The FBI Bulletin’s “Sex-Fused Imagination”

Click to view the entire Bulletin

Dr. James M. Reinhardt’s obituary tells us that the nationally-renowned criminologist was a “personal friend of the late J. Edgar Hoover.” That may have had something to do with his gigs as a guest lecturer at the FBI’s National Academy in Washington, D.C. Reinhardt’s home base was in Lincoln, Nebraska, where he taught criminology and sociology at the University of Nebraska.

Much of his work was in high profile murder cases. But with the sex crime panic in full swing, Reinhardt adopted the mantle of a sex crime expert and published this article in the February 1950 issue of the FBI Law Enforcement Bulletin. I would imagine that it gives us a good idea as to what he taught the nation’s best police detectives and state and federal investigators. An abridged version of the article appears below. You can read the entire article here.


The Sex Pervert

by DR. JAMES M. REINHARDT, Department of Sociology and Anthropology, University of Nebraska

…The unique personality traits of the potentially most dangerous types of sex perverts do not ordinarily stand open to the world. The simple exhibitionist, nuisance that he is, invariably attracts attention, while the lust murderer may slip through the crowd undetected. The feminism of the “passive” homosexual male arouses quick resentment and he is avoided by the normal male. Oftentimes, the far more dangerous “aggressive” homosexual works out his designs on young boys in the community while moving with innocent appearance among respectable people.

Even where sexually perverted individuals exhibit similar tendencies, they may differ widely in the ways to which these perverse cravings dominate the personality. Satyriasis, or even a mildly sex dominated hyperaesthesia may produce a Don Juan or a rapist. Moreover, the life histories of sex perverts, even of the same general “type,” do not always follow a common pattern. There are marked differences in the environmental and hereditary backgrounds as in the behavior of homosexuals, exhibitionists, and sadimasochists [sic] of all degrees. Nevertheless, perversion of whatever sort tends to generate new desires through a sex-fused imagination, until the individual becomes absorbed by his own perversions and can find only partial, or no satisfactions in other directions.

It is important to recognize that not all individual who engage in sexual perversions are “true” sex perverts. Very often men — and sometimes women — with low moral standards, and with exaggerated lustful dispositions will satisfy their sexual passions in whatever ways that are available. Such person, removed from restricted circumstance, will engage in normal sexuality; whereas the “true” sex pervert can find sexual gratification only in a perverted manner regardless of the circumstance. The more degenerate and brutish the perverted nature, the more it tends to dominate the whole personality. Some cases of sexual parapathy with a sadistic tinge employ an outward show of excessive kindness in the beginning approaches and turn toward brutalities as the object is won over or in the face of resistance.

The disposition of the sexually perverted individual may not tell us to what ends he will go to satisfy his lustful craving, but it may reveal the nature and direction of the perversion itself. In other words, we do not have to wait until a ex murder is committed to know that a potential sex murderer is in the field. Certain warning traits of personality are there if society is organized to be on the “look-out” for them.

Perversions are not necessarily associated with other offenses though perverts are often guilty of a variety of crimes. This is so partly because the degenerative processes predispose the individual to other criminalities, and also, the perversions push the individual into criminal situations.

Four major types of perversion give society the most concern. They are homosexuality, exhibitionism, pedophilia (perverted sex interest in children), and sadi-masochism [sic]. Rape and other serious offenses may be due to such abnormalities as satyriasis or nymphomania (women). Sex perversions are not mutually exclusive and it is this fact which complicates the problem of control. As for instance, when a homosexual manifestation is coupled with a strong sadistic compulsion.

The homosexual is distinguishable not alone by a marked attraction toward members of his own sex, but by a sexual aversion to persons of the opposite sex. There are many varieties of homosexuals, but for the most part these may be classified according to two personality types: the “passive” and the “aggressive.”

The “passive” homosexual male exhibits a decided feminine manner in his language, dress and walk. He is the least dangerous of all homosexuals because he is easily distinguishable and because he is retiring and ordinarily satisfied with one “lover.” The “aggressive type” in the male, on the other hand, may show strong masculine characteristics, is more difficult to discern, is more brutal in his designs. He often preys on young boys, and may have wealth and “family background” at his disposal. The female homosexuals show the same two types but usually in less exaggerated form.

The unsatisfactory social and sexual relations of the homosexual often tend to bring about rapid psychological and moral degeneration, which contribute to various forms of criminality, alcoholism, and other escapes.

The belief held by some people that all sex perverts are suffering from a sex psychopathy is, in my opinion, erroneous. The psychopathic personality, whether he is driven by sex cravings, is a blundering, irresponsible individual, and where the psychopathy has progressed, this applies to the whole range of his personality. Such a person is no more responsible and calculating in his sex conduct than in other phases of his behavior. A characteristic of the psychopath is irresponsibility in his language and his behavior. He is devoid of a fixed purpose in life, and is unable to follow or really to develop a plan of action. He seems “… always to be stumbling along without direction along the road to self-destruction,” and is unable to do anything about it. If sex gets in his way, he uses it with no regard for the stimulating object, or no consideration of the consequences. Such a one is often called a sexual psychopath. From my point of view, a “true” sexual psychopath is pulled irresistibly in the direction of pervertive sexual behavior. His whole life pattern of stupidity and degeneracy is colored by his sexually perverted nature.

On the other hand, many sex perverts, even those with brutality tendencies, are able to carry on for a considerable time without revealing openly their sexual abnormalities. They do for a time, at least, exercise judgment, hold jobs, and show some consideration for the loyalties of other people. While this lasts, such individuals could hardly be called sexual psychopaths.

It is my contention that any form of sex perversion tends to bring about the degeneration of the personality of the pervert. The sex pervert operates alone. His victims are innocent and helpless people, often mere infants or children. The sex craving of the pervert commands the whole personality. He heeds no warnings and is insensitive to consequences. The pervert who has reached the compulsive, sadistic level finds overwhelming delights in the infliction of cruel sufferings and death. The bank robber, embezzler, the forger, even the hired murderer, hopes to enhance his social security and prestige with the fruits of his crime. Not so the perverted sex criminal. His fiendish craving is devoid of any social “link.” He is the most sordidly selfish of all criminals and inherently the most intolerable.


Epilogue:

In other writings by him and about him, Dr. Reinhardt appears quite progressive. For example, in 1945 he joined forces with the Lincoln, Nebraska, Urban League, a local civil rights organization headed by Clyde Malone, to oppose efforts to block FHA housing for African-Americans on Lincoln’s north side. When residents circulated a petition against the housing project, Reinhardt pointed out that the prospective residents, as U.S. citizens, were guaranteed equal rights under the constitution. That, he said, made this petition “a strange request in a democratic community.”

When Malone died in 1951, Reinhardt wrote a letter to the local newspapers about his old friend’s passing. “Rarely have I seen, in this city, a funeral attended by so many loving and sorrowful friends. They came from all walks of life… unable to find seating room in the church sanctuary or basement, stood reverently throughout the funeral service, which lasted two hours. … The faithful heart of Clyde Malone has found a resting place beyond the reach of human prejudices. No more will doors be closed to him, nor seats be denied him, because of the color of his skin. The people of Lincoln have bowed reverently over his grave. Now what?”

A dozen years later, following President John F. Kennedy’s assassination, Reinhardt expressed his alarm at a new kind of political hatred he saw rising in the country. “If you don’t agree with a person, call him a Communist and people will hate him,” he told a reporter. “The trend has been to make a Communist out of everybody you disagree with.” He recalled the McCarthy hearings: “I saw respected doctors, scientists and professors called communists during those hearings. What’s worse, people believed the unfounded charges because they wanted to. It was a growing feeling of hate toward something and McCarthy gave them something to hate.”

And yet, Reinhardt wasn’t entirely ahead of his time. He still had prejudices where LGBT people were concerned. And like most “experts” of his day, his “data” amounted to little more than recasting common bigotries in scientific language.

In 1957, Reinhardt revisited his FBI Law Enforcement Bulletin article for his book, Sex Perversions and Sex Crimes. Here he acknowledged that half of the forty cases he had “examined in detail” up to that point were “referred to me by police, district criminal courts, and district attorneys.” Many of them “were at the time serving sentences in reformatories or penitentiaries for crimes quite removed from sex” Based on that sample, he wrote this:

Again, my cases tend to confirm the belief that most, but not all, sexual perverts suffer a great deal from a keen sense of inadequacy. The reason, however, I am convinced, lies not primarily in the nature of the perverts anomalous sexuality per se but rather in the cultural role assigned the pervert in the social order, and in his interpretation of that role.

After seven years’ passage, he now saw “perverts” as having low self-esteem, which he traced to society’s opinion of them. That’s progress, I suppose.

One chapter of his 1957 book appears to have been a genuine attempt to understand gay people from as dispassionate a viewpoint as he could muster. His third chapter studied gay people in “what may be called a ‘natural setting'” — a private gay club set up in someone’s home, presumably somewhere in Lincoln. Reinhardt sought out two gay University of Nebraska students to guide him — his “interpreters,” he called them. He also provided a very interesting “‘gay’ glossary,” obviously with the help of his two interpreters.

And yet, his observations did little to change his biases against LGBT people. At best, he softened a few of the rougher edges of his more extreme prejudices, making them appear more nuanced and “reasonable.” More common were passages like this:

The plea for compassionate understanding and tolerance so often made by homosexuals on the ground that one’s own brother, daughter, sister, or son may become a homosexual loses force when one realizes that, as in crime and tuberculosis, the statistical chances that one’s own brother or son bay become a homosexual increases with the number of homosexuals in the community. The dangers are further multiplied if, as is shown, a considerable portion of homosexuals in any large community are preoccupied with attempts to convert young boys to homosexuality.

So what does that tell us? For one thing, it says that sensitivities to prejudices in one realm doesn’t necessarily translate to other realms. It also tells us that for some people — even for those who are very aware of the nature and operation of bigotry — their own entrenched prejudices will nevertheless remain impervious to contrary evidence.

Reinhardt continued teaching at the University of Nebraska until he retired in 1963. He died on April 23, 1974. His obituary mentions that, among other honors, he was given the Unitarian Fellowship for Social Justice Award. A graduate student research fellowship in criminology and delinquency has been established in his name.

On the Timeline:

This Story:

Feb 1950: The FBI’s monthly Bulletin indulges its “sex-fused imagination.”

Next:

Feb 20, 1950: McCarthy links homosexuality and Communism.

Feb 28, 1950: The State Department reports dismissing 91 homosexuals.

Mar 14, 1950: McCarthy names five “bad security risks,” including one homosexual.

Periscope:

For February, 1950:
President: Harry S. Truman (D)
Vice-President: Alben W. Barkley (D)
House: 263 (D) 167 (R) 2 (Other) 3 (Vacant)
Southern states: 103 (D) 2 (R)
Senate: 54 (D) 42 (R)
Southern states: 22 (D)
GDP growth: 7.3 % (Annual)
3.0 % (Quarterly)
Fed discount rate: 1½ %
Inflation: -1.3 %
Unemployment: 6.4 %

Headlines: The Soviet Union and the People’s Republic of China sign a mutual defense treaty. Secretary of State Dean Acheson defends his loyalty to the U.S. and his support for Alger Hiss. The Regents of the University of California vote 12-6 to require all employees in the university system to sign a loyalty oath disavowing support for Communism. Two Klansmen are arrested for killing a retired storekeeper near Birmingham, Alabama. A month-long strike by coal miners brings supplies to the nation’s homes, schools, hospitals, factories and railroads to dangerously low levels.

In the record stores: “Chattanoogie Shoe Shine Boy” by Red Foley, “Music! Music! Music! (Put Another Nickel In)” by Teresa Brewer and the Dixieland All-Stars, “Rag Mop” by the Ames Brothers, “There’s No Tomorrow,” by Tony Martin, “The Cry of the Wild Goose” by Frankie Lane, “Dear Hearts and Gentle People” by Bing Crosby, “I Can Dream, Can’t I?” by the Andrew Sisters, “I Said My Pajamas” by Tony Martin and Fran Warren, “It Isn’t Fair” by Don Cornell and the Sammy Kaye Orchestra, “Rag Mop” by Lionel Hampton and his Orchestra.

Currently in theaters: Twelve O’Clock High, starring Gregory Peck, Hugh Marlowe, Gary Merrill, and Millard Mitchell.

On the radio: Lux Radio Theater (CBS), Jack Benny Program (CBS), Edgar Bergan & Charlie McCarthy (CBS), Amos & Andy (CBS), Arthur Godfrey’s Talent Scouts (CBS), My Friend Irma (CBS), Walter Winchell’s Journal (ABC), Red Skelton Show (CBS), You Bet Your Life (NBC), Mr. Chameleon (CBS).

On television: The Lone Range (ABC), Toast of the Town/Ed Sullivan (CBS), Studio One (CBS), Captain Video and his Video Rangers (DuMont), Kraft Television Theater (NBC), The Goldbergs (CBS), Arthur Godfrey’s Talent Scouts (CBS), Candid Camera (NBC), Texaco Star Theater/Milton Berle (NBC), Hopalong Cassidy (NBC), Cavalcade of Stars/Jackie Gleason (DuMont), Meet the Press (NBC), Roller Derby (ABC).

New York Times best sellers: Fiction: The Parasites by Daphne du Maurier, The Egyptian by Mika Waltari, The King’s Cavalier by Samual Shellabarger. Non-fiction: This I Remember by Eleanor Roosevelt, The Mature Mind by H.A. Overstreet, White Collar Zoo by Clare Barnes.

Sources:

Newspapers and magazines (in chronological order):

“Citizens protest housing project.” Lincoln Evening Journal (May 15, 1945): 4.

James M. Reinhardt. Letter to the editor: “Clyde Malone.” Lincoln Evening Journal and Nebraska State Journal (February 21, 1951): 6.

William B. Ketter/UPI. “Criminologist ponders roots of tragedies at Dallas.” Lincoln Star (November 27, 1963): 14.

“Dr. Reinhardt, noted criminologist, dies.” Lincoln Evening Journal (April 23, 1974): 29.

“James Reinhardt, criminologist, dies.”  Lincoln Star (April 24, 1974): 5.

Government documents:

James M. Reinhardt. “The Sex Pervert.” FBI Law Enforcement Bulletin 19, no. 2 (February 1950): 2-4. Available online here.

Books:

James M. Reinhardt. Sex Perversions and Sex Crimes. A monograph in the Police Science Series, V.A. Leonard, Ed. (Springfield, IL: Charles C. Thomas, 1957). Available online here.

“Something Twisted Mentally”: McCarthy Links “Flagrantly Homosexuals” to Communism

Click to download the text of McCarthy’s floor speech of February 20 (PDF/11.9MB)

Joseph McCarthy, Wisconsin’s junior Senator started out as a most unremarkable figure.  He was dubbed the “Pepsi-Cola Kid” when it came out that he benefitted from a $20,000 personal loan from the CEO while he was pushing to eliminate prices controls on sugar. He lobbied to commute the death sentences of several Waffen-SS war criminals, saying they didn’t get a fair trial. Fellow Senators avoided him. They were put off by his explosive temper and impatience. In 1949, the Senate press pool voted him “the worst U.S. Senator.”

But he was a popular speaker. Clubs, civic groups and political organizations lined up to book him for their banquets and meetings.

One such group was the Republic Women’s Club of Wheeling, West Virginia. That’s where, on February 9, 1950, he gave the speech that changed the course of his career. Towards the end of his speech in which he catalogued all that was wrong with America, he famously held up that mysterious piece of paper and said, “While I cannot take the time to name all of the men in the State Department who have been named as members of the Communist Party and members of a spy ring, I have here in my hand a list of 205 — a list of names that were known to the Secretary of State, and who, nevertheless, are still working and shaping the policy in the State Department.”

