WASHINGTON -- President Roosevelt tantalized newspapermen today on the third term question by repeatedly interjecting the innuendo into his public statements.
Mr. Roosevelt returned to the capitol today from Hyde Park, N.Y., where yesterday he referred -- for the second time within a week -- to speculation over his plans in 1940. In laying the cornerstone of a $350,000 library to house his personal papers, Mr. Roosevelt digressed from his prepared speech to remark:
"And may I add the expression of a hope -- to my good friends of the press so they will have something to write about tomorrow -- I hope they will give due interpretation to my statement that we hope it will be a fine day when we open the building."
Significance of the aside was its application to July 1941, when the president's official papers will be made accessible to the American public. Some newspaper stories had stressed the fact that the president would not make his personal papers available during his active political career.
Last Wednesday, when the president was laying the cornerstone of the Jefferson Memorial here, he said he hoped by January, 1941, to be able to return for the dedication ceremonies. Speculation arose immediately in the press on the president's remark as to its possible third term significance.
On Friday, at his press conference in Hyde Park, Mr. Roosevelt admitted his Jefferson Memorial remark had been deliberately planned to mislead the press. He said the faces of newspapermen were as funny as a crutch when he digressed from his text to refer to January 1941.
Tomorrow Mr. Roosevelt will depart for Warm Springs, Ga., where he will spend Thanksgiving Day with patients at the infantile paralysis foundation.
Yesterday Mr. Roosevelt dedicated at Hyde Park the $350,000 library, which will house his personal papers, to world peace.
"This is a peaceful countryside," Mr. Roosevelt said, "and it seems appropriate that in this time of strife we should dedicate the library to the spirit of peace -- peace for the United States, and soon, we hope, peace for the world."
Aside from that and his sardonic reference to news stories speculating on a third term, his remarks were confined to the historic background of the library.
Others participating in the cornerstone laying were Archibald MacLeish, librarian of Congress, and Dr. R.D.W. Connor, archivist of the United States.
Discussing the dispersal of federal documents to Mr. Roosevelt's library, MacLeish condemned the "state-taught hate" of totalitarian governments.