• U.S.

Solomons, Manpower, Elections

4 minute read

For the President, an extra-special meeting with the naval High Command only climaxed a week of many serious conferences:

> Congressman Melvin J. Maas of Minnesota returned from the Solomons furiously eager to tell the Commander in Chief what goes on. The President received him and heard plenty from a man who had served four months in the South Pacific as a Marine Corps colonel.

> An unsolved fundamental in the war effort is, as everyone knows, manpower. The President conferred with his silver-haired Manpower Commissioner, Paul Vories McNutt. At a press conference the President speculated long and earnestly on the situation, pointing to the big batch of letters and telegrams he had received on farm labor shortages (see p. 22), suggesting that it might be wise for the Army to furlough some of its 35 -to -45 year-olds for work in factory and field. Forthwith, the Army began to furlough 4,000 miners to go back to copper, lead and zinc fields.

>Out of a chance glimpse (when his automobile was tied up in traffic) the President concocted some advice to storekeepers on window displays (see p. 83).

> To luncheon with the President went Admiral William H. Standley, Ambassador to Russia, returned from Moscow to make a special report. What the report contained was not disclosed: doubtless it dwelt longest on Joseph Stalin’s impatience with Lend-Lease deliveries and delay on the second front.

> Between work to be done and a constant stream of important visitors, Franklin Roosevelt, the old warhorse of politics, must have sniffed the autumn air and felt the late-October urge to be out racing through the hustings. The Republicans were on the upsurge; the Democrats were worried; here was a chance to give his magic full play. Nor could Franklin Roosevelt fail to remember that President Wilson had come to disaster when he pleaded for a Democratic Congress in 1918—and to wonder if he could not do better. This, perhaps luckily, was at most only 1917.

Franklin Roosevelt, wartime President, held Politico Roosevelt in check. Outside his own State of New York, he made only one public endorsement: a repetition of his 1936 plea for reelection of Nebraska’s famed Senator George Norris, an Independent.

In New York, where he had futilely opposed John J. Bennett in the Democratic gubernatorial primary, the President found himself in a dilemma. Now that primary bygones were bygones, Franklin Roosevelt desperately wanted Democrat Bennett to win over Republican Thomas E. Dewey. Three weeks ago, he formally plumped for Bennett’s election. But Republican Dewey still led in the straw polls, Democrat Bennett was a poor second; and the American Labor Party, formerly a boon to the New Deal, was running a candidate of its own. So, last week Franklin Roosevelt tried again. Said he, in a telegram addressed to Bennett but meant for the ears of the American Labor Party: “To suggest that my support of you is formal and lukewarm is an untruth. . . . You are without any question the best qualified of all the candidates for the governorship. . . . There are no strings to this endorsement … I do not believe in protest voting. . . .”

While the President had to remain content with formal statements, Tom Dewey ranged merrily up & down the State. He recovered from a campaign cold in time to make a triumphant appearance at the New York Colored Baptist State Convention; he invaded Albany for a lusty swipe at the State capital’s notorious Democratic machine; he shook hands with 2,800 women in 95 minutes at Manhattan’s Hotel Pennsylvania. This week he scheduled nine speeches and a radio address in five days.

Tom Dewey climbed closer and closer to the top of the political ladder—and Franklin Roosevelt was not well situated to saw the ladder off.

More Must-Reads from TIME

Contact us at letters@time.com