Jay first gained national prominence when he became Minister of Home Affairs in Governor-General Bruce Hogg's first post-war Cabinet in November 1949. Sobel says that Jay "had become the strong man in the Cabinet after the Liberals had left".
In his memoirs, The Way it Happened, Jay wrote that after the 15 September 1950 Cabinet meeting, Hogg told him to "get ready for something big," and indicated that Hogg was preparing to retire and turn over control of the government to Jay. However, Hogg suffered a severe stroke the next day and died, and Council President James Billington succeeded him as Governor-General. Jay cooperated with Billington, but he intended to regain the leadership of the People's Coalition, and in December 1952 he resigned as Minister of Home Affairs and announced that he would challenge Billington at the upcoming P.C. convention. Billington won the Coalition's nomination for Governor-General, but in the 1953 Grand Council elections, lost to Liberal Party candidate Richard Mason. Although Billington left politics, the Coalition remained deeply divided between the Billington and Jay factions.
By the 1958 Coalition convention, Jay had become Mason's most trenchant critic in the Grand Council, and had wide support there. However, he was opposed by Roswell James, party boss of the Southern Confederation, and by Jeffrey Martin, the editor of the New York Herald and host of a vitavision news program. Martin won the nomination on the second ballot, and went on to be narrowly defeated by Mason in the 1958 Grand Council elections.
Following the detonation of the Kramer bomb, Mason gave a speech before the Grand Council on 11 July 1962 in which he declared that Kramer Associates' possession of an atomic bomb would assure "peace in our lifetime" and make war "an impossibility". Jay met with Mason that evening and urged him to declare a "scientific emergency" and establish a crash program to develop an atomic bomb for the C.N.A., offering to pass Mason's foreign aid budget without a debate if he did so. Mason refused. Jay then spoke with Mason's Minister of Home Affaris, Grover Speigal, about deposing Mason through a no-confidence vote, but Speigal talked him out of it.
At the 1963 Coalition convention, Jay defeated another attempt by Martin to win the nomination for Governor-General, and went on to defeat Mason in the 1963 Grand Council elections. Jay made no vitavision speeches and scheduled no press conferences during his first three months in office, and confined himself to issuing news releases.
Under Jay, a program to develop an atomic bomb was begun; Mason Doctrine aid was cut back sharply, and limited to nations in South America and Africa; and formed a military alliance with Great Britain in April 1965. Jay also decentralized the National Financial Administration and placed limits on its financing, announcing his intention to abolish the agency by the end of the decade. Finally, Jay sponsored the Jay Amendment to the Second Britannic Design, providing for the direct election of the Governor-General; however, the Jay Amendment was defeated in the Grand Council.
Jay gave a vitavised address on 1 September 1966, in which he announced the successful detonation of an atomic bomb by the C.N.A., and also announced that he would be resigning the next day. After the Coalition caucus chose Minister of Finance Carter Monaghan, as Jay's successor, Jay held a press conference in which he claimed to have predicted Monaghan's selection. However, in a vitavision interview in 1969 with Arnold Bittle, Maxwell Jenkins, and Arthur Flick, Jay denied having indicated a choice at the caucus.
Sobel's sources for the life of Perry Jay are Jay's memoirs, The Way It Happened: The Transition of Power in 1950 (New York, 1958), Jackson Randolph's The Inner History of the War Without War (New York, 1968), and the Collected Papers of Perry Jay, Eighteenth Governor-General (Burgoyne, 1969), as well as articles from the New York Herald and the Burgoyne Times.
|Governors-General of the C.N.A.|
|Winfield Scott • Henry Gilpin • William Johnson • Whitney Hawkins • Kenneth Parkes • Herbert Clemens • John McDowell • Ezra Gallivan • Clifton Burgen • Christopher Hemingway • Albert Merriman • Calvin Wagner • Henderson Dewey • Douglas Watson • Bruce Hogg • James Billington • Richard Mason • Perry Jay • Carter Monaghan|