Roosevelt Myth - John T. Flynn

The White House Goes into Business

It is now necessary to pause for a moment to have a look at the White House and its tenants. The result of this inspection cannot possibly be very agreeable to Americans. As men rise the steep ascent of public life the people instinctively expect from them a progressively more exacting code of public and private conduct.

At the top, the White House is held to the highest standard of all. It must be so. The standards of conduct of the President and his family will inevitably shape the conduct of all the orders and levels of public office below them. The nation elects the President. It does not elect his wife or his children. But an unwritten law, rooted deeply in the mores of the people, demands of the President's wife the same high ethical standards as it does of him. There can be no such thing as the President putting his conscience in his wife's name.

This canon of noblesse oblige extends its reasonable requirements over the President's whole immediate family. And it must be said for the long line of men and women who have lived in the White House that, so far as their immediate families were concerned, they have sustained the high tradition.

The Roosevelt family entered the White House under the universal assumption that they represented the very best in the traditions of an American family. They were descended from a long line of supposedly fine stock. They were wealthy. The President himself had inherited from his father and step-brother around $600,000.

He was an only son and his mother was worth more than a million.

He was supposed to be a reformer. While he was Governor of New York the country was seemingly shocked by a long series of petty corruptions among various Tammany leaders. Sheriff Tom Farley was exposed by Samuel Seabury as having kept a good deal of cash in a secret "tin box." The "tin boxes" of leaders got a sudden serio-comic fame. Sheriff Farley was put on trial before Governor Roosevelt, who removed him from office. In doing so he made the following statement:

"Passive acquiescence by unthinking people in the actions of those who shrewdly turn to 'personal advantage the opportunities offered by public office is out of step with modern ideals of government and with political morality. Such personal gain is not to be excused because it is accompanied by the respondent's popularity of person and great public generosity. Public office should inspire private financial integrity.

"The stewardship of public officers is a serious and sacred trust. They are so close to the means for private gain that in a sense not at all true of private citizens their personal possessions are invested with a public importance in the event that their stewardship is questioned. One of their deep obligations is to recognize this not reluctantly or with resistance but freely. It is in the true spirit of public trust to give when personally called upon, public proof of the nature, source and extent of their financial affairs"

This declaration, doubtless written for the President by Raymond Moley, his adviser in the trial, was hailed as a great moral trumpet blast representing a sane standard of public morality. It may not be so well known, but it is a fact that it is a standard followed by thousands of men in public life, in high and low positions—fortunately for this country. There is not much profit in the salaries of public office. The profit is in the graft. Graft is a slang term to describe "preying on the public either against the law or under it." It consists in "advancing one's position or wealth by dishonest or unfair means as by utilizing the advantages of an official position for one's gain."

Those who make most money out of politics are, usually, those who hold no public office. Contractors, insurance brokers, lawyers, gamblers and such are able, through their official connections, to feather their nests handsomely, not necessarily by dishonest, but by unfair means—unfair to the public. On a few occasions, presidents have been embarrassed by some distant relative seeking to use his relationship for profit. And in only two or three cases have cabinet officers been involved. In Grant's administration and in Harding's, friends used their connection with the President for their own profit. But the Presidents' immediate families remained unscathed. When the Roosevelt family moved into the White House they had before them the example of a long line of predecessors and the code of honor the President himself had proclaimed.

1. James

While Roosevelt was yet governor of New York, his oldest son James, still a student in Boston, was offered a job by an insurance company at $15,000 a year. Jimmy, in a magazine article wrote later: "I wasn't being kidded. I knew perfectly well they were paying me for my name. I . . . needed the money." His duties, as he described them, were to sit at a big desk and do nothing. Herbert Hoover's son, during his father's presidency, was offered a job with a big salary. He, like Jimmy, wasn't being kidded either. But he refused the job, saying: "My father's name is not for sale." Jimmy made $19,000 in 1932 and $21,000 in 1933, his first years at work, which he received for the use of his father's name.

About this time a gentleman named John A. Sargent, in Boston, who was making $7500 a year—the hard way—as an insurance salesman, saw the possibilities in Jimmy. He managed the formation of an insurance firm called Roosevelt and Sargent. Sargent knew how to capitalize on it to the limit. Jimmy's first big account was the American Tobacco Company of which George Washington Hill was chairman. Hill wanted some favor and the President invited him to Warm Springs. Jimmy sent a telegram to Warm Springs: "Tell father to be nice to Mr. Hill."

Jimmy got business from or through the following, among others: the Port of New York Authority, Columbia Broadcasting System, subject to control of the government, Ames Baldwin Wyoming Shovel Co., Transcontinental and Western Airlines, West Indian Sugar Company, National Distillers Products, Associated Gas and Electric Co., Armour and Co., National Shawmut Bank of Boston, First National Bank of Boston, Eastern Steamship Co., Pennsylvania Dixie Cement Co., New England Power Association, Ritz-Carlton Hotel of Boston, Roxy Theatre in New York, Waldorf-Astoria Hotel in New York, the Boston Braves, Stone and Webster, Detroit Edison Co., Pressed Steel Car Corporation, Federal Office Building at Vesey St., New York.

