February 6, 2019

1944. The September Reports

Bill Downs Reports from Belgium and the Netherlands
"Members of the Reconnaissance Squadron's "C" Troop taking up defensive positions near to Wolfheze Station on Monday 18th September. At the top of the picture is Trooper F. Brawn with his Bren gun, to the right is Trooper Des Evans with a Lee-Enfield rifle, and next to him is Trooper J. Cooke, lying down and aiming his loaded PIAT" (source)

THE WESTERN FRONT, 1944

5 September 1944: The Wehrmacht is broken on the Belgian front
"German resistance is entirely disorganized. The only coherent movement Nazis have in this part of Europe is eastward, and everyone is heading that way acting under nothing but his own orders to get away. One British armored unit reported that they have found German troops mixed in with the civilians of the liberated villages of Belgium—Germans and Belgians cheering the Allied advance. Follow-up units stop the Germans from cheering when they are taken prisoner."

5 September 1944: The Rexist retreat
"Another reason the Belgian people want revenge is the methods the Rexists used to protect themselves. Every Rexist carried with him a list of five names of suspected Belgian patriots who were to be shot as hostages in case the Rexist was shot. The White Army learned of these lists and kept on shooting Rexists, but they switched the lists of hostages, putting in the names of five collaborators to die instead. It worked in several instances where collaborators were shooting each other."

5 September 1944: Trouble with tank maintenance
"The paper Free Belgium prints a column of classified advertisements worth repeating. Incidentally, the editor of this paper is published as 'Peter Pan.' The address is given as the former German headquarters. It seems that the Germans were never able to locate the exact spot where the paper was published. This column, printed as a joke, gives some interesting sidelights on the Nazi occupation of Belgium. One advertisement says: "German woman, very wealthy, wishes to marry a Belgian, any Belgian. Accepting nationality in exchange." Another reads: "For sale: 15,000 false identity cards. Price: 50 francs." A third reads: "Will exchange 5,000 photographs of Goebbels for five of Churchill."

6 September 1944: Victory in Brussels
"The homes of collaborators are still being ransacked and burned. Odd persons are still being rounded up by the Belgian White Army. I saw a young man today bringing in one of them—an elderly man with his hands tied behind the back. As the White Army man produced the collaborator along the street with his rifle, crowds along the sidewalks hissed and booed."

6 September 1944: Clearing the Channel Coast
"The Germans are trying to filter through the extended Allied lines, but not many are getting out, chiefly because they simply do not have the transport to carry them—and it is a long walk back to Germany."

7 September 1944: The black market in Brussels
"There was a black market for everything. American phonograph records could be purchased from people who had regular traffic to Spain. The film "Gone With the Wind" was shown secretly a number of times here. The price of seeing it was something like $20 a ticket."

8 September 1944: Nazi general captured in Belgium
"This soldier said a lot of things about Adolf, including gossipy bits such as that no one ever knows when Hitler is going to feel like, and everyone from Field Marshals down to batmen have to wait to see the Fuehrer's mood before they approach him. And the batman, who should know, said that Hitler's lady friend back in those days was a beautiful stenographer. For after all, Adolf is a dictator."

9 September 1944: In liberated Belgium
"But as you approach the front in the more newly liberated towns, you run into the feeling of vengeance and the signs of the magnificent efforts of the people to help free themselves. In one village, we stopped for coffee—ersatz coffee—at a restaurant. When we went in, we found that it was being used as headquarters for the Belgian White Army there. The men wore their uniforms of cream-colored coveralls and black berets. They all had rifles and pistols and knives. German grenades stuck out of their belts. They had been working and fighting all night, and many were asleep at the tables catching a few moments of rest before their next mission."

11 September 1944: Hint of the coming Battle of the Bulge
"Model admitted that Germany had lost the battle, but he added that Germany would still win the war, explaining that he could not say any more than that now. He called on his soldiers to believe in their luck. He ordered strict discipline and pointed out that the Belgian and French patriots would rather shoot a weak looking man than a strong one. He urged his soldiers to retreat walking along erect to impress the Belgian and French citizens."

12 September 1944: The RAF hammers the German ground forces
"For a mile on both sides of the canal you could see the zigzagging fortifications built by the Belgians in a futile attempt to extend the ill-fated Maginot Line to the sea. Although the main defenses of the Albert Canal point northwards, it is also defended on the south bank as well. In this way, segments of the canal could hold out. However, the Germans were so surprised that they could not use these defenses."

