“It may be called by some other name!” Those words run like a refrain through the literature of Fabian Socialism, from the movement’s modest beginnings to the present day. Again and again they recur in the writings and speeches of Fabian publicists, from George Bernard Shaw to Harry W. Laidler (1) to Upton Sinclair to Mark Starr (2) to Arthur M. Schlesinger, Jr. Meeting the identical statement so many times over, one can hardly fail to realize that it is a clue to Fabian tactics, past and present. So clear a warning, so frequently repeated, is obviously designed to alert friends of the movement to the stealthy procedure of encroaching Socialism—on the assumption that, like any other oft-announced plan of attack, it will be ignored or discounted by the prospective victims.
In 1932 a seemingly impromptu but in fact carefully researched program for advancing social revolution by peaceful means was called The New Deal. Both the name and the program were first unveiled in a book by Stuart Chase entitled A New Deal. Never very widely circulated and soon conveniently buried, it was meant for a select coterie of prospective public servants—and for the eyes of one man in particular, Franklin Delano Roosevelt. For all practical purposes, this volume soon replaced the moderate 1932 platform of the Democratic Party, which pledged thrift and a curb on Federal spending.
Appearing in a critical election year, its publication like that of other books by Stuart Chase was financed by the Twentieth Century Fund, an allegedly educational foundation set up for purposes of “public service” by Edward A. Filene of Boston. Director of the Twentieth Century Fund from 1928 to 1953 was Evans Clark, a former president of the Intercollegiate Socialist Society and vice president of the League for Industrial Democracy. (3) In 1920 Clark had been employed as Director of Information for Ludwig Martens, the unofficial Soviet ambassador who was expelled for conspiratorial activities. (4) Both Clark and his wife, Freda Kirchwey, (5) long time editor of the leftist weekly, The Nation, were intimates of the British Fabian Socialist and avowed Marxist, Harold Laski, whose articles were featured from time to time in The Nation and whose ideas strongly influenced certain leaders of the incoming administration.
Stuart Chase had graduated from Harvard in 1910 and joined the Fabian Society of London the same year. He was a certified public accountant and an equally certified Socialist, with a flair for popularizing borrowed ideas in a smooth and painless style. In Boston he was one of the circle revolving around Mrs. Glendower Evans, which included Florence Kelley, Louis D. Brandeis and. Upton Sinclair. During World War I he worked from 1917 to 1919 as an official of Wilson’s War Food Administration in Chicago. There he became vice president of the Socialist-sponsored Public Ownership League, an organization dedicated to promoting public ownership of electric power and related industries. Moving to New York, he served as treasurer of the LID, was a frequent lecturer at the Rand School, an editor of the New Republic and a featured contributor to The Nation.
Admittedly, Chase sympathized with the idea of violent revolution as a cure for social ills, holding it to have been absolutely “necessary and inevitable” in Russia. “It may some day be inevitable in this country,” he warned, and added coolly: “I am not seriously alarmed by the sufferings of the creditor class, the trouble which the church is bound to encounter, the restrictions on certain kinds of freedom which must result, nor even by the bloodshed of the transition period. A better economic order is worth a little bloodshed. But I am profoundly disturbed by the technological aspects of this method of solving the problem of distribution in a highly mechanized society such as ours. In the attempt, production might be shattered beyond repair.” (6)
Except as a last resort, Chase did not advise catastrophic action in the United States. In the long run, said he, similar collectivist results could be achieved through national planning, regulation and control by government agencies operating more or less within the framework of the Constitution. To that end, he outlined a broad program—based in part on Sidney Webb’s Labour and the New Social Order and in part on the monetary nostrums of John Maynard Keynes —guaranteed to lead in due time to a nonprofit system. For the next few years, he proposed merely three major steps:
1. A managed currency, to prevent accidental inflation and deflation.
2. Drastic redistribution of the national income, through income and inheritance taxes.
3. A huge program of public works, to become a continuing program especially in the fields of housing and rural electrification.(7)
All three of these prescribed remedies were adopted in 1933, and after, by the Roosevelt Administration, whose program became officially known as the New Deal.
Undeniably, Socialism’s first major, Fabian-planned opportunity in the United States came about through the Democratic Party’s landslide victory in 1932. It followed in the wake of a financial panic of unprecedented severity, provoked by the stock market crash of October, 1929. Few Americans alive today recall that the Great Depression, which somehow lasted longer in America than anywhere else, was a world-wide phenomenon of European origin, touched off by the failure of the Creditanstalt bank in Vienna. Through their contacts with foreign Socialists, American Fabians were able to predict the impending day of doom in the United States with some certitude, and they were prepared to take advantage of it.
Some months before the crash H. Stephen Raushenbush—secretary of the Socialist-fostered committee on coal and giant power—referred to a period of low wages, high prices and general unemployment as if it were already a fact.(8) He viewed the prospect optimistically, saying, “We can see more clearly the function which liberals and socialists—both those who are essentially scholars and students and those who are politicians—can have in changing the social order.”(9) Raushenbush invited young Socialists graduating from college to enter the Government service, especially the Interior and Treasury Departments, as a means of developing techniques and obtaining necessary information for gaining control over private industry. And he asserted confidently: “Within the next ten years we are going to have a chance such as we have not had in the last forty.”(10)
Within the next few years private American investments previously valued at 93 billion dollars shrank to a mere 14 billion dollars. The unemployed in the United States were estimated to number twelve to fourteen million. For the first time in its existence, the nation cried out for a political savior. He descended like a god from the machine and he offered the people something that, with a flash of psychological insight, was cleverly termed “relief.”
As A. Susan Lawrence, M.P.—member of the Fabian Executive and friend of Frances Perkins, Jane Addams and Eleanor Roosevelt —reported at a Livingstone Hall lecture in London: “By one of history’s strangest freaks, the elaborate system of checks and balances devised in the American Constitution, has resulted for the moment at any rate, in the complete personal ascendancy of Franklin Roosevelt.” (11) On that occasion, the chairman was Helen Keynes, sister of the left wing financial oracle, John Maynard Keynes who had contributed so liberally to the strange new fiscal policies of the Roosevelt Administration. Helen Keynes stressed the “supreme importance,” for the “survival of democracy,” of what was happening in the United States. Susan Lawrence dwelt upon the practical opportunities it offered for Socialism and Socialist-led labor groups.
The dramatic emergence of Franklin Delano Roosevelt at that precise moment in history was neither as providential nor as fortuitous as it may have seemed to the general public. On the contrary, it had been painstakingly planned and prepared far in advance. Almost twenty years before, as a crisp young Assistant Secretary of the Navy under Woodrow Wilson, Franklin Roosevelt had been briefed on the career of Philip Dru, Administrator—that fictional personage who devised a formula for centering power in the administrative branch of government, as a means of imposing sweeping social changes. At least as early as 1920, Roosevelt was marked for future greatness by Philip Dru’s creator, Colonel Edward Mandell House.
It is noteworthy that in a lifetime of political observation Colonel House backed only two candidates for the Presidency. The first had been Woodrow Wilson. The second was Franklin Roosevelt, whose family name and humanitarian pretensions could be counted upon to rally such leftward Progressives of the defunct Bull Moose Party as Senators La Follette, Norris and Hiram Johnson and Governor Gifford Pinchot of Pennsylvania; while his own record of Democratic Party regularity rendered him acceptable to old-line Democrats. The timely support Roosevelt had given A1 Smith, whose name he placed in nomination at the 1928 Democratic Convention, gained him the governorship of New York and the uncritical good will of Irish and Italian voters throughout the country.
At the same time, Roosevelt’s experiments in “social reform” at Albany, where he appointed former social settlement workers to administer his new unemployment and emergency relief programs, recommended him to professional liberals everywhere. As Governor, he activated the State Employment Service along lines which American Fabians had been urging since the eighteen-nineties and he made other innovations likely to find favor with the leaders of New York City’s garment workers. True, his old classmates at Groton and Harvard—while conceding that Franklin was a gentleman—rated him something less than a mental giant; but even this might be viewed as an advantage in politics, where the too conspicuous exercise of brainpower did not necessarily insure popularity.
To compensate for any possible cerebral shortcomings, he was thoughtfully provided with a “brain trust”’—a term of British Fabian origin—whose traveling expenses to Albany were reputedly paid by the Twentieth Century Fund. Among others, Felix Frankfurter, whom Roosevelt had known ever since the former served on Wilson’s War Labor Policy Board, and such polite former Wilsonian Socialists as Stuart Chase and Fred C. Howe met with the Governor both before and after his nomination as President. Once in office, he could be expected to put into practice plans that Woodrow Wilson had merely been able to foreshadow.
A no less vital factor in the progressive education of the President-select was his energetic and ambitious wife, Eleanor. While Franklin served his country during World War I from a desk in the Navy Department, Eleanor had joined the National Consumers League in New York. (12) Inspired and directed by the Quaker-Marxist, Florence Kelley, (13) the Consumers League was a prime medium through which American Fabians captured the leadership of social reform activities during the first three decades of the twentieth century. Ostensibly it crusaded against sweatshops, child labor and excessive hours of work for women, and lobbied for standards of industrial safety. Many public-spirited citizens were naturally moved to support such worthy and emotionally appealing causes. In fact, Newton D. Baker, Secretary of War under Woodrow Wilson, once served as president of the Consumers League without suspecting its long-range Socialist objectives.
The Consumers League was only the first in a long list of Socialist-inspired organizations with which Eleanor Roosevelt was to affiliate herself during a long and active life. Through it she was introduced to that curious demi-world of social settlement workers, left wing labor organizers and assorted academic, literary and political crusaders that Robert Hunter has described. Their channels of communication extended from Toynbee Hall in London to Hull House in Chicago to the Henry Street Settlement in New York and Hale House in Boston.
Thus Eleanor came to know Lillian Wald, Jane Addams and Frances Perkins who, like Florence Kelley, had spent some years at Hull House. Through these and other new friends, Eleanor Roosevelt met and fraternized with female leaders of the Fabian Society on post-World War I trips to England. She had been educated in England as a girl, and in the nineteen-twenties she had attended and lectured at Fabian Summer Schools there. The genteel, high-minded tone of British Fabian Socialism impressed her, as well as the fact that it had achieved political power in the name and with the support of labor.
After 1921 Eleanor brought two New York organizers of the Women’s Trade Union League—now the International Ladies Garment Workers Union—to see her husband and to tutor him in the theory and background of the trade union movement as they knew it.(14) One was Rose Schneiderman, a red-haired firebrand who had organized the shirtwaist workers in bygone days and who in 1920 became, with Felix Frankfurter, a founder of the Civil Liberties Union and a member of its board of directors.(15) The other was Maude Schwartz, an Anglo-Irish woman, active in the Fabian-led British labor movement for many years before coming to this country.
Both were practicing Socialists, adept at winning converts through heart-appeal rather than dogma. They told their host about the English cooperatives, developed with the help of Socialist trade unions, which had their imitators in some sections of America thanks to the early efforts of James Warbasse. (16) They fired his sympathy with tales of ancient wrongs corrected as a result of union action and stirred his mind with the practical possibilities of an expanded and politicalized trade union movement in America. The seeds they sowed, in the course of various sickroom visits during the early nineteen-twenties, later bore fruit in the National Recovery Act, the purpose of which was not only to raise wages and prices according to a Keynesian formula, but also to foster the growth of labor organizations bound to Roosevelt by ties of personal loyalty.
