The Nation's £ 1 Pinch Hitter
The second week of July 1943 saw Crowley wearing his three hats -- as alien property custodian, as both chairman and president of Standard Gas, and as chairman of the FDIC -- as if they had been shaped for him alone. Old friends learned of his long hours, his miles traveled, and his major responsibilities, and worried about his health, but Crowley shrugged off such concerns. There was so much to do, and doing it was his pride and pleasure. He had just "consolidated" General Aniline and General Dyestuffs, he was putting the last touches on another plan to strengthen Standard Gas, and that spring he had written the president that New York's "ultraconservative" mutual savings banks, which had left the FDIC a few years earlier, had finally admitted its soundness by seeking readmission. He would have been happier, though, had Roosevelt's reply, after thanking "Dear Leo," attributed the decision of the banks to the FDIC's policies rather than "the soundness of this Administration."1
By the early summer of 1943 Roosevelt needed tributes to his administration's "soundness." His generals and his admirals were not the problem; neither was his diplomacy; rather, he confronted a conservative, increasingly hostile Congress and two threatening war-related problems. The most complex involved interagency conflict in managing American and Allied economic activities abroad, but it was not politically dangerous, and its resolution could be postponed. Such was not the case, though, with a public conflict involving two members of his official family; it was politically damaging and had to be resolved quickly.
The president himself bore measurable responsibility. Previously, he had appointed his vice-president, Henry Wallace, chairman of the Board of Economic Warfare, and authorized the board to control the