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even worse, individuals who are giving comfort and aid to our enemies are not brought before the bar of justice on the charge of treason. If we are to preserve our Nation, if we are to have domestic tranquility, we can no longer afford to act from fear or emotionalism, but must revive the rule of law under the Constitution and the Bill of Rights and see that those who transgress are properly brought before the bar of justice.
There is little doubt, in my mind at least, but that the advocacy of civil rights disobedience has permeated the minds of a great many of our people to the extent that they believe that there is such a thing as civil disobedience. Such, of course, is not the case. All disobedience of law at whatever level of Government, is criminal disobedience.
Great injustice has been done to a vast segment of our people by those who preach “civil disobedience," because they are not sufficiently able to understand that we are a nation and a government under the rule of law. This emotionalism has been built up into proportions that are startling and frightening and unless our public servants meet the challenge with firmness and dedication to the principles of our Constitution and Bill of Rights we will lose those rights for which our forefathers gave their all. Hence, it seems to me, that some thought should be given to classifying those who openly break the law in the same category as Communists, Fabian Socialists, black power advocates, and others who have by their own pronouncements advocated treason and who have given aid to our enemy in so doing.
I have heretofore suggested to this distinguished committee a matter that is a disgrace in the time and effort and money that is constantly being spent to try to repair the damage done by the irresponsibility of a majority of our Supreme Court. Since the Constitution expressly lodges in the Congress the sole authority to determine the appellate jurisdiction of the Supreme Court and since this distinguished committee has labored so long and faithfully in trying to cure cases that have been handed down by a majority of the Court from time to time in disregard of the expressed intentions of the Congress and hence the people, and since the majority of the Court have proven by their irascible conduct that they have no conception of that which Jefferson called the greatest facet of our form of government under the Constitution, to wit: the division of powers among the three departments of government, it would seem to me that the committee should seriously consider adding to H.R. 15626 a restriction upon the Supreme Court as to its appellate authority and require that no decision signed by less than threefourths of the Court shall be effective or lawful or controlling unless the majority decision has the ratio of signatures above suggested. We have precedence for this ratio by reason of the machinery set up in the Constitution itself for amending the Constitution.
We can no longer close our eyes and be complacent about the fact that ideological decisions and predeliction of certain members of the Court have blinded the Court to its responsibility to interpret the law and to interpret the Constitution and Bill of Rights, giving full meaning to the words and provisions thereof as when written. And if I were privileged to write such a provision, I would further provide that no case heretofore handed down by the Court with less signatures than provided herein as being requisite to a valid determination, should constitute a precedent.
A law is not self-operating. The climate of a government often influences official acts of the judiciary, as well as administrative bodies. I append hereto a photostatic copy of a document that is inconceivable to mea proposed precedent change in the Department of Defense.'
It is such a change from the concept of an open society as to be unbelievable. It constitutes an invasion of the rights of those engaged in our free enterprise system and, if continued, will cripple industry in protecting our national security.
Mr. Chairman, I appreciate the privilege of making these comments as an American citizen and as one who has devoted a great many years to the practice of law, who believes that our system of government and of law is the best ever conceived, and who is worried about the complacency of both the Congress and our people over the trends of events. I wish to compliment the committee wholeheartedly and express the hope that the committee and the Congress will pass H.R. 15626, and also express the hope that my feeble efforts in pointing out certain suggestions hereinabove maintained may stimulate some thoughts that will
1 DoD Industrial Security Letter, Feb, 29, 1968. See appendix, part 2, pp. 1807-1813.
restore order to our land and assure transgressors of a proper penalty for their transgressions. Respectfully submitted.
/s/ Loyd Wright
LOYD WRIGHT. Mr. Tuck. Our next witness is Mr. J. Walter Yeagley, Assistant Attorney General, Department of Justice.
Thank you very much for coming down here.
STATEMENT OF J. WALTER YEAGLEY, ASSISTANT ATTORNEY
GENERAL, DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE
Mr. Tuck. What is your position in the Attorney General's Office?
Mr. YEAGLEY. Mr. Chairman, I am in charge of the Internal Security Division of the Department of Justice.
Mr. Tuck. Do you have the sole responsibility and authority for the administration of that division?
Mr. YEAGLEY. Yes, sir, under the Attorney General.
