Security and civil rights; Owen Lattimore
What ought to be the essential difference between us and a country like Russia is that Russia aims at having a highly developed government intelligence service and a very limited public knowledge of what is going on. Things can't work that way in a democracy in a democracy and intelligent government policy and an intelligent and understanding public opinion inseparably go together. That was the actual voice of Owen Lattimore defendant in the most publicized security loyalty case of our time. You'll hear Mr. Latta more now on the ninth program in this series. Security and Civil Rights produced by the University of Minnesota radio station KUNM very grants from the Educational Television and Radio Center in cooperation with the National Association of educational broadcasters and the University of Minnesota Law School.
What does it mean to be charged as a communist sympathizer to be assumed disloyal. What was the result of the letter more case was more cleared. Does this case have any significance for you. These questions will be answered now on security and civil rights. This series is presented in the hope that an authoritative review of the various issues involved in the field of security and civil rights will help to clarify some of the distinctive features of a free and democratic society. Out of conflict and controversy. In come a greater understanding and appreciation of that unique fundamental which we Americans too often take for granted. This is the exercise of constitutionally guaranteed methods by which the people of a democracy express their differences and solve their problems without violence. The purpose of this series is not just to present the various cases or different sides we wish to emphasize the means and the methods that are unique to the American way.
And now security and civil rights presents a first hand authoritative report on what it means to be charged and cleared as a security risk. The interview with Owen Lattimore will be conducted by Sheldon Goldstein. But first to introduce our topic and special guest. Here is the consultant and commentator for security and civil rights month med polis and professor of law at Columbia University. Professor Paulson. The most celebrated security loyally case. I suppose is the case of Mr. Owen Lattimore. Indeed. You'll remember that the latter more cases the one upon which Senator McCarthy once said that his whole case would stand or fall. Mr. Lott Amar was accused of lying when he told a government congressional committee that he was not a follower of the Communist party line and that he was not a communist sympathizer. The case.
Was pending for a very long time in the courts. And before we hear an interview with Mr. Latimer himself. We will bring you a portion of the opening in Judge Lewis or young. In the latter more case. The charges here serve only to inform the defendant that his sworn statements are to be tested against all his writings point chance parallelism with our indirect support of communism regardless of any deliberate intent on his part. They demonstrate that the government seeks to establish that at some time in some way in some places in all his vast writings over a 15 year period L'Amour agreed with something it cause and personally defines as following the communist lying and promoting communist interests. Jury inquiries would be limitless. No charge by the court could embody objective standards to circumscribe and guide the
jury in its determination of what the witness might have meant regarding words he used with so sweeping an indictment with its many vague charges and with the existing atmosphere of assumed an expected loathing for communism. It would be neither surprising nor unreasonable where the jury is subconsciously impelled to substitute its own understanding for that of the defendant to require a defendant to go to trial for perjury under charges so formless and obscure as those before the court would be unprecedented and would make a sham of the Sixth Amendment and a federal rule requiring specificity of charges. The indictment will therefore be dismissed. That was a portion of Judge Luther young Gauls opinion in the law to Mark case. One of the dimensions of a security loyalty program is of course the problem of what is the impact upon the individual who is accused and who is tried. We have in this series discussed a great many different problems
including the question of what is the impact of the security loyalty system on the whole government employment. Today we should like to point up the individual's problem no report on our national security program would be complete without the first hand comments by the man who many once viewed as the number one security risk. Mr. Owen Lattimore author teacher and expert on the far east. The first question one might ask of Owen Lattimore is what about the extreme charges made against you. Did any of these accusations stand up as recently recorded in Washington D.C.. Here are Mr. Owen Lattimore and his answer. You see the original charges were that I was a spy or that I was a top Soviet agent and that kind of thing. As soon as they tried to follow it up they found less and less and less and consequently an effort was made to manufacture an appearance of
being a very dangerous man. They ran up various other blind alleys and finally they were left with nothing but a vast amount of vague allegations. Then as time went on and the hysteria grew less Senator McCarthy had thoroughly discredited himself before our Senate I want Ken's Committee. It was politically less dangerous to drop the charges and the government which had long ago discovered that the. Security was an absurdity in itself but had been politically afraid to drop it took that opportunity to get out from under Mr Latham or I think that most of us remember the original charges which were quite extreme. And as you point out were dropped but the charges upon which you were brought to trial I think were something that could have happened to anybody they were charges involving your sympathies and your attitudes. We tend to remember only the
