Security and Liberty: The Problem of Native Communists, 1947-1955

Security and Liberty: The Problem of Native Communists, 1947-1955

Security and Liberty: The Problem of Native Communists, 1947-1955

Security and Liberty: The Problem of Native Communists, 1947-1955

Excerpt

The story of the efforts of our national government to deal with the problem of Communists in our midst, might well be told by a political satirist like Jonathan Swift. Imagine how a modern Gulliver cast upon American shores in the 1940's would report the public denunciation of General George C. Marshall as a traitor and a "living lie" by two United States Senators at a time when the nation's President was wont to refer to the General as "the greatest living American." at would Gulliver make of the charges of disloyalty leveled by congressmen at David Lilienthal, Dr. Edward Condon, Dr. Frank Graham, and Oscar Chapman while the Administration retained them in high offices where they had access to the most vital security information? What of the furor over Wolf Ladejinsky, sought after by the Foreign Operations Administration for the highly sensitive work of supervising land-reform projects in politically important South Vietnam even while the Department of Agriculture was finding him a security risk and removing him from his post as agricultural attaché at Tokyo? And what kind of an account would Gulliver give of the activities of the obscure Wisconsin politician who soared to the heights of fame and political power on the wings of serious charges which he never substantiated?

Grist for the satirist's mill was supplied by President Truman when he dismissed a congressional probe into Communist activities as a "red herring" at a time when it was beginning to hit pay dirt and about a year after he himself had instituted an Employee Loyalty Program because he believed that American Communists did present a danger to the security of the nation. There was a comic aspect to the spectacle of witnesses refusing to answer questions before Congressional investigating committees on the grounds of self-incrimination and then proclaiming through the press that they never did anything for which their answers could have incriminated them.

There was a grim kind of humor to the proceedings incident to the appointment of Anna Rosenberg to the post of Assistant Secretary of Defense. Her appointment was held up and investigated on the charge that she was a Communist. She and the nation were subjected to the humiliating experience of an official investigation of the charge, in spite of the fact that she had been accused by a person who was called "unreliable" even by the people who he asserted would corroborate his accusation and in the face of "unqualified support" from such people as Dwight D. Eisenhower, W. Stuart Symington, Bernard M. Baruch, James Byrnes, Oveta Culp Hobby, Robert P. Patterson, and Walter B. Smith.

Then there was the occasion when John Carter Vincent was badgered by the McCarran committee for supposedly aiding the Chinese Communists when he assisted Vice-President Henry Wallace in writing a report on Wallace's trip to China in 1944. Subsequently, the report was released and it was revealed that the . . .

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.