FEBRUARY 14, 1948
NEW YORK, Friday—As some of my readers may know, I spoke last night at a rally for Karl Propper, the Democratic candidate for Congress in the special election to be held in the Bronx. After reading the speeches and announcements made by Mr. Propper, I could not help being surprised that the American Labor Party, which represents the third-party attitude in New York, should run a candidate against him. Apparently, however, the all-important question to third-party adherents is whether a candidate is for or against the Marshall Plan—and Mr. Propper is for it.
It is quite understandable that the Communists are opposed to the Marshall Plan, but it is a little difficult to understand why a third party in this country should make its decisions exclusively on that point. Certainly the other things for which Mr. Propper stands are similar to those for which the American Labor Party candidate, Leo Isacson, will stand.
One is forced, therefore, to believe that, in spite of Henry Wallace's assertion that "if the Communists are for us, it is because they are for our program," it works out somewhat differently. Namely, one should say that a candidate must be 100 percent for the Communist program to receive support from the third party.
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I know the American Labor Party is strong in Bronx County, and I know that the Communists have been concentrating their workers in this area in an effort to make this election a kind of pilot decision—a symbol of whether the third party is going to be successful in electing what they call liberal candidates to Congress, since they do not expect to win the Presidential election.
Mr. Isacson may be a very good man, but he will be obligated to stand for certain things which are harmful to the strengthening of democracy in the world as a whole. If elected, he will, by his vote in Congress on foreign affairs, help to create that chaos in Europe which will come about if those nations do not receive our help to rehabilitate themselves.
The door is not closed to Russia or to any of the Eastern European states. They can come in and work with the Western democracies under the Marshall Plan whenever they wish. But they prefer to see starvation and chaos in Europe, for they know that that is one of the prerequisites to the acceptance of Communism.
No one could quarrel with Mr. Propper's stand on domestic issues. And if this special election is to be decided—as the Communists evidently wish it to be—on the question of whether or not we will help the Western democracies, then I think the voters will be more truly helpful to a united world if they support the stand taken by the candidate of the Democratic Party. Next autumn there will be contests similar to this one in other parts of the country, and our people should be aware of the issues.