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Chapter Nineteen
Exit Tydings, Enter Kim Il-sung

Lattimore held a press conference April 21, 1950, the day after Budenz appeared before Tydings. He gave reporters a seven-page statement and answered questions. Invective flowed freely. According to Lattimore, McCarthy had descended to a "new low" with his attack on George Marshall the night before; McCarthy was serving as a "stooge" for the China lobby, which was out to destroy anyone who disagreed with Kohlberg as to why China went Communist. As to Budenz, his testimony was false from beginning to end. If it were not false, Budenz would give it outside of Congress, where he could be sued for libel. Lattimore was encouraged by the reporters' response: "Their questions soon showed that Budenz had flopped and that there was no 'hot Washington tip' of revelations still to come." This time Lattimore won the headline battle in the mainstream press. The New York Times story on page one the next day was headed, "Lattimore Derides Budenz as Gossip: Reply to Ex-Editor's Charges Demands an Investigation of China Lobby Group."[1]

The favorable reception of Lattimore's press conference did not discourage McCarthy. He did have another mystery witness coming on: John Huber (alias Tom Ward), a former FBI undercover informant in the New York City Communist party. Huber had none of the liabilities of Budenz: he was not a double defector, had no multiple arrest record, had not taken the Fifth before official inquiries, had not violated the Mann Act, had served the FBI loyally, and had not joined the Communist party out of conviction. Further, while Budenz's testimony was hearsay, Huber was an eyewitness. He claimed he had met Lattimore at two Party meetings.

Huber monitored the New York Communist party from 1939 until 1947,


writing extensive reports.[2] None of them ever mentioned Owen Lattimore. When the FBI investigation of Lattimore intensified after McCarthy's charges, the bureau systematically called in all current and former Party informants to see if any of them knew anything about the Hopkins professor. Huber was interviewed on April 14, 1950. His memory had by then been "refreshed" by contemporary headlines. He recalled that he had seen Lattimore at two Party meetings, both at the home of Fred Field.

The first meeting, on November 16, 1945, was "a farewell affair for Comrade Tung Pi Wu, who was described by Huber as the fourth highest Communist in the Chinese Communist Party. . . . According to Huber, Tung Pi Wu spoke through an interpreter thanking all those present at the affair for the splendid cooperation shown the Chinese Communist movement. Huber recalled that Lattimore had a private conversation with Tung at this affair." Only Party members were present. The second meeting, on February 17, 1946, was a fund-raiser of the Committee for a Democratic Far Eastern Policy. Field was chair of this Communist group, and Theodore White gave the main speech. Lattimore was among the eighty-five people present.[3]

The bureau was skeptical of this revised reporting by Huber, but it was routinely incorporated in the Lattimore file. Huber, now alerted that his "information" about Lattimore might be a valuable commodity, went to Larry Kerley, a friend and former FBI agent working for Hearst's New York Journal American . Kerley immediately alerted McCarthy; on April 17 Huber told McCarthy the same story that he had told the FBI three days earlier. McCarthy then arranged for Tydings to subpoena Huber. Kerley was also subpoenaed; his function was to establish that Huber had been a bona fide FBI informant.

April 25, 1950, was to be the day of McCarthy's triumph: the appearance before Tydings of FBI informant Huber proclaiming to all the world that, with his own eyes, he had seen Lattimore at two Communist gatherings.

Huber was not the first to testify that day. Abe Fortas had arranged for Dr. Bella Dodd, a former Communist who had outranked Budenz in the Party, to appear before Tydings. Dodd disagreed with Budenz on everything. She had never heard of Lattimore associating with the Party in any way; she had read two of his books and they did not follow the Party line; she ridiculed Budenz's tale of onionskin documents to be flushed down the toilet as sounding like "dime detective stories"; and she thought McCarthy's "smearing of public citizens [had] become a greater racket"


than horseracing or gambling.[4] McCarthy sat through Dodd's testimony glum but confident: his bombshell was due next.

The bomb was a dud. When Tydings called for him to take the stand, Huber was nowhere to be found. Neither McCarthy nor Kerley could explain his absence. Huber had come from New York to Washington on a plane with them early that morning and had checked into the Carlton Hotel. They had not seen him since noon. A flurry of telephone calls during a short recess produced nothing. After a desultory fifteen minutes examining Kerley, the committee adjourned.[5] Huber was the famous "Disappearing Witness" of the Tydings hearings.

