There were political fireworks at the Law School Forum in New Lecture Hall last night when John Fischer, editor of Harper's, charged that the views of another Forum speaker, John Somerville, follow the "official (Communist) party line," but in the portion of the Forum that was broadcast, amended his charge to "some similarity" between Somerville's views and those of the Communist party.
Fischer's charge came after a prepared address in which Somerville, professor of Philosophy at Hunter College, N. Y., declared that unless American judges Russia by the same standards she applies to Britain, the world will once again be on the way to war.
"When Russian troops frighten Iran," Somerville said, "we make a first-class base of it. when British troops threaten Iran, our State Department, with surpassing eloquence, says nothing."
Expressing the American attitude, Somerville asked and answered three questions: "British control in Suez? why not? American control in Panama? Why not? But Russian control in the Dardanelles? why, certainly not!"
Fischer said that Russia is apparently using all its resources to prepare for the eventually of another war. His thesis was that Russia is motivated by fear that the United States will suffer a depression and become a fascist state. He proposed as a cure an American policy that will take into consideration the possibility of a Russian "course of world aggression."
Karpovitch Hits Aggression
Michael Karpovitch, Associate professor of history and third speaker on the Forum, declared that the controversy between Russia and the western democracles results from Soviet aggression. So long as the present regime continues in power in Russia, an "understanding" will be remote, he added.
Richard Lauterbach, Nieman Fellow and Time correspondent, was moderator. Station WHDH in Boston broadcast a half-hour open discussion after the Forum in which members of the audience questioned the speakers.