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This is the $64000 question that every society in every generation has had to answer. How do you decide between order on the one hand and freedom on the other. National security on the one hand and individual liberty on the other. That was the voice of Patrick Murphy Millan executive director of the American Civil Liberties Union. Mr Malan will be joined on security and civil rights now by Mr. James R. Wilson Jr. director of the National Security Division of the American Legion as they discuss their organization's views on security and civil rights. This is the sixth program in this special series produced by the University of Minnesota radio station KUNM in cooperation with the National Association of educational broadcasters under a grant from the Educational Television and Radio Center. To introduce the guest authorities and topic for today's program. Here is the consultant commentator for security and civil rights
a member of the faculty of the law school of Columbia University. Mr. Mann read Paulson. You know our democracy the great issues are not debated by individuals alone. We are a nation of organizations. And on the great issues we organize integrate groups and the organizations speak for us. Indeed perhaps they speak for us more effectively than we can speak for our individual selves to discuss the question of security and loyalty on the one hand and civil rights and liberties on the other. We bring you the representatives of two great American organizations the American Legion and the American Civil Liberties Union representing the American Legion on this question. Is Mr. James R. Wilson Jr. director of the National Security Division of the American Legion. Representing the point of view of the American Civil Liberties Union. We bring you Mr. Patrick Murphy Millan executive director of the Union. First Mr. James R. Wilson
Jr. interviewed by Mr. Philip Gallo producer of this series at the Legion's national headquarters in Indianapolis Indiana. My title with the American Legion is the director of the National Security Division. We're mainly concerned in national security with the armed forces the Air Force the Army the Navy and the Marine Corps. The civil defense administration. While the Americanism program more or less gets into the subversive activities that concern the internal variety of communism and its threats against the American way of life I think in certain fields that they actually do have an overlapping. For instance say in our program for ideological or psychological warfare you could interpret our interest in this particular field as crossing over into the Americanism field in
combating communism in a positive way. Could you go into that a bit Mr. West and I think we may hear quite a bit about the negative aspects how does the positive program work. Well by action of the national convention in Miami Florida. The American Legion advocated the establishment of a Cold War strategy board and subsequently in fact in the last session of Congress legislation was introduced by Senator William Noland of California to set up such a psychological strategy board which would present the American way of life in a positive manner. In to our friends overseas and to the neutral nations and also to the people behind the Iron Curtain. Now in this latter regard we do that to encourage these people in other words to keep alive the hope for subsequent release from the bonds of
communism. During the last session of course no action was taken on Senator Nolan's proposal through the U.S. Information Service under Mr. Strieber efforts are being made now through citizen groups in order to carry out the general idea recommended by the American Legion crusade for freedom I think is one notable example of that. There was a conference held within the last two or three days in Washington prominent leaders in the field of newspaper radio entertainment in order to develop ideas of means by which the American way of life and our objectives our belief in God could be presented to the people of Europe and Asia. The reason I ask that question Mr. Wilson is that we hear the story that if you really want to get people started on something you've got to get them against something I was wondering how the Legion was doing on its
positive program. Well of course our program that we are recommending is more or less one of a legislative nature. Now we have of course our lending our support to the Crusade for freedom not only through our own organization nearly 3 million members but also through the auxiliary one million members. We hope that that support will take the form of contributions to these agencies who are have no connection with government whatsoever it's purely a citizen activity. National security is obviously tied up with international attention. Do you have any statement on the American Legion's policy on this Mr. Marson. Well I think the best source for the American Legion's position. On the lessening of international tension is contained in our report. That's the National Security Committee's report to the thirty eight national convention I might
digress slightly there and say that this convention is made up of representatives of the American Legion from every level and from every state in the United States. It is truly representative and democratic type of gathering. We explore this aggression a bit Mr. Wilson can you give us an overall picture of the American Legion. Yes I am of course always happy to do a little propagandizing as far as the American Legion is concerned we're an organization of 2 million 750000 veterans of service in the armed forces of the United States. We're made up of 56 departments or states. That's the 49. Continental departments plus Alaska Hawaii and other outposts in foreign nations France England Scotland Australia and so forth. We have approximately 17000 posts that's local units
clubhouses and the like where. The Legionnaires meet to carry on the business and programs of the American Legion that briefly is saved. Wrap up on the American Legion. We also have an organization of women some 1 million in number who serve as a right arm to the American Legion and carry out and advance its programs as mandated at these national conventions. They are situated in some 14000 units which is comparable to the to the post. And. Their head is called the national president and our top executive is our national commander he's elected for a one year term of office this year he's a C.. Daniels from Danville Virginia. In other words from each department or state. They have X numbers of delegates and this is based on the number of