Hearst papers had a field day with Huber's disappearance. Kerley put out a statement that Huber "had been stabbed and threatened" to keep him from testifying.[6] Washington was in an uproar. The FBI tried to locate Huber; it was a week before they found him. What the agents heard on May 2 could have come from a B movie. But before they got the story of his disappearance, Huber said he wanted to change his testimony about Lattimore: he had seen Lattimore at Field's house only once, in February 1946. As to why he had not appeared before Tydings, Huber described to Scheidt what happened at J. B. Matthews's house in New York the night before his scheduled testimony. Present were Matthews, Kerley, and McCarthy; all took for granted that he would testify, but they didn't tell him what it would be like. He got nervous and told Kerley he wouldn't testify, but Kerley insisted. As the hours went by, Huber "became extremely dejected and worried." The whole group spent the night at Matthews's place, then all but Matthews flew to Washington the next morning.[7]

In Washington, Huber "was left sitting alone in McCarthy's outer office." He was "completely worn out, tired, nervous, and hungry, as they had not fed him at all that day." He left McCarthy's office and went to the hotel where he was supposed to have a room, but he found that no reservation had been made. After much confusion he did get a room. When Kerley arrived at the hotel, Huber went out to get a haircut. Walking down Pennsylvania Avenue, he "blacked out. He next found himself on 44th Street and Seventh Avenue, New York City, soaking wet."[8]

Scheidt then reminded Huber that he had told the New York office over the phone that McCarthy and Kerley had tried "to get him to testify to things that were not entirely accurate." What had he meant by this? "HE IMMEDIATELY BECAME EXTREMELY EXCITED, STARTED TO SHAKE AND CRY AND IT WAS NECESSARY TO CHANGE THE SUBJECT BEFORE HE OBVIOUSLY



When Huber calmed down, he told Scheidt that he wanted to appear before Tydings to redeem himself. Since he knew so little, he wouldn't need to spend more than five minutes on the witness stand. But Scheidt was not sure that this was a good plan. Huber had failed to keep previous appointments with the FBI, was highly excitable, and told contradictory stories. Scheidt did not believe the truth was in him.[10]

FBI agents saw Huber again on May 4; he had meanwhile been interviewed by Tydings's agents. Huber said he had told the Tydings people yet a different story. As Huber now told Scheidt, "THE PARTY AT THE HOME OF FRED FIELD AT WHICH HE SAW OWEN LATTIMORE WAS NOT A COMMUNIST PARTY MEETING AS FAR AS HUBER KNEW AND THAT AS FAR AS HUBER IS CONCERNED HE HAS NO INFO OF CP MEMBERSHIP ON THE PART OF OWEN LATTIMORE. "[11]

The bureau meanwhile had checked out Lattimore's whereabouts in November 1945 and knew that Lattimore was in Japan, so that Huber could not have seen him at Field's house. And they looked again at Huber's voluminous reports in 1945 and 1946: there was no mention of Lattimore anywhere.[12]

Tydings did not subpoena Huber again. Once was enough. McCarthy also washed his hands of Huber. Unfortunately, the press never carried the story of how Huber had been induced by his handlers, McCarthy, Kerley, and Matthews, to lie about Lattimore. Only the FBI knew why Huber got cold feet. Budenz did not get cold feet. On April 23, 1950, before a supportive audience in New York, he escalated his apocalyptic rhetoric another notch. According to the New York Times of April 24,

Soviet Russia's program for world revolution under the leadership of Joseph Stalin includes definite plants to threaten the United States West Coast, Prof. Louis F. Budenz declared yesterday. In a speech at the twenty-ninth communion breakfast of the New York Post Office Holy Name Society in the Astor Hotel, he warned against recognition of the Communist government in China.

The Professor of Economics at Fordham University and former managing editor of the Daily Worker said there long had been a plot by Communists in the Philippines, China and Japan to drive the "Ameri-


can imperialists" from the Pacific and then link forces with those of Harry Bridges in Hawaii.[13]

Earl Browder appeared before the Tydings committee April 27. Browder was predictably contemptuous of Budenz; every one of the charges against Lattimore was false. So, said Mr. Browder, were McCarthy's charges against Dorothy Kenyon, Haldore Hanson, John Carter Vincent, and John Stewart Service. But Browder, although he had been expelled from the Party in 1946, still regarded himself as a Communist and refused to answer questions put to him by Senator Hickenlooper. The committee voted to cite Browder for contempt.[14]

The next day, Fred Field took much the same line. He and Lattimore were often at odds politically, but they respected each other. Field said Lattimore was never a Communist or even a sympathizer. Like Browder, Field took the Fifth on questions about his own politics. He, too, was cited for contempt, but at his trial Judge T. Alan Goldsborough found him innocent. The Tydings committee was not a straightforward seeker of information, said the judge, but called Field to testify so he could be "grilled."[15]

Field's testimony, on Friday, April 28, coincided with Tydings's release of letters from all living former secretaries of state and the current secretary, Dean Acheson. All stated that they had never even met Lattimore and that he was anything but the architect of American policy in the Far East. This denial did not help Lattimore; Republican senators tasting blood were not about to accept anything from officials serving under Democratic presidents.

