Shortliffe, "Liberal Socialist," Denied U.S. Visa
ST. LOUIS, Mo., Oct.--Glen Shortliffe, Canadiam professor and "liberal socialist," who was appointed last spring to the faculty of Washington University in St. Louis, has been denied an American visa by immigration officials in Toronto, it was learned today, because he is considered "a person whose entry is deemed to be prejudicial to the public interests of the United States."
No reason for the barring of Shortliffe has been made public although officials at Washington University have repeatedly asked for an explanation.
"Negligence or Secret"
Arthur Compton chancellor of the university, says the exclusion of Shortliffe is "because of negligence or because of evidence that is kept secret."
Professor Herbert Dieckmann, head of Washington's Romance Languages department, calls it "a clear violation of academic freedom."
Shortliffe, who has ben teaching at Queens University, Kingston. Ontario, believes that his barring is on political grounds. He has publicly supported a minor left-of-conter Canadian party.
He reports that when he applied for his visa in Toronto last spring he was closely questioned by U. S. consular authorities on his beliefs.
Here is shortliffe's version of what happened when he entered the consul's office last May:
"The Consul almost immediately asked me what my political views are. I told him that I consider myself a liberal socialist and, at his urging, attempted to explain to him what that meant to me.
"He then queried me about Indo-China, concerning which I know practically nothing, as I told him. He also asked me whether I should prefer a dictatorship of the right or the left in France. My response that I should want no dictatorship of either extreme failed to satisfy him and he insisted that I choose one of the two."
"Overthrow by Force?"
Then Shortliffe said, he was asked if he believed in the overthrow of government by force. He replied that he did not, and took an informal oath to that effect. This episode, he later wrote a St. Louis friend, greatly upset him and his American wife.
They feared that the visa would be dented. But on June 20, the visa was approved and two days later the official border pass was sent to him.
On June 24, however, an exclusion order was issued. Shortliffe immediately protested and asked for an explanation. He received no answer. Washington University's Dena of Faculties Edward K. Graham also asked for the reasons behind the exclusion order.
On July 27, Toronto vice consul Albert Stoffel replied to graham that no final decision had been made. Five days later, Chancellor Compton sent a telegram to FBI chief J. Edger Hoover, in another attempt to clear up Shortliffe's position.
Hoover replied that the wire had been referred to "the proper officer." These two answers one from Stoffel, the other from Hoover are all Washington University has been able to get from the federal authorities.
Meanwhile, Shortliffe's plans for the coming year have been disrupted. Expecting to cross the border with no difficulty, he said his Kingsten house and now has no place to live. His former position at Queens has been filled by another professor, although it is understood that he can return next year.
Washington University has been able to get another professor at the last minute, but department head Pleckmann says, "The delay put the department into a most difficult situation."
Shortliffe's teaching abilities have been praised by many faculty members at Washington University.
Chancellor Compton attested to this in his recent statement:
"The inability of the university to secure the services of Professor Glen Shortliffe of Queens University is extremely unfortunate. In the judgment of his colleague in the field of Romance languages, Professor Shortliffe is an excellent teacher, a promising scholar and a man of the finest qualifications of citizenship and character.
"This judgment has been confirmed by a thorough investigation on the part of our department of Romance Languages and our college of liberal arts."
The Chancellor then spoke of the action that has kept Shortliffe out of this country:
The delay which over a period of five months has prevented the university from getting a decision on Mr. Shortliffe's entry means exclusion became of negligence or because of evidence that is kept secret.
"Our faculty has been deprived of a man of superior professional qualification and it would appear that our country has been prevented from receiving a family of unusually valuable citizens."