Cedric Belfrage, Fever Chart, 1948-1949

from: The American Inquisition

by Cedric Belfrage

(pp. 100-102)


Scene: Loyalty Board hearing of M., Brooklyn Navy Yard sheetmetal worker.

LOYALTY BOARD MEMBER: What book dubs do you subscribe to?

M: The Book Find Club.

LBM: Does Feuchtwanger write for them? Does Dreiser contribute? Some of their writers adhere to the Communist Party line, did you know that? They weave doctrine into a story.

M: I ain't that much of a genius. I read the words, not the weaving.

Scene: Loyalty Board hearing of C., Negro hospital attendant.

LOYALTY BOARD MEMBER: As I understand it, Mr. C is before this board like an accused person would be before a jury in a criminal case.

C's ATTORNEY: The veterans' hospital is not an atom-bomb plant. This employee is not dealing with secrets but with mops, pails, bedpans, linens. I submit that there cannot be any possible security consideration for not letting him know the basis of the charges. I would like to ask why you don't bring in the FBI agent to testify as to what he knows.

LBM: Because we are not required to do so. (To C) I understand you fought for repeal of Executive Order 9835 under which the board is proceeding. Why?

C (Explains that whole union membership opposes it)

LBM: Are you opposed to the government getting rid of disloyal people?

C: No, I am not opposed.

LBM: Then why do you want 9835 repealed?

C: Because we felt that when a Negro started fighting against discrimination this order would be brought against him . . .

LBM (interrupting): It appears to me that while you are criticizing the Loyalty Board proceedings that you are overlooking what might have happened in Russia where the Communist Party takes its orders from. Had he been found to be a member of some subversive group in Russia he wouldn't be confronted by a Loyalty Board. He would face a firing squad.

(C is found guilty and fired. )

Scene: Press conference by State Department visa chief Herve L'Heureux on immigrants' admissibility to America under Displaced Persons program.

L'HEUREUX: Under normal immigration laws there is nothing that would exclude a Nazi or a Fascist.

REPORTER: They [Nazis] are not considered to be in violation of the rule against admitting persons holding views regarding overthrow of the government by force and violence?

L'HEUREUX: I don't think so. At least, we have never determined that . . .Well, there may be an individual case of a person who was a Nazi who also believes in the overthrow of government by force. But I don't think we have ever concluded that the Nazi party agreed that it is for the overthrow of government by force.

REPORTER: This is sort of astonishing to some of us. We assumed they set out to overthrow governments.

US News & World Report (August 1949), after setting forth detailed plans for atomization of Russia:

"War scare is having to be drummed up again to excite interest in a gift of arms to other nations. War talk is artificial, phony, but it is regarded as necessary to get Congress stirred up enough to produce a favorable vote."

Scene: Senate joint committee hearing on foreign military aid program. Wallace and DuBois have asked and been permitted to testify.

WALLACE: This program proposes to repeat our tragic mistakes in China, placing the same emphasis on arms to the exclusion of the people's needs for social reform. There is an Iternative policy -- agreeing to live in the same world with Russia. We must come to the Russians with a plan for world-wide development and reconstruction within the UN framework, resting solidly on economic selfinterest. The two great problems of our age are first, our own abundance; second, the world's poverty.

DUBOIS: Why in God's name do we want to control the earth? We want to rule Russia and we cannot rule Alabama. We who hate "niggers" and "darkies" propose to control a world full of colored people. We are daily being pushed into a third world war on the assumption that we are sole possessors of Truth ant Right and are able to pound our ideas into the world's head by brute force. What hinders us from beginning to reason now before we fight? We are afraid . . .

Music critic Olin Downes reviews 1948:

"When the record is written it will not be flattering to the 'liberal' intellectuals of America . . . Was it that they simply could not dream of taking off their coats and taking the tomatoes and rotten eggs, the abuses and indignities that would be the penalty for honesty and forthright action? It was safer to break the faith which they had long and politely professed."

Scene: Senate Judiciary Committee hearing on Mundt-Nixon anti-heretic bill. C. B. Baldwin testifies on behalf of Progressive Party.

SENATOR EASTLAND: Are you now or have you ever been a member of the Communist Party?

BALDWIN: I would be glad to take the oath of allegiance to the United States and I would particularly want the Fourteenth and Fifteenth Amendments induded.* I doubt whether you would take such an oath with a clear conscience.

EASTLAND: (Signals to police to remove Baldwin.)

BALDWIN: For fifteen years you have fought every measure that would have helped the Negro people.

EASTLAND: You're a god-damned son of a bitch and a god-damned liar!

(Baldwin is rushed from the room.)

[*Citizenship rights not to be abridged; equal rights for white and black.]

$2,000 Times ad inserted by Ferris Booth, former Guaranty Trust Company vice president, after Russia explodes its first Bomb:

"GOD IS ONLY DEFENSE AGAINST A-BOMB . . . We must take steps to bolster and aggressively aid Confucianism as a bulwark against Communism."

Scene: Hopkins (Minnesota) home of E. R. Shopp, father of newly elected "Miss America."

REPORTER: Mr. Shopp, your daughter is quoted from Europe as saying that American girls are man-crazy and falsies are an abomination. "Every girl must be true to herself," she said.

SHOPP: Bebe would never say such things! They are the words of some red over there!

Scene: A Brooklyn apartment. Police have opened up a 6-by-3-feet recess in which Paul Makushak has interred himself for ten years, and explained to him the pleasures of circulating in the free world. MAKUSHAK: It's no good being out. I'd rather go back where I was.


Document URL: http://www.writing.upenn.edu/~afilreis/50s/fever-chart-4849.html
Last modified: Thursday, 31-May-2007 09:42:30 EDT