Monday, May 1, the last anti-Lattimore witness came before Tydings: Freda Utley. She had a new slant:

I think that Senator McCarthy was wrong in his original statement that Owen Lattimore is the Soviet Government's top espionage agent in America. I think the Senator under-estimated Lattimore. Mr. Lattimore is such a renowned scholar, such an excellent writer, so adept at teaching the American people that they ought to stop opposing the great, good, and progressive Soviet Government, that it is impossible to believe that Moscow would regard him as expendable, as all spies are. To suggest that Mr. Lattimore's great talents have been utilized in espionage seems to me as absurd as to suggest that Mr. Gromyko or Mr. Molotov employ their leisure hours at Lake Success, or at international conferences, in snitching documents.[16]

After a lengthy and distorted review of Lattimore's writings, Utley got to her main accusation. Lattimore was dangerous, and serving the Soviet


cause, by presenting the Chinese Communists as independent of Moscow. This claim Utley could not believe, and she said that Lattimore knew too much to believe it also, so he was lying. "The primary and most important fact which has determined recent victory in the Far East is the subservience of the Chinese Communist Party to Moscow, and this is precisely the fact ignored or obscured by Mr. Lattimore in all his writings."[17]

When I interviewed Utley in 1977, twenty-seven years after this testimony, the evidence of Chinese independence of Moscow was abundant. She acknowledged this fact and implied that she had been too hard on Lattimore in 1950. She also admitted somewhat ruefully that in 1945, Chou En-lai, "one of the most remarkable men [she had] ever met," had tried to convince her that the Chinese Communists were not agents of Moscow, but she had been unconvinced.[18]

Utley told Tydings the story of her acquaintance with Lattimore, but she omitted one salient incident, her effort to get an audience with Soviet Ambassador Oumansky through Lattimore's intervention. Had this incident been known, her explanation of why she was so hostile toward Lattimore might have been less convincing.

In Ordeal by Slander Lattimore says that Utley's testimony redounded to his benefit, since she got wound up in esoteric ideological arguments, could not find documents when she needed them, and got flustered, hence turning both the committee and reporters against her. He may have been wrong in this judgment. Tydings was unnecessarily sharp with Utley. The New York Times report of May 2 by William S. White treated her with respect.[19]

For the next two days, May 2-3, Lattimore was again before Tydings. He felt that he was under less pressure than he had been during his earlier appearance. As he says in Ordeal ,

McCarthy's big gun, Budenz, had misfired. Huber and Freda Utley had provided only ludicrous anticlimaxes. It was my turn at last to review the whole grotesque, brutal, and long-sustained attempt at character-assassination.

Once more the Caucus Room was packed so tightly that there were people standing around the edges, against the wall. The batteries of newsreel cameras were there too, but I soon noticed an encouraging sign. Instead of the lights blazing and the cameras whirring all the time, they went on only occasionally. That meant, I thought, that the newsreels were not on tiptoe with expectation. The sensationalism of the charges against me had already been somewhat deflated.[20]


Lattimore began by reminding the senators that McCarthy had given up his original "top Soviet spy" charge and was now struggling to make some lesser charge stick. He brushed off Freda Utley's testimony, saying he would respond to it when he had a chance to see the transcript.

But Lattimore once more provided some harsh invective. Whether he was too sharp in attacking McCarthy is still a debatable question. Many observers think that had he simply said, "McCarthy is in error," he would not have incurred the implacable opposition of McCarthy supporters. But Fortas thought he should come out swinging, and so did Eleanor. So he told Tydings:

Now, gentlemen, I of course do not enjoy being vilified by anybody: even by the motley crew of crackpots, professional informers, hysterics, and ex-Communists who McCarthy would have you believe represent sound Americanism. But on the other hand, I do not like to appear to rely upon the testimony of others to establish my own good character. My life and works speak for themselves. Unlike McCarthy I have never been charged with a violation of the laws of the United States or of the ethics of my profession. I have never been accused, as McCarthy has been, of income tax evasion, of the destruction of records that were in my official custody, or of improperly using an official position for the purpose of advancing my own fortunes, political or otherwise.

Unlike Budenz and Utley, I have never been a member of the Communist Party, or subscribed to a conspiracy to overthrow and subvert established governments. Unlike Budenz, I have never been engaged in a conspiracy to commit murder or espionage. . . .

