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Update on war situation. Short news items in the NY Times. Hitler has refused an appeal to pardon a general who saved troops from Russian onslaught. Predicts a blow-up in Germany. A split in Hitler's staff. Propaganda can fool German people but not the German officers. Wants to allay parent fears regarding article in the NY Times concerning uncovered classes in the school system. Says this is not true. Explains why. New teachers appointed. Last weekend had a busy time, but interesting one. Studied a report by post-war building committee. Reconstruction of St. George Terminal on Staten Island. A difficult project. Details about the terminal. Plan to cover railroad tracks in the Bronx. Could create a new neighborhood. Improvement in surrounding property would merit the cost. City patrol corps. Appeals to men and women to join the city patrol corps. Racket in the newspaper clipping service has been discontinued but we're watching the situation and discovered another. Burrell clipping service mentioned. Army does not disapprove of normal lighting for the Rockaways and other coastal areas. But there could be a return to the dim out. Responds to Miss W.A. regarding a bookmaker who was using children. Responds to subway workers wife regarding husband's salary. Responds to letter about a rude bus driver and one about firemen who carry a disabled fat woman out of a cab.
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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE SUNDAY, June 4, 1944
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, JUNE 4, 1944, BROADCAST OVER WNYC AT 1:00 P.M. FOLLOWS:
Patience and Fortitude.
Good news continues from all the war fronts - the United Forces advancing every moment toward Rome. Just think of it, the American Forces are as near to the limits of the City of Rome as City Hall is to Fordham Road. It will not be long now. The future and the fate of the Eternal City depend entirely on the retreating tactics of the Nazi forces. General Clark has made that very plain.
BLOW UP IN GERMANY PREDICTED
There is a short news item in the New York Times this morning that perhaps has not been noticed by a great many of you. I attach a great deal of significance to it. I will read it to you:
"Adolph Hitler has refused an appeal by a group of high officers, including Col. Gen. Ederhard von Mackensen, to pardon the former Lieut. Gen. Count Sponek, who was demoted to the rank of private in February, 1942, the British Radio has reported. According to the broadcast recorded by the Columbia Broadcasting System, Count Sponek was demoted by a court-martial presided over by Reich Marshal Hermann Goering when he refused to carry out Hitler's order to hold out on the Kerch Peninsular of the Eastern Crimea with the Twenty-Second Infantry Division, which he then commanded. Count Sponek withdrew his troops when promised reinforcements failed to arrive, and saved his division from the Russian onslaught, the broadcast said."
That is symptomatic. Just remember that. I predict that there will be a blow-up in Germany and that this blow-up will come right within the staff - the German General Staff. There will be a split among the generals. Either they will shoot Hitler or do something with him. Following that, there may be a spurt in their defense, but it will not last long. German propaganda can fool the German people. It cannot fool the German Staff. They are realizing now that they are beaten. German officers are good officers, we must say that, and so they must know that they are beaten. The blow-up will come right within the staff.
UNCOVERED CLASS ROOM STORY INCORRECT
I want to allay the fears of parents of our school children because of an article appearing in the New York Times on June 3, 1944. It would indicate that a large number of our classes in the grade and junior high schools are uncovered. Well, that is not so. The headline is most misleading and it is based upon this paragraph. It says: "Board of Education figures, made public by the Guild, show this week-to-week record: Decembor 13-17, 6,300 classes uncovered; February 14-18, 1,099; March 20-24, 1,990; April 17-21, 1,120; April 24-28, 1,325; May 1-5, 351 and May 8-12, 874."
That is very tricky reporting. It conveys the idea to any honest person reading it that that many classes are uncovered every day. That is not so. The number of classes uncovered is just 1/5 of that number. What this tricky reporter did was to add the uncovered classes each day and get the total of the week and make it appear that that was the uncovered classes every day. Now you must stop to consider first that the December 13-17 week was the week of the flu epidemic and that there was a corresponding number of people sick, too. That very often happens in a year when you have an epidemic of flu or any other kind of illness or sickness. The others, of course are just the normal absences of teachers. If you stop to consider that in the grade and junior high schools we have 17,000 teachers you will see that these figures of 131, 98, 160, 154 and so on, are not at all abnormal.