12 September 1944: The Battle of the Albert Canal
"The German casualties have been so heavy and replacements so inadequate that the Nazis have aided our victory to a great extent by their extravagant use of men under do-or-die orders.For example, after one of their counterattacks failed against the Geel bridgehead yesterday, a fanatical Nazi jumped on top of a truck in full view of the British troops and shouted: "I want to die for Hitler!" The British troops fulfilled this Nazi's last wish."

13 September 1944: Germans fight to the last man
"These are the Germans from the bottom of Hitler's manpower barrel who the Nazi leaders hope will save their skins for them and, somehow, defeat the Allies and throw them into the sea. Although this seems ridiculous to us, it is taken very seriously by the Nazis. And the German soldiers, even the inadequately trained total soldiers, continue to fight with determination."

17 September 1944: Operation Market Garden begins
"We went to a base airdrome to find fighters and fighter-bombers already running a shuttle relay back and forth to the front, preparing the way for the airborne troops. It was perfect parachute weather; the sky was blanket gray. A haze restricted visibility to three or four miles, just enough to allow the pilots to keep themselves on course and for the troops to see where they were dropping. There was enough haze to keep any enemy aircraft from spotting the planes as they came in."

17 September 1944: Edward R. Murrow with airborne troops during Operation Market Garden
"We've been flying straight into Holland now for something like twenty minutes, so far without any opposition; at least none that I have been able to see. Our fighters are down, just almost nosing along the hedge rows, searching the little villages, and they're up above us and on both sides."

20 September 1944: Bill Downs and Walter Cronkite trapped behind enemy lines
"As the dive-bombers struck, Cronkite was in a jeep with his old UP pal from Kansas City, bespectacled CBS Radio correspondent Bill Downs, the reporter that Murrow had wanted Cronkite to replace in Russia. Cronkite and Downs were driving near the Philips Electric works complex when bombs began falling. They jumped out of the jeep and vaulted over a tall fence into a park. There they huddled behind chopped-down trees as bombs pounded all around. Neither knew how, but they became separated."

24 September 1944: The Nijmegen bridge assault
"Working under enemy shell-fire, the assault boats were assembled. When they were put into the water, another difficulty arose. The tide was moving, but with a downstream current of eight miles an hour. Some of the boats drifted 300 yards down river before they were retrieved and brought back. Meanwhile machine guns spluttered on the opposite bank and German artillery kept smashing the embarkation area regularly."

24 September 1944: Bitter fighting around Nijmegen
"Examining the bodies of the supposedly dead Germans, they found one 15-year-old Hitler youth—a paratrooper kicked him as he groaned—underneath him he hid an automatic rifle."

25 September 1944: The Dutch corridor
"Polish paratroopers dropped south of the Rhine several days ago are fighting alongside the tanks and infantry of the British Second Army, and together they secured a firm foothold on the south bank of the Lower Rhine near the town of Oosterbeek. There once was a ferry crossing, but the Germans destroyed it last week."

21 October 1944: Letter home after Eindhoven
"It seems that the Presbyterian mind of the average American cannot accept the fact that any group of people can coolly sit down and decide to torture thousands of people. And if torture isn't enough, then to kill them as calmly as an ordinary person would swat a fly. This refusal to believe these facts is probably the greatest weapon the Nazis have, and it will operate in the post-war judgment of the Germans—wait and see."

January 29, 2019

1922. "New Popular Idol Rises in Bavaria" by Cyril Brown

The New York Times' First Mention of Hitler
Headline in The New York Times, November 21, 1922
This article is part of a series of posts on how The New York Times covered the rise and fall of fascism in Europe. In November 1922, Times correspondent Cyril Brown wrote about the growing reactionary movement in Germany led by the "Bavarian Mussolini." The article is the first reference to Adolf Hitler in the Times. It is infamous for the comments from unnamed German officials who downplayed Hitler's antisemitism.

From The New York Times, November 21, 1922:
NEW POPULAR IDOL RISES IN BAVARIA
⎯⎯⎯⎯⎯⎯⎯
Hitler Credited With Extraordinary Powers of Swaying Crowds to His Will
⎯⎯⎯⎯⎯⎯⎯
FORMS GRAY-SHIRTED ARMY
⎯⎯⎯⎯⎯⎯⎯
Armed With Blackjacks and Revolvers and Well Disciplined, They Obey Orders Implicitly
⎯⎯⎯⎯⎯⎯⎯
LEADER A REACTIONARY
⎯⎯⎯⎯⎯⎯⎯
Is Anti-Red and Anti-Semitic, and Demands Strong Government for a United Germany

By CYRIL BROWN

MUNICH, Nov. 20 — Next to the high cost of living and the dollar, "Der Hitler" and his "Hakenkreuzlers" are the popular topic of talk in Munich and other Bavarian towns. This reactionary Nationalistic anti-Semitic movement has now reached a point where it is considered potentially dangerous, though not for the immediate future.

