Saturday, February 20, 2021

Today -100: February 20, 1921: Free hands are the best kind of hands

Charles Evans Hughes, former NY governor + former Supreme Court justice + failed 1916 candidate for president, accepts Harding’s offer to be secretary of state. Harding says that only Hughes will speak for the State Department, or, as the NYT phrases it, he will have a “free hand.”

Many Mexicans believe that US oil companies are funding rebellion in Tampico and Tuxpan, possibly to provoke a US invasion, occupation and possible annexation of the oil-fields areas.

The US State Dept conducted an actual investigation into German claims that black French colonial troops on the Rhine were raping their women. Gen. Henry Allen’s report says French colonial troops are, as a general rule, “quite orderly and well-behaved.” And some of the German women... less so.

The US Senate votes 62-2 to restrict immigration to 3% of the number of people from each country who were in the US in 1910, if I’m understanding this correctly. How it deals with European countries that didn’t exist in 1910 or are much smaller or larger than before the war is unclear. Canada, Mexico and South America are exempt, and Asiatics are still barred. The decision to reduce the number from the proposed 5% was probably helped by the recent spread of typhus in Italy and Yugoslavia. Also, Bolshevism!

Thomas Pope, the postmaster in Greenville, South Carolina, challenges President-elect Harding to a game of golf to determine if he gets to keep his job. Harding replies that he’s too crap a golfer to make it the basis for appointments, although history suggests he might have done better if he had.

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