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The Issues of 1952

The American Forum of the Air

The Issues of 1952

Mar 02 1952


Democrat of Oklahoma


Republican of Illinois




Michigan State Commander of the American Legion


Bohn Aluminum and Brass Corporation President

plus two questioners and two announcers

ANNOUNCER: It's time again to join the American Forum of the Air. Each week at this time the Bohn Aluminum and Brass Corporation, producers of pistons, bearings, extrusions, aircraft parts, castings, forgings, refrigeration products and automotive replacement parts, presents the American Forum of the Air, dedicated to the full and public discussion of all sides of all issues vital to you and your country.

ANNOUNCER: The American Forum of the Air, completely unrehearsed and spontaneous...founded twenty-three years ago by Theodore Granik -- sponsored on behalf of improved street and highway transportation by the American Trucking Industry...the industry whose trucks bring you just about everything you eat, wear, use or buy...faster, more directly, and at lower cost to you. Today, America's trucks are again the vital link in our national defense...picking up at the source and delivering essential defense material wherever it is needed...quickly, safely and on time. Remember, whatever it is, wherever it came from--if you've got it, a truck brought it.

Today the American Forum of the Air presents a discussion of "The Issues of 1952."

Here with us to discuss the election campaign issues are Senator Robert Kerr, Democrat of Oklahoma, and possible contender for the Democratic Presidential nomination, and Senator Everett Dirksen, Republican of Illinois, and Chairman of the Republican Senatorial Campaign Committee.

And now, here is the founder and moderator of the American Forum of the Air, Theodore Granik.

MR. GRANIK: I cannot find the right words to say how happy I am to be back with the American Forum of the Air. I want to express my heartfelt thanks and gratitude to Frank Blair, who moderated this program so capably during my long absence. And now, to the issues of the day: Seldom in our history has a Presidential election campaign aroused so much interest so far in advance of the actual balloting. Just what are the issues on which the 1952 campaign will be won or lost? Two veteran campaigners are with us today to discuss the major issues. Senator Kerr delivered the keynote address to the Democratic Convention in 1946. In that same year, Senator Dirksen was a contender for the Republican Vice Presidential nomination. Both of our distinguished guests are being widely mentioned this year as possible candidates on the 1952 Presidential ticket. Senator Dirksen, what one issue do you think will emerge as the decisive factor in the current campaign?

SENATOR DIRKSEN: Mr. Granik, before I answer your question, I want to express my personal delight, and I think the delight of your friends, that you are back, and that you made such a rapid and complete recovery. I am glad also that the tranquil and serene atmosphere of the home of an old friend now in Florida, Russell Stover of Kansas City, was a contributing factor in your coming back. So I am delighted because of you and because of them. Now, getting back to your question, it seems to me, of course, that the first and most important issue that emerges in the 1952 campaign is the issue of peace and war, because that is the issue of self-preservation for our country.

Then, without delineating that issue for the moment, because I suppose questions will come up, come questions of internal security, and by that I mean the pro-communist attitude in some places in Government. Then comes the issue of preparedness where there was failure in other years, and where we are far behind the program. Then comes the issue of what I call blood and graveyard prosperity of which so much has been made. Then comes the moral issue and the socialist issue and the freedom issue. So there, in summary, I think, are some of the issues that people are already discussing, and that will be roundly ventilated in the 1952 campaign.

MR. GRANIK: Senator Kerr, what do you think will be the decisive issues or one of the decisive issues?

SENATOR KERR: The decisive issue, of course, will be winning the peace and those things which go with winning the peace. The American people know that if we are to have the opportunity to continue our present fine prosperity and expand it with a sound economy and a continuing improved opportunity for individual citizens, we must have peace. Therefore, they are for peace because it gives us the opportunity for continued and expanded prosperity. They are for peace because thereby we live in a better relationship with our neighbors. Then comes the issue of our foreign policy.

In the final analysis, Mr. Granik, the American voter will decide the issue of 1952 on the basis of which party has best served, and on the basis of its record will best serve him, his family, and his country.

MR. GRANIK: Senator Dirksen, on foreign policy just what major

changes will a Republican Administration make?

