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Post Office Asks Powers to Curb Foreign Propaganda

The United States Government will never be able to curb the flood of pro-Nazi and un-American propaganda through the mails unless Congress gives the Post Office Department statutory authority to do so, Jesse M. Donaldson, Deputy First Assistant Postmaster General, admitted to the House Appropriations Committee today during hearings on the Post Office appropriation.

In response to a question by Rep. Louis Ludlow of Indiana regarding the truth of reports that the United States postal system has been carrying a large amount of propaganda mail, Donaldson said: “There is no doubt but that there is a considerable amount of matter going through the mails that is propaganda but there is no way which the Post Office Department could declare it unmailable unless some statutes were so provided.”

He added that the Department could make no accurate estimate as to the amount of propaganda mail of both domestic and foreign origin carried because the Department is for bidden under existing law to investigate the content of first-class mail for propaganda matter.

Committee members did not ask Donaldson for any specific legislative recommendations in this connection. However, two bills have already been introduced at this session, by Senator Alexander Wiley of Wisconsin and Rep. Samuel Dickstein of New York, both of which carry sufficient authority to curb seriously the tide of pro-Fascist propaganda, a large part of which is anti-Semitic.

The Dickstein bill would bar the mails to all matter inciting religious or racial hatred while Senator Wiley’s measure would make a plain statement of the foreign origin of all such propaganda a requirement for admission to the mails.

While this Government takes great pains to insure the privacy of first-class mail coming from foreign countries these countries do not reciprocate on foreign mail originating here, other postal officials told the committee. It is recalled that recently Rep. Sol Bloom of New York warned that Nazi authorities were systematically plundering mail from this country addressed to refugees in occupied territory.

The cost to this Government of the distribution of foreign propaganda mail largely directed against the U.S. form of Government and its institutions was the subject of a recent report by the Dies Committee, which also recommended legislative curbs.

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