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kansas-Louisiana-Texas cold war seminar in Shreveport, La. My question is this: Did you take any action to determine the reasons for
: the popular demand for, or complaints about, military speakers on the subject of communism?
Mr. SYLVESTER. I do not believe I understand your question. Would you read it again, please?
Senator THURMOND. I will be glad to repeat it, Mr. Secretary.
Senator THURMOND. The Secretary of Defense told this subcommittee on September 6, 1961, that the Department of Defense had received some 20 to 30 letters in the previous 4 weeks complaining of the military participation in civilian cold war educational projects. The Secretary said:
Many of the complaints have been specific, but relating to the character of a particular problem. Why did the Defense Department appear to be associated with X, a particular individual or a particular program of some kind ? Or why did we make available the use of base Y for such and such purposes?
That was a statement of the Secretary of Defense.
Now, I understand that the answers to these "20-30 letters" were dispatched under your signature. Some were complaints; others were not such as this letter to Mr. Singleton who had proposed the Arkansas-Louisiana-Texas cold war seminar at Shreveport, La.
Here is a copy of the letter if you wish to see it.
Mr. SYLVESTER. I will have to read the letter, Senator. I do not remember offhand, no. A year ago—my memory is a little weak on that.
And your question, Senator?
Mr. SYLVESTER. That refreshes my memory. I remember writing that letter.
Senator THURMOND. You wrote that letter, did you? Mr. SYLVESTER. Yes, I did. Senator THURMOND. Now, the question is, did you have other letters like this?
Mr. SYLVESTER. I imagine I did. As I recall, yes, sir; there were other letters which I responded to. Senator THURMOND. Now, Mr. Secretary, did you take any action
, to determine the reasons for the popular demand for, or complaints about, military speakers on the subject of communism? And would you explain to us just what you did ?
Mr. SYLVESTER. I think, Senator, I would have to relate—if you would relate it to specific instances, then we can discuss it.
Senator THURMOND. I will be glad to have you take up each specific instance and tell us what you did.
Mr. SYLVESTER. Frankly, a year later, without the backup papers surrounding it, I cannot discuss it. I will be happy to do so if you can get those papers, but without that, I cannot remember all of the details or most of the details, for that matter.
If your question is, Did we go into each case as it come up on its own basis? I can assure you we did.
Senator THURMOND. I want to know whether you took any action to determine the reasons for the popular demand for, or complaints about, military speakers in the cold war seminars.
That is what these letters were about, were they not?
Mr. SYLVESTER. Each instance, as I recall, was a request for participation. Each instance was judged on its own basis. What the popular demand in each locality was or was not, I frankly, today, do not know.
Senator THURMOND. You do not recall whether you took any action to determine the demand for those military speakers or complaints about those speakers, or did you just answer these letters without getting facts about them?
Mr. SYLVESTER. No; I tried to say that in each case, we went into it on its own basis, on a case-by-case basis. Information was given to us from the field. It came from an Army Corps, our Special Activities Director examined each case, gave me recommendations, we discussed it at length. But without the papers and without refreshing, I frankly do not remember the pros and cons at this time.
Senator THURMOND. Could we have the 20 to 30 letters referred to by the Secretary of Defense for the record ?
Mr. SYLVESTER. I shall certainly ask him in your behalf. I am not sure which letters you are referring to.
Senator THURMOND. Well, I assume they were turned over to you for answers and were probably addressed to the Secretary of Defense as head of the Department. Mr. SYLVESTER. Many letters are turned over to us.
I have no doubt
Senator THURMOND. You answered letters like this that would have been in your field of activity?
(Letter to Mr. Singleton is shown.) Mr. SYLVESTER. Correct.
Senator THURMOND. We would like to have those letters and answers for the record.
Mr. SYLVESTER. I will certainly try to obtain them for you. Could you give me the page on which Mr. McNamara read this testimony so I could look it up?
Senator THURMOND. Page 32.
I assume you took action on these letters when they came in. We want to know what specific evaluation you made. Or did you just answer these letters casually, without looking into the situation?
Mr. SYLVESTER. You may rest assured, they were not answered casually, that the Director of Special Activities in each instance went into the case, in each instance made recommendations to me with reasons.
Senator STENNIS. Gentlemen, pardon me a minute. I think we have reached the point in these hearings where, instead of leaving things loose to be picked up later, we are going to have to nail them down with finality as we go along. We will never reach a termination point unless we do.
As I understand, Senator, your request is for 30 letters
Senator STENNIS. And you want him to answer why he gave the response he did in each case; is that right?
