A/MS Files, lot 54 D 291, “McCarthy Report Materials, 1950–52”

Memorandum Prepared in the Division of Public Studies of the Bureau of Public Affairs


Public Comment Concerning State Department Personnel

(August 15–September 25)

Despite Sen. McCarthy’s repeated attacks against the Department and the Secretary, the great majority of American press and radio commentators have—since the Korean war1—ignored the Senator’s steadfast campaign to “expose the Communists in the government.”

A minor segment of opinion, however, has continued to support the Senator and to criticize the Department for its “mistakes” as it demands a “thorough house-cleaning”. This group has also reiterated its demands for the Secretary’s resignation, but such requests have been confined to those observers who have been strongly dissatisfied with the Department’s personnel for a long time.

Recent comment shows that although the Senator’s charges no longer are a “hot issue”, there are a number of observers who feel that the charges “have neither been clearly proved nor disproved” (Paul Leach in Chicago News). Sen. Tydings’ sub-committee continues to be a target of criticism for “attempting to investigate McCarthy rather than his charges,” and the “ugly” Amerasia case is still a thorn in the side of those who want it fully explored by an impartial commission.

Support for McCarthy

In living up to his “pledge” to continue “exposing Communists in the government,” Sen. McCarthy has, since August 15, made some six speeches devoted to this subject. Although considerably watered down in comparison to his earlier charges, the Senator’s attacks contain little that is new. In utilizing current developments to give a fresh angle to his accusations he has continued to make such sweeping assertions as: “Disciples of Moscow working in our State Department and cloaked with the authority of public office, have sowed the seeds of world chaos and have softened us up for Communist [Page 1399] conquest.” Specific attacks have included the Secretary and Mr. Jessup, whom he recently described (Portage, Wisconsin, 9/10) as “members of the State Department crowd who are responsible for the disaster for America and success for Russia in the Pacific.”

Endorsing his efforts with enthusiasm, the VFW, Guy Gabrielson, Republican national chairman, and the Military Order of the Purple Heart were loud in their praise of his “performance of outstanding service to his fellow Americans” (Order of the Purple Heart).

Others concentrated their attention on the Department, calling for a “purge”.

“Although the great bulk of employees in the State Department are loyal Americans,” said George Minot (Boston Herald), “there are too many who are sympathetic to Russia’s ambitions.” Of similar mind, Sen. Wherry, American Legion Commander George N. Craig, George Sokolsky and the McCormick press have from time to time voiced this theme. Carlisle Bargeron (Commercial and Financial Chronicle) declared: “If the State Department’s position does not bear out the Republican charge that it is infiltrated with Communist sympathizers, it does seem to prove that the Department is dominated by a some sort of out of this world idealism such as that held by the fuzzy intellectuals of Americans for Democratic Action.”

Criticism of McCarthy

The Senator has been the subject of some editorial derision because of his complaint that the press was giving “inadequate” attention to his campaign (e.g., Chicago Sun-Times, N.Y. Post, New Republic). For the most part, however, commentators appear to regard the Senator’s campaign as a “dead issue”. Delegates to the Wisconsin State Federation of Labor called upon him to make good his promise to resign. Sen. McCarthy has “confused our people and undermined national unity in time of international crisis … has seriously jeopardized and undermined the position of leadership which this nation holds among the freedom-loving peoples of this world, thus giving aid and comfort to the enemies of our country”, their resolution stated.

Service Case

A few of the Department’s severest critics commented editorially on Bert Andrews’ story that Mr. Service has not been officially cleared by the Loyalty Board, but this represented a very small segment of opinion. “Somebody in an important position lied last June 27” when “authoritative sources” revealed that the State Department Loyalty Board “had cleared John S. Service”, said the Omaha World-Herald. The Detroit Free Press (Knight) and Henry J. Taylor [Page 1400] (ABC) also made similar points, the former asking: “Who were the ‘authoritative sources’ who lied in the first place? Why did the State Department let the lie go uncorrected until a member of the press discovered the truth? What else is it covering up?”


“The white-washing of the Amerasia case has not ended that story, which is a shameful mixture of cheap politics, indecision and fear of what might come out,” Louis Bromfield (Kansas City Star) charged, and similar complaints have been made by the Dallas News, George Sokolsky (McCormick press), Wash. Times-Herald, Frederick Woltman and Victor Lasky in an article for American Mercury, and William Henry Chamberlin (Wall St Journal). The VFW has requested an “immediate, full Senatorial investigation of the Amerasia case”, and it is generally anticipated that “some day” the whole story of Amerasia, “with all its sordid details, will be told to the American people.” The Tydings “white-wash”, said the Woltman–Lasky article, can only “delay that day of reckoning”.

  1. For documentation on the outbreak of the Korean war in late June of 1950, see Foreign Relations, 1950, volume vii.