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these three countries in combination possessed, or
would soon possess, a military potential clearly
overshadowing anything that could be mobilized
elsewhere on the Asiatic and European continents.
It was evident that if the Western world were
therefore to have any hope of coping with them
in a future war, this would lie in the possibility —
which eventually came true — that they would be
divided against themselves. In other words, by
the latter part of the 30's, the preponderance of
world power was already against ourselves and our
friends, and it could be reasonably predicted that,
if our sort of world were to survive, it would be

only by virtue of the rifts among the totalitarian
powers, not because we and our friends were
strong enough to oppose all of them together and
all at once.

It was for this reason that when war came to
us, we were confronted with a sad, and perhaps
for many of us humiliating, fact : namely, that it
was only with the help of one totalitarian regime,
still saturated with hatred for us and determined
to encompass our downfall, that we could defeat
those other totalitarian powers which had brought
themselves into a state of hostility with us. And
many of us were inclined to forget that the single
totalitarian state which was on our side was there
unwillingly, chagrined, and embittered to find it-
self in our company. It was there not by its own
choice. It was there because it had made the mis-
take of relying on an agreement with Hitler, and
because Hitler had made the even greater mistake
of betraying that agreement and turning his
sword to the east. Instead of recognizing this
unhappy state of fact, and drawing from it the
bitter lessons which it held for us, we consoled
ourselves with the delusion that Moscow would
change: that the wartime association with us
would produce some basic alteration in the nature
of a regime whose commitment to totalitarianism
was really far more than just a state of mind.
Holding this delusion — not only holding it, but
nursing it with a sort of desperation — and assur-
ing ourselves that unless it came true, peace was
impossible, we did not I'ealize how profound and
fateful a change would be made in the world pic-
ture when, with the war fought to the finish of
"unconditional surrender," two of these totalitar-
ian states would be laid prostrate and disarmed
while the third would be left in possession of
great areas of Europe and Asia. We did not fully
realize that this would create a situation in which
it would be a hard and dangerous and wearisome
task to restore life on these continents except with
Russia's consent and on Russia's terms.

This was a serious misunderstanding we were
wandering into. For the power of the free world
had not really been enhanced during the war. On
the contrary, the German and Japanese occupa-
tion of other countries had dealt great, if tem-
porary, blows in many instances to their capabili-
ties for the independent reassertion of their na-
tional power. The experience of totalitarian
occupation had not only left people everywhere
with a national hatred of those who had occupied


Department of State Bulletin

them, it had also left another and more fateful
imprint. This was a widespread doubt about the
principles of that liberal nontotalitarian world
which had failed to save them from the catas-
trophe of occupation and had liberatetl them only
after years of suffering and degradation and, in
some instances, of tragic luunan losses.

I am not saying that the war could or should
have ended differently than it did. Hindsight is
too easy; and we are not helped, in our present
bitter problems, by the boastful claims of "I told
you so," even in those rare instances where they
might have some justification. I am saying that
the shape of this post-war world, with all its dan-
gers and its insecurity and its lack of easy solu-
tions, was largely cut out for us by the course of
military events during the recent war when we
were very little aware of that fact. And I would
point out that the policies by which those military
events were detei-mined wei'e ones which found
the concurrence and approval of the overwhelm-
ing majority of our people including, I think, cer-
tainly of most of us who are here in this room
tonight. Let us be fair, then, and recognize that,
in this gi-eat turning in human affairs, which has
led to our problems of today, we are dealing with
something for which we all have a share of respon-
sibility. And let us, therefore, look for its causes,
not in the possible deficiencies of a few contempo-
rary figures, but rather in the great tragic sweep
of the events of our time.

The Situation in the Far East

This was not the only fateful source of misun-
derstanding about our present problems. There
is another which I would like to mention. This
relates to China and the Far East. There has
been no sector of our policy which has been the
cause of so much criticism as this.