Why should Roosevelt and Sargent, a Boston insurance agency, get all this business, from all over the country? William Gibbs McAdoo was made $25,ooo-a-year head of the American President Lines. The United States government owned 90 percent of the Lines. The RFC granted these lines a loan of several million. The Maritime Commission agreed to give an annual subsidy of three million for five years. After that the insurance on this firm was transferred to Roosevelt and Sargent.

In 1938, the government forced Southern sugar planters to plow under sugar cane. The American growers fought this. The Cuban planters favored it because they were allowed to plant four times as much as the Southern planters. The West Indies Sugar Company was the big beneficiary. Its profits were enormous. This one company exported to the United States as much sugar as all growers in Louisiana and Florida together produced. And Jimmy got the West Indies Sugar Company insurance. Fifty million dollars' worth of cotton was shipped to China through an RFC-government loan. And Jimmy got the insurance. The clipper ships of the Pan American Airways had to be insured. Admiral Land of the United States Maritime Commission said the Commission "was diverting more and more insurance to American firms." Plenty of this insurance was going to the youthful Jimmy. The Columbia Broadcasting Company was subject to a federal commission. Jimmy got its insurance. Walter Home, an insurance broker, owned property on which the Fox West Coast Theatre building stands and the lease provided that he should have the insurance. At the time Joe Schenck, the movie magnate whose concern was interested in this theater was in jail and applying for a federal pardon. Home was told that the $315,000 policy on this property had to be shifted to Jimmy.

This young man did well for himself. Alva Johnston wrote in a Saturday Evening Post article that he had made a million dollars out of this business. Jimmy replied in Colliers that this was untrue. He hadn't made a million. But he confessed what he made. In 1934 his insurance earnings were only $37,215. His total earnings for the year were $49,i67.They were $44,668 in 1936. By 1937 they were $61,000 for the year. And in 1939 they were $100,000, or $25,000 more than his father got as President of the United States.7 The Roosevelts were satisfied with the defense that Jimmy had made not a million but only a quarter of a million.

This was graft. Let us be honest about it. That is the name for it. It was graft fully known to the President. Dudley Field Malone, Assistant Secretary of State under Wilson, called on Roosevelt to investigate his son's insurance business. The President's answer was that he would do nothing to prevent his son earning a living.

Roosevelt had a very different attitude towards others earning a living. Arthur Mullen, national committeeman from Nebraska, was floor manager for Roosevelt in the 1932 Democratic convention. In 1932 when Mullen told Roosevelt he was going to open a Washington law office, Roosevelt approved and said "he might let it be known that he had the friendliness of the administration." Early in 1934, Senator James F. Byrnes on the radio criticized national committeemen who practiced law in Washington. Roosevelt told Mullen it would be bad for him (Roosevelt) if national committeemen practiced before the courts in Washington. And this at the same time that he approved his son's soliciting insurance from firms all over the country which had business with the government.

Oddly enough, Jimmy would himself become a national committeeman from California without in any way relaxing his business activities. And around 1937 Jimmy became his father's private secretary. He solved the delicate ethical problem which this presented by resigning from the board of directors of Roosevelt and Sargent, without, of course, withdrawing from the firm, and substituted his mother on the board. Here was something really brand new in American political commercial adventure. And as the war arrived, with the vast business of the government running into countless millions with big corporations all over America, the insurance business of Roosevelt and Sargent grew by leaps and bounds. What its earnings were no one knows.

After all, suppose you were the head of a big corporation with millions in contracts from the government and a score of government bureaucrats continually prowling around your plants and over your books and then one day the telephone were to ring and a voice were to say: "This is the White House" or "This is James Roosevelt of Roosevelt and Sargent" and then proceeded to solicit your insurance? What would you do? You might tell young Mr. Roosevelt you were shocked or that you would bring the matter to the attention of his father or that you would publicly denounce him. But you would know that his father's government was on your neck through a dozen New Deal bureaus, that life under these restraints and directives was almost intolerable anyhow. It is not a pretty picture and it is a little difficult to believe and is literally impossible for many honest Americans to credit who have been fed upon the story of the purity and nobility of the Roosevelt regime.

Jimmy did not confine his operations to insurance. In July, 1935 he became president of the National Grain Yeast Corporation, which was organized during Prohibition. In 1929 this company was refused a permit to make alcohol because its backers were not revealed. Jimmy later referred to a Frank J. Hale as president of the company. Hale had been a prohibition agent. Before Hale became an agent, his bank deposits ran around $300 but after his appointment he deposited more than $155,000 in two banks in a year, all of it, save $5000, in cash. Why did this company hire the President's son, then only 28 years old, with no experience in this business, and pay him $25,000 a year?

