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You will note, Mr. Chairman, that my bill does not contain the word "Communist" in it, nor does it refer to "Communist-front organizations." Reasonable inquiry into the affiliations of the employee would be permitted, and I assume and would expect that one of the purposes for any such inquiry would be to ascertain whether the employee was a Communist or had affiliations with Communists. I do not believe, however, that in view of the Court decisions it would be wise for the Congress to list any specific associations or affiliations by statute which would raise the presumption that the employee would engage in sabotage, espionage, or other subversive acts.
I want to make it clear that I feel the objective of Communists in this country is the overthrow of our democratic institutions with the substitution of a totalitarian, communistic society. I have no doubt in my mind that any Communist who would work in a defense facility would engage in sabotage, espionage, or other subversive activi
It has been asserted that all the Robel decision said was that we could not make it unlawful for a Communist to work in defense plants. The Court in the Robel case was telling us not only what has been specifically designated here today, but it also seems that they are telling us that we cannot require the firing of a person simply because of his association or affiliation with Communists. The Court asserts that this would violate freedom of association.
It is for these reasons that I recommend that any legislation reported out by this committee in this area not contain language referring to "Communists" or "Communist-front" organizations, but instead set up procedures by which Communists and their kind can be weeded out with due process-when there is reasonable grounds to believe that they have subversive tendencies.
Recently I came across a lecture by Justice Hugo Black, who, as you may know, held with the majority in Robel. In so many words the Justice told the Columbia University Law School audience in March that he feels that once the Supreme Court gets a case in which the constitutional issue is ripe they, the Supreme Court, will declare the statute establishing the Subversive Activities Control Board unconstitutional. Justice Black asserts that the Board "is allowed... to curtail the exercise the First Amendment rights of speech, assembly and association." I believe we must, as Members of Congress, give careful consideration to those remarks and use every means at our disposal to avoid in new legislation unnecessary constitutional issues relating to freedom of speech and association. This is not to say that we should give up our efforts to curb subversion, but this does mean that we must turn our attention toward procedures embodying principles of due process or fairness which will be upheld by the Court as effective in combating subversion.
I think we should make it clear in the legislative history of this legislation that we expect anyone found to have Communist affiliations or associations to be given the closest possible scrutiny, and I would assume that any Communist leanings would immediately raise a flag, a "red flag" in front of the investigators as to the possible disposition of that person toward subversive activities.
I hope what I have said has been helpful to the committee in consideration of this legislation and I want to thank you again for this
opportunity to appear before you. I appreciate your kindness in letting me testify, and thank you very much.
The CHAIRMAN. Well, we are so glad to have you.
Mr. BENNETT. I am glad to be here. Unless there are any questions, I will leave.
The CHAIRMAN. Were you in the room when I drew a distinction between freedom of association under the first amendment and the practical application of that?
Mr. BENNETT. Yes; I thought your words were very well taken, Mr. Chairman.
The CHAIRMAN. Well certainly it is an old adage that one rotten apple at least can contaminate or taint all the apples that are touched. Isn't that true?
Mr. BENNETT. It is true.
The CHAIRMAN. Now certainly it is, and I am not talking about the Constitution, I am talking about practical life. I would doubt that very few parents in viewing the heyday of prohibition would have been proud to see there their son's associations with the racketeers of the day, would they?
I don't suppose so. So there is this kind of distinction in practical life of freedom of association and in the technical aspect of the Supreme Court. Nevertheless if you say too much about it, it appears they are going to knock it out; does it not?
Mr. BENNETT. Yes; the practical problem of this committee is to draft a piece of legislation which will meet the criteria of the Court. The CHAIRMAN. I am having the Defense Department counsel to consult and I want to do everything I can to draft a bill and to come out with a piece of legislation that will comport and follow the decision so that even the Supreme Court can't knock it out.
Mr. BENNETT. Well, most of the bills that have been introducedall of them, subsequent to the one which I introduced, contain the phrase "Communist and Communist-front organizations," and in my opinion, it is asking trouble with the Court by putting that in the bill. Therefore I suggest that it be out.
The CHAIRMAN. That will be kept in mind, in going over the bill with a fine-tooth comb.
Mr. BENNETT. Because from what the Court said, it looks as if that might doom your bill to oblivion, by being declared unconstitutional. Of course we want an effective piece of legislation. We want something that is useful.
The CHAIRMAN. Oh, surely.
Mr. BENNETT. Thank you, sir.
The CHAIRMAN. By the way, talking about an effective piece of legislation, last year this committee reported out, and the Congress passed and the President signed, a bill having to do with the Subversive Activities Control Board.
The Senate provided in its version that the act would die unless the Attorney General filed proceedings to keep the Board alive within a
In conference between the Senate and House, in which we participated, or members of this committee participated, it was provided further that the Attorney General should report to Congress twice during the year.
