Major Speeches and Debates of Senator Joe McCarthy Delivered in the United States Senate, 1950-1951

By Joseph McCarthy | Go to book overview

AUGUST 4, 1950
Challenge to Senator Tydings To Play Recording of Wheeling Speech

Mr. MCCARTHY. I have before me, Mr. President, the CONGRESSIONAL RECORD of July 20, on which date the Senator from Maryland [Mr. TYDINGS] addressed the Senate. I might say that I sent word to the Senator from Maryland to be here, advising him that I was going to discuss a matter which concerned him personally. I am sorry he did not see fit to come.

Let me say, first, that during the course of the investigation there has been considerable dispute as to whether, in Wheeling, W. Va., I said there were 57 or 205 Communists in the State Department. Normally, it might not be considered too important as to which figure was used. However, those figures have been made of great importance by the chairman of the subcommittee and by the majority members of the subcommittee.

I have said that I sent the President a telegram calling attention to the fact that I had a list of 57 Communists. I have also called attention to the fact that there was a spy ring extending deep into the State Department, and that a complete investigation of Amerasia would furnish part of the key to that ring. I also have quoted from a letter from former Secretary Byrnes, dated July 26, 1946, in which he pointed out that 284 individuals in the State Department at that time were bad security risks, and that 79 of them were discharged, leaving 205. ( Secretary Byrnes' letter was inserted in the RECORD by me in my speech of February 20, 1950.) I have stated that all of this information was known to Secretary Acheson for the reason that complete FBI reports on all of these individuals are available to him.

Following the day on which I made the speech in Wheeling. W. Va., I sent a telegram to the President in which I asked him to get the names of the additional 205 persons whom former Secretary Byrnes had named. So the figure 205 has been used in connection with the letter of the former Secretary of State, and the figure 57 has been used in connection with the names I personally had, which names were given to the Tydings- McMahon committee as well as additional names in which the evidence was not strong enough to list them as part of the 57, but nevertheless unfit for sensitive Goverment jobs. This made a total of 81 on July 20. The Senator from Maryland told the Senate that the junior Senator from Wisconsin had said in West Virginia that he had the names of 205 Communists and then went on to say, and I quote:

Mr. President, I wonder if I can get unanimous consent to play a radio recording of the Senator's own voice. I am not asking Senators to take my word, but to hear the Senator's own voice. He says he has not made this statement.

In other words, the statement of 205.

Later on, on the same page, the Senator said:

They have gone from 205, in Wheeling, down to 57.

The Senator from Maryland complained about the lack of newspaper coverage his talk would get--well this statement of Senator TYDINGS got coverage. The press apparently understood the Senator from Maryland. I have before me a copy of the Washington edition of the Daily Worker, the Washington Post, from which I quote:

All the apparatus was in place. TYDINGS was about to let the Senators hear the Wisconsin Republican's own voice charging there were 205 card-carrying Communists in the State Department. MCCARTHY had made the claim in a broadcast over Station WWVA at Wheeling, W. Va., last February.

I have before me a copy of the Milwaukee Journal of July 6, 1950, in which it is said:

TYDINGS said he had a phonograph recording of the West Virginia speech to prove MCCARTHY lied, but was not permitted to play it on the Senate floor.

Mr. President, it is very important, I think, to determine whether the Senator from Wisconsin or the Senator from Maryland lied. That one of them lied is obvious. Either the Senator from Wisconsin was lying when he said that he used the figure 57, or the Senator from Maryland was lying when he said, "I have

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