Never a serious student, Franklin Roosevelt had been accustomed since boyhood to deriving his ideas from conversations with trusted intimates and members of his family circle, while retaining a superficial air of jaunty independence. It was not surprising, therefore, that his mother’s old friend, Colonel House, (17) should have been the very first Fabian planner to perceive that young Franklin was a rare jewel, to be polished, placed in the proper setting and flashed with dazzling effect upon the world at an appropriate moment.
Above all, House recognized that Roosevelt possessed a certain adaptability, both personal and political, which the unbending Woodrow Wilson had lacked. The Squire of Hyde Park—inclined as a young man to look down his nose through his pince-nez at ordinary folk—had succeeded in developing a genial, outgoing personality, marked by high good humor, which would enable him to adjust the most arrant Socialist novelties to the realities of machine politics. “Mr. Sinclair, I cannot go any faster than the people will let me,” he told the admiring Upton Sinclair in an interview soon after his election.(18)
Even an infantile paralysis attack in 1921 that left him a cripple failed to disqualify Franklin Roosevelt for the historic role he had been chosen, possibly unawares, to fill. A fine head, a triumphant smile, and a golden voice on the air, with radio just then becoming a potent political factor, (19) could be deployed to distract popular attention from the fact that he had suffered physical impairment. As Frances Perkins, his devoted associate for many years, pointed out, one political advantage of his infirmity was that it obliged him to suffer bores cheerfully. He could no longer walk away from them, as he had been apt to do in his more impatient youth.
In 1932 Colonel House lived just two blocks from the Roosevelt home on East Sixty-fifth Street in New York City. Early that year, the small gray master-marplot slipped in and out of the Governor’s town house almost ‘daily to proffer advice and tactical suggestions. Despite his advanced age—he was then seventy-four—House still had a national network of politically influential friends who knew what was happening in State politics and could sway the votes of State delegations. And despite his own depression-shrunk fortune, he was said to be one of four men who contributed $10,000 to Roosevelt’s pre-convention campaign. The others were: Jesse I. Straus of Macy’s, who had originally headed the Governor’s emergency relief organization in Albany and who was afterwards named Ambassador to France—a precedent-shattering appointment; William Woodin, who became Roosevelt’s first Secretary of the Treasury; and Frank Walker, later Postmaster General, an anti-Smith Catholic from the Midwest who had just sold a chain of motion picture houses to Paramount and who, like another early Roosevelt backer, Joseph P. Kennedy, enjoyed the confidence of West Coast movie moguls.
In those months, the radical-minded Colonel proclaimed to still solvent Wall Street acquaintances that the capitalist system as they had known it was finished and that Franklin Roosevelt was the man picked by experts to salvage the remains. For services rendered, House was modestly rewarded by being permitted to choose Roosevelt’s first Ambassador to Britain, Judge Robert Worth gingham of Louisville, Kentucky—whose son, Barry gingham, in 1947 became a founding member of the Americans for Democratic Action.(20)
The Colonel’s own days of White House authority were over, never to be revived. Somewhat wistfully, he saw his former guest room privileges and direct telephone wire conferred on younger favorites whose radical bias was as unsuspected by the electorate as his own had been. He had set the stage, however, for a new breed of informal Presidential advisers—more potent, more elusive and more definitely committed to policies of Fabian Socialist origin than any mere Kitchen Cabinet of the past. The extra-constitutional method devised by House for relieving a Chief Executive from the burden of independent decision has become accepted practice today.
Other leading pre-convention strategists were Roosevelt’s former New York State campaign manager, Louis M. Howe, and U.S. Senator Cordell Hull. As a congressman, Hull had written the first Federal Income Tax Law of 1913, as well as the revised Federal Income and Inheritance Tax Laws of 1916–omitting to place a permanent ceiling on either of them. It is unlikely that the homespun statesman from the Tennessee hills ever dreamed that the rather moderate bills he drafted might provide a basis at some future date for a “redistribution of the national income,” as proposed by Fabian Stuart Chase in 1932–and as included since 1918 in the Fabian-dictated program of the British Labour Party. (21) The fact that an old-line southern Democrat had been induced to sponsor the basic legislation so ardently desired by all spokesmen of gradual Socialism was an early and notable example of success for the Fabian technique known as permeation.
Personally conservative but politically regular, Hull was appointed Secretary of State by Roosevelt at a moment when brain trusters did not regard that department as of primary importance to their plans. Just then the sole foreign policy issue that stirred them was the diplomatic recognition of Soviet Russia, a project in which American as wel1 as British Fabian Socialists took a lively interest.
As in Britain, this move was described as offering vast foreign trade possibilities—if sufficiently lenient long-term credits could be arranged for the nearly bankrupt Russians. The Soviets’ well-publicized intent to purchase huge quantities of cotton in the southern United States (a promise that came to little) helped win Hull’s consent to the establishment of diplomatic relations with that Ishmael among nations. It was the first outstanding misstep of the Roosevelt Administration in the field of foreign policy.
At a later date—as The New York Times’ well-informed Washington bureau chief, Arthur Krock, reported—Hull’s authority was repeatedly circumvented by assistants having a direct pipeline to the White House. Many of his policy-making functions were also preempted by specially appointed presidential envoys and by Roosevelt’s preference for acting as his own Secretary of State in crucial negotiations. That type of personal diplomacy, originally commended to Woodrow Wilson by Colonel House and enthusiastically practiced by each succeeding Democratic President, tended to nullify the advisory roles of the Senate and the Cabinet as defined in the Constitution.
Instead, something vaguely resembling the British Privy Council system came into being—the difference being that the Washington version was unsanctioned by custom or law or tradition, and that the identity of the White House counselors was often unknown to the general public and subject to change without notice. If bystanders wondered why Cordell Hull, an old style American in the mold of Andrew Jackson, submitted so long to such indignities, they concluded charitably that he remained at his post some twelve years in order to avert a mass invasion of the State Department by hungry New Dealers and One Worlders—as occurred, in fact, after his retirement.
From the outset, however, Secretary Hull was obliged to tolerate the presence of a select number of Harvard-trained Frankfurter proteges in key State Department positions. On his arrival, Hull found Herbert Feis already ensconced in the economic section. Feis was assisted from 1933 to 1935 by Professor Alvin H. Hansen, public speaker and occasional pamphleteer of the LID, the first of the older Harvard economists to embrace the doctrines of John Maynard Keynes.(22) Alger Hiss, who had begun his career as the law clerk of Supreme Court Justice Holmes, rose to become director of the State Department’s Political Affairs Section and secretary of the Postwar Policy Planning Committee.
Secretary Hull evidently disliked having members of the Frankfurter coterie foisted upon him and managed to divest himself of some from time to time. But, apart from an occasional delaying action engineered by his supporters on Capitol Hill, there was not a great deal he could do to stem the tide of encroaching Socialism—or to discourage its covert Communist beneficiaries.
Soon after his election to the Presidency in 1932, Franklin Roosevelt met privately in Washington with a group that included Felix Frankfurter, Fred C. Howe and some dozen members of Congress. With the notable exception of Congressman Fiorello La Guardia of New York City, the legislators came chiefly from the western states. Strangely enough, they did not belong to the Democratic Party, but styled themselves Progressive Republicans. All had bolted to Roosevelt in 1932 and sought assurances that their aid would be suitably requited.
Politically, they were a hybrid species. The elders among them, Senators George C. Norris of Nebraska and Hiram Johnson of California, dated from the Bull Moose era, as did Frankfurter and Howe. After helping to split the Republican Party in 1912, they threw their weight behind the Wilson Administration. From 1924, they had enjoyed the somewhat eccentric backing of the Conference for Progressive Political Action, precursor of the modern-day Americans for Democratic Action. “Conservation of natural resources” was the high-sounding slogan by which these solons maintained themselves in office and justified their emancipation from such routine concerns as party loyalty. They joined or supported the Public Ownership League of America; (23) nominally a nonpartisan organization,(24) whose perennial secretary and guiding spirit, Carl D. Thompson, was a former national campaign manager and information director of the Socialist Party.(25)
As early as March, 1924, Senator Norris had introduced a bill providing for a nationwide government-operated system of electric power. Admittedly, it was conceived by the Public Ownership League and promoted at a so-called superpower conference held on January 16-17 at the Hotel Hamilton in Washington, D.C. (26) Senator Norris registered at the opening session and addressed the conference, pledging all-out support. A committee was named to assist him in drafting a superpower bill. Heading that committee was Father John A. Ryan, (27) later known as the padre of the New Deal—and once identified by the Washington Star, in a renowned typographical error, as chairman of the “Socialist Action Committee” of the National Catholic Welfare Conference.(28)
The original Federal power bill (S-2790) was a bold one, clearly transcending mere government ownership and distribution of electric power. As Carl Thompson had stated from the first, the purpose of the Public Ownership League was not only to secure public ownership of utilities but also Federal control of railroads, coal and “all industrial forces depending upon electric power for their successful operation.” (29) As if by some process of thought transference, the introduction of America’s first public power bill coincided with a move in England to electrify the railroads, (30) and with proposals initiated by British Fabian Socialists to install the grid system of public power. In Russia, Lenin’s mammoth (and even now only partially completed) scheme for electrification of all Soviet industries and farms under State control had just been announced.
At that date, as might have been expected, the public superpower bill failed on Capitol Hill. So did a subsequent bill (S-2147) of 1926 providing for a Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) and a joint resolution (SJ-163) the following year—both filed by Senator Norris at the request of the Public Ownership League. By that time, however, the true mastermind of the public ownership movement in America, H. Stephen Raushenbush, second-generation Fabian Socialist and onetime secretary of the LID, had developed a more cautious plan for what he termed “encroaching control” designed to lead to “ultimate abolition of the profit system.”(31) Champions of direct revolutionary action complained that his “Program for the Gradual Socialization of Industry”(32) resembled the formula for achieving chastity a little bit at a time prescribed by Leo Tolstoi in The Kreutzer Sonata. In the booming United States of 1927, both methods appeared equally unlikely to succeed.
The central feature of the Raushenbush program was a government-operated Power Authority, a term he seems to have coined. It was to serve as a “yardstick” for private industry and, by demonstrating superior virtue, lead to the eventual extinction of the private sector. From a book entitled The Public Control of Business by Keezer and May, (33) Raushenbush unearthed a pertinent item, namely, that there appeared to be no constitutional obstacle to the Government’s operating a business or industry, provided such action was declared to be in the public interest. Indeed, as numerous court decisions seemed to confirm, it was easier for the Government to go into business than to “regulate” existing enterprises. That handy loophole, publicized by Stephen Raushenbush, provided the legal sanction for a whole series of business ventures soon to be undertaken by the New Deal Administration—not only in the field of electric power production, but also in housing, rural electrification, farm mortgages and agricultural products, storage, insurance and general banking.