The next day, a Salt Lake City radio station aired a prerecorded interview. Listeners heard McCarthy say that he had the names of 57 card-carrying Communists at the State Department. The day after that, he released a letter that he had sent to President Truman asking why the State Department had discharged only 80 of 300 employees “certified” as security risks. Every time he raised the subject, his numbers kept changing. But he revealed his partisan motives when he demanded that Truman order the State Department to turn their personnel records over to him. “Failure on your part,” he wrote, “will label the Democratic party as being the bed-fellow of international communism.”

McCarthy was no longer that forgotten, unremarkable figure. He now had a sensational cause that was guaranteed to make front page headlines. And his party had an issue that might finally dislodge the Democrats from their seventeen-year lock on power.

McCarthy’s charges were long in rhetoric. But they were short in details and devoid of names. The State Department’s Undersecretary of State John E. Peurifoy was responsible for administration, including employent and security. He publicly challenged McCarthy to provide the department with his list of names. In a telegram to McCarthy, Peurifoy said, “As a loyal American you owe it to your country to inform the officials responsible for any such characters existing in the government.”

McCarthy refused, but on February 20, he held court on the floor of the Senate for five and a half hours as he read out details of 81 people he said were “security risks” at the State Department. Again, several Senators challenged him to provide names, and again McCarthy refused. Senate Majority Leader Scott W. Lucas (D-IL) interrupted McCarthy several times. Their arguments grew so acrimonious that McCarthy finally demanded a quorum call in the nearly empty chamber. After about thirty-five minutes, the sergeant-at-arms was able to round up fifteen more Senators to form a quorum. McCarthy resumed speaking, and held the Senate hostage until almost midnight.

Among those McCarthy accused, one was, supposedly, “one of our foreign ministers.” Another allegedly was a top official at the Voice of America. And another was Truman’s speechwriter. “I am doing President Truman a favor by telling him this,” said McCarthy. “He wouldn’t have this individual there if he knew it.”

Two of the eighty-one cases McCarthy weren’t particularly noteworthy at time. Case 14 and Case 62 escaped the press’s attention. But they are interesting to us today because they show how easily his Red Scare can color shift to Lavender. Case 14 came up just a before the quorum call:

Case No. 14. This is a case of pressure from a high State Department official to obtain security clearance for an individual with a bad background from the standpoint of security. He was appointed in December 1945 as a translator in the State Department.

This is an interesting case showing the extent to which some of their superior officers will go when they find that some of these very unusual individuals are going to lose their jobs. He was appointed in December 1945 as a translator in the State Department. A report from another Government investigating agency under date of January 9, 1946, advised that the subject should be dismissed as a bad security risk because he was flagrantly homosexual. He had extremely close connections with other individuals with the same tendencies, and who were active members of Communist front organizations, including the Young Communist League.

I think this is interesting, Mr. President. I asked one of our top intelligence men in Washington, one day, “Why do you find men who are so fanatically Communist? Is there something about the Communist philosophy that attracts them?”

He said, “Senator McCarthy, if you had been in this work as long as we have been, you would realize that there is something wrong with each one of these individuals. You will find that practically every active Communist is twisted mentally or physically in some way.”

The State Department’s own security agency recommended the discharge of this employee on January 22, 1946. On February 19, 1946, this individual’s services were terminated with the State Department. Subsequently on April l, 1946, the action discharging this individual was rescinded and he was reinstated in his job in the State Department. In this case a CSA report of September 2, 1947, is replete with information covering the attempt of a high State Department official to induce several individuals who had signed affidavits reflecting adversely upon the employee to repudiate their affidavits. The file shows that that high State Department employee even went out and ·personally contacted the individuals who signed the affidavits, and asked them, “Won’t you repudiate them?”

This individual, according to the security files of the State Department, was a very close associate of active Soviet agents. As to whether he is in the State Department at this time or not, I frankly do not know, but in view of the fact that he was reinstated, I assume that he is.

After the quorum call, McCarthy resumed his speech with Case 16. (He skipped 15.) He got as far as Case 34 when the Senate went more or less into rebellion over McCarthy’s stream of innuendos, one-sided case presentations and lack of specifics. But the longer the debate went, the more it became clear to everyone that McCarthy wasn’t about to give up the floor. He would keep the body hostage under threat of another quorum call all night long if he had to.

Finally, he came to Case 62, which McCarthy conceded had nothing to do with Communism.

Case No. 62. This file is not important insofar as communistic activities are concerned, but rather is important because it sheds light on some rather unusual mental aberrations of certain individuals in the Department. In this connection, it perhaps should be mentioned that the types of individuals described in this file are regarded as bad security risks by most investigative agencies for the reason that they are rather easy blackmail victims. This file I recommend to the attention of any committee that cares to investigate it. It goes into some detail in regard to the peculiar — how can we put it –the peculiar mental twists. I was trying to handle this matter delicately. I think this will be of interest to the committee in that it gives a rather interesting picture of some rather unusual mental twists of these gentlemen who are tied up with some of the Communist organizations.

Also it is confirmation of what I believe I mentioned earlier this evening when I was talking about one of the top investigators in Washington. I said to him, “Why do you find so many people fanatic about communism? Is there something that is so inviting about it? Is there something mentally wrong?” He said, “You will find if you search deep enough that there is something mentally or physically wrong with every one of them.” There is certainly something wrong with this group. I might say that the new security officer has recommended that they get rid of all that type of individuals regardless of whether they are shown to have any communistic connection or not.

This is the link, in McCarthy’s mind, between Communism and homosexuality: you’d have to be crazy to be a Communist, and you’d have to be crazy to be a homosexual. In fairness to McCarthy, he was far from alone in creating this linkage. As far as most people were concerned, there was one problem: subversion and perversion, which in their minds was one and the same.

The rest of the first year of what became known as the Red Scare was actually devoted to a Lavender Scare. The latter scare grew, somewhat accidentally, out of the first. It peaked in 1953, and then was swiftly forgotten. Today’s history books ignore the Lavender Scare and leave the impression that only suspected Communists were hunted. But we can look back and see the obvious: two parallel scares, each reinforcing the other.

The Quest for Case 14’s Protector

Sens. Millerd Tydings (L) and Joseph McCarthy (R)

Case 14 figured in a spectacular showdown between, McCarthy and Sen. Millerd E. Tydings (D-MD), whose committee was named to investigate McCarthy’s accusations. The committee met on March 9, with McCarthy beings its star witness for much of the next two weeks. McCarthy had charged that “a high State Department official” had engaged in a cover-up to protect Case 14. Tydings began first day’s hearing by demanding to know this official’s name. “This is a very serious charge,” said Tydings, “that a high official in the State Department is tampering with the records to protect people who are charged with disloyal activities.”

McCarthy refused to answer. Instead, he insisted on going through each of the cases, in order, as he had done on the Senate floor. “I assure you we will get to it,” he said. “I have other cases documented for your information this morning.”

Sen. McCarthy before the Tydings Committee

Tydings then asked not for the man’s name, but whether McCarthy knew it. Again McCarthy refused to answer. Then Tydings asked even more simply if the man’s identity could be found connected with another of McCarthy’s 81 cases. Again, McCarthy refused to answer. Tydings tried another tack. He asked if the man’s name was anywhere in McCarthy’s records. McCarthy kept stonewalling, saying that he will get to it when he was ready to discuss Case 14. The two went back and forth for about forty minutes. McCarthy refused to budge.

McCarthy had two objectives by refusing to answer. First, he wanted to retain control of the headlines. Answering Tydings’s question would effectively shift the headlines away from what he wanted to disclose for the day. He, McCarthy, would decide whose name would show up in the newspapers, and he would control its timing for maximum impact.

The fact that McCarthy didn’t want this particular name in the papers is closely related to his second reason for stonewalling. It was Joseph A. Panuch. He had been the State Department’s Undersecretary for Administration until 1947. That’s when Gen. George Marshall became Secretary of State and brought in his team with him. Panuch moved on and became a contributor to Plain Talk, a Chicago-based anti-Communist magazine. That exposure made him something of a minor hero to the far right. Panuch later became a special advisor to Gen. Lucuis D. Clay, U.S. Military Governor of the American sector in Germany.

But McCarthy refused to reveal Panuch’s name. That’s because  McCarthy had named him — and praised him — when discussing another unrelated individual known only as Case 41. “Joe Panuch had made considerable efforts to get this man out of the State Department,” McCarthy had said. “Here is one man who had tried to do the job of housecleaning, and the ax falls.”

In other words, the un-named man who McCarthy condemned for helping Case 14 was the very same man McCarthy praised, by name, in Case 41.

Tydings already knew the name, and McCarthy knew that Tydings already knew. Tydings knew that this man was Panuch for the same reason that most other Senators knew it. McCarthy’s had simply re-arranged and renumbered the cases from a different list compiled in 1947. The so-called “Lee List,” named for House investigator Robert E. Lee, had been compiled for a House subcommittee investigating the State Department’s security procedures. The same list was also shared with three other subcommittees in what had been a Republican-controlled Congress. Four different GOP-run subcommittees looked into the list, and all of them concluded that no further actions were necessary.

By the time McCarthy got hold of the Lee List, it was 2½ years old. By then, was so well known among other legislators that Sen. Homer Ferguson (R-MI) brought his copy to the Senate chamber to read along during McCarthy’s speech. Case 14 in McCarthy’s list was actually Case 10 of the Lee List. It read:

This is a case of pressure from a high Department official to give clearance to a subject although derogatory information is available.

The subject was appointed in December 1945 as a translator for “not over a year.” He had previously been a special attorney with the Justice Department and was in the U. S. Marines for one year during World War II.

A report of another investigative agency, under date of January 9, 1940, advised that the subject has homosexual tendencies and made suicide attempts in 1936 and 1942.

A memorandum dated January 22, 1946, by Mr. Bannerman recommended terminating the subject’s services which could be done rather easily because of his appointment being of a temporary nature. He was terminated February 19, 1946, and appealed the termination.

A memorandum dated April 1, 1946, from J. A. Panuch stated that he had interviewed the subject and reviewed various affidavits and letters of reference submitted by this subject and he rescinded the termination action of February 19, 1946. A memorandum from Mr. Panuch, dated May 28, 1946, to Mr. Fred Lyon, of the Office of Controls, referred to an opinion expressed by Mr. Lyon on May 27, 1946, that the subject was an undesirable employee because of moral depravity, and requested substantiation of Lyon’s charge in writing with evidence additional to what was already in the file. Mr. Lyon’s memorandum of May 31, 1946, to Mr. Panuch pointed out that dismissal of charges against the subject was premature because —

  1. No complete CSA investigation had been made to determine the subject’s current personal conduct.
  2. No interviews were had with two witnesses who had originally reported homosexual tendencies on the part of the subject and later denied their statements in affidavits.
  3. The subject is known to have an arrest record in the District of Columbia for disorderly conduct. The facts regarding this arrest had not been checked.

Mr. Lyon pointed out that this is another case where it is necessary to either resolve all doubts in favor of the individual or the Department, and he favored the latter.

A memorandum of June 19, 1947, from the Foreign Activities Correlation Division to CSA stated information had been received from a Government security agency to the effect that the subject had been an enlisted man in the Marines and while such had shown undue interest in naval activities and had pro-German sentiments during the war. The memorandum also stated that investigation by another Government agency exposed him as a flagrant homosexual.

A CSA report of September 2. 1947. set out considerable information confirming the subject’s homosexual activities and tendencies. It also relates an interview with an attorney who originally reported the subject a homosexual to a Government agency and who subsequently on March 2, 1946, signed an affidavit contradicting his former statement. In connection with the affidavit he informed an investigator that the subject had approached him and begged him to sign a document he had written. He said he refused, but that a short time later Mr. Joseph Panuch, representing himself to be from Assistant Secretary of State Russell’s office, called him by telephone on behalf of the subject and said the subject was being ruined by statements that he had made about him. Mr. Panuch reportedly said that everyone else who had made statements against the subject’s character had retracted them and the informant was the only one holding out. Mr. Panuch then reportedly asked the informant to make an affidavit rescinding the statements made by him to another Government agency. It is noted that although Panuch said everyone else had rescinded their statements against the subject, the key witness to an incident of perversion by the subject did not sign an affidavit until March 18, 1946, whereas the informant’s affidavit was signed March 2, 1940. The CSA investigation developed quite conclusively that the subject had homosexual tendencies.

On September 12, 1947, a form memorandum from CSA to the Personnel Division stated that the subject is a homosexual.

He was still on the Department rolls as of October 29, 1947.

“The New Deal, The Fair Deal, and the Fairy Deal”

McCarthy finally submitted his list of names corresponding to his 81 cases to the Tydings Committee in March. The Tydings Committee released its report in July. Unsurprisingly, it found nothing behind any of McCarthy’s 81 charges:

We were thus confronted with the amazing spectacle of four different committees of the Eightieth Congress, which was controlled by Senator McCarthy’s own party, having considered the very same files and information which provided the predicate for the McCarthy charges — with none of these committees so much as regarding the situation as one meriting a report or citing a single State Department as disloyal.”

The two Republicans on the committee, Sens. Henry Cabot Lodge, Jr., (R-MA) and Bourke B. Hickenlooper (R-IA) refused to sign the report. Lodge’s objections are particularly noteworthy. A moderate Republican who would later fall out with McCarthy, Lodge objected to thirty-five missing pages of discussions that were omitted from the Committee’s published hearing transcripts. (They were later published in a separate thin volume.) The omitted portions included a lengthy dialogue between Lodge and Tydings in which Lodge objected to how the hearings were conducted. “I shall not attempt to characterize those methods and the tactics of leaving out of the printed text parts of the testimony and proceedings,” Lodge announced on the Senate floor. “I shall not characterize such methods, because I think they speak for themselves.”

Republicans were furious. Several of them had already criticized the Tydings committee for refusing to expand its investigations to include homosexuals in the State Department. Tydings insisted that the committee remain focused on Communists and other “disloyal” risks. In fact, neither Democrats nor Republicans saw any real difference between Communists and homosexuals, since everyone assumed that homosexuals could be easily blackmailed. And besides, as McCarthy had already said, Communists and homosexuals both shared certain “mental twists.” Tydings’s refusal to look into homosexuals in the State Department had already led Sen. William E. Jenner (R-IN), a close McCarthy ally, to call the Tydings Committee “Whitewash, Inc.” Its sole purpose, said Jenner, was to protect “the New Deal, the Fair Deal and the fairy deal administrations.”

Epilogue:

In 2007, Library of Congress archivist and historian John Earl Haynes made public McCarthy’s list and associated names. Case 14 was identified as Ernest Theodore Arndt. He had been discharged from the Marines “by reason of habits and traits of character,” but his discharge was changed to honorable “for the convenience of the government.” He was hired by the State Department as a translator in December 1945. He was dismissed on February 19, 1946 for “homosexual activities and tendencies.” The State Department re-hired him April 1, despite a police record for disorderly conduct and an FBI report that said “he was suspected of being homosexually inclined.”

Case 62 was identified as Isham W. Perkins.  He passed an FBI background check in 1940 with flying colors when the State Department hired him. But the Lee List reports that by 1947, two informants had come forward alleging that Perkins “had the reputation “among homosexuals as being homosexuals.” A third alleged that he “goes to homosexual parties, associates with homosexuals and is ‘undoubtedly homosexual.”

