McCarthyism: The Fight for America

By Joe McCarthy | Go to book overview

CHAPTER IX
The Tydings Committee

What was the Tydings Committee and why was it set up?

The Tydings Committee was set up as a result of in formation which I gave the Senate about the Communist connections of a sizable number of present and past State Department employees. I gave the Senate a brief review of the files of 81 individuals who were then or had been closely connected with the State Department. At that time I informed the Senate that I did not have the staff, the power of subpoena, or the facilities to produce all of the available evidence against those individuals, but that the evidence which I had clearly indicated that many of them were either Communists or doing the work of the Communist Party. Others were marginal cases who might be able to prove their loyalty. The Senate thereupon voted unanimously that the Foreign Relations Committee should hold hearings. It ordered that committee to subpoena all of the files on those named by me. The Tydings Committee was given all the money, investigators, and power it needed to do the job.

The Tydings Committee was, of course, carefully selected to do the job which it finally did. At that time there was in existence a Special Senate Investigating Committee fully staffed with competent investigators which could have done the job. The Judiciary Committee, headed by a great American who is anti-Communist, Senator Pat McCarran, also could have done the job. But the Foreign Relations Committee was selected. The reason for choosing that committee can best be described in the words of ex-SenatorScott Lucas when he said on the Senate floor:

"All we are trying to do is to give the Committee on Foreign Relations jurisdiction of the proposed investigtion, rather than have the Committee on the Judiciary or the Committee on Expenditures in the Executive Departments, or some other committee immediately take jurisdiction . . ."265

Here we have notification from Democrat Leader Lucas that the reason for selecting the Tydings Committee was to make sure that no other committee would go into the matter. It seemed obvious in view of this that the committee was not formed to make a complete investigation but to prevent a real investigation. Why the Administration feared an investigation has, of course, since become obvious.

The Tydings Committee was ordered to obtain all of the files which might contain information on those you named. What files were they supposed to get?

State Department files, Civil Service Commission files, FBI files, Naval Intelligence files, Army Intelligence files, Secret Service files, and Central Intelligence Agency files.

Did the Tydings Committee obey the order of the Senate and subpoena all the files?

No.

What, if any, files were obtained by the Tydings Committee?

The loose leaf State Department files.

Why were not the files of the Central Intelligence Agency, Civil Service Commission, FBI, Naval Intelligenee, Army Intelligence, and Secret Service subpoenacd by the Committee?

In this respect Tydings should not take the full blame because the President publicly announced that he would defy the Senate subpoena for the loyalty files, saying he would stand pat on his 1948 order instructing all government departments to refuse to let Congrass look at loyalty records of Government employees. At the same time President Truman indicated that he would make available any files which would disprove Senator McCarthy's charges of Communist infiltration.266

In other words, if a file would prove that a man was guilty of treason or Communist activities, the Committee, according to Truman, could not see that file. If the file would prove that McCarthy was wrong then the file could be seen by the committee.

You have stated that the loose leaf State Department files which the Tydings Committee obtained had been stripped of all information about Communist activities before they were shown to the committee. Tydings claimed this was untrue. What evidence do you have to support your claim?

I gave to the Senate and to the Tydings Committee the written statements of four of the State Department employees -- one of whom is now an FBI agent -- who did the actual job of removing from the State Department files all evidence of Communist activities.267 A reproduction of one of the four statements appears on the following page.

Tydings denied that the files had been tampered with -in spite of those signed statements. He refused to call Paul Sullivan or any of the four who stated they were willing to testify under oath that they themselves had removed material in State Department files. He announced he was calling on the Department of Justice to tell him whether the files had been stripped or tampered with.

On June 21, Tydings told newspaper reporters that "a special inquiry by the FBI has established as false McCarthy's accusations that the files had been raped, skeletonized, or tampered with in any way." On the

____________________
265
Congressional Record (Unbound), Feb. 21 1950, pp. 2105, 2106.
266
Washington Times-Hearld, Feb. 24, 1950, p. 1.
267
Congressional Record (Unbound) July 12, 1950, pp. 10137-10139: Congressional Record (Unbound) July 25, 1950, pp. 11108-11109.

-71-

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