In a defiant reply to charges made last week by Senator Joseph R. McCarthy, President Pusey yesterday declared that Harvard is "absolutely, unalterably and finally opposed to Communism" and that, so far as he knows, there are no communists on the Harvard faculty.
Pusey's statements were made at an early morning press conference at which he released the text of a telegram he received from the Wisconsin senator over the weekend and his answer which was sent out yesterday morning.
The senator's telegram was dispatched last week after Professor Wendell H. Furry, associate professor of Physics, had appeared before McCarthy's committee. It demanded that Pusey tell him "what, if any, action the University intends to take in Furry's case and what your attitude generally is toward retaining teachers at Harvard who refused to state whether they are communists on the ground that the truth would incriminate them."
In the reply, Pusey said that "since there are conflicting reports concerning what Dr. Furry said before your committee at the private session and since you have not made the complete testimony public, I am quite unable to comment on the significance of his latest refusal to answer question, nor can I say whether any further action will be taken by us concerning Dr. Furry."
There has been considerable confusion over Furry's answers at last week's hearings on alleged espionage at the Monmouth, N.J. Signal Corps laboratories. Last Wednesday, McCarthy said that Furry had refused to tell the committee whether he had ever given secret radar data to the communists and whether he had indoctrinated students with communist philosophy. But the next day Osmond Fraenkel '08, Furry's counsel, said Furry had made it quite clear that he had never taken part in any act of espionage."
In his telegram yesterday Pusey says that "my information is that Dr. Furry has not been connected with the Communist party in recent years...also that Dr. Furry has never given secret material to unauthorized persons or sought to indoctrinate his students."
Pusey also took issue with a statement made by McCarthy that "your answer becomes doubly important in view of Mr. Furry's testimony under oath that you had no interest in whether or not he was or had been a communist." Pusey said that the implication that he was not interested or concerned with the Furry case was "unwarranted and unjustified." He admitted that he himself had not talked with Furry after he was subpoenaed, but that there was hardly any reason for this since he already had all Furry's testimony which the professor gave in his interview with the Corporation last spring." He added that since Furry's appearance before the committee he has been. Interviewed thoroughly by Dean Bundy and that Pusey had discussed the matter at length with Bundy.
Lack of Principle
Pusey deployed McCarthy's release of statements about secret testimony without releasing the testimony itself. It's against all the principles of our country, he stated. "I don't know what Furry said because I haven't got the testimony."
In his telegram, Pusey said he was "in full agreement with the opinion publicly stated by my predecessor and the Harvard Corporation that a member of the Communist Party is not fit to be on the Faculty because he has not the necessary independence of thought and judgment. ... We deplore the use of the Fifth Amendment for the reason set forth in the use of this Constitutional safeguard as a confession of guilt.