SENATOR DIRKSEN: Let me elaborate a little. We intend, of course, to go back and ventilate that whole policy, starting, of course, with the failure of this Administration to crown the victory effort in World War II. That failure has resulted from blundering and miscalculation, from the infamous deal at Yalta and at Potsdam, that finally eventuated, in the casualty lists that we have in Korea today. In it, of course, is not only this diplomatic tragedy of Yalta, but the mistakes and the miscalculations that have been made all along the line. So obviously, it is in the interest of our country that we thoroughly ventilate all of the facts in connection therewith, to demonstrate to the American people that this Administration is just one of a succession of Administrations going back 35 years that has projected us into three wars: the one in which I served and my distinguished friend from Oklahoma served, then World War II, and now the glorified and aggravated police action in Korea that they still do not call a war, but which up to last week has taken 105,000 American casualties.

MR. GRANIK: Before we go into that ventilation, Senator Kerr, do you see any likelihood of a truce in Korea before convention time?

SENATOR KERR: Well, unfortunately we in America cannot determine that. We are certainly definitely determined to secure one if it is humanly possible, on an honorable basis. But what the communists will do, I cannot foretell, and I want to address myself to what my distinguished friend has just said.

MR. GRANIK: About the ventilation?

SENATOR KERR: About going back. He is right about the attitude of the Republican Party. They are not interested in where we are going, they just want to find out where we have been. They are not trying to go forward with the people, they want to go back. But the people are not going back. Now my friend over here is one of those who talk about the Democratic wars. He is like the old fellow in the Indian territory that used to cuss the sheriff out because of the fact that the sheriff was busy running down horse thieves. He finally learned that the sheriff, in running down the horse thieves and cattle thieves, had not been guilty of doing the stealing. Some fellows don't know that the fire department in putting out a fire did not start the fire. But it is a fine thing that we do have a fire department to put out the fires. And it is marvelous that we have had Democratic Administrations to lead this country in winning these wars, and the people know that as they did, they did not thereby become responsible for the fact that we have the war.

MR. GRANIK: Senator, do you have any ideas about the fire chief?

SENATOR DIRKSEN: I certainly do. I think the American people who have lost sons in this war, whose sons are missing, or whose sons have lost hands and feet because of frostbite in Korea, will be more than glad, notwithstanding an Oklahoma anecdote, to go back and pick up the stitches and the causes for this rather grim and dismal and brutal business. We will start there and then we will carry forward, and we will pick up every blunder including, of course, the dismissal of a great General like MacArthur, and carry the whole story right up to date. We will pin the culpability upon those whose blunders have put us into this dismal mess.

SENATOR KERR: And while they are exploring around in the past, they will learn something about its glory. They will exaggerate its faults, but in the meantime the Democratic Party will be continuing to lead the American people forward in the greater prosperity and greater security, and that finer chance for peace.

SENATOR DIRKSEN: Now, there is one other comment that ought to be made and that is this: We will go all the way up to the present negotiation and beyond, which is to say we want to acquaint the people with the fact that after three or four years in Korea, and something like more than 20 months of grim and costly war, we are still on the 38th Parallel, notwithstanding 105,000 casualties, and then we will ask the electorate of the country whether that does not constitute a catastrophic failure.

SENATOR KERR: What he says illustrates what the Republicans are doing today, Mr. Granik. As our men over there are holding the line on the battle front, and as our negotiators are striving to secure an honorable and effective truce, the communists take encouragement from the fact that back here at home men in responsible positions are saying that we should not be there, that we should come home. As a result, the communists figure if that is the way a lot of people over here think about the Korean situation, if they will hold out long enough over there -- and if we listen to the wooings of those who would divide us here at home and cause us to disintegrate -- then maybe they will be able to secure for themselves at the negotiation tables what they could not secure on the battlefield.

MR. GRANIK: May I get in a political word? How about Senator Russell's candidacy? What effect will that have in the South? Will that split the Party?