We have appointed 700 new teachers to elementary and junior high schools since September and an additional 500 vocational senior high school teachers have been appointed since that time. It is very unfortunate that such kind of tricky reporting appears in such a splendid paper as the New York Times. It has caused some consternation and I want to correct it. It is a very vicious condition, this school reporting, over which Mr. Arthur Sulzberger, an honorable gentleman, and a most able publisher, seemingly has no control. Do not fear, your classes are being covered.
BUDGET VETO MESSAGE
Last weekend I had quite a busy time, but a most interesting one. On Decoration Day I put the finishing touches and signed the veto message to the Council.
PROPOSED NEW STATEN ISLAND TERMINAL
I also studied a report made by the Postwar Building Program Committee. There is one plan that is rather challenging. It is a reconstruction of the St. George Terminal on Staten Island. It presents some very serious engineering difficulties, for as you know, immediately back of the waterfront there is a very high hill, and the problem is a very difficult one. The new plan would provide entirely new slips at a different location than the old ones, the filling in of the old slips and double-decked approaches to the terminal. The first rough estimate cost is about $7,500,000. I am inclined to approve it, and in all likelihood it will appear on the next calendar of the Board of Estimate for consideration.
PROPOSED NEW MEMORIAL BOULEVARD
Then there was another very intriguing and fascinating project. I think Timmy Lyons of the Bronx wanted to frighten me - at any rate, after the Memorial Day parade I inspected the entire territory with the Commissioner of Public Works of the Bronx, Mr. Sheridan. It is a plan to cover the railroad tracks of the New York, New Haven and Hartford Railroad for a distance of about three miles. There, too, some very difficult grading problems present themselves, and the cost would be rather large. Yet, you know, it is a most intriguing proposition.
I could visualize covering those tracks and see an entirely new neighborhood created. It is now very rundown, abandoned, unsightly and unattractive. Just think of covering those tracks and in the middle having a beautiful boulevard - a memorial boulevard, perhaps with beautiful shade trees and the side for vehicle traffic only. You know, it could equal, if not surpass the Champs Elysees. I think, Jimmy Lyons, you have something there. The cost does not frighten me at all, because the improvement in the surrounding property would be so great as to make it pay for itself in a few years. I am going to give this further study, because it is, as I say, intriguing and something that is well worth considering.
CITY PATROL CORPS
I want to congratulate the City Patrol Corps. They established three new records last week. The first was that each company had a net gain in personnel. The second was the lowest percentage of men absent on furloughs, excused or AWOL - a reduction of fifteen percent. The third was the greatest coverage by the Corps in taking patrol beats and placing over 600 men on guard every day.
Congratulations to the City Patrol Corps. I want to appeal to all men and women who are not yet rendering any service, particularly deferred men, and men in their forties to enlist in the City Patrol Corps. We need them now, and as I said before, many may be ashamed when the war is over, that they have not contributed services of some kind.
NEWS CLIPPING RACKET
I told you last week about the racket in the newspaper clipping service. Well we have the promise of that particular firm that they will discontinue. It was just an individual doing it We are watching it very carefully. In fact we have discovered another one over in Queens, and we are following that up. I have reported it to the Post Office Inspectors as well as to the Police Department and they are giving it attention. The Burrelle Clipping Service calls to my attention that they, of course, do not indulge in such practices. That is to be expected, as the Burrelle Clipping Service is an old established firm. Both it and other old established firms, of course, would not indulge in such practices. If any family or parent receives a notice that for 25 cents they may have a news item and they receive only the Casualty List, be sure and let me know.
REESTABLISHMENT OF NORMAL LIGHTING
I want to say to the business men and inhabitants of the Rockaways, Coney Island, South Beach, Staton Island, and Orchard Beach, that the Army does not disapprove of the re-establishment of normal lighting services this summer. However it also serves notice that should there be any change and they are ordered to return to the dimout we would have to do so immediately without any notice at all.
I want to say to Mrs. W. A. that the information you sent me was quite correct. In fact, it was more than correct conceiting Luigi and Pasquale. Well, we have nailed Luigi. He was engaged not only in bookmaking but in usihg children of 14 or 15 years of age as runners. Keep your eyes open and if you see them around be sure and let me know.
