Stevens Will Learn the Army’s a Mess

Westbrook Pegler

Rome News-Tribune/March 5, 1954

On the topic of Senator McCarthy’s row with the Army administration under Secretary Stevens, I suggest, on the basis of background knowledge, that Stevens will gradually and painfully learn that he has been trying to defend a mess. Having committed himself, he is stuck as patron of conditions similar to those which the Roosevelt-Truman regime allowed to develop in State and other departments.

The Army tradition is noble, but there is no sense in an arbitrary attitude after the disclosures of treachery almost everywhere else. Naturally the enemy would go to the Army. And to the Navy, too. As for the Marine Corps, they had their red brigadier in the Pacific, and a good field soldier, too, though no better than most. He died of natural causes and he may have been the only red in the Corps but that seems doubtful in the face of the averages.

President Eisenhower looks more like U. S. Grant every day and he will be lucky if he doesn’t wind up with scandals as bad as those which established for Grant the worst reputation as a president down to the time of F. D. Roosevelt. I am not smirking when I say let us pray that Eisenhower is not as dumb as he seems. I hope he makes a good president, not for his own sake primarily, but for ours.

Too Much Golf?

In passing, however, wouldn’t you agree that Ike is taking more than a reasonable amount of time off to play golf and relax? Wouldn’t you criticize him for lending the prestige of the office which really is our own national treasure, not his personal property, to political pressure groups more often identified with the New Deal than with the Republican Party? And for otherwise loafing on a job that calls for long hours of hard work as he certainly had been warned by Harry Truman’s belly-aching about his terrible ordeal? I don’t want a president to kill himself, but I notice that Truman, after all his yowling, recently boasted that he had never taken a sleeping pill or missed a wink in many years. At the age of 70, he can lead a straggling pack of younger men from the New York papers a mile up Park and down Lexington, so the job didn’t take too much out of him. Anyway, you don’t live forever and Ike asked for this job knowing that it was supposed to call for some anxiety, long hours and concentration. Incidentally, it never did follow that the rigors of the job killed Roosevelt. The same thing happens every day to people who are just going along.

Supposed to Know

The president of ours, being an old Army man, is supposed to know more about the Army as an institution than most of us. But he doesn’t and he is going to wake up and discover that even the Army has been infected all the way up to West Point, with the same doubts and queasy casuistry that rotted out the integrity of State, Agriculture, Justice and the Treasury.

If Truman and Henry Morgenthau couldn’t spot Harry Dexter White or couldn’t believe the truth when it was told to them, how much better equipped is Ike when the same sort of reports come in about the Army? Has Stevens any qualifications to judge such things? They had two major-generals in the war who have been seriously impugned in congressional disclosures since. One of them, a Roosevelt house-pet, so well pleased Soviet Russia and the Communists in this country that to this day the Red papers mention him only in affectionate praise.

The other was tacitly accused of causing or concealing the truth about the disappearance of the report on the Katyn massacre in which almost the entire officer corps of the Polish army was destroyed by the Russians. There is not enough evidence to justify accusations of “Communism” against such men. But the record is such that the Department of the Army certainly ought to do some detective work and cooperate with Congress instead of rearing back with snorts about the abuse of a brigadier.

The so-called cadet forum of the Military Academy ran an interesting show the night before the corps entrained for the Army-Navy game. They had Telford Taylor up to make a talk about congressional inquiries which wound up in the conventional blast of the New York Times, the Herald-Tribune, the Roosevelt cult and, of course, all Reds and fellow-travelers, against Joe McCarthy. Taylor spoke especially on the Fort Monmouth Situation. There was serious guilt at Monmouth but the Times, a Roosevelt, New Deal propaganda sheet from way back in ’33, did a whitewash, more for the purpose, it seemed to me, of discrediting McCarthy than of getting at the guilt.

Taylor’s Career

I have already sketched Taylor’s career and revealed his association in the law business. One partner is Randolph Paul, who was the chief law officer of the Treasury when Harry Dexter White was at the height of his power. Another is Simon Rifkin, an old secretary to Robert F. Wagner, the “author” of the original labor relations act, and later a federal judge. As such, Rifkin let a man walk out of court absolutely free after he had pleaded guilty of sending American surplus fighting planes to Soviet Czechoslovakia. Another partner until he died was Louis Weiss, the brother of the Communist mouth-piece Carol Weiss King and himself the mouthpiece for Marshall Field. Weiss put in the fix at the White House for Mark Gayn of the Amerasia group who was then on the editorial staff of Field’s paper.

A nice bunch, and yet the Military Academy invites Telford Taylor to talk to the cadets and the command ducks responsibility by explaining that the cadets who comprise the “forum” did it on their own initiative.

Well now that just can’t be done at the United State Military Academy. The chain-of-command system hands the responsibility right up to the superintendent, General Irving, who not only lays wreaths on Roosevelt’s grave on the annual gala but seems to like the job. Many Americans, including generals and admirals, would flatly refuse to obey such an order from Ike himself. General “Nuts” McAuliffe, of Bastogne, did last winter when he was ordered up to Boston to make a speech in honor of Drew Pearson. He wouldn’t and didn’t and they had to get another officer with less sensitive scruples.

What are they up to in this army, anyway?

After these weeks and three pestering inquiries I finally got a telegram from the Department of the Army trying to justify the invitation to Telford Taylor on the ground of his “known war record.” I have phoned Taylor’s office repeatedly asking what his “war record” was. He doesn’t answer.

Surely, the Academy should have it ready to hand.

But no, the “war record” of “General” Telford Taylor is unknown there. Do you really want to know what he did as “brigadier general”?

He took part in the Nurnberg trials with the Soviet government also sitting as judge and prosecutor against his own old accomplice in the very crimes for which the German generals and Nazi politicians were hanged from the gallows.

That was the war activity of “Brigadier General” Telford Taylor.

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