YR-SDS DIALOGUE?

The Mail

To the Editors of the CRIMSON:

I cannot understand why some officers of the Republican Club frown upon all association with SDS. SDS violated our system's basic political rules when it physically detained McNamara, but if SDS feels that the Vietnamese war is genocide, such actions are not entirely irresponsible.

What is completely irresponsible is for Republicans who support our political traditions to ostracize SDS from the community and to "eschew all political contact" with it. Our system is based on the free interchange of ideas and open discussion. Since SDS represents a large minority at Harvard, we have a compelling responsibility to meet with it and to defend our system, not to force SDS outside.

I have tried many times to initiate a dialogue, but unsuccessfully. The last YR executive committee wanted no contact whatsoever, and the present committee has shown no enthusiasm for such discussions.

In this context, I can explain my candidacy for SDS co-chairman. Unlike my friends who disrupted the meeting (they also made a complete mockery of the YR elections) I had a serious mission -- not to take over SDS by force (I did not organize the large-scale YR attendance), but to demonstrate the need for communication. I never anticipated election, although I would have served.

The response, of SDS at least, justified my effort. The SDS newsletter, commenting on my candidacy, stated, "It may indicate a certain lack of communications," and "the YR's effort probably exposed us to awareness of some relevant questions." Since the election meeting, SDS has shown increased willingness to meet YR's to discuss any issue. Unfortunately, the YR executive committee has not reciprocated. Last Tuesday evening, I suggested that we co-sponsor a Vietnam discussion; my motion was defeated.

I do not say my candidacy was the best or only way to start a dialogue. But if Republicans really support a system based on rational discussion, we must accept SDS's challenge. Paul Wagler '69   Operations Director   Harvard Young Republican Club