SUBWAY WORKER'S WIFE
To the subway worker's wife, I checked on your figures. The salary of $52 a week is correct, but your conclusions as to the deductions for the withholding tax are incorrect. That is something over which we have no control at all. I will be glad to explain the situation to you if you will call at my office. You may also bring the friends you mention in your letter.
Well, I talk to you from time to time about good manners. I received a letter which brings conflicting emotions. It says: "As to your remarks in (one of your) Sunday broadcasts, regarding discourteous bus drivers, permit me to say, Your Honor, that judging by my own experience when I left the bus, rather than listen to the insults of a certain driver on lower Second Avenue who, apparently, was itching for a fight with somebody, even going so far as threatening to throw an elderly man off the bus, only last week, it certainly is not safe to even attempt to say anything or ask a question of some drivers." Well I am glad it is only some drivers. We are after it real hard and will watch the situation. There will be a record kept of all these discourteous acts. In the same letter the writer says: "And may I, Your Honor, at this point mention an entirely different incident which I thought will please Your Honor. It was also last week, in fact, on the same day, when a taxi stopped next to a fire-house (Hook and Ladder Co. #11, 5th Street, near Avenue D) and two men were struggling to help a very stout young woman whose one leg was in a plaster cast, to get out of the cab, when about half a dozen husky firemen came out with a sturdy chair and in no time carried her up one flight of narrow stairs, setting her down very gently and departing amid the thanks of the grateful family and cheers of the neighbors who gathered around them". Good work, firemen.
Ladies and Gentlemen, the Office of Defense Transportation has asked the Mayor of the City of New York, as Chairman of the Conference of Mayors of the United States, to address an official statement to the Mayors of the Cities throughout the country on City Folks and Vacations. The Blue Network and its affiliated stations take pleasure at this time to present the Honorable F. H. La Guardia:
CITY FOLKS AND VACATIONING
I am going to talk today about summer vacations for city folks. The Director of the Office of Defense Transportation, Mr. J. M. Johnson, has asked for the cooperation of all Mayors in bringing home to the people of our cities the real transportation situation and the need of staying at home or very near home this summer. As President of the United States Conference I can assure the Office of Defense Transportation and the Army and Navy that they will have the full and complete cooperation of all Mayors in this, as they have had wholehearted cooperation in anything and everything in the war effort.
I am informed by the Office of Defense Transportation that for two and a half years the necessities of war have made greater and greater demands upon our transportation system. The railroads alone are handling today twice as much freight as they did in 1918, and with 600,000 fewer cars than they had in the first World War. They are handling two and one half times the passenger traffic they did in 1941, and with no increase in equipment. The war is increasing in intensity and in demands on transportation. The active participation of every American will be required to meet the threat to transportation.
Our government asks that during the summer we make this an "AT HOME" VACATION, and we are all asked to put up an active campaign in our own cities to eliminate vacation travel requiring transportation on railroads or intercity bus lines. Let me give you the direct information as we have received it from our Government:
Americans generally have an urge to travel, to get away from home, to go places and do things. Well, we can not do it this year. At this time, when every bit of slack in the travel facilities has been absorbed, the invasion of Europe is in the making. When the invasion will start is not known, but it is known that the wounded will be evacuated home immediately, and that troop and equipment movements to the front will be accelerated.
This military movement will require a still larger proportion of the transportation facilities. The movement of the wounded will definitely require Pullman cars in large numbers, and immediately, when the hospital ships reach our ports.
The needs of the armed services, and the requirements to care for the wounded, WILL BE MET REGARDLESS. Families and vacationers, away from home, may be stranded.
The United States Army is confronted with a real transportation emergency. General C. P. Gross, Chief of Transportation, U. S. Army, says: (I quote)
"With tremendously increased military operations in the European theater, the Army is asking the railroads to pile another miracle on the miracle they are already performing. Invasion means vastly increased military movement... two way movement. We must continue to get our men and guns and tanks and ammunition from training centers and factories to the ports of embarkation. In addition, we must now also provide fast and comfortable transportation for the returning soldier...the casualty on his way to the hospital best suited to his needs and the nearest to his home. We certainly must give that kind of traffic the right of way over anything and everything else." (End of quote.)
The only hope of meeting this situation is to prepare for it now. That will require a concerted effort to reduce all travel; to keep unessential travelers from making that trip; to persuade individuals and families to MAKE THIS AN "AT HOME" VACATION.