I believe that I understand the state of mind
which lies behind this criticism. It is roughly
this : China has fallen to the Communists. That
is a reversal to the cause of world peace and
stability. Therefore, our policy must have been
wrong. Therefore, there must have been some-
thing wrong in the State Department.

That all sounds plausible enough ; and it would
be — if China were a sort of province of the United
States and if the State Department ran it and if
it were the State Department which had decided
that the Communist Party should be the faction
which would have the best morale and discipline

and pack the strongest political punch and win
the civil war in China.

But suppose none of this were so. Suppose that
our representatives had warned the Chinese Gov-
ernment earnestly and repeatedly of the probable
consequences of the course on which it had em-
barked; suppose that, when these warnings were
ignored, there was nothing more tliat our Gov-
ernment could really do to influence or alter the
basic course of events in China ; suppose that the
troubles of the Chinese Government were inherent
within itself; suppose that it wasn't in the first
instance lack of money or arms or anything this
country could give which stood between the Chi-
nese Government and the accomplishment of its
purposes in China; suppose we were given the
impression that the reason that Government
wanted aid from us and paid people in this country
to lobby for that aid was not so much that it really
wanted to overcome its weaknesses, but in order
that it might more easily avoid having to face up
to them, not so much that it wanted to increase its
efforts, but rather because it wanted to involve us
to the point where we would take over the major
burden of the responsibility and it could itself
relax and sit back ; how would things look then ?

These happen to have been the realities, and
they can be very easily proved from the published

What would people have had the State Depart-
ment do in the light of this situation of fact?
Would they have had us beat our bi'easts and rec-
ommend United States intervention in China to
prove that we were good anti-Communists? I
wonder how many of you realize what that really
means. I can conceive of no more ghastly and
fateful mistake, and nothing more calculated to
confuse the issues in this world today, than for
us to go into another great country and try to
uphold by force of our own blood and treasures a
regime which had clearly lost the confidence of
its own people. Nothing could have pleased our
enemies more. Yet, this is precisely what this
country would have been led into by further
involvement along the lines of military aid and
advice ; and I look back with pride on the fact that
people in our Government, in the State Depart-
ment and elsewhere, had the good sense and the
courage to resist the flamboyant and emotional ap-
peals for action in this direction. Had our Gov-
ernment been carried away by these pressures,
many of which had their origins in the interests

May 15, ?950


and activities of a foreign government, I am con-
fident that, today, the whole struggle against
world communism in both Europe and Asia would
have been hopelessly fouled up and compromised.

As it is, we have lost a battle and yielded what
appeared to be a position. I have never believed
that it was a sound position or a defensible one.
"^VTiat has happened in China is bad, and we have
no reason to feel smug about it. But I would
point out that with the departure of the last party
of American officials from Tientsin last Sunday,
we have gotten rid of our last official entanglement
in that unhappy area. We are now on the road
to a relationship with China which will be ex-
pressive of our high regard for the Chinese people
but unencumbered by past involvements and il-
lusions. Our slate is pretty well clean ; and I am
afraid it had to become clean, at whatever cost,
before we could even make a beginning on a con-
structive and effective policy toward that country.

Now, if these things are so, why is it that we
have had so much misunderstanding and so much
bitterness in this country about this course of
events? I am sure that the answer to that ques-
tion lies to a large extent in the shallowness and
over-simplification of our understanding of what
has been happening in Cliina.

It is true that there are not many people among
us who are qualified to estimate, in its entirety,
what has really been taking place in these last 40 or
50 years in the political and psychological evolu-
tion of the Chinese people. I know that I am not.

But one thing, I think, is evident : prior to this
recent war, many of us had a tendency to mis-
estimate the nature and feelings of the peoples
of Asia and of China in particular — to sentimen-
talize those people, sometimes to patronize them,
to view them- too much as being like ourselves,
to take for granted their political reactions rather
than trying to understand them, and, above all, to
forget the unfavorable aspects in which the white
man had so often revealed himself to them in the
relatively recent past. This being the case, I am
sure that we did not analyze very effectively what
was happening in Chinese political life during
recent decades.

