Sunday, January 21, 1945
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE SUNDAY, JANUARY 21, 1945
CITY OF NEW YORK OFFICE OF THE MAYOR
TEXT OF MAYOR F. H. LA GUARDIA'S SUNDAY BROADCAST TO THE PEOPLE OF NEW YORK FROM HIS OFFICE AT CITY HALL, JANUARY 21, 1945, BROADCAST OVER WNYC AT 1:00 P.M. FOLLOWS:
Patience and Fortitude:
INAUGURATION OF THE PRESIDENT
I am going to talk about that today. I am going to talk about the patience we must have before victory comes and the fortitude to take whatever comes. Yesterday, at twelve o'clock, the President of the United States was inducted into office, called into service by a mighty draft board consisting of all the American people - a willing inductee who did not claim exemption for having served three previous hitches. The candidate of a political party became the President of all Americans; Commander-in-Chief of all our armed forces; the leader of 155,000,000 people at war. His is the responsibility of leadership, ours is the responsibility of cooperation and following.
EXCERPT FROM INAUGURAL ADDRESS
We must all do more, we are not doing enough. If we need inspiration, let me quote now, from the brief, simple, yet impressive message of the President of the United States at his Fourth Inauguration. The President said in part,
"We Americans of today, together with our Allies, are passing through a period of supreme test. It is a test of our courage - of our resolve - of our vision - of our essential democracy.
"If we meet that test - successfully and honorably -we shall perform a service of historic importance which men and women and children will honor throughout all times.
"In the days and in the years that are to come we shall work for a just and honorable peace, a durable peace as today we work and fight for total victory in war.
"We can and we will achieve such a peace.
"Our Constitution of 1787 was not a perfect instrument, it is not perfect yet. But it provided a firm base upon which all manner of men, of all races and colors and creeds, could build our solid structure of democracy.
"And so today, in this year of war, 1945, we have learned lessons - at a fearful cost - and we shall profit by them.
"We have learned that we cannot live alone, at peace; that our own well-being is dependent on the well-being of other nations, far away. We have learned that we must live as men, and not as ostriches, nor as dogs in the manger.
"We have learned to be citizens of the world, members of the human community.
"So we pray now to Him for the vision to see our way clearly -to see the way that leads to a better life for ourselves and for all our fellowmen - to the achievement of His will to peace on earth."
That must be a comfort to the mothers of the boys who are fighting. That message must be solace to the mothers of the boys who have died, and as I said, it is the inspiration for those who do not have the privilege of being in the armed forces, to work more, to do more, to be willing to take everything that comes, and make sacrifices.
I spent two days in Washington last week - Monday and Tuesday. They were crowded days. I went to Washington on what I thought were important City matters - and they are important. I testified before the Senate Committee, studying the Post-War Housing Program. We had a very satisfactory hearing. I had a conference with Secretary of Commerce Jesse Jones, on some controversial matters. The City claims an overcharge by the Government for the maintenance of the Free Trade Zone. I had a complaint to make to the Secretary of the Treasury on the Metal Reserve Corporation, taking one of our aluminum cars and paying for it as in junk. I had other matters to discuss with Departments of the Government. They were important, yes to the City, but how trivial, how trivial, with the great problems giving concern to our President and the Army and the Navy.
They have the difficult problem now to solve of getting more men in the shops and the yards and the factories, getting replacements in the Army and Navy to take the place of those who have been killed or disabled or wounded in action. I saw the President of the U. S. I had an appointment. Just before I saw him, he had been talking to the ranking members of the Committee on Military Affairs of the House, on this manpower matter. Just before the Committee went in, General George Marshall and Admiral King had been in conference with him. I had about four or five matters I wanted to take up with the president and he had one or two matters he wanted to take up with me. You know, I just couldn't do it. With all that man is carrying, with the terrible burdens heaped upon him, I figured that the matters I wanted to talk over with him perhaps could wait. He did take up one or two matters with me, and one of them he thought I had better talk over with General Marshall.
An appointment was made and I saw General Marshall that afternoon. On my way to the Pentagon Building, I thought the matter I was going to take up with the General very important. It didn't take long to dispose of it, oh, maybe three or four minutes, and I stood up to leave. The General asked me to stay, saying that he wanted to talk to me - he wanted to talk to me about this manpower problem. He talked to me most earnestly, for don't you see, on him rests the responsibility for winning this war. It is his job to see that our men are well trained, yes, and what is more important, that they are well armed and well fed and well clad and what is even more difficult, to see that our army has all that it needs in weapons and materials, and clothes and food and transportation, and that it has everything that it needs where it is needed and when it is needed. I wish all the mothers of our country who have boys in the service, could see and talk to General Marshall. I want to tell the mothers of America that they could not have entrusted their sons to a better man. Oh yes, the General wants everything he can get his hands on in munitions and arms, he wants everything that the country can provide for the comfort and safety of his men. And yet, he counts every man. He would not unnecessarily endanger or expose to danger a single GI. He would never authorize an attack for the sake of a headline. He counts the cost of war in lives - not in dollars. He is concerned about the safety of our men, and therefore, he wants to be sure that he has all the replacements, that he has the opportunity of training the new men who are called into service and that they are properly equipped and properly transported. Yes, I gathered that there was a setback in men and in supplies and in materiel. We cannot risk a single day of delay.