The cooperative patriotic solution to the travel situation is for all to contribute by refraining from making any unnecessary use of public transportation facilities. Priorities and rationing of travel have
been suggested, but the Office of Defense Transportation believes that Americans everywhere are willing to go "all out" to promote the war effort. The ODT is convinced that, with the proper leadership, the necessary conservation of vital transportation will be achieved without the need for difficult governmental control. The ODT has placed this leadership on the Mayors of cities from coast to coast. And again I want to assure the ODT that we will take on the job even at the expense of being misunderstood and abused, but we will do it.
The immediate program is being keyed to eliminate the usual summer travel, and that is almost invariably connected with vacation.
It is recognized that vacations are essential; that continuous high output week after week cannot be expected without opportunities for rest and relaxation. The MAKE THIS AN "AT HOME" VACATION campaign should be keyed to a change from routine activities to others that are available to an individual or a family in their own home town. Extra hours in the garden, except to an enthusiast, or tinkering around the house, do not spell rest, change, relaxation.
Every city has its own historical background and its own points of interest; items which the average inhabitant knows about, but which many have never seen. This could well be made the year to realize that "some day," which every one has promised himself, to take in these point of interest that strangers have come hundreds, and even thousands, of miles to see.
There are parks, recreation areas, swimming places, and picnic grounds available to the public, many of them entirely free-of-charge. This year may be the opportune time for the city recreation or park department to reach the public more effectively than ever. Their contribution to an at home vacation will most certainly help.
Now amusement facilities, which have almost certainly been developed in recent years, and old ones which have sustained their popularity for a long time, are most likely allies in a campaign to spend the vacation in the home town. Golf courses, tennis clubs, riding academies, swimming pools, roller skating rinks, dance pavilions, baseball, bowling alleys, summer theaters, outdoor concerts, and amusement parks can be aligned with a MAKE THIS AN "AT HOME" VACATION program.
But the most valuable source of ideas to point the joys and satisfaction of a vacation without travel are the memories of the older residents, men and women in their fifties and sixties. They know how vacations were spent in by-gone years without the necessity of traveling and without reliance on the family automobile. Family picnics, days in the parks, camping and fishing trips, stays at nearby resorts, visiting relatives on the farm, all the satisfactory avenues of relaxation of a simpler age are still available, and can well be revived in this year of necessity.
While the old swimming hole has probably been gone for many a year, there are undoubtedly new places to swim that are just as interesting to which the younger fry can guide you. Although few of your citizens may have the direct connections with relatives on farms that the older members of the community had, the plea for 4,000,000 city folks to work on the nation's farms this summer, and for pay, provides a modem equivalent. Your local Chamber of Commerce or other similar organizations, may be willing to work out a cooperative arrangement with the employment agencies whereby arrangements may be made for a farmer to take an entire family, thereby providing farmers with essential help, and city families with the needed change and healthful exercise.
Of course, each City will approach its problem in accordance with local conditions, habits and customs. After all, latitude is given for vacationing at nearby resorts. [Removed from transcript: Swimming in the Atlantic would be rather difficult for the cities if my colleagues in the Mid-West or in the Mountain States, but then, they have a great many advantages that we on the coast do not enjoy.] After all, a vacation at home, with the opportunities of getting real rest and recreation, is very little to ask, considering why we are doing it. We must consider the hardship, danger and suffering of the men in our armed forces, for whom we are asked to do this little bit. The thought that we will be helping our government to evacuate the wounded immediately and to transport them where they can get the best treatment, and as far as possible nearest their home, is enough in itself to command complete and absolute compliance with our government's request.
So I wish you all a very happy vacation at home - remember at home.
"Ladies and Gentlemen you have just heard the Honorable F. H. La Guardia, Chairman of the Conference of Mayors of the United States and Mayor of New York City. Mayor La Guardia at the request of the Office of Defense Transportation addressed an official statement to the Mayors of the cities throughout the country, entitled 'City Folks and Vacations!"
Now you will get direct information and guidance here in New York City as to facilities and opportunities for recreation, relaxation and rest right here. The Park Department, CDVO, (I am appointing a special committee of the CDVO for this purpose) will cooperate with other city agencies so as to help in every way. Now remember, we must have patience and our fighting soldiers have the fortitude.