SENATOR KERR: I would say that many in the South will support Senator Russell, but the Democrats are not going to split just because various groups of them support different candidates. We have had a lot of bombasting, fighting, and battles in our party before the election, as between ourselves. Thereafter, we will have a lot of fight in our party but all of it will be against the Republicans.

SENATOR DIRKSEN: I don't want to be gotten off the trail by any collateral issue like what is going to happen in the South. My friend from Oklahoma has mentioned communism. And, of course, it is the old canard as to who gives Stalin the most encouragement. He doesn't need any more encouragement than he will find in the other issue that we are going to make, with respect to internal security in this country, and by that I simply mean the pro-communist sentiment that is all too generous and all too abundant in the Administration. I think the figures of the Loyalty Board will show that there were 300 in 1943 who were not fit to serve this country because of a dubious and pale loyalty.

The statement made by Chairman Hiram Bingham of the Loyalty Board only last November for the U. S. News, shows that the FBI investigated 16,700 people on the people's public payroll, and that 3,645 in this Administration either resigned before the FBI got through or before the Loyalty Board procedure started.

Now, that is just too much for me. I don't want a single pro-Red on the Federal payroll. But there is the confession that they have been there, and there is every reason to believe that there are still some, as notably the diplomat, Mr. Clubb, whose case was reported in the Washington Star no later than last night. The contention was made, and I believe rightly, that there was a deceit and a fraud upon the people by the State Department because the Loyalty Board of that Department found against him, but the Secretary of State had to shield him and then give him a chance to resign. That will be an issue.

MR. GRANIK: Senator Kerr?

SENATOR KERR: I want to congratulate my friend on his zeal against the communists. We all share that, and we are all working at that constantly. But while we do work at it, Mr. Granik, we have a lot of other things to do, too. The trouble with our Republican friends is that they do not have many ideas and when they get them it is just one at a time, and then it possesses them. In the meantime the people demand an Administration that will take care of these side issues, just as the people want the sheriff to run down the men who are trying to break into their houses at night, but at the same time want the highway department to take care of the roads. Our Republican friends have the capacity to do one thing at a time, and that is always what happened yesterday.

MR. GRANIK: Senator, talking about the sheriff, will corruption in Government be a major issue?

SENATOR KERR: It will be an issue, certainly it will be an issue. However, in the final analysis, the farmer wants to know what is going to happen to his program. Labor wants to know what is the attitude of the candidates with reference to their business. Industry wants to know what is going to be done to maintain a continuing, improving, prosperous economy. At the same time, they know that we are all against sin.

MR. GRANIK: Senator Dirksen, do you want to comment on the corruption issue and sin?

SENATOR DIRKSEN: Yes. And before I do, I want to make one observation on the last remark of my friend from Oklahoma. The Republicans may be one-idea people, but there is one idea that will appeal to the American people, and that is that in 56 years of Republican rule, in the last 90 years, since 1860, no American boy has died upon a foreign battlefield as the result of Republican Administration.

Now getting back to the moral issue, you know my friend from Oklahoma was in Kansas City not so long ago, and there he met the moral issue with a little jingle. I have to remind him of it. He said of us Republicans, "They try to cover their own terrible past by charging the Democrats with sin and graft. Somebody ought to tell them you can't become a saint just by criticizing them what ain't."

Now, I don't know that that is very amusing to the people of this country who have a rather deep and inherent, ingrained moral sense. Grain has disappeared from storage in Texas, in Oklahoma, in Ohio, and everywhere. That is not a laughing matter. There have been scandals in the RFC, that is not a laughing matter. Six Bureau of Internal Revenue Collectors have been suspended and a lot of other people have resigned. That is no laughing matter. All the intellectual hypocrisy and dishonesty in this Administration is no laughing matter because it is part of the moral fabric, and it includes, of course, the request of the President for the extension of 60 war powers only last week, notwithstanding the fact that, allegedly, according to him, we are not at war in Korea. That is part of the moral issue.