With the onset of the Great Depression, the Public Ownership League’s scheme for a so-called Tennessee Valley Authority was once more revived. This time, however, it was offered on the pretext of providing employment and stimulating recovery. Electric power was not so much as mentioned in Senator Norris’ TVA bill of 1933. Other features were added piecemeal through a series of supplementary bills, until at last the plan emerged full-blown. In March, 1935, David Lilienthal, director of the TVA, finally felt it safe to announce: “These dams are not being built for scenic effect, these millions of dollars are not being spent merely to increase business activities in this area. These dams are power dams, they are being built because they will provide electric power.”(34)
It was not until 1937, however, that the actual scope of the TVA was disclosed to the American public. The assembled blueprint, showing a whole chain of dams linked together under the grid system to form a gigantic nationwide public power complex, (35) closely resembled the original sketch drafted by the Public Ownership League between 1923 and 1925. Both the plan itself and the gradual means by which it was achieved illustrate the strategy of Fabian Socialism more clearly than any other of the numerous schemes which devotees of that revolutionary faith have launched in this country.
Begun on a small local scale, its slow encroachment mirrors the origins and progress of the Fabian Socialist movement in the United States. It would seem, therefore, a coincidence that the first municipally owned power plant in America should have been established in 1896, at a time when British instigators of the American Fabian League were actively promoting municipal ownership of public utilities at home; and that America’s first city-owned electric plant was located in Chicopee Falls, Massachusetts (36) home town of Edward Bellamy!
Over a quarter century of patient penetration and permeation was required before the public-power movement was able to entrench itself in the national government, securing the potent aid of Federal tax money. At the time, only a handful of non-Socialist observers discerned the implications. One was The New York Times’ ever-vigilant Arthur Krock. On December 21, 1933, Krock reported that the TVA, “while not very expensive as things go under President Roosevelt,” had spent over forty millions of a fifty million dollar appropriation in less than a year of initial activity. And he commented shrewdly, “It is, even more than NRA or AAA, a social and economic laboratory.” With the great mass of Americans numbed by the hurricane-like effect of the Depression and a Socialist camarilla riding high in Washington, such discreet warning passed largely unnoticed.
The TVA has now been in operation some thirty years, quietly but steadily expanding its empire and accepted almost as a natural phenomenon by a new generation. The ultimate step, total control over all key industries, appears to have been necessarily postponed. But not forever. TVA was and still remains, as Norman Thomas revealed, (37) the enterprise nearest and dearest to the hearts of American Fabian Socialists and the one most central to the accomplishment of their long-range plans for making (and taking) over America.
President-elect Franklin D. Roosevelt’s meeting with Felix Frankfurter, Fred C. Howe and Republican Progressives in Congress preceded by only a few months the revival of the Tennessee Valley Authority project, disguised as an anti-depression measure. It was one of the earliest bills to be rubber-stamped for passage under the New Deal, and there is no reason to suppose its intent was unknown to the President. Naturally, its champions wished to be assured in advance of the incoming Executive’s blessing, as well as to be certain they would have a voice in naming officials charged with the administration of TVA and allied programs.
From that meeting of minds, there emerged a novel type of patronage, based more on ideology than constituencies, which for a time baffled political experts and continues to trouble many loyal Democrats today. Several seemingly mysterious Cabinet appointments, announced soon afterwards by Roosevelt, were traceable to recommendations by Republican Progressives. Felix Frankfurter, who had organized the Progressives-for-Roosevelt, became a kind of one-man employment service for placing liberal lawyers and economists in the Executive departments and agencies. The new order of precedence provoked Alfred E. Smith in 1936 to a pained and picturesque outburst. “Who is Ickes?” he cried. “Who is Wallace? Who is Hopkins, and in the name of all that is good and holy, who is Tugwell and where did he blow from? . . . If La Guardia is a Democrat, then I am a Chinaman with a haircut.” (38)
A little field research along the sidewalks of New York might have given A1 Smith a clue. For in 1934, two years after Roosevelt’s election, several persons influential in the formation of the New Deal were listed as teaching at the Rand School of Social Science, which A1 Smith once helped inadvertently to preserve. They were Stuart Chase, Rexford G. Tugwell and Raymond V. Moley.(39) In 1930 and 1931, institutes on unemployment, social insurance and public power had been held at the Rand School to prepare the Socialist faithful for the shape of things to come. The superpower movement, which claimed Governor Smith as a supporter,(40) acted in close understanding with leading British Fabians—as indicated by a letter of November 13, 1930, printed in Fabian News, from the Public Ownership League’s Carl D. Thompson to Alderman A. Emil Davies, later chairman of the London Fabian Society.(41)
It would have shaken quite a few unsuspecting Democrats to know how many major and minor officeholders under the New Deal had been connected for years with organizations pledged to further the programs of Fabian Socialism in America. Such attachments ranged from the Rand School and the League for Industrial Democracy to the American Civil Liberties Union, the National Consumers League, the Public Ownership League, the New School for Social Research, the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP), the Government Planning Association, the Public Affairs Council and other social democratic concoctions—up to, and including, the Fabian Society of London. If the great majority of officials who formed the intellectual core of the New Deal were Democrats, in the sense that the average American understood the term, then Al Smith certainly was a “Chinaman with a haircut!”
Of course, Smith must have known that Henry Agard Wallace, the New Deal Secretary of Agriculture who later became Vice President and in 1944 only missed by a phone call becoming a future President, had supported his (Smith’s) candidacy in 1928. Wallace was the son of Henry Cantwell Wallace, a leading Midwestern Republican who had been Secretary of Agriculture under Presidents Harding and Coolidge. He was the grandson of still another Henry Wallace, a member of President Theodore Roosevelt’s Country Life Commission. Henry the third, however, was a Republican Progressive who had jumped early aboard the Democratic bandwagon.
As editor of the family newspaper, the Iowa Farmer, young Henry by his articles and speeches helped to carry the traditionally Republican Corn Belt for Franklin Roosevelt. In that campaign Wallace was aided by the Socialist-led National Farmers Council, whose organizer, Ben Marsh, openly supported the aims of the Public Ownership League. (42) For eighteen months before the election Wallace had also been calling for a reduction in the gold content of the dollar, combining the old dream of the Bryan bimetallists with John Maynard Keynes’ seductive vision of a managed currency. Though a country boy, Wallace was not unsophisticated.
While he cultivated a dreamy and mystical air and a friendship with the well-known Irish poet, “A. E.,” who brought news of the Fabian-led British cooperative movement to American farmers,(43) Wallace also had a taste for scientific experiment. In his spare time he had developed a special strain of hybrid corn which made possible higher crop yields. Through its American grain agent, Dr. Joseph Rosen (who had himself crossbred a new and hardy variety of rye seed), the Soviet Government during the nineteen-twenties displayed an interest in Wallace and his hybrid corn experiments.
The communications and transactions that ensued, in turn, aroused Wallace’s friendly interest in what American liberals used to call the Soviet experiment—where a surplus of foodstuffs has never been a political problem. Given the tolerant attitude toward Russian Communism that Wallace took with him to Washington, it is not surprising that the Department of Agriculture became in 1934 under Harold Ware the center of the first identified Communist cell in the United States Government.(44)
By 1936 many sober citizens were inclined to agree with Fabian Socialist Stuart Chase that “Henry Wallace had lifted American agriculture bodily out of the free market system. . . .(45)
Wallace’s chief lieutenant in Agriculture was Rexford Guy Tugwell, another poetaster and rapt observer of the Soviet economy. In 1915, at the age of twenty-four, he had published a Whitmanesque effusion that read:
We begin to see richness as poorness; we begin to dignify toil.
I have dreamed my great dream of their passing,
I have gathered my tools and my charts;
My plans are fashioned and practical;
I shall roll up my sleeves—make America over.
A free verse paraphrase of the Victorian quatrain so popular among early British Fabians, those lines expressed the credo that was to guide Tugwell and his friends through life. “Why should Russians have all the fun of remaking a world?” wrote his Rand School colleague, Stuart Chase, in A New Deal.(46)
Tugwell blew into Washington from the economics department of Columbia University, having previously taught at the University of Pennsylvania and Washington State. One of the first Socialist-minded economists allowed to translate his theories into government practice, he made the most of the opportunity. There was little in the application of the early New Deal in which Tugwell did not have a finger. Besides abetting Wallace in a forlorn attempt to transform abundance into scarcity by ploughing under crops and killing suckling pigs, Tugwell also sat on the Housing Board, the Surplus Relief Administration, the Public Works Board, the President’s Commercial Policy Committee and other newly created bodies. He fathered the thought, seconded by the President’s Commercial Policy Committee, of grading all industries according to their efficiency and utility and denying tariff protection to those judged a “burden” on the United States.
It was Tugwell who proposed that consumers be represented, in addition to labor unions and employers, on the twenty-seven industry boards to be set up under the National Recovery Act. The object of this seemingly benevolent move was to cut prices and profits, while increasing wages—a prelude to the disappearance of the profit system, which a number of early New Dealers believed to be close at hand. Like some other impatient neo-Fabians, Tugwell was chagrined at the New Deal’s failure to abolish the profit system at once; and like Wallace, he moved leftward with the years. His last fling in public office was as Governor of Puerto Rico from 1945 to 1948, during a period when thousands of islanders were being airlifted via non-scheduled planes to New York City,(47) there to find themselves enrolled on the public welfare and registered as voters for the Communist-line Congressman, Vito Marcantonio.
Hand in hand with Tugwell, two other early New Deal enthusiasts pushed through the scheme for giving consumers’ groups the decisive voice in fixing wages and prices under the National Recovery Act. They were Fred C. Howe and Mary Harriman Rumsey. Still a Fabian Socialist at sixty though calling himself a Progressive, Fred Howe was a relic of the old muckraking era and a veteran member of the League for Industrial Democracy. (48) Named to the Agricultural Adjustment Administration (AAA), he soon moved to the NRA Consumers Advisory Board where Mary Rumsey flourished. One of the wealthiest women in America, Mary Rumsey was the sister and mentor of W. Averell Harriman, Administrator of the NRA in 1934-35. (49)
An intimate of Eleanor Roosevelt and Frances Perkins, Mary Rumsey shared their social outlook, having veered a good deal toward the Left since her debutante days when she founded the Junior League. Frances Perkins described her fondly as “a convinced and advanced liberal.”(50) The Rumsey estate in the fox hunt country near Middleburg, Virginia became a happy hunting ground for spokesmen of cooperative agriculture and nonconformist economics. Mary Rumsey had struck up a close friendship with the Irish poet-economist, “A. E.,” the London Fabian Society’s gift to American farmers; and she was feted in top level Fabian-Labour Party circles on her periodic trips to England. Long a supporter of the National Consumers League (NCL), Mary Rumsey saw to it that the so-called consumers’ representatives appointed to NRA boards were drawn from lists approved by the NCL. A two-to-one vote against industry was normally the result.
Outstanding among the lady politicos who stamped their features and foibles indelibly on the New Deal was Secretary of Labor Frances Perkins. A professional social worker, Frances Perkins had been trained at Hull House in Chicago, merely transferring the views and enlarging the contacts acquired there when she moved on to New York. Her first assignment in Albany was as a lobbyist for the National Consumers League and the Women’s Trade Union Council. (51) She specialized in reforms having an emotional appeal for intellectuals and a vote-getting appeal among labor organizations.