I recognize, however, that so long as a reckless and irresponsible man like Senator McCarthy is in a position to abuse the privileges of the United States Congress, the quality of a man's life and activities, however impeccable, does not protect him from vile assault. Even our greatest living American, General Marshall, has been subjected to McCarthy's vicious, dastardly, and repeated insult.[21]

Lattimore denied Budenz's charges categorically. He had not sought to "place Communist writers" in the pages of Pacific Affairs . Budenz's only example, an article by James S. Allen, had been accepted on scholarly grounds. Lattimore did not know whether or not Allen was a Communist.

Lattimore did know that he had always believed that the Chinese Communists were hard-line Marxists, only temporarily modifying their ideological stance to appeal to Chinese peasants. How could he have led a campaign to represent the Chinese Communists as "mere agrarian re-


formers" when he did not believe it himself? (The only thorough study of the "mere agrarian reformers" line, by Kenneth Shewmaker, upholds Lattimore completely. Utley herself first used the phrase, and Patrick Hurley and several journalists used it subsequently; Lattimore never used it.)[22]

Lattimore expressed only contempt for the Budenz charge that in 1943 Lattimore, "through Mr. Field, had received word from the apparatus that there was to be a change of line on Chiang Kai-shek." Lattimore was fully employed with the Office of War Information then and still strongly supported Chiang, as he did until 1946. Budenz had nothing whatever to back up his claim; Lattimore said that it was "as fantastic as it is malignant."[23]

And could Jack Stachel have instructed Budenz in 1944 to "treat as authoritative" anything Lattimore said? If so, Budenz did not follow orders. The pages of the Daily Worker for that year, as Lattimore pointed out, were totally devoid of his extensive opinions on China and Chiang. Lattimore treated as equally ridiculous Budenz's claims about "onionskin documents" and "of service in the Amerasia case," calling them "pure moonshine, or rather impure hogwash."[24]

Lattimore's summing-up of Budenz matched his excoriation of McCarthy.

The plain fact of the matter, it seems to me, is that Budenz is engaged in a transparent fraud. Whenever someone is conspicuously accused of Communist affiliations, Budenz hops on the bandwagon and repeats the charges, garnished with more or less impressive references to Jack Stachel and other Communist characters. And I suspect that the reason why he uses, as his silent witnesses, officials of the Communist Party is that he believes that they will refuse to testify in rebuttal. But he guards himself even against this contingency by saying that if they do testify, contrary to his own statements, they cannot be believed. This I submit is about as ingenious a boobytrap as has ever been devised. . . .

The pressure on Budenz is obvious. When a new sensation breaks out in the press and a man is accused—even if the accusation is false—what is the temptation that is dangled before Budenz' eyes? It is the easiest thing in the world for his own memory to be convenient and obliging. He can then rush up and say "I remember him too"—and thus revive his reputation as a peerless informant.[25]

The lead story in the New York Times the next day was headlined, "Lattimore Calls Budenz 'Informer' Lying for a Profit."[26]

Tydings did not finish with Lattimore on May 2; he was called back on May 3, mostly for questioning by Hickenlooper, an ally of McCarthy. The Iowa senator had dozens of questions, many of them prompted by


claims of the underworld informants who had been drawn to the McCarthy crusade. Lattimore dealt with them matter-of-factly. He had never met or been associated with Richard Sorge. He had never met or been associated with Ho Chi Minh. He had not declassified, or even seen, secret government documents at the Ruxton picnic with Service and Roth. He was acquainted, slightly, with Alger Hiss. There were no headlines here; and since on the same day McCarthy became embroiled in a bitter debate with Tydings and other Democrats on the Senate floor, Lattimore's final appearance before Tydings went largely unnoticed.

Of course, the right-wing press continued to snipe at Lattimore, and McCarthy discovered some new malefaction every week or so. Of judicious comment there was very little. The conservative Christian Science Monitor , however, carried an article on May 12 by Marius B. Jansen, then a Harvard graduate student, later a distinguished Japanologist at Princeton. In his article, "Owen Lattimore and the China Policy," Jansen asked, "What can we learn about Owen Lattimore from his writings?" and noted that Budenz and Utley claimed those writings contained proof of Communist allegiance. Jansen did not think so. Lattimore was clearly a capitalist and often anti-Soviet, as on the Marshall Plan and Soviet activities in Iran. As to Budenz's claim that the Party "allowed occasional deviations from their line to allay suspicion," Jansen noted that "they would hardly allow those heresies on the very issues for which they were using a man." And even when Lattimore's views failed to contradict the Soviet line, they could "stem from his own area of special interest. To deny this possibility means that all loyal Americans must operate in a limbo devoid of thought and imagination until the Soviet line is apparent, at which point we take the opposite line. Surely this is a counsel of intellectual despair."[27]

Jansen concluded, "In short, if the case against Mr. Lattimore is to be based upon his writings, we are left with the fantastic theory that the fate of four hundred and fifty million human beings on the other side of the globe was sealed by the Machiavellian activities of a man who wrote one thing and meant another; a man who, by proposing theories which were not followed, ran a government in which he was not an official."

