Arthur Krock, "The Government Is for Any One Who Fights Hitler", NYT, June 24, 1941, Page 18
Turner Catledge, "Our Policy Stated", NYT, June 24, 1941, Pages 1 and 7
OUR POLICY STATED
Welles Says Defeat of Hitler Conquest Plans Is Greatest Task
ATTACK ON NAZIS IS BITTER
Thrive Into Russia Is Termed "Treacherous" – Aid to Soviet Is Held Sure if It Asks
By TURNER CATLEDGE
Special to The New York Times
WASHINGTON, June 23 – Condemning communism and nazism as "intolerable" to the people of the United States, but still viewing the defeat of Reichsfuehrer Hitler's attempt at conquest as the greatest task facing the world, the United States Government gave Soviet Russia ground for hope today for material assistance in her war against Germany.
The United States position toward the new turn of events in Europe was stated by Sumner Welles, Acting Secretary of State, speaking for President Roosevelt, in one of the bitterest official denunciations of the present leadership in Germany to come from the Washington government since the war started.
Mr. Welles said that if any further proof conceivably were required of the real purposes of the present German leaders, for world domination, it was provided by the "treacherous" attack on Russia. He added that the purposes of Germany's "non-aggression" pacts stood fully revealed and left no question that to, the present German Government,"the very meaning of the word 'honor' is unknown."
As between a communistic dictatorship and a Nazi dictatorship, there is no choice, as far as the people of this country are concerned, Mr. Welles continued. The United States Government has often stated and the President has often reiterated, he said, that the United States maintains the principle of freedom of worship as undeniable, whereas that right has been denied their peoples by the Russian and German Governments.
But Hitlerism and its threat of world conquest, Mr. Welles contended, is the main issue before the world.
"Hitler's armies are today the chief dangers of the Americas," he said.
Mr. Welles left the question as to what this country proposed to do next hanging in the air. Speaking again for the President, he warned against speculation as to whether Russia would be made a beneficiary of the lease-lend policy. He simply noted that the law empowered the President to extend material war aid to any nation whose defense he deems vital to the defense of the United States.
In one of the conferences with the President that preceded the statement of broad policy toward the Russo-German outbreak, Mr. Welles said, the Executive declared that if he were asked about the possibilities of lease-lend aid for the Soviet he would not know the answer at this time. Mr. Welles explained further that the Soviet Government had not yet made any request for aid.
Help for the Asking Is Seen
Regardless of all the admonitions against speculating and the technicalities involved, there was ho suppressing of the feeling in Washington that Russia would receive material aid from the United States if she asked it, whether directly or through the British. But the matter of the extent of the assistance is dependent upon many factors, notably transportation facilities and access to Russian ports.
Moreover, the method of offering and extending aid may be influenced by political considerations in this country. Under the practice followed since the "all out" aid policy was adopted, the British have had the privilege of designating where materials are to be sent. Being first on the firing line and in general charge of strategy, they have had supervision of distribution.
Viscount Halifax, the British Ambassador, conferred with the President on the Russo-German war and Allied aid in general today, having met earlier with Constantine Oumansky, the Soviet Ambassador. Lord Halifax was accompanied to the White House by three assistants to the British Ministry of Defense Supply — Lieut. Gen. Colville Wemyss, Admiral Sir Charles Little and Air Marshal Arthur Harris.
The Ambassador declined to discuss in detail the British position on the question of aid to Russia except to point to what Prime Minister Winston Churchill said in his international broadcast yesterday.
"Keep on Battering Hitler"
"The best help that we could give Russia is to keep on battering Hitler as much as we can, the Ambassador declared. Asked whether Russia would seek aid by this country, he said he had no doubt that the Soviet Ambassador would be discussing that with the State Department if he had any instructions.
Mr. Welles explained that the department's reticence, to discuss the Russian-German situation in detail was due in large part to the fragmentary nature of reports from the scene of hostilities. The department is awaiting more definite word before even advising the President on invoking the provisions of the Neutrality law against Russia, he explained.
Mr. Welles gave some credence to reports that the German attack on Russia might speed the issuance of a general license for frozen Russian funds in the United States. Secretary of the Treasury Henry Morgenthau Jr. said later at a press conference of his own that there had been no discussions concerning the freezing order since the new hostilities starred, although there had been a preliminary conference with a Russian representative last week.
Hull Consulted on Policy
The Acting Secretary of State said he could not say immediately whether the government would act to free machine-tool shipments to Russia, which have been held up for several months despite protests by Ambassador Oumansky. Mr. Welles stressed early in his press conference that Secretary Cordell Hull, now recuperating from a recent illness, had been consulted on all phases of policy in regard to the new development. Mr. Hull left later in the day for a rest at White Sulphur Springs, W. Va.