Hitler today is taken seriously among all classes of Bavarians. He is feared by some, enthusiastically hailed as a prophet and political economic savior by others, and watched with increasing sympathetic interest by the bulk who, apparently, are merely biding the psychological moment to mount Hitler's bandwagon. Undoubtedly the spectacular success of Mussolini and the Fascisti brought Hitler's movement to the fore and gained popular interest and sympathy for it. Another condition favorable to the outburst of the movement is the widespread discontent with the existing state of affairs among all classes in the towns and cities under the increasing economic pressure.

Hitler's "Hakenkreuz" movement is essentially urban in character. It has not yet caught a foothold among the hardy Bavarian peasantry and highlanders, which would make it really dangerous. As a highly placed personage put it:

"Hitler organized a small insignificant group of National Socialists two years ago, since when the movement has been smoldering beneath the surface. Now it has eaten its way through, and a conflagration of course is not only possible but certain if this now free flame of fanatical patriotism finds sufficient popular combustible material to feed on."

Hitler has been called the Bavarian Mussolini, and his followers the Bavarian Fascisti. There is nothing socialistic about the National Socialism he preaches. He has 30,000 organized followers in Munich alone. His total following throughout Bavaria is uncertain, since the movement is in a state of rapid flux. He is wasting no time working out political programs, but devotes his whole energy to recruiting fresh forces and perfecting his organization.

Blackjacks Silence Opposition

"Herr Hitler regrets he is unable to meet you as he is leaving town on important business for several days," was the answer received by The New York Times correspondent. His important business was going to Regensburg with three special trainloads of Munich admirers for the purpose of holding a series of reactionary inflammatory meetings and incidentally to beat up protesting Socialists and Communists with blackjacks if any dare protest, which is becoming increasingly rarer.

His simple method is, first, propaganda, and secondly, efficient organization. He personally conducts patriotic revival meetings for this purpose, often descending from his stronghold, Munich, on other Bavarian towns with special trainloads of followers. He has the rare oratorical gift, at present unique in Germany, of spellbinding whole audiences regardless of politics or creed. The new converts made at these rallies, those who absolutely and unconditionally pledge themselves to Hitler and the cause, are carefully sifted through and the pick of them who pass standard military muster are organized into "storm troops" with gray shirts, brassards in the old imperial colors, black and an anti-Semitic Swastika cross in a white circular field on red; armed also with blackjacks and, it is popularly whispered, revolvers.

According to a reliable specialist informant, there are probably 400,000 military rifles and 150 cannon still concealed in Bavaria. So that some fine day Hitler's legionaries might well make their debut with rifles.

Hitler's strength is in the combination of his undeniable great gifts as an orator and organizer. He exerts an uncanny control over audiences, possessing the remarkable ability to not only rouse his hearers to a fighting pitch of fury, but at will to turn right around and reduce the same audience to docile calmness and good order. A typical instance is related by the informant mentioned:

"At the height of the recent Bavarian Government crisis Hitler was holding a mass meeting in Munich and had worked up the big audience when a rumor spread through the hall that he had planned a coup and that he would overthrow and seize the Government that night and was about to give the signal at this rally. His followers burst into an enthusiastic uproar, drew and brandished blackjacks and revolvers, and with shouts of 'Heil, Heil, Heil,' prepared to follow Hitler and storm anything.

"With a few electric words he worked a magic change in the audience. Their duty, on which the success of the cause depended, he said, was iron discipline and implicit obedience to orders when orders were given. The time for action had not come yet. And the riot was nipped in the bud."

A Different Show of Power

A different exhibition of Hitler power: during a mass meeting in Nuremberg, a stronghold of Bavarian socialism, the radical elements undertook a counter-demonstration outside the meeting hall and sang the "Internationale." The strains of the hated tune heard in the hall enraged Hitler's followers. At his word of command shock troops of gray shirts with fine discipline marched from the hall, pulled their blackjacks, and charged and dispersed the crowd with many a broken head.

