This episode is from the WNYC archives. It may contain language which is no longer politically or socially appropriate.
Gabe Pressman hosts.
Rep. Emanuel Celler answers questions from a panel of college newspaper editors.
Panelists: Martin Birmingham of the Washington Square Bulletin, Fred Goldsweig of the Heights Daily News of NYU, Andrew Meisels of the City College Observation Post, and Ursula Mahoney of the Hunter College Arrow.
His resolution regarding McCarthy's investigations in to communist spies, which sets him up above the law. He urges an investigation. "In the name of uncovering a communist conspiracy, he threatens the stability of our government." His views on congressional committees. Critique of the president: he takes the middle road, tries to appease McCarthy. Reaction to McCarthy's comment that the Truman administration coddled communists. Indochina. Communist threat in our own hemisphere. We should have fireside chats like with Roosevelt.
Audio courtesy of the NYC Municipal Archives WNYC Collection
WNYC archives id: 71950
Municipal archives id: LT2833
This is a machine-generated transcript. Text is unformatted and may contain errors.
Congressman Selim do you think the power of congressional committee should be preserved do you believe any good can come of the on the McCarthy hearings does the Eisenhower administration have an effective foreign policy you think American troops will have to be sent to Indochina I'm going down for the answers to these and other questions listen out of a W N Y C campus press conference or transcribe program in which college editors interview persons in the news and here now to introduce his panel of college editors as Gabriel Pressman staff writer for The World Telegram and sun that afternoon and welcome to another edition of campus press conference our guest today is representative a manual cell or Democrat of Brooklyn and here to interview Mr seller of the editors and representatives of four college newspapers Martin Birmingham of the Washington Square college bulletin Fred gold Why give the heights Daily News at New York University Andrew my jells of the City College observation post and Ursula Mahoney of the Hunter College. And now Congressman Sello the first question from Andrew myself Congressman steller I understand if you are currently proposing their resolution concerning Senator McCarthy methods in his hunt for communists or would you please tell us what this resolution is about. Well in the preamble of the statement I gave accompanying the resolution which in a way provides for the investigation by the attorney general of the so-called vice testing system set up by Senator McCarthy I said that Senator McCarthy and his action is generally headed for considered a national scandal is now become a national danger because in the name of uncovering a Communist conspiracy. He threaten his disability of our government because he would set him a shop up above the law or he would be the judge and the jury and the hangman all on one knee challenges and defies constituted authority he has practices are an invitation to on a key he shouts defiance to the president A says boastfully says he will continue his illegal practices and those practices are illegal because. Title eighteen of the United States criminal called provides that if any employee of the government imparts to anyone authorized to sit receive same secret documents and classified information he shall be given you a violation of law and the receiver of such information you guys unqualified is likewise guilty so in my book Senator McCarthy stands condemned of a crime upon his own admission but what is your resolution propose Congress not a resolution or investigate the Senate or does it advise a proposed solution urges upon the attorney general to ferret out all a so called spies and farmers and the various executive branches of the government so that they can not only be killers but condemned violation of the code that I've indicated So in other words it's a resolution urging the Justice Department to take action right and I represented so I would just. Now how would you advise the attorney general to go about ferreting out the in-form welly attorney general to the F.B.I. and the F.B.I. is under the jurisdiction of the attorney general and out only has considerable information consigning the name mission the whereabouts of a show called informers the F.B.I. is schooled in this kind of work and a very apt and ferreting out those types of violators of the law or I don't think the attorney general would have very much trouble at all in investigating the show caused by backers of McCarthy feel that despite his methods he's doing a good job of weeding communist out of our government how do you feel like that's just nonsense. I feel as most of us do that we should track down communists but we shouldn't use the weapons of communists. Press and Eisenhower yesterday and is at his press conference indicated the great number of communists that have been convicted and the many more who will be converted as a result of the activities of the F.B.I. and the Department of Justice the appropriate and proper authorities to curb and to arrest and convict the communists. Are the F.B.I. and the enforcement agencies of government and not immersed in McCarthy He has been elected as a senator