Harvard May Refuse to Give HUAC Membership Lists of Peace Groups
Harvard will consider whether or not to surrender the membership lists of student anti-war groups to the government, Dean Monro said yesterday.
The College is responding to an American Civil Liberties Union letter sent to 900 university presidents last Sunday. The letter urged non-compliance with government subpoenas of such membership lists.
"They've raised a good point, one we'll have to seriously discuss," Monro said. But salks will have to wait until at least Friday when Dean Watson returns to Cambridge.
The ACLU plea was prompted by the surrender of membership lists by the University of Michigan and University of California at Berkeley when they were subpoenaed by the House Un-American Activities Committee last August.
The ACLU letter called the incident "one of the most serious breaches of academic freedom of students in recent decades, not excluding the McCarthy era."
Harvard has never been subpoenaed for membership lists by HUAC or any other government organization, Monro said.
Organizations which are subject to political pressure, like the Students for a Democratic Society, do not currently have to file their membership lists with the College. They must allow the College to inspect the lists periodically in order to control the number of non-Harvard persons in Harvard-chartered organizations. "Since the lists never go into the official college files, we can't be subpoenaed for them," Monro said.
SDS has taken advantage of this rule to withhold its membership lists for the last two years, Michael S. Ansara '67, member of SDS's executive committee, said last night. SDS does file a list of officers, which could be subpoenaed.
Monro did not know now what the College would do if the government asked for the SDS officer list. "When a College office comes under subpoena," he said. "We generally feel legally obliged to respond. But I don't know all the legal implications of the point which the ACLU physically attack members of the demonstration.
Undergraduates do not grade each other's papers; surely they should not be allowed to police each other's lives. GARRICK F. COLE '68
An open letter to Hon. Robert McNamara:
As a participator in the demonstration against you at Haravrd last week I should like to extend an apology. On reflection it has become clear to me that the only way to express the opinion that the war in Vietnam is an immoral one of mass murder motivated by the commendable desire of keeping the world's wealth in the hands of the race that deserves it without being unpardonably discourteous is through the formal channels that have been thoughtfully provided for such expression.
If one does not feel that the power of casting a vote for either Mr. ohnson or Mr. Nixon will be a protest commensurate with the requirements of conscience, one should certainly wait for the Nuremberg trials that will follow the present period of unrest. There, by orderly procedure of law, the matter of responsibility for the fine-deaths of farmers will undoubtedly be considered and reconsidered by reasonable, courteous, duly designated judges. At that time and at that time only will it be appropriate to cast aspersons on the activities of a head of state and his closest lieutenants, and to detain them at their possible inconvenience to answer questions regarding the ultimate morality of the actions under consideration.
Until that time, however certain one is that a vast crime is in progress, the duties of etiquette bind one to silence or at most quiet, unobtrusive suggestions that perhaps one's chosen leaders ought to alter their course a tiny bit. Therefore I regret the discourteousy of a demonstration I took part in and apolozige to Secretary McNamara. MERRILL KAITZ '68
The demonstration perpetrated by the Students For A Democratic Society achieved no purposes but to accentuate the disorganization, ignorance of the facts, and false principles which run rampant within this group. Instead of pressing for their goals with the tools of democracy, as their title would indicate, the SDS formed the proverbial "lynch party." They made sure they exercised their freedom of speech, but every word Mr. McNamara uttered was purposely obliterated by a screaming mob.
In the past SDS has made a number of pertinent points about the war in Vietnam and the draft. However, they have combined these viewpoints with an equal dose of radical solutions so as to make their general philosophy totally unpalpable to the community. Assuredly, the group had quite a few serious questions to ask our controversial Secretary of Defense, but the street or an angry mob was neither the environment nor the instrument by which to discuss these topics.
The anti-war organization must also realize that our governing process is based on majority rule. This is not the only section of the nation in which their ideas have been presented, nor are they the only group dedicated to these principles. Yet, their viewpoint, though formidable, is still a definite minority. If this was not so, their opinions would now be controlling our foreign policy. The way to increase influence is not to force doctrines on people that prefer to devise their own political philosophies, or to heckle prominent statesmen, but to apply the tools of our democracy. The SDS has done this; they have reached as many people as possible by legal means. The only alternative that they can rightfully take is to maintain a status quo -- continue their referendums, meetings, and pamphlets; and hope their theories begin to influence a larger number of people. Until this happens, their hands are literally tied by the rules of the democracy they profess to maintain.
As for Monday, they egregiously lacked the facts for a thorough examination of McNamara's opinions. They also overlooked the fact that he had neither the time nor the inclination to express his views -- under the circumstances he was perfectly justified.
The insincere members succeeded in displaying their ignorance and in developing an inaccurate image of the Harvard undergraduate; the incident was ably chronicled by the New York Times and the late newscast on CBSTV. However, chalk this one up for the Administration; SDS should have punted on fourth down. JEFFREY DONNE