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Mary Bell

State Dept.: Millionaires’ New Club

(December 1944)

From Labor Action, Vol. 8 No. 50, 11 December 1944, pp. 1 & 2.
Transcribed & marked up by Einde O’ Callaghan for the Encyclopaedia of Trotskyism On-Line (ETOL).

The State Department has become a millionaires’ club. Only a few weeks after millions of American workers cast their ballots for that “friend of labor” Roosevelt, he hoisted Wall Street into the saddle in the most important department of the Government.

The Line-Up

Edward Stettinius, the new Secretary of State, is the son of the wealthy J.P. Morgan partner, has been associated with the Morgan interests, General Motors, and was chairman of United States Steel. His appointment by Roosevelt, and the sloughing off of Wallace, choice of the labor leaders and liberals, caps the climax (the Infamous “Little Steel” award) of the President’s recent anti-labor acts.

Wallace has been offered the job of Secretary of Commerce, it is reported, and the reactionary Jesse Jones will be out. But to make sure that this other “friend of labor” would have no power, Roosevelt has lessoned the responsibilities of the Commerce Department and placed its important functions in the hands of the State Department – under Jesse Jones’ friend, Will Clayton!

If being a friend of Jesse Jones is not the kiss of death (to honest labor people – not “friends of labor”) it should be sufficient to add that the man who is in charge of foreign economic relation’s is the cotton broker whose firm collaborated closely with German interests, helped them obtain raw materials for war, and who latterly participated in the new “land grab” scandals to turn over government acquired lands to the monopolists.

As though he wanted to clinch his own statement that the “New Deal” is, ended, Roosevelt added another millionaire, the ex-Ambassador to Japan, Joseph C. Grew, also a Morgan man. Grew admires Shintoism, the Japanese emperor-worship, and thinks it would be a good thing to keep the Japanese workers under this feudal-fascist hypnotism, if only the Japanese military could be eliminated, or brought on our side. Grew was Ambassador during the scandalous period of shipments of scrap-iron and steel by U.S. firms to Japan – which aided the war against China.

Nelson Rockefeller, formerly of the Office of Inter-American Affairs, has been moved, along with his old functions, by Roosevelt, into the State Department, too. In his dealings with South American countries he has never lost his Wall Street accent.

The addition of Archibald MacLeish, poet and ex-librarian of Congress, to handle culture and information must have been a whimsical touch by Roosevelt. The “culture and information” of this department is obviously to be couched in terms of dollars.

They’re not necessary to prove our point that the Roosevelt Administration is a pro-big business government, but a couple of other people the President is said to be considering for the Department are of great interest.

One is James Clement Dunn. He is a wealthy, notorious apologist for the Franco regime in Spain. He is for a “soft peace” – for the German industrialists. The other is Leon Fraser, Wall Streeter, current president of First National Bank and former president of the Nazi-dominated Bank for International Settlements. He is slated for the post of Assistant Secretary of international finance.

Labor cannot afford to take the attitude that the State Department, since it is in charge of international affairs, is none of its business. Labor’s brothers in Europe, together with the farmers and poorer middle classes, are trying to set up their democratic rights as the Nazis are being driven out: What happens in their fight is of paramount significance to American unionists. Their fight may determine whether fascism is liquidated, or grows again, or whether there will be a new World War after this one is over.

As the Nazis are driven back, the role of the State Department becomes more and more important. Now, reflecting the desires of Roosevelt, it is the direct personal property of big business interests. What can the European masses, the resistance movements, the underground workers’ organizations expect from these men who have the interests of profit-making at heart?

Formerly, under professional statesmen, like Hull, the interests of business were indirectly promoted, by the State Department in their international relations. Now, big business and the governmental agencies are formally wedded. What this means is that the policies that big business carried on internally against labor in this country will be extended abroad – and with a vengeance. Most of these men have had connections with international Cartels – both Axis and Allied – so that they know how to do business with fascism. This bodes ill for the future of European workers, and consequently for the future of the American workers.

Roosevelt has not “betrayed” his worker-supporters in the elections. He has remained faithful and kept the pledge to his business supporters, for he is a capitalist candidate who ran on the platform of the capitalist Democratic Party. Labor’s only assurance of the interests of labor being furthered is its own candidates running on a labor platform. And only then can the European workers be assured of their democratic rights and the destruction of fascism.

Roosevelt has merely placed his cronies in office – men who were born into the same class of wealth and privilege and who think like him. The State Department is a transmitter for the foreign policies of the Administration, therefore it is dead certain Roosevelt appointed the right personnel – for the capitalists.

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