The first report is due by June 30 of this year, to tell us what the devil he is doing with the Board; is he bringing cases? Now as far as I know, no case has been brought under that bill, reported out by the committee, passed by Congress, and signed by the President.
Now I understand that the Justice Department is going to testify on this bill Wednesday. I understand at long last, amen, that the Justice Department is going to give its blessing or at least won't have serious objections to this bill. And if they do, I want to give them my great thanks for at long last agreeing with this committee that we do bring up, at least now and then, a product that they can agree with. Mr. BENNETT. The committee does a good job. God bless you. The CHAIRMAN. Thank you. The Members think so, because they report out our bills by a majority of 10 to 1, or 20 to 1, but some of the departments refuse to believe it, and some people and newspapers don't believe it.
Thank you very much.
STATEMENTS OF REPRESENTATIVES EDWIN W. EDWARDS, OF LOUISIANA; WALTER S. BARING, OF NEVADA; WILLIAM G. BRAY, OF INDIANA; HERVEY G. MACHEN, OF MARYLAND; DON FUQUA, OF FLORIDA; E. S. JOHNNY WALKER, OF NEW MEXICO; AND CHARLES E. CHAMBERLAIN, OF MICHIGAN; AND FRANCIS W. STOVER, DIRECTOR OF NATIONAL LEGISLATIVE SERVICE, VETERANS OF FOREIGN WARS; JOHN W. MAHAN, CHAIRMAN, SUBVERSIVE ACTIVITIES CONTROL BOARD; AND DANIEL J. O'CONNOR, CHAIRMAN, NATIONAL AMERICANISM COMMISSION OF THE AMERICAN LEGION
The CHAIRMAN. Several statements have been received by the committee and will be inserted after Mr. Bennett's testimony.
Mr. SMITH. A statement of Honorable Edwin W. Edwards, the United States Representative of Louisiana; a statement of Honorable Walter S. Baring, the United States Representative from Nevada; a statement of Honorable William G. Bray, a United States Representative from Indiana; a statement of Honorable Hervey G. Machen, a United States Representative from Maryland; a statement of Honorable Don Fuqua, a United States Representative from Florida; a statement of Honorable E. S. Johnny Walker, a United States Representative from New Mexico; a statement of Francis W. Stover, director, National Legislative Service, VFW.
The CHAIRMAN. Is that for or against?
Mr. SMITH. For.
A letter of April 23, 1968, from Honorable John W. Mahan, Chairman, Subversive Activities Control Board.
The CHAIRMAN. Is he for or against?
Mr. SMITH. He is partially each way.
The CHAIRMAN. All right.
Mr. SMITH. On H.R. 15828 a letter dated April 26, 1968, from Honorable John W. Mahan, Chairman, Subversive Activities Control Board, expressing views on H.R. 15626.
The CHAIRMAN. Favorable views, right?
Mr. SMITH. Yes.
A statement of Daniel J. O'Connor, chairman of the National Americanism Commission of The American Legion, on H.R. 15626.
The CHAIRMAN. Favoring?
Mr. SMITH. Right.
(The documents referred to follow :)
STATEMENT OF HON. EDWIN W. EDWARDS, A U.S. REPRESENTATIVE FROM LOUISIANA
Mr. Chairman and Members of the Committee:
As you know, I am a cosponsor of the bill now before you, H.R. 15626. I believe this proposed legislation is vitally necessary in the interests of our national security.
The bill deals with security measures relating to defense facilities. This is a vital area calling for close and rigid control. That which constitutes a “defense facility" is expressly and specifically defined in the bill, leaving no room for misunderstanding and no room for the charge of "vagueness." The definitions are clear and comprehensive covering the field of Government operations to which the bill is directed.
An important part of the bill is that which would restore life to section 5(a)(1) (D) of the Subversive Activities Control Act of 1950, which made it unlawful for members of Communist-action organizations to engage in employment in defense facilities. In the case of United States v. Robel the Supreme Court in its decision of December 11, 1967, held that section of the law involved to be unconstitutional for "overbreadth," in violation of the right of association protected by the first amendment. The bill, by its terms, seeks to narrow the interdiction of the section and to supply safeguards to meet the objections of the Supreme Court, thus retaining the effectiveness of the basic purposes of that section of the Act of 1950.
I doubt if any reasonable man with due regard for the national security of this country can be heard to say that members of Communist-action groups should be given employment in such sensitive areas as our defense facilities. H.R. 15626 seeks to see to it that they are not permitted employment in such vital areas.
