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Washington in Review

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Representative Samuel Dickstein’s resolution for a sweeping congressional investigation of foreign propaganda activities in the United States, which was adopted by the house a little more than a week ago, is now being taken more seriously by a larger number of congressmen. This is the result of recent charges by Dr. William Wirt of Gary, Ind., that there is a conspiracy afoot to overthrow the existing form of government.

Humorous and frightful as Dr. Wirt’s charges appear, the basic fact is that the nation is becoming “propaganda-conscious.” The old reactionaries on Capitol Hill are just becoming aware of the fact that an era of economic and social reform is under way. And so they direct their attention toward the so-called “brain-trusters,” when in reality, according to Representative Dickstein, the issue is one of getting at the source of propaganda subversive to our form of government.

The representative from New York is convinced, from his preliminary investigations, that this subversive propaganda is being sponsored from abroad and is not something that is being cooked up on the inside. Dickstein intends to prove this through the pending investigation authorized by the house.


Representative Alfred L. Bulwinkle of North Carolina, who introduced a resolution calling for an investigation of Dr. Wirt’s charges, may run into some difficulty in getting his resolution adopted, as the Dickstein resolution already approved, presumably has authority which is asked in the Bulwinkle resolution. When it comes up for consideration, it is expected that Representative Dickstein will call this to the attention of the house membership.

Already house members are looking into Dr. Wirt’s record to find out what his affiliations are. Representative George Foulkes of Michigan charged in the house that Dr. Wirt is linked with the Nazis and said that “if Dr. Wirt is not an agent of Hitlerism in America, he is unconsciously serving it as well as any paid tool could serve it.” He urged that the committee authorized by the Dickstein resolution “must by no means fall to take cognizance of the activities of Dr. Wirt.”


Representative Adolph Sabath of Illinois, one of the deans among house members, believes Dr. Wirt’s charges are part of a Wall Street plot. He demanded that Wirt be called before a committee to “tell who is hiring him.” Representative Sabath cited the opposition to the stock exchange bill, NRA and other recovery measures and said that money was being spent “by the thousands to bring about as much opposition to the administration’s program as possible.” He said Dr. Wirt’s accusation was “propaganda pure and simple and is being paid for by such interests.” The representative from Illinois, by the way, is a staunch supporter of President Roosevelt.


When the independent offices appropriation bill was returned to Congress with a veto by the president, among the seventy-two house members siding with the President were three Jewish congressmen. They were Representative Sabath, Representative Emanuel Celler of New York, and Representative Theodore A. Peyser of New York. Representative Henry Ellenbogen of Pennsylvania was among the fifty members of the house who did not vote.


Ambassador William E. Dodd, who has just returned from Berlin on his first visit to the United States since he was named Ambassador to Germany, is one of the busiest diplomats in Washington these days. He is a frequent visitor at the State Department, where important conferences on events in Germany and Europe are discussed. Ambassador Dodd is in a position to give the State Department first-hard information concerning many of the international problems.

The possibilities of a trade agreement between the United States and Germany are coning to the fore in Washington, although no one is quite ready to admit that immediate action is to be taken. At present Germany has an unfavorable trade balance with the United States. This is largely due to the boycotting activities of the American Federation of Labor and of Jews and Gentiles who are opposed to the reign of persecution in Germany under the Hitler government.

Should a trade agreement be negotiated, Germany would have to be granted a favorable trade balance and one way to attain this would be for Germany to stop its persecutions so that Americans would halt the boycott and buy more German goods. Public sentiment for a trade agreement with Germany probably would not be favorable unless persecutions were stopped.

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