Security and civil rights; Dudley B. Bonsal
It doesn't mean that that fire kept on the six million people plus the files kept on a lot more people and then because people go out of the employ of the government and others come in. As I understand it at approximately 20000 applicants for government positions a month that was the actual voice of Mr. Dudley Boncelles chairman of a special nonpartizan committee set up by the Association of the bar of the city of New York to evaluate the government's security and loyalty programs. What are security loyalty programs. How many do we have. Who is affected by such investigative programmes. Do we really need them. These are the kinds of questions Mr. Bonsor will answer now on the first programme in this new series. Security and civil rights security and civil rights is produced by the University of Minnesota radio station cable him under a grant from the Educational Television and Radio Center in cooperation with the National Association of educational broadcasters. To tell you
the purpose of this series and to introduce our first guest authority here is the consultant commentator for security and civil rights a member of the faculty of the law school of Columbia University professor mun med policy. This series is offered in the hope that a first hand and authoritative review of the various issues and arguments involved in the field of security and civil rights will help to clarify some of the distinctive features of a free and democratic society. The purpose of this series is not just to present any given case for any given side. Security and Civil Rights emphasize the means in the methods that are unique to the American way. Our mode of procedure in these programs will be to bring to our audience many people who have special experiences gives their attitudes with respect to the various aspects of the security and civil rights problems unusual significance. In our first program. WE PRESENT.
Mr. Dudley be Bansal. Chairman of a committee of the Association of the bar of the city of New York set up to study these security programs and the loyalty programs of the federal government. The association of the bar of the city of New York was given a $100000 grant to make this study. The association of the bar of the city of New York is truly a distinguished organization. Former presidents of the association have included Charles Evans Hughes John W. Davis and Henry L. Stimson. The committee in the study were organized in a nonpartisan way. And here to tell us something of the scope of the present loyalty security program and something of the necessity for that program. As Mr. Dudley Bansal interviewed by Mr. Philip Gale producer of our series. The interviewing taking place at the Bar Association in New York City.
The City Bar Association received national perhaps international attention here bought a year or so ago I believe when you received a grant to do a particular study a particular project. And would you first tell us your relationship to this project Mr. Bonzo and what it was. Well I am chairman of the special committee of ah Association which made a study of the Federal Security program. This study was made possible as you say a little over a year ago by a grant from the fund for the public to our association. Imagine this question is often asked when you get a grant and it was a fairly large one wasn't it from the fund for the $100000 thousand dollars. The question is are there strings attached. There were absolutely no strings attached to this crime. In the time the grant was made our Association adopted the same position that it always has when we receive parents from other foundations
that our work will be done with complete independence. This understanding was scrupulously was guarded by the fund for the public. We were entirely on our own and did what we thought was right to do. As you mentioned a minute ago we were not certainly not a partisan committee. I think if the truth were known I think we probably had four Republicans and four Democrats and and one independent. Well once the committee was set up the grant was received. What was the next step. How did you actually operate. The first thing of course was to find out what these programs are. We were dealing with the with the civil programs we were not. We did not trespass on the field of military security. I think that's a very important point in other words you're only here involved with those programs that would bring in just ordinary people workers and the government.
Well perhaps I could answer that best in this way just by summarizing the P-5 programs that we started. The first one of those was the federal employees wireless security program which operates under executive order 10 for 50 and covers all the federal and stablish from and estimated at some two million three hundred thousand people. The second one is the Department of Defense's Industrial Security program which relates to two employees of private contracting firms. Having business with the government military contracts and which employees because of those contracts have access to secret and top secret information. Potentially that's a very large number and that group isn't it. Well we we estimated it it reaches by perhaps we million people. The third program is the Atomic Energy Commission program which is
separately provided for by the Atomic Energy Act and which covers both the employees of that commission and employees of private contractors having contracts with the sea. That is estimated to include about 80000 people. The fourth one is the port security program. Which is a program that affects every seamen and Long Shon. And that program has been estimated to encompass about 800000 people. And finally we have the international employees loyalty program which applies to American citizens who obtain employment with international organizations such as the United Nations you know escrow the International Bank and others. These people are screened by our government to test their loyalty. Would this mean about just kind of trying to figure this out in my head as you were going through them about
five or six million people I would say I mean what are 6 million people over 6 million yes I would think so. And that 6 million means that there were six million people that were more or less in some degree either investigated or files were kept on them as to their security risk or their lawyers that the two words are used together here and they synonymous you know. You know but in answer to your first question it does mean that bios are kept on the six million people across the files kept on a lot more people than that. Because people go out of the employ of the government and others come in. As I understand it the parks and at least 20000 applicants for government positions a month. And of course the government makes contracts every day with some new contract. And a contract which may require the use of secret and top secret information. So there were additional employees
of private contractors who have to be screened all the time. Now loyalty and security under me used in this program these programs are of course not synonymous. Loyalty has to do with an employees. Loyalty to his country. Is he a good American. Or is he a communist spy or is he does he belong to communist firms. The security aspect which I believe is applies to many more employees because I think there are very few people who are suspected of disloyalty. The security part has to do with suitability. That it is not enough. If you have access to important national secrets it should be a lawyer. You must be a person of such character. Back. And Sensibility is
that you can keep this information to yourself and not let it get into the long hands. So when the suitability area you have all kinds of questions coming up. It may be that a man is just just likes to talk to my blabber mouth. It may be that he is. He drinks too much. Perhaps he's a homosexual. Perhaps he has some unfortunate incident in his past even trying to cover up all these years when all these factors may may make him a suitable object for blackmail. He may be seized upon by the enemy. I think this is a point that isn't understood by a lot of people a Their automatic assumption is that if somebody is a security risk that they're disloyal and it would seem here that there are all kinds of instances which are possible that a person would be susceptible to blackmail to pressure to various influences and be very loyal.
