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Minus the aid of its guardian angel, Mrs. Roosevelt, the American Youth Congress ran into a series of difficulties at its second annual meeting this weekend. With no comfortable White House accommodations for its leaders and with no half rates at Washington's hotels, as they had last year, the 6000 delegates were at a pecuniary disadvantage from the start. The bill which they spent the greater share of their meeting protesting was being rushed through the House of Representatives while they held their meetings. The final outrage came when their peaceful delegation to the Senate Committee on Foreign Affairs was forcibly ejected without being given a chance to present its views.
When the president of the Youth Congress showed up in the Senate committee room on Saturday morning to present a "brief" in opposition to the Lease-Lend bill, he was escorted to the door before he could utter more than a half sentence. Why the action was taken was left unexplained by Senator George, the head of the Committee. When other members of the Youth Congress present at the hearing applauded their president's departing squawks, they were threatened with a similar fate, and walked out on their own accord. When Senator Clark stood up for their right to peaceful petition and demanded an explanation, Senator George, to quote the newspaper report, "made no audible reply."
Even if the petition had been presented by an organization which did not represent a democratic process in action, the incident would have been unfortunate. It was doubly unfortunate in that McMichael represented a view that had been decided on by a majority of the Youth delegation in an orderly election. Although the "opposition brief" was eventually accepted by the Senate Committee and made a part of its records, the ejection of the Youth Congress representative is a disgraceful travesty on the democratic spirit which is supposed to prevail at the open hearings on the Lend-Lease bill.
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