Navy's Letter Sees No Peril In ROTC Oath

Communication to AVC Chapter Shares No Harvard 'Alarm'; Gootenberg Charges Evasion

Because he knows of no objections by armed service applicants to the loyalty certificate's "informer clause," Navy Undersecretary Dan A. Kimball "cannot share the alarm asserted to be prevalent in Cambridge," Roy F. Gootenberg '49 1PA, chairman of the university American Veterans Committee chapter, said yesterday.

Gootenberg was referring to a reply by Kimball through Massachusetts Senator Henry Cabot Lodge '24 to AVC's December letter protesting the existence of the so called "informer clause" in loyalty oaths administered to Naval ROTC students at Harvard and elsewhere.

But Gootenberg charged that facts contained in Kimball's letter of January 13 "display an ignorance of the application of naval policy and a calculated evasion of the issue of the wisdom of an informer clause."

Different Types of Oaths

Gootenberg asserted that not all loyalty oaths are like Harvard's and said a "detailed and thoughtful" reply to Kimball and Lodge would be sent at the beginning of the new term.

In his answer to Gootenberg's letter, Kimball said that neither the Navy nor any other branch of the armed forces have any records of specific protests to the "informer clause" by service applicants. Kimball added that his records indicate that no Harvard applicants have either objected in any way to the certificate or even certified that they have ever been associated in any way with any organization reputed to be disloyal.

Kimball didn't rule out the prospect of future changes in the loyalty oath, however. The under secretary said that loyalty procedure is "under intermittent restudy and revision in the light of additional operating administrative experience."

Clause Reapproved

The oath, including the "informer clause" was recently studied and reapproved, Kimball added, by the Military Personnel Policy Committee and the Personnel Policy Board in the Department of Defense.

Gootenberg said he believed Harvard student agitation against the oath would continue. A second meeting of eight student organizations drafting a letter of protest to President Conant is scheduled for Tuesday evening, February 7 in AVC's Phillips Brooks House office.