That's quite right and they and the government has been trying very hard to overcome that belief which many people have. They have the old Truman program was referred to was a loyalty program. The Eisenhower program has been referred to as a security program where the idea of dissociating the two ideas. But both ideas are involved and all I want to say is that the suitability is much more important than the loyalty. Probably less understood and more important right. That's right. Also it's important for people to know that all these people are not suspected of disloyalty. If you are found to be a thought to be disliked so are the automatic labeling which did happen a few years ago when somebody might be viewed as a security risk. Often could not be founded on fact. That's quite right quite right and a kind of made that statement as if it were a fact. Did your study and findings bear that out.
Well it barred our we didn't make it we didn't make analyse individual cases to any great extent and I would too. Good reasons for that. One is that the government won't give out the information on specific cases. And the second one is that the newspaper cases the famous cases are in a tiny minority of these cases and I have to give you the long question. We did have available to us an interesting compendium made by Adam Yarmolinsky of cases as seen from the employees and their lawyers. He collected some 250 cases from lawyers who had represented people who were subject to this program. But there again of course that study couldn't be too objective because it was seen from one side but it was valuable in giving us an idea of the kind of issues that are involved in these programs. I gather from this then that you used and had recourse to absolutely any
material information at what age you when evaluating the overall security of the program. We had we had access to all information except the information which the government felt necessarily demonstrate a secret in the interests of national security. But I should say in reply to that that the government from the attorney general that down gave us generally a generously of their time and were most helpful to us throughout our deliberations. So our sides actually were heard from in one way or another. They all were. There wasn't any doubt. Well before we hear the results of the committee's findings a special committee of the New York City Bar Association on the security loyalty program. Now there is a question I would like to ask you Mr. Bouncer before we leave the idea of lightly and that is. In general would you say that the average American may have been a little too distrustful of his fellow Americans in recent years. I mean I don't know this and I'm speaking only as an individual but it seems to me that
I can't remember in history where a country had less subversion less sabotage in which more people did seem to be in genuine agreement as to what was right about our nation and less possibilities of disloyalty and subversion. At the same time we had this great fear and the program which is kind of new in our history. And actually there probably are two parts of this question the first one is do we is the average man American. Can he be trusted the other party is. Why was so much to do made about it at this particular time. Because there was the American people have been subjected to quite a few psychological shocks in the last few years. I would say right off the bat I think that practically all American citizens can be trusted. But we went through a very serious role. With the Italians and the Germans and the Japanese during that while Russia was our ally.