Perkins left the State Department job in 1948. By 1955, he was working at the Dumbarton Oaks Library, from which he retired in 1967. Perkins has been identified as the State Department librarian in Jeb and Dash: A Diary of Gay Life 1918-1945. Perkins appeared as C.C. Dasham, or Dash, in these diaries when they were edited and published by Ina Russell, the niece of Carter Newman Bealer (“Jeb Alexander”). He died in Boca Raton in 1976.

Read More:

I have extracted the text of McCarthy’s floor speech of February 20 from the Congressional Record and placed it online here (PDF/11.9MB).

On the Timeline:

Previously:

Feb 9, 1950: McCarthy tells an audience in Wheeling, WV, that he has a list of 205 Communists in the State Department.

Feb 10, 1950: McCarthy tells a Salt Lake City radio station that he has the names of 57 card-carrying Communists in the State Department.

Feb 11, 1950: McCarthy releases a letter to Truman charging that the State Department is lax in dismissing “certified” security risks.

This story:

Feb 20, 1950: McCarthy links homosexuality and Communism.

Next:

Feb 28, 1950:The State Department reports dismissing 91 homosexuals.

Mar 14, 1950: McCarthy names five “bad security risks,” including one homosexual.

Periscope:

For February 20, 1950:
President: Harry S. Truman (D)
Vice-President: Alben W. Barkley (D)
House: 262 (D) 169 (R) 2 (Other) 2 (Vacant)
Southern states: 102 (D) 2 (R) 1 (Vacant)
Senate: 54 (D) 42 (R)
Southern states: 22 (D)
GDP growth: 7.3 % (Annual)
3.0 % (Quarterly)
Fed discount rate: 1½ %
Inflation: -1.3 %
Unemployment: 6.4 %

Headlines: Coal rationing goes into effect in many parts of the country as striking miners bring reserves to critical levels. A severe cold snap in the east with single digit temperatures further strains coal supplies. Power companies institute brown-outs to conserve coal.  Miners ignore a Federal Judge’s order that they return to work.

In the record stores: “Chattanoogie Shoe Shine Boy” by Red Foley, “Music! Music! Music! (Put Another Nickel In)” by Teresa Brewer and the Dixieland All-Stars, “Rag Mop” by the Ames Brothers, “There’s No Tomorrow,” by Tony Martin, “The Cry of the Wild Goose” by Frankie Lane, “Dear Hearts and Gentle People” by Bing Crosby, “I Can Dream, Can’t I?” by the Andrew Sisters, “I Said My Pajamas” by Tony Martin and Fran Warren, “It Isn’t Fair” by Don Cornell and the Sammy Kaye Orchestra, “Rag Mop” by Lionel Hampton and his Orchestra.

Currently in theaters: The Third Man, starring Joseph Cotton, Alida Valli, Orson Welles, and Trevor Howard.

On the radio: Lux Radio Theater (CBS), Jack Benny Program (CBS), Edgar Bergan & Charlie McCarthy (CBS), Amos & Andy (CBS), Arthur Godfrey’s Talent Scouts (CBS), My Friend Irma (CBS), Walter Winchell’s Journal (ABC), (CBS), You Bet Your Life (NBC), Mr. Chameleon (CBS).

On television: The Lone Range (ABC), Toast of the Town/Ed Sullivan (CBS), Studio One (CBS), Captain Video and his Video Rangers (DuMont), Kraft Television Theater (NBC), The Goldbergs (CBS), Arthur Godfrey’s Talent Scouts (CBS), Candid Camera (NBC), Texaco Star Theater/Milton Berle (NBC), Hopalong Cassidy (NBC), Cavalcade of Stars/Jackie Gleason (DuMont), Meet the Press (NBC), Roller Derby (ABC).

New York Times best sellers: Fiction: The Parasites by Daphne du Maurier, The Egyptian by Mika Waltari, The King’s Cavalier by Samual Shellabarger. Non-fiction: This I Remember by Eleanor Roosevelt, The Mature Mind by H.A. Overstreet, White Collar Zoo by Clare Barnes.

Sources:

Newspapers (in chronological order):

“M’Carthy insists Truman ousts reds.” New York Times (February 12, 1950): 5.

Jay Walz. “Acheston aide asks ’57 Reds’ be named. New York Times (February 14, 1950): 16.

Harold B. Hinton. “M’Carthy charges spy for Russia has a high State Department post.” New York Times (February 21, 1950): 13.

“40 quarreling minutes: Mr. 14’s loyalty or lack of it embroils Tydings, McCarthy.” Washington Post (March 9, 1950): 1, 2.

William S. White. “Nazi tactics laid to M’Carthy foes.” New York Times (July 25, 1950): 1, 17.

Government documents:

“Communists in Government Service” Remarks by Sen. Joseph McCarthy given on February 20, 1950. 81st Cong., 2nd sess. Congressional Record 96 part 2: 1952-1981. Case 14 is given on page 1961. Case 62 is given on pages 1978-1979. The extracted remarks are available online here (PDF/11.9MB).

Remarks by Sen. Henry Cabot Lodge, Jr., given on July 24, 1950. 81st Cong., 2nd sess. Congressional Record 96 part 8: 10813. Available online here.

State Department Employee Loyalty Investigation. Wednesday, March 8, 1950. Hearings Before a Subcommittee of the Committee on Foreign Relations, U.S. Senate (Tydings Committee), 81st Cong., 2nd sess. part 1: 1-32. Available online here.

State Department Employee Loyalty Investigation. Wednesday, March 8, 1950. Hearings Before a Subcommittee of the Committee on Foreign Relations, U.S. Senate (Tydings Committee), 81st Cong., 2nd sess. part 2. Available online here. McCarthy’s Case 14 (Ernest Theodore Arndt) is taken from Case 10 of the “Lee List,” given on page 1777-1778.  McCarthy’s Case 62 (Isham W. Perkins) is taken from Case 73 of the “Lee List,” given on page 1796.

Books:

Genny Beemyn. A Queer Capital: A History of Gay Life in Washington, D.C. (New York: Routledge, 2015): 146-148.

Douglas M. Charles. Hoover’s War on Gays: Exposing the FBI’s “Sex Deviates” Program. (Lawrence, KS: University Press of Kansas, 2015): 81-82.

Robert Griffith. The Politics of Fear: Joseph R. McCarthy and the Senate 2nd ed. (Amherst: University of Massachusetts Press, 1987): 25-27. 30, 54-67.

The State Department 91 and the Beginning of the Lavender Scare

Undersecretary of State John E. Peurifoy

The Lavender Scare began precisely on February 28, 1950. Communists were supposed to be the day’s topic. Specifically, Sen. Joseph McCarthy’s (R-WI) allegations that the State Department was crawling with them. Just three weeks earlier, McCarthy told  the Republican Women’s Club in Wheeling, West Virginia, that he had a list of 205 Commies on the department’s payroll. The next day, he told a Salt Lake City radio station that his list had fifty-seven names in red. The day after that, he released a letter to President Truman asking why only 80 of 300 employees “certified” as loyalty and security risks were gone.

As America moved to a post-war Cold War footing, the country’s political ground was rapidly shifting. The Great Depression and the War both kept Democrats solidly in power since 1933. But since 1945’s victory in Europe and the Pacific, an Iron Curtain fell across Eastern Europe, the Soviets got the bomb, China was “lost” to the Reds, and several high-profile spy cases made headlines at home. The old worries that put Democrats in power and kept them there were gone, and new ones replaced them. Democrats had held the White House for seventeen straight years. They barely kept it in 1948 by a Dewey whisker. But now with the Cold War on, Republicans saw national security as their best hope to come along in two decades, and they went for it.

For the past two years, the State Department’s star diplomat, Alger Hiss fought charges that he was a Communist spy. He testified before the House Un-American Activities Committee and wound up being criminally charged. Not for spying, but for perjury. Few Americans appreciated the difference. Democratic luminaries lined up as character witnesses — Adlai Stevenson, Supreme Court Justices Felix Frankfurter, and Stanley Reed, and former Democratic presidential candidate John W. Davis. Truman called it a “red herring.” The first trial ended in a hung jury. Not so the second.

Hiss’s conviction in January 1950 cemented the reputation of a young California congressman by the name of Richard Nixon as a Communist fighter. McCarthy now wanted some of that action. He gave his Wheeling speech just two weeks after Hiss’s conviction. On February 20, he stood in the well of the Senate for almost six hours and read out, one by one, 81 cases of individuals he said represented loyalty and security risks at the State Department. Two of them were homosexuals.

Loyalty Risks and Security Risks

Let’s pause here and define our terms. As lawmakers and officials brought these questions up, they typically treated them as belonging to two separate topics. Loyalty risks denoted Communists and others who acted to undermine American interests or, more commonly, were suspected to belong to groups that Conservatives labeled as “Communist front” organizations — whether they really were or not. But security risks defined people who were otherwise loyal, but who were seen as not being trustworthy. The most common examples were “alcoholic, blabbermouths and sexual perverts” — the latter term meaning homosexuals. The problem, of course, is that there were no active programs to drive alcoholics and blabbermouths from government service. But it had been a longstanding practice (and policy, in many places) to immediately dismiss anyone found to be homosexual.

That practice was reinforced in 1947 when Sen. Pat McCarran (D-NV) attached an amendment to a State Department appropriations bill giving the Secretary of State “absolute discretion” to dismiss any employee in the interest of national security. The Appropriations Committee, at the same time, warned in a letter to then-Secretary George C. Marshall of a “deliberate, calculated program” to place and keep Communists in high public offices. It also warned that the effort included, “the extensive employment in highly classified positions of admitted homosexuals, who are historically known to be security risks.”

This had the effect of defining homosexuals as security risks. And in official public parlance, security risks, far more often than not, meant homosexuals. This let public officials get by with without having to utter the word homosexual directly.But by 1950, that was changing. Republicans were increasingly willing to say homosexuals when talking about employees in the Truman administration. Democrats, on the other hand, Democrats preferred to deflect that association by using security risks and other benign euphemisms.

The Lavender Scare may have started in 1950, but the purge of homosexuals had accelerated since 1947, thanks to the McCarran amendment. Undersecretary of State John Peurifoy was in charge of that program. After McCarthy began his campaign, Peurifoy denied to reporters that the State Department harbored any Communists, but he did say that 202 employees had been identified as security risks “security risks” since 1947 and had left the department. Peurifoy thought that statement would prove that the State Department had a very effective security system in place. Instead, it was like spilled blood in shark-invested waters.

“The Shady Category”

Undersecretary John E. Peurifoy and Secretary of State Dean Acheson at the Senate Appropriations Committee hearing, February 28, 1950.

Secretary of State Dean Acheson and Undersecretary Peurifoy had been called before the Senate Appropriations Committee on February 28 to to discuss the State Department’s budget — which they did for the first half-hour or so. Then the topic abruptly shifted to two other topics. Not long before, Secretary of State Dean Acheson had told reporters that he still believed Hiss was innocent. “I do not intend to turn my back on Alger Hiss,” he had said. Republican Senators pelted Acheson and Peurifoy with questions about Hiss. Those questions segued neatly into Peurifoy’s statement about the 202 “security risks.”

Sen. Styles Bridges (R-NH) did most of the grilling. He asked Acheson how many people resigned or were fired as security risks under the McCarran amendment. Peurifoy understood what Bridges was getting at and jumped in. “I might answer that, sir. In this shady category that you referred to earlier, there are 91 cases sir.”

Bridges wasn’t having it. He wanted Peurifoy to say the dreaded word. “What do you mean by “shady category”?

“We are talking about people of moral weaknesses and so forth that we have gotten rid of in the Department.”

“I see,” said Bridges.

McCarran jumped in. “Now, will you make your answer a little clearer, please?”

Peurifoy finally said it: “Most of these were homosexuals, Mr. Chairman.”

“You say that there were 91?” asked McCarran.

“Yes sir. All of them were removed.”

Epilogue:

Surprisingly, this testimony barely made a ripple in the press. The Associated Press and United Press devoted just a couple of paragraphs to it.  The Washington Post almost missed it altogether. It showed up in the very last paragraph, under a subheading “Other Points at Hearing.” The big story was still about Acheson’s comments about Hiss. One exception was a small evening paper in Los Angeles, which printed an editorial which said, in effect, Wait! What was that?

The following is a quote from an Associated Press story out of Washington, dated February 28, dealing with testimony about the State Department given before a Senate Appropriations Subcommittee:

“The Hiss matter came up after Department Undersecretary of State John E. Peurifoy had testified that in the last 2 years the Department has rid itself of 202 employees who were under security investigation.

“He said 91 of the 202 were homosexual cases, explaining that such persons are rated bad risks because they might be blackmailed by spies.”

We confess that we were more startled by that casual statement than by any other revelation that has come out of Washington in many months.  … Add to favorite swish occupations: A career in the United States State Department.

But aside from a few editorials in a couple of small newspapers, this revelation prompted very little comment. That changed dramatically in the next few weeks.

Read More:

Statistic on Homosexual Cases since January, 1947” via the National Archives.

These People Are Frightened to Death,” by Judith Adkins for Prologue magazine at the National Archives.

On the Timeline:

Previously:

Jan 25, 1950: Secretary of State Dean Acheson tells reporters, “I do not intend to turn my back on Alger Hiss.”

Feb 9, 1950: McCarthy tells an audience in Wheeling, WV, that he has a list of 205 Communists in the State Department.

Feb 10, 1950: McCarthy tells a Salt Lake City radio station that he has the names of 57 card-carrying Communists in the State Department.

Feb 11, 1950: McCarthy releases a letter to Truman charging that the State Department is lax in dismissing “certified” security risks.

Feb 13, 1950: Undersecretary of State John Peurifoy denies there are known Communists in the State Department, but says that 202 employees identified as “security risks” have left the deparment since 1947.

Feb 20, 1950: McCarthy links homosexuality and Communism.

This story:

Feb 28, 1950: The State Department reports dismissing 91 homosexuals.

Next:

Mar 14, 1950: McCarthy names five “bad security risks,” including one homosexual.

Mar 21, 1950: Columnist George E. Sokolsky says homosexuals are “advantageously stationed” in the State Department.

Mar 23, 1950: Robert C. Ruark’s column warns of homosexuals “traveling in packs.”

Mar 24, 1950: Robert C. Ruark follows up with “a drunk, a homosexual, and a flagrant fool.”

Mar 24, 1950: Westbrook Pegler says homosexuals in government weren’t a problem before FDR.

Periscope:

For February 28, 1950:
President: Harry S. Truman (D)
Vice-President: Alben W. Barkley (D)
House: 262 (D) 169 (R) 2 (Other) 2 (Vacant)
Southern states: 102 (D) 2 (R) 1 (Vacant)
Senate: 54 (D) 42 (R)
Southern states: 22 (D)
GDP growth: 7.3 % (Annual)
3.0 % (Quarterly)
Fed discount rate: 1½ %
Inflation: -1.3 %
Unemployment: 6.4 %

Headlines: Secretary of State Dean Acheson defends his loyalty to the U.S. and his remarks about Alger Hiss. Two Klansmen are arrested for killing a retired storekeeper near Birmingham, Alabama. A month-long strike by coal miners brings supplies to the nation’s homes, schools, hospitals, factories and railroads to dangerously low levels. An escaped cougar from the Oklahoma City zoo terrorizes neighborhoods for three days before being captured; twelve hours later he’s found dead in his cage.