As Industrial Commissioner of New York State under Franklin D. Roosevelt, she had imported a promising young LID economist, Paul H. Douglas, from Chicago to draft the Governor’s unemployment and relief program. (52) Commissioner Perkins proved so useful in gaining the support of New York City’s garment workers and other Socialist-led labor bodies, that FDR took her to Washington as the first female Cabinet member in history—an appointment warmly urged by Eleanor Roosevelt, Felix Frankfurter and the fast-fading Colonel House. Her personal influence with the President was exceeded only by that of her bosom friend, Eleanor Roosevelt, and her protégée and fellow social worker, Harry Hopkins. Certainly, her quiet but adroit contribution to the labor politics of the New Deal was highly prized.
Secretary Perkins’ twelve-year tenure in the Department of Labor was marked by an influx of Socialist-recommended economists, analysts, statisticians, investigators and legal experts that to this day has never ceased. They were following the advice of Stephen Raushenbush to infiltrate government offices at every level. Some were so reticent and mouse-like that their entry into the Federal service was tantamount to a disappearing act, and a full-dress congressional investigation would have been required to discover them. One of the more prominent examples, however, was Dr. Isadore Lubin, a lifelong collaborator of the LID, who served his apprenticeship as president of the Intercollegiate Socialist Society at Clark and Missouri.(53) Provided with some protective coloration by a recent tour of duty at Brookings Institute, Dr. Lubin was triumphantly ushered into the Department of Labor by Frances Perkins.
There, with immense industry and true Socialist zeal, Lubin reorganized the Bureau of Labor Statistics whence official indices on employment and unemployment still issue, often at moments best calculated to create political effects. Dr. Lubin developed the oracular Consumer Price Index, which remains a constant but invisible factor in the inflationary spiral—although its underlying assumptions have seldom been questioned and never checked. He is one of the few Americans who could claim to have improved on the statistical methods of the British Fabians.
Dr. Lubin’s talents were not restricted to his job as Commissioner of Labor Statistics. In May, 1940, when FDR revived the National Defense Council in the confident anticipation of America’s entry into World War II, (54) the President insisted on naming Sidney Hillman, LID official and president of the Amalgamated Clothing Workers, as the labor member of that council. Roosevelt asked Secretary Perkins to help her old friend Hillman; so she loaned him Dr. Lubin’s services.
Thereafter, Dr. Lubin became a kind of resident statistician to the White House, incidentally conveying to the President his own and Hillman’s views on preferential aid to Russia. From 1940 Isadore Lubin was “constantly available and incalculably valuable . . . in checking every decimal point” (55) on figures used in the President’s speeches and presentations. Since Lubin’s staff had access to the files and conferences of business people throughout the country, he was also able to keep the White House informed on the most private thoughts of management. A personal note from Lubin to Hopkins in 1941 read:
“I thought you might be interested in the following statements which are the summary of the report of one of my men who attended the recent meeting of the American Management Association….”(56)
Frances Perkins sparked the Administration’s move for nationwide unemployment insurance and old age pensions. At FDR’s request, she headed a behind-the-scenes committee to draft the Social Security Act, whose title was a masterpiece of applied psychology. (57) Like TVA this was a project designed for permanence though pushed through under the impact of the Depression. It was part of a long-range program particularly cherished by the Secretary and her chums. Early in 1933, visitors to the White House reported that Eleanor Roosevelt was urging all and sundry to read a book called Prohibiting Poverty, by Prestonia Mann Martin, then an old lady in semi-retirement but once the angel of the American Fabian League.
Even before his inauguration, Franklin Roosevelt had agreed to take steps toward setting up a system of compulsory social insurance. (58) It reflected proposals which the English Fabian Socialist, Sidney Webb, had written en bloc into the 1918 platform of the British Labour Party and which American Socialists had been urging ever since. In Britain that plan was eventually presented to the electorate as an overall scheme to abolish poverty by fostering dependence on State-operated agencies. Undertaken ten years earlier in America, however, it could not conveniently be offered in package form.
Thus the pattern of the welfare state, which England’s Fabian Socialists (59) frankly describe as “the transition from capitalism to Socialism,” was not immediately revealed to Congress or the public. As in the case of TVA, it unfolded a little at a time, through a series of gradual but cumulative measures. By now the Social Security Act has been expanded to include death benefits, widows’ pensions and some disability features. Its payments are based not upon need but upon “right.” With the addition of public medical care for the aged (which, in Russia at least, helps to speed the demise of elderly pensioners) and eventual bonus payments for childbearing, the cradle-to-grave cycle of public benefactions will be complete.
Although the New Deal’s welfare program was largely derived from British Fabian sources—having been transmitted to this country by American Fabian Socialists and such allies as Father John A. Ryan— Roosevelt chose to regard it as peculiarly his own idea. Not long before his death, he complained to intimates that England’s much touted Beveridge Plan should by rights have been called the Roosevelt Plan. (60) He pointed out that Sir William Beveridge had visited him in Washington in 1934. Like the Fabian leaders of the British Labour Party, FDR never scrupled to use welfare for electioneering purposes. Indeed, he once begged Secretary Perkins and her group to speed their initial work on the Social Security Act, saying he could not otherwise go before the voters in 1936. (61)
The legal difficulties involved in preparing the bill were considerable. There was no precedent for such action in America and no apparent justification for it under the Constitution. Help came, however, from an unexpected quarter. At a dinner party in Washington, Secretary Perkins found herself seated beside Justice Harlan F. Stone, then classed with Brandeis and Cardozo, as a liberal on the Supreme Court Bench. She confided to the Justice that she was trying to work out some plan for social insurance but could discover no way of doing so that would be approved by the Court. Significantly, he whispered to her: “The taxing power of the Federal Government, my dear; the taxing power is sufficient for everything you want and need!”(62)
So Secretary Perkins advised her committee that the taxing power could be used as a means of building up funds for future unemployment and old age payments. She told no one, except the President, the source of her superior legal wisdom. Yet, somehow, the intelligence so liberally volunteered by Justice Stone ran like quicksilver throughout the Administration, rapidly becoming a part of its operational philosophy. While the propriety of Stone’s conduct may be questioned, his informal words proved more potent than any official opinion he ever penned. They furnished the key to that magic New Deal formula which enabled Roosevelt to remain in office for the rest of his natural life and which was described in a phrase attributed to Harry Hopkins as “tax and tax, spend and spend, elect and elect!” (63)
To head the new Social Security Administration, which Congress ruled must be bipartisan, Secretary Perkins proposed John Gilbert Winant, former Governor of New Hampshire. He was one of the first important Republicans from the Eastern seaboard to be invited into the New Deal-Fabian Socialist parlor, and he stayed there to the bitter end. A year or two later, after Secretary Perkins had prevailed on Secretary Hull and congressional leaders to support a bill permitting the United States to join the International Labor Organization, she succeeded in having Winant made director of that body.
There the craggy man from the Green Mountains was exposed to the tutelage of such adroit Socialist diplomats of labor as W. Stephen Sanders and Philip Noel-Baker, (64) pillars of the London Fabian Society at Geneva. He displayed so much willingness to learn, that the British Fabian Socialist leader, Harold Laski, finally suggested to President Roosevelt that Winant be appointed wartime Ambassador to the Court of St. James. (65) In this capacity, “Gil” Winant kindly consented to address a Fabian Society Luncheon (66) and entertained the Executive of the British Labour Party at the Embassy well before that party came to power. He allowed the charming but undeniably radical Laski to write speeches for him, recommend reading matter and personal contacts, and generally “set him straight.” (67)
The International Labor Organization ( ILO ), through which Winant was able to attain those social and diplomatic heights, had been set up under the League of Nations charter, pursuant to a resolution introduced by British Fabian-Labour Party delegates at Versailles. Since that time, British Fabian Socialists have played a dominant part in its deliberations, both directly and indirectly via the Socialist International. Through the ILO machinery officials of many countries, who could not afford to be openly linked either with the Fabian Society or the Socialist International, were able to maintain discreet contacts with both. The measure of Secretary Perkins’ prestige in such circles can be inferred from the fact that she was able to get her protégé, “Gil” Winant, elected director.
Surviving the League of Nations that spawned it, the ILO operates today from Geneva under the banner of the United Nations. Labor, government, and “employer” delegates from the Soviet Union and the satellite nations as well as from the so-called free world attend its congresses, where labor and government representatives jointly vote down the representatives of free enterprise with somewhat monotonous regularity. There unheralded spokesmen of the Socialist International and the Cominform can meet and mingle unobtrusively; and there British Fabian Socialists and their allies, Scandinavian, French, Belgian and others, are seen to be in command. For that reason, United States business has refused for several years to send representatives to ILO gatherings. While the actual role of the ILO remains obscure at this point in world history, the suggestion has been made that its Geneva offices may well provide a discreet point of contact between the apparently hostile but mutually complementary Socialist and Communist Internationals. (67a)
There were only two members of Roosevelt’s Cabinet who remained from the first to the last day of his extended reign: Frances Perkins and Harold L. Ickes. Secretary Perkins has told how the President-elect, before moving to Washington, called her to his home on Sixty-fifth Street to apprise her of her new estate. Ushered into his study, she found him talking to a stocky, fair-haired man with the blunt features of a Pennsylvania Dutchman. “Frances, do you know Harold?” asked FDR. That was her introduction to Harold L. Ickes, variously known to historians as the strong man, the hatchet man and the curmudgeon of the New Deal.
If Frances and Harold did not know each other, they had friends in common in Felix Frankfurter, Jane Addams and Paul Douglas. During the campaign—then just passed—Ickes had served on the national committee of the Progressive League, whose chairman was Senator George C. Norris, chief spokesman on Capitol Hill for TVA. The League’s secretary was Fred C. Howe and its national committee included Felix Frankfurter, Henry Wallace and Donald R. Richberg, a former law partner of Ickes and later named counsel for the NRA. Formed in September, 1932,(68) just two months before the national elections, the Progressive League could only have hoped to exert a decisive influence at the polls by attracting so-called independent voters and by splitting the Republican Party through an appeal to its liberal wing. With a Roosevelt landslide seemingly in the offing, the Progressive League was also prepared to snatch the fruits of victory from the triumphant Democrats. It contrived to secure for those “progressive” elements—who had been faithful, in their fashion, to the aims of the London Fabian Society and its provincial offshoots in America(69)—a controlling voice and hand in the new administration.
Harold Ickes, technically a Democrat since 1928, boasted a long and unsuccessful career in progressive politics. A Chicago attorney, scrappy and embittered, he had won scant distinction in his profession. Instead, he made a living of sorts as a fund-raiser and campaign manager for a whole series of defeated “reform” candidates, local and national. He ran the losing mayoralty campaigns of John M. Harlan in 1905 and Professor Charles E. Merriam in 1911. From 1912 to 1914, he was Bull Moose chairman for Cook County. During the next two years he was chairman of the Bull Moose’s organization in Illinois and a member of the Progressive Party’s national committee. In 1920 and 1924 he handled the bids of Senator Hiram Johnson for the Republican Presidential nomination, then backed the elder La Follette in his third-party effort. In 1926 he managed the Illinois campaign of a defeated “independent” Republican candidate for the U.S. Senate.