We we directed all our efforts to winning that war. And in so doing we were of course an ally of Russia. We were greatly disillusioned after that beginning with part time when it turned out that Russia through our efforts largely had destroyed the common enemy were now turning against us. We began to understand what was meant by the communist conspiracy which which we thought which we hadn't thought much about during the war and perhaps we hoped might disappear as it was out of the common victory. It didn't disappear. We saw communism spreading spreading into China. We took great efforts to meet the challenge. You all remember the Marshall Plan the various economic programs the aid to China which of course was unsuccessful. We also found that the communist conspiracy was delving into our government secrets. Now this was a great shock
to the American public from our home a tolerance to the communist conspiracy. We switched and hundred eighty degrees we began to get right out the communist menace we began looking for communists in every part of the government no matter how unsensitive. We also found at that point that the danger of communism was seized upon by some political circles. Who made it seem far worse than it actually was. And so we went through quite a period of almost just threw it on a subject because when you speak of being far worse than it actually was you're just speaking of the Communist threat directly within the United States whereas the international threat which is something else and is not met really by the internal measures but by other factors which this program is not about and I think it will often get a reaction from people when you say that well some people overestimated the communist menace they say well no it is an
international menace it's very obvious it is a menace but I think that there is there are two different problems here one is the security within the nation the other is the international problem. Well so far as so far as a Liberian government is concerned they had both. Hit both the end and tunnel situation and the foreign situation. The danger envisage and the danger in visit at the time we were either hysterical about it was the communists taking our internal secrets. Was that we had communist agents engaged in our own service a bar at all in the United Nations or elsewhere. So it was to follow both internal and external. It is this unique thing in terms of our history in other words the fact that there was hysteria the fact that there was a program at the same time as you pointed out here there was a real threat there still is I don't think it be possible to over estimate the International Communist threat. Is this something
unique which therefore brought about a kind of distinctive result. Well I think it was not it was unique All right and distinctive but this kind of this kind of an operation of course is not new. During the during the Civil War Of course there was a great commotion in Washington on the possibility of Southern sympathizers being in the government that took the form of acquiring a loyalty oath from people. And there was a great deal of congressional investigating and a great deal of political dissension on the question of the loyalty oath however. Our government. Having become considerably larger and more complicated. The present program is certainly more detailed and more complete than anything that governments have attempted before to my knowledge. Well I think it speaks well for our whole democratic system to realize that we can turn
to men like yourself and the others who work with you on this committee of the New York Bar Association and try to get a long range and objective appraisal of something which is as involved in international politics in individual motions that runs the gamut. Well I suppose I ought to tell you a little something first of all as to how these programs operate across state. They all operate somewhat differently these five that I've mentioned and I think to understand these recommendations better I should try to generalize as to their methods of operation. All of these programs have common stages the first stage is the investment invest to get to a stage under which information is developed about an employee and that information may come from the FBI or the Civil Service Commission or it may come from a common informal from the security officer himself and a particular agency.
The first thing is the collection of the information about the employee would is generally referred to as a derogatory information. The second stage is the screening of that information in the agency where the employee works. That is a sifting process a little canter work perceiving to determine whether there's really anything serious about the information or not. Great many great many cases of course and right there this cleaning offices find there's no mail there are no particular substance to the derogatory information. However if they do then the next step is to present charges to the to the employee in the Department of Defense's program they refer to where there's a statement of reasons but it's really a statement of charges or. That statement is presented to the employee by the security officer.
And then he is usually at the same time suspended from his job and suspended without pay so that he is faced with a position situation of meeting these charges on the one hand trying to get competent legal advice on the other. And thirdly and last but not least trying to support his family without any money coming in. The last step of course didn't happen to these over 6 million but the previous steps up to the point. Well yes and most come across it would stop at investigation because the investigation stage reveals nothing that's derogatory that's the end and it's only if something derogatory then it may go out at the screening stage. If it doesn't care then it comes to the statement of charges and is this something derogatory could be almost anything. Yes a car that could well it could it could question an employee's Waialae such as he was a member of the communist party or that he was a member of AA.
Have an organization which is on the Attorney-General's list and is deemed to be subversive. All it could mean that his loyalty is not question the TOA but perhaps he might be under pressure perhaps the information might be that his wife is a communist or that his mother lives behind the Iron Curtain and he has a sympathetic association to them which may affect his conduct. Is it possible I mean so far it sounds fairly legal is it possible that a person who just might have a grudge against somebody could make some type of derogatory charge anonymously without having to stand up for it. Undoubtedly that probably happens I don't I won't say that it happens often that a fellow employee is somebody who had a good uses this way to bring it out and that is of course you put your finger on one of the reasons why this program must be as fair as possible to see that that kind of thing is defeated without without destroying the name