Around the latter part of 1938, the Department of Justice was preparing its case against the movie companies under the anti-trust laws. Jimmy resigned his job as his father's aide to take a job with Samuel Goldwyn. In thus becoming an officer of one of the indicted companies, Jimmy's name had to be added to the list of defendants under the indictment. He was given $50,000 a year. Later he went into producing on his own account.

Jimmy was thus an extremely busy man and it is not surprising that his health should be impaired. In 1938 he went to the Mayo Clinic and after being there a short time he fell in love with his nurse. In 1940 his wife asked for a divorce, saying that in 1938 Jimmy had asked her for a divorce and demanded that she leave California with their two children. She refused and he deserted her. She got her divorce in 1940 and a settlement involving a very large sum of money for so young a man. The divorce was granted in March and in April Jimmy married his nurse. This was in 1940 and by that time the country had gotten used to the marital adventures of the Roosevelts.

2. Elliot

Among this flock of Roosevelt lambs, Elliott was quite the darkest. His brother Jimmy could not make the grade at law school. Elliott had no interest in school and didn't even bother to go to college. He grew up a little on the weed model. And when his father became President, and with the example of his older brother before him, Elliott clearly considered his relationship to the White House a franchise to get rich quick as fast as he could.

He made for Texas in 1933, where he remained for seven years in which time he had earnings larger than his father's as President. Although still a very young man, he started his career in Texas with a new wife. He was divorced from his first in Nevada four months after he landed in Texas and five days later he married a Texas girl by whom he was to have three children before he changed his base of commercial and marital operations.

Elliott was a schematic business man and his mind turned to deals and promotions. One of Roosevelt's early acts in foreign affairs was to recognize Soviet Russia. Three months later—February 28, 1934—Elliott went into a deal with Anthony Fokker to sell the Soviet government 50 military planes for a price which would leave a commission of half a million dollars for Elliott and the same for Fokker, who told a Senate committee the price was excessive but that Elliott had enough influence with the Export-Import Bank and the Russian Purchasing Commission in this country to swing the deal at this price. Elliott was only 23 at the time.

The next year he moved into radio. A Texas business man owned five stations. He gave Elliott a job as vice-president at $30,000 a year. Elliott sold four of these stations to William Randolph Hearst. But Mr. Hearst was persona non grata with the New Deal, and of course the Federal Communications Commission was not going to allow him to get these stations. In May, 1936, Elliott Roosevelt arrived at the White House from Texas and promptly applied to the Federal Communications Commission to have these four stations transferred to Mr. Hearst. One Commission member objected but the two Democratic members were for instant approval without a hearing. The objecting member didn't like the idea of the President's son appearing before the Commission which his father had appointed. Then in a month or two the summer arrived and the objecting member left on his vacation. As soon as he was out of town and on only an hour's notice the remaining two called a snap meeting and approved the transfer. A member of the President's family called from the White House to urge the transfer ''because it meant so much to Elliott." It did indeed. He got a large sum for each of the stations transferred and was engaged as vice-president of the operating company at a large salary. Thus Elliott began his radio career. His subsequent adventures in this field are such that we shall defer looking at them until a little later.

Elliott got himself involved in all sorts of deals. His name was constantly bobbing up in connection with some unsavory promotion or other. For instance, there was an electric transmission cooperative in Texas on the Brazos River. Harry Slattery, the Rural Electrification Administrator, refused to approve a contract for the sale of power and its operations were held up for three months, resulting in a $180,000 loss. Elliott wrote a letter to Steve Early, his father's secretary, to delay action on the project. That letter is in evidence and is attributed to Elliott's connection with a private electric power company which paid him $12,000 a year as its advertising agent—a mere side issue.

As the war got under way Elliott leaped into the army as a captain and he was sent, of all places, into the procurement division at Dayton, Ohio. In quick succession he rose to be a major, a colonel and then a brigadier-general, while able officers who were colonels when the war started, who began at West Point and had long and honorable careers were kept at that grade throughout the war.

While he was in the army he deserted his second wife and her children as he had his first and married after a brief acquaintance a young actress who promptly entered the White House circle and proceeded to capitalize on that. The wedding was staged under circumstances which might be said, by now, to be in the best Rooseveltian manner.

Elliott by this time was hobnobbing with Howard Hughes, the military plane builder, who had contracts from the army. Elliott "plighted his troth" at a resort on the rim of the Grand Canyon. Johnny Meyers, the notorious publicity man for Hughes, gave the bride away and Jack Frye, of the Hughes Airplane Company was the best man. The bills for this shindig were paid by the Hughes company. Hughes got a $22,000,000 photo reconnaissance plane contract from the government on the recommendation of Elliott after two major-generals charged with passing on this contract had rejected it. Hughes' publicity man testified under oath that in a period of two years he had spent over $5000 entertaining Elliott, that Elliott had borrowed $1000 from him—but paid it back —and that at the very time Elliott was in California on the subject of this contract, his hotel bills were paid by Hughes.