members they have 30 days prior to the convening of the national convention. Roughly there are 3000 delegates this represents approximately $1 get for each one thousand members plus a certain allocation of delegates at large. Plus your past national commanders. Now it is this group. Who delegates to the national convention who are assigned to the convention National Security Committee who have prepared and submitted. To the convention itself. These proposals about which we proposed to talk in the next few minutes. The thing that you and I were discussing here that I believe is of most concern to the radio audience is the fact that the American Legion through its national security commission does not believe that this is a time to relax. We feel that indications are that in the countries particularly in Egypt the Suez Canal and
Korea in fact all around the world. The communists are still making considerable gains. Just a year ago Russia actually had no entree whatsoever to the Middle East. Now she's firmly firmly situated. She has herself located firmly on the side of Nasser in Egypt. And we believe that rather than having. Been modified that the danger today is greater than at any time in the recent past. Actually the Soviet Union. Imposes not only the unconventional type of danger to the free world but she is building a tremendous military machine. Now at the present time it's only being used as a threat. But there's always the possibility that if the unconventional means the economic
psychological fails then we believe that there is that possibility that the USSR may choose to resort to all out aggression against the free world's nations. We believe and we have believed and we continue to believe that Communism is an international conspiracy. That it's literally like one ton of coal on an octopus that the central it's centralized control we believe that it's controlled and directed from Moscow. We don't believe that the United States branch of the Communist Party thinks independently. We I think to sum it up very briefly we would concur pretty heartily with the statement made recently by Chancellor Conrad hour in which he said and I quote One thing the whole world must learn is that communist leaders like any other tyrants including the Nazis never change.
They change their voices. They change their politeness. They change their tactics but they never change their purpose which is to control men's lives as they see fit and weaken the whole world for communist domination. Events in Hungary seem to have proved this Mr. Wilson. I was wondering though why the various American organizations including the American Legion and the American government hadn't made more to do about this fact. The fact that there was Stalin may be dead and repudiated but what's to prevent another Stalin from rising what's to prevent that type of thing is occurring in Hungary from continually occurring. We may not find this as a matter of official record but it seems to be the consensus of our top security people that our government has not been as articulate. Nor have we taken advantage of many of these things that have occurred in the Soviet Union which could be. Utilised tremendously from
an ideological or psychological standpoint to condemn. Some of these of these moves that have been you know I mean occurring in recent times and to hold these up more or less as a hope. For these captured people behind the errant curtain I think that as you said earlier it's always easy to get people to be against something than it is to go out and work positively for something you know that will be of benefit. What about the Legion's American ism program Mr. Arar wants and what are the organization's views in relation to national security. Well of course I'm slightly infringing on another division at national headquarters but I would. Actually give you Mike my reply in two parts. First we are cooperating as best we can with governmental agencies and congressional
committees. In making studies which reveal the nature. How Communists and the threat that they impose against the American way of life we try to distribute as much objective material as possible. To the American people. Secondly through our use programs we endeavor to teach more about the American way of life and our form of government. To the young people the future leaders of the country so that our government will be strong as to resist any type of foreign ideology whether it be Naziism fascism or communism. I don't think that we can ever rest assured that things like Nazi ism under Hitler can't be recreated. I mean for instance in the in the present time I think we are advocating the rebuilding of strength within West Germany. Then the American Legion's American Islam program is concerned with pointing out just
something more than the threat of communist infiltration. Well yes I mean for instance through our junior baseball program this is. Where we try to teach boys good sportsmanship. That's one of the things that to me is a sharp. Line of demarcation between communism and. The Republican or the democratic form of government. We teach people to trust one another mans word is bond. We teach boys sportsmanship that it's better to play the game fair and to lose than to win by crooked means through our oratorical contest. The main subject of the Oratorical Contest has to be the Constitution itself. Thereby the boys learn more about the boys and girls rather learn more about the Constitution through our boy state. They learn more about local government the state and local government through the Boys Nation program. They learn more about government at the national level now that those
very briefly are the positive aspects of what the Americanism division is doing. Will Mr. Wilson you speak of trusting one another and that this concept of trust is very vital to the American Legion's program and yet there were a lot of people and other organizations that accuse the American legion of creating a lot of distrust a lot of suspicion in this whole national security and civil rights picture. Well yeah I would agree with I. I would say this in this light that the American Legion was one of the organizations and individuals within the Legion and outside the Legion who are more or less criticized or made the object of criticism. Why. Well I like to think that a lot of cases it was more or less the liberal element. I don't want to disparage the liberals on that but I think we were.
