PAT CANNON COMMI'rEE ON
4H DisT. FLORIDA 17b3
HOME ADDR Conr of tESe SRniteb rtateIs W.S ESo.
MIAMI. FLORIDA t CATHERINE ALFORD
3touse of Representatibeos
astjington, M. C.
October 31, 1939
Your letter of October 28th was duly received today and the
contents thereof very carefully noted. I agree with you that
from a local standpoint it would seem to appear that the
President's attitude in favoring the allies should be viewed
with considerable alarm. However, in the strictly Democratic
ranks here, I am frank to say that little consternation exists.
The why and the wherefor in this connection is a subject of
conjecture. My personal opinion is that Democratic Congressmen
distinguish between the President's evident personal feelings,
and their own, and the concepts of the legislation in question.
The primary consideration, as to the legislation, is whether
or not it is the best law that can be devised to keep us out
of an European conflict. The cash-and-carry provisions are
designed to this end, based, of course, on our experience
during the period 1914-1917. The prohibition regarding the
use of American ships engaging in commerce with belligerants
and sailing in danger zones are directed to this point. From
the standpoint of pride and the staining of our historical
and inherent rights to the high seas, this is a considerable
sacrifice; but is a sacrifice in the interest of American
A secondary consideration which comes to important only when
the present conflict is viewed on a long term basis is,
Democratic Congressmen, and many Republicans alike, do not
want to see a Hitler victory. The inroads made by Germany in
South America are viewed with alarm. Considerable thought,
admittedly speculation, is given to this angle-thus the
fight for the repeal of the arms embargo. Any fair mind
must admit a danger here. Unless the Department of Justice,
FBI and other agencies charged with protection against
arson and sabotage get moving we will no doubt have some
more Black-Tom cases. That, however, is restricted to this
continent, for a strict enforcement of the law which is in
the making, will preclude American sea catastrophes in con-
nection with the shipment of arms and ammunitions. It would
appear, therefore, that there is no danger of the sacrifice of
American humanity on this second point, hence the ultimate
repeal of the arms embargo.
I really should not go into any lengthy discussion of the
questions involved, because the matter is about over.
Votes on the rules will probably be taken this after-
noon, and from that time on the lines will be definitely
Therefore, it is doubtful if your writing to each of the
Congressmen would reach them in time to do any good.
However, I do know that each of them would pay careful
attention to any expression that you made, but it would
have to be a masterpiece to change one of their minds.
After this long letter, allow me to say what I intended
to say when I started out- it was good to hear from you,
and while I do not know if I will be able to make Home-
coming, I am very anxious to go in order that I may have
the opportunity of seeing you again.
Jith kindest personal regards, all best wishes and
thanks for your letter, I remain
Fraternally and cordially,
Secretary to Pat Cannon.
Hon. W. G. Carleton, Professor
University of Florida