William Griffin

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William S. Griffin (born 1898, died June 28, 1949)[1] was the publisher of The New York Evening Enquirer. He founded the paper in 1926 with money lent by newspaper magnate William Randolph Hearst. The paper and Griffin became a voice of isolationism in keeping American out of foreign wars.

Griffin's family came from Ireland in the mid 1800s and settled in Missouri. He had strong connections with his ancestral home land and usually visited Ireland once a year during the summer. Griffin considered entering politics by running for mayor of New York City in 1937 or Senator in 1938.[2]

One issue Griffin championed was getting Great Britain to pay her World War I war debts to America. He suggested Britain should make payment by giving America the ship Queen Mary and Bermuda.[3]

Griffin was a leader of the Keep America Out of War Committee.[4]

Griffin was indicted for sedition on July 21, 1942. Shortly thereafter he suffered a heart attack.[5] The indictment however never came to trial and the charges were dropped on January 26, 1944.[6] Griffin was a close friend and associate of George Sylvester Viereck, a representative of the German government, who did stand trial for sedition.[7]

William Griffin was married to Gertrude Rapp Griffin.

Winston Churchill controversy

William Griffin claimed Winston Churchill made the following quote to him in an interview in 1936.

“America should have minded her own business and stayed out of the World War. If you hadn’t entered the war the Allies would have made peace with Germany in the Spring of 1917. Had we made peace then there would have been no collapse in Russia followed by Communism, no breakdown in Italy followed by Fascism, and Germany would not have signed the Versailles Treaty, which has enthroned Nazism in Germany. If America had stayed out of the war, all these ‘isms’ wouldn’t today be sweeping the continent of Europe and breaking down parliamentary government – and if England had made peace early in 1917, it would have saved over one million British, French, American, and other lives.”[8]

Churchill later denied he made these remarks but acknowledged the interview to Griffin in 1936.[9] William Griffin testified in a Congressional hearing that indeed Churchill made this statement.[10] Griffin would later sue Winston Churchill for $1,000,000 in a libel suit. In October 1942 the case came up in British courts. Griffin at the time was under indictment in the US on charges relating to sedition and was unable to appear in British courts. The suit was dismissed on October 21, 1942.[11]


  1. The New York Times, August 6, 1949
  2. "The Press: Tactful William" Time, May 8, 1939
  3. "The Press: Tactful William" Time, May 8, 1939
  4. Under Cover, p. 246, by John Roy Carlson, (1943)
  5. Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, July 25, 1942, page 5
  6. Respectfully Quoted: A Dictionary of Quotations
  7. "The Press: Vermin Press", Time, Aug. 3, 1942
  8. Respectfully Quoted: A Dictionary of Quotations
  9. The New York Times, October 22, 1942, p. 13
  10. Congressional Record, October 21, 1939, vol. 84. p. 686.
  11. Respectfully Quoted: A Dictionary of Quotations

See also