extreme original charges. I wonder if you tell us a little more in detail about the specific charges under which you were actually bought or brought to trial. The original charges of course were completely dropped almost at the beginning. Senator McCarthy had begun by saying that I was a Soviet spy and a top Soviet agent. McCarthy fell flat on his face. Then an attempt was made by Senator McCarron to rehabilitate McCarthy. But this also misfire had an attempt was made for instance to show that I was the mastermind of the State Department's policy in China. This petered out when it was found that I never had worked for the State Department and had had no influence whatever on the State Department. So finally they got around to trying to concoct. A method of convicting me as a communist sympathizer
and promoter of communist interests in order to do this. They took a few instances where my memory after a lapse of 15 or 20 years had led to inaccurate statements on my part. And these instead of being allowed as lapses of memory were treated as perjury when all this was the sort of thing to which I was referring. Now you say that you had lapses of memory in terms of incidents that went back 15 years or more. Wondering if you could give us a specific example of their having lunch with the Russian ambassador. Ski in 1941 just before I went out to China as advisor to Gen. Kai shek. I was asked in an executive session about this lunch and I thought that it had probably taken place about the end of
June. The committee counsel Mr Morris then said in a conversational tone of voice. That was after the German invasion of Russia wasn't it. And I assuming of course that he was stating a fact said yes. Well months. In the public hearings I was asked about this again because they already knew that my memory on the subject was wrong. Then I was accused of perjury because the meeting with elements key had actually taken place before the German invasion of Russia. Now why should this be so important or why should it be pretended to be so important. The obvious answer is that they were going to make out that any American who saw the Russian ambassador before the German attack on Russia could only have been seeing him because he was a pimp sympathizer. Maybe after the Germans attacked Russia then it was alright for an American to see the Russian ambassador when Elvis succeeded in completely
bypassing the important facts of the case. You see I was going out to China to work for junk I shake under nomination by President Roh. Was about at that time we were not yet in the war. The Russians were supplying China and by China I mean junk I checked they were supplying junk I checked with airplanes and munitions. So were we. But at the same time relations between America and Russia were bad. Now one of junk concerns was that he wanted to keep the friendship of America. And he did not want to have it receive Russian aid. On a scale that would imperil his political and public relations in the United States. So obviously when I got to king of all the foreign embassies in Washington the one that would be most likely to ask me about would be the Russian embassy. The status of the ambassador the status of relationships and all that kind of thing. Therefore it was not only a sensible
thing but. Fulfilment of my proper duties as advisor to junk I seek to acquaint myself with what the Russian ambassador was doing and thinking in Washington just before I went out to Chongqing to work for John question. When Mr Latham or this gives us some idea of how a lapse of memory on the precise date of a luncheon 15 years earlier could be construed as perjury although quite understandably the courts found that this was a pretty farfetched kind of charge that had no real legal validity. But what about an example of the even more abstract charge you fees that of being a communist sympathizer and promoting communist interests. I find it hard to believe that one could be charged for sympathies or interest that would strike me that a person is free to have any kind of sympathy or interest. But you actually did
face a fine and imprisonment for your sympathies and interests. How did this come about. Well it was obvious that the matter was dealt with were so unimportant and trivial that they couldn't possibly be material in order to make the material a shotgun charge. Sympathizing and promoting in order to do this they listed a series of topics. Referring to things that I had written and published over a period of some 25 years. Anybody reading the topics might easily be misled into thinking that the topics were serious. So my wife and I went through everything and collected the original texts of what I had actually said. Let me give you just one example. They said for instance that I represented the Chinese Communists as democratic. Well what I actually
said in the course of a newspaper article in 1947 was the greatest strength of the Chinese Communists today lies in their liberationist claims. The claim that in the territory they control the liberated people have on average more rights and more property to defend than the mass of the people in a woman dung Tara train. Well now at about the same time a. As my newspaper article a report had been made by Brigadier General Peabody of the United States intelligence military intelligence and this report is actually reprinted in the accounting committee's report and what General Peabody had to say on the same subject goes as follows. Practically all impartial observer has emphasized that the Chinese Communists comprise the most efficient politically well organized disciplined and constructive group in China today. This opinion is well supported by
facts. It is largely because of their political and military skill and superior organization and progressive attitude which has won for them a popular support. No other party or group in China can equal that they have been extending their influence. Now this I think shows us pretty well what is at issue. If you can succeed in setting up a government censorship of opinion so that exactly the same thing can be said by somebody that you like and no attention is paid. But but if it is said by somebody whom you don't like or whom you have a need to turn into a political victim then you can go after him as a man somebody seems to have gone after. How does Owen Lattimore personally feel about this experience now. I don't. Think that my comments