and reputation of the person who against whom the charge is made. It's kind of an unusual legal process any Alison if they have this anonymous accusation which is never cross-examined or. Well there again you have to think about it and its perspective. They are anonymous informants of course in this program. Some of them may be undercover agents. There's many people maybe people just won't don't want to be disclosed. Maybe your father's mother in law doesn't like him for instance. But the experience we're told the experience in the program and I think that is true is that the anonymous anonymous informa problem is not as great as it would appear at first blush. In many cases the employee never questions the fact that I brought up. You may not know who informed but very often he doesn't question the facts he tries to explain it. And of
course our security officials do what they can and I think they and proving their system all the time too to be pretty careful and check any information before they use it against an employee that is going to finish these five stages now when they really when you when the charges are made then the employee gets a hearing and he's entitled to counsel he's entitle to bring witnesses. The difficulty there is again it's a great expense to a nobody pace with witnesses except himself. After the hearing Boyd reaches a decision with regard to the employee he can employee you can question that decision by going to his agency head. These decisions of these hearing boards are not like court decisions because most a recommendation to the agency head that either the employee should be retained or not be retained. The agency head is the final arbiter of the
proceedings. Well this doesn't seem like too serious a situation and I one of the questions I suppose. What was all the fuss about and I was a person just was going to lose a job there is just such a serious matter. Yes it is a serious matter. It is a serious matter because. B there's a stigma attached to this. Inevitably man is suspended from his job as a personal stigma attached to him causes him great distress to he and his family. The second thing about it is of course these records do have a tendency to follow your lead. You may leave the government you may get a job I won't try to get a job somewhere else well his record has gone off and gone followed him and he doesn't get another job it can be either as a man doesn't have the right to be employed by the government but he has some kind of abstract right to work I suppose. In general well I don't think he's got a I don't think he's got a right to be employed by a government on the other hand I clearly don't think it's a privilege to be employed by the government I think if a
fellow is competent and interested and passes his civil service exam with the proper high qualifications I think he's entitled to that. John and I and the other thing is that he's entitled to fair play and that's what we stress in our poll and he's entitled to all the breaks that you can give him to be to assure that you do not dismiss him because of some unfounded accusation which then lives on and his record from that time. Well I'm glad to hear you use the term fair play but also I think in practice kind of down to many of our specific constitutional guarantees that these are the way we realize fair play in our complicated society. That was Mr. Dudley be chairman of a special nonpartizan committee set up by the Association of the bar of the city of New York to evaluate security and loyalty programs. Mr. Boncelles report on the scope and need of security programs
is the first program in this series security and civil rights. We will hear from Mr. Bunce again on the 13th and final program in this series when he will summarize his committee's findings and report its overall evaluation and recommendations on security loyalty programs between the first and final programs in the series. You will hear many authoritative points of view from people who have been directly involved in the area of security and civil rights. You will hear from dependence and security loyalty cases such as Owen Lattimore and Dr. Harry stock. You will hear from the representatives of organisations such as the American Legion the American Civil Liberties Union and the fund for the republic. You will meet authors Allen by Intel for Taylor. You'll hear from the chairman of the Congressional committees in this field and get the views of lawyers who have handled security loyalty cases. This new series security and civil rights will present the many sides of a many sided subject. For example next week at this time you will hear a pro and con discussion on the question do we need special laws for loyalty
and security. The participants on next week's program will be Congressman Howard Smith of West Virginia author of the Smith Act. Joseph Heller Jr. chairman of Americans for Democratic Action royal w France executive secretary of the National Lawyers Guild and John B old person manager of the National Defense Dept. of the United States Chamber of Commerce. Our guest experts will be interviewed by Philip Goad the producer of the series the consultant commentator for security and civil rights is Columbia University's Professor of Law mon med Pawson Professor Paulson was a member of the University of Minnesota Law School whose cooperation has helped to make this series possible security and civil rights is produced by the University of Minnesota radio station and a grant from the Educational Television and Radio Center. This series is distributed by the National Association of educational broadcasters. Your announcer Charles Brin the preceding tape recorded
- Security and civil rights
- Dudley B. Bonsal
- Producing Organization
- University of Minnesota
- KUOM (Radio station : Minneapolis, Minn.)
- Contributing Organization
- University of Maryland (College Park, Maryland)
- AAPB ID
- Episode Description
- The first program in the series features Dudley B. Bonsal, chair of the New York State Bar Association committee, evaluating government security and loyalty programs.
- Other Description
- Interviews on balancing national security interests with personal liberty. The series is moderated by Monrad Paulsen of Columbia University.
- Broadcast Date
- Media type
Guest: Bonsal, Dudley B.
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: 57-50-1 (National Association of Educational Broadcasters)
Format: 1/4 inch audio tape
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- Chicago: “Security and civil rights; Dudley B. Bonsal,” 1957-01-01, University of Maryland, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC, accessed October 23, 2021, http://americanarchive.org/catalog/cpb-aacip-500-br8mhs0h.
- MLA: “Security and civil rights; Dudley B. Bonsal.” 1957-01-01. University of Maryland, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC. Web. October 23, 2021. <http://americanarchive.org/catalog/cpb-aacip-500-br8mhs0h>.
- APA: Security and civil rights; Dudley B. Bonsal. Boston, MA: University of Maryland, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC. Retrieved from http://americanarchive.org/catalog/cpb-aacip-500-br8mhs0h