Since his student days at the University of Chicago, where he graduated in 1897 and took his law degree ten years later, Ickes had been involved with a group of scholarly reformers and academic planners headed by Professor Charles E. Merriam—afterwards a potent figure in the councils of the big tax free foundations. This group read the early publications recommended by the American Fabian League and the London Fabian Society on municipal government, public ownership of public services, and city and national planning. Its leaders conferred solemnly with Sidney and Beatrice Webb in 1898 when that oddly matched couple visited Jane Addams in Chicago. Thereafter, on the pretext of battling graft and corruption in government— always a handy issue in Chicago—a number of its members permeated civic and national organizations with a view to promoting Fabian Socialist objectives, but avoided direct identification with the American Socialist Party.
Thus Ickes, from the turn of the century, had been active in the nationwide conservation movement. He helped organize the Illinois League of Municipalities, which after 1917 supported the program of the Public Ownership League. In the natural course of events he came to know Alderman A. Emil Davies, a regular postwar visitor from London who was a charter member of the International Union of Cities as well as an honorary vice president of the Public Ownership League of America. From 1931, Ickes also belonged to an elite corps calling itself the Government Planning Association, (70) which drafted the tentative blueprint for the New Deal in consultation with a Fabian-sponsored group in London known as PEP (Political and Economic Planning ).
Recommended by Senator Hiram Johnson to be chief of the Bureau of Indian Affairs, Ickes surprisingly walked away with what left-wingers of his time considered the prize post in the Cabinet. As Secretary of the Interior, he had the major responsibility for coordinating and enforcing the Public Ownership League’s superpower program. Ickes also persuaded Roosevelt to place the huge Public Works Administration under the Interior Department, arguing that he was an old hand at discouraging graft. Thus Ickes had the rare pleasure during his first year as Secretary of being authorized to spend $3,300,000 on public works, then the largest sum ever handed over to any Federal department in peacetime. And it was only the beginning!
Written into the Public Works Act by the Department of the Interior’s legal wizard, Benjamin V. Cohen, was a provision giving “cities, counties, districts and other political subdivisions” a free gift of 30 per cent (later 45 per cent) towards the cost of building publicly operated electric plants. To speed distribution of this largesse, Ickes created a special three-man Power Board to review applications. In 1935, he appointed Carl Thompson, secretary of the Public Ownership League and erstwhile Socialist Party official, to the Power Review Board.71 He named H. Stephen Raushenbush, philosopher of “encroaching Socialism” and chairman of the Socialist-sponsored coal and giant power Committee, to a spot in the Bituminous Coal Division, later making him “coordinator of compliance.” In 1941, Raushenbush was quietly transferred to the Economics and Statistical Branch of the Interior Departments Division of Power, retiring as chief of that strategic service in 1947.(72)
First or last, a rather remarkable array of well-known and lesser known advocates of gradualist Socialism turned up on the Interior Department payroll. Ickes sent Ernest Gruening to Alaska and Robert Morss Lovett to the Virgin Islands—two of many LID notables with whom the Secretary shared his tax-supported good fortune. He put John Collier, who later wrote a pamphlet for the Fabian International Bureau, in charge of the Bureau of Indian Affairs, with Felix Cohen of the LID as Assistant Solicitor. Ickes’ own testy speeches and writings, which gained him a reputation for mordant wit and enabled him to wage a one-sided vendetta with the stricken business community of the thirties, were reputedly the work of Saul Padover, an angry young man who in after years became a founding member of the Americans for Democratic Action.(73)
Endowed with the power to allot large chunks of Federal money for public construction in cities and states, Ickes dispatched a small army of scouts from Washington (sometimes referred to as Harold’s Gestapo) to spy out the land. Obviously, they were in a position to exert substantial pressure on city, state and county political organizations, which duly returned the New Deal to office in four successive national elections. It would be naive to suppose that Ickes, an old campaigner tasting the sweets of power at last, failed to take full advantage of his opportunities. Apart from personal loyalty to Roosevelt, Harold loved his job and was determined to make both the New Deal and himself permanent fixtures in Washington. He was the first member of the Cabinet to greet FDR’s suggestion of a third term with eager approval, challenging an unwritten law respected since the days of George Washington.
Nearly a billion dollars from Ickes’ original public works appropriation—and more at later dates—was diverted by President Roosevelt to temporary works-projects, set up to provide direct Federal relief for the nation’s unemployed. (74) As an emergency measure, this unconventional step might be justified by the real and widespread human need existing in 1933. There is evidence, however, that the temporary emergency was unnaturally prolonged by other administration policies which delayed industrial recovery. Three and a half years and six billion dollars later, unemployment relief was still being administered on an emergency basis—with the most vocal pressure groups, organized by Communist unemployed councils, getting a disproportionate share. While consumer industries revived somewhat, mining and manufacturing, which constituted the real strength of the country, declined. It was not until the outbreak of war in Europe, when the United States was called upon to fill military orders for the French and British, that America’s basic industries were finally able to restore production lines on a nationwide scale.
The man whom Roosevelt placed in charge of distributing Federal unemployment relief was one of the oddest bits of human flotsam to be washed up by the Great Depression on the shifting sands of American history. Harry Hopkins was a courtier from the Corn Belt. In later years he had the look of an emaciated scarecrow in a battered gray fedora. His great talent lay in pleasing and impressing just the right people in his chosen sphere. Nominally devoted, during most of his career, to improving the condition of the poor, he escaped as often as possible to the diversions of racetracks, theaters and nightclubs and showed a marked preference for the company of the fashionable, the rich, the powerful (75)—providing they were “liberally” inclined.
No king’s almoner of old ever had access to such resources as were placed at Harry Hopkins’ command, nor more freewheeling liberty of action in dispensing them. Whether it was love of spending, personal ambition, a fanatical devotion to “the Chief,” a Socialist creed, or some strange combination of all these that impelled him, even his best friends agree that patriotism was not his ruling passion. Frances Perkins once described him as “a shrewd man who had become acquainted with a lot of Democratic politicians while administering relief and the WPA.”(76) So well acquainted, indeed, had Hopkins become with them that (though not even an official delegate) he was placed in charge of Roosevelt headquarters at the rigged 1940 Democratic Convention where FDR was nominated for the third time.
The pragmatic principle which guided Harry Hopkins as director of Federal Emergency Relief, afterwards called the Works Progress Administration, was expressed by his principal aide, Aubrey Williams, speaking at a relief conference in Washington: “We must stick together. We must keep our friends in power.” (77) When seeking the approval of a Senate Committee in January, 1939 to his appointment as Secretary of Commerce, Hopkins admitted that statement had been made; but pleaded a man’s right to “one indiscretion. (78) For American Fabian Socialists, as for their comrades in Britain, power was the goal!
Harry Hopkins, who ultimately acquired a degree of personal power second only to the President’s, began his career as a social settlement worker at a salary of $5 per month—and disbursed over $5,000,000 during his first two hours as a Federal official. (79) With a kind of inverse snobbery, he liked to refer to himself as the son of an Iowa harness-maker; though the truth was, the elder Hopkins applied himself for only a few years to that fast-failing trade. While Harry was growing up the family subsisted mainly by selling candy, magazines, soft drinks and sundries to college boys from the nearby Grinnell campus.
As a student at Grinnell College, Hopkins was deeply influenced by two of his teachers, Dr. Edward A. Steiner and Professor Jesse Macy. Dr. Steiner, Austrian-born and a convert from Judaism, had once visited Leo Tolstoi in Russia and written a book about it. At Grinnell, Steiner occupied the chair of Applied Christianity endowed by Elizabeth Rand and held not many years before by Dr. George Herron, original chairman of the American Socialist Party. Professor Macy, who taught one of the first political science courses in America, had spent some time in England during the formative years of the London Fabian Society. He had imbibed its social and economic outlook and regaled his pupils at Grinnell with firsthand recollections of Sidney and Beatrice Webb.
After Hopkins’ graduation, Steiner found an opening for the young man on the staff of a small social settlement house in New York. Though not much attracted to social work as a calling, Harry took the virtually unpaid job because it afforded him a chance to get to the big city.(80) Once there, he stayed and did what was expected of him, moving as rapidly as possible, however, into the administrative realm of organized charity. By 1924 he was Executive Director of the New York Tuberculosis and Health Association, which had built up a reserve of $90,000 and which Hopkins left with a deficit of $40,000. (81) His political leanings can be inferred from the fact that he voted the Socialist Party ticket in 1917, and in 1924, like many Socialist intellectuals, went progressive with La Follette. (82)
During the summer of 1928, Hopkins took an expense-paid trip to London to study municipal health administration. This was a field long preempted by British Fabian Socialists operating through the London County Council, and his field trips inevitably brought Hopkins into touch with members of the Fabian Society. To his wife he wrote that he found the British program superior to anything in America. Hopkins’ meteoric rise, that began soon after his return from England, is suggestive of the manner in which the London Society rewards its approved and faithful permeators. From the autumn of 1928, Hopkins came more and more to the attention of Governor Franklin D. Roosevelt’s intimates, especially Eleanor Roosevelt, (83) interested as always in the social welfare approach to politics.
In 1931, the merchant prince Jesse I. Straus invited Hopkins to Albany to assist in administering a program of State unemployment relief. A year later Straus withdrew, leaving Hopkins in full charge. At Albany, as later in Washington, Hopkins introduced a species of work relief first suggested in this country by Father John A. Ryan in his so-called Bishops Report and based on proposals made by a Quaker group in England after World War I. Actually, the idea of work relief for the unemployed had been developed in Britain at the turn of the century by Joseph I. Fels, the American soap magnate who joined the London Fabian Society. Fels’ experiments were reported by the American Fabian Socialist, W. D. P. Bliss, (84) in his New Encyclopedia of Social Reform in 1908.
To win approval of New York labor organizations for his work relief scheme, Hopkins was obliged to work closely with Frances Perkins, Industrial Commissioner for the State. In less than two years he supervised expenditures of some 60 million dollars from bond issues, without scandal and with evident benefit to Roosevelt in the campaign of 1932. The new State relief agency received sympathetic press treatment from such Harvard alumni as Heywood Broun, then a popular columnist on the New York World and always a warm friend of Hopkins.
Within a remarkably short time Hopkins had endeared himself permanently to Eleanor Roosevelt, who adopted him into the family and sponsored him in every future endeavor. Soon after being elected to the Presidency, FDR also received an exceptional commendation of Hopkins from Jane Addams, dean of social welfare workers in America. That is how a harness-makers son from Iowa, with a private taste for high living, managed to get to Washington in May, 1933.
There he dispensed a total of nine billion dollars in direct Federal relief over five years, until new laws were finally written and the Works Project Administration was abolished. Though such sums have come to seem almost routine today, at that date they were rated astronomical. Hopkins’ activities as Federal Relief Administrator won the unqualified approval of so ardent a Fabian Socialist as Stuart Chase, who observed hopefully that historians of the future might very well regard Harry Hopkins as one of the world’s greatest administrators.(85)
While it lasted, the WPA was easily the most controversial agency in government, not only because of its informal bookkeeping methods, but because it became a sounding board for much radical propaganda of the period. That was the decade of the so-called Popular Front against Fascism, in which Socialists and Communists throughout the world collaborated openly. In 1934, the eminent British Fabian Socialist and pacifist, Sir Norman Angell, (86) visited Washington and toured the country as a member of “le comite mondiale contre la guerre et le fascisme,” (87) the world-wide Popular Front organization headed by Henri Barbusse, renowned French novelist and identified Communist. Youth, professional and cultural groups were its special targets, and its success was conspicuous in branches of the WPA that catered to such groups.
