To the Editors of the CRIMSON:
This letter is in regard to your article of yesterday entitled "NSA Urges Student Boycott of Leftist Madison Meeting," which I was a little shocked and more than a little disgusted to read. I must say that the NSA in coming out with the false and completely unsubstantiated statements that it did about the Madison conference has equalled if not surpassed the tactics of the infamous Senator McCarthy. NSA seems to forget that we in the U.S. today are threatened by groups from the right who, under the guise of saving us from Communism, are destroying those very liberties they say they are out to protect.
On what grounds does NSA call this a "leftist" meeting? Because on the sponsoring list are several members of active leftist groups? Well, so what? What a discovery! What NSA failed to mention was that on this list and an additional sponsoring list were many members of groups which are not leftist. What have we proved now? Perhaps NSA needs a little lesson in guilt by association. There are many members of active leftist groups in labor unions, all sorts of youth groups, civil rights groups, and even church groups. Perhaps NSA would like to urge a ban on meetings of such groups also. Then it all depends on what makes a group leftist. Is this term applied to any group which is interested in peace, academic freedom and equality? If this is true, then we can be certain that NSA is not "Leftist" for it has shown no interest in these, matters not even to the extent of a protest over the Harvard cross burning incident. Perhaps NSA would like to apply this same principle to the forthcoming Student Unity Meeting in which it is participating. There will certainly be members of leftist groups present and it is being called by IUS which also has members of leftist groups in it. Then why is NSA going? Why does it not urge a ban of the Unity meeting?
The most damaging piece of evidence which NSA finds is that one of the sponsors is Holstead Holman, former officer in IUS which NSA calls a "Communist student international operating out of Prague and represented on the Politbureau." This is the height of absurdity. Of the world's 8 million students, 5,336,060 are joined together in the International Union of Students (IUS). The IUS is the student organizations of 71 countries. That's a pretty good size Communist international.
NSA charges that it and SDA were not consulted. Yet the pure and simple fact is that no organizations were consulted as such but rather various individuals in these different organizations were contacted. This was done so that individuals coming to the conference would not be bound by any hard and fast rules imposed by their organizations. It so happens that Wally Carrington, former president of the Harvard HLU and presently on the national SDA board was contacted. It is also true that present at last Thursday's meeting was a representative from the Brandeis SDA who is also a delegate to the conference.
NSA likewise charges that this is an attempt to form a new organization which would like to affiliate with the IUS. There are absolutely no grounds for this charge. The Call specifically states that this conference will not attempt to form an organization which will compete with existing organizations. Rather it will be an attempt to coordinate the work of these various existing organizations and work out a common approach and program which can be used by these organizations on the issues of academic freedom, peace and equality.
Your article talks of the "secrecy" which shrouded the meeting when questions were asked regarding the sources of the conference. Tom Roberts of the National Lawyer's Guild which is incidentally not on the 'subversive" list replied that as far as he knew the conference was not being sponsored by one or more organizations but was rather the idea of a number of students from different colleges in New York.
At best the NSA can only have vague suspicions regarding the proposed conference. And when supposedly reliable organizations call for bans and level attacks on the basis of vague suspicions, one can only fear about the state to which the current hysteria is leading us. Judith Lee Stock, 4 Charieegate East, Boston