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SUBVERSIVE INFLUENCES IN RIOTS, LOOTING, AND
TUESDAY, OCTOBER 31, 1967
SUBCOMMITTEE OF THE
The subcommittee of the Committee on Un-American Activities met, pursuant to call, at 10:00 a.m., in Room 311, Cannon House Office Building, Washington, D.C., Hon. Edwin E. Willis (chairman) presiding.
(Subcommittee members: Representatives Edwin E. Willis, of Louisiana, chairman; William M. Tuck, of Virginia; Richard H. Ichord, of Missouri, John M. Ashbrook, of Ohio, and Albert W. Watson, of South Carolina; also John C. Culver, of Iowa, in absence of Mr. Willis.)
Subcommittee members present: Representatives Willis, Tuck, Ichord, Ashbrook, and Watson.
Staff members present: Francis J. McNamara, director; Chester D. Smith, general counsel; and Herbert Romerstein, investigator.
The CHAIRMAN. The committee will come to order.
The CHAIRMAN. Mr. Mehaffey, please raise you right hand." Do you solemnly swear that the testimony you give this committee will be the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth, so help you God?
Mr. MEHAFFEY. I do. Mr. Smith. Mr. Chairman, before he starts his testimony I have a few documents I would like to introduce.
The CHAIRMAN. All right.
Mr. Smith. Mr. Chairman, in preparation for these hearings the staff has prepared a compilation of statements by foreign Communist powers and organizations on the recent riots in this country. Inasmuch as there are groups in this country which have been involved in the riots and which take orders from these powers, or openly adulate them and hold them up as models, it is believed these statements are relevant to this inquiry.
1 Testimony of other witnesses who testified prior to Mr. Mehaffey's appearance on this date is printed in part 2 of these hearings.
Is permission granted to make these statements a part of the hearing record as Committee Exhibit No.1?
The CHAIRMAN. Without objection they will be included. (Document marked "Committee Exhibit No. 1." See pp. 863–878.)
Mr. Smith. Mr. Chairman, the staff has also compiled statements made by the FBI and its Director, Mr. J. Edgar Hoover, during the past 6 years on the subject of Communist activity in the area of racial agitation. Because the FBI has a network of informants within Communist and other subversive organizations and is in a better position to know what these organizations are doing than any other agency of Government, and because these statements are relevant to this inquiry, permission is requested to make this compilation a part of the record.
The CHAIRMAN. That compilation will be made a part of the record. (Document marked "Committee Exhibit No. 2." See pp. 878–883.)
Mr. SMITH. Mr. Chairman, in connection with Mr. Mehaffey's testimony, investigation and research which have been carried out by staff in connection with this inquiry have revealed that certain organizations as such have been directly involved in riots and racial incidents involving violence; that individual leaders and members of other organizations have played a role in certain of the riots; and, finally, that certain organizations and/or their leaders have been engaged in the dissemination of inflammatory racial propaganda and agitation which, expert testimony has indicated, may well contribute to the outbreak of riots.
Because some of these organizations are relatively new and others are small and little known, the subcommittee has agreed that staff documents containing basic data about these organizations and also statements which they or their recognized leaders have made concerning riots, the use of violence, and related issues should be made a part of the record.
The purpose is to make the record clear. When facts are presented about these organizations and individuals in these hearings, the general nature of the groups will be known and understood. It is emphasized that these documents are not intended to convey any more than they actually say. Some of these organizations, as the documents make clear, are openly Communist and subversive. Others have been cited as Communist and/or subversive by official agencies. Still others have not. In such cases, the inclusion of these documents in the record is not to be interpreted as a committee finding or implication that the organization is Communist or subversive.
Permission is requested at this time to enter these documents, to be presented by Mr. Mehaffey, into the record.
The CHAIRMAN. Permission is granted.
Mr. Smith. It was originally planned that all these exhibits would be placed in the record before receipt of testimony concerning the Harlem riot of 1964 and racial agitation in New York City prior to and since the riot. A number of factors prevented this being done. Therefore, it is requested that these exhibits be placed in the record before the testimony of Detective Hart and immediately following that of those witnesses who testified as authorities on the subject of rioting.
The CHAIRMAN. The request is granted.