Hitler is credited with having a rapidly increasing following among the workers disgruntled by the high cost of living. It is also said many have flocked to his reactionary banner. He is beginning to draw support from the politically sluggish middle classes, which in Bavaria, however, are not so sluggish as in Berlin. Even more significant there is some active, more passive support and to a still greater extent more sympathetic interest for the Hitler movement among the Bavarian loyalists, among monarchists and militarists and in government and political circles, apparently coupled with the idea that the movement would prove a useful tool if it could be controlled by their special interests. But there is also the latent fear that the movement might wax beyond control.

Hitler, in addition to his oratorical and organizing abilities, has another positive asset—he is a man of the "common people" and hence has the makings of a "popular hero," appealing to all classes. It is reported that he was a worker before becoming leader of the Bavarian Social Nationalists. He served during the war as a common soldier and won the Iron Cross of the First and Second Classes, which for a common soldier is distinctive evidence of exceptional bravery and daring. To Bavarian mentality he talks rough, shaggy, sound horse sense, and according to present Bavarian public opinion a strong, active leader equipped with horse sense is the need of the hour.

Chief Points of His Program

Hitler's program is of less interest than his person and movement. His program consists chiefly of half a dozen negative ideas clothed in generalities. He is "against the Jews, Communists, Bolshevism, Marxian socialism, Separatists, the high cost of living, existing conditions, the weak Berlin Government and the Versailles Treaty." Positively he stands only for "a strong united Germany under a strong Government."

He is credibly credited with being accentuated by lofty, unselfish patriotism. He probably does not know himself just what he wants to accomplish. The keynote of his propaganda in speaking and writing is violent anti-Semitism. His followers are popularly nicknamed "the Hakenkreuzler." So violent are Hitler's fulminations against the Jews that a number of prominent Jewish citizens are reported to have sought safe asylums in the Bavarian highlands, easily reached by fast motor cars, whence they could hurry their women and children when forewarned of an anti-Semitic St. Bartholomew's night.

But several reliable, well-informed sources confirmed the idea that Hitler's anti-Semitism was not so genuine or violent as it sounded, and he was using anti-Semitic propaganda as a bait to catch messes of followers and keep them aroused, enthusiastic and in line for the time when his organization is perfected and sufficiently powerful to be employed effectively for political purposes.

A sophisticated politician credited Hitler with peculiar political cleverness for laying emphasis and over-emphasis on anti-Semitism, saying: "You can't expect the masses to understand or appreciate your finer real aims. You must feed the masses with cruder morsels and ideas like anti-Semitism. It would be politically all wrong to tell them the truth about where you are leading them."

The Hitler movement is not of mere local or picturesque interest. It is bound to bring Bavaria into a renewed clash with the Berlin Government as long as the German Republic goes even through the motions of trying to live up to the Versailles Treaty. For it is certain the Allies will take umbrage at the Hitler organization as a violation of the military clauses of the treaty and demand disbandment, even as in the case of its predecessor, the Orgesch.

January 16, 2019

1961. Senate Majority Leader Mike Mansfield Discusses the Crisis in Berlin

Interview with Senator Mike Mansfield
"From left, Senator Lyndon B. Johnson, President-elect John F. Kennedy, Speaker Sam Rayburn and Senator Mike Mansfield in December 1960" (source)
On August 24, 1961, Senate Majority Leader Mike Mansfield of Montana sat down for an interview with CBS News correspondents Bill Downs, Neil Strawser, and Wells "Ted" Church. The senator was asked questions about foreign policy, specifically the Berlin crisis, and about ongoing developments in Congress under the Kennedy administration.

The text below is adapted from the transcript entered into the Congressional Record by Senator Mansfield on August 28, 1961. The original transcript is featured here (large PDF).
"Capitol Cloakroom"

(As broadcast over the CBS Radio Network, August 24, 1961)

Guest – The Honorable Mike Mansfield, Senate majority leader, Democrat, of Montana

Correspondents – Bill Downs, Neil Strawser, Wells Church

Producer – Ellen Wadley

BILL DOWNS: Senator Mansfield, will the United States fight to preserve our rights in Berlin?

NEIL STRAWSER: Will the Senate pass legislation to limit debate this year?

WELLS CHURCH: How do you assess the legislative record of this Congress to date, Senator Mansfield?

DOWNS: Senator Mike Mansfield, welcome to "Capitol Cloakroom." We feel fortunate indeed to get the Democratic leader of the Senate at this crucial period in international diplomacy, and when the Congress is now driving for adjournment, while you are pressing for passage of important sections of the Kennedy administration program.

