Cleaning the Augean Stables
In ancient fable one of the giant labors of Hercules was cleaning the labyrinthine stables of King Augeas who possessed an immense wealth of herds (Encyc. Brit.,II, 677) and twelve sacred bulls. The removal of accumulated filth was accomplished in the specified time and the story of difficulty successfully overcome has been told through the ages for entertainment and for inspiration.
The modern significance of the parable of Hercules may be thus interpreted. King Augeas is Mr. Truman. The sacred bulls are those high and mighty individuals who control and deliver the votes of minority blocs. The filth is the nineteen-year accumulation of Communists and fellow-travelers in the various departments, executive agencies, bureaus, and what not, of our government. To clean out the filth, there can be but one Hercules—an aroused American people.
Exactly how can the American people proceed under our laws to clean out subversives and other scoundrels from our government? There are three principal ways: (a) by a national election; (b) by the constitutional right of expressing their opinion; and (c) by influencing the Congress to exercise certain powers vested in the Congress by the Constitution, including the power of impeachment.
A national election is the normal means employed by the people to express their will for a change of policy. There are reasons, however, why such a means should not be exclusively relied on.
For one thing, a man elected by the people may lose completely the confidence of the people and do irreparable damage by bad appointive personnel and bad policies after one election and before another.
In the second place, our two leading parties consist of so many antagonistic groups wearing a common label that candidates for president and vice-president represent compromises, and it is hard to get a clear-cut choice as between Democrats and Republicans.
For instance, in the campaigns of 1940, 1944, and 1948 the Republicans offered the American voters Wendell Willkie, and Thomas Dewey, twice! Willkie was a sincere but poorly informed and obviously inexperienced one worlder, apparently with a soft spot toward Communism, or at least a blind spot, as evidenced in his hiring or lending himself as a lawyer to prevent government action against alleged Communists.
Thus, among the twelve Communist Party leaders arrested July 26, 1951), was William Schneiderman, State Chairman of the Communist Party of California and a member of the Alternate National Committee of the Communist Party of the United States. The preceding quotations are from the New York Times (July 27, 1951), and the article continues:
With the late Wendell L. Willkie as his counsel, Schneiderman defeated in the Supreme Court in 1943 a government attempt to revoke his citizinship for his political associations. Schneiderman was born in Russia, Likewise, Governor Dewey of New York, campaigning on a don‘t bother the Communists program, won the Oregon Republican presidential primary election in 1948 in a close contest from Harold Stassen, who endorsed anti-Communist legislation.
Governor Dewey, largely avoiding issues, except in this instance, moved on to nomination and to defeat. The moral seems to be that the American people see no reason to change from the Democratic Party to the Republican Party with a candidate favorable to or indifferent to Communism. With such a Republican candidate, a Democratic candidate may be favored by some conservatives who rely on the more or less conservative Democrats, who extend from Maryland in an arc through the South around to Nevada, to block the extreme radicalism of a Democratic administration.
Governor Dewey followed the Roosevelt path not only in a disinclination to combat Communism; in such matters as the purge of Senator Revercomb of West Virginia, he showed evidence of a dictatorial intention to which not even Roosevelt would have presumed.
Thus, however much one may hope for a pair of strong, patriotic, and able Democratic candidates or a pair of strong, patriotic, and able Republican candidates at the next election, there is no certainty of a realized hope.
There is likewise no certainty of success in the move of a number of patriotic people in both parties to effect a merger of American-minded Republicans and non-leftist Democrats in time for a slate of coalition candidates in the next presidential election. This statement is not meant to disparage the movement, whose principal sponsor Senator Karl Mundt represents a state (South Dakota) not in the Union during the Civil War and is therefore an ideal leader of a united party of patriotic Americans both Northern and Southern.
Senator Mundt‘s proposal deserves active and determined support, because it is logical for people who feel the same way to vote together. Moreover, the defective implementation of the Mundt proposal would certainly be acclaimed by the great body of the people, those who acclaimed General MacArthur on his return from Tokyo. The stumbling-block, of course, is that it is very hard for the great body of the people to make itself politically effective either in policy or in the selection of delegates to the national nominating conventions, since leaders already in office will, with few exceptions, be reluctant to change the setup (whatever its evil ) under which they became leaders.