In the record stores: “Chattanoogie Shoe Shine Boy” by Red Foley, “Music! Music! Music! (Put Another Nickel In)” by Teresa Brewer and the Dixieland All-Stars, “Rag Mop” by the Ames Brothers, “The Cry of the Wild Goose” by Frankie Lane, “There’s No Tomorrow, by Tony Martin, “Dear Hearts and Gentle People” by Bing Crosby, “I Said My Pajamas” by Tony Martin and Fran Warren, “I Can Dream, Can’t I?” by the Andrew Sisters, “It Isn’t Fair” by Don Cornell and the Sammy Kaye Orchestra, “Chattanoogie Shoe Shine Boy” by Bing Crosby with Vic Schoen & His Orchestra.

Currently in theaters: The Accused, starring Loretta Young and Robert Cummings

On the radio: Lux Radio Theater (CBS), Jack Benny Program (CBS), Edgar Bergan & Charlie McCarthy (CBS), Amos & Andy (CBS), Arthur Godfrey’s Talent Scouts (CBS), My Friend Irma (CBS), Walter Winchell’s Journal (ABC), Red Skelton Show (CBS), You Bet Your Life (NBC), Mr. Chameleon (CBS).

On television: The Lone Range (ABC), Toast of the Town/Ed Sullivan (CBS), Studio One (CBS), Captain Video and his Video Rangers (DuMont), Kraft Television Theater (NBC), The Goldbergs (CBS), Arthur Godfrey’s Talent Scouts (CBS), Candid Camera (NBC), Texaco Star Theater/Milton Berle (NBC), Hopalong Cassidy (NBC), Cavalcade of Stars/Jackie Gleason (DuMont), Meet the Press (NBC), Roller Derby (ABC).

New York Times best sellers: Fiction: The Parasites by Daphne du Maurier, The Egyptian by Mika Waltari, The King’s Cavalier by Samual Shellabarger. Non-fiction: This I Remember by Eleanor Roosevelt, The Mature Mind by H.A. Overstreet, Home Sweet Zoo by Clare Barnes.

Sources:

Newspapers (in chronological order):

Associated Press “Acheston denies favoring actions charged to Hiss.” Austin Statesman (February 28, 1950): 1.

Ferdinand Kuhn. “Denies condoning offenses, says he would not tolerate traitors in his office.” Washington Post (March 1, 1950): 1,2.

William S. White. “Never condoned disloyalty, says Acheson of Hiss stand.” New York Times (March 1, 1950): 1,2.

United Press. “Acheson denies condoning acts of Hiss ‘in any way’ The Courier-Journal (Louisville, KY, March 1, 1950): 1.

Editorial: “More Light on the State Department.” Santa Monica (CA) Evening Outlook (March 2, 1950). As reprinted in in “Extension of Remarks of Hon. Donald L. Jackson of California in the House of Representatives, March 7, 1960.” 81st Cong., 2nd sess. Congressional Record 96, pt. 14: A1745. Available online here.

Government documents:

Departments of State, Justice, Commerce and the Judiciary Appropriations for 1951. 81st Cong., 2nd sess, Hearings before the Subcommittee of the Committee on Appropriations, U.S. Senate  part 1, Tuesday, February 28, 1950: 581-639. Peurifoy’s testimony concerning the 91 security risks are on page 603. Available online here.

McCarthy Names “A Notorious Homosexual”

McCarthy speaking before the Tydings Committee, March 14, 1950.

Two months had passed since Sen. Joseph McCarthy (R-WI) began saying that he had a long list of names of Communists, Commie-sympathizers, and homosexuals in the U.S. State Departments. The numbers kept changing every time he spoke: from 205 to 57, to 220, then 81. He kept promising to hand the names over to investigators. But when the time came, McCarthy dribbled them out, a few at a time, always in public, and in ways that ensured maximum publicity — for him.

His venue now was a Senate Foreign Relations Subcommittee, tasked with investigating McCarthy’s charges. McCarthy had been its star witness for the better part of a week when, on March 14, he publicly announced four more names. He accused Gustavo Durán, a former State Department employee now at the U.N., of being a “rabid Communist.” He accused Dr. Harlow Shapely, a Harvard astronomer, of having “a long and interesting record” of membership in Communist-front organizations. He said that Frederick Schuman, an international relations professor at Williams College in Massachusetts, sponsored several “Communist front organizations in America.” And he called Far East expert John Stewart Service a “bad security risk” whose “Communist affiliations are well known.” Durán, Shapely, and Schuman were relatively unaffected by McCarthy’s charges. None of them were State Department employees. But the State Department fired Service. He spent the next eight years trying, and ultimately succeeding, in getting his job back.

McCarthy also gave a few details about a fifth person. “Because of the sordid details of this case,” he began, “I will not make public the name of this man.” (He did provide it privately.) McCarthy prefaced this set of remarks by reminding the subcommittee of State Department Undersecretary John Peurifoy’s remarks of February 28. That’s when Peurifoy told a Senate Appropriations Committee that the State Department had already dismissed 91 homosexuals since 1947. They were dismissed as “security risks” because, the thinking went, they were vulnerable to blackmail. One of them was fired, and the rest were allowed to resign. This bothered several Senators, including McCarthy, who thought they all should have been fired.

McCarthy began this latest revelation by agreeing “with the official position of the State Department; namely, that homosexuals are poor security risks.” He then went on to describe this particular “risk”:

This individual was employed in the Foreign Service and the State Department until 1948 when he resigned for reasons unknown to me. I had received information from several sources that this man was a notorious homosexual. A check of the records of the Metropolitan Police Department indicated that these reports were true. I now hand the Chair, for your executive consideration, a copy of a police report, together with a police photograph and the official biography of this individual as it appeared in the State Department Register of April, 1948.

…You will note from the police records that this man was arrested on September 8, 1943. The charge was sexual perversion and the police report states that he was known to hang out at the men’s room, at Lafayette Park in Washington.

This man is getting about $12,000 a year now (about $130,000 today).

He was charged with disorderly conduct in connection with his perverted activities. I do not have the record of the disposition of this case available, but I am informed that he was required to post collateral of $25 on this charge and forfeited collateral.

As I previously said, this man resigned from the State Department in 1948 and shortly thereafter became employed in one of the most sensitive agencies of our Government where he now holds an important and high-paying position.

On questioning, McCarthy revealed that this man was now at the CIA. McCarthy continued:

In view of this man’s criminal record, which I have just presented to the committee, and other information concerning his lack of moral fitness, I am at a loss to understand why he was allowed to resign from the State Department.

I might say, in connection with that, it seems unusual to me, in that we have so many normal people, so many competent Americans, that we must employ so many very, very unusual men in Washington. It certainly gives the country an odd idea of the type of individuals who are running things down here.

McCarthy said he thought the State Department had allowed these homosexuals to resign “so they could take over some other Government jobs.”
(In fact, Peurifoy had testified that even though those employees had resigned, the reasons they were asked to resign were still entered into their records and forwarded to the Civil Service Commission.) McCarthy continued:

As I said earlier in this statement, I do not know why the individual who is the subject of my present case was allowed to resign; but I think it is the responsibility of this committee to find out the full facts concerning his resignation.

I also believe that the committee should immediately determine how this individual was able to stay in the Department for almost 5 years after he was arrested on a morals charge in Washington, D.C.

I also think the committee should find out how he, after leaving the State Department, was able to get a top-salaried, important position in another sensitive Government agency. It should be of considerable interest to this committee to find out who sponsored this individual or who intervened in his behalf in both the State Department and his present place of employment.

Epilogue:

McCarthy gave this testimony on Tuesday morning., early enough to make the afternoon papers. Left for the following morning’s coverage would be that afternoon’s hearings before the same subcommittee, when former Judge Dorothy Kenyon answered charges that she was a Communist fellow traveler.

Dorothy Kenyon testifying before the Tydings Committee on March 14.

The week before, Kenyon had been the first person McCarthy accused by name. According to McCarthy, Kenyon, a popular women’s and civil rights activist, was a member of twenty-eight Communist front organizations. Kenyon branded McCarthy an “an unmitigated liar” and “a coward to take shelter in the cloak of Congressional immunity.”

She demanded a hearing, and her appointment was set for the afternoon of March 14, right after McCarthy’s testimony. Kenyon’s rebuttal was as meticulous as it was devastating. The audience applauded when she was done, and Sen. Bourke Hickenlooper (R-IA) apologetically said there wasn’t the slightest evidence she was eve disloyal. McCarthy himself, though, missed her performance. He decided he was needed elsewhere and was nowhere in sight. And in the days that followed, he completely lost interest in her.

On the Timeline:

Previously:

Feb 9, 1950: McCarthy tells an audience in Wheeling, WV, that he has a list of 205 Communists in the State Department.

Feb 20, 1950: McCarthy links homosexuality and Communism.

Feb 28, 1950: The State Department reports dismissing 91 homosexuals.

This story:

Mar 14, 1950: McCarthy names five “bad security risks,” including one homosexual.

Next:

 

Mar 21, 1950: Columnist George E. Sokolsky says homosexuals are “advantageously stationed” in the State Department.

Mar 23, 1950: Robert C. Ruark’s column warns of homosexuals “traveling in packs.”

Mar 24, 1950: Robert C. Ruark follows up with “a drunk, a homosexual, and a flagrant fool.”

Mar 24, 1950: Westbrook Pegler says homosexuals in government weren’t a problem before FDR.

Periscope:

For March 14, 1950:
President: Harry S. Truman (D)
Vice-President: Alben W. Barkley (D)
House: 262 (D) 169 (R) 2 (Other) 2 (Vacant)
Southern states: 102 (D) 2 (R) 1 (Vacant)
Senate: 54 (D) 42 (R)
Southern states: 22 (D)
GDP growth: 7.3 % (Annual)
3.0 % (Quarterly)
Fed discount rate: 1½ %
Inflation: -0.8 %
Unemployment: 6.4 %

Headlines: The deadline for filing Federal income tax returns is midnight tonight. McCarthy names four State Department associates as “bad security risks.” Dorothy Kenyon cites extensive record and documents to refute McCarthy’s charges. Witness before House Un-American Activities Committee accuses unions of aiding Communist propaganda. The witness also says that the Reds plan to use, then liquidate, liberals in their plan to take over America. Paul Robeson’s scheduled television appearance is cancelled after callers jam NBC’s switchboards. New York City authorizes $50,000 (about $530,000 today) for an experimental cloud-seeding program to relieve the city’s water shortage.

In the record stores: “Chattanoogie Shoe Shine Boy” by Red Foley, “Music! Music! Music! (Put Another Nickel In)” by Teresa Brewer and the Dixieland All-Stars, There’s No Tomorrow, by Tony Martin, “The Cry of the Wild Goose” by Frankie Lane, “Rag Mop” by the Ames Brothers, “I Said My Pajamas” by Tony Martin and Fran Warren, “It Isn’t Fair” by Don Cornell and the Sammy Kaye Orchestra, “Quicksilver” by Bing Crosby and the Andrew Sisters, “If I Knew You Were Coming I’d’ve Baked a Cake” by Eileen Barton. “Rag Mop” by Ralph Flanagan and his Orchestra.

Currently in theaters: Love Happy, starring the Marx Brothers. Filmed in 1948, the movie includes a small walk-on part for Marylin Monroe.

On the radio: Lux Radio Theater (CBS), Jack Benny Program (CBS), Edgar Bergan & Charlie McCarthy (CBS), Amos & Andy (CBS), Arthur Godfrey’s Talent Scouts (CBS), My Friend Irma (CBS), Walter Winchell’s Journal (ABC), Red Skelton Show (CBS), You Bet Your Life (NBC), Mr. Chameleon (CBS).

On television: The Lone Range (ABC), Toast of the Town/Ed Sullivan (CBS), Studio One (CBS), Captain Video and his Video Rangers (DuMont), Kraft Television Theater (NBC), The Goldbergs (CBS), Arthur Godfrey’s Talent Scouts (CBS), Candid Camera (NBC), Texaco Star Theater/Milton Berle (NBC), Hopalong Cassidy (NBC), Cavalcade of Stars/Jackie Gleason (DuMont), Meet the Press (NBC), Roller Derby (ABC).

New York Times best sellers: Fiction: The Parasites by Daphne du Maurier, The Egyptian by Mika Waltari, The King’s Cavalier by Samual Shellabarger. Non-fiction: The Mature Mind by H.A. Overstreet, This I Remember by Eleanor Roosevelt, Home Sweet Zoo by Clare Barnes.

Source:

State Department Employee Loyalty Investigation. Tuesday, March 14, 1950. Hearings Before a Subcommittee of the Committee on Foreign Relations, U.S. Senate (Tydings Committee), 81st Cong., 2nd sess. part 1:   109-175. Available online here. The “notorious homosexual” appears on pages 128-130.

“Homosexuals Travel In Packs”: Robert C. Ruark on Homosexuality In the State Department

Novelist and columnist Robert C. Ruark was a sort of a poor-man’s Hemingway. He was proud of his humble North Carolina roots. But he also cultivated a worldly air through his international travels and an adventurer’s reputation as an African big game hunter. From his perch at the Washington Daily News, his column went out to about 180 newspapers in the Scripps-Howard chain. He didn’t indulge in politics very much. “I’m a political eunuch,” he once said, “and I don’t evaluate myself as a heavy thinker.”

But in 1950, he was among a handful of columnists who picked up and amplified the February 28 revelation that the State Department had let go 91 homosexuals since 1947. The first major columnist to turn the revelation into a national crusade appears to have been George E. Sokolsky, whose March 21 column warned about homosexuals “accustomed to secrecy, conspiracy, lying” who are “always subject to blackmail.”

Two days after that, Ruark publish the first of two columns with his own set of warnings. Interestingly, Ruark works the “travel-in-packs” canard to asserts that all ninety-one homosexuals fired from the State Department were all hired by one man and his homosexual underlings. Rourk doesn’t say this, but the rumors floating around Washington are that this one man doing all the hiring was Sumner Welles, F.D.R’s close friend and de-facto foreign minister since Roosevelt took office in 1933. Officially, Welles was undersecretary to Cordell Hull, Roosevelt’s political appointee as Secretary of State. Hull, a Democratic Senator from Tennessee, was chosen more for his political connections to the southern wing of the Democratic party. It was Welles who had the President’s ear and who shaped American’s foreign policy, much to Hull’s anger.

That anger turned to disgust (and opportunity) when Welles made some inappropriate propositions to two Pullman porters during a political trip to Alabama. Hull tried to convince the newspapers and key Senators to open an investigation and instigate a scandal. Nobody took the bait, but Hull succeeded in forcing F.D.R. to demand his close friend’s resignation in 1940. The papers reported the resignation as the result of a power struggle between Hull and Welles, but the Washington press corps knew the whole back story. So when Ruark writes, “I know the story of the highly-placed State Department executive who crowded the lists with so many homosexuals…” — this is what he is talking about.


Let’s Spin a Yarn

Robert C. Ruark

Looks like a new point in journalism has finally been reached, at which it is possible to face the problem of homosexuality and perversion with the same honesty it too us so long to win in the case of venereal disease. Our peering into the well of loneliness is as much overdue as our realization that syphilis and gonorrhea were something more than “social” diseases, to be hushed behind the hand.

This belated appraisal of a human aberration is due to the face that our State Department, on record, has been filled with a type of humanity which is not “normal” as we construe normalcy in the broad sense, and that the list of perverted sex-crimes seems to be mounting furiously.

There is considerably more to abnormality in the sexes than a simple negation of boy-meets girl. There is a great difference between homosexuality and perversion. The homosexual in a simpler sense is less dangerous than he is irresponsible. The pervert is always potentially dangerous to the world around him, because his odd sexual leanings creep easily into vicious criminality with innocent victims.

