"Hysterical nonsense" was the phrase used by Harlow Shapley yesterday in describing charges of Communism that have been made against him by public officials in the past few days.
In specially prepared reply to the open accusations that U.S. Senator Joseph R. McCarthy (R-Wis.), state representative Paul A. McCarthy (D-Somerville), and Clerk Thomas Dorgan of the Suffolk superior civil court had uttered against him, the Director of the College Observatory told the CRIMSON that the attack was "tiresome and comic," "untrue and misleading," and that he has "no desire to argue with Dorgan and the McCarthys in the interest of their headlines."
Shapley said that he has never met an American Communist and that he knows "scientifically" some European scientists who are said to be Communists.
Senator McCarthy brought his charges against Shapley in Washington starting February 11 and again March 14 at a Senate Foreign Relations Subcommittee meeting investigations Communist influence in the State Department.
Representative McCarthy and Dorgan attacked Shapley at a State House hearing last Monday while supporting a bill McCarthy is sponsoring to force college presidents to discharge Communists and Communist sympathizers from their faculties.
A central point in the accusations was Shapley's chairmanship of the Cultural and Scientific Conference for World Peace that met in New York last Spring. The attackers said this group, with its delegates from Eastern Europe, was a front for Communism.
Dorgan actually started his attack when the Conference first met last year. He said that "a great University like Harvard should not hire men who are supposed to be Americans and who associate with Communists." Then last Monday he said that "President Conant should tell Shapley be does not belong."
The full text of Shapley's rebuttal to the recent charges follows:
"The attack on me by Mr. Dorgan and the two McCarthys is both tiresome and comic. Tiresome, because they parade the old allegations fabricated by J. Parnell Thomas and his agents, which are as untrue and misleading today as they were a year ago. I have no desire to argue with Dorgan and the McCarthys in the interest of their headlines. Comic; because all this noise is made about one who has never met an American Communist and knows only three or four Americans who at times have been defenders of all things Russian. (I know scientifically half a dozen European scientists who are said to be Communists.)
"In spite of this hysterical nonsence, however, I shall not retreat from my willingness to work for humanitarian causes and in the interest of preventing war and of maintaining civil rights and freedoms in America.
"The first wild and roaring charges against me by Republican Senator McCarthy, a month age, contained six misstatements in four sentences--perhaps the indoor record for mendacity. The only thing right was my name. He moderated the charges twice in the course of a few days to almost nothing, thus admitting his complete irresponsibility. It seems to me that his methods are a decided menace to the Republican party, a dishonor to the United States Senate, and a positive danger to America at this critical time.