For the rest of its run the Tydings committee investigated the Amerasia case. All the principals were called, and John Stewart Service got a thorough grilling. Beginning on May 4 Truman allowed Tydings committee members to read the files of the eighty-one State Department employees McCarthy had accused. The three Democrats on the committee spent much


time with these files, Tydings claiming to have read every one; Lodge read only twelve of them, and Hickenlooper nine. This was a sore point when the committee came to write its final report.

The most spectacular event of May was a Fiery speech to the Senate on the twelfth by Dennis Chavez, Democrat from New Mexico. McCarthy's effectiveness at stirring up anti-State Department sentiment was beginning to intimidate many moderate Democrats; Tydings urged them to take a stand. Chavez responded. He began quietly by referring to his own political career and service to the people of New Mexico, then moved into a statement of concern for the "hysteria and confusion" of the current scene, "a course so dangerous that few dare to oppose the drift lest they be the next marked for destruction." This trend was receiving impetus from statements on the floor of the Senate:

Mr. President, for the first time in my 19 years in Congress, I make the deliberate point of referring to my religion. I speak as a Roman Catholic. . . . [W]hen I feel that the church which I revere is being used by an individual as a shield and a cloak to protect the purveyor of un-American, un-Christian, dubious testimony, I am compelled to identify what is going on and protest not only as a Catholic but as an American.

Recently congressional committees and the general public have been provided with information regarding the Communist conspiracy, in America, and particularly inside the United States Government, by the man Louis Budenz. He has been speaking not merely as a private citizen. Budenz has been speaking with special emphasis as a Catholic, investing his appearances and utterances with an added sanctity by virtue of the fact that he recently went through the forms of conversion to catholicism.
My ancestors brought the cross to this hemisphere. Louis Budenz has been using this cross as as club.[28]

Chavez then reviewed Budenz's Communist record, including conspiracies to commit murder and espionage. "Typically," he said, "these admissions are made after the statutes of limitations have expired. Smart boy. Budenz is thus protected from any prosecution which he might otherwise face." But even while he was committing these crimes, Budenz was "planning his next move." And it was a profitable one. Now he was "reveling in every minute of his new-found prosperity and sudden respectability."[29]

Then Chavez analyzed Budenz's reluctant stance. His testimony before


Tydings showed anything but reluctance: "He was glad to appear there. He was eagerly and hopefully anticipating that call." It was an uncannily accurate thrust, as if Chavez had been listening in when Budenz told Matthews how eager he was to expose the China hands. Budenz was, to Chavez, "one of those witnesses who require the inspiration of an audience to tell his story."[30]

Chavez's speech was more than an anti-Budenz polemic. He delved into history, citing Tacitus on the "exalted position of informers" in the corrupt Rome of Tiberius. He described the career of the anti-Jesuit Titus Oates, "the Louis Budenz of his day," in seventeenth-century England. He deplored the tendency to believe that fanatical former Communists are the best source of information on communism.[31]

Homer Ferguson of Michigan was livid. He demanded to know precisely what testimony by Budenz was false. Chavez replied, "I think everything he has said is false." Budenz had been so warped by his Communist years that "I do not think he knows truth from falsehood anymore. "[32]

Tydings, Lucas, and a few other Democrats asked supportive questions: Ferguson and Capehart challenged Chavez for the Republicans. Chavez had a six-point conclusion. (1) We were providing a platform from which every unreliable and discredited individual could proclaim to the world that the United States was rotting with subversives, when it was not. (2) The witch-hunt had demoralized the government, but it had caught no spies. (3) The rights and reputations of prominent individuals had been impaired. (4) Fear of thinking heretical thoughts had been implanted in the minds of teachers, researchers, scientists, civil servants. (5) We were establishing a situation where there could be only two opinions—the Communist and the anti-Communist—which played right into the hands of Moscow. (6) These staged public inquiries interfered with genuine, diligent counterintelligence.[33]

Chavez made the front page of the New York Times . His was the first prominent attack on Budenz's credibility. Surprisingly few McCarthy supporters came publicly to Budenz's defense; the president of Fordham was predictably among them. McCarthy, in a speech to the Catholic Press Association, accused a "communist lawyer" of helping to write Chavez's speech.[34] Budenz did not respond.