Did President Roosevelt know of the activities of his sons? We know that men high in the party warned him and it is not to be believed that the numerous newspaper attacks on both Elliott and Jimmy never reached White House ears. However, the President had more direct information than that. While Elliott was still in Texas his father made a trip to Fort Worth. At the time a number of "hot oil" indictments were pending. The President eluded the newspaper reporters at Fort Worth and made a trip to a fabulous island in the Gulf of Mexico. There he met a numerous party, chiefly oil men and among them several who were under indictment in the "hot oil" cases. Within a week after this the hot oil indictments were settled after the defendants pleaded nolo contendere.

From one of the men interested in these cases and present at that island party, Elliott borrowed $40,000. This man asked Elliott if he could do anything with Henry Morgenthau and Elliott assured him he could not, but he did better. He got an appointment with his father at the White House, summoning the oil man as a counsellor on the problems of the independent oil operators. Elliott got in pretty bad with all these people before his career in Texas ended and, in the final settlement, this $40,000 loan was paid.

What had become of that code of public official honesty which Roosevelt had set up when he was governor and running for the presidency? What about the public official who allows a member of his family to obtain favors or benefits through his political connections? These words are not used idly. They are Franklin D. Roosevelt's own words. When he dismissed Sheriff Farley, he said: "What of a public official who allows a member of his family to obtain favors or benefits through his political connections?" The Chicago Tribune estimated that Elliott's earnings from 1933 to 1944 inclusive amounted to $1,175,000 or roughly $100,000 a year and practically every dollar was made on the strength of his White House connection.

3. Eleanor

One of the most curious of all the phenomena of the New Deal was the wife of the President. She had this quality: that she was something quite new. The people elect a president. In the nature of things, presidents have wives and children. The President's life history, his personality, habits and opinions are all legitimate subjects, usually fully explored during the campaign. But the President's wife and children are thrown in with the package and it is rare indeed that the people have any suspicion of what they are getting.

The White House is the President's home and his place of business and the President's wife is its general manager. The family lives, in a sense, upon a hill and the hill belongs to the people, so that the President's wife and his immediate family have a definite official status during his incumbency. Besides, the wife gets elected, by virtue of his election, to a life-time annuity of $5000 for being the President's wife if she should survive him.

Obviously it would be a violation of the proprieties were Congress to pass a law requiring that the President's wife and his children should behave themselves. A hundred and fifty years of history have proved that, save in a single administration, such a law would be quite unnecessary. Presidents and presidents' wives could be counted on to preserve the proprieties governing this peculiar half-private, half-official status and to obey these proprieties and to exact from their children some respect for them.

Mrs. Eleanor Roosevelt was born in 1884. She was the daughter of Elliott Roosevelt, a younger brother of Theodore. He apparently was a gay, carefree, happy sort of man who had done little in his life save to follow his inclinations. He left St. Paul's School when a boy without going to college, went West for his health, took part of his inheritance and went around the world, hunted big game, came back to America and married Anna Hall, whose father lived entirely on what his mother and father gave him. Thus on her mother's and father's side she came from two old New York families who lived wholly on their inheritance and had never done a day's work for pay.

The facts about her early family life are such that I would leave them severely alone save for the fact that Mrs. Roosevelt has written a book telling all about these unhappy maladjustments. She writes that her father was a drunkard and died in a sanitarium. I do not rake up this family scandal. I note it only for the light it throws on his daughter who saw fit to rake it up in order to portray the bleakness of her girlhood out of which she emerged into so much light. The father spent most of his time away from the family home, either in Europe or in Virginia in a sanitarium. Her mother died when she was a small child. After this she and two other younger children were turned over to their maternal grandmother Hall, where she lived under a regime of the most solemn and exacting discipline. Until she was 15 years old she had no schooling save for a brief period when she was about six in a convent in France.

She described herself as a dour, homely child, with a lack of manners and an inordinate desire for affection and praise which she never got. She left the school in France, as she says, in disgrace because she told some childish fairy story about having swallowed a penny in order to get some attention. The Mother Superior insisted that she go "because they could not believe her." She had very few companions of her own age. Finally in 1899 when she was 15 years old she was sent to a school called Allenwood, outside of London. It was a French school kept by an old pedagogist named Madame Souvestre who had taught Eleanor's aunt in Paris before the Franco-Prussian war and was now, in her declining years, running this small school for girls of high-school age from well-to-do American and English families. Save for a summer vacation in Long Island, she spent the next three years in London at Miss Souvestre's school, with occasional travels on the continent. She was 18 when she came home, with literally no knowledge of America or her country or what it was all about and scarcely no acquaintances of her own age. All these facts are revealed by her in one of her own books.