on the personal side at this time would be Pharaoh's silage wisdom. After you've gone through five years of this kind of thing your home or private life has been disrupted and old friends have been lost. There is a compensation of course and many wonderful new friends made earlier are ordinary personal relationships have been through the storm with you and when the attorney general glibly says that the government doesn't feel it has a chance of proving anything and is going to drop the case that doesn't automatically put you in a position to look back on what has happened with detachment. Extreme charges were made against Owen Lattimore with a flourish almost equal in our
time. Owen Lattimore was found guilty of nothing however and all charges against him were quietly dropped. How does he feel about this. Well I think really the only adequate comment on that is to adapt a quotation from T.S. Eliot. This is the way Brown now ends. This is the way Brownell ends. This is the way Brownell ends not with a bang but a whimper. There's On lot of more feel that his experience in our nation's security loyalty program was purely personal and political. Or does he feel that there are ramifications and meanings to his experience that might apply to certain fundamentals of freedom. I think the freedoms that are involved are pretty obvious as a result of the. Yes we have been through although the pressures are less now than they were a year or two ago. The
effects of those years of the height of the crisis are still quite visible through colleges and universities and private research in this country. There is a tendency to keep away from difficult problems to keep away from problems that might prove controversial so that even if a problem is very important even if there ought to be a well-informed American public opinion about it even if the only rational way to arrive at an informed and sensible public opinion is to discuss the matters and flush them out. Nobody dares to. This is related both to the general question of public freedom of inquiry and speech but specifically to academic freedom of research freedom of opinion and freedom of publically expressing the opinion. You see. What ought to be the
essential difference between us and a country like Russia is that Russia aims at having a highly developed. Government intelligence service and a very limited public knowledge of what is going on. Things can't work that way in a democracy in a democracy and intelligent government policy and an intelligent and understanding public opinion inseparably go together. For one thing the government cannot recruit the kind of men that are needed for government research and intelligence and policy making activities unless it is able to recruit them from Americans who have been raised in the American way of going after what they are interested in finding things out for themselves forming their own opinions casting their opinions by debate with other people who have other opinions
making mistakes in the process of learning how to be right how to form a right opinion. And only if you have an atmosphere of. An embarrassed freedom of this kind can the government obtain the kind of personnel it needs. How does Owen Lattimore account for the years of investigation charges and countercharges in which he was involved in Mr lot of Moore's own words. I suppose this crisis over Far Eastern policy has been far reaching and long lasting than almost any similar instance in our past history. But we do have other instances at one time for instance it was so unpopular to advocate the recognition of Russia but it never went beyond certain limits even at a time when it was politically unpopular to advocate recognition of Russia. It was perfectly safe for great American corporations
to engage in contracts with the Russian government. Later when the situation developed in which we and Russia were on the same side in the war our cordial feelings toward Russia were quite legitimate. In the case of China things went much further and I suppose it is always an ironic sort of danger in times of crisis and high emotion namely that nothing makes you so unpopular as being too right too far in advance of other people. I know this question of being right or being wrong is one I think that has not been sufficiently made clear by recent discussion. Many people have taken a sort of middle attitude and they say round I think the man's wrong but I think we ought to defend a man's right to be wrong. But
what has frequently been at issue in the discussion of China problems is the right to be right. Take for example the case of Mr. John Davies who was fired from the State Department because he had written some memoranda long ago prophesied saying that junk I checked was going to be defeated giving his reasons for thinking that John Kai-Shek was going to be defeated and prophesied the victory of the Chinese communists. Now it happens that Mr. Davies was right and he lost his job because he was right at a time when it was unpopular to be right. And as far as I'm concerned and for years I have searched out my own data form my own opinions and stated them in public and I believe in my right to be wrong but I believe still more in my right to be right. It's ironic that because of the fear which has resulted in so much and such fantastic rewriting of the recent theory of China. Recent
history of China and our relations with China my rightness has in recent years received much less consideration than my alleged wrongness. But the most fantastic thing of all is that the one thing on which I was really wrong was either never mentioned at all or are perverted into its exact opposite. I mean my slowness in realizing that sex palace God and His own increasing megalomania had pulled him down from the high place that he had once occupied as the symbol of China and a great figure of freedom in Asia that as the Chinese put it he was losing the mandate of heaven. That's a senator reminder. That's really what all this case has been about. That there is often more danger of being stabbed in the back by hired assassins than of honorable wounds inflicted in battle. If that's a fact of life I think we ought to take it as a fact of life and face it. But. Tell us the rule of honor remains the same. We cannot keep on trying to be right.
