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ARTHUR H. VANDENBERG - TYPED LETTER SIGNED 4/1 - HFSID 34836

The future Republican Senator who played a vital role in changing US foreign policy refutes an accusation that he is conspiring with William Randolph Hearst to change the rules governing the Associated Press.

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ARTHUR VANDENBERG.
The future Republican Senator who played a vital role in changing US foreign policy refutes an accusation that he is conspiring with William Randolph Hearst to change the rules governing the Associated Press.
Typed Letter signed: "Arthur H. Vandenberg", 2p, 8½x11. Grand Rapids, Michigan, April 1, n.y. On letterhead of The Grand Rapids Herald, A. H. Vandenberg, Editor and Publisher, to Mr. Frank B. Noyes, President, The Associated Press, New York City. The date on an AP receipt stamp in upper right of p1 is not legible. In full: "Returning today from six weeks in Europe, I am surprised to find myself involved in something of a 'storm center' as related to the Associated Press. I have particular reference to your official letter of March 31st and the proxy enclosed therewith. I think I owe it to myself - and to the good faith of the movement to which your letter refers - to make to you the following statement. Before leaving for Europe, I agreed to serve on what I understood to be a Committee of members of the Associated Press - in case such a Committee should be framed - to study the dual problem of 'voting rights' and 'protest rights' (speaking broadly) within the Associated Press. I find that the movement looking toward such a Committee has taken the form of a pursuit of proxies. With the understanding that these proxies are to be used to bring these moot matters to a head on the floor of the annual Convention - and not to force any pre=conceived plan of amendment to the by-laws - the movement is entirely within the purpose as I understood it before I left for my brief European pilgrimage. With entire respect for the Board of Directors and the officers of the Associated Press, I am of the opinion that it would be very wise for both of these indicated problems to be formally considered by a Committee from the membership itself - because both are vital to the membership and to the very genius of the institution itself. In such a situation, the seasoned views of the Board are of prime importance. But equally important are the views, too often inarticulate, of the membership itself. I should not be willing to be understood as attempting to force my own membership upon such a Committee, if authorized. But I do unreservedly endorse the movement which might bring such a survey into definite action looking toward membership decision, subsequently, that shall spell satisfactory finality to this whole long-discussed problem. Such is my position; such, my hopes. In such a program I could conceive no possible menace to the Associated Press. On the contrary I can see possibilities of immense advantage. Democracy never suffers from full and free expression. I respectfully dissent from your inference that I am acting, in any respect, as 'a representative of Mr. Hearst' in this posture. I do not know Mr. Hearst. My ideas of journalism, I may say, are often violently at variance with his. But this has no right to prejudice my attitude in a matter of basic organization in the Associated Press. In this matter of organization I happen to agree with substantially much that was said upon the floor of the last convention by Mr. John Francis Neylan. With the greatest respect for your own view - which is entitled to infinitely more weight than mine - I nevertheless dissent from the general proposition you put down regarding the protection of the rights (we will call them 'protest rights' merely for easy identification) of existing members. I feel that existing members should have more rather than less protection - always recognizing the necessary legal limitations that must govern. This is not in the interest of 'monopoly'. It is in recognition of the good American principle that those who help create property values are entitled to the legitimate fruits of their labor and investment. If, as you say, Mr. Hearst has embarrassed the Associated Press in the past, in this connection, I should feel it doubly wise that a corrective movement bearing the sanction of his 'representatives' (your phrase) should be welcomed. The fact that his 'representatives' are prominent in the movement would of course be no reason why it should not be considered on its merits. I am not one of these 'representatives'. I am as far from that status as a man could be. But I join, on my own independent judgment, in believing that the movement can be distinctly useful. This certainly is true in the matter of 'vote-values' - a matter which non-bond-holding members have been discussing 'in convention corridors' for years. Sharing fully all you hopes for the healthiest possible growth and expansion of the Associated Press, I am bound to believe that nothing would more effectually stimulate resultful loyalties - in the mass membership - than a change in 'bond control' over elections (even though this control may have been largely academic in actual effect). There is no denying, in my opinion, the baneful psychology in the existing system. Both of these problems are complex. I dissent from any notion that a small, self-constituted committee has the right (or the wisdom) to dictate pre-conceived answer. I have not understood the present effort to pretend any such attempt. Certainly it is the farthest from my own mind. Such statements from Mr. Neylan (a "Hearst representative') as I have seen have been distinctly ethical and fair-minded. I have particularly in mind his considerate dissent to a proposal for a preliminary 'caucus' of those who believe in the general purpose of this movement, and his declaration that such discussion belongs solely in the forum of the full membership. Here is complete discount of any strategy that could be unfavorably construed. If there is an ulterior purpose, I have not seen it. Of course I cannot speak for Mr. Neylan. He is entirely competent to speak for himself. I speak only for myself. My own wish - for the good of the Associated Press - would be that the next convention should officially commit both problems to the study of a special committee from the membership, for subsequent deliberative report and membership action. Meanwhile, I should hope that the Board would proceed with its own study of both problems, and that out of the combined effort would come a useful climax to this long-smoldering discussion. This letter is occasioned by yours of the 31st ult. I have had no expectation of participating in a movement that could be read as any phase of a 'threat' to the welfare of the Associated Press - my affection for which, my dear Mr. President, I hope is as earnest and loyal as yours. I repeat that I have been out of the country and, unfortunately, that it may be impossible for me even to attend the next convention because of other imperative engagements. But I also repeat my belief that it is best for the Associated Press that these problems be canvassed as indicated; and in that canvass I should be happy to state my views and to render any service at any time which could advantage this great organization of which I am both proud and jealous. Cordially yours". Accompanied by unsigned magazine photo of Vandenberg (b/w, 8x7½). ARTHUR VANDENBERG (1884-1951) rose from reporter to editorship of the Grand Rapids Herald, staying with the newspaper for 22 years until his election to the US Senate. Appointed to the Senate in March 1928 and elected to his first full term that fall, Vandenberg emerged as one of the Republican Party's harshest critics of President Franklin Roosevelt's New Deal, and also as an ardent isolationist who opposed every measure which seemed to threaten US involvement in a second world war. Vandenberg's views changed dramatically after Pearl Harbor. Having once believed that arms manufacturers had conspired to trick the US into entering World War I, he was now convinced that the US must take a global view of its security. As Chairman of the Foreign Relations Committee (1947-1948), Vandenberg contributed greatly to a period of bipartisanship in foreign policy, backing the Truman Doctrine and the Marshall Plan. The Vandenberg Resolution (1948) paved the way for US participation in NATO and other global security agreements. The Associated Press controversy discussed in his undated letter here merits further research. Frank Noyes was President of the Associated Press for nearly 40 years (1900-1938). "Protest rights" mentioned here were the right of member newspapers to exclude local competitors from the organization and its information distribution system. In May 1928, the AP's convention passed a resolution which may have been the one under discussion here, extending voting rights and protest rights to all of the organization's 1,200 member newspapers. If such was the case, Vandenberg's letter probably dated from 1927 or 1928, shortly before he became a US Senator. (A high resolution scanner proved incapable of deciphering a date in the faded receipt stamp on p1.) Unevenly toned on p1. Staple holes in upper left corner. Light mailing folds. Several minor tears and paper separation at edges of both pages. Otherwise, fine condition.

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