Senator, the Russians have made new charges that the West is misusing its air corridors into Berlin, by flying in saboteurs and espionage agents, heading at a new blockade. Will the United States use military force if necessary to preserve our rights and communications with West Berlin?

SENATOR MANSFIELD: Well, I would assume that we would use whatever means would be necessary to preserve our rights in Berlin, and also to preserve our rights of access into West Berlin and out of West Berlin into West Germany.

STRAWSER: Well, there comes a question, Senator Mansfield, just where do we draw the line? The things that have been going on in the past several days have all been piecemeal and chipping away at our rights as we define them. Where do we draw the line?

MANSFIELD: That is something which the President would have to decide, because he is in charge of the foreign policy of this country. I don't think, though, that we should be surprised at the fact that this chipping away has taken place. The surprising factor to me is that it has not occurred sooner than it did. And as long as they are just chipping away as they are, I would say that while tension would mount, that the immediate difficulty would not become too apparent.

STRAWSER: What is your personal feeling about where we should draw the line?

MANSFIELD: Well, the line has already been drawn, and that is the border between East and West Berlin, and the routes of access into and out of Berlin.

CHURCH: Senator Mansfield, how do you assess the value of the Vice President's trip over there?

MANSFIELD: I was one of those who was somewhat perturbed at the fact that the Vice President was going over to Berlin and Bonn, evidently in response to allegations made by the Germans, both in West Berlin and in West Germany itself. I for one did not like the statement made by Mayor Willy Brandt about politics, and that actions were needed and not words. I did not like the idea of these German students in West Germany sending an umbrella to the President of the United States. I was a little apprehensive even of the convoy of 1,500 combat troops from Helmstedt to West Berlin. But my worries were needless, because the Vice President was tremendously successful in what he was able to accomplish, along with Ambassador Bohlen and General Clay in West Berlin, and I think that by and large it was a successful venture in diplomacy, and had the effect of creating psychologically, at least, a good feeling and a feeling of security.

CHURCH: I take it you don't think that he went too far in promising all the way up to our sacred honor in defense of West Berlin?

MANSFIELD: The Vice President did not go too far, because, despite the stories carried in the newspapers, he did not carry to the Germans any commitment which had not already been made to them.

DOWNS: Well, he is alleged to have recommended to President Kennedy that we should send more troops into the West Berlin garrison. Would you go along with that?

MANSFIELD: No, I don't think that that allegation is correct, because, as I understand it, the total which we are allowed under the agreement in West Berlin is 6,000. We had 4,500 prior to the bringing up of the 1,500 over the Autobahn. So now we have our full total of 6,000. I dare say that the French and the British are perhaps a little understrength at the present time, and that may be where the reference is.

CHURCH: There has been some water over the dam, Senator Mansfield, since you first made your suggestion for a free city of Berlin. How do you feel about it now?

MANSFIELD: Well, I don't feel as good about it now as I did then, because since that time the East Germans have taken over control of East Berlin, erected a wall of sorts, and created certain points of entrance and egress. Up to that time, and for the 2 years previous, I think that the idea had much in the way of merit. It may not have been the answer, but certainly somebody has got to get off dead center. If we keep on going as we are now, it is like two trains coming together from opposite directions on the same track. And if a third way, or a way out is not found, those two trains are going to collide and the whole world is going to pay part of the price.

DOWNS: Well, Senator, you mentioned the fact that the French and the British seem to be understrength in their garrisons in Berlin. There have also been suggestions they are dragging their feet on this entire crisis situation, President de Gaulle particularly.

MANSFIELD: I understand that the British are fairly anxious along with the Americans to undertake negotiations, but that President de Gaulle seems to think that all we have to do is to remain firm and that conditions will work out. I do not think that we should be guided in our policy by President de Gaulle, any more than I think we should be guided in our policy by Mayor Willy Brandt or Chancellor Adenauer. We have to do what we think is best, pick out a time which is propitious, and then get to work.

CHURCH: Do you feel that same way about resumption of nuclear testing—do it when we think it is right?

MANSFIELD: Yes, I think we have to chart our own destiny. We have to figure out just what course we should pursue. We have to recognize the fact that we have carried on negotiations, that we are trying to do the best we can to arrive at an accommodation. When you reach a point where that is no longer possible, then I think a decision must be made, and if one is to be made, it should be made by us.

DOWNS: You are not saying, sir, that our destiny is not tied up with the destinies of the entire free world.