SENATOR KERR: I am delighted that my friend Dirksen is reading from the speech I made at Kansas City. It is pretty strong medicine, but it will help him for what ails him. I want to say this to him: That the folks out in Illinois, just like in Oklahoma, still have their jails: they still have their prosecuting attorneys; they still have their system of punishing because wherever there are people there will be sin. But at the same time, wherever there is statesmanship, there will be leadership, taking the people forward into the brighter day rather than taking them back into the days that my friend here can remember, 100 years ago -- you know, I am glad he mentioned 1860. That is the last Republican President they brag about, the fellow who came into office in 1860.

SENATOR DIRKSEN: I am sure that the American people will not be fascinated by the amusing flippancy of my friend from Oklahoma on the moral issue because it goes too deeply and there are just too many Christian, God-fearing men and women in this country who have an interest in a moral government.

Now, the President said not too long ago, "I have only honorable men about me," and then he said, "My house is clean." Well, it will be clean when the Republicans give it a house-cleaning in November, 1952.

MR. GRANIK: In a moment we will turn to our audience for their questions on today's discussion of the major 1952 campaign issues. But first here is an important message.

Today, we have with us two distinguished guests, Mr. Simon Den Uyl, President of the Bohn Aluminum and Brass Corporation, and Mr. Thomas J. Roumell, Michigan State Commander of the American Legion. Now, let's hear from Mr. Roumell.

MR. ROUMEL: Thank you, Mr. Granik. Today, the most important single menace to America's internal security is the communist party and its fellow-travelers. We in the American Legion for upwards of thirty years have called to public attention the dangers of communism in all its branches and forms. Therefore, we are tremendously heartened by the leadership the Bohn Aluminum and Brass Corporation has shown in devoting the bulk of its advertising appropriations to the fight against the menace of communism.

Your hard-hitting messages in national magazines and your sponsorship of the "American Forum of the Air" on television have taken the case for freedom to the people.

In public recognition of your outstanding contribution to Americanism, we of the American Legion, Department of Michigan, proudly bestow this citation of meritorious public service upon the Bohn Aluminum and Brass Corporation through you its President, Mr. Simon D. Den Uyl.

MR. DEN UYL: Thank you, Tom. On behalf of the Company, I am honored to receive this Citation of Merit from the American Legion. I have been a member of the American Legion since World War I; I know that no single organization has been more active in the fight against communism, no organization has worked harder to protect the freedom of America.

American freedom helped build American industry. Therefore, we feel that it is our responsibility, the responsibility of all industry, to resist and to protect America against any kind of "ism" that would rob us of our freedom.

Thank you, Commander Roumell and the American Legion, Department of Michigan, for your public recognition of our small part in the fight against communism.

ANNOUNCER: Last Thursday a significant meeting was held in New York City -- a meeting which means a great deal to every man, woman and child in this country. It brought together important public figures representing all types of highway users and the great American industries supplying them. Declared purpose of the meeting was to mobilize all organizations having an interest in highways to solve the many problems brought about by inadequacy of our present highway system. The program which this united front will sponsor is known as "Project--Adequate Roads," and will be familiarly known as PAR. Today this country faces this hard fact -- many of our roads have failed to keep up with the volume of traffic they are being asked to carry. The result is traffic congestion and all that congestion means in lost time, lost dollars, increased accidents and restricted use of what once were the finest roads in all the world. Here is a movement which you will hear more about, which every owner of an automobile, every employee supplying industry, everyone interested in public and private transportation should endorse and support by personal activity. Bringing our roads up to par is a mid-century counterpart of the "get the country out of the mud" movement, but this time dedicated to get the country out of the traffic muddle."

For a fascinating account, in story and pictures, of what highways mean to all of us in time of emergency, everyone should read REHEARSAL FOR DISASTER, just off the press. What happened in the flood-swept Missouri Valley is almost exactly what could happen when bombs drop. You can have your copy of this booklet free by sending a post card or letter to American Trucking Associations, Washington, D. C. Just ask for the flood book and it's yours free for the asking.

THE ANNOUNCER: Now we return you to the American Forum of the Air.

MR. GRANIK: Are there any questions from the audience? You have one, sir? Go ahead.

QUESTION: My name is L. Y. Needler, Evanston, Illinois. I would like to address this question to Senator Dirksen. Are we nearer to world peace in 1952 than we were in 1950?