President Roosevelt kept in constant touch with the war situation during the day. He talked twice by telephone with Mr. Welles early this morning and then summoned him to his study in the White House for a personal conversation before the Acting Secretary issued the statement outlining the government's general attitude toward the changed situation.
It was/very apparent that officials were moving slowly and cautiously in reaching decisions on specific acts relative to the Russo-German conflict, but they wanted to get on the record definitely and quickly with their broader view of the matter.
TEXT OF STATEMENT
If any further proof could conceivably be required of the real purposes and projects of the present leaders of Germany for world domination, it is now furnished by Hitler's treacherous attack upon Soviet Russia.
We see once more, beyond peradventure of doubt, with what intent the present Government of Germany negotiates "non-aggression pacts". To the leaders of the German Reich sworn engagements to refrain from hostile acts against other countries — engagements regarded in a happier and civilized world as contracts to the faithful observance of which the honor of nations themselves was pledged — are but a symbol of deceit and constitute a dire warning on the part of Germany of hostile and murderous intent.
To the present German Government the very meaning of the word "honor" is unknown.
This government often has stated and in many of his public statements the President has declared that the United States maintains that freedom to worship God as their consciences dictate is the great and fundamental right of all peoples. This right has been denied to their peoples by both the Nazi and the Soviet Governments.
To the people of the United States this and other principles and doctrines of communistic dictatorship are as intolerable and as alien to their own beliefs as are the principles and doctrines of Nazi dictatorship. Neither kind of imposed overlordship can have, or will have, any support or any sway in the mode of life, or in the system of government of the American people.
But the immediate issue that presents itself to the people of the United States is whether the p[l]an for universal conquest, for the cruel and brutal enslavement of all peoples and for the ultimate destruction of the remaining free democracies which Hitler is now desperately trying to carry out, is to be successfully halted and defeated.
That is the present issue which faces a realistic America. It is the issue at this moment which most directly involves our own national defense and the security of the New World in which we live.
In the opinion of this government, consequently any defense against Hitlerism, any rallying of the forces opposing Hitlerism, from whatever source these forces may spring, will hasten the eventual downfall of the present German leaders, and will therefore redound to the benefit of our own defense and security.
Hitler's armies are today the chief dangers of the Americas.
Isolationists Press Arguments
Congressional reaction to the newest turn of the European war was reserved, except among the isolationists, who took it as another and conclusive reason why the United States should avoid all connection with it.
"It's a case of dog eat dog", said Senator Bennett C. Clark, Democrat, of Missouri. "Stalin is as bloody-handed as Hitler. I don't think we should help either one. We should tend to bur own business, as we should have been doing all along. The whole business shows the absolute instability of European alliances and points to the necessity of our staying out of all of them."
Senator Harry Truman, Democrat, of Missouri, suggested that the United States helps whichever side seemed to be losing.
"If we see that Germany is winning we ought to help Russia and if Russia is winning we ought to help Germany and that way let them kill as many us possible, although I don't want to see Hitler victorious under any circumstances. Neither of them think anything of their pledged word."
'Senator William J. Bulow, Democrat, of South Dakota, said:
"My notion is that if we just let Europe alone and stay out we are not going to get into any trouble. I would not be in favor of helping Russia at all. Hitler will soon have so much territory he will have plenty of trouble handling it."
Senator Elbert Thomas, Democrat, of, Utah, said the conflict raised questions that "we shouldn't decide today".
"The big question to me is the, Far Eastern situation, to see whether this action by Germany in breaking with one of her partners has dissolved the tripartite agreement", Senator Thomas said. "We should wait to see what Japan will do — whether it is going to work more strongly with Germany and Italy and help crush Russia. As far as I am concerned, it does not affect our internal policy in the least. We should go ahead and continue our defense program and strive all the harder to make a unit of the Americas."
Senator Ame Murdock, Democrat, of Utah, said the conflict was a "most emphatic indication that our high morals just couldn't fit into the European situation."
Senator Robert M. La Follette, Wisconsin Progressive, predicted that with Germany fighting Russia, "interventionists in the United States would put on "the greatest whitewash act in all history" in their attempt to involve this country in war.
In a signed editorial that he wrote to appear in The Progressive, his party's official organ, next I Saturday, Mr. La Follete said:
"The American people will be told to forget the purges in Russia by the OGPU, the confiscation of property, the persecution of religion, the invasion of Finland, and the vulture role Stalin played in seizing half of prostrate Poland, all of Latvia, Estonia and Lithuania. These will be made to seem the acts of a 'democracy' preparing to fight Nazism."