 electoral votes out of 374 in the North. And he could get this in four states and in these states were those numerous minorities who had been captured completely by Roosevelt on the war issue. This, with the payroll vote and the big city machines in those states was enough to do the job. Roosevelt got 449, Willkie only 82 electoral votes. For all that, the election was closer than appears in the electoral vote.

Many big states were carried for Roosevelt by modest or even small majorities. There will always be a question as to what might have happened had someone other than Willkie been nominated.

There was one incident in this fight which illustrates with startling vividness how far a man who is under the influence of an overdose of ambition and power may go and how near he can come to succeeding in a seemingly preposterous objective. When Hitler struck at Poland in September, 1939, Roosevelt summoned the Democratic and Republican congressional leaders to the White House to consider legislation and he invited Alfred Landon and Frank Knox, the Republican nominees in 1936, to attend. While in Washington, Landon learned that Roosevelt was planning to invite him and Knox into his cabinet. A few days later Landon issued a statement saying Roosevelt should take himself out of the third term race in the interest of national unity. Shortly after Knox was offered a cabinet post, but the invitation to Landon was not made. Knox said he would not go into Roosevelt's cabinet without Landon but he continued to visit with Roosevelt.

On May 13, 1940, three weeks before the Republican convention, Frank Altschul, brother-in-law of Governor Lehman, called Landon and asked him if he would accept an invitation to the White House to talk with the President. Landon agreed and next day General "Pa" Watson, Roosevelt's military aide, wired an invitation to Landon to lunch with the President on May 22. Landon told Watson, however, he was sending him a copy of a speech he was about to make criticizing the President's foreign policy and he felt the President ought to see it. He sent the speech. Frank Knox was shown a copy of it. He phoned Landon. He said you will ruin yourself and your party if you make that speech: you should not criticize the President. However, Landon made the speech and got another wire from Watson confirming the luncheon. He left for Washington, stopping first in New York. There he dined with four well-known political reporters. They said: "We don't know whether you know it or not, but the Republican party is facing a debacle."

The debacle was the plan Roosevelt was engineering to literally put the party out of business by inducing its leaders not to contest his election. Commentators like Dorothy Thompson and H. V. Kaltenborn and other pro-war writers were calling on the Republicans not to contest the election. And Roosevelt schemed to induce the presidential candidates of the party in 1936 to become Secretaries of War and Navy respectively in his cabinet. This he believed would so completely demoralize the more aggressive party leaders that those who were plugging for an all-out war would be able to force the party to let the election go by default. The idea had undoubtedly been sold to Frank Knox. He was in frequent touch with Roosevelt and was using all his influence to persuade Landon to go into the cabinet and he told Landon he should not criticize the President.

As this situation dawned on Landon he prepared a statement for the newspapers at once that at all hazards an election must be held. The reporters said: "You know this will end your luncheon appointment." And when Landon got to Washington next day he got a telephone call from Mr. Altschul saying General Watson had called him and asked him to get in touch with Landon and request to cancel his luncheon appointment with the President. He wanted Landon to take the responsibility of cancelling the luncheon. Watson had suggested that Landon could say he was taken suddenly ill and leave at once for home. Landon replied: "I won't do any such damn thing." And he gave Arthur Evans of the Chicago Tribune a statement saying: "I came here at the invitation of my President and I am going back home at his invitation. I will come again when my President wants me."

He then called a press conference for 10 A.M. As that got under way, a telephone call came from the President. Roosevelt said: "Alf, between Altschul and Watson, they have got us all bawled up." He told Landon to come over to lunch. Roosevelt, of course, did not offer Landon the cabinet post, but he talked about making new appointments. Then Landon had lunch with Knox. Knox talked about the terrible Nazi threat to our institutions. Landon said: "I think a third term for the President is a greater threat to our institutions than anything from the outside. If we go into the cabinet we might as well call off the elections. But there should be a quid pro quo. NO THIRD TERM." Knox said, "Alf, he can't run again. He's in a terrible shape physically. The President said to me last week: Took at me, Frank, I couldn't run for a third term if I wanted to." And Knox held out his hand to illustrate how Roosevelt's hand shook.

However, Roosevelt did not give up his plan. But the idea of getting an uncontested election had to be abandoned. With their 1936 candidates for President and Vice-President gone over to the President's camp the Republicans would have been in a very embarrassing position. But just as the Republican convention was about to assemble Roosevelt announced the appointment of Stimson and Knox as Secretaries of the War and Navy.

To do this Roosevelt had to use some high-handed methods in his official family. Around June 16 he sent Watson to Woodring to say he wanted Woodring to get together with Morgenthau to sell or transfer a number of army planes to Britain. Woodring said he could not do this unless it could be done without affecting our defenses. Woodring discussed it with the Department and the generals and he promised them he would stand his ground. When Watson's request was repeated, Woodring refused to see Morgenthau. About the same time, at a cabinet meeting the President proposed to transfer 50 destroyers to Great Britain. Roosevelt told the cabinet he had cleared the subject with the Attorney-General. At the cabinet meeting, Secretary of the Navy Edison protested, to the great annoyance of the President.

John Garner, describing the incident afterward, said Attorney-General Jackson came to him (Garner) after the meeting and said that "in spite of the statement made that he had approved the sale and held it to be legal he had not made such a decision." Garner told him he should have spoken up.

However, Woodring's refusal to approve the plane transfer and Edison's protest at the destroyer sale sealed the fate of both. Watson wrote Woodring a letter saying the President would like to have his resignation. Woodring sent the resignation and a long letter, the contents of which have since been carefully guarded. Roosevelt, disturbed by the letter, offered Woodring an ambassadorship, which Woodring refused. Roosevelt wrote him again and Woodring never answered that letter. The President got Hague to nominate Edison for governor of New Jersey. This cleared the way for naming Stimson and Knox.