MANSFIELD: Not at all. But I do not think that we ought to hold back always and make sure that our allies will come around to our way of thinking, because we have something to perform in the function of leadership, and I think that we ought to assume that responsibility.

DOWNS: Well, I would like to get back to this question of what they call the undeclared policy of Britain and France. It was mentioned by Walter Lippmann. It has been mentioned in the European press—that the division, permanent division of Germany is not entirely a bad thing. And as one London newspaper put it, after fighting a bloody war to remove the Germans as a threat to the peace, we are not going to fight another war to unify them. And this seemed to be a very popular concept among the people at least of Western Europe. We call for reunification. Aren't we out in left field alone on this?

MANSFIELD: That is right. And I daresay that the French and the British are not too dissatisfied with the present division of Germany. Maybe they have got something from their point of view. Our policy has been, under both Democratic and Republican administrations, to at least pay lip service to the idea of a reunified Germany. But I would point out that when we speak of a reunified Germany, we speak of East and West Germany primarily. The West Germans themselves refer to East Germany as Mittel Deutschland or Middle Germany, meaning, of course, that beyond the Oder-Neisse there is another Germany which has been occupied by the Poles and which in time may well have to be faced up to, because of the influence it may have on the history of Europe and the world.

DOWNS: You don't think we are going to come out, though, for a readjustment of that line at this particular time.

MANSFIELD: Not at all. As a matter of fact, I think that insofar as the unification of Germany is concerned, which we have advocated consistently, that it is not in the immediate offing.

STRAWSER: Senator Mansfield, in exerting this Western leadership goal that you think we have, where do you think we should go in this question of Berlin? What steps should we take now?

MANSFIELD: Well, I think that what we ought to do now is to call Mr. Khrushchev to task on the basis of some of the statements and assertions he has made in his various speeches in recent weeks. He has said that he would—that he was going to negotiate a treaty with East Germany. Well, he can do that. There isn't a thing we can do to stop him. He has said that he would guarantee our access in and out of Berlin. How? Under what means? What guarantees will we have and how good will those guarantees be? What I think we ought to do is return to old-fashioned diplomacy and put our Ambassadors to work in a private way, away from the glare of publicity, give them authority and responsibility, and see if some way could not be found whereby we could both get off the main track on which we are coming together at the present time, some way in which an honorable, negotiable solution could be found which would protect the people of West Berlin, which would protect our right of access in and out of the city, and give some hope to the people of Middle Europe and the world of a peaceful future.

CHURCH: Senator Mansfield, why aren't we doing these things? What are we waiting for? What is the roadblock?

MANSFIELD: I don't know. We may be doing them. But if we are, I have no knowledge of it. But it appears to me that the Soviet Ambassador, for example, is still in Moscow. We have a good Ambassador over there in the person of Ambassador Thompson. I see no reason why he couldn't carry on conversations with the Soviet Foreign Office, and Mr. Menshikov or his successor here carry on conversations with the State Department.

DOWNS: You seem to be dissatisfied with the recent course of American foreign policy. You feel that it has been too passive and not positive enough?

MANSFIELD: I think we have been reacting for the past 10 or 12 years.
"On August 16, 1961, a mass demonstration organized by the Berlin Senate drew approximately 300,000 West Berliners to the square in front of Schöneberg City Hall, where demonstrators expressed their dismay over both the construction of the Wall and the apparent passivity of the Western Powers. The banner held by demonstrators refers to the Western Allies' statement of protest; it reads, 'To the Western Powers: You Don't Stop Tanks with Pieces of Paper.'" (source)
STRAWSER: Senator Mansfield, part of the fencing that is going on in this Berlin situation now is done with the uncommitted watching world in mind. And we have been quite shocked here in the West, I think, recently, by this statement by Nehru that our rights in Berlin are a concession from the Soviets. What suddenly happened in this fight for Nehru's mind?

MANSFIELD: Well, this appears to be opposite to what Nehru said last week, so I would expect him to reverse himself again next week. Those are things you have to expect. He has no immediate interest, though he does have, as all neutrals have, an indirect interest in what happens in Berlin.

DOWNS: There has been one suggestion that followed up your original one of several months ago, to make Berlin a free city, that perhaps they move the United Nations there as the capital of the divided world, perhaps as a third way of preserving the integrity of Berlin.

MANSFIELD: That wouldn't be a bad idea—anything which would bring about the unification of Berlin, both East and West. And what a lot of people don't seem to realize is that the capital of East Germany is in Pankow, which is a part of East Berlin. It is an idea which I am sure that Mr. Ulbricht will never accept, which Mr. Khrushchev will never allow. But we have got to throw the ball back to them some way or other, and this is one way to put them, perhaps, on the defensive for a change.