Actually singled out for criticism. And on that point I just want to make one brief observation that the American Legion constantly fights. For the right of an individual to prove. It. On this thing that his affiliations. Are other than those which would be detrimental to the American way of life for instance. On this we would not accuse a person without having a pretty pretty good background information on his affiliations. But to get back to your question directly I think we have been criticized on that but I think the criticism certainly was unfounded on Mr Wilson to either you or the American Legion feel that there is any kind of direct or irreconcilable conflict between having national security and
maintaining individual rights. I don't know whether this is a good answer to your question but it seems to me that the thing that we have to guard most carefully. Is that in fighting all out against the threat of international Communism or even the segment of internal United States brand of communism that we might very well lose. The very things that we're fighting for and the things that have set us aside and apart from. And make us different from. Communism or fascism or Nazi ism. I mean the right of the individual the dignity of the individual his right to to live and to speak is freedom of speech and religion these things that we cherish so highly. I just have to ask you this question Mr. Wilson. Now you speak of the importance of individual freedom and rights. I've talked to people from the fund for the republic
an organization that doesn't at least in the press seem to get along too well with the American Legion yet they do seem to believe in the same rights you both seem to believe in the same constitution the same kind of ideals. My question is what's all the fuss about. Well no kidding I mean on this this is the first question I sincerely would duck because it just is outside of my province altogether and if I gave you an answer it would be one that would be based on personal. Novice observations. That was Mr. James R. Wilson Jr. director of the National Security Division of the American Legion and now for a somewhat different program by supported by a different national organization. Mr. Patrick Murphy Maylon executive director of the American Civil Liberties Union interviewed by Mr. Philip Galbraith at the ACLU headquarters in New York City.
Mr. mean when you are the executive director of the American Civil Liberties Union the logical question is what is the American Civil Liberties Union. Everybody is always asking me that the American Civil Liberties Union is one of those typically American organizations a private organization composed entirely of individual citizens who have come together to concern themselves and to be active and to concern themselves with and to be active about a portion of the public business the portion of the public business with which we deal is the defense of the so-called Bill of Rights and related provisions in the federal and state constitution. These provisions have to do with they preservation of freedom of religion and freedom of speech and press and assembly and association and petition. They have to do with fair procedures and due process. All of the things that go into making us a rule giving us a rule of law rather than an arbitrary rule of
men. And third they have to do with what are what is called equality before the law. Non-discrimination. So far as sex and race and creed and national origin are concerned. This sounds like it might get you involved in specific legal cases Mr Menon as is true it's very true. The major portion of our work has always been and continues to be litigation. But we are not a legal aid society. We do not supply attorneys for Parker is to a dispute. Only in the rare test case do we do that kind of service. Typically what we do is to enter at the appellate level and argue from what is called an amicus curiae II. A friend of the court brief in that brief. We deal
not with the merits of the dispute at all except as they touch constitutional civil liberties free speech fair procedures equal protection under the law. There is also however a necessity from time to time to have test cases where only civil liberties issues are involved from the very beginning. For example the withholding or revocation of a passport. With no other question of law and no dispute about the facts involved supplied us with the necessity of a test case in one thousand eight hundred fifty two and that test case the Bauer case was the beginning of the series of passport decisions made in these four years in the courts dealing with the
necessity of the State Department having standards and hearings and declared reasons in the case of withholding or revocation of passports this litigating work of ours is not her argument in the courts on constitutional issues. This would seem to say that what it says in the Constitution is only half the battle in terms of civil liberties that what happens in the courts is the other half. All this is inescapable The minute you write down a written constitution you begin to have to have it interpreted. You have to have it interpreted by judges. You have to have it interpreted by executive agencies as they have discretion in a complex society. You have to have it interpreted by law givers as they give statutory form to the basic constitutional requirements. And you and I by our public argument in mutual education. We are engaged in the process of interpretating what the written words must mean in terms of new necessities.