Senator THURMOND. I would like him to give the action taken to determine the reasons for the demand for these speakers or any complaints about these speakers on the subject of communism.
Senator STENNIS. All right. Senator Thurmond, would it be all right for him to send in a written answer for the record ? Senator THURMOND. That will be all right.
Senator STENNIS. And that will be a satisfactory substitute instead of asking the witness to come back to be examined, correct?
Senator THURMOND. That will be all right. Senator STENNIS. All right; that point is nailed down, then. Mr. Kendall, you make a memorandum. .
(The information supplied is as follows:)
(The following are letters, other than correspondence with Members of Congress, referred to by Secretary McNamara at pp. 31-32 of hearings on S. Res. 191, Committee on Armed Services, U.S. Senate, 87th Cong., 1st sess., Sept. 6–7, 1961. Aside from one letter referred for reply to the Navy, all these letters were referred for reply to the Office of the Assistant Secretary of Defense (Public Affairs). That Office's action was limited to preparing answers to the letters and obtaining such information as necessary for this purpose. Copies of the answers follow each letter.)
PHOENIX, ARIZ., August 25, 1961. ROBERT S. McNAMARA, Secretary of Defense, Washington, D.C.
DEAR SIR: The purpose of my letter is to commend your statement that military officers should confine themselves to defense matters in public discussion and avoid foreign policy matters. I agree with Senator J. W. Fulbright's statements also.
I am greatly disturbed with the number of retired military officers who are taking part in the anticommunism and John Birch activities here. To think our taxes have paid their salaries so that they may retire and help spread distrust amongst the populace of Arizona. Their condemnation of the U.S. Government is shocking. Since they are retired, I suppose there is no way to prevent their aiding these Fascist-type organizations. These organizations should lose their tax-exempt status, for their main objective seems to be antiPresident Kennedy and a promotion for the political aspirations of the extreme conservative wing of the Republican Party.
There are many who feel as I do, but we haven't organized study groups to promote letter writing campaigns. Perhaps we should. I have the honor to remain, Yours very truly,
LUFNA HAGENSTAD. (Mrs. Verdie L.)
OCTOBER 24, 1961. Mrs. VERDIE L. HAGENSTAD, Phoenix, Ariz.
DEAR MRS. HAGENSTAD: The Secretary of Defense has asked that we thank you for your recent letter concerning certain of our Department of Defense policies.
We are enclosing for your information a transcript of the opening statement by Secretary of Defense McNamara before the nate Committee on Armed Services on September 6, 1961, in which the Secretary discusses Defense information programs and related matters.
You may be assured that the Defense Department is deeply aware of its responsibilities. Sincerely,
JOAN E. CARLAND, Acting Director, Special Activities.
ROCKFORD, ILL., July 20, 1961. Hon. ROBERT S. McNAMARA, Secretary of Defense, Washington, D.O.
DEAR SIR: I am writing you in regard to a public meeting sponsored by the Young Catholic Adults of Rockford at which Lt. Comdr. C. E. Bigler, of the U.S. Naval Air Station, Glenview, Ill., was the featured speaker. He advocated joining "an anti-Communist organization,” after giving what in my judgment are questionable explanations for “why we are losing the cold war." I am a Catholic, beyond the age for the group mentioned, and a citizen who is aware of many of the complexities of our struggle against communism. I try to assist in this struggle in any way I can, but I am, at the same time, anxious to sce preserved our precious American ideals of justice and civilian democracy.
Immediately upon my arrival at this meeting, I was asked by a woman seated in front of me to sign a petition for the impeachment of Chief Justice Earl Warren. When I asked, she admitted that it was a product of the John Birch Society, of which she is a member. She is not a member of the Young Catholic Adults.
Lieutenant Commander Bigler wore his navy uniform, although at the onset he disclaimed Navy connections with and assumed personal responsibility for his participation in the program. He gave two reasons as to "why we are losing the cold war" (1) the one related in the news report of our refusal to admit that we are, in fact, at war; and (2) our error in diagnosing the problem: we are told that communism is bred in poverty while experience reveals instead that it is bred among the student intellectuals.
In the question period following, he said that he was not a member of the John Birch Society, but commended any group willing to fight communism. In response to a request for his reaction to dangers inherent in political advocacy by the military, he professed agreement but said that communism is not political.
I am enclosing for your examination (1) a program notice which I received in the mail; and (2) the subsequent local newspaper account of the meeting in question.
