But it could cost more than your dignity
Parade your pallor in iniquity
They will cry and say they're in our debt
But then they'll sigh and they will soon forget
Its all building up to something,
Something that can be repeated with fire)
Reaction of President Harry Truman to Loyalty Investigation, “News Conference at Key West,” March 30, 1950; From; http://historymatters.gmu.edu/, Thank You George Mason University!
Q. Mr. President, do you think Senator McCarthy is getting anywhere in his attempt to win the case against the State Department?
The President. What’s that?
Q. Do you think that Senator McCarthy can show any disloyalty exists in the State Department?
The President. I think the greatest asset that the Kremlin has is Senator McCarthy.
Q. Would you care to elaborate on that?
The President. I don’t think it needs any elaboration—I don’t think it needs any elaboration.
Q. Brother, will that hit page one tomorrow!
Q. If you think we are going to bust down the fence on what you have got later, that’s a pretty good starter. [Laughter]
Q. Mr. President, could we quote that one phrase, “I think the greatest asset the Kremlin has is Senator McCarthy”?
The President. Now let me give you a little preliminary, and then I will tell you what I think you ought to do. Let me tell you what the situation is.
We started out in 1945, when I became President, and the two wars were still going on, and the Russians were our allies, just the same as the British and the French and Brazil and the South American countries. And we won the war together.
We organized the United Nations in April 1945, and one of the first questions that was asked me, after I was sworn in at 7:09 o’clock on the 12th of April, was whether or not the San Francisco conference on the United Nations should go ahead. And I said it certainly will. It went ahead and we finally succeeded in getting a charter and getting it agreed to by I think 51 nations, if I remember correctly.
Then our objective was to—as quickly as possible—get peace in the world. We made certain agreements with the Russians and the British and the French and the Chinese. We kept those agreements to the letter. They have nearly all been—those agreements where the Russians were involved—been broken by the Russians. And it became perfectly evident that they had no intention of carrying out the fundamental principles of the United Nations Charter and the agreements which had been made at Teheran, Yalta, and Potsdam. And it became evident that there was an endeavor on the part of the Kremlin to control the world.
A procedure was instituted which came to be known as the cold war. The airlift to Berlin was only one phase of it. People became alarmed here in the United States then, that there might be people whose sympathies were with the Communist ideal of government—which is not communism under any circumstances, it is totalitarianism of the worst brand. There isn’t any difference between the totalitarian Russian Government and the Hitler government and the Franco government in Spain. They are all alike. They are police state governments.
In 1947 I instituted a loyalty program for Government employees, and that loyalty procedure program was set up in such a way that the rights of individuals were respected.
In a survey of the 2,200,000 employees at that time, I think there were some 205—something like that—who left the service. I don’t know—a great many of them left of their own accord.
Q. How many, Mr. President?
The President. Somewhere in the neighborhood of 205. Does anybody remember those figures exactly? It’s a very small figure.
Q. Very small.
The President. An infinitesimal part of 1 percent. We will get the figures for you.
And then, for political background, the Republicans have been trying vainly to find an issue on which to make a bid for the control of the Congress for next year. They tried “statism.” They tried “welfare state.” They tried “socialism.” And there are a certain number of members of the Republican Party who are trying to dig up that old malodorous dead horse called “isolationism.” And in order to do that, they are perfectly willing to sabotage the bipartisan foreign policy of the United States. And this fiasco which has been going on in the Senate is the very best asset that the Kremlin could have in the operation of the cold war. And that is what I mean when I say that McCarthy’s antics are the best asset that the Kremlin can have.
.... They are trying to create an issue, and it is going to be just as big a fiasco as the campaign in New York and other places on these other false and fatuous issues.
With a little bit of intelligence they could find an issue at home without a bit of trouble!
Q. What would it be, Mr. President?
The President. Anything in the domestic line. I will meet them on any subject they want, but to try to sabotage the foreign policy of the United States, in the face of the situation with which we are faced, is just as bad as trying to cut the Army in time of hot war.