The Johns Hopkins faculty invited Lattimore to address them on May 16. It was his first chance to express his gratitude for their overwhelming support. He spoke of the dangers to independent thought arising from the


"reckless, machine gun toting politician" and the embittered China lobby. Since his battle seemed to be going well, Lattimore indulged in what, for him, was unusual levity. About the "propaganda-created myth of a university professor who pulls the strings of a whole government," he noted, "It was taken for granted throughout the hearings that I must in fact have had a heavy impact on policy in China and the Far East, and that the best I would be able to do for myself would be to plead that I had got the State Department only a little bit pregnant."[35]

Early June 1950 was relatively quiet. Senator Margaret Chase Smith and six Republican colleagues issued a "Declaration of Conscience" as a mild rebuke to McCarthy; he snarled right back and went on sniping at Truman, Acheson, Jessup, and Lattimore. But fewer mainstream newspapers were trumpeting McCarthy's charges. As William W. Stueck puts it, "On the eve of the war in Korea, it seemed that the Democrats might emerge relatively unscathed by the furor created by Senator McCarthy's charges."[36]

Then, on June 25, 1950, Kim Il-sung, with the probably reluctant acquiescence of Stalin, launched North Korean forces across the thirty-eighth parallel against the government headed by Syngman Rhee.[37] This action took Washington by surprise. Truman and his advisors viewed Europe as the primary field of potential Soviet aggression; the Joint Chiefs of Staff, General MacArthur, and the State Department had all excluded Korea from the list of vital areas that the U.S. would defend.

Truman quickly decided to defend South Korea. MacArthur was instructed to use any forces available to him, and after a successful holding action at Pusan, he engineered the spectacular landing at Inchon that routed the North Koreans. The country responded positively to U.S. intervention; even Senate Republicans approved Truman's action. It seemed for a while that the opprobrium fastened on Truman for his indifference to Chiang Kai-shek would be lifted, that Truman would be seen for what he was: a vigorous opponent of communism who made the right decision when the chips were down. Across the country, Americans believed that Stalin had now shown his true colors, that the Kremlin-directed conquest of the world was under way, and that the administration had finally responded appropriately.

With the headlines now dominated by the Korean War, McCarthy's crusade against domestic communism lost its glamour. In order to be consistent, he, too, had to back the president's action. Tom Coleman, a close friend in Wisconsin, wrote McCarthy July 7 urging him to take it easy on


the administration for a while. McCarthy seemed to agree. He answered Coleman July 15, acknowledging that his access to America's front pages was gone—temporarily. But in the long run, McCarthy wrote, the casualty lists would mount, the people would wonder what actually happened in Asia, and they would "realize there was something rotten in the State Department."[38]

Despite his promise to Coleman, McCarthy could not hold his tongue. Within a week of the outbreak of war he was blaming the Korean attack on Communist infiltration of the adminstration. In a speech to the Senate July 6 he said that "highly-placed Red counselors [were] far more deadly than Red machine gunners in Korea." On July 12 McCarthy sent an open letter m Truman, condemning Acheson, Jessup, and "super adviser Lattimore" for the Korean mess.[39] These were no longer front-page stories, but in the long run McCarthy sold his agenda. Few people paid attention to the fact that excluding Korea from the American defense perimeter had been the idea of MacArthur and the military and that Acheson and Lattimore had followed, rather than inspired, the official position.

Until Inchon things were touch and go in Korea. The country needed scapegoats. Acheson and Lattimore were favorites.

McCarthy had his usual allies. Walter Trohan's article in the Chicago Tribune of July 10, 1950, headed "Face Saving Tag Put on Acheson for Policy Shift; Catholic Paper Also Cites Lattimore, Dulles," quoted an editorial in the current Catholic Review , official newspaper of the Baltimore archdiocese, to the effect that while Lattimore had been responsible for "setting off" the Korean War, he now had a change of heart and supported Truman's actions in Korea. But Lattimore had "not yet arrived at the point of blaming Russia for pushing her henchmen."[40]

Lattimore addressed the Asian situation in a speech at Johns Hopkins June 28. He was, as always, concerned that U.S. policy in Korea should benefit the whole population, not just Syngman Rhee; and he emphasized that despite the current focus on Korea, which was on the fringe of Asia, our true area of interest was the Asian heartland: India, Pakistan, Afghanistan, Indonesia. "All of these countries can be made allies, and very reliable allies, but they cannot be made puppets. In all of them, the passion that runs through men's veins is a passion for freedom from foreign rule. All of them are repelled by any policy that looks like restoration of colonial rule."[41]

