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Birch Bark

The Mail


To the Editors of the CRIMSON:

I most indignantly protest the article by Mr. Bruce L. Paisner which appeared in the CRIMSON on 29 October concerning the speech by Mr. Robert Welch at Jordan Hall. I heard Mr. Welch's speech and believe that the CRIMSON's reporting of it was a malicious misrepresentation and distortion of what actually occurred that evening. The body of Mr. Paisner's article is to the CRIMSON's usual standards, but the most important sections, the headline and the lead sentence, give an impression so erroneous as to surpass the lack of factual integrity which the Harvard community now takes for granted.

The first sentence begins, "As a large, unruly audience jammed Jordan Hall to jeer and laugh, Robert Welch...." Although the audience of the Ford Hall Forum may disagree with the speakers they come to hear, they represent the most intelligent, the most cultured, and best mannered people of Boston. The large majority of those who heard Robert Welch were not unruly, and certainly did not "jeer" Mr. Welch or intend him the slightest disrespect. This article insults Boston and the Ford Hall Forum itself when it suggests that the reason for the large audience was the opportunity to ridicule Mr. Welch.

I do not know what Mr. Paisner meant by "jeering," but I do know what is meant by "hissing," and am well aware that the few times it occurred, the responsible party was not the audience as a whole, but rather a small portion of it composed of ill-bred students such as one finds at Harvard and Northeastern Universities. And the article does not mention that the bad manners of this clique were condemned by the moderator of the Ford Hall Forum as being rude, childish, and out-of-place. Rightfully so.

Mr. Paisner takes two paragraphs and part of the headline to describe Mr. Welch's estimation of General Edwin Walker without mentioning the one point which Mr. Welch made most emphatically: namely, that he was in total dis-agreement with General Walker's actions in Mississippi--whatever they actually were, and, in fact, that he, Mr. Welch, had not approved of anything General Walker had done since his retirement from the Army. The article also neglects to mention the outbursts of spontaneous applause that interrupted Mr. Welch on three or four occasions.

The remainder of this letter is directed to all who have condemned the John Birch Society and its Founder on the basis of television, newspaper, magazine, and hearsay evidence. I most vigorously deny that anyone should be called "liberal" who prejudges, who attacks, who slanders an organization and an individual without the first bit of careful study or direct information. Such are the signs of the most despicable bigot, and the most immature, narrow-minded intellectual fraud.

I have read a great deal of the literature of the John Birch Society and of Mr. Welch and am convinced that he is one of the most realistic and morally valuable men in this country. He is bearing the most difficult moral responsibility which a man can bear: that of facing reality with integrity, judging the facts as he sees them, and acing accordingly with courage and determination. Howard A. Hood'65

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