Divergents from the sexual norm are pitiable, and in general live a life of mental and spiritual torture, full of frustration and persecution. Their residence in a minority group makes them subject to censure by the majority, and leads them to a life in shadow.

This creates a constant nervousness that pays off in panic. Most “queers” eventually acquire a tendency to hysteria, which means they blow their tops in time of stress. Since they also must hide from the world that outweighs them — since they must always mask their activities with stealth and secrecy — they’re forever open to apprehension.

A pervert fondles a child. The child cries. The creep blows his roof. He is panic-ridden and hysterically afraid of being caught. He throttles the child. A homosexual — possibly even a “happily” married one — is suddenly confronted with public awareness of his abnormal outcroppings. His position, his job, his very life is at stake. He blows his top. He has three choices. He can kill himself, kill his discoverer, or submit to blackmail.

In the loneliness that cloaks a homosexual, that places him basically apart from his fellow, his scarred soul calls out for company. So his inclination is to surround himself with his like. Homosexuals travel in packs, as do most divergents from an accepted status.

It is all well to say that a man must live his own life and in the manner which best suits him, but in government which is operated for the greatest good of the greatest number a dissenter from accepted behavior is a great liability. The drunkard, the boss who chases every stenographer, the sexual degenerate or homosexual all have a gaping chink in their behavioristic armor. This leads almost invariably to erratic action, neglect of job, and ever to blackmail. Always to blackmail.

When a man or woman is susceptible to easy blackmail, he is a tremendous risk in a position of trust. I know the story of the highly-placed State Department executive who crowded the lists with so many homosexuals that 91 resignations or firings have recently resulted. His appointees surrounded themselves with their appointees, and on down the line. What you have finally is a corroded organization which can be bribed, bullied or blackmailed in the easiest possible fashion.

Homosexuality has figured, off stage, in one of our traitorous operations. Homosexuality and similar irresponsibility has weakened us all over the world through the State Department’s calm acceptance of abnormality. A great deal of the trouble we are in, internationally, can be laid to the tolerance of that kind of weakness in a service which should be above reproach. You can say that the queer ones are pathetic and deserve a right to pursue happiness in most businesses, but you don’t need them in positions of heavy trust. I have some case histories tomorrow.

Epilogue:

The following day, Ruark published his description of traveling to North Africa in the company of State Department employees.

On the Timeline:

Previously:

Feb 20, 1950: McCarthy links homosexuality and Communism.

Feb 28, 1950: The State Department reports dismissing 91 homosexuals.

Mar 14, 1950: McCarthy names five “bad security risks,” including one homosexual.

Mar 21, 1950: Columnist George E. Sokolsky says homosexuals are “advantageously stationed” in the State Department.

This story:

Mar 23, 1950: Robert C. Ruark’s column warns of homosexuals “traveling in packs.”

Next:

Mar 24, 1950: Robert C. Ruark follows up with “a drunk, a homosexual, and a flagrant fool.”

Mar 24, 1950: Westbrook Pegler says homosexuals in government weren’t a problem before FDR.

Mar 31, 1950: Rep. Arthur L. Miller gives “the putrid facts about homosexuality.

Apr 14, 1950: Westbrook Pegler agrees that “homosexualism is worse than Communism.”

Apr 18, 1950: GOP Chairman warns of “perverts who have infiltrated our government.

Periscope:

For March 23, 1950:
President: Harry S. Truman (D)
Vice-President: Alben W. Barkley (D)
House: 262 (D) 168 (R) 2 (Other) 3 (Vacant)
Southern states: 102 (D) 2 (R) 1 (Vacant)
Senate: 54 (D) 42 (R)
Southern states: 22 (D)
GDP growth: 7.3 % (Annual)
3.0 % (Quarterly)
Fed discount rate: 1½ %
Inflation: -0.8 %
Unemployment: 6.3 %
Electrolux, for only $69.75 or $5/mo (about $740 today, or $55/mo).

Headlines for March 23, 1950: McCarthy accuses Truman of “arrogant refusal” to release State Department’s loyalty files. State Department denies McCarthy’s charges of employing a “top Russian spy”. Conditions in Southeast Asia deemed “extremely critical” because of Communist military successes in China. Peiping radio admits famine is spreading across eastern, central and southern provinces of China. Gen. Eisenhower warns that defense cuts have gone too deep. Thousands of Belgians riot over the return of King Leopold III. B-50 bomber explodes over Arizona; 12 killed, 2 parachute to safety.

In the record stores: “Chattanoogie Shoe Shine Boy” by Red Foley, “Music! Music! Music! (Put Another Nickel In)” by Teresa Brewer and the Dixieland All-Stars, “Rag Mop” by the Ames Brothers, “The Cry of the Wild Goose” by Frankie Lane, “There’s No Tomorrow, by Tony Martin, “Dear Hearts and Gentle People” by Bing Crosby, “I Said My Pajamas” by Tony Martin and Fran Warren, “I Can Dream, Can’t I?” by the Andrew Sisters, “It Isn’t Fair” by Don Cornell and the Sammy Kaye Orchestra, “Chattanoogie Shoe Shine Boy” by Bing Crosby with Vic Schoen & His Orchestra.

Currently in theaters: Walt Disney’s Cinderella.

On the radio: Lux Radio Theater (CBS), Jack Benny Program (CBS), Edgar Bergan & Charlie McCarthy (CBS), Amos & Andy (CBS), Arthur Godfrey’s Talent Scouts (CBS), My Friend Irma (CBS), Walter Winchell’s Journal (ABC), Red Skelton Show (CBS), You Bet Your Life (NBC), Mr. Chameleon (CBS).

On television: The Lone Range (ABC), Toast of the Town/Ed Sullivan (CBS), Studio One (CBS), Captain Video and his Video Rangers (DuMont), Kraft Television Theater (NBC), The Goldbergs (CBS), Arthur Godfrey’s Talent Scouts (CBS), Candid Camera (NBC), Texaco Star Theater/Milton Berle (NBC), Hopalong Cassidy (NBC), Cavalcade of Stars/Jackie Gleason (DuMont), Meet the Press (NBC), Roller Derby (ABC).

New York Times best sellers: Fiction: The Parasites by Daphne du Maurier, The Egyptian by Mika Waltari, The King’s Cavalier by Samual Shellabarger. Non-fiction: The Mature Mind by H.A. Overstreet, This I Remember by Eleanor Roosevelt, Home Sweet Zoo by Clare Barnes.

Sources:

Robert C. Ruark. Washington Daily News (March 23, 1950); as it appeared in  “Let’s Spin a Yarn.” Reading (PA) Eagle (March 23, 1950): 10.

David K. Johnson. The Lavender Scare: The Cold War Persecution of Gays and Lesbians in the Federal Government. (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2004): 65-67.

“A Drunk, a Homosexual, and a Flagrant Fool”: Robert C. Ruark On State Department Employees Abroad

On March 23, 1950, columnist Robert C. Ruark wrote what he knew about “queers” (they “eventually acquire a tendency to hysteria,” for example) and why they shouldn’t be State Department Employees (their behavior leads “ever to blackmail. Always to blackmail.”) And besides that, according to Ruark, “Homosexuals travel in packs,” which means that where you find one homosexual, you’re bound to find ninety-one. He also promised to provide “some case histories tomorrow.”

Ruark styled himself after his idol, Ernest Hemingway. His genuine love of big game hunting in Africa, and his sympathetic views of the African peoples’ struggles against their colonizing masters, helped to cultivate his image as worldly and enlightened without sacrificing his reputation as a swashbuckling adventurist. For his follow-on article, Ruark mined one of his Africa trips for his “case histories.”


I Don’t Like Drunks and Fools Representing Me

Robert C. Ruark

Some time back I got on a boat to go to Africa and found it loaded with various State Department appointees to positions of delicate trust in the Near East — the oil country on which our future rests. The boat was also loaded with the Arabs and Egyptians with whom our people must work. The Arabs and the Egyptians almost died laughing at our people.

One executive was an alcoholic. Another, a military attaché, was so flagrantly homosexual that he regaled strangers at the ship’s bar with teary tales about his inability to write his boy friend every day. Still another was so stupid that he made obvious love to an obvious floozie in the deck chairs — and him with a wife and two children aboard.

This was our delegation — a drunk, a homosexual, and a flagrant fool. All going away to work for Uncle Sam. A drunk is a pushover for any kind of blackmail or extortion. So is the homosexual. And the fool is easiest of all to handle. On any given day he leaves himself open to compromise.

When a drunk is in charge of one set of papers and a homosexual is in charge of another and the fool has reign over still another, you don’t really need spies. Any half-stupid private detective, for ten bucks a day, can catch any or all in compromise, and shake him for whatever you wish. Gimme the plots and plans or I’ll turn you in for what you are.

Later on I visited one legation that was a real beaut. The military attaché was just about charming enough to wear a hostess gown in public. The head man was married to a French woman in a place where the French are despised. Nearly everyone I met seemed to be either drunk or homosexual.

The cultural attaché was married to one of the most pathetic women I ever met. She was a violent alcoholic. She was known to have got drunkenly ill at the table at a state function. She hung around bars and picked up strangers — sailors, soldiers and the local natives. She would take off her clothes in night clubs, and dance — solo — barefooted on no provocation whatever. She wept, fought, and passed out publicly. She was a joke with whatever ship hit port.

This is pitiful. This is pathetic. But she was, to my knowledge, condoned for over two years, although the time came when she was no longer asked to state functions. But her husband hung onto his job as our public representative abroad. For all I know he is still at it, which would make a tenure of nearly four years of unabashed derision by the people we pay him to impress with our dignity.

I do not blame this poor dame, nor censure her husband, nor place any personal fault on the drunk, the fool or the homosexuals. But I sure don’t like the idea of having them represent me abroad. Especially in places that swarm with spies, intrigue, and opportunity for easy corruption. The blame is on the permission of one man to rig a whole hierarchy of misfits in the State Department, and on our failure to recognize the rottenness and cut it out after the big sinner was caught and fired by President Roosevelt. That was a long, long time ago.

A government agency abroad is paid for its clean social fingernails and its ability to reflect honestly and pleasantly on the people back home. That’s why you have diplomats. I think it is foolish, therefore, to allow a man whose daughter has been publicly convicted of prostitution to remain as a United States advertisement abroad, despite his innocence, since a well-publicized tart who lives in the consulate lends little tone to Uncle Sam’s operation.

The State Department is largely a lip-service organization — much front, for advertising — and deeply involved in the welfare of our world. It seems awful dumb to put up with drunks and perverts and the husbands of town characters and the parents of prostitutes and fools and knaves when all espionage and checkmate diplomacy turns automatically on the weak link.


Epilogue:

On the same day this column appeared in the Washington Daily News, Sen. Joseph McCarthy (R-WI) placed the text into the Congressional Record. At about the same time, Rep. Clare Hoffman (R-MI), a far-right populist from southwest Michigan and an early McCarthy ally, rose in the House to demand an investigation into Ruark’s claims:

Re. Clare Hoffman (R-MI)

Mr. Speaker, in one of the local newspapers there appears an article which is shocking and disturbing. It charges that we have in the State Department individuals who may I say are not decent Americans? I have heard a great deal about Communists in the State Department and in one other department of the Government.

My people are just as much concerned about disloyal individuals in Government service as are the people of any other district; but, in addition to that, like practically all Americans they are normal and decent God-fearing people. Some of them tell me, many of them tell me, that inasmuch as these rumors about the immorality of Federal employees in high positions do not seem to have been either investigated or contradicted that they are concerned before they get to the issue of communism or loyalty with this issue of morality and decency.

Let us put it this way: In their own businesses they would not for one moment think of employing a homosexual, not for one moment. Unless I am completely mistaken the people of other districts have the same thought. When giving employment they would never get to the question of loyalty, nor to the question of honesty if this other question arose. They just want none of that other kind. For years, 4 or 5 years anyway, perhaps longer, these stories have been going around Washington. They have been repeated on the floor, not from the well of the House, but from Member to Member, they have been hinted at in newspapers and over the radio at times, yet nothing has been done about it.

Mr. Speaker, we have been spending billions upon billions of dollars to obtain the good will of other peoples and other nations; we have spent billions of dollars in an effort to convince them that our way of life is the right way, the better way, really the only true and good way. Yet we have never, neither the President nor the Congress, nor any of the departments, made any successful public effort to disprove those stories which are circulated and do so much to create a bad impression throughout the world.

I recall when Winchell, in a broadcast after the ’42 election, referred, in effect, to Communists in the House. I tried at that time to have an investigation and have Mr. Winchell called down here and compel him either to admit that he was a liar, or if he had evidence, to show the fact, and if there were such men here, Communists in Congress, then we would expel them forthwith. I could not get action.

Now in view of the fact that this story has been printed in the papers, I think it is time, because we owe it to our people, to either disprove those stories or, if they are true, just get out of the departments; wherever they may be, any individuals who are of that kind or class or nature; and to accomplish that, after I saw that article in the paper, I introduced a resolution to create a committee which would find the facts as to these charges.

How long are we going to sit here and be inactive, when people, for whose actions we are, at least in part, responsible, people who draw their pay because we make the appropriations, are publicly accused of a lack of decency — let us at the moment say nothing about their loyalty — people who, if those stories are true, are nasty, dirty individuals. How long are we to permit them to represent us. Now, how long are we going to take it? That is what I am asking you, my colleagues.

The House did not act on Hoffman’s request.

On the Timeline:

Previously:

Feb 20, 1950: McCarthy links homosexuality and Communism.

Feb 28, 1950: The State Department reports dismissing 91 homosexuals.

Mar 14, 1950: McCarthy names five “bad security risks,” including one homosexual.

Mar 21, 1950: Columnist George E. Sokolsky says homosexuals are “advantageously stationed” in the State Department.

Mar 23, 1950: Robert C. Ruark’s column warns of homosexuals “traveling in packs.”

This story:

Mar 24, 1950: Robert C. Ruark follows up with “a drunk, a homosexual, and a flagrant fool.”

Next:

Mar 24, 1950: Westbrook Pegler says homosexuals in government weren’t a problem before FDR.

Mar 31, 1950: Rep. Arthur L. Miller gives “the putrid facts about homosexuality.

Apr 14, 1950: Westbrook Pegler agrees that “homosexualism is worse than Communism.”

Apr 18, 1950: GOP Chairman warns of “perverts who have infiltrated our government.

Periscope:

For March 24, 1950:
President: Harry S. Truman (D)
Vice-President: Alben W. Barkley (D)
House: 262 (D) 168 (R) 2 (Other) 3 (Vacant)
Southern states: 102 (D) 2 (R) 1 (Vacant)
Senate: 54 (D) 42 (R)
Southern states: 22 (D)
GDP growth: 7.3 % (Annual)
3.0 % (Quarterly)
Fed discount rate: 1½ %
Inflation: -0.8 %
Unemployment: 6.3 %
The 1950 Packard Eight Club Sedan for $2,224 (about $24,000 today.)

Headlines: Gen. Eisenhower, after criticizing military budget cuts, is invited to testify before a Senate Appropriations subcommittee. The FBI allows the Senate Committee investigating allegations of spies in the State Department to view files “in the strictest confidence.” 83 Czechs aboard three transport planes defect to West Germany. Riots continue in southern Belgium in protest against the return of King Leopold III.

