National Affairs: Plot Without Plotters

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No military officer of the U. S. since the late, tempestuous George Custer has succeeded in publicly floundering in so much hot water as Smedley Darlington Butler. After a gallant career in all quarters of the globe with the Marines, General Butler was ''borrowed" by Philadelphia in 1924 to clean up that city's bootlegging. The hot-headed general resigned the following year, declaring that he had been made the respectable "front" for a gang of political racketeers. In 1927 he made front pages again by preferring charges of drunkenness against a Marine colonel in San Diego, Calif, following a party at the colonel's home. Four years later General Butler himself was almost court-martialed for telling a Philadelphia audience that Benito Mussolini was a murderous hit-&-run driver. He was soon embroiled in a row with the Haitian Minister who was quoted as saying that a fort General Butler said he had captured in Haiti had never existed. After these highly embarrassing incidents, General Butler found it best to resign from the Marines in 1931 to devote himself to politics and public speaking as a private citizen. In 1932 he went to Washington to harangue the Bonus Army, was an unsuccessful candidate for Senator from Pennsylvania on a Dry ticket. Last December he exhorted veterans: 'If the Democrats take care of you, keep them in —if not, put 'em out." In May the current Butlerism was: "War Is A Racket." Last month he told a Manhattan Jewish congregation that he would never again fight outside the U. S. General Butler's sensational tongue had not been heard in the nation's Press for more than a week when he cornered a reporter for the Philadelphia Record and the New York Post, poured into his ears the lurid tale that he had been offered leadership of a Fascist Putsch, scheduled for next year.

Congressmen Samuel Dickstein, from Manhattan's lower East Side, and John W. McCormack, from South Boston, picked up the fantastic story and summoned the doughty warrior from his home at Newtown Square, Pa., to a closed hearing of the Un-American Activities Committee.

The general began by saying that last summer Gerald McGuire, a bond salesman for G. M.P. Murphy & Co. of Manhattan, had approached him in behalf of a big private investor named Robert Sterling Clark, offered him $18,000 to address the American Legion convention in behalf of hard money. This the general refused to do. Then, said the general, McGuire. a onetime Connecticut Legion commander, had broached the big plan for the Fascist coup. Du Pont and Remington were putting up the arms. Morgan & Co. and G. M.P. Murphy & Co. were putting up $3,000.000 to raise an army of 500.000 veterans which apparently would be concentrated at Elkridge. If General Butler refused to be "the man on the White Horse" who would lead it into Washington and wrest the Government from Franklin Roosevelt, command would be offered to others in on the scheme—General Johnson, General MacArthur, the three ex-commanders of the American Legion. General Butler said he had "bided his time" until he had heard the whole plot, then made his revelations.

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