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NOMINATION FOR GOVERNOR OF THE VIRGIN
SATURDAY, MARCH 11, 1961
Washington, D.C. The committee met, pursuant to call, at 10 a.m., in room 3110, new Senate Office Building, Hon. Clinton P. Anderson (chairman), presiding.
Present: Senators Clinton P. Anderson (New Mexico), Ernest Gruening (Alaska), Oren E. Long (Hawaii), Quentin N. Burdick (North Dakota), Lee Metcalf (Montana), J. J. Hickey (Wyoming), Henry Dworshak, Idaho), Thomas H. Kuchel (California), Gordon Allott (Colorado), and Jack Miller (Iowa).
The CHAIRMAN. This is a continuation of yesterday's hearing on the nomination of Ralph Paiewonsky to be Governor of the Virgin Islands. The first witness will be Mr. Hodge, but I do want Mr. Paiewonsky to know that we will be asking him to testify later this morning.
Mr. Paiewonsky one of the things I would like to have you prepare to answer is, what is the authority for reducing the prices of the molasses from the 2 cents below the landing price at St. Croix, first down to 10 cents one year, and then the 7 cents the next, which bore no relationship to the landing price at St. Croix.
As I read through the audit of the Corporation that bothered me a little.
There must be a basis for it. You will have time to get the information ready if you desire to do so. Mr. PAIEWONSKY. Yes, sir. The CHAIRMAN. Very well.
You may proceed, Mr. Hodge. STATEMENT OF WALTER I. M. HODGE, PRESIDENT, VIRGIN ISLANDS
LEGISLATURE Mr. HODGE. Mr. Chairman and members of the committee, my name is Walter I. Hodge. I am president of the Virgin Islands Legislature. I reside in Fredericksted, St. Croix, V. I., where I operate a farm.
I was born and reared in the Virgin Islands. I served my country in World War II as a sergeant in the Army's Combat Engineers in the Pacific Theater.
I have been elected to the Legislature of the Virgin Islands eight times. I have completed 14 years in office.
I have been elected president of the legislature after after assuming office on five occasions, and I have served 10 years all told in that capacity.
I am presently president of the third legislature, established under the provisions of the Organic Act of 1954 passed by the U.S. Congress.
Gentlemen, I appear before you today as president of the legislature in behalf of the candidacy of Ralph Paiewonsky, for the office of the Governor of the Virgin Islands, a Presidential appointment.
As president of the third legislature I must tell you that a very large majority of the members of that legislature are committed to support Ralph Paiewonsky on a program of development of the Virgin Islands in all phases, political, social, and economic.
I must stress that the Legislature of the Virgin Islands which is strongly committed to Mr. Paiewonsky is the only elected branch of the government in the islands. We are elected representatives of the people of the Virgin Islands.
It is our privilege to know our constituents and how they think and whom they like and whom they dislike.
They like Ralph Paiewonsky. They like him because he has demonstrated a genuine love for the islands and the people who live in them.
We have only really advanced in the Virgin Islands economically since the passage of the Organic Act of 1954 by the U.S. Congress.
The people know that Ralph Paiewonsky, as an unpaid representative of the islands, worked for weeks and months here in Washington to assure passage of that liberal document. : I know this to be a fact because I was with Mr. Paiewonsky and aided him in that endeavor. .
The people recognize this act as the first downpayment in selfgovernment and they honor Mr. Paiewonsky's part in it. They honor him as a proved liberal.
It is ironic that this man who has demonstrated the liberal point of view and his concern for the welfare of the people of the islands should be attacked as a reactionary capitalist whose only interest in people is to grind them down.
Nothing could be further from the truth. The people in the islands recognize this false charge.'
That is why thousands of the citizens of the islands have signed a petition supporting Mr. Paiewonsky for Governor.
I believe either the chairman, Senator Anderson, or the Secretary of the Interior, Mr. Udall, have these petitions.
The organized campaign
The CHAIRMAN. There is no question about the petitions? They have been put into the record by reference. I am not holding them. Mr. HODGE. No, sir.
The organized campaign against Mr. Paiewonsky is not supported by the people of the Virgin Islands. I know. I am of the people of the Virgin Islands. ... Senator GRUENING. What organized campaign? I have not heard of it.
Mr. HODGE. Various vicious letters and attacks that have been sent to Members of the Congress and the Secretary of the Interior from time to time,
Senator GRUENING. Well, I am a member of the committee. I have received no such letters.
· Mr. HODGE. I do know, sir, that there are some charges that will be placed in the record here against Mr. Paiewonsky. I do know that there was a group in the islands who organized a vicious campaign against him, Senator.
Senator ALLOTT. May I ask a question there?
Are you acquainted or have you seen a memo, the one I referred to yesterday, which everybody in town, including Drew Pearson, seems to have a copy of, from Maurice Rosenblatt to the Secretary of the Interior?
Mr. HODGE. Yes, sir.
Senator ALLOTT. Do you think Mr. Rosenblatt is a part of that conspiracy of which you speak?
Mr. HODGE. It could be, sir. I understand he is a very good friend of a candidate who was seeking this office,
The CHAIRMAN. You can use names if you want to. · Mr. HODGE. Shall I comment, Mr. Chairman?
The CHAIRMAN. Yes, sir. Mr. HODGE. This vicious and well-financed campaign against Paiewonsky is something alien to the island. No islander has the time, the money, nor the inclination to mount such an attack.
It has remained for outside interests with well-filled billfolds to hire public relation firms and paid provocatures to carry out this mudslinging campaign.
The people of the islands have shown their support for Mr. Paiewonsky.
· Senator ALLOTT. May I interrupt you there? I think I ought to make it perfectly clear so far as my own attitude is concerned.
I do not think that any man is unqualified simply because he is a successful businessman. This is to his benefit so far as I am personally concerned.