In the record stores: “Chattanoogie Shoe Shine Boy” by Red Foley, “Music! Music! Music! (Put Another Nickel In)” by Teresa Brewer and the Dixieland All-Stars, “Rag Mop” by the Ames Brothers, “The Cry of the Wild Goose” by Frankie Lane, “There’s No Tomorrow, by Tony Martin, “Dear Hearts and Gentle People” by Bing Crosby, “I Said My Pajamas” by Tony Martin and Fran Warren, “I Can Dream, Can’t I?” by the Andrew Sisters, “It Isn’t Fair” by Don Cornell and the Sammy Kaye Orchestra, “Chattanoogie Shoe Shine Boy” by Bing Crosby with Vic Schoen & His Orchestra.

Currently in theaters: The Kid from Texas, starring Audie Murphy and Gale Storm.

On the radio: Lux Radio Theater (CBS), Jack Benny Program (CBS), Edgar Bergan & Charlie McCarthy (CBS), Amos & Andy (CBS), Arthur Godfrey’s Talent Scouts (CBS), My Friend Irma (CBS), Walter Winchell’s Journal (ABC), Red Skelton Show (CBS), You Bet Your Life (NBC), Mr. Chameleon (CBS).

On television: The Lone Range (ABC), Toast of the Town/Ed Sullivan (CBS), Studio One (CBS), Captain Video and his Video Rangers (DuMont), Kraft Television Theater (NBC), The Goldbergs (CBS), Arthur Godfrey’s Talent Scouts (CBS), Candid Camera (NBC), Texaco Star Theater/Milton Berle (NBC), Hopalong Cassidy (NBC), Cavalcade of Stars/Jackie Gleason (DuMont), Meet the Press (NBC), Roller Derby (ABC).

New York Times best sellers: Fiction: The Parasites by Daphne du Maurier, The Egyptian by Mika Waltari, The King’s Cavalier by Samual Shellabarger. Non-fiction: The Mature Mind by H.A. Overstreet, This I Remember by Eleanor Roosevelt, Home Sweet Zoo by Clare Barnes.

Sources:

Robert C. Ruark. “I Don’t Like Drunks and Fools Representing Me.” Washington Daily News (March 24, 1950). As reprinted in “Extension of Remarks of Hon. Joseph McCarthy.” March 24, 1950.  81st Cong., 2nd sess. Congressional Record 96 part 14: A2182. Available online here.

“Morality of Certain Government Employees.” Remarks by Rep. Clare E. Hoffman given on March 24, 1950. 81st Cong., 2nd sess. Congressional Record 96 part 3: 4064-4065. Available online here.

Westbrook Pegler Writes: Homosexuals In Government “Never Existed Before the Long Roosevelt Regime”

Back in 1932, in his very second column on the front page of the New York World-Telegram, Westbrook Pegler let it be known that “my hates always occupied my mind much more actively than my friendships… the wish to favor a friend is not so active as the instinct to annoy some person or institution I detest.” His hatreds were many: labor unions, powerful businesses, bosses of every stripe, the wealthy, eggheads, Communists, Socialists, Fascists (or so he claimed), foreigners, Jews, the New Deal, and the Roosevelts, especially Eleanor, who he hated with a particularly obsessive passion. It seemed he could barely write a column without excoriating her somewhere along the way.

“The angry man of the press,” as Pegler was known, made hatred a high art, and he didn’t care who he pissed off. Much like the Trumps and the Hannitys and the Brietbarts of today, he pretended to speak for the common man while carrying the water for the same powerful interests he lambasted.

Oh, and he loved McCarthy. Pegler was part publicity agent and part informer for the Senator from Wisconsin. On March 24, as other columnists were having a field day the prospect of homosexuals in the State Department, Pegler decided it was high time he joined the fray and drag his usual obsessions along for the ride. Like Robert C. Ruark’s column of the day before, Pegler hinted at the 1943 resignation of F.D.R.’s close friend and confidant, Sumner Welles, when he questions whether the State Department’s list of ninety-one homosexuals dismissed since 1947 “include an old family friend of the Roosevelts…”


Fair Enough

By Westbrook Pegler

In the history of the United States, no situation ever existed before the long Roosevelt regime which was even comparable to that which was revealed recently by John E. Peurifoy, a deputy under-secretary of state, who testified that 91 homosexuals had been dismissed from the State Department. Homosexual means a person who has relations with another of the same sex. It is common knowledge that such persons have psychic ways of seeking one another. They flock together and are secretive and without honor. They are not beneath shame, however, and this makes them the more dangerous in positions of trust and “delicacy” in a government. Being furtive and ashamed, they are susceptible to blackmail and threats of exposure.

One person in the circle of Alger Hiss and Whittaker Chambers was conceded to be sexually depraved and was dismissed from a government service for that reason. Chambers himself had written erotic poetry which was published in a semi-public “artistic” review in Paris. It is obscure but not meaningless. The case of an unimportant admiral of our small Navy of 40 years ago comes to mind, but he seems to have been an individual specimen, not a member of a group or “camp.” He was tried and dismissed in disgrace.

Mr. Peurifoy did not name any of the 91 who were thrown out of the State Department alone. That was only one department. There is no information as to other departments. No reason occurs why the State Department should have been so heavily contaminated and others should not have been equally corrupt. There is no reason to assume. in the absence fo proof, that the 91 who were eliminated from the State Department were, in the English phrase, “the lot of them.” Others may be there still. In the absence of a list one does not know whether Peurifoy’s homosexuals include an old family friend of the Roosevelts whose reputation, rightly or wrongly, because notorious and who finally left, apparently of his own will and in good order. He was a confidant of the royal family and is shown to have been put to the uses of the communists in one conspicuous case.

In a recent broadcast, shamelessly plugging her paltry potboiler, This I Remember, the Empress said of her late husband: “I think he got — I think a great many people that perhaps he never saw but once made an impression on him. He began to learn about people. He began very often with me to meet different people when he was young and I always had lots of queer friends.”

In October, 1920, when Franklin D. Roosevelt was running for vice president under James M. Cox, John R Rathom, the publisher of the Providence Journal and Evening Bulletin, of Providence, R.I., and two other persons were sued in a libel action by Roosevelt. The complaint is on file in the Supreme Court in New York City. It demanded $500,000 on the ground of charges published by Rathom concerning Roosevelt’s attitude toward sailors convicted of sexual perversion when he was Assistant Secretary of the Navy. The article in question charged that degenerates had been returned to active service.

Shearn [former Justice Clarence J. Shearn of the appellate division] and Hare of New York were Roosevelt’s lawyers. Staunchfield and Levy represented Rathom. An affirmative answer was prepared which is still in existence and is cited respectfully by a few lawyers who were given it to study as a great example of that kind of pleading. It never was filed. F.D. Roosevelt’s failure to press his complaint, allowing it to lapse by default, was tantamount to an admission of the truth of the charge that he had been guilty of felonious conduct. One attorney for the plaintiff lat er said Roosevelt was afraid to prosecute his complaint and that, moreover, it had been just a bluff to impress the voters a short time before the election in which Warren G. Harding was elected.

Roosevelt’s complaint said Rathom and the others published a libel in the form of an open letter to him in part as follows:

“In Portland, Ore., you publicly denied the charge by the Providence Journal that you had destroyed or sequestered Navy records. This charge was true. It would be interesting to every officer in the Bureau of Navigation to learn the truth surrounding the disappearance of other papers in the —– case (name deleted by Westbrook Pegler) especially that portion containing your own handwriting, permitting —– to re-enlist. they were abstracted by your personal order and never returned. They were abstracted during your controversy with Captain J. K. Taussig, U.S. Navy, in connection with the charge that you had returned to active service men who had been convicted of crimes involving moral turpitude, so-called graduates of the Naval prison at Portsmouth. With these documents so abstracted you felt safe to falsify the facts and print what you knew to be a deliberate falsehood.

“In the case of Captain Taussig you accused him of falsehood because he did not happen to agree with you on the miserable stand you had taken of sending degenerates back into the service. Out of your mouth you convict yourself of willful and deliberate falsehood. It was your own personal act over your own signature that returned —– and other criminals guilty of unnatural crimes to the service in 1919.

Briefly, Rathom charged that after he had been taxed with this act of returning depraved bluejackets to duty Roosevelt snatched back documents which he had signed for that purpose. Roosevelt and Rathon had charged him with the commission of a felony. Rathom admitted that he had. But Roosevelt never permitted Rathon to present his proof, quietly subsiding instead.


Epilogue:

Pegler continued writing for King Features Syndicate until 1962, when he fell out with executives at the syndicate’s owners, the Hearst Corporation. He then found work writing for the John Birch Society’s American Opinion. He lost that job in 1964 because he griped too much about the Jews and Eleanor. He then wrote for the White Christian Council and the anti-Semetic Christian Crusade.

Read More:

In 2008, the Providence Journal revisited the Newport scandal of 1919-1920, including details about Journal editor John Rathom and his war of words with Roosevelt.

Beb Brenkert also has a thorough account of the Newport Sex Scandal at the Daily Beast

In 2004, William F. Buckley, Jr., wrote a puzzling paean to Pegler for the New Yorker. Pulitzer Prize-winning author Dianne McWhorter responded with a rundown on Pegler’s work and bigotries.

Jeff Sharlet also wrote a detailed profile of Westbrook Pegler in 1999.

On the Timeline:

Previously:

Feb 20, 1950: McCarthy links homosexuality and Communism.

Feb 28, 1950: The State Department reports dismissing 91 homosexuals.

Mar 14, 1950: McCarthy names five “bad security risks,” including one homosexual.

Mar 21, 1950: Columnist George E. Sokolsky says homosexuals are “advantageously stationed” in the State Department.

Mar 23, 1950: Robert C. Ruark’s column warns of homosexuals “traveling in packs.”

Mar 24, 1950: Robert C. Ruark follows up with “a drunk, a homosexual, and a flagrant fool.”

This story:

Mar 24, 1950: Westbrook Pegler says homosexuals in government weren’t a problem before FDR.

Next:

Mar 31, 1950: Rep. Arthur L. Miller gives “the putrid facts about homosexuality.

Apr 14, 1950: Westbrook Pegler agrees that “homosexualism is worse than Communism.”

Apr 18, 1950: GOP Chairman warns of “perverts who have infiltrated our government.

Periscope:

For March 24, 1950:
President: Harry S. Truman (D)
Vice-President: Alben W. Barkley (D)
House: 262 (D) 168 (R) 2 (Other) 3 (Vacant)
Southern states: 102 (D) 2 (R) 1 (Vacant)
Senate: 54 (D) 42 (R)
Southern states: 22 (D)
GDP growth: 7.3 % (Annual)
3.0 % (Quarterly)
Fed discount rate: 1½ %
Inflation: -0.8 %
Unemployment: 6.3 %
The Admiral 12½” TV/Phono/radio is $299.95 (about $3,200 today). The 12½” table-top model goes for $179.95 (about $1,900) and the 19″ console commands $495 (about $5,250).

Headlines: Gen. Eisenhower, after criticizing military budget cuts, is invited to testify before a Senate Appropriations subcommittee. The FBI allows the Senate Committee investigating allegations of spies in the State Department to view files “in the strictest confidence.” 83 Czechs aboard three transport planes defect to West Germany. Riots continue in southern Belgium in protest against the return of King Leopold III.

In the record stores: “Chattanoogie Shoe Shine Boy” by Red Foley, “Music! Music! Music! (Put Another Nickel In)” by Teresa Brewer and the Dixieland All-Stars, “Rag Mop” by the Ames Brothers, “The Cry of the Wild Goose” by Frankie Lane, “There’s No Tomorrow, by Tony Martin, “Dear Hearts and Gentle People” by Bing Crosby, “I Said My Pajamas” by Tony Martin and Fran Warren, “I Can Dream, Can’t I?” by the Andrew Sisters, “It Isn’t Fair” by Don Cornell and the Sammy Kaye Orchestra, “Chattanoogie Shoe Shine Boy” by Bing Crosby with Vic Schoen & His Orchestra.

Currently in theaters: Conspirator, starring Robert Taylor and Elizabeth Taylor.

On the radio: Lux Radio Theater (CBS), Jack Benny Program (CBS), Edgar Bergan & Charlie McCarthy (CBS), Amos & Andy (CBS), Arthur Godfrey’s Talent Scouts (CBS), My Friend Irma (CBS), Walter Winchell’s Journal (ABC), Red Skelton Show (CBS), You Bet Your Life (NBC), Mr. Chameleon (CBS).

On television: The Lone Range (ABC), Toast of the Town/Ed Sullivan (CBS), Studio One (CBS), Captain Video and his Video Rangers (DuMont), Kraft Television Theater (NBC), The Goldbergs (CBS), Arthur Godfrey’s Talent Scouts (CBS), Candid Camera (NBC), Texaco Star Theater/Milton Berle (NBC), Hopalong Cassidy (NBC), Cavalcade of Stars/Jackie Gleason (DuMont), Meet the Press (NBC), Roller Derby (ABC).

New York Times best sellers: Fiction: The Parasites by Daphne du Maurier, The Egyptian by Mika Waltari, The King’s Cavalier by Samual Shellabarger. Non-fiction: The Mature Mind by H.A. Overstreet, This I Remember by Eleanor Roosevelt, Home Sweet Zoo by Clare Barnes.

Source:

Westbrook Pegler. “Fair enough.” Washington Times-Herald (March 24, 1950). As it appeared in the Wilmington (DE) Morning News (March 24, 1950): 8.

Rep. Miller Gives “The Putrid Facts About Homosexuality”

Click to download the text of Miller’s floor speech of March 31 and comments made on April 4 (PDF/1.8MB)

Between 1948 and 1951, the Marshall Plan spent an astronomical $13 billion (about $140 billion today) to finance the economic recovery of Europe following World War II. During the 1950 debate for the plan’s reauthorization, Rep. John Vorys (R-OH) offered an amendment requiring that any American employee assigned to the Economic Cooperation Administration (ECA), which administered the Marshal Plan, undergo a background/loyalty check by the FBI. Rep. Arthur L. Miller (R-NE) then offered a further amendment to Vorys’s amendment to prohibit anyone who was homosexual from working in the ECA.

Rep. Miller, a former physician from rural Nebraska, mostly stuck to the issues that interested his humble constituents, and him personally. He hated most of the New Deal except for those parts that benefitted Great Plains farmers — soil conservation, loans and subsidies, rural electrification, and federal programs to eradicate foot and mouth disease and the like. The country doctor also strongly opposed anything that smacked of socialized medicine. He even opposed federal programs designed to support rural hospitals in his own district. He thought local communities could do better without meddlesome bureaucrats.

Rep. Arthur L. Miller (R-NE)

But at a time when the District of Columbia was directly ruled by Congress, the Nebraska doctor thought nothing about a politician form halfway across the country pushing legislation affecting local residents of the city. In 1948, he drafted a sexual psychopath law for the district, known as the Miller Act. Modeled after several other sexual psychopath laws enacted across the country in answer to a national sex crime panic, the Miller Act allowed the U.S. District Attorney to initiate commitment proceedings against anyone who demonstrates a “lack of power to control his sexual impulses.” The person needn’t be found guilty of a crime. He didn’t even have to be charged. But under the Miller Act, he could still find himself committed to Washington’s St. Elizabeth’s Hospital until the superintendent determined that the individual is “sufficiently recovered.” Which could be far longer than if that individual had been tried and convicted of whatever law that may apply.

The Miller Act and other sexual psychopath laws like it were primarily designed to incarcerate child molesters, peeping toms, flashers, and the like. They also swept up cross-dressers, transgender people and homosexuals, with no regard as to whether they actually posed a threat to anyone.  By 1950, the Miller Act detained at least two “non-coercive homosexuals and one aggressive sodomist.”

