During the investigation prior to this eport, we of the committee appointed by the Council have found it very difficult to confine ourselves to the specific problem assigned us. Both parties to the ontroversy have presented us with a wealth of evidence which we have been obliged to consider irrelevant.
We had to remind ourselves, as well as the gentlemen who produced the evidence, that we had not taken it upon ourselves to investigate Communism or Fascism in either the United States or Spain. Our only concern has been Harvard and he Harvard ambulance; how the funds were collected here and how they were spent.
Before submitting our report, we feel that we have given both sides a fair and complete hearing, relying at the same time upon independent sources of information.
Briefly summarized, the facts in the case as we have found them are as follows: a total of $2885.30 was collected in Harvard University last May and June, in a drive sponsored and organized by the Boston Chapter of the Medical Bureau to Aid Spanish Democracy. A student committee raised this sum, chiefly by means of a room to room canvass in which the appeal was made to send an ambulance to Spain. The money was forwarded to the national headquarters of the Medical Bureau in New York. Of the total sum, the committee believes that roughly $2463.00 can be assigned to the ambulance itself, as itemized below. Factory cost of the ambulance $1855.00 Expenses incurred in shipping it to Spain $400.00 Extra parts $100.00 Extra tires $108.00 ------- $2463.00
The remaining $422.30 went into the general funds of the Medical Bureau, which according to the report of a certified public accountant are expended as follows: 78.3 per cent for relief; 9.6 per cent for administration; 6.1 per cent for organization; 4.9 per cent for promotion and publicity; 1.1 per cent for assets and tours. Making a total of 21.7 per cent for purposes other than relief.
The ambulance was delivered to the Medical Bureau and paid for on the 26th of July, a down payment having been made earlier. It was shipped from New York on August 14, the first consignment of ambulances sent to Spain since June 12.
In the meantime, the Medical Bureau was invited to participate in an anti-war parade sponsored by the League Against War and Fascism to be held on August 7. The executive committee of the Medical Bureau voted to accept the invitation, sending ambulances and a doctor to speak in the name of the Bureau at the parade. As a result the Harvard ambulance did indeed appear in the parade. Seven days later it was sent to Spain.
In requesting an investigation by the Harvard Student Council, Merwin K. Hart, Jr.'40 and Sidney Q. Curtiss '40 have charged the ambulance committee with the collection of money under false pretences. They declare that although the money was collected to aid the wounded in Spain, it was used to foster Communism in what they consider a Communist mass demonstration. They interpret a letter to the CRIMSON by John L. Davidson '38, a member of the undergraduate committee engaged in collecting the funds, as official assurance that the ambulance would not be used for such a purpose. The fact that the ambulance did appear in the parade is the chief basis for the charge that the money was collected under false pretenses.
After careful consideration, we do not believe that the mony was collected at Harvard under false pretenses. We be- lieve that there was ample publicity in the CRIMSON during the drive to prevent any reasonable misunderstanding among the subscribers as to the "neutrality" of the drive, in the form of regular news articles and controversial letters to the CRIMSON. The ambulance clearly was to be used to aid the wounded on the Loyalist side. Nor have we found any evidence that the contrary impression was made in the personal solicitation of the funds.
The long range objective of the Medical Bureau to aid Spanish Democracy is just what the name implies, to aid the wounded on the loyalist side in Spain in a medical way. From the Medical Bureau's viewpoint, participation in the parade was perfectly consistent with that objective because of the high publicity value of the Harvard ambulance. It could be displayed to induce more people to contribute to send more ambulances to Spain. Even so the ambulance was shipped at the earliest possible date, indicating that it was used primarily for immediate relief, and only incidentally for publicity purposes.
The alleged Communistic nature of the parade and of the League against War and Facism itself are interesting topics, but we do not presume to make a judgment of them here. We do not believe that they alter the fundamental issue, the charge of "false pretenses".
Nor do we agree with Messrs. Hart and Curtiss that Mr. Davidson's letter to and the Medical Bureau, as Harvard against participation in the parade.
Although this report is in effect an exoneration of the ambulance committee and the Medical Bureau, as Harvard men we strongly deplore the appearance of the ambulance in the parade. If is our opinion that once the Medical Bureau was given a free hand here at Harvard, it was completely within its rights in so using the ambulance, but we very strongly feel that such a free hand should never have been granted in the collection of funds for a cause so avowedly partisan.
We believe that in the future the Student Council and University Hall, working in close collaboration, should give most careful consideration to all such collections from the student body at large in order to prevent the recurrence of a similar incident