In the morning, we pick up our papers, and say, "Oh, the news is good tody, we landed at Luzon." Do you stop to realize that that did not happen overnight? Do you stop to realize that before a movement of that magnitude is attempted, that the day, the hour, the minute was planned three, four, or five months before. Stop to consider the details of getting supplies, four, five, six, seven thousand miles away from home; stop to consider the capacity of just one ship and what is needed in modern warfare and you will get an inkling of the magnitude. Then perhaps you will understand the anxiety of the men responsible for the winning of this war, when they see a let-down, when they have to go on the streets and appeal for men to work in the shipyards. what are we coming to? Surely the American people who have been able to bridge every crisis are not going to fall down now. No, we're not!
At this very moment, Congress is struggling with a bill to get more men into the service and to channel more men into war industry. Here is a joint report, signed by E. J. King, Chief of Naval Operations, and George C. Marshall, Chief of Staff of the Army - a report to the President of the United States which he forwarded to Congress. These two men, responsible for the winning of the war, say to their Commander-in-Chief, they say,
"As the agents directly responsible to you for the conduct of military operations, we feel that it is our duty to report to you the urgent necessity for immediate action to improve the situation relative to the acute need for young and vigorous replacements for the Army and the Navy and to provide the necessary manpower to increase the production of critical items of munitions, accelerate ship construction and effect the rapid repair of damaged vessels." (There are hundreds in our ports now to be repaired.)
Continues the report of Admiral King and General Marshall,
"Personal losses sustained by the Army in the past two months" (Let me repeat that, personal losses sustained by the Army in the past two months) "have, by reason of the severity of the weather and the fighting on the European front, taxed the replacement system to the breaking point. The Army must provide 600,000 replacements for overseas theatres before June 30," (only five more months, that is 120,000 a month) "and, together with the Navy will require a total of 900,000 inductions by June 30." (Nine hundred thousand men for the Army and Navy by June 30th.) Let me continue,
"Losses or wastage in equipment due to the German offensive and winter fighting conditions must be made good and there must also be provided the equipment for eight French divisions and for the accumulation of reserves in equipment which do not exist at the present time.
(Do you get that, people of New York? Every delay, every shortage means lives, lives of young Americans.) "It is estimated" says the report, "That 700,000 industrial workers must be added to the force producing Army and Navy munitions and to supporting industries in the next six months if our urgent needs are to be met."
So we have 900,000 needed for the Army and Navy, and 700,000 needed for Industry - 1,600,000.
I hope Congress will not again approach this great problem in a peace-meal fashion. That is the trouble today, the whole problem was not considered in the Selective Service Law. It is manifestly unfair, if this great problem is not considered as a whole. What is the Selective Service Act? It takes but one-third of the problem. This manpower problem consists of various factors - the armed forces; war production, including ship building of course: civilian requirements which involve civilian government. At no time, as I read the Law, was this considered as a whole. What have we? We have the armed forces provided for through compulsion by the Selective Service Law, leaving all of the rest to preferment, to choice, and to convenience. That is why we have these dislocations.
Well, there is no use crying about the mistakes of the past, but we should profit by those mistakes, and now is the time for Congress to review very carefully all of the mistakes, correct them in the Bill now before it. True, and I agree with the Army, it does not want honorable military service, the protection of our country and the happiness of the world, to be a punishment. That is a privilege! No doubt Congress will consider this in providing the penalties for those who are able and refuse to work in war industries, or who refuse to stay on their jobs in Civilian government in order to get easier work with more pay. I would not be surprised if severe penalties are provided by the new Law, and I say now, that punishment for refusal to work at a time when our country is at war, when wo have nearly 11,000,000 men in the armed forces, will be punishment for a crime as low and despicable as treason. We are facing a situation now where we must be sure that everyone will do his full share in this war. Haven't I said it so many times? It must be very difficult for a mother whose boy is in the service, to see the boy of a neighbor, of the same age, not in the service. This mother is entitled to know why that boy is not in the service while hers is - every mother is entitled to know that.