Rep. Miller was very proud of this handiwork. So after offering his amendment banning homosexuals from working in the ECA, he drew on his Miller Act cred to explain why his amendment was needed:

Mr. Chairman, I realize that I am discussing a very delicate subject. I cannot lay the bones bare like I could before medical colleagues. I would like to strip the fetid, stinking flesh off of this skeleton of homosexuality and tell my colleagues of the House some of the facts of nature. I cannot expose all the putrid facts as it would off end the sensibilities of some of you. It will be necessary to skirt some of the edges, and I use certain Latin terms to describe some of these individuals. Make no mistake several thousand, according to police records, are now employed by the Federal Government.

I offer this amendment to the Vorys amendment in good faith. Recently the spotlight of publicity has been focused not only upon the State Department but upon the Department of Commerce because of homosexuals being employed in these and other departments of Government. Recently Mr. Peurifoy, of the State Department, said he had allowed 91 individuals in the State Department to resign because they were homosexuals. Now they are like birds of a feather, they flock together. Where did they go? You must know what a homosexual is. It is amazing that in the Capital City of Washington we are plagued with such a large group of those individuals. Washington attracts many lovely folks. The sex crimes in the city are many.

In the Eightieth Congress I was the author of the sex pervert bill that passed this Congress and is now a law in the District of Columbia. It can confine some of these people in St. Elizabeths Hospital for treatment. They are the sex perverts. Some of them are more to be pitied than condemned, because in many it is a pathological condition, very much like the kleptomaniac who must go out and steal, he has that urge; or like the pyromaniac, who goes to bed and wakes up in the middle of the night with an urge to go out and set a fire. He does that. Some of these homosexuals are in that class.

Remember there were 91 of them dismissed in the State Department. That is a small percentage of those employed in Government. We learned 2 years ago that there were around 4,000 homosexuals in the District. The Police Department the other day said there were between five and six thousand in Washington who are active and that 75 percent were in Government employment. There are places in Washington where they gather for the purpose of sex orgies, where they worship at the cesspool and flesh pots of iniquity. There is a restaurant downtown where you will find male prostitutes. They solicit business for other male customers. They are pimps and undesirable characters. You will find odd words in the vocabulary of the homosexual. There are many types such as the necrophalia [sic], fettichism [sic], pygmalionism [sic], fellatios [sic], cunnilinguist, sodomatic [sic], pederasty, saphism, sadism, and masochist. Indeed, there are many methods of practices among the homosexuals. You will find those people using the words as, “He is a fish. He is a bulldicker. He is mamma and he is papa, and punk, and pimp.” Yes; in one of our prominent restaurants rug parties and sex orgies go on.

Some of those people have been in the State Department, and I understand some of them are now in the other departments. The 91 who were permitted to resign have gone some place, and, like birds of a feather, they flock together. Those people like to be known to each other. They have signs used on streetcars and in public places to call attention to others of like mind. Their rug and fairy parties are elaborate.

So I offer this amendment, and when the time comes for voting upon it, I hope that no one will object. I sometimes wonder how many of these homosexuals have had a part in shaping our foreign policy. How many have been in sensitive positions and subject to blackmail. It is a known fact that homosexuality goes back to the Orientals, long before the time of Confucius; that the Russians are strong believers in homosexuality, and that those same people are able to get into the State Department and get somebody in their embrace, and once they are in their embrace, fearing blackmail, will make them go to any extent. Perhaps if all the facts were known these same homosexuals have been used by the Communists.

I realize that there is some physical danger to anyone exposing all of the details and nastiness of homosexuality, because some of these people are dangerous. They will go to any limit. These homosexuals have strong emotions. They are not to be trusted and when blackmail threatens they are a dangerous group. The Army at one time gave these individuals a dishonorable discharge and later changed the type of discharge. They are not knowingly kept in Army service. They should not be employed in Government. I trust both sides of the aisle will support the amendment.

Joy to the Homosexuals

Miller’s proposed amendment failed about an hour later, although the House accepted the Vorys Amendment. Shortly after that, the House passed the entire reauthorization bill, with Miller, of course, voting against it. Four days later, he was still smarting from his amendment’s rejection:

Mr. Speaker, yesterday a taxicab driver told me that the homosexuals had quite a celebration on Saturday and Sunday nights. They were celebrating the green light they thought they received from this House because the House turned down the amendment which would have prohibited them from employment with ECA.

That action was taken by almost a straight party vote. It was a small vote, 77 to 66, I do not blame all of the Democrats here today, some of you were not here to vote. I know you who did vote will rejoice with them in their celebration. You gave them the go ahead signal for Federal employment. You did it by almost a straight Democratic vote. Mr. Peurifoy testified there were only 91 whom he dismissed in the State Department. The police department say there are about 7,000 in Washington and about 75 percent of them on the Federal payroll. Not long ago the police raided a house and got about 60 of them in all kinds of orgies. But I think the Democratic majority in the House who voted on a straight party line would want to know about this celebration, because you like to spread joy and sunshine and by your vote did bring joy to the homosexuals now employed in Government work.

Rep. George Christopher (D-MO) rose to counter Miller’s attack:

Mr. Speaker, a young boy one time called an old lady a hoodlum. She said she did not know what a hoodlum was, but she did not think that boy was paying her a compliment. I am just a little like that old lady. I do not know what homosexuals are but I never saw anybody get as much free advertising in the Congress of the United States in all of my life. I do not see any sense in it.

Clare Hoffman, the eccentric lawyer Republican from Michigan came to Miller’s defense:

Re. Clare Hoffman (R-MI)

Mr. Speaker, the gentleman from Missouri seems to be critical of the fact that certain groups are getting a lot of unfavorable free advertising. Well, may I say to the gentleman you have had these unmentionable individuals in the departments; it is your fault, you have been in control of the executive departments here for 13 or 15 years. For the last 10 years practically everybody in Washington knew about all this disreputable, dirty, nasty bunch on the Federal pay roll which is now, at last, being exposed, getting what the gentleman calls free advertising. Now the gentleman objects to their being exposed. If he wants to take them home and live with them, all right; but you have no right– You have no right, I say, to keep those dirty, nasty people on the Federal pay roll, and use the dollars of decent citizens to pay them. Maybe the gentleman likes them; I do not; neither do my people.

Rep. Christopher challenged Hoffman, “Can you tell me what a homosexual is?”

If Hoffman knew, he wouldn’t say. “The term needs no definition — I will not dirty my mouth by defining it.”

On the Timeline:

Previously:

Feb 20, 1950: McCarthy links homosexuality and Communism.

Feb 28, 1950: The State Department reports dismissing 91 homosexuals.

Mar 14, 1950: McCarthy names five “bad security risks,” including one homosexual.

Mar 21, 1950: Columnist George E. Sokolsky says homosexuals are “advantageously stationed” in the State Department.

Mar 23, 1950: Robert C. Ruark’s column warns of homosexuals “traveling in packs.”

Mar 24, 1950: Robert C. Ruark follows up with “a drunk, a homosexual, and a flagrant fool.”

Mar 24, 1950: Westbrook Pegler says homosexuals in government weren’t a problem before FDR.

 

This story:

Mar 31, 1950: Rep. Arthur L. Miller gives “the putrid facts about homosexuality.

Next:

Apr 18, 1950: GOP Chairman warns of “perverts who have infiltrated our government.

May 3, 1950: Rep. Arthur L. Miller says the homosexual drive is similar to menstrual cycles.

Periscope:

For March 31, 1950:
President: Harry S. Truman (D)
Vice-President: Alben W. Barkley (D)
House: 262 (D) 168 (R) 2 (Other) 3 (Vacant)
Southern states: 102 (D) 2 (R) 1 (Vacant)
Senate: 54 (D) 42 (R)
Southern states: 22 (D)
GDP growth: 7.3 % (Annual)
3.0 % (Quarterly)
Fed discount rate: 1½ %
Inflation: -0.8 %
Unemployment: 6.3 %
Chesterfield: “A milder cigarette that satisfies” — Gregory Peck, star of Twelve O’Clock High.

Headlines: President Truman denounces three Republican Senators (Joseph McCarthy, Kenneth Wherry and Styles Bridges) as saboteurs of American foreign policy over loyalty charges. Secretary of State Dean Acheston says he doesn’t remember meeting Prof. Owen Lattimore, the China policy expert denounced by McCarthy as a Communist. The House strips a clause from the Marshall Plan reauthorization bill denying funds to Britain unless it ends the partition of Ireland. The House approves the Marshall Plan’s $3.1 billion reauthorization through 1951. Residents of Hot Springs, New Mexico, vote to change their town’s name to Truth or Consequences to lure the popular radio program by the same name to air its tenth anniversary program from the town.

In the record stores: “Music! Music! Music!” by Teresa Brewer, “If I Knew You Were Coming I’d’ve Baked a Cake” by Eileen Barton, “Chattanoogie Shoe Shine Boy” by Red Foley, “There’s No Tomorrow” by Tony Martin, “It Isn’t Fair” by Don Cornell and the Sammy Kaye Orchestra, “I Said My Pajamas” by Tony Martin and Fran Warren, “The Third Man Theme” by Anton Karas, “Go To Sleep, Go To Sleep, Go To Sleep” by Mary Martin and Arthur Godfrey, “The Cry of the Wild Goose” by Frankie Lane, “Rag Mop” by the Ames Brothers.

Currently in theaters: Twelve O’Clock High, starring Gregory Peck.

On the radio: Lux Radio Theater (CBS), Jack Benny Program (CBS), Edgar Bergan & Charlie McCarthy (CBS), Amos & Andy (CBS), Arthur Godfrey’s Talent Scouts (CBS), My Friend Irma (CBS), Walter Winchell’s Journal (ABC), Red Skelton Show (CBS), You Bet Your Life (NBC), Mr. Chameleon (CBS).

On television: The Lone Range (ABC), Toast of the Town/Ed Sullivan (CBS), Studio One (CBS), Captain Video and his Video Rangers (DuMont), Kraft Television Theater (NBC), The Goldbergs (CBS), Arthur Godfrey’s Talent Scouts (CBS), Candid Camera (NBC), Texaco Star Theater/Milton Berle (NBC), Hopalong Cassidy (NBC), Cavalcade of Stars/Jackie Gleason (DuMont), Meet the Press (NBC), Roller Derby (ABC).

New York Times best sellers: Fiction: The Wall, by John Hersey, The Egyptian by Mika Waltari, The Parasites by Daphne du Maurier. Non-fiction: The Mature Mind by H.A. Overstreet, This I Remember by Eleanor Roosevelt, I Leap Over the Wall, by Monica Baldwin.

Sources:

Bernard A. Cruvant, Milton Meltzer, Francis J. Tartaglino. “An institutional program for committed sex deviants.” American Journal of Psychiatry 107, no. 3 (September 1950): 190-194.

Remarks by Rep. Miller of Nebraska given on March 31, 1950. 81st Cong., 2nd sess. Congressional Record 96 part 4: 4527-4528. Extracted remarks available online here (PDF/1.8MB).

“Homosexual in Government Employ.” Remarks by Rep. Miller of Nebraska, Rep. Christopher of Missouri, and Rep. Hoffman of Michigan, given on April 4, 1950. 81st Cong., 2nd sess. Congressional Record 96 part 4: 4669-4670. Extracted remarks available online here (PDF/1.8MB).

Westbrook Pegler Agrees: “Homosexualism Is Worse Than Communism”

The Angry Man of the Press struck again against his favorite targets: the Roosevelts, the New Deal, and homosexuals. Three weeks earlier, nationally-syndicated columnist Westbrook Pegler had written that if it hadn’t been for those nasty Roosevelts, there would be so many queers in the State Department. “No situation ever existed before the long Roosevelt regime which was even comparable to that which was revealed recently by John E. Peurifoy, a deputy under-secretary of state, who testified that 91 homosexuals had been dismissed from the State Department.” And off he went.

Three weeks later, he returns to his favorite topic and argues that the New Deal and homosexuality are more or less the same thing. He does this by quoting liberally from ACLU co-founder Morris L. Ernst, “a pushful New Deal satellite, (who) will do as one witness to set forth and explain the attitude of the New Deal culture toward the queers.” Ernst had defended James Joyce’s Ulysses and Radclyffe Hall’s The Well of Loneliness against obscenity charges. But what had really drawn Pegler’s ire was that Ernst had served as general counsel for the American Newspaper Guild. Ernst successfully defended the Guild in court under the National Labor Relations Act, which allowed the Guild to become a legitimate labor union, with a closed shop and all. Pegler promptly resigned from the Guild and denounced it as a Communist-run organization.

This time, Pegler was still grumbling about the Guild, but he mainly focused on Ernst’s 1948 praise of the Kinsey Report. Ernst expressed satisfaction that the Report had opened Americans’ eyes to the varieties of sexual expression enjoyed by their neighbors. Ernst also criticized the rigid moral code that placed so many of those neighbors outside of realms of respectability, the law, and the church. Pegler decided that Ernst’s criticisms, “as an authoritative New Dealer,” was just one reason “why abnormality flourished in the State Department.” (The other reason — the main reason, of course — would always be the Roosevelts.)

Pegler also pointed out that Ernst had criticized the German public’s reaction to the Eulenburg affair, the 1907 scandal that outed a prominent member of Kaiser Wilhelm II’s court. Eulenburg presented a favorite example among writers of Pegler’s ilk of every danger posed by homosexuals when they are close to power. Exactly what was so dangerous about the private affairs of Prince Phillip of Eulenburg-Hertefeld would remain unclear. But that was always beside the point. The real danger, one supposes, was the ample ammunition Eulenburg’s presence provided to the Kaiser’s political enemies. Among them was the German journalist Maximilian Harden, who had outed Eulenburg and provoked the scandal.

The affair was similarly useful to Pegler. He turned to a “noted American reporter” who had befriended Harden many years later, and quoted approvingly from this unnamed correspondent: “Homosexualism is worse than Communism. It changes the mentality, blurs morality and the outlook, not only on sex but upon life, ideals, principles and scruples. It is a cancer.”


Fair Enough

By Westbrook Pegler
Westbrook Pegler’s column, as it appeared in the Montana Standard of Butte, Montana, two days later (April 16, 1950, page 4).

The hesitant discussion of sexual depravity in the Roosevelt-Truman bureaucracy, brought to public notice by the dismissal of 91 perverts in the State Department alone, has elicited interesting comments and some references which seem to cast light. Mr. Truman, of course, inherited the corruption. It took root and flourished under Roosevelt.

Morris L. Ernst, a pushful New Deal satellite, will do as one witness to set forth and explain the attitude of the New Deal culture toward the queers. Mr. Ernst has been a busy man in many affairs. He was counsel in the legal complication involving the lamasery on Riverside drive where Henry Wallace made speculative advances toward Oriental deities and his guru, Nicholas Roerich. He was counsel for the Newspaper Guild in the period of its hottest Communist infestation. He was a member of President Truman’s civil rights committee, which promoted the proposition that government should compel employers to hire persons obnoxious to them.

Mr. Ernst nevertheless found time to devote his mind studiously to sex and commit his findings, many of them elusive, to paper. His books include “To the Pure,” “The Sex Life of the Unmarried Adult” and, latest on this preoccupation, “American Sexual Behavior and the Kinsey Report.” In this little work, Ernst remarks angrily that only recently a committee on human reproduction was set up to seek answers “to some of the unknown questions as to how babies are born.” Very soon however, he is expertly discussing sexual practices which, far from propagating people, actually frustrate propagation. The western peoples, he says, have sought to impose their “pattern” or sexual morality, which he calls “customs,” on the rest of the world.