SENATOR DIRKSEN: My friend, the best answer I can give you is the one that the President gave about 27 days before the troops were ordered into Korea, when he said we were closer to peace than we had been at any time within the five-year period. Twenty-seven days later, the troops went into Korea. Now, after a long struggle over there -- the negotiators have been operating for nine months or more, and you know as much about it as I do because I get my information from the front page. But I read last night that General Ridgway said in the event that the truce fails, then, of course, we will probably use our Air Force on mainland China, and when we do we will get back to the program advanced by General MacArthur, the program for which he was fired in April 1951.

SENATOR KERR: I think we are nearer to peace for the reason that we are stronger in every way. We have seen in the last 18 months the greatest shift in the balance of world power that has ever taken place. Our own country and our allies now know what we are up against, both at home and abroad. We are meeting that issue by the greatest mobilization of our resources, natural and human, that we have ever had at a time short of all-out war, and by reason of the fact that we are developing this strength, by reason of the fact that we have a closer relationship and cooperation with other free nations, I think that we are nearer peace today than in 1950.

MR. GRANIK: Do you want to comment on that, Senator, before I take another question?

SENATOR DIRKSEN: I would like to make this comment, because preparedness is going to be a major issue in 1952: I was still at the other end of the Capitol back in 1945, when we started doling out money for the Pentagon, and in that five-year period to 1950, we gave them $95 billion, of which about $45 billion was for the liquidation of World War Two. That gave us $50 billion for defense. Since that time, we have given $100 billion or more. So, there comes the Commanding General of the Air Force, General Vandenberg, to say to the Joint Committee on the Hill, that we have a shoe-string Air Force; and I think the people of the country will want to know something about this mobilization program. Where are these weapons? Where are the jets and how good are they, in the face of the reports that our Sabres are no match for the Russian MIGs on the Korean front at the present time.

SENATOR KERR: Any statement that our Sabres are no match for the MIGs is uninformed. The record shows that we have lost one to every seven or ten that they have lost. Certainly there has been money spent in the mobilization program, and there will be a lot more, and there has been a lot of mobilization, too.

SENATOR DIRKSEN: There has been a lot of publicity as my friend knows, given to the letter from Major Davis to his wife, his last letter that he wrote recently. He was one of our aces over there. He is the authority, and he had to fly these jets, that our Sabres were not a match for the MIGs. And General Vandenberg has conceded in the statement he wrote for U. S. News last September, that we have forfeited our air supremacy in Korea. That doesn't look like preparation on the part of the richest nation on earth.

MR. GRANIK: Go ahead, sir.

QUESTION: My name is Frank K. Granaghan, a government employee. My question is addressed to Senator Kerr. Do you believe the present presidential electoral college system should be a subject for revision and discussion?

SENATOR KERR: Yes, I think it is a subject that should be discussed in the Congress and thought about by the people. And I would favor some revision of it.

MR. GRANIK: Senator Dirksen, do you want to comment?

SENATOR DIRKSEN: I have no particular comment, except to say that such a resolution has been bouncing around in both houses of the Congress for quite some time. They have endeavored to breathe some life into it. It may be, in due course, in order to give proportional representation, especially in those States where you do not have a well-organized Republican Party, that at long last it will command some attention. But I doubt whether I want to get into a collateral issue like that on this occasion.

MR. GRANIK: Now that we are back to politics, do you think General Eisenhower should return home and make known his policy, his policy as a candidate?

SENATOR DIRKSEN: It does not make any difference to me whether he returns home or not. I think the whole world knows that I am for Bob Taft for the Presidency. So whether Eisenhower comes back doesn't make any difference, as a matter of fact. I go on in my own affirmative way, trying to secure the nomination and the election of the great Senator with whom Senator Kerr and I both serve.

MR. GRANIK: You feel whether or not Eisenhower returns Taft will be a candidate?

SENATOR DIRKSEN: I have no particular interest in Eisenhower returning. I am not against anybody, as a matter of fact.