to devise lazing means by which we can set up good laws and he is not a persecutor he is not a judge is not a jury as I said before is not a hangman he wants to be all and one I said to go up the F.B.I. since you play so much faith in the federal law agencies I do think that in general the power of congressional committee should because. Congressional committees. A very excellent purpose in the investigations for the purposes of devising new laws better laws. Of course you can provide for all manner and kinds of breaks to con use a patient power by Chairman of committee you can set up a joint committee for example on subversive activities you can set forth a code of sad play code of procedure to govern the members but when you have a demagogue then upon our getting to themselves inordinate power like a Mr McCarthy and all of Cody's under the sun wouldn't help very much there's only one way by which McCarthy can be can can because Ed and that is to cut him down to size that can be done and one of two ways it can be done by the Senate the Senate has a right. To determine the fitness of its sound members to good time and whether their conduct as good or bad I can sense your Him they can pull him out tomorrow as chairman of the committee over which he presides but the apparently the Senate controlled by the Republicans who are members of his own party ellos to take such drastic action as another way by which he could be cut down to size and that is to have the president deliver the president makes many characterizations which are very gentle on the nature he's never even once mentioned McCarthy on the score that he doesn't want to indulge in personalities like I heard on many com Many presidents have been have not been allowed to indulge in personalities can you imagine a Teddy Roosevelt acting the way the president is or Franklin D. Roosevelt or Harry S. Truman I know they go. In there and I'm sure I am bang that fellow a show as to develop a public opinion against him and develop an opinion among the members of the Senate and that they would be outraged and they would take appropriate action as I said before to cut him down to size zero or do you think that the president is greatly a cloak for not that I don't know what's actively Yes or he's he's only accurate in a very mild way he's acted too late he's always sought to appease him the president always assumes a middle course that he doesn't want to get involved but you know most of the accidents happen in the middle of the road and the difficulty is that he's trying to appease this man and his party is trying to appease him there are no rhyming couplets peas or rascal a few Well he was and is a rascals. And he's done a peaceable is McCarthy happening here they're reaping a whirlwind that is the Republic of Republican is the splitting of clear down through their ranks as the because of their attempt to coddle him and to please him only a few moments ago. We were told that they were going to use him as the Republican National Committee would he use them in my eyes no districts where there would be elections this fall and where the victor Pret president comment has only won by a slight margin Just ahead I don't have that anymore but I certainly thought that the Grammy have been trying to get a question in edgewise I want to know if the Democrats have done I think I asked him in the Senate didn't they vote for instance appropriations for his committee continuing. Well that's a very interesting question you must remember that the appropriations of the voted for the committee not for McCarthy supposed because something happened in the conference somebody else would be chairman of the committee I don't mean to insinuate. Anything in that you can admit but it's possible you think that was there was I know you know anything to look I know what apology were Ellen another gem would be then somebody else would become Chairman I believe constituted committee most recent pointed by the members of the Senate of the house but I'll say this last year when the appropriations for the value committee came before the house I voted against it. This year I was on flesh in the chamber because of that I was not in the chamber when the appropriation bill came up but I was paired against it otherwise I take a different position I will not support committees presided over by a bell in type like Jenner on the car I think because they have written rush on over the rights of witnesses appearing before them they have outraged decency they have insulted officials they have browbeaten witnesses they have. They have published accusations in advance or hearings not based on facts but based on innuendo and specially and deny the right of confrontation of witnesses they have even gone so far at times to deny the right a constant counsel Why do you not have I cross examination for those reasons I wouldn't vote and I will not in the future vote for the continuation of appropriations for any such communities my view why is not a point of view why do you think the Democrats in the Senate haven't voted that way or done anything effective to silence because as I said some members of our house and senate feel that they're Democrats or Republicans that they must support a committee that's doing constituted because as I said there are those committees are continuing committees