Mr. Tuck. What actions have you taken against the Communist or Communist-front organizations since the passage of the amendments to the Subversive Activities Control Act signed into law on Janu
Mr. YEAGLEY. As yet, no further petitions have been filed. Mr. Tuck. Do you have any explanation to make to this committee why none have been filed ?
Mr. YEAGLEY. I can explain what action we have taken.
Of course, the review of these organizations and the FBI reports concerning them have been a matter of regular business in our division over the years.
But last August we started a concentrated program of review of material involving Communist infiltration and domination of front organizations and reports involving Communist Party members.
We stepped up our liaison with the FBI. This continued throughout the fall and the ensuing months, particularly as it appeared that new legislation was going to be passed by the Congress.
Mr. Tuck. How about individuals?
Mr. YEAGLEY. We did the same with respect to individuals. We encountered some particularly difficult problems that have posed a real hurdle in some instances that may be resolved—I am not sure yet.
We have made a report to the Attorney General and furnished him some written material and memoranda involving some cases. He has not as yet completed his review apparently. However, he is familiar with them, and this is the present status of the result of that concentrated review.
Mr. Tuck. Do you have any plans for filing any petitions before the Subversive Activities Control Board any time soon?
Mr. YEAGLEY. This is a decision of the Attorney General. The petitions are all filed in the name of the Attorney General, and it will be up to him to advise us what action he thinks we should take. Mr. TUCK. Do you have no authority in that matter? Is it entirely in the hands of the Attorney General ?
Mr. YEAGLEY. I have no authority to file petitions independently, no. I have authority to advise and consult with him.
Mr. WATSON. Mr. Chairman, may I interrupt at this point? What were your recommendations to the Attorney General as to whether or not he proceed with anything against these people?
Mr. YEAGLEY. I would have to beg off on that. I don't like to beg off in answering questions
Mr. Tuck. I can't hear the witness.
Mr. YEAGLEY. I think I have to beg off on an answer to that question. I don't like to refuse to answer questions of a congressional committee, but when I make recommendations to the Attorney General, I feel he is the one who should release such information or recommendations if he chooses to do so.
I don't think I should say what my position was before he takes a stand himself. I don't think it is fair and I don't think it is good business. I must apologize for not answering any further, but I don't think I should.
Mr. Watson. You realize the importance of this particular matter because under the legislation this Board is going to go out of existence if no proceedings are filed within 1 year.
I don't want to preempt your questions, Mr. Chairman, but you have it within your power this time to abolish this Board and what we are trying to do, and at least I am concerned with whether you have even recommended any proceedings.
Mr. YEAGLEY. I appreciate your interest. That is why we have stepped up our program and have assigned extra men to review these
Mr. WATSON. Are you aware that back during proceedings here in hearings some of these people admitted publicly and in written statements that they were Communists?
Mr. Y EAGLEY. Yes, I know there have been a good many people over the years who have either admitted or held themselves out to be members of the Communist Party.
Mr. WATSON. Yet you are not at liberty to indicate whether you have recommended proceedings against those individuals?
Mr. Y EAGLEY. No, I don't feel I should at this time. I think the Attorney General can. I don't have any objection if he does.
Mr. Tuck. Mr. Culver?
Mr. CULVER. Mr. Yeagley, in 1950 when the legislation was enacted by the Congress establishing the Subversive Activities ('ontrol Board, it was the combined recommendation to the President, then President Truman, of all United States security divisions uniformly that this legislation would not be useful in the effort understandably to contain the activities of internal subversives in the United States and, on the contrary, would hinder and hamper, rather than help, their efforts and responsibilities in that regard.
On that basis, President Truman vetoed that legislation. The Congress passed the legislation over his veto as you are very much aware.
Now, President Truman in his veto message, I think, had some very prophetic observations about the fate and the future of the Subversive Activities Control Board, and it seems to me the past 18 years we have seen the Board unsuccessfully operate and fail to register one Communist and in fact be embroiled in the constitutional and legal thicket which President Truman predicted.
Now, my question to you is: During the past 18 years, has the existence of that Board been of assistance to you?
Has it proven itself to be valuable?
