Menu JTA Search

Capital Comment

Download PDF for this date

When the House of Representatives voted the other day for an additional appropriation of $20,000 to further the McCormack committee’s investigation of subversive propaganda activities in the United States, the members of the House in effect gave the committee a vote of confidence.

This favorable action went through despite strong opposition from individual Congressmen, and despite a pro-Nazi lobby which has been flooding the offices of every member of Congress with letters and literature since the investigation was inaugurated by Representative Samuel Dickstein of New York, chairman of the Committee on Naturalization and Immigration.

Representative John W. McCormack of Massachusetts, chairman of the investigating committee, is astounded at the far-reaching mass of evidence uncovered by his committee since the investigation started.

“When I was appointed chairman of the committee, I never thought that the evidence which has been disclosed ever existed in the United States,” he said. “I never thought that there would be anything discovered outside of individual activity, and that the activities engaged in were more or less confined to individuals in this country. I never thought that we would make a contact with a foreign government, or a political party in control of a foreign government, sending instructions into the United States to persons in the United States, a few citizens and most of them aliens, to engage in activities within our borders for the purpose of arraying Americans against Americans because of their race. I consider the attempt to array Americans against Americans because of racial or religious differences subversive to our government and our people.”

From the volume of evidence in hand, the Congressional committee is quite certain that Nazi propaganda activities are financed from Germany. This preliminary conclusion was reached as a result of secret investigations and from testimony and evidence gained at the recent public hearings in Washington. But, the committee does not intend to rely entirely on its own investigations. Before its final report will be made, the committee will take into consideration the results of investigations now under way by the Department of Justice, the State Department and the Department of Labor.

In the meantime, Nazi activities alone will not hold the committee’s attention. The next step will be to look into Communistic propaganda activities. Then, the committee intends to investigate propaganda of the Fascists.

All this talk about Russia having a paid propagandist in this country, amounts to nothing. At least, that is how it looks for the present.

George Sylvester Viereck, it will be remembered, charged that Ivy Lee was a propagandist in this country for the Russians. Viereck was summoned to appear before a sub-committee at a secret hearing in New York, to testify before Representative Dickstein on what he knew of Russian propaganda activities in this country.

While Representative Dickstein would not reveal the results of Viereck’s appearance, it has been learned from reliable sources that Viereck’s charges were groundless.

However, that did not leave Ivy Lee out of the picture. The McCormack committee has indications that while Ivy Lee, as far as is known, is not doing propaganda work for the Russians, he is said to be responsible for some of the Nazi propaganda activities in the United States. The committee is digging further into the facts.

In connection with the probe in general, Representative McCormack takes this attitude: “It is immaterial to me who may be involved by the facts that might be developed—if it is evidence and not mere opinion of some person it will be brought out into the public for the benefit of the American people, and for the use and benefit of the Congress for its future action.”

Originally, the committee had an appropriation of $10,000 with which to conduct the investigation. With the additional $20,000 already voted, the committee will be in position to conduct its investigation on a more intensive basis.

Plans call for public hearings to be held by sub-committees in many sections of the country. This will include, the West Coast, especially California, where Nazi propaganda centers are known to exist. The principal member of the sub-committee which will conduct hearings in the far West will be Representative Charles Kramer of California. Additional hearings will be held in the East, the South, and in the Middle West.

Representative William I. Sirovich of New York, is the Jack of ail trades in the House. He is an artist at heart, a medical doctor by profession, and a Congressman by choice.

The New Yorker’s latest effort, and apparently a successful one, is a swan song for the expiring session of Congress. He wrote the lyrics of the song which may (or may not) some day be sung in every school room in the country while Congress is in session.

The song has four verses and the following chorus:

For our Nation’s noble statesmen, To the Congress of the U. S. A.

To those real unselfish great men.

Let’s give thanks for them each time we pray!

They stand for liberty and fight for justice

With special privilege to none, they say

In war or peace time our faithful servant is the Congress of the U. S. A.

Already the song has had a try-out and proved to be a “hit.” Representative Adolph J. Sabath of Illinois, tried it out to the accompaniment of Representative Florence Kahn of California.

Founding Funders

The digitization of the JTA Archive would not have been possible without the generous support of the following donors:
  • The Gottesman Fund
  • Righteous Persons Foundation
  • Charles H. Revson Foundation
  • Elisa Spungen Bildner and Robert Bildner, in honor of Norma Spungen
  • George S. Blumenthal
  • Grace and Scott Offen Charitable Fund