HARRY HINES WOODRING - TYPED LETTER SIGNED 02/09/1940 - HFSID 26521
Sale Price $288.00
The isolationist Secretary of War who would soon warn FDR in his resignation letter that "we are not prepared for a major conflict," is noncommittal on a Congressman's proposals for the Army Reserves.
Typed Letter signed: "Harry H. Woodring" as Secretary of War, 1p, 8x10½. Washington, D.C., 1940 February 9. On War Department letterhead to Kent E. Keller, House of Representatives. In full: "This is to acknowledge the receipt of your letter of February 3, and to thank you for your courtesy in sending me the interesting booklet setting forth your remarks relative to the bill, H. R. 8210, introduced by you in the present session of Congress under the title 'To establish and maintain the American school army, and to organize and equip the American Reserve Army.' The War Department has just received a request from the Chairman of the House Committee on Military Affairs for a report on H. R. 8210, and you may be assured that the entire matter is receiving studied consideration here. While it would be inappropriate for me to express any views with respect to the merits of the proposed legislation until the Department submits its report to Congress, such report will be forwarded at the earliest practicable date. In compliance with your request, I am pleased to inclose a copy of my address before the Fifteenth Women's Patriotic Conference on National Defense on February 1, 1940. Sincerely yours". Harry Woodring (1887-1967) entered the banking business on the bottom rung, as a janitor, but rose to be a bank president and V.P. of the Kansas Bankers Association. A World War I veteran, he also became state commander of the American Legion. A Democrat in a heavily Republican state, he won election as Governor in 1930 when an independent candidate split the vote, but lost narrowly two years later to Alf Landon, who would be President Roosevelt's Republican opponent in the 1936 Presidential election. Woodring was appointed Assistant Secretary of War in 1933 and became full Secretary in 1936. Although Woodring took some measures to improve US military preparedness, he was basically an isolationist who opposed President Roosevelt's active aid to Britain in the early stages of World War II. By 1940 FDR was maneuvering to remove Woodring from office, reportedly offering ambassadorships as an inducement. Finally in June, four months after this letter was written, the President asked outright for Woodring's resignation. He promptly appointed Henry Stimson, a Republican much more aligned with the Presidents thinking than the Democrat Woodring. In his resignation letter, Woodring bluntly warned that those who would "provoke bellligerancy" ... " should "do so with the knowledge that we are not prepared for a major conflict." Representative Kent Keller was a liberal Democratic Representative from Illinois (1931-1941) and a strong supporter of the President. The fate of Keller's specific legislation is not known, but Congress passed important, closely related legislation in 1940: authorizing the President to activate the reserves (August 27) and authorizing a peacetime military draft (September 16). Keller, however, was defeated for re-election that November. Lightly creased. "H" of "Harry" slightly smudged. Otherwise, fine condition.
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