Congress Hears Clash on Race Prejudice; Democratic Leader Rebukes Thorkelson
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Congress Hears Clash on Race Prejudice; Democratic Leader Rebukes Thorkelson

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The Congressional Record today carried the extended remarks of Representative Jacob Thorkelson (Rep., Mont.) which late yesterday precipitated a sharp verbal clash between the Montanan and House Majority Leader Sam Rayburn (Dem., Tex.)

When Mr. Thorkelson asked permission of the House to extend his remarks in the Record, normally a routine matter, Mr. Rayburn arose to ask if he intended “as he does so many times” to place in the publication material appealing to racial prejudices.

“In his extension remarks the other day,” Mr. Rayburn declared, “he referred to Communists, various persons engaged in un-American activities, etc., and then named every Jew in the House who is chairman of a committee or a ranking member of a committee. Just what does the gentleman mean by mentioning the names of these Jewish members when referring to those engaged in un-American activities? Then the gentleman quoted the provision in the Constitution to the effect that no person holding an office or trust under the United States shall accept a present, emolument or favor from any king or a foreign state. Did the gentleman intend to accuse the Jewish members of being Communists or infer that they are getting emoluments from foreign countries? I would like to know what is in the gentleman’s mind.”

“I don’t know any reason,” Mr. Thorkelson replied, “why I should tell the gentleman what is in my mind.”

“The gentleman makes terrible accusations against the President,” Mr. Rayburn said, “and inferentially against certain groups. I wonder if the gentleman really desires to spread racial prejudice throughout a country in which all races and creeds have lived together in friendship and patriotism.”

Mr. Thorkelson retorted: “I have the same right to speak as you. I have the right to defend constitutional government and to speak on it.”

Mr. Rayburn: “I do not deny that. Does the gentleman believe he is defending and perpetuating constitutional government or good feeling in the country by placing in the record remarks of this sort?”

Mr. Thorkelson: “We do not sacrifice constitutional government for anyone.”

Representative Donald L. O’Toole (Dem., Bklyn) started to object to permitting Mr. Thorkelson’s extension to go into the Record when Mr. Rayburn said, “Oh, let it go,” and Mr. O’Toole withdrew his objection.

In his extended remarks, Mr. Thorkelson attacked Representative Adolph J. Sabath (Dem.,Ill.) as a Communist and assailed the editors of The Pathfinder, national magazine, which had criticized the Montanan for his anti-Semitism. “I am rather amused,” Mr. Thorkelson said, “when this obnoxious tribe begins to spit communistic venom, for it can end only as before in endless wandering.”

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