FOUR candidates for the Republican nomination for President in 1952 have emerged from the midterm elections: Taft of Ohio, Warren of California, Duff of Pennsylvania, Dewey of New York. Of them all, Taft stands out. He is the state leaders’ choice, and though he says he will not campaign, his ambition will probably overleap his modesty. Taft is a born oppositionist. He is the only man in the field who can strike a convincing note of antithesis to the party in power. This he can do not only in print and on the floor of the Senate but, as was strikingly shown in Ohio, on the stump.
But the four will have to contend with a dark horse who never left his stable in November. He is Dwight D. Eisenhower. In almost all conversations on presidential chances the comment is made: “Of course, if Ike gave the word, he could have it, for he’s the guy who could sweep the country.” This has been said so often since Eisenhower came back from his great triumph in Europe that the statement may be a cliché.
It is often the experience that a man retains a reputation as a vote-getter long after he has ceased to be one; witness Walsh of Massachusetts. However, Eisenhower has done nothing since he came home from the wars to injure his good name. And his influence is unmistakable.
That Eisenhower has the presidential “bug” is undoubted. He had it in 1948, even though he refused to let his name be presented at Philadelphia. The deterrent at that time was the counsel of Generals Marshall and Bradley that the race might endanger the standing of the military establishment. It was thought that as a candidate he would drag the military into politics. Now that he has become an educator, their feeling might be different, for Eisenhower, unlike Stassen, has devoted himself assiduously to his civilian duties and has eschewed politics. In no circumstances does he intend to campaign for the nomination.
By 1952 General Eisenhower may be Supreme Commander of the Atlantic Powers in Europe. All that prevented his appointment at the end of October was the failure of the North Atlantic Defense Ministers to solve the differences over the inclusion of Germans in a European army. But the setback was only temporary. The President decided that until there was agreement it would be foolish to name a Supreme Commander. Eisenhower had told the President he was available any time for a suitable position. Of course, as a fivestar general, he could be drafted anytime, but his gratuitous offer demonstrated where his heart lay.
Would such an appointment take him out of politics? There are those who say that when Dewey in the mid-term campaigning named him as the logical standard-bearer in 1952 he embarrassed the President as well as Eisenhower himself. It was thought that the President might feel he would be accused of getting rid of a rival if he appointed Eisenhower after Dewey’s observation. But the President felt no such qualms; he had made his decision anyway. Eisenhower with his determination not to compete for the nomination would be equally available whether he was still at Columbia or in Europe.
Are we coddling the Germans?
The failure to achieve a unified Atlantic command at the meeting of the North Atlantic Defense Ministers came as a bitter disappointment. It has been said that Secretary Marshall should have applied the heat. However, this is not the way to achieve unity; leadership, not heat, is required. And that would have been shown by less emphasis on arming the Germans and more emphasis on unifying Europe.
The Pentagon will not hear of a European army without the inclusion of Germans by divisions. The French would incorporate Germans, but came to Washington prepared only to incorporate Germans in regiments or battalions. All the other Atlantic powers agreed that this would be unworkable, but Minister Jules Moch has an ironclad frame of reference, so the Defense Ministers dispersed without a solution.
However, the job of promoting a meeting of minds is going on assiduously. The French have already relaxed their stand on the question of unit size for a German contingent. They now say they will agree to the incorporation of combat brigades a unit of three regiments — of Germans. What they are afraid of in resisting the incorporation of divisions is the reappearance of a German general staff. A division needs a staff; a combat brigade doesn’t.
There the matter rests, with the Pentagon still insistent upon divisions. Time and events, as well as the European fear of a falling off in the momentum of public opinion, will decide the issue. The French charge us with “coddling the Germans.”There is some plausibility to the charge.
The fear of Communism
Communism was the prime issue in the mid-term elections. It influenced votes, but before the elections it had influenced policy because of its effect on attitudes.
Perhaps the lawyers may be cited as representatives as well as leaders of society. They voted in favor of the McCarran Act in their American Bar Association; they approved loyalty oaths for their members. The change in legal attitudes since the reaction after the First World War period is remarkable. Lawyers then took the lead in combating the excesses of anti-Communism which took the form of the Mitchell Palmer witch-hunting. Now they have the same fear of “association" as the ordinary person. It is difficult indeed to get respectable legal help in defending accused “associates" — even for the purpose of testing questions of constitutionality. The lawyers fear the loss of practice.
