Letter to William G. Carleton from Phil Locke, Miami Daily News, regarding Claude Pepper, March 24, 1944 (3 pages)

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Material Information

Title:
Letter to William G. Carleton from Phil Locke, Miami Daily News, regarding Claude Pepper, March 24, 1944 (3 pages)
Series Title:
Locke, Francis P. (Miami Daily News re Claude Pepper). 1943-1946
Physical Description:
Mixed Material
Language:
English
Creator:
Carleton, William G. (William Graves), 1903-1982
Publication Date:
Physical Location:
Box: 3
Folder: Locke, Francis P. (Miami Daily News re Claude Pepper). 1943-1946

Subjects

Spatial Coverage:
North America -- United States of America -- Florida -- Dade -- Miami

Record Information

Source Institution:
University of Florida
Rights Management:
All applicable rights reserved by the source institution and holding location.
System ID:
AA00003072:00002

Full Text







AFTERNOON
AND
SUNDAY


M AM


SA ILY


NtWS


MIAMI. 30. FLORIDA


RADIO STATION
W I D
NBC AFFILIATED
OWNED AND OPERATED
BY
MIAMI DAILY NEWS


March 24, 1944

Dear Bill,

I want to thank you from the bottom of my heart for
your long, interesting and extremely helpful response to my
call for aid in delineating Senator Pepper. I am ashamed
that I have not acknowledged your letter sooner, but I am
close to my deadline and felt I had to devote all my time
to getting the rest of my lines out before I stopped to
give thanks for the returns I had begun receiving.

Your letter was remarkably painstaking and comprehen-
sive and gave me by all odds my best point of departure
for Senator Pepper's record in this state, as well as an
extremely finely balanced appraisal of his general service
and stature. After having had three talks with the senator,
totalling about eight hours, and digesting certain other
correspondence, I find myself coming out the same end of
the barrelA. My respect for his sincerity, courage and
long-grounded liberalism has been considerably increased by
my researches to d.ate. At the same time it seems established
that he has played at least the usual amount of shabby and
demagogic politics in the state-- which is probably the price
any liberal, but particularly in the South, would have to pay
to become and remain a United States senator. It is probably
less a reflection on him than upon us-- I am speaking generally
now of the general mass of voters.

I have written to Bill Sherrill and Julius Stone and am
hoping for replies from them. I have also set about checking
as best I can some of the rumors you reported to me. With
such as were so generalized as to rule out any possible tracing
back to you I confronted the senator himself in a three-hour
bdll session at his hotel in Miami the other evening. As far
as I have got to date, I am inclined to be skeptical. He
explained the Eglin field thing pretty much to my satisfaction,
and showed me a letter from Ohairman May of the Mouse military
affairs committee which exonerated him and referred to certain
newspaper accounts as an effort to "smeart him.


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AFTERNOON
AND
SUNDAY


M AMI


O A L Y


NEWS


MIAMI. 30, FLORIDA


RADIO STATION
WIOD
NBC AFFILIATED
OWNED AND OPERATED
BY
MIAMI DAILY NEWS
0


-2-

I had a long letter from George Norris, wholly and
warmly favorable to Pepper. Since he released me from
confidence on it, you might be interested in some excerpts,
which I will quote as follows, although I believe no public
use should be made of them at this time:

"I did not know him before he came to the senate,
but I was impressed with what I believed to be his ability
and his courage soon after he came into the senate. I have
been associated with him in various.matters of national
legislation, and my opinion of his ability and his integrity
and his courage has increased during that time until.I
look upon him at the present time with a great deal of admi-
ration. It just happens that I was not associated with him
on any important committee during his six years of service,
but I have had numerous conferences Ath him on matters of
legislation and have formed the opinion that he had a very
high, progressive idea of the duty of a United States Senator.
I think of him therefore in the very highest terms. I think
his ability and his standing is far above that of the ordinary
member of congress..."

Norris went on to describe how Pepper won him over to
the view that his poll tax bill was constitutional-- how
Norris, entirely sympathetic with the objective, nevertheless
felt it was a constitutional impossibility but was won over
(as was a majority of the kImx judiciary committee) by Pepper's
brilliant advocacy and logic.

I wrote R~t a number .of other senators, and from two
or three of the liberals whom I most greatly respect I have
the strongest compliments on him. (From another liberal, who
however I respect somewhat less, I have it that he is one
of the six best men in the senate.) A conservative but
reasonable Republican, who is anti-New Deal but pro-Adminis-
tration-foreign-policy, wrote; "But a kindlier opponent I
never have had. His courtesy'is unfailing, and he has the
gift of a rich vocabulary which he uses to make his friends
happy instead of to make them suffer." (Mere is confirmation
of your suggestion that Pepper is very polite-- but with a
different reaction from this senator than from Senator Clark,
whom you quoted.) This senator, however, thought that Pepper's
extreme zealousness "deprived him of the effect of leadership,"
and implied that many colleagues did not take him very seriously.


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AFTER OON
AND
SUNDAY


M AM


D AILY


MIAMI. 30, FLORIDA


RADIO STATION
WIOD
NBC AFFILIATED'
OWNED AND OPERATED
BY
MIAMI DAILY NEWS
0


-3-

Other senators (that is, of those who replied among
the 30 some-- of all political complexions-- whom I solicited)
declined to commit themselves one way or the other. What
inferences, if any, are to be drawn from their reticence I
wouldn't have any way of knowing.

Illustrating the demagogic way in which Pepper (again,
he doubtless has to) campaigns is a story I picked up from
former Congressman Mark Wilcox of Miami, who ran against him
in '38. During the closing days of that campaign, Pepper
we speaking in West Palm Bqach, at the.ball park, and he
said, in effect: "Claude Pepper is the poor man's friend.
Claude Pepper has no entree into the homes and precincts
of the wealthy. Those people don't like Claude Pepper, and
Claude Pepper has nothing in common with them," etc., etc.
Whereupon, after finishing his speech, he was whisked over
to Palm Beach where he attended a reception and spent the
night at the kmw palatial home of John H. Perry.

At this point, I wonder if I may ask you two supplementary
questions that have come up recently. Do you know anything
about the way in which Pepper is alleged to have misused the
WPA for campaign purposes? I understand his.first WPA
administrator, Bob Dill, was investigated by congress, but
have no further information. Also I hear that in his pre-
senate days as a lawyer, Pepper had a good many powerful
corporation clients. Can you shed any details on these
generalities? If time presses you too much, don't bother.

Now I guess I should turn back for the ram&tning
hour and a half of the afternoon to looking after the interests
of James M. Cox, publisher of a daily newspaper. But I want
to impress you again with the very great gratitude I feel for
the full and ready response which you made to my call for
succor.

Thanks also for your kindly comments on my last Free
World article. As to future literary endeavors, I feel I may
not be long for this world, having just been put in Class 1-A
by my draft board. However, wherever I am, I shall be watching
"Vital Speeches" for the latest ringing contributions by Carleton
to a sane world order.
Best a rarS,
P.S. Please forgive me for sending such a sloppy ipttpr


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