What does this mean the American Civil Liberties Union is an organization for lawyers who belongs to it. The great body of our most active people are lawyers but it is increasingly true that our membership which by its contributions and its your money and legwork supports the lawyers it is increasingly true that the great bulk of our general membership is non lawyer. We have grown in the last eight or 10 years from about 7000 to about 40000 now across the country. Anybody who has two dollars can join the average contribution is now somewhere around nine dollars. Every kind of person joins business men labor officials lawyers ministers teachers Housewives. Every body has the job of eternal
vigilance which is the price of liberty. When you speak of everybody Mr. Malin does this mean you would defend everybody too. Oh yes. The minute you start making distinctions with regard to clients you are not interested in civil liberties you're just interested in playing favorites. But in order to defend every body's civil liberties whether we agree with them or not we ourselves as an organization keep out of our governing bodies and staffs any body who is a member or supporter of any political totalitarian organization whether communist or otherwise. Mr. Manning you said for some very important principles three four if I remember free speech fair procedures and equal justice under law. Now to these very vital elements have to be sacrificed or in any way limited
for our national security. The question that every society in every generation has had to answer. How do you decide between order on the one hand and freedom on the other. National security on the one hand and individual liberty on the other. The quick answer seems to me to be this that. The undoubted problems of national security namely spying and sabotage and treachery have got to be dealt with by efficient police action. This is a matter of detective work. This is a matter of trials in courts. This is a matter of everyone being on the key Deaves to make sure that the efficient and informed police job gets done. But on the other hand this police job can be done with out limiting the free speech of
anybody this side of overt criminal actions. This police job can be done with out departing from fair rules of procedure in court even when criminal types and those threatening national security are being tried. And this job of police action against national security threats can be done without sacrificing the third civil liberty namely equal protection under the law. That was Patrick Murphy Malan executive director of the American Civil Liberties Union. Our first guest was Mr. James R. Wilson Jr. director of the National Security Division of the American Legion. Next week at this time security and civil rights will bring you interviews with two heads of congressional committees which are evaluating the government's programs on security and secrecy. Be
Security and civil rights
James R. Wilson, Jr. and Patrick Murphy Malin
Producing Organization
University of Minnesota
KUOM (Radio station : Minneapolis, Minn.)
Contributing Organization
University of Maryland (College Park, Maryland)
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Episode Description
James R. Wilson, Jr., American Legion; and Patrick Murphy Malin, American Civil Liberties Union, discuss national security.
Series Description
Interviews on balancing national security interests with personal liberty. The series is moderated by Monrad Paulsen of Columbia University.
Broadcast Date
Social Issues
Politics and Government
Legislation--United States.
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Guest: Wilson, James R., Jr.
Guest: Malin, Patrick Murphy, 1903-1964
Moderator: Paulsen, Monrad G.
Producer: Gelb, Philip
Producing Organization: University of Minnesota
Producing Organization: KUOM (Radio station : Minneapolis, Minn.)
AAPB Contributor Holdings
University of Maryland
Identifier: 57-50-6 (National Association of Educational Broadcasters)
Format: 1/4 inch audio tape
Duration: 00:28:44
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Chicago: “Security and civil rights; James R. Wilson, Jr. and Patrick Murphy Malin,” 1957-01-01, University of Maryland, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC, accessed October 2, 2022,
MLA: “Security and civil rights; James R. Wilson, Jr. and Patrick Murphy Malin.” 1957-01-01. University of Maryland, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC. Web. October 2, 2022. <>.
APA: Security and civil rights; James R. Wilson, Jr. and Patrick Murphy Malin. Boston, MA: University of Maryland, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC. Retrieved from