TESTIMONY OF ROBERT H. MEHAFFEY
The CHAIRMAN. At this point, Mr. Mehaffey, just in a thumbnail sketch form, can you read highlight excerpts from some of the staff documents referred to by counsel which you are now submitting for the record 2 (Documents marked “Committee Exhibit No. 3.”See pp. 884–922.) Mr. MEHAFFEY. Yes, sir. Mr. SMITH. Give the reporter your full name. Mr. MEHAFFEY. Robert H. Mehaffey. Mr. SMITH. Where are you employed? Mr. MEHAFFEY. I am employed with the House Committee on UnAmerican Activities as research consultant. Mr. SMITH. Will you proceed. Mr. MEHAFFEY. Thank you. (At this point, Mr. Mehaffey read excerpts from Committee Exhibit No. 3, the staff papers on the Communist Party, U.S.A., the W. E. B. DuBois Clubs of America, and the Progressive Labor Party. As he finished the excerpts from the document on the Progressive Labor Party, the following exchange took place:) The CHAIRMAN. Off the record, gentlemen. There is a quorum call going on. I think I will try to make it. The committee will stand in recess for 20 minutes. (Brief recess) The CHAIRMAN. The committee will be in recess until 10 o'clock tomorrow morning. (Whereupon, at 4:50 p.m., Tuesday, October 31, 1967, the committee WaS o to reconvene at 10:00 a.m., Wednesday, November 1, 1967. (Committee Exhibits Nos. 1 through 3 follow:)
CoMMITTEE ExHIBIT No. 1
INTERNATIONAL COMMUNIST STATEMENTS ON RACIAL AGITATION AND RIOTS IN THE UNITED STATES
Foreign Communist parties and capitals, in statements and commentaries broadcast to all parts of the world and published in international and national Communist journals, have not only welcomed and supported the racial riots in this country, but have made it clear that it is their desire that additional riots take place—a message that will not be lost on their U.S. followers. They have described the “so-called riots” as justified “insurrections” and “rebellions,” as “revolutionary violence” which is a part of the class struggle in this country and the worldwide struggle against U.S. imperialism. They have placed full blame for the riots on the United States Government. They portray the riots as “massacres” in which Negroes are “murdered” and numerous “atrocities” are committed against them by the police and military forces called in to restore order. The riot cities are “battlefields” in the “limited war” of “genocide” being waged by the U.S. Government against Negroes in this country. The statements of Moscow, Peking, Hanoi, and Havana quoted in this exhibit, as well as similar statements made by these and other Communist capitals not reproduced herein, have a number of obvious purposes: 1. To discredit the United States everywhere by creating the impression that the Negroes in this country are so brutally treated and oppressed that, unable to tolerate conditions any longer, they have risen in rebellion against the Government; 2. To make it clear to Communists in all parts of the world that, in whatever way possible, they are to publicize, support, and promote individuals and organizations in the U.S. engaging in racial agitation and the instigation of rioting;
3. To convey the message to U.S. Communists that they themselves should do all they can to promote the outbreak of riots which, for obvious reasons, are believed to assist in the accomplishment of Communist objectives both here and abroad ;
4. To convince civil rights organizations and activists, and Negroes in general, that Negroes in this country cannot achieve full equality unless the United States ends the war in Vietnam, i.e., pulls out of Vietnam and permits the Communists to take over that country;
5. To the degree that these statements reach Negroes in the United States, they are clearly designed to arouse hatred, resentment, and enmity against the Government and create a willingness to riot in the future against an allegedly coldblooded, oppressive regime that is making a calculated effort to wipe out the Negroes in the United States.
THE SOVIET UNION
MOSCOW RADIO, ENGLISH LANGUAGE COMMENTARY TO SOUTH ASIA ON THE WATTS RIOT, AUGUST 16, 1965:
“The residents of the Negro ghetto [Watts] staged a peaceful campaign against segregation a few days ago. The racists tried terror to impede them. * * * This small civil war * * * has witnessed the local and federal administrations taking the side of the racists. Tens of thousands of police and national guardsmen, reinforced by regular troops are taking action against the Negroes. - - * - * *
“It is remarkable that the massacre in Los Angeles took place exactly two weeks after Congress passed a bill on Negro voting. * * * The bullets, bayonets, and teargas used * * * is eloquent disproval of the fairy tale about race harmony for which the present American administration is allegedly fighting. * * * These events have proved that the struggle for equality cannot be won by demonstrations and singing of psalms alone.”
MOSCOW RADIO ON WATTS RIOT, AUGUST 16, 1965:
“The Los Angeles events have further demolished the fairytale of freedom and democracy in the United States. For the Negro population * * * these principles meant thousands of arrests, hundreds of wounded, and dozens of murdered people. * * * The population, cut off from the rest of the world, is facing hunger. Police and National Guardsmen are combing the ruined streets. Acting on the hysterical command of the City Police Chief Parker, they go on arresting, arresting, arresting. * * * The bloodstained events in Los Angeles began six days ago with a peaceful demonstration against racial discrimination. No one stopped the racists when they attacked the demonstrators. But the full force of the strongest military power of the capitalist world was brought to bear on the Negroes of Los Angeles when in their despair they took up arms. * * *
“The word “ghetto' often occurs in reports from Los Angeles, sometimes in conjunction with the term ‘Warsaw.” Many people are reminded of the events linked to rising of the population of the Jewish ghetto in the Polish capital occupied by the Nazis. The Nazis quelled this rising with bestial and methodical cruelty.