I am sure we were oblivious to signs and portents
which should have put us on our guard as to the
shallowness of our understanding. I am sure that
during the early years of the war, while the
Japanese were in occupation of large portions of
China, there were phenomena clearly visible which

should have been recognized by us as raising seri-
ous doubt whether the Chinese Government would
be able to consolidate its power in the Japanese-
occupied areas if and when the Japanese were to
leave. This was particularly clear in the case of
Manchuria, where the National Government of
China had never had any appreciable authority
in recent decades.

Had we realized this, we would not have de-
luded ourselves, as I think many of us did, into
the hope that the defeat of Japan and the evacua-
tion of Japanese forces from China would mean
a "united, free, and democratic China" as these
terms were understood in our country.

Now, you may say: "If the situation in China
was so black, why were we not told this earlier?"
The answer is : these things were said, many times
over, as clearly as they could be said by our Gov-
ernment without running the risk of misinter-
pretation and direct damage to the Chinese
Government. Remember that we could not talk
about these things to our own people without being
overheard in China, and too much emphasis on
the disturbing conclusions which had to be drawn
would itself doubtless have hastened the disinte-
gration of the power of the Chinese Government.

I ask you to note this, because it raises a question
of principle as to the extent to which our Govern-
ment can interpret its own policies to the people
in a situation where its interpretations not only
describe the course of events but in part determine
it. Secondly, we in Washington were already
under such strident and bitter attack from pro-
tagonists of the Chinese Government that, if we
stressed this point too much, we were sure to be
accused by them of defeatism and charged with
the responsibility for that very trend of events in
China which we were being forced to view as
inevitable. In these circumstances, some of us
felt that the risks of popular misunderstanding
in this country might be even greater if we tried
to emphasize to the public the lesson of the re-
ports coming in from China than they would be
if people were permitted to make their own judg-
ment on the basis of these reports. Perhaps this
course was wrong; however that may be, its
motives were serious and worthy ones. Again, I
would point the moral. If the atmosphere of
public discussion is to be too hai'sh, too intolerant,
too abusive, this is going to decrease rather than
to increase the possibilities for a frank and helpful


Department of State Bulletin

exposition of Government policy to the public at

Now, it was with tlie misapprehensions I have
spoken about that hirge numbers of our people
entered the posthostilities era. Since then,
things have progressed in ways that have now
led quite naturally to deep questions in many
people's minds. Recent events, namely this final
collapse of the power of the Chinese Government
on the mainland of China and the demonstration
of a Soviet atomic capability, have given to many
people the impression that we are losing what
they call the cold war; and to othei-s, who may
not see things quite that blackly, these events have
brought doubts and questions as to whether our
policies are adequate, whether we have really
thought things through, and how, if present poli-
cies are continued, these things are going to end.

I cannot attempt to answer those questions in
detail within the scope of this talk. In my own
opinion the dangers and difficulties that confront
the Western world from without, as distinct from
those that confront it from within, are not ap-
preciably greater today than they have been at
any time since the termination of hostilities, and
there is no reason tliat they need be fatal to our
cause. Things have gone relatively well, by and
large, in Europe, and relatively badly in Asia.
But neither in Europe nor in Asia, has there been
any finality about any of these events. The situ-
ation in both places is still fluid and highly sub-
ject to rapid change in our favor or our disfavor.
I believe that the basic lines of the policy which
we have pursued in these past 3 years have
been pretty well prescribed for us by the limits
of what was possible and practicable and that
they could not have been much different than
they were without putting us worse off today
than we actually are.

Now, I am not going to tell you that we have
made no mistakes or that we have been everything
that we should be. I am not going to tell you
there has been no problem of security, that there
have been no Communists or Communist agents
in the Government although I think that is some-
thing the significance of which has been overrated
in relation to our other problems.