SENATOR KERR: I only want to say that we Democrats want to wait until the Republicans choose their nominee, and then we will take them on. What they don't do to each other between now and then, we will do to the one that they pick out at the time.

SENATOR DIRKSEN: I want to say, between my friend Senator Kerr and the Nebraska Primary, and Kefauver, and Humphrey and Truman, and all the rest, there is going to be some fun on the other side of the fence.

MR. GRANIK: Time for summary. Will you continue about that fun?

SENATOR DIRKSEN: I simply want to say that the issues of 1952, as I see them, are these: Peace and war, where the Administration has ingloriously failed. Preparedness where they have failed, after the expenditure of so many billions and billions of the people's money. Internal security, which is the Red issue, and it is a very live and vital issue today. There is the blood and graveyard issue of prosperity. And when they say prosperity to me, I am not forgetting it has a lot of warm, young blood on it, and that it is built upon the production of destructive weapons and planes and tanks, and that is not a very durable prosperity in my book. Finally, there is the moral issue. Then there is the freedom issue, and taken all in all, these issues finally become rather moral in character. So, those are the main issues on which we are going to go to the country, and this time it is going to be a militant campaign, if I have anything to do about it. There will be no me-tooism in it. We will bring, militantly, the issues to every section of the country.

MR. GRANIK: Thank you, Senator Dirksen. Your summary, please, Senator Kerr?

SENATOR KERR: I am sure the Republicans will make a great physical effort. I want to say this, Mr. Granik, in the final analysis the average voter when he goes into the ballot box is going to say, "Which Party is better for me and my family and my country, not only on the basis of what they say, but on the basis of the record that has been made and on the basis of what the parties are for; not merely what they are against."

We are going to the people on the record of what we have done, and the program of what we will do for prosperity, for greater national security, and for world peace. We will also go to the people on the basis of what the Republican Party has not done, cannot do, and will not do. They have the greatest negative record of any political party in our history, and the people know it and we will not let them forget it.

MR. GRANIK: Thank you, gentlemen. You have been listening to a discussion of the Issues of 1952. Our speakers have been Senator Robert Kerr, Democrat of Oklahoma, and Senator Everett Dirksen, Republican of Illinois.

ANNOUNCER: For reprints of this discussion, send ten cents to Ransdell Incorporated, Printers and Publishers, Washington 18, D. C. This is the American Forum of the Air.

Next week the Bohn Aluminum and Brass Corporation will again present the American Forum of the Air in a discussion of the question, "Do We Need Tighter Price-Wage Controls? Our speakers will be Senator Homer Capehart, Republican of Indiana, and Senator William Benton, Democrat of Connecticut, both members of the Senate Banking Committee.

Each week at this time the American Forum of the Air is presented so that you in your home may enjoy the authoritative discussion of the many vital topics of our times.

The American Forum of the Air, founded and moderated by Theodore Granik, has been presented by the Bohn Aluminum and Brass Corporation producers of pistons, bearings, extrusions, aircraft parts, castings, forgings, refrigeration products and automotive replacement parts.

This program has come to you from the Continental Room of the Wardman Park Hotel in Washington, D. C. 

This is Ray Michael speaking.

ANNOUNCER: For reprints of this discussion, send ten cents to Ransdell Incorporated, Printers and Publishers, Washington 18, D. C. Join us again next week at this same time when the American Forum of the Air will present a discussion on "Do We Need Tighter Price-Wage Controls?"

Our speakers will be Senator Homer Capehart, Republican of Indiana, and Senator William Benton, Democrat of Connecticut, who are both members of the Senate Banking Committee which is considering economic controls.

You have just heard the American Forum of the Air completely unrehearsed and spontaneous, sponsored by the American Trucking Associations and the five million men and women of the American Trucking Industry, on behalf of America's streets and highways. Whether it's a Sunday drive in the country, your daily drive to work, using a car or bus to go about your business, or fast, lowest-cost deliveries by truck, you live better thanks to America's roads. For yourself, your family, your future comfort and security, our outdated highways must be improved! This program has come to you from the Continental Room of the Wardman Park Hotel in Washington, D. C.

This is Mac McGarry speaking.