To the Editors:
On November 20, 1969, the Armed Forces Disciplinary Control Board initiated action to place the Shelter Half Coffeehouse in Tacoma, Washington, off limits for military personnel. The Shelter Half, staffed jointly by GIs and civilians and operating for over a year, has been a meeting place for anti-war GIs from Fort Lewis and for the Fort Lewis Chapter of the American Servicemen’s Union.
The Board claims it has taken this action after “receiving information which indicated that the Shelter Half Coffeehouse is a source of dissident counseling and literature and other activities inimical to good morale, order and discipline within the Armed Services.” It has ordered the Shelter Half staff to appear before it on Jan. 22 for a one day pro-forma hearing to “show cause why it should not be placed off limits.”
The Board’s action against the Shelter Half is part of the Army’s program of repression of internal dissent and GIs’ efforts to demand their rights. Lt. General Stanley Larson, Commander of the Sixth Army which is stationed at Fort Lewis, was also responsible for the prosecution of the Presidio 27 in San Francisco last year.
The effort to place the Shelter Half off limits must not succeed. It would result in similar actions against the eight other GI coffeehouses adjoining military bases across the country, many of which have already faced physical and legal harassment, and it is part of the national effort to crush on and off base GI organizations. We urge civilians to support us in our fight against military repression by writing letters opposing the order to put the Shelter Half off limits to:
Hon. Stanley R. Resor
Secretary of the Army
Dept. of the Army
and by sending copies to:
Lt. General Stanley R. Larson
Commanding General, 6th U.S. Army
Presidio, San Francisco, Calif. 94129
U.S. Army Training Center
Fort Lewis, Wash. 98433
And by sending checks payable to The Shelter Half to:
The Shelter Half
5437 Tacoma Way
Tacoma, Wash. 98409
Defend the Shelter Half. Support our soldiers.
The Shelter Half
January 29, 1970