She returned to the home of her aging grandmother and to a house where she was kept, by reason of unfortunate circumstances, in great isolation. She herself is authority in this curious book for the cause of this. Her mother's brother was also a drunkard. Young people were not asked to the house. Once when two of her friends were invited to remain for a few days, Eleanor lived in such terror lest some unfortunate incident occur that none was ever invited again unless she felt free to explain to her visitors that they might have an uncomfortable time. Later she moved with an unmarried aunt to a town house in 37th Street, undoubtedly to be away from the atmosphere of this isolated and disturbed home.

This is all she knew of life when a year later she married young Franklin D. Roosevelt, a cousin, after a very brief acquaintance and courtship while he was still in Harvard College. She herself says that she scarcely knew what marriage meant. As she put it herself, her grandmother asked her if she was sure she was really in love and she answered: "I solemnly answered yes; yet it was years later before I knew what love was or what loving really meant."

Why this singular woman should choose the moment when she had just become the mistress of the White House to write and sell these accounts to the American people I do not of course know. But her record of these early years makes it abundantly clear that one of the guiding urges of her life, once she was emancipated from the isolations and constrictions and bewilderment of her first 20 years, was an insatiable craving for attention. It amounted to little less than a phobia, as Americans now know.

Mrs. Roosevelt had not been in the White House very long when she appeared on the radio on a commercial program for which she was paid a large sum of money. It was a little startling to have the President's wife gushing over the air for toilet preparations, mattresses and other products. She was getting from $1000 to $4000 an appearance not because she was Eleanor Roosevelt but because she was the wife of the President. The Manhattan Soap Company, makers of Sweetheart Soap, began a campaign in 80 newspapers offering three cakes of soap for the price of one cake plus a penny and the campaign was built around the broadcasts of Mrs. Roosevelt and Jack Burch.

The Pan-American Coffee Bureau was supported by eight Latin American countries. It looked out for the interests of their coffee exporters. Some of the countries paid the bills out of their treasuries, others out of a tax paid on every bag of coffee exported to America. An advertising agency in which Harry Hopkins' son was employed offered Mrs. Roosevelt as an "attraction" to this coffee bureau and the offer was accepted. Here was the wife of the President getting $1000 a week from a group of foreign countries. One of the countries involved assumed that the President was in on it. The proposal to hire the First Lady to ballyhoo coffee for eight South American republics was submitted to the State Department. There, it is said, Sumner Welles, who had held the lady's train when she married, objected. He said it would not look good to our southern neighbors. But Mrs. Roosevelt said yes and the advertising account of the coffee bureau was taken away from one advertising company and given to the one in which Hopkins' son was interested.

During the war the candy manufacturers were fearful that candy might be classed as "non-essential." They organized the Council on Candy as Food in the War Effort. They wanted names on their radio program. They got Wallace, McNutt, some generals and admirals who broadcast without pay. They also got the President's wife but she charged $1500 each for the first two and $2500 for the third appearance. What else than this could Franklin D. Roosevelt have been referring to when as governor he talked about the families and wives of officials using their positions to make money? It had seemed pretty serious in the relatives of little Tammany officials. It apparently had become all right in the wife of the President.

This versatile lady took a fling at the movies, making a series of shorts with Dave Ellman, the Hobby Lobby man. With Ellman she appeared painted up like a Cherokee Indian and told about the hobbies of her husband and her children. And, as the world knows, she has been a prolific writer for magazines and newspapers and of books. She wrote a daily column called "My Day" which was syndicated to numerous daily papers and which seldom rose in literary form or intellectual content above the level of a high-school composition. She has written a monthly magazine department and all in all has written for magazines over 160 articles on almost every subject under the sun. She has lectured in almost every city in the United States, getting $1000 or $1500 per lecture, depending on what the traffic would bear. It is estimated that she has received during the 15 years since she entered the White House at least three million dollars—which is not very bad for a lady who had no earning power whatever before she moved her desk into the Executive Mansion, a lady whose husband spent a good deal of time denouncing the greed of men who made less for directing some of the greatest enterprises in America.

At first it was said in extenuation of Mrs. Roosevelt's sudden burst of prosperity that she gave a great deal to charity. So does every ward boss. The point at issue is not what use she makes of the money but what canons of public decency she has fractured in earning it. Besides, the defense that she pours it out to charity has been pretty well exploded.

Nevertheless, in spite of these defiances of all the amenities, all the laws imposed by decency, all the traditional proprieties and all that body of rules which high-minded people impose upon themselves, the Roosevelt family, through a carefully cultivated propaganda technique not unlike that which is applied to the sale of quack medicines, imposed upon the American people the belief that they were probably the most high-minded beings that ever lived in the White House. Behind this curtain of moral grandeur they were able to carry on in the field of public policy the most incredible programs which our people, unaccustomed to this sort of thing, accepted because they believed these plans came out of the minds of very noble and righteous beings.