Need for Understanding at Home

AVliat I want to urge of you this evening is
only this : that you join me in recognizing the pro-
fundity of the foreign policy problems with which

we are faced today ; that you recognize the depth
in time and space of the origins of those problems ;
and that you do not be misled into the easy con-
clusion that the dangers and challenges and
dilemmas of our world situation are the product
of the mistakes or the ill will of any individuals
who bear responsibility at this moment for the
conduct of foreign affairs.

I urge this on you for two reasons. I urge it
first for the sake of the individuals concerned.
I believe that I can properly speak here without
a personal interest. I am not one of those who
have been attacked, and I am leaving the Govern-
ment for a long time in the near future.

I beg you to believe that the responsibilities
borne by these men who have to conduct foreign
affairs in this counti-y are neither light nor easy
and that the sort of service which they are render-
ing to the Government has few personal compen-
sations. We are not rich, strange as it may seem
to some of you, in men both qualified and available
to take these positions. The strains under which
our leading officials work leave them a very slen-
der margin of physical and spiritual energy to
absorb abuse and derision from the people for
whom they conceive themselves to be working.
I must tell you that the atmosphere of public life
in Washington does not have to deteriorate much
further to produce a situation in which very few
of our more quiet and sensitive and gifted people
will be able to continue in government.

And I view this situation with deep alarm. I
have told you that I am not a pessimist about the
cold war. But this is on the assumption that
we can mobilize the best we have in human nature
in this country to help us fight it and that we can
give to those people the enthusiasm and the con-
fidence and the stimulus which comes from know-
ing that their efforts are appreciated and
supported. If we cannot do that, I can give you
no promising assurances. The margin of safety
with which our country moves in the world today
is not great enough to permit us to be reckless
and wasteful with the talents and the idealism
of those people we depend on for the generalship
of our peacetime battles.

The first reason, therefore, that I ask you not
to make these men the scapegoats of whatever
dissatisfaction and bewilderment you may feel
concerning our international position is that it is
not fair to them. The second reason that I urge
(Continued on page 761)

May 15, 1950


Review of Charges That Communists Infiltrate Department

Statement by John E. Peurifoy, Deputy Under Secretary for Administration

[Released to the press May 2]

The State Department has been asked to com-
ment upon Representative Frank M. Karsten's
statement suggesting the possibility that, "through
deceit and fraud," the Ainerican people have been
hoodwinked with the assertion that the State De-
partment is saturated with Communists. That is
a question which the Senate Subcommittee must

However, speaking for the Department of State
as the officer in charge of loyalty matters, I can
relate the facts :

This whole business started on February 9 when
Senator McCarthy was making a speech before a
Women's Eepublican Club at Wlieeling, West Vir-
ginia. Wliile he was making that speech, he said :

I have here in my hand a list of 205 ... a list of names
that were made known to the Secretary of State as being
members of the Communist Party and who nevertheless
are still working and shaping policy in the State

Wlien I heard what Senator McCarthy had said,
I was amazed. The Federal Bureau of Investi-
gation, under J. Edgar Hoover, has the authority
for investigating to see that only loyal people
work in the Department of State. We have our
own security organization, headed by Don Nichol-
son, a former FBI agent, to work with them.
Neither the FBI nor our Security Division had
told us about one Communist working in the
State Department, much less 205. But, in this
business, we are very careful. On the outside
chance that Senator McCarthy may have had some
information that neither tiie FBI nor our Security
Division had found out, the State Department tel-
egraphed Senator McCarthy and asked him to
send us the information which he had about these
205 people which he said he had listed as known
Communists. We felt that if Senator McCarthy
was interested in the safety of his country, ho

would give the FBI and our Security Division
their names and any information he had on them.
We have waited a long time for him to give us
this information. We are still waiting.