Has it served to strengthen the effectiveness of your own Department in its responsibilities, and very valuable and important and crucial ones they are, in doing what we all seek to do, and that is to defend the national security interests with the maximum recognition of the first amendment values of our society?
Mr. YEAGLEY. Mr. Congressman, it is my personal opinion that the activities carried on and the petitions filed
Mr. Tuck. Would you move the mike closer. I can't hear you.
Mr. YEAGLEY. Mr. Congressman, it is my personal view that it has been useful. We filed, of course, the original petition against the party in 1950. There was over a year of taking evidence, not every day, but most days, and there was a voluminous amount of evidence that was taken in regard to the nature and objectives and purposes of the Communist Party.
I think this in and of itself was very illuminating and very educational to a great many Americans, as compared to information that they might get by other means or other sources about the movement.
This was information under oath. It was documentary information. It was as accurate as it could be under conditions of a Board hearing. I think that was useful.
I think the findings of the Board, based on that evidence as to the nature of the Communist Party at that time and its control by the Soviet Union, was useful.
After the Supreme Court's affirmance of the final order in 1961, and before that as a matter of fact, we filed a number of petitions on alleged front organizations.
I think there were 23 in all. Most of those went to hearing. Those organizations for the most part were reasonably large and many of them fairly well-known organizations.
I think the testimony and documents of those hearings were illuminating and I think they shed light on the basic operations and the internal operations of some of those organizations.
That was useful information and that was the type of thing that the American people at that time were entitled to have.
I think the country was under a little more stress and strain from the cold war at that time. We had the attack by the Communists in Korea in 1950, and following the Korean war that disturbed many Americans and cost many American lives, we had the shelling of Matsu and Quemoy Islands and the tension created there by the Communists.
We had almost constant tension arising over the Berlin corridor that many people feared was bound to lead to an early third world war.
These tensions were serious, and I think it was useful at that time to get factual information out under oath and with documentation as to the nature of the Communist influence here.
Mr. CULVER. Do you think the American people could be aware and sensitive to these activities in the absence of the Subversive Activities Control Board ?
Mr. YEAGLEY. Yes. I am just saying to a lesser extent and with fewer facts to fall back on.
Mr. Culver. What about the disclosure of security information? I recall in the President's veto message this was one of the concerns that intelligence organizations charged with security responsibilities within our Government gave grave concern to, that this legislation within the Department of Defense with regard to designation of defense facilities would force, in order to comply with the legislation, the disclosure and divulgence of sources of intelligence-gathering information which were extremely valuable in order for you to perform properly your responsibilities.
Has that proven to be the case? Has it resulted in a compromise of your security files which we all wish to preserve and maintain?
Mr. Y EAGLEY. This is an important problem and it is a practical and realistic problem that we live with in all of our cases, whether it is before the Board or whether they are espionage cases or other cases in the courts.
I am sure it is one the Attorney General is going to have to keep in mind in deciding about these petitions that may be coming up in the future.
If in a given case the FBI or the Government feels that certain informants cannot be disclosed for the purpose of testifying in a given case, in other words, that their continued service as informants is more valuable than bringing up a certain case, this is a difficult decision to be made, but very likely it will be that that particular case will not be filed.
Mr. CULVER. Then in your judgment, the activities and services of the Subversive Activities Control Board in the past 18 years has served to strengthen the national security interests of the United States consistent with the first amendment values ?
Mr. YEAGLEY. That is my opinion, and I think beyond that it has been very detrimental to the operations of the Communist Party.
I think it may have been more detrimental to the party than it was helpful to the Government because they were really bothered by the provisions of the act.
They spent a great deal of time and money, not just in court but politically, resisting the provisions of the act and propagandizing against it.
I think they diverted an undue amount of time, attention, and money to fighting this law and conceivably might have been much more effective had they continued on their own road paying little attention to the act.
But this is not what they did. I think it was very detrimental to the operation of the party.
I think I should also observe, although there are many reasons involved as you know, the party membership has fallen drastically all through this period.
Mr. Watson. Purposefully so. Now their modus operandi is not to enlist members in the party per se, but to have front organizations. Isn't that a basic principle under which they are operating now?
Mr. Y EAGLEY. They have always believed in fronts, but I can't say that they purposely reduced the party membership. I am talking in terms of tens of thousands of members. I am talking in terms of 90 percent of the members.