Maj. Gen. Robert M. Littlejohn, appointed by President Truman and confirmed by the. Senate, was sworn in as administrator of the War Assets Administration on July 22 in Washington, and assumed his new duties immediately. He succeeded Lt. Gen. Edmund B. Gregory who had resigned because of ill health.
The new head of the WAA is a career soldier, serving during the recent war in the Army Quartermaster’s Department in the European theatre of operations. He is credited with a job well done for the ETO.
General Littlejohn thus becomes the fifth man to shoulder the top responsibility for helping Uncle Sam get rid of the vast load of government-owned surplus war property. Before him were Mr. Clayton, Mr. Gillette, Mr. Symington, and then General Gregory. Whether General Littlejohn will do as good a job as his predecessors did or whether he will last as long as they did, before another official shakedown occurs, remains to be seen. Over the coffee cups and cocktails in Washington, it is declared that he must “clean out the surplus” by the end of the year, or find himself some other job.
Whether he will maintain the policies, plans, and personnel of his predecessor, General Gregory, is anybody’s guess as he takes office. He is not pledged to do so, as he was not the candidate of General Gregory, who much preferred to have his assistant, Gen. Glen E. Edgerton become the new head of the WAA. Whether General Littlejohn will continue the site sales program or the sales of machine tools through the “approved dealer” program nobody on-the-outside-looking-in knows at present and anybody on-the-inside-looking who does know has not yet talked.
But on one score there need be no guesswork. General Littlejohn deserves and is entitled to a fair chance to equal the very excellent sales record made by General Gregory despite those who think he was not the “miracle man” he was expected to be when he took office months ago. General Littlejohn should have the confidence, the cooperation and the support of the entire WAA regional staffs and of American business of a whole. Good sportsmanship and the American sense for fair play should encourage and reinforce the general while he organizes his big job and gets it going.
And right here it is to the point to spotlight what General Gregory said, as he turned over his task to his successor. He said, “Mudslinging is the proper name for the selfish criticism which is throwing obstacles in the way of the surplus disposal program and which can demoralize it altogether. Special interests continue to extend great pressure to open the floodgates of surplus for their own purposes, for the detriment of priority holders and of the regular markets. . . . The public should give the new administrator all the cooperation and assistance necessary, to bring the nation’s vast surplus disposal program to a swift and efficient completion.”
So, let’s give General Littlejohn a “break.”