I am aware, sir, that current problems facing you are of primary importance and that survival depends in large measure on their solution. But even with the pressure of these hazardous times, I am very anxious to see our American tradition of civilian determination of political policy maintained. Yours truly,
VIVIAN V. HICKEY
DEPARTMENT OF THE NAVY,
OFFICE OF INFORMATION,
Washington, D.C., August 14, 1961. Mrs. F. E. HICKEY, Rockford, Ill.
DEAR MRS. HICKEY: Your letter of July 20 to Secretary of Defense McNamara has been referred to me for reply. I have therefore investigated the facts concerning a meeting held in Rockford, Ill. on July 9, 1961, sponsored by the Young Catholic Adults at which Lt. Comdr. Charles E. Bigler, U.S. Navy, was the featured speaker.
I have determined that the Young Catholic Adults group was, in fact, the only sponsor of this meeting. It was open to the public, however, and presumably members of the John Birch Society could have been in attendance.
On July 25, 1961, the Secretary of the Navy issued guidance on the principles of public information policy, quoted in part as follows:
"In public discussions, all officials of the Department should confine themselves to defense matters. They should particularly avoid discussion of foreign policy matters, a field which is reserved for the President and the Department of State. This long-established principle recognizes the danger that when Defense officials express opinions on foreign policy, their words can be taken as the policy of the Government."
Therefore, personnel of the Department of the Navy will be even more scrupulous than in the past in public statements which may be interpreted as
reflecting foreign policy. In addition, they will insure that such statements conform with the stated policy of the elected and appointed officials having responsibility for formulating policy in this area. I appreciate this opportunity to give you the Navy's views on this matter. Sincerely yours,
DANIEL F. SMITH, Rear Admiral, U.S. Navy.
JULY 19, 1961. DEAR MR. McNAMARA: I am happy to know that your Department is becoming aware of the tragic results of military sponsored or supported “anti-Communist” schools conducted by self-styled experts on the subject.
Being a resident of Glenview, Ill., I can enthusiastically add my voice to those who are protesting the wild and divisive effect these schools can have upon a community. Well-intentioned citizens, especially military and Reserve personnel, attended Dr. Frederick Schwarz's school last summer at the Glenview Naval Air Station. These well-intentioned people came away with apparently no real understanding of the complicated issues involved in overcoming communism at home and abroad, but with enough fear coupled with zeal to feel themselves experts capable of indoctrinating their fellow citizens with the same kind of "half Americanism” they had learned.
Their favorite weapon is the film, “Operation Abolition,” which, with its complete neglect of truth and integrity, ought to be a source of embarrassment to every Member of the House of Representatives as well as to every morally conscious citizen. Almost without exception these graduates of anti-Communist seminars display no real understanding of our Bill of Rights or of our American form of government, but manage to paint with a “broad Red brush” anyone who disagrees with them and their truly questionable tactics.
If Glenview could be considered a “test case” of the results of this type of "anticommunism” in a community, I can only say that the Communists themselves could not have devised a more effective technique for undermining the trust, unity, and freedoms of the American people. For the first time in my life I feel, when I express views or doubts about the real effectiveness of these people and their techniques, that I am literally risking everything in doing it. It is even now hard for me to believe that it is possible for one to feel this fear in our great country, and for service personnel in one's area to personify to the community the source of this fear. I ask myself again and again if the day could really come in America when we would produce martyrs as were produced in Nazi Germany among those who opposed national socialism.
Doubtless a real knowledge of communism is essential, and perhaps the Federal Government (not the HCUA) ought to consider supplying proper information. But the issues are so involved and hysteria so high at this point, that we are handing the Communists their most lethal weapon—the knowledge that any cause or group with which they can associate their name and cause they can immediately discredit. All they have to do to remove any cause or group which they really fear is simply to begin to talk like that group, mouth its slogans, preach its goals, by inference or rumor let the Communist name be connected with it, and the American people will do the rest of the destruction for them, regardless of how worthy or just the cause may have been. The end result of this is obvious. Fear and hysteria will produce chaos and distrust.
It seems to me that instead of looking for a Communist behind every bush, a real deterrent to communism would consist of:
1. A true belief in the freedoms and guarantees of our Bill of Rights extended to every American, even those who disagree with us or have minority views.
2. A belief in justice in the courts not in the "kangaroo courts" of antiCommunist cells.
3. A recognition of our own national and personal shortcomings and an honest commitment to correct them.
4. A commitment to moral integrity personally and nationally which will not permit us to resort to mistruth, distortion, and other questionable means to achieve our ends, regardless of how magnificent our goals may be. How can we ever overcome communism if we stoop to their tactics to do it, adopting their slogan “the end justifies the means”?