Document 8: Testimony of J. B. Matthews
Washington State Joint Legislative Fact-Finding Committee on Un-American Activities,
Second Report: Un-American Activities in Washington State (Olympia, 1948), 34-90.
MR. HOUSTON: Will you please state your name?
DR. MATTHEWS: J. B. Matthews. Matthews. . . .
MR. HOUSTON: What is your business, Doctor?
DR. MATTHEWS: Researching Communism. . . .
MR. HOUSTON: What is your background in that field, Doctor?
DR. MATTHEWS: From 1938 until 1945 I was the Director of Research for the Special Committee on Un-American Activities at the House of Representatives. . . .
CHAIRMAN CANWELL: [Responding to the protesters shouting outside the building:] I am going to ask for the State Patrol to take drastic measures, and if the demonstration continues in front of the Armory, I am going to ask for the arrest, disorderly conduct charges of the participants. We are not going to tolerate a Communist interference with the legislative process, and we are going to see that that decision is upheld, if we have to move in the entire State Patrol.
MR. HOUSTON: Would you detail for us some of the objectives of the Communist Party in the field of education, how they intend to do it, what they intend to do?
DR. MATTHEWS: [I]f you survey sufficiently Communist literature, you will find somewhere all of the objectives set forth; and that is true in the field of education as well as in other fields. Somewhere in black and white, the Communists have set down what they are about to do, or trying to do. In "The Communist," which is the—or was, the most official Party publication some years ago, in the issue of May, 1937, we find [a description of] the over-all objective of the Communist Party with reference to the schools of this country—to transform them as rapidly as possible by infiltration into forms which may ultimately be used for the Communist revolution: "Communist teachers are, therefore, faced with a tremendous social responsibility. They must take advantage of their positions, without exposing themselves." End of that particular quotation. . . .
To quote further from that same article: "Only when teachers have really mastered Marxism-Leninism will they be able skillfully to inject it into their teachings, at the least risk of exposure." That's the end of that quotation. It is sometimes alleged that a teacher of literature, or a teacher of mathematics, or a teacher of history, may be a member of the Communist Party, and at the same time not inject any Communist doctrine into his or her classroom teaching. That may be true in some cases; but at least the objective of the Party as set forth in this particular document is that every Communist teacher that has mastered Communist doctrine, is skillfully to inject it into their teachings, with no limits set forth as to the field in which the teacher is a professional.
CHAIRMAN CANWELL: [Warning demonstrators:] I suggest that the State Patrol make some arrests out there if this continues. These people are the ones who are supposed to be interested in free speech, and academic freedom, and all the civil rights, and they are giving a typical Communist demonstration of what they really believe.
DR. MATTHEWS: . . . Stalin's infiltration of American schools, elementary, secondary, higher, private, public, has been so extensive that many volumes could be written on the subject; but its over-all objective is to undermine the loyalty of American youth to their traditions, their way of life, and their form of government.
CHAIRMAN CANWELL: The police organizations, the Highway Patrol and the City Police, are in the process of handling the situation in front of the building at the present moment and we will be at ease for about five minutes to see if that will be—see if the conditions out there will be cleared up before we proceed with our testimony.
CHAIRMAN CANWELL: Shall we attempt to proceed? I think the situation is in hand.
MR. MATTHEWS: . . . I have in my hand an official pamphlet of the Communist Party entitled the "Road to Mass Organization of Proletarian Children." Several major objectives for educating children are set forth in this pamphlet. . . . [I]n this pamphlet we find the following:
"A special struggle should be waged at home by the children. The children should try to win over the adults. This activity requires also a struggle in the family against backward ideas such as religion, petty bourgeois tendencies. Through the rejection of bourgeois holidays and customs the children can become the exponent of Communist ideas at home."
That sounds fantastic to some Americans but there it is in black and white.
It means simply that ten and twelve year old children, the age group to which this pamphlet is addressed and with which it is concerned, are to give their parents lessons in . . . loyalty to Marx and Engels, Lenin and Stalin. That is an objective in the educational field. . . .
"The finest program for youthful students would organize shooting practice, exercises and military games with the objects of developing the faculties of self-defense among working class children." That's [another] point. The training of American children for Civil War. . . .
In my records, which have been compiled over a period of some years, there are approximately 5,000 teachers, mostly in higher institutions of learning, colleges and universities, who are being affiliated with Communist organizations or Communist club organizations. . . .