Franklin D. Roosevelt, while he was governor and was judging the conduct not of a president or his wife, but of a Tammany politician, made this further statement: "As a matter of general sound public policy I am very certain that there is a requirement that where a public official is under inquiry or investigation, especially an elected public official, and it appears that his scale of living or the total of his bank deposits far exceeds the public salary which he is known to receive he, the elected public official, owes a positive public duty to the community to give a reasonable or credible explanation of the sources of the deposits or the source which enables him to maintain a scale of living beyond the amount of his salary."

Of course there has been no investigation of the President's earnings but the moral formula which Governor Roosevelt proposed here must apply to President Roosevelt far more than to a Tammany county sheriff. It cannot be escaped because his wife rather than he himself is the instrument of making these vast sums—his wife who until he became president earned nothing. The President specifically closed this loophole when he insisted that the rule noted above applied not merely to the public official himself but to his family who profited out of his trust. And he said again:

"The state must expect compliance with these standards because if popular government is to continue to exist, it must hold its stewards to a stern and uncompromising rectitude. It must be a stern but a just master."

I think it is a fair statement that the history of public office in the federal government in the higher levels exhibits no such instance of a president's or a cabinet officer's wife suddenly blossoming forth as one of the largest earners of money in the country. As an example to future chief executives—and we cannot know what kind of men will come to power in troubled times—there must be a full and complete investigation of the earnings of every member of the Roosevelt family which can be traced by any stretch to the political influence of that family while Roosevelt was President of the United States.

Why did the President permit his wife to carry on in this fantastic manner and why did the Democratic leaders allow her to do it without a protest? You may be sure that whenever you behold a phenomenon of this character there is a reason for it. The reason for it in this case was that Mrs. Roosevelt was performing an important service to her husband's political plans. We have already seen the unusual conditions out of which Mr. Roosevelt's majorities were fashioned. We must remember that the New Deal, by which I mean that collection of policies we call the New Deal, was as far removed from the political philosophy of the Southern Democrats as it was possible to be. There were never enough people in the country belonging to the more or less orthodox Democratic fold to elect Mr. Roosevelt. It was necessary for him to get the support of groups outside this Democratic fold.

One of these groups, of course, was the radical element in the large cities, particularly in New York. For instance, in the 1940 election, Mr. Roosevelt was the candidate of the Democratic Party but he did not get enough votes on the Democratic ticket to carry New York State. He was also the candidate of the American Labor Party which provided the necessary votes to overcome the Republican lead over the Democrats. The American Labor Party at first was a conglomeration of radicals of all kinds ranging from light pink to deep red. But by 1944 the Communists had taken over the American Labor Party completely. In the election of 1944, Governor Dewey got nearly half a million votes more on the Republican ticket than Roosevelt got on the Democratic ticket, but Roosevelt was the candidate of two other parties—the American Labor Party of the Communists and the Liberal Party which was a collection of parlor pinks, technocrats, pious fascists and American non-Stalinist Communists. These two parties gave him over 800,000 votes and it was this that made up his majority in New York. The same thing was true in Illinois, in New Jersey, Connecticut, Massachusetts, and other large industrial states, although the fact was not so obvious because the radicals operated inside the Democratic party where they could not be so easily identified.

It was in this field that Mrs. Roosevelt performed her indispensable services to the President. It was she who fraternized with the Reds and the pinks, with the Red-fascists and the technocrats and the crackpot fringe generally, gave them a sense of association with the White House, invited their leaders and their pets to the White House and to her apartment in New York, went to their meetings, endorsed their numerous front organizations and generally made herself a thorn in the side of the Democratic organization when it confronted its orthodox members, but did her part in holding in line the Red faction without which Roosevelt could not have been elected after the second term. Bizarre as her performances were, offensive as they were to so-called sound Democrats almost to the point of nausea, they were indispensable and this is why she was tolerated, even though in carrying out this mission she violated all of the proprieties and shocked even some of the least sensitive persons in the Democratic party.

Let us see just how she did this job and let us be fair in passing judgment on her. We have to remember that she was a woman of very limited intelligence and of literally no information about the philosophy of the various groups she toyed with.

After Roosevelt was stricken with infantile paralysis in 1921, she suddenly found herself for the first time in her life in a position approaching power on her own feet. While she, with her rather stern sense of formal responsibility, made every effort to bring about her husband's recovery, she also saw the necessity of keeping alive his interest in public affairs and his contacts and she set herself about that job. She had already fallen into acquaintance with leftwing labor agitators and she brought these people as frequently as she could to her imprisoned husband where they proceeded to work upon a mind practically empty so far as labor and economic problems were concerned. The moment a person of Mrs. Roosevelt's type exposes herself to these infections, the word gets around radical circles, whose denizens are quick to see the possibilities in an instrument of this kind. During Roosevelt's term in Albany she was extensively cultivated by these groups, so that when she went to Washington in 1933 they had easy and friendly access to her.

