Phantom Scroll

In this Age of Loyalty, the Attorney-General's list of subversive organizations has become one of the prime standards of fitness in all types of employment. One student we know confronted it when he applied for a summer job driving a truck for an ice company. Others have had to swear disaffiliation from its groups for camp, laboratory and stenographic jobs.

In the government, whose use it was designed for, its blackball power is even greater. Last week, a public information officer in Germany, John Franckenstein, encountered the list and lost his job. Small matter that he was a war hero credited with single-handedly liberating an entire Austrian town from the Nazis, or that he had been singled out for his post-war service record. What did count was the fact that he had spent three weeks working at a camp in New Mexico which subsequently appeared on the Attorney-General's list.

These are signs of a growing trend which has already made the list a key factor in government and industry employment programs. But, despite this importance, it remains relatively obscure. Few people have seen it, and still fewer know why the specific groups are included. An increasing number find out about this phantom scroll too late.

Only complete familiarity with the list can throttle enrollment in these front organizations. The majority sound like all-American groups; most of them are not. But because their communist cores are not always apparent, many people drift into them unknowingly. For example, many groups that collected foreign aid during the war appear on the list. Giving them donations was tantamount to permanent membership, and the charitable are now considered subversives. In cases like this, the innocent can not escape, even if they do realize their mistake, for they are too late to remove the label, "Loyalty risk."

Because of this growing importance, then, the Attorney General should give this list publicity worthy of its power. At present, those interested can obtain a copy, but this group is limited to men who use it as an easy guide for communist smears while those most directly concerned are often unaware that it exists.

The Attorney-General must make a much more intensive effort to publicize not only the names, but also the reasons for condemnation of these groups so that employers can judge the significance of membership in each specific case. By doing this, he could spare investigators many checks and might save the unsuspecting from an indelible red stain.