The State Department, acting under last year's Internal Security Act, has turned down the application of Corliss Lamont '24 for a pasport to Europe on the grounds that his "presence abroad at this time was deemed contrary to the interests of the United States."
Lamont, in a letter to President Truman asking for personal assistance in lifting the ban, says the primary reason for the rejection was that be had publicly voiced his disagreement with some of this country's foreign policies. "In truth," the letter said, "I make no secret of the fact that I do dissent, and vigorously."
He added that the "discrimination" with which he was treated is the sort of procedure that "we in America have properly objected to when practiced by Soviet Russia and other nations."
Many loyal Americans like himself Lamont declared, "are now under a kind of house arrest, for no ascertainable crime and with no satisfactory redress . . . because they have asserted their moral and constitutional right of dissent."
The action in his case, he states, does not fall under the Internal Security Act. He claims that the new law does not go into effect until the Subversive Activities Control Board has definitely labeled an organization "subversive," and he states in his plea to the White House that the State Department is "guilty of illegal pre-enforcement of an act which you vetoed as 'a mockery of the Bill of Rights' and which may well be declared unconstitutional by the United States Supreme Court."
In a letter, dated August 12, to Senator McCarran's Committee on Internal Security, Lamont wrote, "For the one-thousandth time I completely and categorically deny that I am or ever was a Communist."
An author, humanist philosopher, and teacher, Lamont was formerly the chairman of the National Council for American-Soviet Friendship, which is on the Attorney General's list of "subversive" organizations. In 1944 he lectured at the Social Studies Workshop on Soviet Russia, which was held under the auspices of the Graduate School of Education.