McCarthyism: The Fight for America

By Joe McCarthy | Go to book overview

CHAPTER X
Guilt By Association

Is not a person presumed innocent until proven guilty?

Yes.

Why do you condemn people like Acheson, Jessup, Lattimore, Service, Vincent and others who have never been convicted of any crime?

The fact that these people have not been convicted of treason or of violating some of our espionage laws is no more a valid argument that they are fit to represent this country in its fight against Communism than the argument that a person who has a reputation of consorting with criminals, hoodlums, gamblers, and kidnappers is fit to act as your baby sitter, because he has never been convicted of a crime.

American People Entitled to Benefit of Doubt

A government job is a privilege, not a right. There is no reason why men who chum with Communists, who refuse to turn their backs upon traitors and who are consistently found at the time and place where disaster strikes America and success comes to international Communism, should be given positions of power in government.

What is your answer to the charge that you employ the theory of guilt by association?

This should properly be labeled BAD SECURITY RISK BY ASSOCIATION or GUILT BY COLLABORATION rather than GUILT BY ASSOCIATION.

The State Department, whose publicity agents complain the loudest about guilt by association, has adopted in their loyalty yardstick what they condemn as the theory of guilt by association.

For example, one of the categories of people they have declared unfit for service in the State Department is:

"A person who has habitual or close association with persons known or believed to be in categories A or B." (Defined as a Communist or one "serving the interests of another government in preference to the interests of the United States.")279

In this connection I might add that the State Department's loyalty and security yardstick is all right. The trouble is that they do not use that yardstick when the loyalty measurements are made.

In upholding the constitutionality of the Feinberg Law, the purpose of which was to weed Communists out of teaching jobs in New York, the United States Supreme Court said:

"One's associates, past and present, as well as one's conduct, may be considered in determining fitness and loyalty . . .

"From time Immemorial, one's reputation has been determined in part by the company he keep . . . We know of no rule, constitutional or otherwise, that prevents the state when determining . . . fitness and loyalty of . . . persons, from considering the organizations and persons with whom they associate."280

In passing upon the constitutionality of that part of the Taft-Hartley Law which requires a non-Communist oath, the Supreme Court said:

"The conspiracy principle has traditionally been employed to protect society against all 'ganging-up' or concerted action in violation of its laws. No term passes that the Court does not sustain convictions based on that doctrine for violations of the anti-trust laws or other statutes. However, there has recently entered the dialectic of politics a cliche used to condemn application of the conspiracy principle to Communists.

" 'Guilt by Association' is an epithet frequently used and little explained, except that it is generally accompanied by another slogan, 'guilt is personal.' Of course it is; but personal guilt may be incurred by joining a conspiracy. That act of association makes one responsible for acts of others committed in pursuance of the association."281

I have not urged that those whom I have named be put in jail. Once they are exposed so the American people know what they are, they can do but little damage.

FBI Head States Exposure Cuts Down Danger

As J. Edgar Hoover said before the House Un-American Activities Committee:

"Victory will be assured once Communists are identified and exposed, because the public will take the first step of quarantining them so they can do no harm"282

Defense of "Innocence by Association"

Strangely enough, those who scream the loudest about what they call guilt by association are the first to endorse innocence by association.

For example, those who object most strongly to my showing Jessup's affinity for Communist causes, the Communist money used to support the publication over which he had control, and his close friendship and defense of a Communist spy, also argue Hiss' innocence-by-association. The argument is that Hiss was innocent because Justices Frankfurter and Reed testified they were friends of his, because Acheson chummed and walked with him each morning, because Hiss was the top planner at the United Nations conference and helped to draft the Yalta agreement.

We are not concerned with GUILT by association be-

____________________
279
Hearing before Subcommittee of Senate Committee on Appropriations, Feb. 28, 1950. pp. 596-597.
280
Justice Sherman Minton speaking for the majority in the decision on the Feinberg Law, March, 1958.
281
Justice Robert H. Jackson in his concurring decision on Taft-Hartley oath, May 1950.
282
Hearing before House Committee on Un-American Activities. Pt. 3, March 26, 1947. p. 44.

-79-

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