That was Mr.. Owen Lattimore Johns Hopkins faculty member and authority on the far east. Which a lot of Moore's case not only gives us some insight into the human problems of an individual who has been charged with disloyalty but points up some more of the legal problems which arise when we enact new laws to deal with new problems and new situations. For example Dr Lattimer was charged with lying when he said that he was not a communist sympathizer and a promoter of communist interests. As a lawyer I would be very interested to know how one proves that one is a communist sympathizer or a promoter of communist interests. These are exceedingly vague charges. It is awfully difficult to know exactly what it is that the ECU's are means when he makes such charges. New criminal laws by and large create problems of this sort. We should expect that any
time new legislation of any sort including security legislation is enacted that problems of definition problems of vagueness are created. These are constitutional problems for us in the Anglo-American tradition because we believe firmly that a person before he is tried or before a disadvantage is visited upon him that he shall know precisely what he has done wrong. And indeed he should know exactly what is expected of him before he does anything wrong. Our right to have specific charges before we are punished in a criminal court. Is guaranteed to us by the due process clause of the 14th Amendment and the Fifth Amendment. The problems created by the new security legislation in the view of lawyers not only the problem specificity of charges but all kinds of other legal problems will form the basis of our next program entitled abuse of lawyers in security loyalty cases.
That was Professor mom Ed Paulson a member of the law faculty of Columbia University. Professor Paulson is the consultant and commentator for this series security and civil rights. Today's program featured on Latham on as recorded especially for this series in Washington D.C. next week at this same time security and civil rights will bring you the views and the voices of several attorneys for recent security loyalty cases from Washington D.C. You will hear Joseph a finale counsel for the defense in the famous scientist X and Abraham chess in all cases. The latter case was written up in Look magazine from a tense 1055 in which Mr. finale was described as quote an aggressive Harvard trained lawyer and former special assistant to the attorney general. And that he had successfully defended several persons involved in the old Truman loyalty program. And now he enjoys interesting cases. He lowers his fee for them. And that the double cases pay for them he said with a grin. Unquote. In addition to
Joseph finale next week's program will feature Legal Counsel for the scientists and engineers of America. Then there'd be the attorney in several passport denial cases brought before the Supreme Court of the United States. And Paul Porter and William Rogers members of the law firm of Arnold fortress and Porter counsels for the defense of Owen that Amar and Dr. John P. Peters two outstanding scholars who were cleared of disloyalty charges. This series as presented in the hope that an authoritative review of the various issues involved in the field of security and civil rights will help to clarify some of the distinctive features of a free and democratic society out of conflict and controversy can come a greater understanding and appreciation of that unique fundamental which we Americans too often take for granted. This is the exercise of constitutionally guaranteed methods by which the people of a democracy express their differences and solve their problems without violence. The purpose of this
- Security and civil rights
- Owen Lattimore
- Producing Organization
- University of Minnesota
- KUOM (Radio station : Minneapolis, Minn.)
- Contributing Organization
- University of Maryland (College Park, Maryland)
- AAPB ID
- Episode Description
- Owen Lattimore, Johns Hopkins University faculty member, authority on the Far East, and central figure of a celebrated security case, is interviewed at his Baltimore home on being charged with security breach.
- Other Description
- Interviews on balancing national security interests with personal liberty. The series is moderated by Monrad Paulsen of Columbia University.
- Broadcast Date
- Legislation--United States.
- Media type
Guest: Lattimore, Owen, 1900-1989
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: 57-50-9 (National Association of Educational Broadcasters)
Format: 1/4 inch audio tape
If you have a copy of this asset and would like us to add it to our catalog, please contact us.
- Chicago: “Security and civil rights; Owen Lattimore,” 1957-01-01, University of Maryland, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC, accessed August 9, 2022, http://americanarchive.org/catalog/cpb-aacip-500-p26q3p6f.
- MLA: “Security and civil rights; Owen Lattimore.” 1957-01-01. University of Maryland, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC. Web. August 9, 2022. <http://americanarchive.org/catalog/cpb-aacip-500-p26q3p6f>.
- APA: Security and civil rights; Owen Lattimore. 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-p26q3p6f