The Foreign Service Journal - March 2014 - page 26

26
MARCH 2014
|
THE FOREIGN SERVICE JOURNAL
Geneva. I presented him with some documents that had been
brought down to me by one of the agents that we had working in
the north, who brought information to us. They were the maps of
all the emplacements of the antiaircraft equipment of Germans
all in and around Paris. He turned sort of white and said, “Oh, for
goodness’ sake, you just brought this in by hand?”
I said, “Oh, yes, no problem.” I had a Ford car, and when you
crossed the frontier, there was always a member of the Gestapo
right at the frontier with a French officer, watching as you went
back and forth. That Ford car had a glove compartment for
which there was a separate key, not the key to the rest of the car,
the ignition. So when I went in, I just locked up papers inside the
glove compartment and turned the key down inside my bosom.
When I went into the place to check out with the French officer
and the Gestapo to go into Switzerland, I left my car open, with the
keys just hanging from the ignition. Sometimes people had hid-
den things in the machinery under the hood, and they sometimes
looked under the hood. I thought that was something to avoid.
I remember the general said, “I shall remember that, Con-
stance.” So later, when he gave me the Medal of Freedom, I guess
he remembered.
n
1950s:
The McCarthy Witch Hunt—
Who “Lost” China?
In February 1950, months after Mao Zedong’s establishment of
the People’s Republic of China, Senator Joseph McCarthy, R-Wis.,
gave his infamous speech accusing the State Department of har-
boring communist agents and sympathizers.
one of the State Department’s top experts on China, one of the so-
called China Hands, was among those caught up in the spurious
charges. With deep knowledge, and experience on the ground in
China, Service had been reporting since the early 1940s that Mao’s
forces should not be underestimated, and that the United States
could not assume that the Chinese Nationalists would succeed
against them. The U.S. would need to deal with the communists.
For this, Service was fired in December 1951. Six years later,
the Supreme Court ordered his reinstatement, but the damage to
the Foreign Service, and U.S. Asia policy, was done. As Senator J.
William Fulbright, D-Ark., would later say, during a hearing in
1971: For doing their job, reporting about conditions in China,
“[the China Hands] were so persecuted because [they] were hon-
est. This is a strange thing to occur in what is called a civilized
country.”
Here are excerpts from John Service’s account of the McCarthy
witch hunt as he experienced it.
W
e were going by freighter from Seattle to Yokohama on
our way to India [and his new assignment]. One night at
supper [the radio operator] said, “Say, is your name John
Stewart
Service?” I said, “Yes.” He said, “There’s been a lot of stuff about
you on the radio news, talking a lot about you in Washington.”
This was the first intimation we had.
A day or two later I got a telegram from the department say-
ing I should return because of charges by Senator McCarthy. The
family could either remain in Japan or go on to India.
We decided they should go on to India. We expected that
there would be a hearing. We knew from the radio broadcast that
a Senate committee had been set up.
[I was] certainly annoyed, uncertain of course, about what
was going on, but not particularly concerned. After all, I’d been
through the
Amerasia
case [Service was arrested by the FBI on
suspicion of passing classified government documents to a Far
Eastern affairs journal in 1945] and gotten a unanimous clean bill.
The department went all out. The department’s policy was
obviously to meet McCarthy head-on. A big welcome was
planned for me.
v
[S
enator Joseph] Tydings’ committee hearings had been
going on for three months and had produced a great deal
of furor, but no clear refutation in the mind of the public of
[McCarthy’s] wild charges. We had three days of hearings. The
third day they insisted on being closed because they’d had this
so-called secret recording of a conversation between [
Amerasia
editor Philip] Jaffe and myself. It wasn’t a recording at all. It was a
transcription, an alleged transcription, of some sort of a wiretap
or a listening device put in a room in Jaffe’s hotel. It was incom-
plete and very garbled.
We got, finally, a statement out of the Department of Justice;
and they said that it was excerpts, portions, of a transcript and
that the original had been destroyed. It’s got me—as we say in
the testimony—saying things that I couldn’t
possibly
have said.
It’s been argued that we should have made more of an issue—
Originally, there had to be a
reasonable basis to consider
you
dis
loyal. That was
changed to reasonable
doubts as to loyalty.
–John S. Service
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