and the chairman can't be there forever another chairman may take his place and if no appropriations were made in the committee would go to seed do you think possibly some Democrats feel that he's a good political issue have McCarthy around in their. In a negative way I mean yes like I have never heard that that's a new angle maybe there was something to that and certainly is he doing his level best directly or indirectly wittingly or unwittingly despite the Republican Party and way on the Democratic side I guess laughing in glee. This was so it does make the comment on the McCarthy hearings on doing anything to cut McCarthy now the size of what it all why I think it I think those hearings have indeed shown him up. His exhibitionist have branded him as one cool certainly is not mild mannered and surely one doesn't brand him as one who is respects the minute ease of life is a clear indication to him that upon the slightest impose he would do under all into rowdyism and but to Bray she mentions her so that I don't think the exhibition that we have now is read down into the advantage of Mr McCarthy and one would watch whatever represent carbon out of style are getting back to your criticism before President not you said one of the choices for cutting down the carpet to size was probably President to get up and say a few things about him well when a president says that there are demagogues loose and the country is there any doubt in your mind that he means McCarthy Why did you name him McCarthy It might say homey. Well you could you would certainly agree that he could mean no one else but McCartney name and there's a lot of name one thing is obvious it isn't so I mean I think the president is acting bludgeoning him over the head and you say you know I think he goes far enough for trying to lower your voice Mr Mr Goelz like what I've heard I don't think the president has gone far enough in that regard and beyond that I think there's an executive order still in existence which is in order to all executive branches of the government to give every aid and comfort to that committee if I were the president I can so I don't want to force the West I wouldn't give many aid and comfort whatsoever for example the joint you know they are almost at our committee which is what years McCarthy McCarthy for example was able to secure the income tax what kind of straw man so Eisenhower's own assistant secretary of defense on the basis of Eisenhower's own order what right did McCarthy Have to the income tax return upon which he bases outrageous untrue charges against rule pencil but these are dropping these charges were they were not dropped McCarthy says and he doesn't draw the charges out of committee said that they would not consider the charges drilled and so now is asking that the charges be heard are you feeling that the Eisenhower administration is coddling the coffee Now what do you think about the size of the Truman administration Cottle communist Well I think that's just nonsense. Yes balderdash from the Truman administration never Conlin you communist if you indeed ministration the Jesters desirous or weeding out communists or because he wanted but he didn't they did it quietly did it through the F.B.I. The F.B.I. and the Truman administration recognizes the appropriate agencies to do just that that is the Department of Justice who brought the charges against the phrase twelve Communists where you are accused and convicted that was in the high was in the Truman administration Mr Carter is claiming credit for that I believe when he claimed he credit for everything on the waterfront I'm happy to read the brash young man he is what your call an infant prodigy he probably going to get over being a prodigy being had to get over being an infant you'll say that about a fellow Democrat. I missed my Aunt Isabella had a Democrat I'd wait him out of the party and for a minute before I Congressman you said there are two choices open for trading with McCarthy however and I get it getting down to it realistically hasn't a copy really been cut down to size and this hearing it isn't just the best procedure to expose him before the television cameras. Which he likes by the way and let the American people really see what he does and how he operates within that so-called legislative framework Well from a political angle I would certainly agree with the deal but. There are savings to having very serious repercussions of fraud and they are indeed lowering our prestige you're broke and in that in that sense I would say that there were various and hasn't they're not doing too much good and it's not very meeting proper to see Bush was like Stevens being called a liar you know stripling my cone. Saying that Adam is counsel is a liar and that there are coffee because Welch a liar. Is not stooping pretty low and that they're sort of washing our dirty linen in public to our far neighbors but you're not chastising us to come because he's young after all this is a college press conference and I want your name out already I have great respect for you as well as age to act appropriately and properly reading about foreign relations what would you say of of of the Eisenhower foreign policy Well I would say are the policies in that regard of this administration is to have no policy why so ever I'd like to ask the avera