DECEMBER 22, 1954
NEW YORK—I think we should become more concerned with the manner in which Congressional investigations are carried on. I say this in the light of the report on the nation's tax-exempt foundations, which was made by a special House committee headed by B. Carroll Reece, Republican of Tennessee.
Chairman Reece had decided before he started the investigation just what he was going to find. He stated on the floor of the House that behind such foundations "lies the story of how communism and socialism are financed in the United States."
He then proceeded to call only anti-foundation witnesses, and the representatives of the foundations were never allowed to testify. His staff, which had been carefully chosen because of its bias, was then allowed to draw up "certain findings" and these "findings," of course, reflect Mr. Reece's previously announced opinion.
The foundations were allowed to submit written statements, though the committee has so far refused to publish them. The committee said this was a fair way of appearing before it and congratulated themselves for having saved the foundation representatives the embarrassment of cross-examination.
Americans have a right to be heard in their own behalf, and again this Congressional type of investigation seems to have violated basic American rights.
Of course, it is wonderful to have the power to hold an investigation in the way you want to hold it, to show what you want to show, and then to denounce people who have been trying, through the foundations, to do valuable service to America.
Naturally, the foundations may not always have done the right thing. In any organization there may turn up some people with ideas which you had not realized they had, but those things used to be corrected in the normal way and no one ever felt that people or groups or even foundations were subversive because they occasionally were wrong.