"Like most if not all of my other colleagues on the Williams faculty," Williams College President James Phinney Baxter, 3rd, wrote in an article for his school's May, 1949, Alumni Review number, "I support the Marshall Plan, the Atlantic Pact, and the furnishing of military supplies to our fellow signatories."
But the point of Baxter's article was not to express his own views on foreign policy. It was to defend the right of Frederick L. Schuman, a member of the Williams faculty, to expound differing opinions.
Baxter noted that Schuman had been "severely criticized by a number of alumni for speeches critical of the current foreign policy of the United States."
The college head wrote that Schuman had attacked the policies of both America and Russia, that he was an advocate "of a stronger form of international government than the United Nations," and that he had "freely criticized the Communists for many years."
For Free Debate
Baxter said Schuman should be as free to express himself as those who held the majority viewpoint.
A year ago, some Williams alumni were not under the collar about Professor Schuman. At that time, George Sokolsky's column in the New York Sun criticized a review Schuman had written of "Speaking Frankly," a book by ex-Secretary of State James F. Byrnes.
Although he expressed his disagreement with the review, Baxter defended Schuman then too, and, according to the editor of the college paper, Schuman received "overwhelming student report."
Concerning the recent episode, the editor also reported that 'the financial pressure (from alumni) which President Baxter opposes is more powerful than might seem at first glance. We are in the midst of a fund drive for $2,500,000 and having a hard time getting it."