* * * * * * *
“the soldier who disperses a Negro demonstration is being morally prepared for killing people in Vietnam or the Dominican Republic. * * * reports from Los Angeles stress that the behavior of U.S. soldiers in the city's Negro quarters is reminiscent of their action in Santo Domingo. * * * It is no accident that Vietnam, Santo Domingo, and the American city of Los Angeles are joined in one line, the line of the fight against the common foe, American imperialism.”
TASS INTERNATIONAL SERVICE, AUGUST 17, 1965: “News coming from Los Angeles shows that the actions of the Negro population of that city have been suppressed by the most ruthless means. * * * * * * *
“politicians accentuate individual cases of ‘violence' by the Negro population * * *
“Despite the demagogic statements of U.S. officials " " " the Negroes still remain in the vise of inequality in all spheres of life. * * * What is happening in fact is that Negroes from rural areas, particularly from the southern states, * * * pour into the big cities in search of a better life " " ". But in the city ghettos they find the same hopelessness * * *. - * * * * * *
“The bloody events in Los Angeles, just as last year's events in Harlem, have a common basis " * * the absence of radical action by the government to restore the elementary rights of the Negro population; that is, such measures which are not in the interests of the monopolies. “The demands for change in the status of the Negro population in America keep rising, and where this movement encounters most reactionary forms of official resistance * * * it takes Violent forms. * * *”
MOSCOW RADIO BROADCAST TO U.S. TROOPS IN VIETNAM, MAY 17, 1967:
“The American FBI and the CIA sent a secret letter to the commander of the American occupation forces in South Vietnam which dealt with the alleged unreliability of Negro soldiers and proposed measures to strengthen controls over them. * * * In the United States itself, a new movement against racial discrimination has started * * * Negro soldiers serving in the U.S. Army will not be indifferent to this. * * * American Negro soldiers are fully aware of all this and they themselves are subjected to racial discrimination * * *.
“* * * General William Westmoreland * * * issued an order for Negro soldiers to be thrown into the most dangerous areas and to use them for cover for the white soldiers. Because of his orders, the Negroes are sent to parachute troop detachments, which suffer the greatest losses in the Vietnam jungle. * * *
“Perhaps there are some Negro soldiers listening to this program. If so, do they ask themselves in whose interests they have to rot in the Vietnam jungles * * * * For the interests of those who lynch their fathers and brothers in America • * * The Negro soldiers must not betray their ideals and their hopes for freedom and equal rights. And it is exactly this that the Vietnamese patriots are fighting for. They are fighting the same Yankee racists against whom today the black ghettos of America are rising in their just struggle.”
MOSCOW RADIO BROADCAST TO SOUTH ASIA, JULY 25, 1967:
“America has never seen the likes of it before and America is " * * accustorned to racial disturbances. Real battles are raging in the streets of American cities. * * * - & 4. so & * *
“The United States is actually on the brink of civil war. * * * Earlier it was the South that was the citadel of racism. Now Negroes are beaten up and killed in the North too. * * * the full power of the police and the army, tanks and armored cars, is thrown against the unarmed Negroes. “American racism is celebrating a gory victory. It is suppressing, killing, beating up, arresting, and imprisoning. * * * - * * o - * *
“The Negro movement is growing in scope and vigor * * *. Experience has shown them that only by fighting can they accomplish anything. In Newark • * * there was a national conference by representatives of the Negro movement. * * * The conference decided to set up a single center to coordinate and unite the movement for Negro rights. * * * Rap Brown, one of the delegates, said: There are three forms of genocide in the United States today. There is the genocide toward the Negro children in Mississippi * * *. Then there is the police genocide * * *. Finally, there is the war in Vietnam. * * * American imperialist circles are now waging two race wars—one against the Negroes at home, the other against Asians in Vietnam. * * *”
MOSCOW DOMESTIC RADIO COMMENTARY ON NEWARK RIOT, JULY 25, 1967:
“The long, hot summer of Negro demonstrations * * * is now at its height. * * * there was an explosion in Newark. For six days the unarmed Negro population of the city, rising in despair to the din of police shooting * * * tried to force the federal authorities in Washington to listen to them. The response of the authorities was that dozens of Negroes were killed, hundreds wounded, and thousands arrested. * * * the wave of despair and anger spread throughout the country • * *. The rising in the Negro ghetto of Newark spread to New Brunswick. Plainfield, Minneapolis, Birmingham, and finally reached the country's largest cities, New York and Detroit. * * *”