CHURCH: I asked you about nuclear testing a moment ago, Senator Mansfield. What about disarmament? I suppose it seems to a good many of the people listening to you today that talking about disarmament under these Berlin conditions is kind of silly. How does it strike you?

MANSFIELD: Well, I think there is a reason for the administration, and some of our best minds, thinking that the proposition of a disarmament agency ought to be given consideration at this time. Whether or not that is true, I am not prepared to say. But I do know this—that the executive branch does have a disarmament agency of sorts in operation under Mr. McCloy, and that if there is any need in the minds of the executive for a continuation of this kind of an agency, that can be done very well in the foreseeable future at least in the executive branch of the Government under Presidential order.

DOWNS: We seem to be having, or you do, at least, seem to be having a little trouble with the President's foreign aid program. What is going to come out of this House-Senate conference?

MANSFIELD: That is hard to say. They tell me they have come to an agreement on 16 points of difference, and that 116 points of difference still remain. But I would hope that out of it would come a 3-year Treasury financing plan, and that the difference in the first year in funds between those allowed by the House and Senate would be split, so that the President would have something on the order of a little over $4 billion to inaugurate his program.

CHURCH: As I understand Mr. Halleck of the House Republican leadership, he won't stand still for that.

MANSFIELD: Mr. Halleck is only one House Member, though he does control a lot of Republicans and controls them quite well, on the basis of his record to date. But we will see what the conferees do, and then what the House will do if it has a chance to vote on a different proposition.

STRAWSER: Senator Mansfield, as the Democratic leader in the Senate, you promised to see that there is a chance to vote on further limiting debate in the Senate before this year is up. What do you think will be the chances for passage of such legislation?

MANSFIELD: I couldn't say. We have reported out the change in rule XXII, out of the Rules Committee. It will be on the calendar shortly. It will be brought up before the Senate to work its will on as the last measure this session. Now, what the outcome will be, I cannot say. But I intend to do my best in line with the pledge made last January to bring about a change which would call for three-fifths of those present and voting instead of the two-thirds of those present and voting as is the case at the present time.

CHURCH: Has there been any pressure that you could relate or speak of in anyway whatsoever put on you to back away from your cold promise?

MANSFIELD: There have been some members who have come to me with the proposal that this matter could be put over until next January. I have stated that I have given my word, I intended to keep it, and unless they can unanimously agree to do so, the change in rule XXII will come up this session.

CHURCH: Would you be inclined, Senator Mansfield, to call a halt to the whole session if you should run into a bona fide long discussion of this matter on the floor on the Senate floor—what is the word I am trying to find—

STRAWSER: Filibuster.

CHURCH: Filibuster.

MANSFIELD: Oh, yes, indeed. I think we ought to try and invoke cloture, and if cloture wins or fails, then I think we ought to, after a reasonable time, quit and go home and be ready for next year.

DOWNS: Well, how do you regard the Senate's failure to renew the fiat for the President's special Commission on Civil Rights? Is that a defeat for the Democrats, or did he want this Commission particularly?

MANSFIELD: Oh, yes. The President wants the Civil Rights Commission extended. We have suffered a temporary setback, not a defeat. And I anticipate that before we close up shop for this session, that we will have extended it—that Commission.

STRAWSER: How will you arrange this?

MANSFIELD: We will probably tie it to the State, Justice, and judiciary appropriation bill again, and ask permission to suspend the rules.

STRAWSER: What makes you feel this time you will be able to pass it?

MANSFIELD: Well, I think in time we will win.

CHURCH: Senator Mansfield, we have been talking about a lot of individual pieces of legislation here, or possible legislation. Take a good, long breath and assess the legislative successes of the Congress from the Democratic standpoint.

MANSFIELD: I can only speak for the Senate, Ted, and I think that on the whole we have had a fairly successful record. We have had a lot of cooperation, a lot of luck, and we have had a President of our own party in the White House, and all those amalgamated together spell a degree of success. But I think that one of the real reasons why we have been able to achieve a creditable record is because of the groundwork laid by Lyndon Johnson as majority leader over the past 3 or 4 years. He laid this groundwork, or he laid these foundations what we have done is to build on them. And we get the credit but he has really done the work.

CHURCH: I can't help but inject a little bit of political thinking into this. Do you suppose the rank-and-file voter would agree with you?

