Newstalgia Reference Room - Meet The Press interview from October 1, 1949 with Captain John G.Crommelin of the Navy Department concerning his scathing public criticisms of the Defense Department and his subsequent censure and equally public reprimand from the Chief of Naval Operations.
December 17, 2010

Capt. John G. Crommelin - Stormy Petrel with more than a few mummies in the closet.

When Captain John G. Crommelin issued a scathing report criticizing Military politics as concentrating military authority in the hands of an elite few and that the Defense Department was scuttling Naval air power in favor of the Air Force, and that a "Prussian General staff system of the type employed by Hitler" was being imposed on the armed forces under a proposed unification of the branches of service, needless to say he was quickly and severely reprimanded by the Defense Department.

Trouble was, John G. Crommelin had more than a few mummies in his own closet to contend with. As much as he was praised as something of a whistle blower, he was also vilified when it became public that he was a virulent segregationist, white supremacist and anti-semite, known for extolling his opinion that Jews were the real enemy of "white christian Alabamans", claiming they were behind the formation of the NAACP.

On October 1, 1949, Crommelin was asked to appear on Meet The Press to answer not only his critics, but to answer his criticisms of the Defense Department. Before the interview began, Crommelin issued a statement saying in effect he had received a gag order from the Defense Department prior to his appearance on the program.

Warren Francis (Los Angeles Times): “Captain, I don’t think this is covered by your orders, you are quoted in a recent news magazine as saying that people have called you on the telephone and that your wire has been tapped. Who tapped it and why??
Crommelin: “I have no idea who tapped it.”
Francis: “Did you say that it had been tapped?”
Crommelin: “I did not say that it had been . . .I said that it probably IS tapped.”
Francis: “The statement is correct then, that you did say it’s probably tapped?”
Crommelin: “That’s correct.”
Francis: “But you have no idea why?”
Crommelin: “No, no. No particular idea, except uh . . .I had made the statement. I thought that . . .very probably it was. That . . .it’s information that I’m not going to give you Mister Francis, because I don’t want to get into any petty discussions on that . . . “
Francis: “Now Captain, just a minute, I don’t think the orders cover that. Why did you think it was tapped? Could you tell us that?”
Crommelin: “I could, but I don’t propose to Mister Francis.”

Crommelin would later be reassigned to San Francisco before being furloughed at half pay in 1950 and later retired from the Navy. After that, he would get involved in the far-right National States Rights Party and have several runs for the Senate and Governor of Alabama between 1950 and 1968.

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