Some critics were inclined to blame Hopkins’ principal aide, Aubrey Williams for the fact that left wing agitators flourished on WPA time, notably in theater, motion picture, art and waters’ projects. There is evidence, however, that Williams was encouraged by persons more highly placed than himself. Far from being reproved, he was made director of the National Youth Administration. In July, 1941, Williams joined Eleanor Roosevelt, Justice Felix Frankfurter and Librarian of Congress Archibald MacLeish in sponsoring the American Youth Congress at Campobello. (88) This congress was organized on the initiative of the British Fabian Socialist, Betty Shields-Collins, secretary of the London Fabian Society’s Anglo-American group and prewar secretary of the World Youth Congress movement.(89) Prominent at the Campobello rally was the perennially youthful Joseph P. Lash—a particular pet of Eleanor Roosevelt—who had been a leader of the Student League for Industrial Democracy and had also confessed to Young Communist League affiliations.(90)
A dangerous by-product of the tolerance towards Communists which top-level American Fabian Socialists practiced as consistently as their British brethren, was disclosed some years later. After long and painstaking inquiry, the Senate Subcommittee on Internal Security concluded that the National Research Project of the WPA had served “as a kind of trapdoor through which underground Communists gained access to the Government” in the middle nineteen-thirties.(91) A number of individuals since identified as Communist agents entered the Federal service through that handy trapdoor, some rising to posts of major responsibility under the Roosevelt and Truman Administrations. Transferring from department to department by a kind of mutual aid agreement with like-minded colleagues, they were not only able to supply information but also to affect the policies of government itself. (92)
Eleven persons linked with Communist spy rings were discovered by the Senate Subcommittee on Internal Security to have entered the Federal Government via the WPA. An overall total of eighty persons in Federal service, thirty-seven of whom attained posts of high importance, were unmasked by the Subcommittee as connected with Communist spy rings. All were directly or indirectly linked with the group in the WPA. It has since been confirmed that appropriate authorities, up to and including the White House itself, were duly apprised of the facts by the Federal Bureau of Investigation; but continued to protect and promote the offenders. (93) As a result, a small but well-placed network of covert Communists in Federal service enjoyed a field day which lasted for years, rising the most secret files with impunity and “sharing all that we have and are” (94) with Soviet Russia.
Incredible as it seems, the lenience that made such things possible originated at the uppermost level of government. Franklin Roosevelt’s personal attitude was revealed when he ignored repeated warnings from FBI and other sources concerning Communists in the U.S. Government. In 1942, in wartime, he blocked removal from merchant ships of radio operators “whose only offense was in being Communist.” (95) The President’s stand was officially conveyed by Secretary of the Navy, Frank Knox, at a meeting with naval officers on May 19, 1942. According to the minutes of that meeting:
“. . . The Secretary then spoke and said that he held no brief for the activities of the Communist Party; but that the President had stated that, considering the fact that the United States and Russia were allies at this time and that the Communist Party and the United States efforts were now bent towards winning the war, the United States was bound not to disapprove the activities of the Communist Party, and specifically not to disapprove the employment of any radio operator for the sole reason that he was a member of the Communist Party or that he was active in Communist Party affairs. The Secretary further stated that this was an order and must be obeyed without mental reservations.” (96)
Soon afterwards a Naval Intelligence Unit in New York City, set up to control Communist espionage and propaganda, was dissolved by the Bureau of the Budget, (97) which had been transferred from the Treasury to the White House by an historic Executive Order of 1939. Instructions were issued requiring Army Intelligence to destroy its files on Communists, similar to the demand made by Woodrow Wilson after World War I. Only prompt action by members of Congress saved the Army records from destruction in World War II.
If some members of Roosevelt’s wartime Cabinet held no brief for the Presidential policy of being kind to Communists, and if most government officials were either unaware of it or accepted it with mental reservations, the same could not be said for the President’s more intimate circle. FDR’s strict concept of personal loyalty required that any individual whom he fully trusted must see eye to eye with him on matters he considered basic. And once having adopted an idea, he regarded it as peculiarly his own, often forgetting the source from which it came.
Roosevelt believed, for instance, that by giving Stalin everything he asked for during the war, no matter how excessive the request, the proletarian dictator would be bound by some principle of noblesse oblige to cooperate loyally in setting up a postwar world of peace and plenty. How did FDR know this? He had a hunch! And besides, Harry “The Hop” Hopkins had told him so.(98)
This is not to say that Roosevelt was himself a Communist, as has sometimes been loosely suggested. Having been trained and dominated for a good many years by Fabian Socialist advisers, perhaps he simply demonstrated the same protective attitude towards Soviet Russia and its agents as did those British Fabians whose road in the end has always led toward Moscow. Only convinced Fabian Socialists and liberals at the very pinnacle of political power in Washington could do for the Soviet Communists what they were unable to do for themselves, both at home and abroad.
Hitler’s invasion of Russia on June 22, 1941 had aroused intense but mixed emotions among Anglo-American Fabians. If it restored fraternal bonds previously strained by the Stalin-Hitler pact, the joy of feeling together again (99) was shadowed by anxiety for the future of the Soviet Union. As usual, American liberals and progressives, who shunned the Socialist name while faithfully playing the game, echoed the sentiments of their British tutors with a special urgency of their own. They could hardly wait to pour out the products of American industry and skill in defense of the threatened Socialist Fatherland.
On July 27, FDR dispatched Hopkins as his confidential messenger to Stalin with an immediate offer of Lend-Lease aid, even though Soviet Russia was not yet an Ally of the United States. At that time public opinion in America was strongly opposed to this country’s entering the war, and few persons outside the President’s official family realized the extent of his private commitments, not only to Churchill but also to Stalin. Less than a year before, Roosevelt had won election for the third time by virtue of his promise to the mothers and fathers of America: “I am not going to send your sons into any foreign war.” That meant he could not ask the Congress to declare war against the Axis powers, unless the United States were attacked. In such case, as FDR pointed out to intimates, it would no longer be a “foreign” war!
Hard upon Hitler’s invasion of Russia, the New Deal Administration proceeded to exert such diplomatic pressure on Japan as could hardly fail to provoke an open breach. It is interesting to find that Vice President Henry Wallace, by then an outspoken friend of Soviet Russia, took the initiative of writing to his Chief: “I do hope, Mr. President, you will go to the absolute limit in your firmness in dealing with Japan.”(100) By November, 1941, if not before, it was apparent to such informed persons as Harry Hopkins that war in the Pacific would come at the convenience of the Japanese(101)—the only question being where and when. Soviet Russia, it has since been learned from captured Japanese police records, thoughtfully arranged to help bring about the required incident.
Through the intrigues of a Dr. Richard Sorge, Red Army Intelligence operative, Japanese militarists were persuaded, during the summer and fall of 1941, to strike southward at American, French, Dutch and British possessions, instead of northward at Soviet territory. (102) Sorge, a German citizen but a member of the Russian Communist Party, (103) had managed to entrench himself as press attache at the Nazi Embassy in Tokyo. Because his nine-year old spy ring also had contacts with influential and high-ranking Japanese, he succeeded in engineering the desired coup.
On October 15, just a day or two before his arrest in a general police roundup, Sorge was able to radio Moscow that his mission had been accomplished and that Japan would strike to the South. The blow fell at Pearl Harbor on December 7. More than two thousand Americans lost their lives, the U.S. Pacific Fleet was crippled, and the United States became an Ally of Soviet Russia.
Thereafter aid unlimited would flow from America to the Workers’ Fatherland. In a letter of March 7, 1942 to United States war agencies, Roosevelt ordered that priority in munitions be given to the Russians above all other Allies and even above the armed services of the United States. Technically, the Lend-Lease Act of 1941 had stipulated that war materiel could only be sent abroad if the Army and Navy Chiefs of Staff certified it was not required for American military forces. This posed no problem, however, for the Commander-in-chief or his personal Lend-Lease representative, Harry Hopkins. According to Hopkins’ biographer, General George C. Marshall expressed the belief that he originally owed his appointment as Army Chief of Staff to Harry Hopkins. (104)
From beginning to end, it was Hopkins to whom Roosevelt entrusted the task of dispensing weapons, equipment, machinery and raw materials to our overseas Allies on a scale never seen before in history. Comparatively, the amounts that had been expended on the WPA were mere small change. Under the impetus of the war emergency, 60 billion dollars worth of assorted supplies were freely given away, with little if any ever refunded or expected to be. “Let’s forget the silly, foolish old dollar sign!” President Roosevelt gaily told the American people in one of his more famous “fireside chats.”
Of the total, a recorded 11 billion dollars went to Soviet Russia, though the real value has never been accurately assessed. Such munificence not only insured the salvation of the Bolshevik Government, whose pact with Adolf Hitler had touched off World War II. It also made possible those secret postwar stockpiles (105) which enabled the Red Army to annex its Baltic and Balkan neighbors as well as Hungary, Poland, Czechoslovakia and East Germany in the years immediately following World War II.
By contrast, only a trickle of warplanes went to Chiang Kai-shek’s China, ostensibly an Ally, whom we should aid, at a time when the capital, Chungking, was being bombed daily, on a twelve-hour schedule. Of the materiel that did reach Chiang Kai-shek, some lacked spare parts and some was unfit for combat use.(106) Hopkins never found time to get to Chungking himself, though he made several trips under almost equally hazardous conditions to London and Moscow. For the most part, he left the mangled details of China aid to his assistant, Lauchlin Currie—later named by Elizabeth Bentley testifying before the Senate Subcommittee on Internal Security as a “full-fledged member of the Silvermaster [Communist] group” (107) and a prime collaborator of wartime Soviet espionage groups in Washington.
As the undisputed czar of Lend-Lease, operating sometimes with and sometimes without portfolio, Hopkins was in his element. Temperamentally, there was nothing he enjoyed more than spending money, and no one ever had more to spend. Caring little for titles or personal wealth, he was entranced by the perquisites and the sense of power—a point of view that he seems to have shared with many Socialist and Communist leaders.
Warned by the experience of an earlier White House confidant, Colonel House, Hopkins was careful not to overplay his hand. Prudently he described himself as no more than an office boy, and he displayed such intense devotion to the President that newsmen remarked that Hopkins would have jumped off the Washington Monument if FDR had happened to suggest it. Yet in the area of wartime production and distribution, Harry Hopkins was in effect the Deputy President of the United States, a function quite unforeseen by the framers of the Constitution.
In matters of the gravest consequence, he was both intermediary and adviser to the President, making his headquarters at the Executive Mansion and actually residing for several years in the Lincoln bedroom. Chronically ill with a nutritional ailment following an operation for stomach cancer, Hopkins summoned from some mysterious reserve the energy to serve as expediter and hidden persuader for the duration of the war.