MANSFIELD: Yes, if they knew the circumstances.

DOWNS: But the President still—for example, the medical aid to the aged, which was one of his big campaign issues and promises—that is dead for this session, isn't it?

MANSFIELD: That is true. We can do nothing in the Senate, because of the appropriation responsibility of the House. So we have to wait for the House to take action. And that will be next year.

DOWNS: What kind of a school bill is going to come out? I mean what are you going to end up with?

MANSFIELD: I wish I knew. We passed four school bills out of committees, passed one of them through the Senate. But we are just marking time to see what the House will do, and that will determine in large part what we will do.

STRAWSER: Senator Mansfield, what are you and the other Senators hearing from back home?

How is this getting across to the voters? We hear that the Republicans think they are going to make big gains in 1962.

MANSFIELD: I think the Republicans have been strengthened since the November election. The proposal that this is a spending Congress and a spending administration is achieving some headway. The Republicans are saying it is all right to spend as much as you want on defense, but go slow on the domestic spending. They are operating in a way which I think will be politically advantageous to them. I don't blame them. It is a good tactic. But I think we have to take care of both the domestic and the foreign fronts at the same time if we can, and it is going to take money to take care of both.

CHURCH: Were you saying then, sir, that the Republicans are right when they say they will pick up some seats in 1962?

MANSFIELD: I would say that things look a little more encouraging for them now than they did last November.

DOWNS: Well, you seem to have gotten over the economic hump, and the recession that we heard so much about at the beginning of the year is rapidly disappearing. How much can this be claimed as the achievement of the Kennedy administration, or how much is this just a momentum of our own economy coming back?

MANSFIELD: I think that some of the measures taken by President Kennedy in his position as the Chief Executive did help to slow the downturn in the economy. However, I do not think that we have recovered purely because of Democratic policies. It is the way the economic cycle works. I think there is credit enough to go all the way around. I think that the President, though, made a significant contribution.

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DOWNS: Well, there was some talk that when Lyndon Johnson stepped upstairs to the Vice-Presidency, that he was going to continue to operate the Senate. This has not been true. You have been the operating man on the floor.

MANSFIELD: Well, Lyndon Johnson, in my opinion, was the greatest majority leader the Senate has ever had. I don't operate the Senate. I try to do what I can on behalf of my colleagues, both Democratic and Republican, in accord and cooperation with Hubert Humphrey, who is the majority whip and George Smathers, who is the secretary of the conference. And then, of course, we have a very good sidekick on the other side in Everett Dirksen who, in my opinion, is one of the outstanding leaders the Senate has ever had, too.

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DOWNS: Well, to get back to this campaign, the 1962 campaign, which is going to be an interesting one, because the policies of the New Frontier administration are going to be tested, what do you foresee as the major issues?

MANSFIELD: Oh, next year it will be foreign policy. For the next decade it will be foreign policy and I think we might as well recognize that, and prepare ourselves accordingly. If some accommodation is not reached, we are going to have to continue to spend tens of billions of dollars in our defense, and in the promulgation of our foreign policy. Of course, you cannot disassociate domestic policy from that. But the prime factor is going to be our relations with other countries overseas and most importantly with the Soviet Union.

DOWNS: Have you been satisfied with the cooperation and contacts with the White House? For example, under the Eisenhower administration the Republicans were screaming that they often felt cut off and isolated. Are you advised in advance of policy? Are you called in and asked for your advice?

MANSFIELD: Oh, sometimes; very rarely.

I think that is the way it should be, because under the Constitution the responsibility is the President's or through his agent, the Secretary of State. As far as the Congress is concerned, both Republicans and Democrats, I think, have had a good deal of easier access to the White House under President Kennedy than they ever did under President Eisenhower.

STRAWSER: You are an independent thinker in many ways, Senator Mansfield, and so is Chairman Fulbright, of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. Do you think your independent and sometimes differing views are appreciated by the White House?

MANSFIELD: I think so.

CHURCH: That is quite a spread sometimes there between you and Mr. Fulbright. How could they be happy about two such important Members of the U.S. Senate, the majority leader and the chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee?

MANSFIELD: Well, I think that President Kennedy has served long enough in the House and Senate, 14 years, to understand the practical situation as it applies to the Congress, and he doesn't expect to have things all his own way. He recognizes points of differences. But he realizes, and so do we, that he and he alone makes the ultimate decisions.

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DOWNS: Thank you very much for appearing on "Capital Cloakroom."