To sum up, a coalition team, as Senator Mundt proposes, would be admirable. Nevertheless, other methods of effecting a change of our national policy must be explored.
(b) A possible way for the American public to gain its patriotic ends is by the constitution-protected right of petition (First Amendment). The petition, whether in the form of a document with many signatures or a mere individual letter, is far more effective than the average individual is likely to believe. In all cases the letters received are beyond question tabulated as straws in the wind of
public opinion; and to a busy Congressman or Senator a carefully prepared and well documented letter from a person he can trust may well be a guide to policy. The author thus summed up the influence of letters in his book Image of Life (Thomas Nelson and Sons, New York, 1940, pp. 207-208: It is perhaps unfortunate, but undeniably true that letter-writers wield a powerful influence in America. Along with the constant newspaper and magazine polls of citizens and voters, letters are the modern politician‘s method of keeping his ear to the ground. This fact was startlingly illustrated in 1939 by a high executive‘s issuing a statement justifying a certain governmental stand by an analysis of the correspondence received on the subject. Since the letter wields this influence, and since it is one of the chief weapons of the organized minority, public-spirited citizens should use it, too. They should write to members of state legislatures, United States Congressmen and Senators, and other government officials endorsing or urging measures which the writers believe necessary for the good of the country. Similar letters of support should of course be written to any others in or out of government service, who are under the fire of minorities for courageous work in behalf of decency, morality, and patriotism.
The use of the letter for political purposes by organized groups is illustrated by the fact that a certain congressman (his words to the author in Washington) received in one day more than 5,000 letters and other forms of communication urging him to vote for a pending measure favorable to Israel, and not one post card on the other side!
Letters in great volume cannot be other than effective. To any Congressman, even though he disapproves of the policy or measure endorsed by the letters, they raise the question of his being possibly in error in view of such overwhelming opposition to his viewpoint. To a Congressman who believes sincerely, as some do, that he is an agent whose duty is not to act on his own judgment, but to carry out the people‘s will, a barrage of letters is a mandate on how to vote. Apparently for the first time, those favoring Western Christian civilization adopted the technique of the opposition and expressed themselves in letters to Washington on the dismissal of General MacArthur.
In addition to writing letters to the President and his staff and to one‘s own senators and congressmen, the patriotic American should write letters to other senators and congressmen who are members of committees concerned with a specific issue (see c, below ).
In this way, he will meet and possibly frustrate the new tactics of the anti-American element which, from its newspaper advertisements, seems to be shifting its controlled letters from a writer‘s own congressman and senators to committee chairmen and committee members. For the greater effectiveness which comes from a knowledge of the structure of the government, it is exceedingly important that each patriotic citizen possess or have access to a copy of the latest Congressional Directory (Superintendent of Documents, Government Printing Office, Washington, D.C.).
The patriotic citizen should not let his or her letter writing stop with letters to officials in Washington. Letters along constructive lines should be sent to other influential persons such as teachers, columnists, broadcasters, and judges letting them know the writer‘s views. Persons such as Judge Medina, who presided in a fair and impartial manner over a trial involving charges of communism, are inundated by letters and telegrams of calumny and vilification (his words to the author and others at a meeting of the Columbia Alumni in Dallas). To such officials, a few letters on the other side are heartening.
Letters to newspapers are especially valuable. Whether published or not, they serve as opinion-indicators to a publisher. Those that are published are sometimes clipped and mailed to the White House and to members of the Congress by persons who feel unable to compose letters of their own. The brevity of these letters and their voice-of-the-people flavor cause them also to be read by and thus to influence many who will not cope with the more elaborate expressions of opinion by columnist and editorial writers.
(c) As the ninth printing of The Iron Curtain Over America was being prepared (summer of 1952) for the press, it became a fact of history that President Truman would not succeed himself for the presidential term, 1953-1957. The following pages of this chapter should therefore be read not as a specific recommendation directed against Mr. Truman but as a general consideration of the question of influencing executive action through pressure upon Congressional committees and, in extreme cases, by impeachment, with the acts and policies of Mr. Truman and his chief officials used as illustrative material.
If the pressure of public opinion by a letter barrage or otherwise is of no avail, because of already existing deep commitments as a payoff for blocs of votes or for other reasons, there are other procedures. The best of these, as indicated under (b) above, is to work through the appropriate committees of the Congress.