The McCarran Act marked the peak on the domestic front of the fear of Communism. This measure with its ban on the entry of totalitarians has had widespread repercussions. One example may be cited. On October 24 the Chinese Communists said they would come to Lake Success to participate in the Security Council hearing on Formosa. Two days later the United Nations applied to the United States for visas. But it was not till November 7, or election day, that the State Department complied with the request. This in spite of the fact that, under a headquarters agreement with the United Nations, incoming delegates to the United Nations are exempt from the provisions of the McCarran Act.
The State Department had become thoroughly inhibited before the elections. As a foreign diplomat put it, “Mr. Acheson seems to be playing the policy of the opposition” — a variant of Walter Lippmann’s charge that he had become “the prisoner of his critics.”
Santa Claus is out
The economic world situation has changed so markedly since the aggression in Korea that the Gray Report on the dollar gap seemed out of date when it was published. The dollar gap has been bridged. In August the United States became a net importer of goods, partly as the result of heavy raw materials purchases since Korea, partly by adjustments in our import duties, partly because of the exchange advantages which accrued to foreign nations as the result of devaluation.
The changed situation applies also to the service account, as a result, in great part, of the invisible imports brought home by the many tourists. Our over-all surplus was running at the annual rate of 2.9 billion dollars for the first six months of the year, but it has now disappeared.
These figures have brought about a re-examination of ECA aid to Britain. They would certainly have induced some adjustments no matter what the results of the election. The Republican success will make the screening, however, more severe, and cause a closer scrutiny of what our foreign friends are doing for themselves. Santa Claus, as the saying goes, is now out.
The Far East
The Far East figured prominently in the campaigning, but the discussion was neither enlightening nor a guide to policy-making. The Republicans insisted that Korea would not have occurred if China had not been lost. What that means is that we ought to have had our Korea in China. Historically it would probably be truer to say that we might never have had Korea if we hadn’t had Yalta. But it was the halfheartedness of our intervention in China rather than our bungling at Yalta that engaged the political orators.
The opposing view is that if strict nonintervention had been pursued in China, il might have been possible to allay Chinese suspicion of America, if not to drive a wedge between Peking and Moscow. It is said that in wartime Mao Tse-tung wanted to come to America and talk with F.D.R. What a different tale might now be told if he had come! Right now nothing seems to change the Chinese suspicion of America, if suspicion, rather than participation in Moscow’s designs, is what animates the Peking regime!
However, a condition has overtaken theory in these grim days as we consider what a war with the Chinese Communists would entail. The result is to put an end to a lot of loose talk, and to turn the mind rather to what can be done to neutralize China while the challenge of Moscow is so razor-edged.
Mood of the Capital
The mood of the Capital is somber. “You can hear a pin drop in the Defense Department” was the way one visitor put it. The question is whether the Russians want a showdown. To many observers the evidence proves it. The Russians are reported to be engaged in feverish military preparations in the Baltic. They are said to be in mass production of B-29’s. There is also the egging on of China in Korea on the part of the Russians.
This grim prospect adds to the urgency of the preparedness program. The first task is to expand production facilities. In this connection it is imperative to consider the proposed excess-profits levy in the light of the clamant need for more production facilities. Such a levy would be bound to throttle incentive and small business at a time when enterprise should be stimulated.
A ready-to-go emergency organization in the Capital is next to the addition to production facilities in order of importance. National Production Authority under General William Harrison is beginning to hit its stride. It is said that in two months it has achieved as much progress as was accomplished in two years of preparedness for the Second World War. The requirement is still a controlled materials plan. But that needs staff, and NPA has only 500 in its personnel, compared with 23,000 in the heyday of the War Production Board. It takes a big staff to check over every order in this country for raw materials.
One trouble here is the inordinate delay on clearances for loyalty. The minimum time taken is five weeks. This is too leisurely a business when time presses. The President is always complaining of his inability to bring in capable men to fill jobs in the present emergency. But the runaround is one reason for the reluctance of experts to serve.