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Loyalty Oath Stand



To the Editors at the CRIMSON:

As President of the Harvard Free Enterprise Society I have been approached in the past few weeks by several persons who have desired my personal opinion on the much discussed NROTC loyalty oath. The Free Enterprise Society, as a body, has not yet taken an official stand on this question, since we are more concerned with the economics aspects of the American enterprise system. Therefore, the opinions expressed are my own.

The first clause of the so-called loyalty oath apparently provides that those members of the NROTC who knowingly affiliate with groups teaching or advocating the overthrow of the United States government shall no longer be eligible for service in the NROTC. I believe that the armed services, as guardians of the nation's security, have every right to demand their members to show absolute loyalty to the government they are entrusted to protect. It would be a waste for the taxpayers' money for the NROTC to train young communists or fascists.

The second clause, the informer oath, apparently requires present members of the NROTC to report the names of anyone who knowingly affiliates with any of the aforementioned groups. I am inclined to oppose this provision on the grounds that the NROTC is not the proper authority to administer such a loyalty check. The FBI has done a capable enough job; I think NROTC members are not the proper judges for a matter requiring such careful discretion. Several members of the Free Enterprise society disagree quite heartily with men on the wiseness of this clause; it would hardly be fair for me to say my opinion represents that of the Society on this point.

Even though I oppose the informer clause, I am neither helping distribute, nor affixing my name to, the petitions that are being circulated tonight. The reason is that these petitions are the first efforts by local communists, represented by the John Reed Club and Young Progressives, to revert to the "popular front" tactics utilized by International Communism in the '80's and early '40's. Columnists in recent weeks have warned that the Communist Party, realizing its unpopularity today, is returning to the popular front notion which gained for its such important victories as the acquisition of atomic secrets and the fall of Eastern Europe. Let us remember that the object of JRC and HYP participation in distributing these petitions is to discredit our armed forces and to ease communist infiltration into them if possible. the ultimate purpose: aid to the steady tide of Soviet expansionism. I do not care to aid or give comfort to anyone who keeps such an end foremost in all his actions. Francis L. Church '50.   President, Free Enterprise Society

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