McCarthyism: The Fight for America

By Joe McCarthy | Go to book overview

CHAPTER I
Hearing Room -- March 8, 1950

"To sin by silence when they should protest, makes cowards of men."

Abraham Lincoln

WHEN the inter-office buzzer across the room on my desk sounded, it seemed as though only ten minutes had passed since I had stretched out on the leather coach in my office after a night's work.

Actually, an hour had passed since I had asked my office manager to wake me at 10:15.

It was now 10:15 a.m.

This was March 8, 1950.

In fifteen minutes I was due in the Senate Caucus room to begin testifying before the Tydings Committee.

My office manager walked into the room and placed a pot of coffee on the desk. "Everything you dictated last night is typed," he said. "Still a few more pages to put in order, but by the time you're ready to go, well be set."

I quickly shaved and chocked through my briefcase to see that the documents, photostats, and other exhibits were all there.

On my way to the corridor I detoured through the outer office. To my surprise I found even those members of the staff who had been alternately typing and taking dictation practically the entire night, still on duty -- sleepy-eyed but going strong; I shall never cease to he amazed at the pace which the office set in those early days in 1950 -- a pace which they have maintained ever since. Without the day and night work of my loyal and efficient office staff, my task would have hem impossible.

As I walked down the long marble corridors to the Senate Caucua room, I wondered if I would be able to accomplish what I had set out to do.

The Senate had authorized the Tydings Committee to investigate Communist infiltration of government. The Senate had given that committee power, investigators, and money to run down every lead on Communists in government which I gave them. Today, March 8, 1950, my task was to give the committeelle leads which would be a basis for their investigation.

In the back of my mind there was faintly echoing the chairman's statement, "Let me have McCarthy for three days in public hearings and he will never show his face in the Senate again."

Over two weeks had elapsed since my Senate speach which had forced the creation of the Tydings Committee. Already it had become very apparent that this was to be no ordinary investigation. It was to be a contest between a lone Senator and all the vast power of the federal bureaucracy pin-pointed in and backing up the Tydings Committee.

The picture of treason which I carried in my briefcase to that Caucus room was to shock the nation and occupy the handlines until Truman declared war in Kores. But there was nothing now about this picture. The general pattern was known to every legislator in Washington, except those who deliberately blinded their eyes and closed their am to the unpleasant truth.

As I walked toward the hearing room, many things crossed my mind. For example, in a few seconds I relived the first trip which I had taken in the rear seat of an SBD to divehomb Japanese anti-aircraft, on the then southern anchor of the chain of Japanese Pacific defenses at Kahili on the southern tip of Bougainville. Apparently I had complained too much about the lack of photo coverage for our dive and torpedo bombing strikes for I suddenly found myself the Pacific's most reluctant "volunteer" cameraman in the rear seat of a dive bomber. As we flew over the Japanese airfield on Ballale island that morning, a few minutes before our break-off for the dive through Kahili's anti-aircraft fire, there crossed my mind the thought: " McCarthy, why are you here? Why isn't it someone else? Why did you have to be the one who objected so much to the bad photo coverage?" But then I remembered the next thought which I had as my pilot -- I believe it was little Johnny Morton -- cracked his flaps and I saw the red undercover as the dive bombing brakes opened up. My thought was: "Hell, someone had to do the job. It might as well be me."

In a split second my thoughts shifted from the Pacific to the Arizona hills and I found myself riding a longlegged black mule rounding up cattle in the hills and canyons of the rim-rock country beyond Young, Arizona. It was on the ranch of Kelly Moeur, father of one of the lees retiring and modest Marines of my acquaintance, who in his more generous moments admits that the Army and Navy also helped him win the war.

Ten saddle-sore days which I spent on that desolate but friendly cattle ranch, played a most important port in my anti-Communist fight. It was a link in a chain of events leading up to that morning of March 8, 1950. Six years before, after having spent thirteen months as combat intelligence officer for Marine Dive Bombing Squadron 235, I was ordered to the Intelligence Staff of COMAIRSOLS (Commander of Army, Navy, Marine, and New Zealand aircraft in the Solomon Islands area). My major task was to study the de-coded messages from and concerning the activities of all of our search planes in the entire Pacific. That was my task under General Mitchell of the Marine Corps, General Harmon of the Army, and General Field Harris of the Marina Corps. Morning after morning I briefed some 30 of the top officers of Army.

-1-

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