I think it must be said for her that at this point—in 1933—the country, including its public men, were not too well-informed about the peculiar perils involved in Red propaganda activities. The Reds seized upon three or four very popular American democratic cults—(1) freedom of speech, (2) the defense of the downtrodden laborer—the forgotten man, (3) the succor of the poor. They also began to penetrate the colleges in both the teaching staffs and the student bodies through their various front organizations dominated by Reds. The first attempt to expose these designs was made by the House Committee on Un-American Activities. The attacks upon Martin Dies and the Dies Committee, as it was known, were engineered and carried out almost entirely by the Communist Party. But the Communist Party itself was powerless to do anything effective and it used some of the most powerful and prominent persons in the country to do its dirty work. All through the first and second terms of the President, Mrs. Roosevelt was industriously cultivated by the Communists and their various front organizations. There is no room here to go into the whole story. But she served their purposes well, while at the same time keeping them in the New Deal fold.

Throughout 1939 the President was busy laying plans for his third-term nomination, while pretending to be adverse to a third term. And all through 1939 Mrs. Roosevelt was tireless in promoting the friendships of these Communist groups. One of the Communist outfits was the American Youth Congress. It was dominated by Communists through the Young Communist League and a group of workers including William W. Hinckley, Joseph Cadden who succeeded him as executive secretary and Joseph P. Lash, one of the leaders of the movement. The Dies Committee began investigating these organizations, although the President had sent for Martin Dies and ordered him to quit investigating the Communists.

When the Un-American Activities Committee was investigating the American Youth Congress, a crowd of adolescent pinks marched into the committee room. They were headed by the wife of the President of the United States, and there they put on a three-ring circus, hopping about, distributing pamphlets, buttonholing congressmen and making themselves generally a disgraceful nuisance. Joseph P. Lash, who was the executive secretary of the American Student Union, put on a show. He sang a little song for the benefit of the committee from a skit which the little pinks had put on in New York. It ran:

"If you see an un-American come lurking your way

Why, alkalize with Martin Dies and he will disappear."

This was delivered to little squeals of joy from the assembled pinks and pinklets in attendance and to the smiling approval of their impresario, Mrs. Eleanor Roosevelt. At this very moment, Joe Lash was living in the White House as Mrs. Roosevelt's guest, while Joe Cadden and Abbot Simon were occasional boarders there.

When the show was over, Mrs. Roosevelt led all of her young guests into two White House cars and carted them back to the White House for entertainment. The next day in her newspaper column she gave the Dies Committee a good going over. She went so far as to send for one of the members of the committee privately and ask him to see that the American Youth Congress was not branded as a Communist-front organization. Here was the wife of the President of the United States, a separate department of the government, using the White House as a lobbying ground for a crowd of young Commies and Pinkies against a committee of Congress.

Things were happening in the world about this time. Hitler had invaded Poland and at the same time Russia had jolted its American stooges by joining with Hitler in the invasion of Poland. Joe Lash had been the leader of the movement in the American Student Union inspired by the Communists to keep America on the pacifist side. Lash had been a member of the Socialist party. He resigned in 1937 and published his letter of resignation in the Communist New Masses where he extolled the vigorous leadership of the Soviet Union. Lash worked in collaboration with the Communist Party. After this, the American Student Union became a mere tool of the Red organization in America.

Following the pact between Hitler and Stalin, the American Student Union, after an address by Earl Browder, then head of the Communist Party, denounced the war between England and France on one hand and Germany on the other as an imperialist war and they pledged themselves "to mobilize the American campus to defeat every effort to involve this country in war between Britain, France and Germany or against the Soviet Union." However, when Hitler invaded Russia, they repudiated that position and pledged themselves wholeheartedly to the defense of Russia.

The war in Europe had already begun when Mrs. Roosevelt made a spectacle of herself with her adolescent revolutionists in the House office building. In the Spring of 1941, the American Youth Congress held a convention in Washington where Justice Jackson and other officials addressed them. They ended with a get-together on the White House lawn. Germany and Russia were still allies at this time. The President, from the White House porch, addressed these young philosophers spread out on the lawn. Referring to Germany and Russia he asked them to condemn all forms of dictatorship and at this point, to his amazement, the assembled young philosophers gave the President and Mrs. Roosevelt a hearty Bronx cheer. And now, of course, Mrs. Roosevelt felt they were Communists, although she had rejected all of the overwhelming evidence before that. Booing the President suddenly turned them into Communists.

