Symington Visit Spurs Dem Enthusiasm
By Walker Long
March 21, 1960
Publisher of the Advertiser
Symington Visit Spurs Dem Enthusiasm
By Walker Long
In a whirlwind of activity Saturday Senator Stuart Symington, of Missouri, helped Cabell county Democrats raise funds and build morale for the forthcoming national election.
Senator Symington flew into Tri-State Airport in a private plane from Washington, checked with a local welcoming committee, then led a motorcade to the Hotel Frederick where he held a press confereence; went to WSAZ-TV to tape a news interview; came back to the Frederick where he addressed a luncheon attended by 350 Democrats. By 2 o'clock the Symington party was on its way to Charleston.
Democrats were enthusiastic and confident. They cheered lustily at every mention of victory next November.
Long an advocate of a strong national defense, Senator Symington stressed at his press conference strength in dealing with Russia. "Some people think I talk too much about national defense and from a partisan point of view."
Four promiment Republicans, he said, recently had been highly critical of the administration's defense policy, which backed his stand. They were: a former Secretary of State and Secretary of Defense; president of a Federal Reserve Bank; president of a large university; and president of an internationally known business machines company. All had made the same points against Eisenhower policy. 1. We are not spending enough in the armament race; 2. We can afford to spend more. 3. We will be in a serious position if we continue our present policy.
Senator Symington also said there were highly trained military men disagreeing with the administration's defense program. they were: General James M. Gavin, who recently resigned from the Army; Gen. Matthew B. Ridgeway, former head of NATO; Gen. Thomas S. Power, Commander, Strategic Air Command, and General Maxwell D. Taylor, former Army Chief of Staff. I told Senator Symington that The Advertiser had just finished publishing General Taylor's book, "the Uncertain Trumpet." Outlining weaknesses of our position, and suggesting remedies.
Number one deterrent to war is nuclear weapons plus ability to deliver them. We have hydrogen bombs and Strategic Air Command with its bombers fleets can deliver them. the Senator also pointed out that the Navy has missile firing submarines.
Senator Symington tood a side-swipe at the administration when he quoted from a clipping attributed to Stanley Baldwin, popular British Prime Minister in 1936. It ran something like this: If I had told Britain that Hitler was arming and therefore we should arm we would have lost the election."
Senator Symington believes Russia's economic threat is greater than that of war. He pointed out that wars can start through madness, miscalculation or misintelligence. He thinks Khrushchev does not want war because he's making progress with his present policies.
Asked if he thought the United States and Russia would reach a military stalemate, he indicated that is possible and that the Russians would then weight how many people it would cost them in nuclear war to reach their goal of world domination. He pointed out that our philosophy about human lives and theirs was entirely different.
The senator then turned to domestic issues: Education and inadequate schools, farm problems and critical fresh water shortages in some middle western states.
Senator Symington thinks the first goal of every government should be a just and lasting peace. This can be achieved only through disarmament. Leading from strength rather than weakness is the answer to disarmament, he feels.
I asked the senator if he thought Russia could destroy our capacity to retaliate at one fell swoop with a surprise attack. He thought so. I asked him how the Reds could launch three hundred - the number usually mentioned in discussions on missile attacks - long and intermediate missiles in a plit-second coordinated attack against the United States and its foreign bases, when we - and they too - had so much trouble launching one missile on schedule. His reply was "I am an artillery man. We fire in salvo. Missile crews would be launching only one at a time just as we fire artillery."
Asked if there were any significance to the sudden stopping of the Russian nuclear tests in the Pacific on january 31 after only two blasts, the Senator said he though there was. The first rocket fired on January 20 traveled a distance of 7,560 miles according to Tass reports, and landed within 124 miles of the target. Second launching was also successful. The Senator concluded the Reds have missiles with great accuracy. Two shots proved their point.
Senator Symington also pointed out that in the missile and space fields Russia is far ahead because they have engines with much greater thrust.
One more question. I asked the senator how his health was. He gave a straight forward reply. "It's good. Never felt better. I had an operation fourteen years ago. It was successful. Medical men consider me one of their prize exhibits."
Three separate tries by news men failed to get an announcement from Senator Symington as to intentions in the presidential race. He frankly admits he is looking over the possibilities but has come to no conclusion yet. I think he will pick the appropriate time and place for his announcement. I also think heavy expenditures incident to state primaries and necessary campaigning hold part of the answer to his reluctance to formally announce his candidacy. A remark attributed to the senator that he hoped the "Wisconsin primary would be a good clean fight - with no survivors," bears out this suggestion.
Senator Symington has headed nine corporations, all concerned with making a profit to stay in business. He knows about property rights and what they mean to a free enterprise economy. Senatory [sic] Symington also values human rights. He spoke repeatedly of social security, slaves of the state under Communism, of civil rights. He favors the time-honored American system where people rule themselves through deomcratic processes rather than the monolithic order forced on its citizens by Communism.
In addition to his many years of activity in private enterprise, Senator Symington is a veteran. He served in World War II. He has held several administrative posts in the Federal government, including his service as the first Secretary of the Air Force. he is highly regarded as a good administrator.
He is serving his second term as Senator from Missouri.
Senator Symington is a successful business man, a government administrator, who was confirmed by the Senate on every appointment without a dissenting vote, and now a distinguished Senator.
I watched the senator very carefully during the two or three hours I spent with him. He is stately, dynamic and forceful. At ease with people, he has no nervous mannerisms. His voice is well modulated and pleasing and he speaks fluently without notes. Re[s]po[n]ses to questions are quick and to the point. On two occasions during his press conference he apologized for long dissertations.
I came away from the Frederick after all this activity feeling that Senator Symington's presidential bandwagon is rolling along with greater speed toward Los Angeles in July than before his visit to West Virginia.
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