WASHINGTON, April 18, 1942 (UP) -- The reported bombing of Tokyo and three other important Japanese industrial centers elated this capital Saturday night but at the same time aroused speculation over the possibility of retaliatory Axis raids on this nation's east and west coasts.
Congressional circles hailed the reported attacks on Tokyo, Yokohama, Kobe and Nagoya as signaling the start of an Allied offensive carrying the war directly to Japan, but professed to have no knowledge of the raids other than radio reports emanating from Tokyo.
The War and Navy departments likewise would not confirm the Tokyo stories, although some observers believed the raids might have been accomplished by a U.S. Navy task force, one of which recently attacked the Marcus islands, some 900 miles from Japan.
Sen. Mon C. Wallgren (D-Wash.) declared that the United States could expect additional bombings of Japan from now on but cautioned that it "seems only logical that the next step the Japanese will take will be to bomb the entire west coast."
"Once they get started," he added, "they'll keep it up."
Sen. Sheridan Downey (D-Calif.) said that "Jap raids on the west coast are possible and probable, but at the same time there are a lot of difficulties attached to such raids."
"The Japs would either have to come across the Pacific on an aircraft carrier or establish a base somewhere in lower California or Mexico," Downey said. "Either procedure would be extremely dangerous."
Several congressmen privately mentioned the possibility of German air raids on the Atlantic coast, probably to coincide with any attacks which the Japanese might attempt in the West. These congressmen cited the shorter distance between the European continent and our east coast, both for long-range bombers and Axis aircraft carriers.
Sen. Ralph Brewster (R-Me.) said he did not feel, however, that "the German or any of the Axis nations would need the attack on Tokyo as an excuse to bomb our east coast."
"But the Germans and the Japanese are much too interested in their own welfare to interrupt their individual war programs merely to make reprisals for injuries heaped upon others," he said.
Typical of the congressional reaction to the Tokyo reports was this observation of Sen. Tom Stewart (D-Tenn.):
"We ought to blast those Japs to hell. We can't bomb them enough to suit me. They ought to have more of the same stuff. We can't give them too much of their own medicine."
"It appears to me that the Allied Nations are beginning to take the offensive," commented Chairman Carl Vinson (D-Ga.) of the House naval affairs committee. Military Affairs Committee Chairman Andrew J. May (D-Ky.) found it "hard to believe anything Japan says," but said he believed the reported raids had taken place.
Rep. J. Buell Snyder (D-Pa.), chairman of the House military appropriations subcommittee, viewed the raids as a tremendous morale booster, "not only at home but especially in China and Russia."
Presidential Secretary Stephen T. Early said he knew nothing about the bombings, but House Democratic Leader John W. McCormack (D-Mass.) viewed any action against Japan as "just a beginning-hardly a token compared to what we are going to give the Japs."
Two former Senate isolationists, D. Worth Clark (D-Idaho), and Bennett C. Clark (D-Mo.), joined in praising the purported action against Japan. Clark of Missouri said he hoped "we have established some bases from which we can consistently bomb the Japanese."
Clark of Idaho saw the danger of retaliation against the west coast but said that if the United States had enough aircraft based there "it should be able to handle any Japanese attack."
Civilian defense officials were confident that volunteer air raid workers are ready to swing into immediate, efficient action if Axis airplanes attempt to attack American coastal cities in retaliation for the bombing of Tokyo.
Latest figures in national OCD headquarters showed approximately 1,500,000 volunteers organized to do air raid work-as wardens, auxiliary police, auxiliary firemen or filling other jobs in the protective service.
California had a force of more than 330,000. New York city's volunteers exceeded 315,000.