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Joseph Keller

His Master’s Voice

(18 October 1948)

From The Militant, Vol. 12 No. 42, 18 October 1948, p. 4.
Transcribed & marked up by Einde O’Callaghan for the Encyclopaedia of Trotskyism On-Line (ETOL).

Right while Harry S. Truman was touring the country trying to convince voters how big and tough and independent-minded he is, the real powers-that-be slapped him down publicly and let the people know who really runs the government, including the President of the United States.

In the enthusiasm of his election campaign, Truman got the notion that he really has a lot to do with determining the conduct of foreign policy. So he cooked up the idea of sending one of his cronies, Supreme Court Chief Justice. Fred M. Vinson, as a personal emissary to Moscow to negotiate man-to-man with Stalin over the Berlin crisis.

But he didn’t hold on to that project very long. Secretary of State George Marshall – who is a non-elective appointee with no constitutional powers of any kind – came flying across the ocean from the UN conference to let the man who appointed him know he wasn’t standing for any mere President reversing decisions of the Wall Street bosses.

Truman dropped the Vinson idea like a boy caught with his hand in the cookie jar. And Marshall took off to Paris again with a statement to the press that made his “Boss” out to be nothing but a political stumblebum.

If anybody thinks the President calls the tune on policy, this incident helps to correct that illusion. Truman may be the highest elected official in the land – but he doesn’t run the government. This government is run – its most fateful decisions are made – by a small handful of individuals operating behind the scenes for the real masters – the Wall Street money lords.

They don’t hesitate to crack down on anyone, including the President, who gets out of line.

The maneuvers in the UN, the war preparations, the very decisions on war and peace are determined by this tiny clique of Brass Hats and Wall Street representatives who run the State Department and dominate the White House. No less an authority than the well-known columnist Walter Lippman wrote in the Sept. 27 N.Y. Herald-Tribune:

“There is, one might say, a certain honesty in admitting that Mr. Marshall, Mr. Lovett and Mr. Bohlen, Mr. Forrestal, Mr. Draper, Mr. Royall, General Clay and Mr. Douglas have been handling the great conflict, which may mean peace or war, that they have not had guidance and leadership from the President, and that therefore his absence from Washington makes no difference.”

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