I have made a tabulation of the leading Fellow Travelers in the United States. This tabulation covers approximately one thousand Communist-Front organizations and it was derived in this fashion. Any person who has sponsored or been affiliated with twenty or more of those Communist front organizations is by definition set down as a Fellow Traveler. I find that the top one hundred Fellow Travelers in the United States, today include twenty-three college professors and only six officials of labor unions. And that, I think is significant. Twenty-three college professors, by far the largest number in any category, among the one-hundred top Fellow Travelers in the United States. . . .
Guilt by Association
Communists and their supporters argue that there is no such thing as guilt by association. Numerous radio commentators derive the notion that there could be [no] indiscretion of any kind in associating with other people. . . . [However,] the overwhelming evidence available on the subjects supports [the] statement of the Attorney General of the United States [that] front organizations are a half-way station between the status quo and the Communist Revolution. They are used by the Communist Party hypocritically pending the time when they think they can seize power through a revolution. If that definition is correct it certainly means that professors who associate with those organizations have some degree of guilt by virtue of association.
The professors, it appears, enjoy signing their names to manifesto. . . . Some of them probably like to see their names in print as many other citizens do, including politicians. . . . Not every signer may be considered a Communist, or even a Communist sympathizer, but each to some degree aids and abets the Communist cause. . . .
Professor Einstein in Forty Front Organizations
We have some very distinguished examples of this. Albert Einstein, who certainly has earned the right to the greatest distinction in his particular scientific field, rarely lets the month go by that he does not sound off on some political question. . . . Professor Einstein is a refugee in the United States from the tyranny of the Nazis but aside from his eminent scientific work in which he has engaged since he came to the United States as a refugee he has devoted 90% of his political activities to the support of an equally brutal tyranny, that of the Soviet Government.
And may I point out that according to the records it was Professor Einstein who first completely conceived the possibility of the atomic bomb and sent a direct report to President Roosevelt suggesting setting aside—setting aside some two billion dollars in an attempt to build an atomic bomb. That is some indication of the importance of Professor Einstein in this whole field of nuclear fission, the atomic bomb and our topmost military secrets.
For a number of years since the close of the World War as well as before few visiting scientists from Soviet Russia have come to the United States without making one of their first stops Princeton, New Jersey, where they have conferred with Professor Einstein. I know it's possible for Professor Einstein to confer with the Soviet scientists and not disclose important secrets, I said possible, I'm not sure that any man should be entrusted with a responsibility for deciding whether or not he should disclose such secrets or whether or not he would know when he had or had not disclosed.
Here, again, we are confronted, I think, with this minimum charge against Professor Einstein. [B]y his prolonged association with the Communist movement in the United States he has abused the land which honors him so greatly for his scientific achievements and has granted him citizenship. . . . [Matthews's testimony continued along these lines for several hours.]
[Matthews took the stand again the following day.] DR. MATTHEWS: There is a fallacy widely held, particularly in the academic world, that academic freedom is infringed by legislative investigations such as this. . . . It seems to me that it ought to be clear that there are three parties involved in the academic world—and that all have rights and that academic freedom applies to all. . . .
Academic freedom should certainly include the freedom of parents to dissent upon being compelled to subject their children to subversive teachings in the public and state schools. Have parents no freedom? No rights in the academic world? I think they have rights equal to, if not superior to, those of the teaching profession. And certainly the duly constituted authorities of our state and federal governments have not only freedoms and rights but obligations in the academic field to see to it that subversive . . . agents and activities are not carried on under the guise of academic freedom. . . .
[Another] fallacy to which I should like to draw attention is the one that Communism and free societies can live side by side, at peace and indefinitely in the world of today. Now this is not a matter of my personal opinion. It is a matter of study of the Communist records. It has been declared over and over again not only by the task leaders of the Communist leaders of the world, but by Joseph Stalin himself, that war between the Communist world and the so-called Capitalist world is inevitable and we may write it down that it is inevitable. . . . There is no more denying that fact than it is possible to deny that Lenin and Stalin wrote hundreds of books and pamphlets and as their every action from the time of the founding of the Soviet government has been in line with precisely that ultimate aim. I am not here to say that it will be tomorrow, or next year, or within the decade, but I know that American policy based upon any other assumption is based upon a fallacy. . . . War is inevitable and the consequences for Communists in the United States must be I understood by them in that light. Sabotage, espionage and treason will no more be tolerated [by] American citizens . . .
MR. HOUSTON: Doctor, I certainly want to thank you for the sacrifice you've made in leaving your busy position and coming this far, 3,000 miles from home to assist us in better understanding this problem and laying down for us the pattern of the Communist Party in the field of education.