After this speech the Lattimores left Johns Hopkins for a month of vacation on Cape Cod. The Baltimore Evening Sun story reporting their


summer plans was headed "Aftermath of a Cyclone: The Owen Lattimores Will Rest until Fall."[42]

On July 17, 1950, the Tydings committee released a 313-page report, signed only by the three Democrats. Lodge wrote a minority report partially agreeing with the Democrats; Hickenlooper released nothing. The Democrats condemned McCarthy in scathing terms, declaring that his charges of Communists in the State Department were "a fraud and a hoax perpetrated on the Senate of the United States and the American people. They represent perhaps the most nefarious campaign of half-truths and untruth in the history of this Republic. . . . For the first time in our history, we have seen the totalitarian technique of the 'big lie' employed on a sustained basis."[43]

The report got wide circulation—by Democratic newspapers because of its conclusions, by Republican papers as proof that the Democrats were still soft on Communists. Few read the report to see whether its excoriation of McCarthy was justified. With Communist armies trying to push MacArthur's troops off the Korean peninsula, many Americans felt they did not need to read it. Communism was a menace no matter what Tydings said. And the same day the report was released, the FBI arrested Julius Rosenberg, charging him with espionage for the Soviet Union.

The Senate "received" the Tydings report after a bitter debate and on straight party lines: forty-five Democrats to thirty-seven Republicans. McCarthy had a field day with it: "Tydings tried to notify all Communists in Government that they are safe in their positions."[44] It was a whitewash, he said, a partisan attempt to conceal the truth that he had struggled so laboriously to put before the country.

The Tydings report was not a thorough investigation of the loyalty and security of State Department employees as a whole: it was a reasonable examination of the evidence about the ten individuals publicly accused by McCarthy. All of them, especially Lattimore, were found to be loyal Americans. The report was essentially accurate. Only with the recent opening of FBI files has it been clear how accurate it was.

After his final appearance before Tydings, Lattimore wrote an account of his battle with McCarthy. It took about a month to produce Ordeal by Slander , which was published by Atlantic-Little Brown on August 1. Reviews were predictable: McCarthy's friends panned it, Lattimore's friends praised it. Lattimore intended Ordeal as a postmortem; he thought the battle was all but over. This assessment was an error; only the preliminary skirmish was over.


Ordeal presents the chronology of McCarthy's attack, beginning while Lattimore was in Afghanistan and carrying through to his Tydings appearance. It also describes Lattimore's reflections on the methods and significance of McCarthy's crusade and answers the more important charges McCarthy made.

There are some good lines in Ordeal . Deploring the necessity for targets of the witch-hunt to cite Communist attacks on themselves as evidence of their loyalty, Lattimore observes, "The whole idea of proving that you are not despicable by listing the people who despise you is deeply humiliating." And his "ball-bearing lies" metaphor was a favorite with reviewers: "I had yet to learn that McCarthy is a master not only of the big lie but of the middle-sized lie and the little ball-bearing lie that rolls around and around and helps the wheels of the lie machinery to turn over."[45]

The final chapter of Ordeal expresses Lattimore's beliefs about the dangers of McCarthyism and how Americans could counteract them. As one would expect from a scholar who had spent his formative years in Europe and Asia and had then joined the academy in the United States, Lattimore assumes the virtues of reason, facts, freedom of research and speech—the pantheon of the intellectual. What he does not acknowledge is the fluctuating but ineradicable strength of anti-intellectualism in America and the amorality of partisan politics. Ordeal claims that "the witch-hunting of which McCarthy is a part is recruited from ex-Communists and pro-Fascists, America Firsters, anti-Semites, Coughlinites, and similar fringe fanatics of the political underworld." [46] There were such fringe fanatics in the McCarthy entourage, but Lattimore is silent about the political forces that took up the "Who lost China?" debate to recapture the presidency.

A deeper analysis would have shown how the China lobby was rooted in the American self-image as the chosen people, in Asia-first Republicanism, and in the hatred of Roosevelt and all his works. Absence of this political dimension in Ordeal was noted by Alfred Friendly of the Washington Post : "An unfortunate omission is Lattimore's failure to relate his ordeal to Republican political tactics in an election year. Without drawing such a connection, a writer of the McCarthy story cannot make it entirely comprehensible." Such fundamental analyses of the period were not to appear until Michael Paul Rogin's Intellectuals and McCarthy (1967), Robert Griffith's Politics of Fear (1970), and Ross Y. Koen's China Lobby in American Politics (1974).[47]