I think if we are going to say that we have an organized campaignyour implication here is that it has very great wealth behind it—and that they have even hired public relations firms to do this, then the only way, Mr. Chairman, I see, that we can arrive at an evaluation of this is to have these people named. Who are these outside interests?
Mr. HODGE. I understand, Mr. Chairman, that Mr. Rosenblatt is a part of a public relations firm.
Senator ALLOTT. Public relations what? Mr. HODGE. Firm. Senator ALLOTT. Of a firm ? Mr. HODGE. Yes, sir. And that he is also a consultant to the Department of the Interior,
Of course, I don't know. I understand from reliable sources.
The CHAIRMAN. Do you think the Department of the Interior is in on this mudslinging campaign? Mr. HODGE. No, sir; I do not say that, but I believe Mr. Rosenblatt is.
When Mr. Rosenblatt spoke with me in the islands he was definitely anti-Paiewonsky.
He interviewed me and some of the other members of the legislature who can testify to that fact here. He did not make, I would say, an unbiased report, or unbiased investigation regarding the people who were seeking this office.
The CHAIRMAN. But you have been in politics, according to your own testimony, a long while ?
Mr. HODGE. Yes, sir.
The CHAIRMAN. You recognize that people who support us are progressive, are decent, upright citizens, and the people who oppose us are mudslingers ?
You cannot deny that fact?
We understand how this works. He has people who favor him and people who oppose him. You want good motives for the people who signed the petition.
It just could be that the people who oppose him might have good motives also even if they are misguided. Is that not true?
Mr. HODGE. That is questionable, Mr. Chairman.
The CHAIRMAN. The motives of your side are not questionable? The other side are?
Mr. HODGE. Some of the opposition may stem from good motives. But I do know that some of the opposition has bad motives.
Senator DWORSHAK. Do you know by whom Mr. Rosenblatt was employed to make this survey in the islands?
Mr. HODGE. I don't know, sir, but they tell me that he is a very good friend of a man named Connie Gay. He certainly asked me a lot of questions which would have favored Connie Gay.
Senator ALLOTT. What is that name? Mr. HODGE. Connie Gay, C-o-n-n-i-e- G-a-y. He told me then, he asked me what I thought about a Governor for the islands. I told him first of all I believe that the people in the islands are mature enough we have less than 1 percent illiteracy in the islands—the people are qualified to govern themselves.
I believe that we should have a native. He disagreed with me on that.
Senator DWORSHAK. Mr. Chairman, I had the impression that Mr. Rosenblatt was engaged by the Secretary of the Interior to make an unbiased survey of this; is that correct?
The CHAIRMAN. I do not know. He went down and made a survey. I thought he went down as consultant to the Department.
Senator DWORSHAK. Maybe we ought to ask Secretary Carver whether the Interior Department employed Rosenblatt for this particular assignment. Mr. CARVER. It did.
Senator DWORSHAK. What is your reply to that, Mr. Hodge? Do you accuse the Interior Department and Secretary of the Interior of being political crooks? Mr. HODGE. No, sir. Senator DWORSHAK. That is the import of what you are saying. Mr. HODGE. No, I am not saying that.
Senator DWORSHAK. You categorically are condemning everything that Rosenblatt said or did ? '
Mr. HODGE. In large part, yes.
Senator DWORSHAK. You repudiate him and charge he made a biased report on what he found in the islands?
tinue, Mr.uld be in troubt employee .
Mr. Hodge. I judge from his remarks to me, and from his report. He might have been employed by the Interior Department to do a good, honest job. I question whether he did a good, honest job because of the report of the investigation he made and because of the way he slanted his questions.
Senator DWORSHAK. You are questioning the judgment, then, of the Secretary of the Interior in selecting Mr. Rosenblatt for this job?
Mr. HODGE. I am not questioning the judgment of the Secretary. I am questioning whether Mr. Rosenblatt worked only for the Department of the Interior on his jaunt to the islands. Whether he made some more money on the outside, sir.
Senator DWORSHAK. He may have had more than one employer ?
The CHAIRMAN. Then you should get that information promptly to the Department of Justice because there is a statute about receiving outside compensation.
Mr. HODGE. That is one of the reasons why I wanted it put in the record, sir.
The CHAIRMAN. I wanted to pay a Government employee out of my own pocket one time and found I could be in trouble.
Mr. HODGE. Shall I continue, Mr. Chairman.
Senator GRUENING. Mr. Chairman, I read this Rosenblatt report with much interest. I find nothing in it that is detrimental to the President's nominee.
I find a lot of vague insinuations in it. I find the statement “We believe that Paiewonsky would legalize gambling on the islands."
We have the direct testimony of the nominee he was against gambling. This is the kind of vague allegation found in the report.
I do not find a single fact in its that is detrimental to the nominee. I think the report might well be introduced into the record. I would like to request the chairman to include it in the record as long as it has been mentioned
The CHAIRMAN. I would like to think about that a minute, if the Senator does not mind. If the report goes in the record, it becomes a privileged document and anybody can do what he wants to with it. It may be all right.
May I see it? Senator GRUENING. We all received copies of it. The CHAIRMAN. Proceed. Without objection, the request of the Senator from Alaska will be granted.
I will ask the privilege of reversing myself, if I feel I should, at a later date.
(Committee note: Upon consideration, it was decided that the report to the Secretary of the Interior by Mr. Rosenblatt should not be put into the printed record of the hearing.) Mr. HODGE. The people of the Virgin Islands have shown their support for Mr. Paiewonsky in substantial ways. They elected him to the Virgin Islands Legislature for five consecutive terms. This was no accident.
Senator ALLOTT. Mr. Hodge, may I ask you there just to refresh my recollection: When was his service in the legislature?