NEW YORK TO SET GOOD EXAMPLE
I want to appeal to the people of my City to set an example to all the Cities of America. We should set an example to all the people of America. Let us have the satisfaction of knowing that the greatest and mightiest City in the world is doing its share. And so, fellow New Yorkers, snap into it. Ask yourselves, are you doing enough, are you asking for too much. Yes, we must all give up some little comfort, some little luxury. Why do you suppose our papers and magazines publish pictures of men in the front lines? Don't you see their mangled bodies, don't you read that long list of casualties, don't you read the description of the hardship of modern warfare, read of the severe winter weather mentioned in the General's report -and yet we complain.
ACUTE LOCAL MANPOWER SHORTAGES
I know that there are many little discomforts. I know that our transportation service in Now York City is not as good as in normal times - we are 7300 men short. Bear with us. At times we do not have the men to man the trolleys and the buses. Other times, we do not have the equipment, we do not have the buses and the trolleys, because of the lack of men in the repair and maintenance shops. That is true of every railroad in the country. The crack extra fast train to Chicago was ten hours late yesterday. All trains are running late, all railroads have the same trouble, and we in New York are operating the greatest passenger carrying railroad in the entire world. We transport 6,300,000 persons a day and we need men in the transportation service. I told the Congressional Committee that this service should be protected. Our Fire, police and Sanitation departments must also be protected -we can not spare any more men. We will not claim exemption for any man in City service under 26 years of ago; we will not claim exemption for military service for anyone in the non-essential departments regardless of age - and when I say non-essential, I am talking of non-essential in war time for the protection of life and property and the health of the people of our City. That is all part of the one and big program. I went to appeal to those responsible for giving deferment to scrutinize their list.
GAMBLERS CLASSIFIED 2-A
How do you suppose the mothers of boys who have lost their lives feel, when they read about three despicable gamblers in Harlem - let me give you their names, one was Max Katz and the other, I'll find their names in just a minute, (Morris Gershenhorn and Louis Shedman). They were sentenced to indeterminate jail sentences the other day and, lo and behold, the probation officer found that they had been classified as being in essential service. Said Mr. Justice Flood, a veteran of the last war, who lost his leg in the last war, "If check cashing is an essential industry, then, I don't know what to say." These gamblers, these thieves, these robbers of milk and bread of children, had been running a numbers game in Harlem for so long, that special men of the Police Department and the Commissioner of Investigation had to take charge. Each of these gamblers had a 2-A classification under the pretense that he was in the check cashing business. I hope we will not have many such cases. Look here, Lew, every arrest that you make for gambling, check the military identification, the draft board cards, and report them immediately to Colonel McDermott. Detain the gamblers and physically deliver them to the Colonel or to the draft boards.
We are already under orders as to travel. That, too, was necessary.
I told you before that food would be scarce and we must be prepared for that. We must adjust our diets to available food. Regardless of the price problem, regardless of OPA, regardless of everything, meat will be short. The Army needs more and the Army is going to get all that it needs. So do not complain. Remember that there are millions, yes hundreds of millions of people, who are rationed to one pound of meat a month, so do not complain. When meat is tough, don't complain, if you cannot get all that you want, don't complain. There will always be enough food for proper nourishment, but we must adjust ourselves to what we can get.
As I see it, there is only one way to meet this meat shortage and that is to use less meat. To that end, I think we must return to meatless days in New York City. I have decided that we shall have two meatless days a week - Tuesdays and Fridays. On Mondays, at home use left over food - you know, save on Sunday, save during the week, and make it an occasion. We do at home, and it works. Oh, we have some of the left-over hamburgers from Saturday, and we may have some of the left-over stew from Wednesday, whatever the case may be, and it is a great occasion. You get a lot of fun out of it too and it tastes good. Some you heat again, some you can serve cold. So for the families, Monday is left-over food day. For public eating places, it will be "Specialty Day" - specialty dishes and the use of meat is within the discretion of each place. In conferring with the industry the last few days, I find it would be extremely difficult and would cause confusion to limit the eating places to by-products on Mondays because what is a by-product today may be rationed tomorrow. But I have such confidence in the hotels and restaurants and public eating places of this City, that I know they will invoke their ingenuity and spare the use of meat on Monday. I am going to recommend to the retail butcher stores to remain closed all day Monday. I have received a promise of cooperation from the employees' organization. I talked to the President of the Retail Butchers' Association and he is inclined to agree. So I am going to recommend closing the butcher shops entirely on Mondays. The meatless Tuesdays and Fridays and the "Specialty Days" at the discretion of each place, will commence a week from this Tuesday. I am not commencing this Tuesday, because I have just a little mending to do - I am working on a very effective means of enforcement. Yes, it is going to be very, very effective, and so I am holding it up for a weak. I have conferred with the Affiliated Restaurateurs, with the Hotel Men' 3 Association, the Progressive Restaurant Association, the Restaurant