Ordeal by Slander describes some of the disruptions McCarthy caused in the Lattimore household, but the most traumatic event is missing. The


Lattimores had bought a half interest in Stoddard farm, adjoining the Stefansson's Dearing farm in Bethel, Vermont. Lattimore paid $1,000 in cash for his share of Stoddard and spent more than $1,000 on repairs and improvements during the summer of 1949. Stefansson and his wife, Evelyn, had plans to make the two farms self-supporting, and they looked forward to spending future summers adjacent to the Lattimores.[48]

When the inquisition erupted in March 1950 it became clear that Lattimore needed the $2,000 equity he had in the Stoddard farm to help meet the costs of his defense. By May the two families had decided to put Stoddard up for sale. Stefansson put ads in three newspapers, with a selling price of $4,500, which would just recover the investment of the two families.[49] On June 6 Ordway Southard came to look at Stoddard; his was the only serious response to the ad. Stefansson had met Southard in Alaska in 1945, and in the winter of 1948 Southard had used Stefansson's library in New York, which was headquarters for the Encyclopedia Arctica Stefansson was compiling for the U.S. Navy. As Stefansson wrote Lattimore just after the contracts were signed to sell Stoddard to Southard,

I did keep hearing more and more that winter about Southard being a Communist; but my clipping bureau was then sending me cuttings from the Hearst and Scripps-Howard press saying that I was a communist; and Westbrook Pegler was calling a friend of mine, A. N. Spanel, President of International Latex, a Communist or communist tool, sympathiser and abettor. To me this sort of thing was Salem Witchcraft over again, and I perhaps leaned over backward not to appear to be afflicted with what was increasingly worrying me as mob hysteria. It goes against the grain with me, even now, to take such precautions as many are taking against situations that could involve guilt by association.

Today it was pointed out to me that you are already a victim of a guilt-by-association frame-up and that I must not let my pooh-pooh attitude become dangerous to you. So I must give you what lowdown I have, mostly hearsay, because of twin dangers: That your selling Stoddard to a "Communist" may be used against you, and that your coming to visit Dearing, contiguous to Stoddard, the week after the Southards move in, may be interpreted as a suspicious coincidence.[50]

When Lattimore received this letter, he immediately consulted Fortas, who sensed disaster. He advised Lattimore to attempt to cancel the sale. It was too late. Southard had a valid contract and could sue if it were broken. The problem then was how to handle the inevitable explosion if


Southard did indeed turn out to be a Communist and the McCarthy forces got wind of it.

Stefansson again had a powerful homily—he called it a "sermon"—which he delivered to the Lattimores in a letter of June 17. "I have read the DEVIL IN MASSACHUSETTS and the newspaper accounts of the current witch hunt, and I do agree that in Cotton Mather's Salem of 1692, and in Joseph McCarthy's United States of 1950, those have proved to be in greatest danger who were so conscious of their innocence that they were unconscious of the danger of being suspected. So I agree it is dangerous, during a time of hysteria, to act as if innocent—I agree that, to this extent, it is wisest to 'prove' one's innocence by joining in the hysteria and running with the mob."[51]

Lattimore, Stefansson continued, had acted courageously and not run with the mob. His recent speech to the Johns Hopkins faculty showed appropriate "outraged disdain" for the whole inquisition, but this disdain would not keep him from unjust attack.

Stefansson's fears were well grounded. Thomas J. Riley, of the Hearst papers, was digging into the facts of the Stoddard sale and talked to Evelyn Stefansson by telephone. Southard and his wife, said Riley, were Communists; Southard had run as the Communist candidate for governor of Alabama in 1942 (he received a total of 402 votes). Riley and the pro-McCarthy press didn't have all the facts straight, however. One of the false charges that filtered through to the FBI, via J. B. Matthews, was that "Alger Hiss, John Abt, and Owen Lattimore held meetings at the Stefansson home in Bethel, Vermont."[52]

But the big splash was saved for McCarthy. On July 27 he told the Senate that revenue stamps on the deed indicated that Lattimore had bought a half-interest in the property for about $1,500 in 1949 and had sold it for between $4,000 and $4,500. "So we find a well known Communist giving Mr. Lattimore $3,000. The Communist party often handles pay-offs—contributions—by transfers of property." [53] McCarthy also claimed that this had to be profit since there had been no increase in property values in Vermont.

When reporters caught up with Lattimore in Wellfleet, Massachusetts, he explained that he had only received half the proceeds and hence had made no profit at all. He had sold the property through Stefansson "to a complete stranger about whom I knew nothing and of whom I had previously never heard." McCarthy's methods, he added, are "not less base and despicable than they have been right along."[54]


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