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Massachusetts' five candidates for the U.S. Senate came face to face on television Thursday night. Although they expressed some widely divergent views in their two hours on the Summer-School sponsored Brattle Street Forum, a genuine give-and-take debate flared only once.
Not surprisingly, it came between Independent H. Stuart Hughes, professor of History and Republicans George Cabot Lodge and Lawrence Curtis on the issue of arms control and the Cold War, one of the six topics set for discussion by moderator Samuel H. Beer, professor of Government.
"We must desist from talking about 'winning' or 'prevailing' in the Cold War." Hughes asserted. "Rather, we must begin to talk about ending the Cold War." Outlining an immediate four-part program toward that goal, Hughes demanded the unequivocal renunciation of a first strike by the United States, a halt to nuclear testing, U.S. refusal to help other countries including allies to develop nuclear power, and the creation of "nuclear free zones" such as Africa and Central Europe.
To Hughes' statement, Lodge registered a "strong reaction". Referring to post-war Soviet aggression in Eastern Europe and the Far East, Lodge told the Independent that "you are ignoring the Communist history, you are assuming that Russia is another normal nation. They aren't. I've dealt with these people, and they have the religious conviction that they will bury us."
No steps can be made toward disarmament, Lodge insisted, until the Soviets agree to match them with full inspection. Until then, "we must mobilize the full resources of this nation" to meet the Communist threat.
"I don't like this 'no-win policy," Curtis chimed in moments later. "I believe in a 'win' policy." Subsequently defining a "win policy" as "not being 'soft' on Communism." Curtis maintained that the nuclear stalemate and the display of U.S. nuclear power in recent rests has saved the world from war.
Arguing that all Lodge's examples of Soviet aggression dated from the Stalinist era, Hughes claimed that "under Khruschchev, Russia is changing." Khrushchew views future competition between Communism, and the West as occuring in the economic sphere, Hughes maintained, and is himself opposed to nuclear war. "Russia is not like China," he concluded, "There is no longer such a thing as monolithic, international Communism."
On this issue the two Democratic candidates, Edward M. "Ted" Kennedy and Edward J. McCormack, Jr., took intermediate positions. McCormack agreed with Hughes that "the day never existed when nuclear arms could attain political objectives" and urged that the U.S. negotiate with the U.S.S.R. on arms control. He suggested that our hugh striking force might allow us to discontinue further production of nuclear weapons.
Kennedy supported the administration position on armament. "The only way to achieve Mr. Hughes' goals is to negogiate from a position of strength." He argued. The President's decision to resume nuclear testing was made only after consulting all opinions and great study and soul-searching, the younger Kennedy claimed, and should be supported as the best informed decision possible.
The remaining discussion resulted not so much in debate as in successive summaries of the candidates' views on the problems of economic policy, foreign aid, federal aid to education, civil rights, and the ideal role of the U.S. Senator and his relation to his party. Kennedy consistently defended the Administration in the restrained discussion which veiled the intense rivalry of the participants.
Although Curtis felt that foreign aid was "over-extended," all agreed on the advisability of foreign aid. After an inconclusive discussion of its purpose, Kennedy fell to arguing with Curtis and Lodge on which administration deserved credit for the A.I.D. agency and the Alliance for Progress.
All except Curtis favored federal aid to both public and private education as long as control remained with local communities. McCormack argued that there was no legal difference between the proposed aid to private schools and existing federal aid to private universities. Here, as at many other points in the program, Hughes concurred, confessing that he and McCormack "have probably been consulting the same constitutional experts."
"I'm very much in favor of education," Curtis countered, "but Massachusetts schools need federal aid as much as a man needs a hole in the head." Federal aid should be the last resort of a community unable to finance its schools, he declared, and "very few communities can't support them."
Without exception the candidates took strong stands on civil rights, especially equality for Negroes. Disagreement centered on the achievements of the Kennedy Administration to this end. In opposition to Kennedy's claim of "dramatic steps" bu the administration, Hughes seemed to speak for the rest when he saw "very little progress" toward integration.
To conclude, each briefly summarized his view of the ideal role of the Senator. After the others had described the role as basically that of representing the state at the national level, Hughes set the small studio audience back by claiming that first the Senator should be the spokesman for the country, even for humanity, not just the state."
To illustrate the point, he criticized Lodge for claiming Massachusetts needed federal contracts
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