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Cedar Rapids Gazette (Newspaper) - October 27, 1974, Cedar Rapids, Iowa 4/\ Thf Cfdar Rapids Gazette: Sun., Ort. 27, 1974 Security Panel Interest Wanes; Critics Remain Now It s the Scotch By Richard D. Lyons New York Times Service WASHINGTON - In tho house of representatives' Cannon office building, room 305 seems like many another in the rabbit warren of high-ceiling cubicles, but its contents have provoked more criticism and wrath than anything like it on Capitol Hill. Room 305 is the repository for files of the house internal security committee, nee the house un-American activities committee, or HUAC — over 750,000 cards documenting the doings of the extreme left, the extreme right and graduations in between. "Big deal,” Anita Maggie, the clerk of the file room, said in mock wonder as she showed a recent visitor around the storeroom of the controversial information. In its heyday the files and the committee once were a big deal. Its hearing rooms were filled with talk of pumpkin papers, stolen microfilm, Communist couriers and spy rings. Confrontation Interest in the committee hit its peak in the late 1940s during the confrontation between Alger Hiss, a former state department official, and the late Whittaker Chambers, who had confessed to having been a courier for a Communist spy ring, and who testified he had hidden government documents in a hol-lowed-out pumpkin. Hiss later was convicted of perjury and served 44 months in prison. Bat the days are gone when the committee cai indulge in dramatic anticommunist crusading such as was led by former members like Martin Dies, J. Parnell Thomas. Harold Velde and Richard Nixon. Yet the committee remains very much alive, and only this month its supporters won a fight on the house floor to continue its funding. Calls for the destruction of the files — indeed the abolishment of the committee itself — have increased in recent years, and the margins of floor support have narrowed while the committee s budget and staff have been slowly whittled down to $725,000 and 39 persons, a reduction of over $100,000 and 15 workers in the last several years. Farmer Hijinks This has served notice to committee members that the house will not tolerate the hijinks of former days, when spectators were dragged from the hearing room by the police as screaming exchanges took place between congressmen and witnesses. "The days of the TV spectacular are over," said Rep Richardson Preyer (D-N.C.) who is a committee member. "We’re getting away from the kooky type of right-wing witnesses." And the number of hearings, committee meetings and legislative reports Is declining. In the current 93rd congress, the committee has heard 112 witnesses, compared to 191 in the 92nd congress. Preyer insists the committee's work is becoming niore thoughtful, involving such areas as kidnaping as a political weapon, urban terrorism and aircraft hijacking. He contends that such activities demonstrate that "subversion is still a very real danger" to the U.S. "The media and the intellectuals come down on restnc lions to freedom of speech," he said. "That’s OK with me, but the dangers of an archy cannot get too much emphasis, and the committee should continue to be a spokesman for the latter." The committee's strongest supporter is also its chairman, Richard Ichord (D-Mo). lchord said he really did not care whether the committee lived or died, but he insisted that if it went out of existence no other house committee would continue the surveillance of subversion, terrorism and crime. "The kooks of the right and left say that nobody in congress should be dealing with such problems, but I think they’re wrong and a lot of members of congress agree with me." The committee chairman said prison unrest and riots had been "inflamed by revolutionary groups." He added that the domestic Communist party "could be a real threat if the country has an economic depression of the 1931s type. Asked why only six bills originating in the present committee and its predecessor had ever been enacted. Ichord replied that the panel was primarily an investigative group, rather than legislative. Long buried in congressional history is the fact that the committee was founded 40 years ago as the house select committee on un-American activities under former Speaker John McCormack. The select committee’s initial thrust was investigation of Nazi activities, and it started with the German-American bund. In 1945 it became a permanent committee, and it shifted its focus from Fascism to Communism. Bottle Voyage The longest voyage recorded for a message in a bottle was one of 25.000 miles from the Pacific to the shore of the island of Sylt in the North Sea in 1968. The bottle was dropped in 1947. Legislative Product During the debate five years ago to change the committee’s name, Rep Don Edwards (D-Caiif.) who then was