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Times, Tuesday, August 12, 1941: About 300
women from New York, New Jersey, and
Connecticut arrived on a special train today to
protest against legislation to extend the period
of service for selectees and National
Guardsmen. ... Representing themselves as
wives, mothers, and sweethearts of men in
service, the women planned to call on their
Congressmen during the day to appeal to them
to vote against the legislation. ... At a rally in
the Senate Office Building caucus room, the
women, members of Women United, Inc., of
New York, heard from Senator Clark of Idaho
that America's chances for keeping out of the
war had increased during the last month. ...
"Public opinion in America has become frozen
at about 80 percent against the war," he said.
"As long as public opinion stays frozen at that
level I doubt if the President or Congress will
take us into war." ... Mrs. Burton K.
Wheeler, wife of the Senator from Montana,
urged the women to "carry out the fight to save
America." ...Before departing in groups for
the House to buttonhole their Representatives,
the women were urged by their leader,
Elizabeth Brown, to be "quiet and dignified."
... Each woman carried a letter to deliver to
her Congressman and was instructed to call
him from the floor and make a personal
appeal. The letter said that members of
"Women United do not believe that a greater
emergency exists than when the original draft
bill was enacted."
Washington, Associated Press, The New
York Times, Tuesday, August 12, 1941: As the
opposition rallied its forces in debate in the
House today against the Army Service
Extension Bill, a Republican added a warning to
that of the Administration forces. ...
Representative Gearhart of California told the
House that the developments at Vichy, with
Admiral Darlan as military dictator of Free
France, meant that Nazi armies soon would be
marching through France and Spain toward
Africa. ... Next, he said, the Nazis would be in
Portugal and Dakar [most western tip of Africa],
which he called "the jumping off place" for
America. ... "And yet, my colleagues, you say
there is no peril," he cried.
International Situation, The New York
Times, Tuesday, August 12, 1941: By a margin
of only one vote the House of Representatives
approved [Tuesday] night the extension of the
term of duty under the Selective Service Act.
The measure was adopted in substantially the
form in which it passed the Senate and provides
for an additional 18 months of service for
selectees, National Guardsmen, and Reservists
and an increase of $10 monthly in pay after a
year of service. The clause stating that the
national interest was imperiled was retained. ...
That peril was emphasized when Marshal Petain
sounded the knell of parliamentary democracy in
France, put the bulk of his administration into the
hands of pro-Nazi Admiral Darlan, and called on
all Frenchmen to collaborate willingly in building
Adolf Hitler's "new order" in Europe. Marshal
Petain solidified what he called "rule from
above" by appointment of 12 "commissioners of
authority" under Admiral Darlan, who will see to
it that the laws are enforced in the spirit of the
"National Revolution." Admiral Darlan was
made Minister of Defense. His authority now
embraces the portfolios of War, Navy, Aviation,
Foreign Affairs, and Information and the defense
of the colonies. ... Washington was proceeding
cautiously and an immediate rupture of relations
with the Vichy regime was thought unlikely. ...
News from the Russo-German front continued to
be obscured by conflicting claims. The German
High Command did not mention the Ukraine,
but announced that general operations
continued to proceed favorably. Unofficial Berlin
sources, however, stated that the city of Odessa
had been isolated and that the Russians would
shortly be driven out of their Dnieper positions.
... Moscow, on the other hand, indicated that the
German drive had spent itself and announced
that nothing of importance had occurred on the
front. Previously heavy Nazi pressure at the two
ends of the line had been acknowledged, but
Soviet forces were said to be fighting
stubbornly, aided by vigorous air activity behind
the German lines. ... On the diplomatic front
Russia and Britain in identical declarations to
Turkey pledged all possible aid if Turkey were
attacked and renewed their promises to respect
the status quo in regard to the Dardanelles. ...
The British, meanwhile, renewed their air
attacks on Western Germany with their heaviest
daylight raid thus far. Cologne and its power
plants were attacked and the "invasion coast"
was again swept. Britain acknowledged the
loss of 20 planes in these operations. The
Soviet air force again raided Berlin. ... Britain
and the United States were disclosed to have
warned Japan that any action threatening
Thailand [the only country in the region not
colonized] would be a matter of grave concern
and they were prepared to meet move with
move. ... The question of American aid to
Russia through Vladivostok was raised, not only
by the Cabinet spokesman in Tokyo but also by
the Japanese Army spokesman in Shanghai,
where it was declared that the Russian port
would be America's first line against Japan.
