To the Editors:

The history of the House UnAmerican Activities Committee has been an odious one. Serving no legitimate legislative purpose—the Committee has not produced a single major piece of legislation in years—HUAC exists only as an instrument to smear and intimidate those in our society who hold unpopular political views.

Now the Committee has subpoenaed eleven anti-Vietnam war activists, including the chairman of the Berkeley, California, Vietnam Day Committee, a faculty member at the University of California, and a journalist. Some are members of the Progressive Labor Party; others of the W.E.B. DuBois Clubs and Students for a Democratic Society. Regardless of what we think of the political views of those subpoenaed, we emphatically deny the right of the Committee to inquire into anyone’s political beliefs and associations. Furthermore, it is clear that this is more than an attempt to silence a handful of militants: these hearings are an attempt to intimidate all those who disagree with American policy in Vietnam into humble acquiescence in that policy. Civil liberties are indivisible; any infringement of an individual’s right to free speech and free political association is a threat to the whole fabric of our democratic society.

These hearings must be cancelled. And it is time once and for all for Americans to put an end to this Committee and its McCarthyite methods. We call for the abolition of the House UnAmerican Activities Committee.

Henry David Aiken

George Backer

Daniel Bell

David T. Bazelon

Saul Bellow

Julian Bond

Robert Brustein

Simon Cassidy

Albert Sprague Coolidge

Rep. Don Edwards

Harry Fleischman

Anthony Franciosa

Nathan Glazer

Rev. Donald S. Harrington

Hallock Hoffman

Irving Howe

Mark DeWolfe Howe

Max Lerner

Seymour Martin Lipset

Robert Lowell

Allard K. Lowenstein

Dwight Macdonald

Floyd McKissick

Emanuel Murauchik

Peter H. Odegard

Norman Podhoretz

Joseph L. Rauh, Jr.

Henry Schwarzchild

Robert Silvers

Room 524

156 Fifth Avenue

New York, N.Y.

This Issue

September 8, 1966