Letter – May 17, 1954
Monday, May. 17, 1954
McCarthy & the Army
Your reporting on the McCarthy-Army hearings [May 3] was superb. As a Democrat, I should rejoice at this sordid spectacle of Republicans belaboring Republicans. But as a loyal American, I cannot in my heart find any joy in a fracas which is seriously injuring the prestige of the United States, and keeping the minds of the people and legislators from far more vital affairs …
Mount Vernon, N.Y.
… McCarthy’s blatant disregard for fact, for details of courtesy and procedure, for authority, for his fellow committeemen, high-ranking Government officials and Army officers, let alone millions of televiewers, has been openly exposed to the American public better than ever before …
JOHN B. BALLOU, M.D.
I wish to express my profound admiration for Secretary of the Army Robert Stevens … He has returned courtesy for discourtesy. He has given lucid answers to confused questions … Above all, he has preserved his good temper while dealing with bad temper. I don’t see how he did it !
DOROTHY ROSS BROWN
Grosse Ile, Mich.
… It is evident that you have not recovered from the Roosevelt brain wash. It is fortunate for objective truth that the majority of the American public are able to watch this investigation first-hand via television, and are not required to depend upon your misinterpretation of the event.
HAROLD R. COLLINS
… Truly, the founders of the great United States of America must be turning in their graves to see to what a low ebb have fallen patriotism, honor and dignity … Please, please, wash the dirty linen in private! Remember the high principles upon which your great country was founded.
Congratulations on your last edition: no mention of Porfirio Rubirosa ! When will I congratulate you again for not mentioning Senator McCarthy?
Oppenheimer & the AEC
Incorrect statements concerning my relations with Dr. Robert Oppenheimer are made in TIME, April 26. I have known Oppenheimer well since 1926. I have the highest regard for his scientific ability, his patriotism and his trustworthiness in all respects …
You were misled by not knowing the background of a private and personal letter to my wife written by me in 1949. This was “leaked” to the press on April 14 by what news services called a “reliable source.” America’s strength at home and prestige abroad is being damaged by dishonest political attacks on our scientists. I have worked hard to minimize this damage to national security. Under stress of difficult conditions, I was led privately to consider doubts about Oppenheimer which I never stated publicly, which I soon learned were wholly unjustified, and which I now publicly repudiate.
Dean Inge once wrote:
Lives of great men all remind us,
As we o’er their pages turn,
That we, too, may leave behind us
Letters that we ought to burn.
E. U. CONDON
I have just finished reading your story on Oppenheimer. I want to thank you for it. It had felt that there must be involved motivation behind the new stories, and now I think I understand. Contrary to the dearly cherished opinions of the public, a man is seldom a hero or a bastard. He is something in between, struggling as you and I with his environment, his talents and his conscience.
WILFRED C. DUNN
… I was remeinded that during World War I, the late Professor Richard Willstätter (Nobel Prizewinner in chemistry, 1915) refused to cooperate with a request by the Kaiser for his help in reseach [on] poison gases. Willstätter refused for ethical reasons, but expressed his cooperation to find a better gas mask.
Time’s smugness toward Physical Scientis Robert Oppenheimer’s “discovery of society” contrast sharply with its sympathy for Social Student Whittaker Chambers. Chambers had two social loyalties, and betrayed each one. Perhaps that is the reason Oppenheimer has pride in himself and Chambers showed pride only in the agony of his repentance.
… What is there about this mysterious creature, and what force is being exerted which prevents him from telling the truth? Why, in his case, is it “impossible to be completely candid?” What is he “uneasy” about and what are the “profound new doubts” that he possesses? I, too, went to college during the period he did. I have probably committed wrongful acts and thought wrong fully, but I never attempted to excuse or justify them on the ground that I never read newspapers or magazines or listen to the radio …
T. H. TRACY
New York City
A decimal point is all-important, but easy to lose. By now perhaps hundreds of readers have told you that TIME lost one in its April 26 issue. Under the subhead, “Boost for gas,” my copy reads: “As a result, the price of gas produced by Panhandle was valued at only 85¢ a thousand cubic feet, about one-tenth of the market price.” … The “85¢” should read “.85¢.”
R. E. JEFFREY
Who pays your gas bill?
FRANK G. COOLEY
– This month, an inflated copyreader. —ED.
Protestant Architect (Contd.)
Your cover article of April 19, which develops the theme of Van Dusen’s “eschatological!” advice to Christians in a Lenten era, is disappointing …
If, as Reinhold Niebuhr insists in his writings, the events surrounding the “mystery” of Christ, the alleged Second Coming, and the concept of eternal life, are beyond comprehension, why should we plague our mortal minds with the burden of comprehending the incomprehensible? …
LEONARD H. MCCAIN, A.U.S.
These doubting Thomases among the wiseacre theologians — do they actually lack the faith to believe the inspired Word of God as given in the Biblical account of the virgin birth of Christ? — even in this day of artificial insemination? Or is their attitude more akin to that of Pilate, who, for fear of the people (public opinion), acquiesced in the crucifixion of Christ? To deliberately fail to affirm the virgin birth is to deny that Jesus is the Son of God …
Apropos Theologian Van Dusen’s choice of which church to serve: his reasons for rejecting the Episcopal Church in favor of the Presbyterian aren’t very good theology, nor correct in their implications.
