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The Mail


To the Editors of the CRIMSON:

Your publication of the document, "The Case for ROTC at Harvard," is an important contribution to the debate over the future of ROTC. There are several facts about the source and distribution of this memo that should come to the attention of the Harvard community.

1. The memo published by the CRIMSON on 10 January was only one of nine documents included under a single covering letter. The entire package, dated 4 December, was entitled "Information to Illuminate the Harvard Anti-ROTC Debate." Several of the other documents might be of great interest to both proponents and opponents of ROTC. (They include a previously released paper by Colonel Pell, "Justification for Academic Credit for ROTC at Harvard," "The Role of ROTC in a Liberal Arts College," "ROTC and the US Armed Forces," "A Brief History of ROTC," "Army ROTC Enrollment at Harvard, 1968-69," a position paper by some ROTC cadets, and extract copies of the contract between Harvard and Army ROTC, the current program of instruction, and a revised curriculum concept.)

2. In the covering letter, signed by Col. Pell, "The Case for ROTC at Harvard" is introduced as a "Department of Military Science position paper." Clearly, it was intended to convey much more than the personal opinion of Col. Pell. When Dean Glimp suggests (letter to CRIMSON, 10 January) that this document represents only Col. Pell "speaking as a man," he is belittling the significance of this elaborate memorandum. The entire package, which runs to nearly fifty pages, must be viewed as the official position of the U. S. Army ROTC Instructor Group at Harvard (Department of the Army).

3. Edward Wilcox, secretary of the CEP, denies that the ROTC memorandum had any influence on the drafting of the CEP resolution on ROTC, and claims not to have read it. We do not question his veracity; the fact that there is fundamental agreement between the CEP resolution and the recommendations of the Army ROTC Instructor Group by no means implies collusion. On the contrary, it seems rather irresponsible of the CEP to have ignored the wealth of factual material in that elaborate memo, and in fact highly insulting to the ROTC instructors who must have spent months compiling the documents and preparing their case. One must hope that student opinions were not also treated so cavalierly by the CEP. The CRIMSON interview with Mr. Wilcox (10 January) suggests a certain casualness toward so burning an issue as ROTC that should be measured against the earnestness of the students who risked their academic careers at Paine Hall in trying to uphold their political responsibilities in the Harvard community.

4. The entire package of documents was addressed not only to the CEP, but to "Other Harvard Administration and Faculty Leaders" (specifically: President Pusey, nine deans, thirty department chairmen). It is of course perfectly within the rights of the Army ROTC Instructor Group to persuade whomever they please. It is disturbing, however, that the recipients of this memorandum chose to keep it out of the hands of Harvard students and Faculty at large, when the most superficial examination of its contents would reveal that they included factual material necessary for an informed decision about ROTC. This kind of secrecy is intolerable in an academic community that places a premium upon rational choice based on knowledge of the relevant facts. It was not until opponents of ROTC discovered a copy, more than one month after it was released, that its contents are being publicized. Indeed, if the Faculty had been able to meet and decide on the ROTC issue on 12 December, most Faculty members would have been acting in ignorance of many important facts, particularly about the relation of ROTC to the armed forces.

We consider not only "The Case for ROTC at Harvard" but the entire ROTC memorandum to be worth the careful scrutiny of the Harvard community, and hope that the CRIMSON will reprint other sections and give opponents of ROTC space to reply. We are not disinterested parties, but opponents of ROTC who feel that the fullest and most informed discussion of the issues can only help our cause. To quote a paragraph from Col. Pell's covering letter:

Most important of all, this memorandum will challenge the Harvard Faculty to take a bold position in support of an unpopular but totally logical and just issue now confronting the academic community, nation-wide. It will call upon Harvard to demonstrate, positively, its traditional role of national leadership.

The Harvard chapter of the NEW UNIVERSITY CONFERENCE (a national organization of liberal and radical faculty and graduate students) urges the acceptance of Col. Pell's challenge by abolishing ROTC at Harvard. We hope to convince the Harvard community that it is a political decision of the utmost gravity to maintain or eliminate ROTC. This choice should be made on the basis of accurate information and lengthy, patient discussion of the issues.

The NUC maintains that at this time in history Harvard University should not have a contract with the U. S. government to provide for the military training of officers for the U. S. armed forces, given the systematic use of those forces against popular liberation struggles at home and abroad. We argue this in a position paper we are now circulating, for abolishing ROTC at Harvard and against punishing the demonstrators at Paine Hall. We hope that this position paper will lead to fruitful discussions among students and Faculty that will clarify and not futrher obscure the issues. Miles Morgan, TF in General Education   Hilary Putnam, Professor of Philosophy   Paul Carver, TF in Social Studies   David Applebaum, TF in Philosophy   Victoria Bonnell, TF in Social Studies   Ellen Cantarow G   Frank Thompson G

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