New York Times
SEEK WAY TO OUST MAYOR OF
Patriotic Organizations Discuss Steps Against Thompson, Pacifists’ Ally.
CHARGES FOR GRAND JURY
Peace Agitators Reported to Be Planning to Picket Washington Parade.
CHICAGO, Ill., Sept. 3. — Mayor William Hale Thompson, by whose instructions the pacifists got police protection at their meeting yesterday before the troops arrived, was in seclusion today. Members of the State Council of Defense discussed possibility of action against him fro what was regarded as his illegal action in permitting the pacifist meeting to be held in defiance of Governor Lowden’s orders. Members of several patriotic organizations also informally discussed the Mayor’s actions. None announced any formal steps toward a plan of procedure against the Mayor.
Governor Frank O. Lowden, after various conferences here, went to Ottawa, Ill., leaving an impression behind that he considered the meeting of the People’s Council of American for Democracy and Peace as a closed incident.
“So far as I am concerned, I purpose to put it to the test, that those who are not for the Government are against it,” said Governor Lowden tonight in a statement made after returning here and holding a conference with Attorney General E. J. Brundage.
“I shall employ the full power of the State in suppressing the meeting of this society. What I have said to this organization applies equally to others which may seek to obstruct the Government in the prosecution of this war. Freedom of speech will be respected, but in Illinois will not be permitted as a cloak of treason. The time has come in Illinois and elsewhere to find out who are for the Government and who are against it.”
Silent on Thompson’s Act
The Governor would not say whether he contemplated any further action in regard to Mayor Thompson for over-riding the orders forbidding the meeting of the Peace Council. It was pointed out by Attorney General Brundage that the Governor had full command of all men between the ages of 21 and 43 who are not in the national army, for the purpose of enforcing his orders as Chief Executive of the State. Most of the members of the Chicago police force are within these ages limits.
The Governor tonight reiterated his orders to Adjt. Gen. Dickson to prevent all meeting similar to that of the Peace Council. The troops sent to Chicago by the Governor on Sunday will remain for the time being to carry out these order.
Attorney General Brundage, who talked with the Governor, said the Governor also seemed to regard the fact that Mayor Thompson disregarded his instructions by protecting the meeting of the council yesterday also as a closed incident. It appeared that the Governor, although he is said to have the power to start ouster proceedings against the Mayor, has no present intention of doing so.
Mr. Brundage gave out an opinion that Mayor Thompson could be indicted for palpable omission of duty and that conviction on the count would automatically remove him from office. There is also said to be an opportunity to remove him under the law which requires the Mayor to live in the city. It is held that his residence in Lake Forest and the issuance of orders to department heads from there lays him open to prosecution on this score.
Members of the City Council tonight were preparing resolutions denouncing the attitude of the Mayor toward the pacifist convention and his un-Americanism generally. It was reported the Council would make a formal demand that he resign and spare the city further humiliation, in the eyes of the country.
It is also known that Government agents are considering the question of whether Federal action can be taken against the Mayor for “giving aid and comfort to the enemy” in times of war. German propagandists are sending his utterances to Berlin.
It was announced tonight by officers of the National Security League that a meeting of the Executive Committee would be held tomorrow to consider placing charges against Mayor Thompson before a Grand Jury. H. H. Merrick, President of the league, said it was the purpose of the league to seek the co-operation of the State Council of Defense, the City Council and the Citizens’ War Board to carry out such steps “as will be necessary to bring about the early removal of the Mayor.”
Delegates to the pacifist convention made no effort to hold a public meeting today or tonight. Informal conferences were held at hotels where the delegates are quartered. Some of the pacifists attended a labor picnic, having previously announced they would make speeches if permitted to do so. None made an address, but no person would say that they either asked permission to speak or were prevented from speaking.
A large force of deputy sheriffs was sent to the picnic grounds by Sheriff Traeger, who has been cooperating with Adjt. Gen. Dickson since the arrival of four companies of National Guardsmen from Springfield last night. The troops were in readiness throughout the day at the First Regiment Armory to carry out Governor Lowden’s instructions to prevent a public meeting of the delegates.
Talk of Mail Referendum.
The report of their Resolutions Committee, given out tonight, “accepts the President’s reply to the Pope as the first clear and definite statement of the war aims of this country.” So far as could be learned, the resolutions were not adoped at the formal meeting of the delegates. It was said by the leaders of the organization that much of its wor, blocked by the advent of Illinois soldiers, would be completed by mail referendum.
The pacifists were jubilant over a telegram said to have been received from Senator La Follette, and which was passed secretly among the delegates. Whatever the motive, a number of Eastern delegates slipped out of town tonight, but the special train, which cost $180 a day, moving or standing, is still standing here.
A body calling itself the “American Civil Liberty Bureau,” said to be composed of women and affiliated with the so-called People’s Council, met at a hotel this forenoon under the leadership of Miss Crystal Eastman and resolved to go to Washington to “picket” the celebration of conscription day there tomorrow. The picketing, it was said, would consist of the display of banners after the fashion of the suffragists who picketed the White House.
With reference to Mayor Thompson’s defiance of the State and nation, Levy Mayer of Chicago, Chairman of the Law Committee of the Illinois State Council of Defense, said at the Ritz-Carlton here last night:
“I shall not undertake to anticipate what action, if any, the State Council of Defense will take, nor do I want to, at this time, indicate what method of procedure should or can be followed. I unhesitatingly say, however, that there is no wrong without a remedy. If the Mayor or any other municipal officer undertakes to interfere with or obstruct the carrying out of an official order of the Governor the law provides an ample remedy.
“The statute further provides that, if the Mayor of any city is found guilty of violating the criminal law, it is made the duty of the court in passing sentence to remove the Mayor from office.