Owners' Guild Inc., the Associated Food Shops, the Luncheonette and Fountain Owners association, the United Restaurant Liquor Dealers of Manhattan, and the Queensboro Restaurant Association as well as with the Chain restaurants, such as Horn & Hardart, Child's, Schrafft's, Huylers, Exchange Buffet, Economy Sandwich Shops, and other Chains. I also conferred, would you believe it, with the Cafe Owners' Guild, Inc. Do you know who they are -they operate the night clubs. Well you know, it is the first time since I have been Mayor that I have had representatives of the Night Clubs in my office. I must say that they, like every other organization, were most helpful, most constructive, and what is more, most willing to cooperate. I am sure you noticed that in the description of organizations of various restaurants, I have not mentioned certain steak houses in New York City. No I did not confer with them, because I know that many are chiselers, because they cater to the sort of set of gluttons and loud mouths, and fellows who are earning the big money now, who go there and brag about eating meat, black market meat, and paying $4.00 and $6.00 for a steak. Well, look here, you may think you are smart, but you don't know what is coming to you. I know these places, the restaurants know these places, the hotels know these places, and I am going to protect the honest, decent, reputable eating places in New York. Look here, OPA, I want your cooperation and I am going to get it because Mr. Chester Bowles, the Administrator in Washington and I conferred about this. The enforcement officer of New York City was present, Mr. Paul Ross, and I have the promise of full and complete cooperation from the OPA. The OPA knows that these glutton places I am talking about, these chiselers, are violating all the rules and regulations of OPA, and therefore if we work together I think that we can make these places comply with the law. What I have said does not refer to any reputable, decent, law-abiding, patriotic steak house. If you are not violating the law, then I embrace you with the rest, and ask for your cooperation.
Another order has been issued by the WPB for the conservation of manpower, and that is that certain outdoor lighting and show lighting will be prohibited effective February 1st. The following are prohibited after February 1st. Outdoor advertising and outdoor promotional lighting is prohibited, outdoor display lighting, outdoor decorative and outdoor ornamental lighting, show window lighting, marquee lighting, white way street lighting, outdoor sign lighting as limited in the order. Now, do not confuse this with dimout. This is for manpower conservation. Ordinarily in our country, we consume 600,000,000 tons of soft coal per year, 75,000,000 tons consumed by the utilities, 140,000,000 tons for space heating and the rest for railroads and industry. We have reduced the consumption of coal by keeping down the temperature for heating purposes. You know these wiseguys, who say, the Mayor is doing this, and we do not have to do it in any other city, well, I'll tell you something -you know the people who criticize the Mayor and the Department of Health about the 68 degree temperature in the winter, it has been adopted by the United States and is contained in an Executive Order approved by the President of the United States. So that ruling is in effect in the whole country. Now, to return to the WPB power order, it is estimated that we will save 2,000,000 tons of coal in the United States. It does not seem much, but is the equivalent of 9 days of operation of all electric utilities in the country, and the saving in the mines of 580,000 man days of coal minors. So it is well worth while, because don't you see, every man that we can save helps in conserving manpower. So we will cooperate with the United States Government as we always do. I want to ask all small shop owners to cooperate and to put out their ornamental lights, and all the little taverns, which have the name of your beer or some such display, that has to go out too. I am very sorry, but it must go out. I will adopt through the Police Department all measures necessary for protection under marquees and in spots where we have special police problems. I do not anticipate any difficulty in the enforcement of this latest WPB Order pertaining to the saving of manpower in the mines.
So don't you see my friends, this is but part of the things that you and I must do. Let us not again say that the war is over, because we got good news this morning from the Eastern front in the European theater. I hope it is - I hope it is, but my job is to keep this City going, your job is to keep our Country going. The good news will come fast enough, but in the meantime we must not let up, we cannot let up for a moment. We must have patience during these days, no matter how long the war lasts. We must have fortitude to absorb everything that may come.
I want to tell you something about that. It was not long after December, 1941, when things were pretty bad on the Atlantic coast. I can not tell you how bad they were, in time it will all come out, but for the moment it was pretty serious. We had a three or four day conference of the Canadian-United States Permanent Joint Board on Defense. We were making preparations then to meet what might have been a world calamity. We did not have much with which to defend ourselves - we had very little. Great Britain had hit a very low point, and the situation was really serious. We finished that Conference late Saturday night. In leaving, I was talking with Lt. General Stanley D. Embick, a great soldier, one of the Senior Officers of the Army. He was in charge of the construction of Corregidor. He is not only a great soldier, he is a great American and he and the State Department were often at odds concerning our policy in the Far East. He had no illusions about Japan. I do not think he was surprised at what happened, for he knew. He was the senior Military officer at the time on the Permanent Joint Board on Defense. I said to him in leaving that night to come back for the Sunday broadcast, what can I tell my people. He said, "there is nothing to tell, Mayor, we must have
Patience and Fortitude."