National Affairs: 'Honorable Jim

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Senator James A. Reed found a new scent in the Klan-trails of Indiana Republicanism, re-opened his investigation at St. Louis, last week. His particular purpose was to discover what relations existed between Senator James E. Watson and the K. K. K. William M. Rogers, automobile salesman, told this story of 1924:

"I was an organizer and kleagle in the Klan under D. C. Stephenson. I carried the imperial passport, under which a man can belong to the Klan without it being known to the rank and file. ... I wrote to D. C. Stephenson regarding a position in the Department of Justice. He wrote to me to go to Washington and there interview Senator Watson. He said his letter would be a sufficient introduction. I went to the capitol and met Watson in his office.

"Watson said, 'So you have been an organizer in Wilmington? Have you your credentials?' I showed him this card. He said, 'Well, I have one similar,' and he took it from his pocket. . . .

"I returned to Watson and he told me my application must have the indorsement of D. C. Stephenson. I asked if Walter Bossert [then grand dragon of the Indiana Klan] would do and he said, 'Hell, no! Bossert will soon be removed.' "

Mr. Bossert was forced to resign because he would not support James Watson. According to some testimony, Senator Watson was present at the conference which ousted him.

Immediately Senator Watson from his hospital bed in Indianapolis denounced this story as the "fabrication of a disappointed office-seeker." Two days later in his last radio speech before election day, he talked about the tariff and had soft words for everyone:

"I have not denied that I am seeking the votes of the Ku Klux Klan,. but have coupled it with the statement that I wanted the votes of all other orders, churches and creeds."

In spite of the importance attached to Senator Reed's and Editor Thomas H. Adams' investigations (TIME, Oct. 18), the Klan in Indiana is little more than a political hangover which reminds Republicans how bad they were the ( night before. The Klanish horde of 400,000 in 1923 and 1924 has now dwindled to some 17,000 faithful morons. The principal result of the investigations seems to have been to crystallize resentment against Senator Watson, hitherto a Republican power and presidential possibility. He is described by Frank R. Kent, able correspondent of the Democratic Baltimore Sun, in no mild language:

"In Indiana you hear far more scathing denunciation of the Honorable Jim from prominent Republicans than you do from any Democrat. By outstanding men of his own party he is privately pictured as a blithering blatherskite, the most blatant bluff any State has sent to Washington in years— a disgrace to Indiana, a fraud and a faker."