Calling Episcopalians nominal Christians is like the pot calling the kettle black. How many of today’s Presbyterians would be considered nominal, if not heretical, by their precursor, John Calvin? It is also hard to understand how he can call a church which runs schools, hospitals, retreat houses, etc., out of all proportion to their small numbers, and also provides a Sacrament for those who feel the need of it, uninterested in moral problems.
After reading and digesting all the verbiage and sales talk, it seemed like encountering a breath of cool air on a very hot day to turn to Sigmund Freud’s book, The Future of an Illusion.
F. A. GRIFFITH
You submit that churchery is resurgent, and thereupon pose the question: “Is it possible that Christianity is really true, after all?”
A thunderous reply in the negative should come from all who can run and read — crime, corruption, delinquency, clash of ideologies —chaos everywhere and church every Sunday —bah! And what is wrong with the sincere Pragmatist?
… Christmas has degenerated into a spectacle of buying presents. Easter has become a time of buying new hats. Perhaps the Second Coming of Christ will be the occasion for vast sales of binoculars. The average American wouldn’t swap his TV set for the best theologian who ever lived.
Questions & Dreams
I’ve been involved in several heated discussions with other racing enthusiasts over the cylindrical-shaped cover on the hood of the Cunningham Racer as depicted on the cover of the April 26 issue of TIME. Some of us think it’s a sort of radarscope to be used in the fogs at Le Mans; others believe it’s an air velocity generator — while some say it’s a centrifugal stabilizer. Which guess is correct — and if none are, just what is it?
ARNOLD C. HEPWORTH
New York City
– An oil cooler. — ED.
I was so affected by your story on Briggs Cunningham that I dreamed about him. Poor man. In my dreams, only one of his three cars finished at Le Mans this year — and that one came in 35th out of 36 cars …
I hope that my subconscious prediction proves as dreamy as some of your conscious publishing … I believe you’ll find that Elkhart Lake, where the road races were held, is in Wisconsin, not Indiana …
HOWARD W. YOUNG
New York City
I am unable to let Margaret Hugger’s bitter charges [TIME, April 19] go unanswered. She is comparing a “good” Roman Catholic with a “poor” Protestant, which is unfair and misleading …
HELEN M. SHADDOCK
… I am a Protestant Episcopalian who was once a Roman Catholic, and I do not lie abed on Sunday mornings, because my children must be at church school by 9:30. The question of divorce for us has never arisen. (There are three broken marriages in my family, all of whom are Catholic.) It is hardly news that Catholics, as well as others, may limit the number of children they have if they wish . . . however disillusioning it may be to her, she should be gently told that membership in the Roman Catholic Church does not guarantee spiritual or moral superiority.
Jamaica Plain, Mass.
… There are many Protestants who do not consider themselves “misfits, weaklings, or self-indulgent.” I feel that such an insult to my religion cannot go unanswered, and I hope that at least some Roman Catholics do not share her view …
… All converts to Protestantism are not misfits, neither are all converts to Roman Catholicism. There are many people who are searching for something concrete in life, and some find what they seek in the Holy Mother Church, others in the Protestant Church . . . I should like to caution Reader Hugger on her self-righteousness. One should never be too sure of one’s religious practices, or the attitudes which lie behind them. Such self-righteousness was what led the Pharisees of old to engineer the crucifixion of Christ.
ROBERT C. SUGGS
In the R.O.T.C. story in the April 26 issue, TIME wrote that 5,000 of the 13,000 Air Force R.O.T.C. students who will be graduated in June will not receive commissions … I would like to add a few more details. Those who are not commissioned will be given Certificates of Completion of the R.O.T.C. program. This will entitle them to a reserve A.F. commission upon completion of two years of active duty in any branch of the armed forces within the next four years. It won’t matter if they enlist or get called …
A.F.R.O.T.C., U.S.C. Cadet Major
Your few words, “although in the ’20s and ’30s [the R.O.T.C.] was a favorite target of left-wingers and pacifists,” recalled the snide remarks and snickers which we met on drill days … One such upperclass sage, a wealthy football star, was met in France one spring day in 1945. As the buck sergeant approached me, he smartly saluted, inquired: “Sir, could the Major’s name be Hack?” . . . And there was the Ph. D. in Texas whom I was privileged to promote from private to corporal …
… The drill is the sloppiest excuse for military precision I’ve ever seen. My Boy Scout troop was better … The classes are stark affairs, usually at the third-grade level … The instructors seem as dissatisfied with their roles as we …
There are too many people forced to take it, thus those few who do enjoy the military are thrown in with a great many more who heartily detest it, who give no cooperation …
A.F.R.O.T.C. seems to spend most of the class time on discussions of the superiority of air power over naval weapons, flying is fun, the Army is old-fashioned, etc. …
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