Not Worthy


SURELY Volkswagen and the Kennedy School could have found a more praiseworthy figure in post-war German-American relations than John J. McCloy to commemorate with a scholarship program. If, as Jewish and Asian-American student groups--and such magazines as The New Republic--maintain, he was responsible for the internment of Asian-Americans during World War II, the refusal to bomb the railroad tracks leading to German concentration camps, and the pardoning of Nazi war criminals' after the war, then McCloy is guilty of gross injustices. If, as the majority editorial argues, he was merely carrying out Roosevelt's orders, then McCloy was no more than an administrator and a bureaucrat. Even this in no way excuses him; those who protested at Nuremberg that they program.

It is a dangerous precedent to rationalize guilt with the argument that everyone has some blood in his hands. McCloy's wartime actions cannot be excited simply because others have done worse. Moreover, McCloy remains unrepentant, refusing to admit that his actions were wrong. Hillel should be commended for protesting the naming of the scholarship after McCloy.

If the story of the rebuilding of German-American relations is populated by characters with shadowy pasts, Volkswagen should leave the scholarships unnamed rather than honor a man who deserves at least partial blame for several of the darker spots on the pages of our nation's history.