Saturday, November 28, 2015

Lost and Found: McCarthy and His Enemies - Part I, Chapter 2, The Background

Lost and Found: L&F is a series devoted to old books which veer from our modern interpretation of historical events. The series devotes itself to seeking out truth which often lies somewhere twixt the gap between understandings.

The second of this series is devoted to McCarthy and His Enemies by William Buckley and L. Brent Bozell, published by the Henry Regnery Company in 1954. The hearings McCarthy held remain one of the most fascinating dramas of the last century.  Other chapters on this work include:

Lost and Found: McCarthy and His Enemies - Prologue
Lost and Found: McCarthy and His Enemies - Part I, Chapter 1, The Problem

The Background

The most effective tool in the spread of Communism has been its use of native agents in the free world to serve the cause.

By the 1920's, it had become apparent that the United States faced a new type of threat to its existence that of a political-military conspiracy to promote a communist form of government. This first became to a head during World War I during the First Red Scare.

Red Scare

Wiki --> First Red Scare

Popular Front

In response to Federal Government investigations into its activities, the Communists developed the Popular Front Strategy to protect and promote itself.

Solidarity --> The Popular Front: Rethinking CPUSA History --> he Popular Front, A Social and Political Tragedy: The Case of France

 The Popular Front—the alliance of the Communists with Socialists, liberals, and even sometimes conservative political parties—remains an issue for the left. [1] For though it arose out of the very specific conditions of the great Ccrises of capitalism of and of Soviet Communism in that era, the Popular Front recurred to become the dominant method of Communist politics in capitalist countries. With Nazi Germany’s attack on the Soviet Union, the Communists returned to the Popular Front in 1941, and continued it throughout the war and into the postwar period. The Popular Front thus became not simply a strategy, but almost a political habit, a style, the very way of being of a Communist. Throughout the latter decades of the twentieth century, many people could hardly tell a Communist from a left liberal, for liberalism had become the costume of Communism—which is not to say that Communists became liberals.

By the 1930's, the Federal Government began taking its first primitive steps towards combating Communist infiltration of our government.

1938 FARA (McCormack) Act

The McCormack Act or Foreign Agent Registration Act was the first major piece of legislation passed to deal with this issue:

Villanova - The Foreign Agents Registration Act - The Spotlight Of Pitiless Publicity

This act stemmed from the congressional McCormack Committee recommendations:

That the Congress should enact a statute requiring all publicity, propaganda, or public relations agents or other agents or agencies, who represent in this country any foreign government or a foreign political party or foreign industrial or commercial organization, to register with the Secretary of State of the United States, and to state name and location of such foreign employer, the character of the service to be rendered, and the amount of compensation paid or to be paid therefor.' 

1939 Hatch Act

The Hatch Act came next:

United States Office of Government Ethics --> Hatch Act

The Hatch Act limits certain political activities of most executive branch employees. For example, the law prohibits employees from engaging in political activity while on duty or in the Federal workplace. It also prohibits them from soliciting or receiving political contributions.

1942 Civil Service Loyalty Criteria

For many years, the Federal Government had no way to exclude subversives from being employed but this changed during WWII:

Yale Law School --> Loyalty Among Government Employees

In March 1942 the Civil Service Commission, with the approval of the President, issued Var Service Regulations providing that an applicant would be denied clearance by the Civil Service Commission where there existed "a reasonable doubt as to his loyalty to the Government of the United States." 11


The actions to protect the our government from being subverted internally had severe limitations and were laxly enforced.

For example, the loyalty criteria took no action against subversives who were already employed. The commission also could not use the FBI to conduct investigations.

Under direction from the Attorney General, the FBI did conduct its own investigation in 1941 and found that the criteria found that the criteria for determining disloyalty were inconsistent among government agencies. The interdepartmental committee established by the Attorney General to develop standards came up with standards that were virtually impossible to enforce. --> Columbia Law Review 1947, Restrictions on the Civil Rights of Federal Employees - Communists within the Government; the facts and a program

It has been extremely difficult to prepare standards that 
would protect both the government and the employee. Very 
few individuals openly advocate the overthrow of our gov- 
ernment by force or violence or belong to organizations that 
so advocate. If membership exists, it is extremely difficult 
to prove. 

Fox Guarding the Hen House

Even then, these inadequate, difficult to enforce laws were subverted by sympathizers from with the Federal Government such as Paul Appleby, Bureau of Budget, who refused to fund any investigative work.

NYT Books - CHAPTER ONE Secrecy The American Experience By DANIEL PATRICK MOYNIHAN Yale University Press

Investigation of Un-American Propaganda Activities in the United States By United States. Congress. House. Committee on Un-American Activities


Yale Law Journal 1948 - Loyalty Among Government Employees

Most critically, during WWII, there was no real means to keep Communist agents from being employed in sensitive areas or even arousing undue concern when objection were raised. Here are some examples of cases that highlight the inability to prosecute such cases:

Alger Hiss

Amerasia Affair - Amerasia Affair, China, and Postwar Anti-Communist Fervor, The

In 1945, Kenneth Wells, an analyst with the Office of Strategic Services (OSS), noticed that an article in Far East-focused magazine Amerasia was almost identical to a 1944 report he had written on Thailand. OSS agents broke into Amerasia’s New York offices, where they found hundreds of classified documents from the Department of State, the Navy and the OSS.

A subsequent FBI investigation suggested editor Philip Jaffe had probably obtained  the documents from State Department employee Emanuel Larsen and Naval Intelligence Officer Andrew Roth. In carrying out its probe, the FBI illegally broke into offices and homes, installing bugs and wiretaps. But no evidence indicated documents had been forwarded to a foreign power.

Doxey Wilkerson Case

History of the Communist Party of the United States by William Z. Foster
NYT - Doxey Wilkerson Is Dead at 88; Educator and Advocate for Rights

For a dozen years he was a Communist Party leader, serving on its national committee and being investigated by Senator Joseph R. McCarthy. Dr. Wilkerson publicly resigned from the party in 1957, disillusioned by revelations about Stalin.
Early in his career Dr. Wilkerson worked for President Franklin D. Roosevelt's Advisory Committee on Education and for the Federal Office of Price Administration.
While at Howard he was a national vice president of the American Federation of Teachers. He was involved in attempts to win permission for Marian Anderson to sing in Constitution Hall, the auditorium in Washington owned by the Daughters of the American Revolution, where black performers were barred. Instead she gave an outdoor concert at the Lincoln Memorial that became a famous civil rights event.
In the 1940's Dr. Wilkerson was managing editor of The People's Voice in Harlem and a columnist for The Daily Worker, a newspaper of the Communist Party. He worked with Paul Robeson on foreign issues and testified for days claiming biased jury selection in a Federal trial of Communist officials.

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