On the night of February 20, Senator McCar-
thy made a speech in which he claimed he would
back up the charges which he had made against
the State Department. He hasn't done so. His
205 had shrunk to 81. They were not all "still
working and shaping policy in the State Depart-
ment" either. Some of the people he mentioned
work in the State Department ; some of them used
to work in the State Department; some of them
had never worked in the State Department at all.
"WHiat's more, the nature of the charges had
changed. They weren't "known Communists"
any more. From reading Senator AlcCarthy's
speech, we don't yet know just what he thinks
they were.

Senator McCarthy hasn't backed up even the
highly general charges he made on February 20.
Over 2 months have passed. A special subcom-
mittee of the Senate Foreign Relations Commit-
tee has been appointed. It is a matter of public
record that this committee has asked Senator Mc-
Carthy many times to supply proof to back up his
charges. But as far as the Department can as^
certain, the Senator has not yet presented any evi-
dence that even one employee of the State Depart-
ment is a Communist. The single individual on
whom Senator McCarthy has concentrated his
recent fire is not connected with the Department.
As Secretaries Hull, Byrnes, Marshall, and Ache-
sou have publicly attested, he is not and has not
been what Senator McCarthy called "the chief
architect of our Far Eastern policy." Finally,
there is no shred of truth to the Senator's flat
statement that this man "has, or until recently
had, a desk in the State Department."


Department of State Bulletin

In his speecli on February 20, Senator McCar-
thy said that he had obtained his information
from "loyal" State Department employees. He
said that he had digests of the files he was talking
about, apparently given him by his "loyal" friendS
in the State Department ; and he hinted that he
had photostats of some of them.

Actually, all Senator McCarthy had done was
to shake 2 years dust off of some old reports and
produce them as his "newly discovered evidence."
The old reports which he was using were reports
made up in the fall of 19-17 and the winter of 1948
by the stati' of the House Appropriations Com-
mittee. In the fall of 1947, before the issuance
of the President's Directive concerning loyalty
files, the House Appropriations Committee asked
to look over the security program in the State De-
partment. The Committee investigators com-
piled a list of 108 cases concerning which they
wanted to ask the State Department questions.
Not all of these 108 worked in the State Depart-
ment. Only 40 work there now and after investi-
gation and reinvestigation, those 40 have been
found to be absolutely loyal. They compiled sum-
maries of the "derogatory information" in these
cases and used these summaries as the basis for
questioning. During the SOth Congress, this list
of 108 cases was gone into by the House Appro-
priations Committee, the Senate Appropriations
Committee, the House Committee on Expenditures
in the Executive Departments, and the House
Committee on Foreign Affairs. Yet, none of these
committees suggested that there are any Commu-
nists in the State Department. In fact, on one of
the last days of the SOth Congress, Representative
Jonkman, Chairman of the House Foreign Affairs
Subcommittee, made this statement on the floor of
the House :

But before the Eightieth Congress adjourns, I want the
Members to know that there is one department in which
the known or reasonably suspected subversives, Commu-
nists, fellow travelers, sympathizers, and persons whose
services are not for the best interests of the United States,
have been swept out. That is the Department of State.

Wlien Senator McCarthy was making his
"charges" on the floor of the Senate on February
20, he was simply reciting, somewhat inaccurately,
items from this shopworn list of 108 cases. In all
of this hit-and-run campaign of accusation, vilifi-
cation, and character assassination, the main bur-
den of the so-called proof rested on that thread-
bare list.

Those are the facts.

I don't think it is appropriate for me to state
whether the American people have been subjected
to "deceit and fraud." '\\nien a Senator charges
that there are 205 known Commimists in the De-
partment and when, instead of proving there is
even one, he releases a succession of loose accusa-
tions against persons inside and outside of the De-
partment, I am sure the Senate Subcommittee is

Online LibraryUnited States. Dept. of State. Office of Public CoDepartment of State bulletin (Volume v. 22, Apr- Jun 1950) → online text (page 46 of 116)