Concerning Matthiessen, White Statements

The Mail

To the Editors of the CRIMSON:

As a liberal, I wish to express my shock and resentment at the attitudes expressed by Professor Matthiessen and Geoffrey White concerning the death of Jan Masaryk. To millions of democrats the suicide of one of the greatest fighters for social and political freedom in the face of a tragic and reactionary revolution holds lessons neither Professor Matthiessen nor Mr. White would share. In death, Masaryk symbolizes the disillusionment of a non-Communist progressive who sincerely and honestly attempted to work with Communists, and whose despair at a future without liberty for the Czech people could find no more eloquent protest than suicide. For in suicide rather than in exile or in resistance, his message has been driven home most powerfully. Communists can no longer hide behind democratic figures and institutions to rationalize their machinations against personal liberty, for Masaryk's martyrdom will remain a healthy, stinging rebuke to the Communist "popular front" psychology.

Although many of us remain opposed to the inadequate and self-defeating Truman doctrine, it is unfortunate for us to see it twisted by Prof. Matthiessen as to appear the most important contributing factor to Masaryk's suicide. I am sure Masaryk had far less confidence in the "broad representation" manifest in this new "democracy" than has Matthiessen, or else Masaryk need not have died to protest it.

Geofirey White's analysis is frankly more cynical. To him it signifies "the beginnings of a new type of society," with Masaryk symbolic of bourgeois liberal opposition to "its conditions." To me, this statement exemplifies the callous disdain Communists held toward personal freedoms, and points up the careful hypocrisy with which they continue to use civil liberties in all democracies.

The lesson is not to limit these liberties, but to be thoroughly conscious of American Communists' threat to liberties. True, the lesson is not more Truman Doctrines, but more affirmative, constructive policies, such as the Marshall Plan, to protect and hold democrats in their liberal convictions. Key Geotenberg '50