“As if,” he adds, “only one set of sexual customs was either desirable or natural,” from which I earnestly infer that he regards as “desirable” and “natural” some “customs” which are by religion, morals and law abhorrent to western peoples. If he so regards those “customs” then, as an authoritative New Dealer, he has at least established a base. In that case, we know what the New Deal morality really is. In that case, we can understand why abnormality flourished in the State Department, to say nothing of other departments, and why those Americans who are aghast at the revelations are in turn reviled as ignorant hypocrites.

“The Kinsey report shatters some of that complacency,” Mr. Ernst writes. So we were complacent and the word “complacency,” as used here, seems to despise us for a provincial bigotry. In Greece, he says, homosexuality was “an accepted outlet” and, “so far as we can tell, neither the strength of the Greek race nor the standards of its culture suffered.” Except that the race vanished, Mr. Ernst might have something there, but I find more interesting the author’s attitude toward the “outlet.”

“Our habits,” he says, “both of thinking and acting, have been so conditioned by the blind acceptance of standards fitted to another age that we do not know what a practical attitude toward sex behavior should be. What is normal? What is moral? What is pure? How much of the legal code dealing with sex is sensible? What is healthy?” He rejects judges, doctors and clergy as authorities on normality, morality, purity and good sense in law. In particular, he holds in contempt “celibates” who “have been the most dogmatic expounders of the normal and moral.”

Who then, however, would Mr. Ernst prefer — prostitutes, homosexuals and other perverts as arbiters of sexual behavior? Them and Mr. Ernst? The proportion of his writing on sex to the whole of his opera would thrust him into prominence. He is an authority. A New Deal moralist.

Although this book was published in 1948, long before the disclosure of the condition in the State Department, Mr. Ernst, by the merest accident, no doubt, seems to anticipate that explosion and to enter a plea long in advance. Speaking of the historic scandal in Kaiser Wilhelm’s court, he says there is difficulty in deciding whether public outcry is based primarily on the outrage “said to have been done to public opinion” or on a desire for political advantage.

Taking leave of Mr. Ernst, I now refer to a letter from a noted American reporter who has spent many years in Europe, especially Germany. He was a friend of Maximilian Harden, the journalist who exposed the perverts in the Kaiser’s court. Harden’s motive was “political” but in a patriotic sense. “Politics” is the science of government and Harden realized that this condition among the men who manipulated the Kaiser was dangerous to Germany. Had the perverts vanished when they were warned, Harden would have made no scandal.

My correspondent in Germany writes: “You say 91 homosexuals have been dismissed from the State Department in the last three years. What a terrible state of morals in our government. Is it confined only to the State Department? Not likely. Homosexualism is worse than Communism. It changes the mentality, blurs morality and the outlook, not only on sex but upon life, ideals, principles and scruples. It is a cancer. That is why I am so troubled that it has made such inroads in our State Department. Blackmail through threats of exposure is a powerful weapon often used to make a victim do a thing he does not want to do.”

But, see, this is the outmoded superstition or a Victorian bigot. If we consult Mr. Ernst, “such customs” do not “blur morality” and the outlook on sex, life, ideals, principles and scruples. On the contrary, it is the western “pattern” of sexual morality which blurs morality and the outlook. Abandon that “pattern” and the blur is cured and a beautiful, spiritual, intellectual and sexual existence comes into clear focus.

But Mr. Ernst himself seems confused and other-handed, for he follows these remarks with this one: “It Is not suggested that on the basis of these facts we change our standards, our ideals or even our laws.”


Epilogue:

Pegler’s column was distributed by King Features Syndicate to more than a hundred papers across the country. His rants reached more than six million readers until 1962, when he fell out with executives at the syndicate’s owners, the Hearst Corporation. He then found work writing for the John Birch Society’s American Opinion. He lost that job in 1964 because he griped too much about the Jews and Eleanor. He then wrote for the White Christian Council and Billy James Hargis’s segregationist and virulently anti-Semitic Christian Crusade.

Read More:

In 2004, William F. Buckley, Jr., wrote a puzzling paean to Pegler for the New Yorker. Pulitzer Prize-winning author Dianne McWhorter responded with a rundown on Pegler’s work and bigotries.

Jeff Sharlet also wrote a detailed profile of Westbrook Pegler in 1999.

On the Timeline:

Previously:

February 20, 1950: McCarthy links homosexuality and Communism.

February 28, 1950: The State Department reports dismissing 91 homosexuals.

March 14, 1950: McCarthy names five “bad security risks,” including one homosexual.

March 21, 1950: Columnist George E. Sokolsky says homosexuals are “advantageously stationed” in the State Department.

March 23, 1950: Robert C. Ruark’s column warns of homosexuals “traveling in packs.”

March 24, 1950: Robert C. Ruark follows up with “a drunk, a homosexual, and a flagrant fool.”

March 24, 1950: Westbrook Pegler says homosexuals in government weren’t a problem before FDR.

March 31, 1950: Rep. Arthur L. Miller gives “the putrid facts about homosexuality.”

This story:

April 14, 1950: Westbrook Pegler agrees that “homosexualism is worse than Communism.”

Next:

April 18, 1950: GOP Chairman warns of “perverts who have infiltrated our government.

Periscope:

For April 14, 1950:
President: Harry S Truman (D)
Vice-President: Alben W. Barkley (D)
House: 261 (D) 168 (R) 2 (Other) 4 (Vacant)
Southern states: 101 (D) 2 (R) 2 (Vacant)
Senate: 54 (D) 42 (R)
Southern states: 22 (D)
GDP growth: 10.3% (Annual)
3.9% (Quarterly)
Inflation: -1.3%
Unemployment: 5.8%

Headlines: Pravda suggests that a Navy plane that went missing over the Baltic had received a “proper lesson” when it allegedly flew over Soviet territory. Defense Department announces plans to inter a World War II servicemember at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier next year. Sen. Robert Taft (R-OH) accuses President Truman of libeling Sen. McCarthy. Truman responds, “Do you think that is possible?” South Carolina Gov. Strom Thurmond signs legislation placing literacy and property ownership requirements on registered voters.

In the record stores: “If I Knew You Were Comin’ I’d’ve Baked a Cake” by Eileen Barton, “The Third Man Theme” by Anton Karas, “Music! Music! Music!” by Teresa Brewer, “It Isn’t Fair” by Don Cornell and the Sammy Kaye Orchestra, “The Third Man Theme” by Guy Lombardo and His Orchestra, “Peter Cottontail” by Gene Autry, “Chattanoogie Shoe Shine Boy” by Red Foley, “Sentimental Me” by the Ames Brothers, “Peter Cottontail” by Merv Shiner, “My Foolish Heart” by the  Gordon Jenkins Orchestra.

On the radio: Lux Radio Theater (CBS), Jack Benny Program (CBS), Edgar Bergan & Charlie McCarthy (CBS), Amos & Andy (CBS), Arthur Godfrey’s Talent Scouts (CBS), My Friend Irma (CBS), Walter Winchell’s Journal (ABC), Red Skelton Show (CBS), You Bet Your Life (NBC), Mr. Chameleon (CBS).

Currently in theaters: No Man of Her Own, starring Barbara Stanwyck and John Lund.

On television: The Lone Range (ABC), Toast of the Town/Ed Sullivan (CBS), Studio One (CBS), Captain Video and his Video Rangers (DuMont), Kraft Television Theater (NBC), The Goldbergs (CBS), Arthur Godfrey’s Talent Scouts (CBS), Candid Camera (NBC), Texaco Star Theater/Milton Berle (NBC), Hopalong Cassidy (NBC), Cavalcade of Stars/Jackie Gleason (DuMont), Meet the Press (NBC), Roller Derby (ABC).

New York Times best sellers: Fiction: The Wall by John Hersey, The Cardinal by Henry Morton Robinson, The Egyptian by Mika Waltari. Non-fiction: The Mature Mind by H.A. Overstreet, Chicago Confidential by Jack Lait and Lee Mortimer, Mr. Jones, Meet the Master by Rev. Peter Marshall.

Sources:

Westbrook Pegler. “Fair Enough” column for April, 14, 1950, as it appeared in the (Butte) Montana Standard (April 16, 1950): 4.

“Sexual Perverts Have Invaded Our Government”: Republicans Test a New Campaign Issue

On April 18, 1950, Guy Gabrielson, Chairman of the Republican National Committee, threw the party’s full support behind the Lavender Scare. In a letter to about 7,000 party workers under the heading, “This is the News from Washington,” Gabrielson applauded Sen. Joseph McCarthy’s (R-WI) campaign:

As Americans, it is difficult for us to believe that a National Administration would go to such length to cover up and protect subversives, traitors, working against their country in high Governmental places. But it is happening. If there is but one more (Alger) Hiss or (Judith) Coplon still in a key spot, he should be ferreted out. It’s no red herring.

In 1948, when the Republican-controlled House Un-American Activities Committee was investigating the Whittaker Chambers/Alger Hiss affair, Truman famously dismissed the hearings as a “red herring” that the Republican Party had cooked up to distract Americans from more important issues during an election year. Later that year, voters returned both the House and Senate to Democratic control, and, in a big upset, chose Truman over New York. Gov. Thomas E. Dewey.

Frustrated Republicans were looking at nearly two decades of being locked out of power. But the Great Depression and the Second World War were now history and new worries emerged. The Soviets menaced Europe, China had fallen to the Reds, the Russians shocked Americans by detonating an atomic bomb, and a jury convicted Hiss of perjury over his testimony before the HUAC. Americans blamed either incompetence or, worse, conspiracy in the State Department for these failures, and Truman’s “red herring” comment was coming back to haunt him.

Americans were paranoid about Communists, but they were both paranoid and disgusted with homosexuals. In the early stages of what became known as the Red Scare, many Republicans saw the Lavender Scare as a more promising angle of attack. On March 30, the New York Daily News opined, “If we were writing Republican campaign speeches, we’d use the word ‘queer’ at every opportunity.” In April, Sen. Styles Bridges (R-NH) was telling audiences that he thought McCarthy should focus more on “bad security risks.” “When they admit discharging ninety-one homosexuals, it doesn’t look good.” Gabrielson apparently agreed. His April letter devoted more space to “sexual perverts” than to Communists.

Perhaps as dangerous as the actual Communists are the sexual perverts who have infiltrated our Government in recent years. The State Department has confessed that it has had to fire ninety-one of these. It is the talk of Washington and of the Washington correspondents corps.

The country would be more aroused over this tragic angle of the situation if it were not for the difficulties of the newspapers and radio commentators in adequately presenting the facts, while respecting the decency of their American audiences.

Epilogue:

By summer, Truman’s advisers worried that the queer campaign might succeed. One advisor warned in an internal memo that “the charges about homosexuality have struck home with far greater effect, in certain quarters, than the Communist allegations.” The working class and poor, both the bedrock of the Democratic base, worried less about national security and more about morals. “Intolerance of this kind of deviation increases substantially as you go down the income scale,” the memo warned.

Another memo echoed Gabrielson’s observation that the homosexual investigations were the talk of Washington. “Although the matter is frequently discussed in whispers behind hands, a number of responsible persons have advised that … the country is really much more disturbed over the picture which has been presented so far of the government being loaded with homosexuals than it is over the clamor about Communists in the Government.”

On the Timeline:

Previously:

February 20, 1950: McCarthy links homosexuality and Communism.

February 28, 1950: The State Department reports dismissing 91 homosexuals.

March 14, 1950: McCarthy names five “bad security risks,” including one homosexual.

March 21, 1950: Columnist George E. Sokolsky says homosexuals are “advantageously stationed” in the State Department.

March 23, 1950: Robert C. Ruark’s column warns of homosexuals “traveling in packs.”

March 24, 1950: Robert C. Ruark follows up with “a drunk, a homosexual, and a flagrant fool.”

March 24, 1950: Westbrook Pegler says homosexuals in government weren’t a problem before FDR.

March 31, 1950: Rep. Arthur L. Miller gives “the putrid facts about homosexuality.”

April 14, 1950: Westbrook Pegler agrees that “homosexualism is worse than Communism.

April 14, 1950: GOP Senator says McCarthy should attack homosexuals instead of Communists.

This story:

April 18, 1950: GOP Chairman warns of “perverts who have infiltrated our government.”

Periscope:

For April 18, 1950:
President: Harry S Truman (D)
Vice-President: Alben W. Barkley (D)
House: 261 (D) 168 (R) 2 (Other) 4 (Vacant)
Southern states: 101 (D) 2 (R) 2 (Vacant)
Senate: 54 (D) 42 (R)
Southern states: 22 (D)
GDP growth: 10.3% (Annual)
3.9% (Quarterly)
Inflation: -1.3%
Unemployment: 5.8%

Headlines: The Postmaster General orders residential mail deliveries be cut back from twice a day to once daily. The National Labor Relations Board fires Ruth Weyand, a white lawyer for the general counsel, after she marries an African-American lobbyist for the NAACP.  The U.S. accuses the Soviets of shooting down a Navy patrol plane over the Baltic; the plane has been missing since April 8.

In the record stores: “If I Knew You Were Comin’ I’d’ve Baked a Cake” by Eileen Barton, “The Third Man Theme” by Anton Karas, “Music! Music! Music!” by Teresa Brewer, “It Isn’t Fair” by Don Cornell and the Sammy Kaye Orchestra, “The Third Man Theme” by Guy Lombardo and His Orchestra, “Peter Cottontail” by Gene Autry, “Chattanoogie Shoe Shine Boy” by Red Foley, “Sentimental Me” by the Ames Brothers, “Peter Cottontail” by Merv Shiner, “My Foolish Heart” by the  Gordon Jenkins Orchestra.

Currently in theaters: Sands of Iwo Jima, starring John Wayne, John Agar, Adele Mara and Forrest Tucker.

On the radio: Lux Radio Theater (CBS), Jack Benny Program (CBS), Edgar Bergan & Charlie McCarthy (CBS), Amos & Andy (CBS), Arthur Godfrey’s Talent Scouts (CBS), My Friend Irma (CBS), Walter Winchell’s Journal (ABC), Red Skelton Show (CBS), You Bet Your Life (NBC), Mr. Chameleon (CBS).

On television: The Lone Range (ABC), Toast of the Town/Ed Sullivan (CBS), Studio One (CBS), Captain Video and his Video Rangers (DuMont), Kraft Television Theater (NBC), The Goldbergs (CBS), Arthur Godfrey’s Talent Scouts (CBS), Candid Camera (NBC), Texaco Star Theater/Milton Berle (NBC), Hopalong Cassidy (NBC), Cavalcade of Stars/Jackie Gleason (DuMont), Meet the Press (NBC), Roller Derby (ABC).

New York Times best sellers: Fiction: The Wall, by John Hersey, The Cardinal by Henry Morton Robinson, The Egyptian by Mika Waltari. Non-fiction: The Mature Mind by H.A. Overstreet, Chicago Confidential by Jack Lait and Lee Mortimer, Mr. Jones, Meet the Master by Rev. Peter Marshall.

Sources:

Newspapers and magazines (in chronological order):

Editorial: “Okay — Political it is.” New York Daily News (March 30, 1950): 13.

Edwin R. Bayley. “Bridges says McCarthy was ‘wild at start’.” Milwaukee Journal (April 15, 1950): 1, 2.

“Perverts called government peril.” New York Times (April 19, 1950): 25.

Books:

David K. Johnson. The Lavender Scare: The Cold War Persecution of Gays and Lesbians in the Federal Government. (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2004): 29.