Besides the ever present Dr. Isadore Lubin, Hopkins’ own preferred aides included Leon Henderson of the Office of Price Administration and Sidney Hillman and Robert Nathan of the Office of Production Management. (108) Of these, Lubin and Hillman were long time officers of the (Fabian Socialist) LID; while Henderson became a founding member of the postwar Americans for Democratic Action.
At the American Embassy in London, where John Winant reigned and Benjamin V. Cohen acted as wartime counsel, Hopkins could fraternize unseen with top British Fabian Socialists, among them Herbert Morrison, Home Secretary and Minister of Home Security in Churchill’s coalition Cabinet. (109) As early as 1940, Hopkins had written to Roosevelt, ‘We must marshal our complete economic strength for the task of defense,” adding in approved Fabian Socialist vein: “This means that instead of retreating from our social and economic objectives, we should push forward vigorously to abolish poverty from the land.” (110)
It was through Hopkins that the apparently nonpolitical Dr. Vannevar Bush, then Dean of Engineering at Massachusetts Institute of Technology, felt constrained to submit his now famous memorandum to the President on new weapons research, notably in the field of atomic fission. Together with Hopkins, Dr. Bush prepared a letter of authorization for FDR’s signature, setting up the organization that led to development of the atom bomb. In conversations at Casablanca during January, 1943, Winston Churchill discussed atomic matters with Roosevelt in Hopkins’ presence. A month later Churchill initiated a lengthy cable correspondence on the subject with Hopkins. The Prime Minister protested because the United States had suddenly ceased pooling information on atomic research with its British Ally. (111)
The reason was that in December, 1942, at a secret laboratory located under the stands of the University of Chicago’s Stagg Field, a team of American scientists had finally succeeded in splitting the atom. At this point the project moved from the research stage into the field of weapon design and construction, under control of the War Department. Dr. Bush spelled out the revised information policy in a memorandum of March 31 to Hopkins, which concluded: “To step beyond it would mean to furnish information on secret military matters to individuals who wish it either because of general interest or because of its application to non-war or postwar matters. To do so would decrease security without advancing the war effort.” (112)
Clearly, Hopkins was one of a very few persons who were conversant from the start with the atom bomb project in America. He was also precisely informed on the policy called for by military security. If he chose to ignore or override such precautions, it could only be attributed either to an incurable lightness of mind or a well developed tendency to favor other interests above those of the United States.
Not until late in 1949 was it definitely proved, on the strength of reliable records and equally reliable United States Army witnesses, that wartime Federal agencies had shipped to Soviet Russia rare chemicals and minerals suitable for use in atomic research, along with miles of alloy tubing and pipe that could be used in construction of an atomic pile. At least three-quarters of a ton of uranium chemicals were found to have been delivered through Lend-Lease channels to Russia in March and June, 1943, and in June, 1944. It was further confirmed that 2.2 pounds of pure uranium was sent from this country to the Soviet Union at a moment when the entire American stock amounted to 4.5 pounds.(113)
Such forbidden items could not possibly have moved through the Lend-Lease pipeline without official United States certificates of release, (114) issued by order of Harry Hopkins. Responsible testimony was given to a committee of Congress indicating that Hopkins was not merely aware of these transactions but took a keen interest in pushing them through. In March, 1943, when information on atomic matters was apparently being withheld from Churchill, an official but apparently purloined map of the Oak Ridge atomic plant and a report on details of its construction went forward to Russia by plane via Great Falls, Montana. Clipped to the documents was a covering letter on White House stationery, signed simply H. H. and addressed to A. I. Mikoyan, then Soviet Deputy of Foreign Trade in charge of Lend-Lease at the receiving end.(115) Here was the supreme example of what Soviet Purchasing Commission employees in New York referred to ironically as Super-Lend-Lease!
The Fabian face cards in the New Deal have been exposed. For the first time in history a program of gradualist Socialism, backed by political power and perpetuated by every trick of applied psychology, was put into effect. Instigated by the foremost brains of the London Society, it was implemented by Fabian Socialist intellectuals and welfare workers in the United States who used many well-meaning or accommodating citizens as unconscious tools. Above all, its leaders had access to the apparently limitless industrial and financial resources of the greatest capitalist nation on earth. Thus the Fabian Socialist movements in America and England moved into a new phase, in which nomenclature did not matter and where dealings between governments were manipulated on instructions from International Socialists in London. Without the combined efforts of highly placed Fabian Socialists both in England and America, the apparently uneasy but none the less recurrent coalition of the Second and Third Internationals could never have come about.
1. Harry W. Laidler and Norman Thomas, Editors, The Socialism of Our Times. A Symposium by Harry Elmer Barnes, Stuart Chase, Paul H. Douglas, Morris Hillquit, Harold J. Laski, Roger N. Baldwin, Paul Blanshard, H. S. Raushenbush and others. (New York, The Vanguard Press, Inc.–League for Industrial Democracy, 1929). “Introduction,” by Harry W. Laidler, pp. Xi ff. “It may be called by some other name.”
2. Mark Starr, “Cheer Up Comrade cole!” Institute of Social Studies Bulletin, Rand School, (Summer, 1952), p. 68. Starr wrote: “As Socialism, collectivism, public ownership and control become necessary in the United States, they will be adopted in specific instances and cases. It may be called by some other name, but, as in the case of the Tennessee Valley Authority, public ownership will be applied after appropriate discussion and debate if the need is demonstrated; and there will be no quibbling about whether Marx, Stalin or Cole would okay that action.”
3. See Appendix II.
4. According to testimony given in 1952 before the Reece Special Committee of the House of Representatives to Investigate Tax-exempt Foundations.
5. See appendix II. For Freda Kirchwey’s friendship with Laski, see Kingsley Martin, Harold Laski: A Biographical Memoir (New York, The Viking Press, Inc., 1953), p. 128. “Freda Kirchwey, editor of the New York Nation, an old friend . . . whose political opinions had developed similar lines to his own [Laski’s].”
6. Stuart Chase, A New Deal (New York, The Macmillan Co., 1932), pp. 155-156.
7. Ibid., pp. 190-193.
8. H. S. Raushenbush, “Some Measures in Transition,” The Socialism of Our Times. A Symposium. Harry W. Laidler and Norman Thomas, eds. (New York, The Vanguard Press, Inc.–League for Industrial Democracy, 1929), p. 42.
9. Ibid., p. 40. “Yet the problem of government officials is a major problem of immediate socialism. In Germany, after the revolution, the bureaucracy was nationalist and nearly sabotaged the republican government until it had been replaced. One good man with his eyes, ears and wits about him, inside the department–whether it be the Interior where the oil scandal started and the Boulder Dam Bill received most active support, or the Treasury where the taxation scandals breed and the government tax policies originate–can do more to perfect the technique of control over industry than a hundred men outside.”
10. Ibid., p. 45.
11. “Livingstone Hall Lectures.” Fabian News (May, 1934).
12. Frances Perkins, The Roosevelt I Knew (New York, The Viking Press, 1946) p. 18.
13. In 1920 Florence Kelley was also president of the Intercollegiate Socialist Society, and after 1921 a vice president of the League for Industrial Democracy.
14. Perkins, op. cit., pp. 30-32.
15. See Appendix IV.
16. See Appendix II.
17. House was responsible for naming young Roosevelt, as Assistant Secretary of the Navy, to the Advisory Interdepartmental Committee. There Roosevelt’s friendship with Felix Frankfurter, then counsel for the War Labor Policy Board, seems to have begun.
18. Forty Years of Education (New York, League for Industrial Democracy, 1945), p. 16.
19. In her Livingstone Hall lecture, reported in Fabian News of May, 1934, A. Susan Lawrence, M. P. said that, while the tone of the New York press was comparatively critical, an “American expert” (who was evidently a Briton) had remarked to her: “The Wireless can whip the Press al the time.”
20. See Appendix V.
21. A sharply graduated system of income and inheritance taxes had been advocated by the American Fabian League in the eighteen-nineties. In 1928 it was still a plank in the official program of the American Socialist Party. Members of the Socialist National Campaign Committee, which issued the 1928 handbook containing that program, were listed on the cover as follows: “W. E. Woodward, Norman Thomas, Freda Kirchwey, McAllister Coleman, Paul Blanshard, James O’Neal, Harry Elmer Barnes, James H. Maurer, Lewis Gannett, Victor Berger, Louis Waldman.” All, without exception, have been officers and/or directors of the League for Industrial Democracy.
22. Seymour E. Harris, John Maynard Keynes. Economist and Policy Maker (New York, Charles Scribner’s Sons, 1955), p. 208.
23. Public Ownership. A Monthly Journal Published by the Public Ownership League of America. Carl D. Thompson, Editor. (Chicago, December, 1923), p. 53. Eleven members of Congress, including Senator Norris and Congressman Fiorello La Guardia, were named as supporting the Public Ownership League. The same journal stated in June, 1935 p. 72: “The Public Ownership League now has some ten or fifteen members of Congress who are also members of the Public Ownership League.”
24. The Call Magazine (July, 1917), p. 7. This magazine, a Socialist publication, described the Public Ownership League as “strictly non-partisan,” and added: “Many noted and prominent members of the Socialist Party, including two members of the present Executive Committee, are members of the League.”
25. The name of Carl D. Thompson appeared on Socialist Party letterheads and campaign leaflets from 1912 to 1916.
26. Public Ownership (February, 1924), pp. 54-55.
27. Ibid. Other members of the committee included: James P. Noonan, International President of the Electrical Workers; Ben Marsh, Executive Secretary of the National Farmers’ Council; Jennie Buell, Michigan State Grange; Charles K. Mohler, consulting engineer, Chicago.
28. Washington Star (November 8, 1931).
29. The Call Magazine (July, 1917), p. 7.
30. Public Ownership (February, 1924), p. 58.
31. H. Stephen Raushenbush, “Cataclysmic Socialism or Encroaching Control,” New Leader (March 5, 1926).
32. H. Stephen Raushenbush, “Program for the Gradual Socialization of Industry,” New Leader (March 12, 1927).
33. Dexter M. Keezer and Stacy May, The Public Control of Business. A Study of Anti-Trust Law Enforcement, Public Interest Regulations, and Government Participation in Business (New York, Harper & Brothers, 1930 edition).
34. Chattanooga News (March 1, 1935).
35. The New York Times (June 6, 1937). “Our Dreams Come True. Our plan for a Public Power System for the United States Slowly but Surely Being Realized,” Public Ownership of Public Utilities (September, 1937).
36. Public Ownership of Public Utilities (September, 1937), p. 76.
37. Norman Thomas, Democratic Socialism: A New Appraisal, (New York, League for Industrial Democracy, 1953), p. 6. “Of recent years the majority of American Socialists have been–I think correctly–insistent that the model for what is socially owned is not the Post Office Department but the Tennessee Valley Authority, with provision for direct representation of workers and consumers on it.”
38. Quoted in the New Republic (September 15, 1958).
39. Rand School Bulletin, 1934-35.
40. Public Ownership (December, 1923), p. 53.
41. Other issues of Fabian News show Davies to have been a frequent visitor to the United States in the nineteen-thirties. His biography in Who’s Who describes him as follows: Alderman and past Chairman of the London County Council; Fellow, Royal Economic Society; former lecturer in Economics, University of Leeds; Member, Permanent Bureau International Union of Cities; Chairman, City and Commercial Investment Trust, London, England. In 1923 his son, Ernest Davies, who succeeded his father on the Fabian Executive, worked for the New York Globe.
