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Salient. An Organ of Student Opinion at Victoria College, Wellington, N.Z. Vol. 18, No. 12. September 6, 1954

Open Letter to Senator McCarthy

Open Letter to Senator McCarthy

Senator J. McCarthy,

C/o Congress, Washington, D.C. United States of America.

Dear Sir,—I em instructed to write to you, on behalf of my society, expressing the concern which is felt at your actions.

After a full and fair debate, at which every possible viewpoint was discussed, this decision was taken.

Members of my society appreciate that the internal political actions of a country are not normally of direct concern to the citizens of any other country. In this case, however, the effects are of very grave concern to citizens of many countries other than the United States of America.

Members expressed the view that the reputation of the United States as the champion of freedom and democracy was being shattered because of actions within the United States which punished men, not for revolutionary actions but for revolutionary opinions. So long as the legal dictum that a man must continue to be assumed innocent until ho has been proved by the State to be guilty is violated, so long as the normal processes of legal charge and rebuttal are closed to those under criticism, so long as past association in some vague way is taken to be proof of present conspiracy, and so long as men fear to give frank and warranted expression to criticisms within the due processes of law, the name of the United States will mean nothing as the leader of any freedoms. We cannot view with any equanimity any political actions within the United States which tend to make it less possible to distinguish the nature of free government from that of a totalitarian state.

As well as such internal actions, however, grave as they are in jeopardising the good name of the United States, there have been others which directly affected foreign states—such as allegations about trade in British ships to China—all of which embitter relationships between the United States and other countries.

We believe it to be the duty of peoples in other countries to bring to the notice of your country the effects of actions such as yours.

While all the arguments justifying your actions were brought forward, my Society concluded that however laudable you might believe your end to bo, it is necessary for the free nations to repudiate the theory that, this end justifies any means whatsoever, and therefore to repudiate any means which are not compatible with the basic principles of democracy.

Any comment which you care to make [unclear: upon] the subject of this letter will, I assure you, be given a full and fair Rearing at a mooting of the Society.

Yours, etc.,

Hon. Secretary, V.U.C. Debating Society.