a member of HUAC, noted that its legislative product had "not been responsible for putting a single person rn jail." The two committees have Issued 174 contempt of congress citations, over IO times as many as all the other house committees combined, but most have been thrown out by the courts and few persons have gone to jail. Watchdog rather than legislative functions were stressed by another committee member advocating eternal vigilance against subversives. Rep. Roger Zion (R ind.). "Laws haven’t discouraged kidnapings, the blowing up of railroad stations or safes.” Zion said. "We need to continue watching the Ku Flux Klan. the American Communist party, the Black Panthers and the Symbionese Liberation Army." The committee’s strongest detractor in congress is a member of the committee, Rep. Robert Drinan (D-Mass ), the Jesuit priest who originally sought the seat in order to work from within the committee to destroy it Era of Detente "This is an obstacle committee acting as a permanent unit," he said. "The Subversive Activities Control Board has been abolished, and virtually every state agency like the house committee on internal security has been abolished in this era of detente .’’ Father Drinan said he would continue to work to kill the committee in order to “improve the image of congress and protect the privacy of citizens from the libelous and outrageous dossiers maintained by the committee.” "The committee keeps files on professors, journalists, housewives, politicians, business men, students and other sincere, honest individuals from every part of the United States who, unlike the proponents of the blacklisting activities of HUAC. take the first amendment at face value." he went on Agencies ( heck Committee supporters contend that one of the main reasons for continuing its work is to allow federal agencies to check the names of potential employes against the files But critics say this may be a form of blacklisting since, even by the admission of committee members, the information may be unsubstantiated. But the checking continues and the staff handles more than LIMN) inquiries a year Miss Maggio, the clerk in room 305, pointed out the in and out boxes assigned to a score of agencies that routinely screen applicants against the committee’s files. The agencies included the department of housing and urban development, the Agency for International Development, the department of Health, Education and Welfare, and the coast guard. While explaining the purposes of the boxes, she stopped, looked a little perplexed and said: "You know it’s sort of odd, the CIA doesn’t use us anymore." NEW YORK (UPI) — When National Scotland week rolls around Nov. 10-17, Americans of Scottish descent can add another feather to their tam o’shanters A Scotsman, it seems, preceded Columbus to America by 94 years with several ships and some 200 men on a voyage of discovery recorded in Venetian archives and American Indian folklore. It is claimed he left his mark on a Massachusetts rock in the form of an effigy of a knight with a broken sword Historian-educator Frederick J Puhi of Brooklyn has championed Henry Sinclair. Earl of Orkney, as the first European to set "really civilized foot" on North America for 30 years. Now. at 85, Puhi has written "Prince Henry Sinclair His Expedition to the New World in 1398" (Clarkson N. Potter, publisher) which presents a mass of evidence indicating Sinclair spent a winter in Nova Scotia and visited Massachusetts before returning to the Orkney Islands. Neil Weyland and Dick Moore ARMSTRONG MEN’S CLOTHING PROFESSIONALS mfg / PT att* <4. t 'J?*******;. rm STMP MI THE ISSUES.. STAN'S STAND I Oppose I Favor I Oppose the issue Out-of-Stota political contribution*. Candidate* should not bo in debt to out-of-state interest*. Reducing the 60% vote required on bond issues to over 50%. This is simple. You cither boliovo in majority rule or you don't. legalisation of marijuana. Until the potential danger of smoking marijuana is determined It should not bo legalised. VOTE FOR IVOR STAKLEY The “Issues” Candidate for State Senator Parti (or by Stoney lot Senator Committee — A** l'*otur*r Neil and Dick like the NEW Blazer Look for fall. Fashion models? Maybe. Clothing professionals? Definitely! Neil and Dick know what's right for you. Some of the best dressed men in Eastern Iowa can attest to that. Neil's blazer features contrast stitching . . . nothing subtle about it. Bold brash, different. Offset with a bold plaid double knit slack, this makes a handsome outfit for now and the holidays. Dick’s blazer is identical style wise with a more subdued contrast stitch. Teamed with a double knit houndstooth slack, this is ideal for almost any occasion including business. Let our clothing professionals give you a new outlook soon. ARMSTRONG MEN S CLOTHING - THIRD FLOOR quality is economy
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