WASHINGTON (Jan. 3)
Reporting that “ism” groups were fast losing membership and prestige in the United States, the Dies Committee on Un-American Activities, in its report delivered to Congress at noon today, called for “earnest effort” by the American people and “vigorous action” by law-enforcing agencies to speed the decline of subversive organizations.
Not more than 1,000,000 people have been affected by un-American activities and the remaining 131,000,000 remain loyal to American institutions, said the report, based on the committee’s hearings held over the past year. It asked for continuation of the investigation, which officially expired today.
Nazi and Fascist organizations in the United States were denounced as making their chief appeal to “the basest forms of religious and racial hatred.”
The committee declared that “probably the largest, best financed and certainly the best publicized” Fascist group is the Silver Shirt Legion of America, whose leader is Pelley. It added:
“From the documentary evidence and testimony before the committee concerning the activities of Pelley, the conclusion that he is a racketeer engaged in mulcting thousands of dollars annually from his fanatical and misled followers and credulous people all Over the United States and certain foreign countries, is inescapable.”
The report, which failed to recommend any specific legislation, urged, however that laws now on the statute books under which these organizations could be prosecute be vigorously enforced. The 20,000-word report, which equally condemned Nazi and Communist leaders and organizations, mentioned Father Charles E. Coughlin only once when it said that his publication, Social Justice, was standard reading in German-American Bund camps.
While the Nazi-Fascist groups have fallen upon evil days, the report said, they are still seeking a “man on horseback” to unite all factions. Excerpts from the report follow:
“The German-American Bund, the Communist Party, the Silver Shirts and some other similar organizations have fallen upon the darkest days they have seen yet. They are losing both membership and prestige and the time may speedily come when they will cease to be seriously regarded by any one in the United States. If this result is to be achieved, however, the earnest effort of all groups of people in the United States will be required, as well as vigorous action to enforce the laws we now have on our statute books.
“We believe that the committee would render a disservice to the nation if it left the impression in its report that there is anything in the present situation to cause anyone to lose faith in the American people as a whole or their devotion to their basic institutions. Indeed, one of the greatest facts of all that should be recorded in the report of this committee is that on the basis of evidence presented to the committee not over one million people in the United State can be said to have been seriously affected by these essentially foreign or un-American activities. That leaves about 131,000,000 Americans who, in spite of the efforts of Nazis, Fascists, Communists, self styled saviours of America and all the rest, and in spite of the suffering and distress of ten years of unemployment and depression, are still as sound and loyal to American institutions and the democratic way of life as they ever were.
“We owe something to these 131,000,000 people, especially to the poor, the unemployed, the distressed among them. We owe something to our farmers, our worker our business and professional people who have so nobly stood by America, her institutions and ideals through these difficult years. We owe them a solution of the economic and social problem of unnecessary poverty in the midst of possible plenty.”
Without directly asking for a new appropriation for the continuance of the committee, the report presented four reasons why the work of the Dies investigators should go on. It said:
“1. The continually changing international situation, with its direct bearing on the activities of these un-American groups in this country, warrants the constant vigilance of a special investigating committee of the House in the immediate future.
“2. With these un-American groups, both on the Right and on the Left, in a state of confusion as a result of the disclosures by this committee, the events abroad and recent prosecutions by various governmental agencies, it becomes doubly important that such an inquiry be continued to make certain that the aforementioned confusion is turned into complete rout.
“3. Since the advent of the European war, the committee has been deluged with offers of evidence and testimony of extreme importance to the American public and damning to the cause of subversive groups but which could not be accepted because of the shortness of time for preparation of the cases before the life of the committee expired and because of the press of cases already prepared.
“4. Because of several reasons beyond this committees control, numerous important cases were prepared and scores of witnesses obtained, particularly on the West Coast, whose testimony is yet to be heard. The West Coast cases alone would require from a month to two months to hear.
“The committee believes that its efforts to expose un-American activities should keep pace with an active campaign of prosecution by the various agencies of government to the end that American and American institutions may successfully repel these insidious forms of attack by foreign powers.”
President Roosevelt, in his message to Congress today, called for national unity and warned against racial, religious and class hatred. He declared:
“Doctrines which set group against group, faith against faith, race against race, class, against class, fanning the fires of hatred in men too despondent, too desperate to think for themselves, were used as rabble-rousing slogans on which dictators could rise to power. And once in power they could saddle their tyrannies on whole nations and on their weaker neighbors.”
“This is the danger to which we in America must begin to be more alert. For the apologists for foreign aggressors, and equally those selfish and partisan groups at home who wrap themselves in a false mantle of Americanism to promote their own economic, financial or political advantage, are now trying European tricks upon us, seeking to muddy the stream of our national thinking, weakening us in the face of danger, by trying to set our own people to fighting among themselves.
“Such tactics are what have helped to plunge Europe into war. We must combat them, as we would the plague, if American integrity and security are to be preserved We cannot afford to face the future as a disunited people.
“We must as a united people keep ablaze on this continent the flames of human liberty, of reason, of democracy and of fair play as living things to be preserved for the better world that is to come.”