Washington, Special to The New York
Times, By Frederick R. Barkley, Tuesday,
August 12, 1941: By a razor-edged vote of
203-202 the House approved the Army service
extension bill this evening in essentially the form
in which it was adopted by the Senate, but with
minor amendments which will require sending
it back to the Senate. It seems the House
version might be accepted to avoid a
conference. ... Opposing the bill were 133
Republicans, 65 Democrats, and four from
minor parties. Supporting the bill were 182
Democrats and 21 Republicans.
Washington, Associated Press, The New
York Times, Tuesday, August 12, 1941:
Hushed tension alternated with clamorous
uproar when the House passed the Army service
extension bill tonight by a single vote [203-202].
... By that narrow margin the Administration was
saved from a devastating defeat. Just before the
close final vote, Administration leaders had
beaten a motion to send the legislation back to
the Military Committee, 215-190. They had
been in command of the situation throughout a
long day of voting on amendments. They
thought it was all over. ... However, as the final
roll call proceeded, they came to alert.
Republican leaders anxiously kept tab on the
voting, but all that any one except the tally clerk
knew for certain was that the ballot was breath-
takingly close. ... After the last name had been
called, Representative Somers, Democrat, of
New York, announced that he wished to change
his vote from one favoring the bill to one
opposing it. Representative Sutphin, Democrat,
of West Virginia, asserted that he had not heard
his name called and wanted to vote for the bill.
He could not get recognition. ... There was a
huddle about the Speaker's dais, and another
about the table at which the Republican
leadership sits. Representative Short, of
Missouri, who had led the opposition to the bill
demanded a recapitulation, an unusual
proceeding. But before it was granted,
Speaker Rayburn announced the result of the
vote. "The yeas are 203 and the nays are 202
and the bill is passed," he said in measured
tones. ... The clerk first read the list of those
who had voted for the measure. Then Mr.
Sutphin demanded that his vote be recorded.
"He wasn't even in the room," shouted
Representative Knutson, Republican of
Minnesota. Mr. Rayburn would not allow Mr.
Sutphin's vote to be recorded. The clerk
proceeded to call the negative votes. ... Again
Mr. Rayburn asked if there were any
corrections. A Republican member arose and
said he had been present and voted against the
bill and asked if he had been so recorded.
"Yes he was; he was here," the Republicans
about him began shouting. ... This brought the
tensest moment of all, because if his vote had
not been counted, its addition to the negative
list would have brought about a tie, and a tie
would not have passed the bill. The clerk
consulted his roll-call and turning to the
Speaker said the member had been counted as
voting against the bill. The relief of the
Administration leaders was obvious. Mr.
Rayburn announced: "The vote stands and the
bill is passed." ... But that only increased the
tumult and confusion. The Republican
leadership resorted to a series of parliamentary
manoeuvres. Representative Anderson,
Republican, of Minnesota, took issue with the
Speaker, insisting that Mr. Rayburn had not
made the announcement. ... An exchange
between the two followed, most of it drowned
out in the uproar. It ended with Mr. Rayburn
announcing in positive tones: "The chair does
not permit to have its word questioned." ...
The Speaker banged his gavel loudly and
recognized Chairman May of the Military
Affairs Committee. Since the House and
Senate had passed separate bills, it was
necessary for the sake of parliamentary form
that the House now "take up" the Senate bill,
strike out all after the enacting clause, and
substitute its own measure. In no other way
could the bill be sent on to its next stage, a
conference between the House and Senate to
bring the two measures into conformity. ...
Mr. Short saw his opportunity and demanded
a roll-call vote. Democratic leaders glanced
about hurriedly and saw that numbers of their
followers had already left the chamber. Mr.
Short was grinning broadly. If the motion
could be defeated the situation surrounding the
bill would have been chaotic. ... But other
counsels on the Republican side prevailed, and
Mr. Short announced the withdrawal of his
demand for a roll-call vote. That completed it.
A quick voice vote was taken and Mr. Rayburn
announced: "The bill is passed, and a motion
to reconsider is ordered to lie on the table."
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