Make no mistake about it, Communist influences are at work in this country today. Never before in our history has the Government needed more protection for its essential activities than it needs today. Communist-action, Communistdominated, and Communist-infiltrated groups are active, seeking to take advantage of any and all of our weaknesses to make this country an easier prey to Godless communism. The damage that can be done to our national security in such sensitive places as defense facilities is indeed apparent and very real.
The bill authorizes a comprehensive security program in the fields to which it pertains. It authorizes measures for a security clearance program for workers in defense facilities; gives the sanction of the Congress to measures for an industrial security clearance program for protection of classified information released to industry engaged in essential work for the Government; it gives express congressional authority to institute a personnel security program for access to vessels, harbors, ports, and waterfront facilities under the Magnuson Act. Moreover, it not only authorizes the strengthening of security measures, but provides for safeguards against any possible maladministration of the law that might be offensive to individual freedoms.
I am proud to be one of the sponsors of this bill introduced by your distinguished chairman, Edwin Willis, in the interest of our national security. It deserves enactment into law by the Congress and vigorous enforcement by the executive department.
STATEMENT OF HON. WALTER S. BARING, U.S. REPRESENTATIVE AT LARGE FROM NEVADA, ON BEHALF OF H.R. 15649, TO AMEND THE SUBVERSIVE ACTIVITIES CONTROL ACT OF 1950
Mr. Chairman, I thank you for the opportunity to make a statement on the legislation before this committee, H.R. 15649, and related bills. I am sure I do not have to stress before this committee the urgency and necessity of this legislation.
For many months now, the newspapers, radio, and television stations have carried stories on action taken by the Supreme Court of the United States interpreting, limiting, and even invalidating legislation previously enacted by Congress. However, neither this bill nor any of its provisions is intended to challenge the Court with respect to its decisions. The principal purpose of the bill is to plug the recognized security gaps brought about by the recent Supreme Court decisions.
Mr. Chairman, like you and the other esteemed members of this committee, I have received numerous letters of complaints from Nevadans voicing extreme anger over the Supreme Court's decision overturning Federal legislation concerning the employment of a member of the Communist Party in Seattle, Washington, shipyard which, by the way, the Secretary of Defense had designated as a "defense facility."
"What are you going to do about it?" they asked. It is my hope, Mr. Chairman, that the bill before you will be the answer to their questions.
I feel, Mr. Chairman, that this bill is a very comprehensive one. It is well balanced and contains and covers a variety of situations. The bill contains criteria against teaching or advocating the forceful, violent overthrow of the Government, and against the activities of Communist organizers, and acts, which, if committed in time of war, would constitute treason under the Constitution.
Mr. Chairman, it is time that this Congress stand up and show some good old American intestinal fortitude and crack down on those who advocate becoming buddy-buddy with Russia and its satellites. The American people are sick and tired of the actions taken by certain people within our governmental structure— and those outside of our Government who carry enough vocal and financial power to sway the thinking of those inside our Government-of slowly, but surely handing over this country to communism.
Our Constitution grants the right to dissent-but the dissent we have seen and heard ever since the Vietnam war borders on the fringe of outright treason. Any person who owes allegiance to the United States and yet gives aid or comfort, knowingly and willfully, to the Viet Cong or to North Vietnam or to any other nation or armed group engaged in open hostilities against the United States, hostilities in which American boys are fighting and dying, should be punished.
In closing, Mr. Chairman, I would like to point out that where a decision of the Supreme Court has found an act of Congress to be unconstitutional, it is the obligation of Congress to frame and enact further legislation for the purpose of dealing with the problem.
I firmly believe that this bill meets this problem head on and I hope, Mr. Chairman, that you and your excellent committee will give your unanimous approval to the legislation before you. Thank you.
STATEMENT OF HON. WILLIAM G. BRAY, A U.S. REPRESENTATIVE FROM INDIANA
The Supreme Court's decision in the case of U.S. v. Robel, allows members of the Communist Party to work in defense plants. On account of this, we are impelled to act upon this proposed legislation which will insure our country the right of defending itself from internal dangers.
The Supreme Court's decision was based on a legal facet of the Constitution, that of the right of association as protected by the first amendment. This basic right cannot be disputed, for America's heritage of freedom is insured by its Constitution. But the right is not absolute. This decision ignored the fact that to survive, a government must protect itself against its enemies who would destroy it by force.
It is no secret that countries have spies employed throughout the world to obtain facts about military, political, and economic developments in other countries. This is especially true of Communist countries. However, it is more difficult to conduct espionage in a totalitarian state such as Russia or Communist China than in countries where people have more freedom of movement and are not under such close supervision.
According to the Communists' views, they are justified in using every possible means such as sabotage, espionage, or other subversive acts in order to obtain information valuable to their country and that can be used to undermine and destroy any non-Communist country. Under communism, the only function of the individual is to serve the state.