42. Public Ownership (February, 1924), p. 55.
43. A. E.’s real name was George William Russell. Born an Orangeman in Lurgan County, Ireland, he discovered Theosophy in 1898 and the Fabian Society soon afterwards. In 1930-31 he spent a year in the United States lecturing on agricultural cooperatives to farmers from Maine to California. In 1934 he made another lecture tour, linking the New Deal’s rural electrification schemes with his own cooperative farm propaganda. He contributed to Commonweal, Catholic World, The Nation, The New Republic, etc. See Biography of Twentieth Century American Authors (New York, Appleton-Century-Crofts, 1954).
44. Harold Ware was the son of Communist Ella Reeve Bloor. He had previously been decorated with the Order of Lenin for his work on State farms in the USSR. Members of the original cell included Alger Hiss, Lee Pressman, John Abt and Nathaniel Weyl, according to testimony given before the Internal Security Subcommittee of the Senate judiciary Committee.
45. Stuart Chase, Rich Land, Poor Land (New York, McGraw-Hill, Inc., 1936), p. 246.
46. Stuart Chase, A New Deal (New York, The Macmillan Co., 1932), p. 252.
47. R. L. Martin, American Aviation (May, 1948). First report of that curious population movement appeared in American Aviation. Its scope and purpose were revealed in a subsequent investigation by the New York World Telegram.
48. See Appendix II.
49. W. Averell Harriman has held many diplomatic and administrative posts under the Roosevelt and Truman Administrations. He was Governor of New York from 1955 to 1959. In the Kennedy and Johnson Administrations he has served as Assistant Secretary and Under Secretary of State for Far Eastern Affairs, and finally Roving Ambassador.
50. Perkins op. cit., p. 206.
51. Ibid., p. 10 ff.
52. Ibid., pp. 104-105.
53. See Appendix II.
54. Perkins, op. cit., p. 355.
55. Robert Sherwood, Roosevelt and Hopkins, An Intimate History (New York, Harper & Brothers, 1948), p. 216.
56. Ibid., p. 286. (Author’s Note: Isadore Lubin was posted after the war to the United Nations. As U. S. Delegate to the UN Social and Economic Council in 1951, he joined British Socialist delegates in pushing through a resolution to set up the Ad Hoc Committee on Restrictive Business Practices. This would have exposed American firms doing business abroad to surveillance and prosecution by a proposed International Trade Organization operating under the Havana charter which accepted State owned monopolies and cartels as benign. It was not until 1955 that the U. S. Delegation ceased officially to collaborate in this project. As of 1962, Dr. Lubin was listed as Professor of Public Affairs at Rutgers University.)
57. The lengths to which research in Applied Psychology, as a means of molding public opinion, was being carried at that time can be inferred from an article appearing in the Journal of Social Psychology (February, 1934). Written by A. D. Annis and N. C. Meier, it was solemnly entitled: “The Induction of Opinion Through Suggestion, by Means of Planted Content.”
58. Perkins, op. cit., p. 278.
59. Michael Stewart, M. P., “Labour and the Monarchy,” Fabian Journal (March, 1952).
60. Perkins, op. cit., pp. 283-284.
61. Ibid., p. 294.
62. Ibid., p. 286.
63. Frank R. Kent of the Baltimore Sun claimed Hopkins had made this statement to a mutual friend, Max Gordon, at the Empire racetrack in New York. Hopkins naturally disavowed it.
64. The late Philip Noel-Baker, a recipient of the Socialist-controlled Nobel Peace Prize, was a Quaker who succumbed to the lure of Fabian “peace” propaganda. As a youth he attended Haverford College in Pennsylvania, and until his death continued to cultivate many friendships in the United States.
65. Kingsley Martin, Harold Laski: A Biographical Memoir (New York, The Viking Press, Inc., 1953), p. 139.
66. “Luncheon to the American Ambassador,” Fabian News (October, 1941).
67. Martin, op. cit., pp. 139-141. Following the Allied victory in Europe, Winant served on the European Advisory Council, being himself advised by George F. Kennan and Philip E. Mosely. Winant was later reported to have died a suicide.
67a. In June, 1966 George Meany led an AFL-CIO labor delegation out of the International Labor Organization, because a Polish Communist had been elected that year to head the ILO. Meany had never protested in other years, however, when international Socialists were chosen to fill the same post.
68. Helen Shirley Thomas, Felix Frankfurter: Scholar on the Bench (Baltimore, Johns Hopkins University Press, 1960), p. 23.
69. Under the heading, “Provincial Societies,” Fabian Society Annual Reports for 1925 through 1930 listed “the league for Industrial Democracy of New York.” Organizations like the Civil Liberties Union, the National Farmers Council, and the Public Ownership League were in turn offshoots of the ISS-LID.
70. Reorganized in 1934 as a quasi-official body, it was later called the National Planning Association.
71. Public Ownership (June, 1935). In 1939-1941 Carl Thompson was employed as a consultant to the Bonneville Power Administration, according to testimony given by its director at hearings before the Subcommittee on Appropriations, 76th Congress, Third Session.
72. Washington Post (January 16, 1947).
73. See Appendix V.
74. Sherwood, op. cit., p. 52.
75. Ibid., p. 5.
76. Perkins, op. cit., p. 128.
77. Williams has been identified as a Communist before congressional committees; but denies this.
78. Sherwood, op. cit., p. 109.
79. Ibid., pp. 23; pp. 44-45.
80. Ibid., pp. 21-22.
81. Ibid., p. 27. (Author’s Note: Hopkins remained some seven years with the New York Tuberculosis and Health Association. As late as September 8, 1932 (ibid., p. 32) he wrote his brother, Lewis, that he was still being carried on the organization’s staff. Robert Sherwood, Hopkins’ biographer and friend, says (ibid., p. 28) that Hopkins greatly increased the Association’s income, principally through the sale of Christmas seals. Soon after Hopkins resigned, a letter from New York City Health Commissioner to The New York Times of June 8, 1932 stated that not one penny of the funds raised form the sale of Christmas seals ever went to the relief of a person with tuberculosis or to an institution for his care. It was subsequently charged that “all its money had been expended for salaries and overhead.”)
82. Ibid., p. 109.
83. Ibid., p. 30. (Author’s Note: Hopkins’ contact with Eleanor Roosevelt was initiated through Dr. John A. Kingsbury of the Association for Improving the Condition of the Poor, who had known Eleanor Roosevelt for years as a co-member of the Association for Labor Legislation. Dr. Kingsbury had befriended Hopkins from the time of the latter’s arrival in New York and had employed him as an assistant. Hopkins subsequently took Dr. Kingsbury to Washington as one of his own assistants on WPA.)
84. Ibid., p. 148.
85. Stuart Chase, Rich Land, Poor Land (New York, McGraw-Hill, Inc., 1936), p. 328.
86. Fabian News (December, 1934).
87. Sir Norman Angell, After All: Autobiography of Sir Norman Angell (New York, Farrar, Straus and Young, 1951), p. 264.
88. Perkins, op. cit., p. 110. (Illustration.)
89. Fabian News (November, 1941). In this issue it was announced that Betty Shields-Collins, just returned from America, would lecture November 17 at an International Affairs Group “snack luncheon meeting” on “The U. S. A. and the U. S. S. R.” She was described as “General Secretary to the World Youth Congress Movement until the outbreak of war; has visited America both before the war and since; is secretary to the Society’s Anglo-American group; organized the recent International Youth Rally.”
90. Martin Dies, The Martin Dies Story (New York, The Bookmailer, 1963), pp. 150-151.
91. Interlocking Subversion in Government Departments, Report and Hearings of the Subcommittee on Internal Security of the Committee on the Judiciary. U. S. Senate, 83rd Congress (Washington, U. S. Government Printing Office, 1953-54), p. 10.
92. Ibid., pp. 10-14 ff.
93. Associated Press dispatch, November 6, 1953. Chicago speech by Attorney General Herbert Brownell. (See also testimony of J. Edgar Hoover before Senate Subcommittee on Internal Security, November 17, 1953.)
94. The New York Times (June 23, 1942). This phrase is from a speech delivered by Harry Hopkins at a Russian Aid Rally in Madison Square Garden, June 22.
95. Robert Morris, No Wonder We Are Losing (New York, The Bookmailer, Eighth Edition, 1961), pp. 38-45. Memorandum for the Secretary of the Navy, signed FDR, quoted on p. 41.
96. Ibid., pp. 43-44.
97. Ibid., pp. 45-46.
98. Life magazine (June 30, 1949). Report of conversation with FDR by former Ambassador to Moscow, William G. Bullitt.
99. Margaret Cole, The Story of Fabian Socialism (London, Heinemann Educational Books, Ltd., 1961), p. 270.
100. Robert E. Sherwood, Roosevelt and Hopkins (New York, Harper and Brothers, 1948, 1950), p. 357. Letter from Wallace to FDR.
101. Ibid., pp. 426-427. Testimony of commander L. R. Schulz to Joint Committee on the Investigation of Pearl Harbor.
102. Cf. The Sorge spy Ring. Section of CIS Periodical Summary No. 23, December 15, 1947, Department of the Army (Washington, U. S. Government Printing Office).
103. Ibid., (Sorge’s sponsors to the Russian communist Party included Dimitri Z. Manuilsky, member of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union, and more recently a representative to the United Nations from the Ukraine.)
104. Sherwood, op. cit., p. 101.
105. Hearings Regarding Shipments of Atomic Materials to the Soviet Union During World War II, House of Representatives Committee on Un-American Activities (Washington, 1950), U. S. Government Printing Office, pp. 947-950. Testimony of Major General Leslie R. Groves, “I am sure,” said General Groves, “if you would check on the pressure on officers handling all supplies of a military nature during the war, you will find the pressure to give to Russia everything that could be given was not limited to atomic matters. . . . That particular plant was oil refinery equipment, and in my opinion was purely postwar Russian supply, as you know much of it was.”
106. Sherwood, op. cit., p. 406 ff.
107. Interlocking Subversion in Government Departments. Report and Hearings of the Subcommittee on Internal Security of the Committee on the Judiciary, U. S. Senate, 83rd Congress (Washington, U. S. Government Printing Office, 1953, 1954).
108. Sherwood, op. cit., p. 287.
109. Ibid., p. 351. In 1941 Hopkins wrote a cordial note to Herbert Morrison: “I have your tin hat for La Guardia and shall give it to him with your warmest greetings. I much regretted not seeing you and having a discussion over a high-ball. We shall do that yet.”
110. Ibid., p. 180.
111. Ibid., pp. 154-155; 703-704.
112. Ibid., p. 704.
113. Hearings Regarding Shipments of Atomic Materials to the Soviet Union During World War II. Testimony of Major George Racey Jordan, pp. 930 ff.
114. Ibid., p. 90. Major General Leslie R. Groves, in charge of the Manhattan Project, stated there was no way for the Russians to have gotten uranium products in this country “without the support of U. S. authorities in one way or another.”
115. Ibid., p. 930 ff. Testimony of Major Jordan.