In response to:
Protest from the February 15, 1968 issue
To the Editors:
Unfortunately, Fulbright grantees no longer enjoy the freedom of speech which Leo Marx and his correspondents appear to believe they have.
I recently received a statement from the Board of Foreign Scholarships, the board, I believe, to which Professor Marx once belonged, warning Fulbright grantees about the possible dangers of public criticism of United States’ government policies. Such action, the board warns, might involve us in the domestic politics of the host nation and also draw the Fulbright program into the “political arena.” The statement warns that grantees who indulge in such activities, either deliberately or otherwise, might have their grants revoked.
Though the statement is couched in bureaucratic language and though several key terms lack precise meaning, its purpose is clear: to silence criticism. Exactly the same tactics were employed by Peace Corps officials, and at least one peace corpsman has been shipped home from Latin America for publishing a letter critical of United States policy in Vietnam. The result is a spreading disillusionment with the peace corps, and now it looks as though the Fulbright program is going to suffer the same fate.
In the meantime, Fulbright grantees should speak as freely as their consciences dictate. In addition they should demand that the Board of Foreign Scholarships return to its original guarantee of free speech, as spelled out in the contract signed by Fulbright grant recipients.
Robert F. Smith
University of Tampere
May 23, 1968