Her protege, Joe Lash, was now in a terrible position. Obviously he could not continue with an organization that had booed his host and hostess for he was living rather regularly in the White House. Mrs. Roosevelt therefore sponsored a new organization called the International Students Service. Joe Lash, the Commie stooge, turned up under her sponsorship as the secretary of that at $4200 a year. A member of Congress, an ardent New Dealer, visited the White House one morning. While there he saw Abbot Simon of the national board of the American Youth Congress, come out of one of the bedrooms. He couldn't believe his eyes. He asked the White House usher if he was mistaken. The usher assured him he was not, that this little Commie tool had been occupying that room for two weeks and sleeping in the bed Lincoln had slept in.

Lash still continued in the White House as a guest and as a symbol to every Red in America. Some time later the American Peace Mobilization, another Communist-front organization, began to picket the White House. Joe Cadden, who had been sleeping in the White House only a short time before, was now parading with the picketeers outside his old boarding house while Joe Lash, parted from his old buddies, looked out at the pink peace mobilizers and his friend Cadden from the security of the White House windows.

This whole subject is a little complicated. When we speak of Communists in American politics the word has to be explained. There is the Communist who is a member of the Communist Party and who admits he is a Communist and glories in it. These are probably not more than 80,000 or 90,000 in number, if that. But there are several hundred thousand, perhaps half a million, men and women in America, but chiefly in New York and the large eastern industrial states, who string along with the Communists without being members of the party. Most of them are confused.

They are generally agreed on two things only—first that the capitalist system and the democratic form of political life are done for and ought to be abolished and, second, that the Socialist party headed by its old democratic Socialists is impossible, hopelessly weak and outmoded. At that point they branch out into a variety of groups, some being 100 percent Communists without being Stalinists—that is, they believe that an American Communist ought to be an American and fight for American Communist revolution regardless of Russian interests.

They then fade off into varying shades of red down to a sickly pink. While the official Communist Party was compelled by its Stalinist master to support Russia after the Hitler-Stalin pact the greater number of Commies and pinks outside the party refused to go along with the Stalinist line. Most of them believed that the Hitler-Stalin pact was purely temporary and that as soon as Hitler had knocked off France he would turn against Russia. They were confused but they were still Red and pink and they were still good for votes around the polls in 1940 and it was Mrs. Roosevelt's job to keep them in line. After Hitler's invasion of Russia in 1941 of course the situation cleared up beautifully for them and she was then able to resume on a still larger scale her White House liaison with her Red friends. How much she realized the gravity of what she was doing must be open to question but she did realize that she was making votes for Franklin D. Roosevelt and as this automatically included herself and all the rich pickings of the White House, she worked at this job seven days a week.

Mrs. Roosevelt's long residence in the White House and the long indulgence of the people toward the numerous journeys by the family across the borderline of good conduct had badly confused her sense of the proprieties. The unwritten law for Presidents and their families is that they shall be more meticulous than any in the observance of the ethical and social restraints enforced upon the population in times of stress. But Mrs. Roosevelt felt that her position in the White House entitled her to an exemption from these restraints.

While American citizens were being deprived of gasoline save for the most essential purposes, Mrs. Roosevelt was running around the country lecturing and pursuing her money-making activities, her politics and her personal diversions regardless of the law. The OPA announced that gasoline ration books would be taken up if automobiles were found near places of amusement. Mrs. Roosevelt used her car freely to go to such places and got publicly pilloried for this when she drove from the White House to a Marian Anderson concert in Washington.

She allowed her housekeeper to drive back and forth to her home in Maryland every day in a White House car when she might have traveled as other private citizens did. She made a 26,000-mile junket in an Army transport plane to the Pacific and came back in a specially fitted Army plane. She went out in a big four-engined. bomber manned by two captains, three master sergeants and a staff sergeant and attended by a Washington journalist—a major in the Air Transport Command. She dressed herself up as a field service worker of the Red Cross for the duration of this trip—all this in spite of the fact that Roosevelt had warned the people that a flying fortress consumed enough gas in a single bombardment to drive your car five times across the continent. Her trip consumed the equivalent of 138,000 A coupons or 185 trips across the continent in your car. The plane was remodeled inside and fitted with a comfortable bed for the lady and while she was in the Pacific she made a special trip to an island to visit her political protege, Joe Lash. About this time the Office of Defense Transportation put on a big campaign for a renewed check on civilian travel and the government had actually cut down deliveries of milk to save gas. Mrs. Roosevelt, commenting on this, said "we must learn how we can go get things ourselves instead of having them delivered."

She accepted the most expensive gifts from private concerns and from foreign governments seeking favors—a $10,000 mink coat from Canadian fur breeders, a gold bracelet from Emperor Haile Selassie, a gold crown from the Sultan of Morocco, arid gifts from various American trade organizations. She said flippantly: "The President cannot take a present from a foreign government, but I can accept a present from anybody." No law should be necessary to restrain a President's wife. Theodore Roosevelt had a standing rule that presents of food to him should be sent to charitable institutions and all others returned to the senders. But with the Franklin D. Roosevelts the rule seemed to be to "get while the getting is good."