Unfortunately the Foreign Affairs Committee of the Senate has a majority of members willing to play along with almost any vote-getting scheme. It was only by the skillful maneuvering of the Chairman, Senator Tom Connally of Texas, that the Committee was prevented from passing during World War II a pro-Zionist resolution on the Middle East which might have prejudiced the American victory in the war.
Despite Mr. Acheson‘s record, every Republican on the Committee approved the nomination of that career man to be Secretary of State (telegram of Senator Tom Connally to the author. See also the article by C.P.Trussell, New York Times, January 19, 1949). Thus with no Republican opposition to attract possible votes from the Democratic majority, the committee vote on Acheson‘s confirmation was unanimous!
Parenthetically, a lesson is obvious, namely, that both political parties should in the future be much more careful than in the past in according committee membership to a Senator, or to a Representative, of doubtful suitability for sharing the committee‘s responsibilities.
Despite one very unfortunate selection, the Republican membership of the House Committee on Foreign Affairs averages up better than the Republican membership of the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations. The House Committee is not so influential, however, because of the Constitution‘s express vesting of foreign policy in the Senate.
In contrast, however, the House Appropriations Committee is under the Constitution more influential than the Appropriations Committee in the Senate, and might under public pressure withhold funds (U.S. Constitution, Article I, Section 9, Paragraph 6) from a government venture, office, or individual believed
inimical to the welfare of the United States (see George Sokolshy‘s syndicated column, Dallas Morning News and other papers, Jan. 23, 1951. In the matter of appropriations, the Senate Committee on Appropriations has, however, made a great record in safeguarding what it believes to be the public interest. For example, in 1946 the senior Republican member of this vital Senate Committee was instrumental in achieving the Congressional elimination from the State Department budget of $4,000,000 ear marked for the Alfred McCormack unit, an accomplishment which forced the exit of that undesired Special Assistant to the Secretary of State. There is no reason why this thoroughly Constitutional procedure should not be imitated in the 1950’s.
The issue was raised for discussion by Congressman John Phillips of California, a member of the House Appropriations Committee, in May, 1951 (AP dispatch in the Times-Herald, Dallas, May 14, 1951). In mid-1950, the House Committee on Un-American Activities seemed to need prodding by letters from persons in favor of the survival of America. The situation was described thus in a Washington Times-Herald (November 26, 1950) editorial entitled Wake the Watchman: The reason the committee has gone to sleep is that it is now, also for the first time in its history, subservient to the executive departments which have so long hid the Communists and fought the committee.
For evidence, compare the volume entitled Hearings Regarding Communism in the United States Government, Part 2, that record committee proceedings of Aug. 28 and 31, and Sept. 1 and 15, 1950, with the records of comparable inquiries any year from the committee‘s origin in 1938 down to 1940 when the present membership took over.
The witnesses who appeared before the committee in these latest hearings need no explaining. They were: Lee Pressman, Abraham George Silverman, Nathan Witt, Charles Kramer, John J. Abt and Max Lowenthal. This handsome galaxy represents the very distilled essence of inside knowledge in matters that can help the people of this Republic understand why we are now wondering where Stalin is going to hit us next.
At least one, Max Lowenthal, is an intimate friend of President Trumen, regularly in and out of side entrances at the White House. Perhaps that accounts, of course it does, for the arrogant assurance with which Lowenthal spot in the committees eye when he was finally brought before it for a few feeble questions.
Incidentally, Truman was chosen as candidate for Vice President by Sidney Hillman, at the suggestion
(according to Jonathan Daniels in his recent book A man of Independence ) of Max Lowenthal . . . (The
Last Phase, by Edna Lonigan, Humen Events, May 2, 1951).
In fairness to the present membership, however, it is well to add that, from a variety of circumstances, the Committee has suffered from a remarkable and continuing turn-over of membership since the convening of the 81 st Congress in January, 1949. New regulations, passed for the purpose by the Democratic 81st Congress, which was elected along with President Truman in 1948, drove from the Committee two of its most experienced and aggressive members: Mr. Rankin of Mississippi, because he was Chairman of the Committee on Veterans‘ Affairs, and Mr. Hebert of Louisiana, because he was not a lawyer.