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Committee Recommends Senate Censure McCarthy, Charges He Treated Group Contemptuously

Cite Abuse of Brig. Gen. Zwicker In Report Also

WASHINGTON (AP)- A special Senate investigating committee recommended today that Sen. Joseph R. McCarthy "should be censured" by the Senate.

In a report prepared for the Senate, the six-member committee said McCarthy, Wisconsin Republican, had treated the Senate and one of its committees contemptuously. It said further that on another count- his alleged abuse of Brig. Gen. Ralph W. Zwicker, "the senator from Wisconsin, Mr. McCarthy, should be censured."

As for three other broad charges considered in nine days of hearings, the committee said if feels they "do not, under all the evidence, justify a resolution of censure."

The Senate will convene in special session Nov. 8 to consider the committee's recommendations.

The Senate itself will decide when whether to vote to censure or non-censure.

Adoption of a resolution of censure would amount simply to a public rebuke of McCarthy and would not, of itself, remove any of his senatorial privileges.

The special committee's report ran to 68 printed pages, a total of around 40,000 words. Much of the text was devoted to a summary of the evidence.

A summary of recommendations said:

"For the reasons and on the facts found in this report, the select committee recommends:

"1. That on the charges in the category of 'incidents of contempt of the Senate or a senatorial committee,' the senator from Wisconsin, Mr. McCarthy, should be censured.

"2. That the charges in the category of 'incidents of encouragement of United States employes to violate the law and their oaths of office or executive orders,' do not, under all the evidence, justify a resolution of censure.

"3. That the charges in the category of 'incidents involving receipt or use of confidential or classified or other confidential information from executive files,' do not, under all the evidence, justify a resolution of censure.

"4. That the charges in the category of 'incidents involving abuse of colleagues in the Senate,' except as to those dealt with in the first category, do not, under all the evidence, justify a resolution of censure.

"5. That on the charges in the category of 'incidents relating to Ralph W. Zwicker, a general officer of the Army of the United States, the senator from Wisconsin, Mr. McCarthy, should be censured."

Change Rules

Further, the committee recommended that the Senate change its rules and ban one-man committee hearings except when the full committee, by majority vote, has directly authorized a single member to hold a hearing.

The group proposed also a rule forbidding disclosure of testimony taken in a closed session unless authorized by a majority vote of the committee.

McCarthy's alleged abuse of Zwicker was in a closed, one-man hearing in New York last February. At the time, Zwicker was commander of Camp Kilmer, N.J. McCarthy called Zwicker before him as a witness in connection with an inquiry into the honorable discharge of an Army dentist who McCarthy described as a "Fifth Amendment Communist."

The resolution of censure was introduced by Sen. Flanders (R-Vt.) Specific charges were filed by Flanders and Sens. Fullbright (D-ARk.) and Morse (Ind.-Ore.)

Altogether, 40-odd charges- some of them overlapping- were lodged.

The special committee appointed to consider them is made up of three Republicans and three Democrats. Sen. Watkins (R-Utah) is chairman and Sen. Edwin C. Johnson (D.-Colo.), vice chairman. Other members are Sens. Case of South Dakota and Carlson of Kansas, Republicans, and Sens. Stennis of Mississippi and Ervin of North Carolina, Democrats.

The committee reduced the numerous charges to five general categories which it regarded as representative of the accusations.

The committee found McCarthy guilty as charged in category one- that he was contemptuous of the Senate and of the privileges and elections subcommittee which in 1952 studied his financial operations.

Blunt Conclusion

The committee's conclusion on the initial category was blunt:

"It is, therefore, the conclusion of the select committee that the conduct of the junior senator from Wisconsin toward the subcommittee on privileges and elections, towards its members, including the statement concerning Senator Hendrickson acting as a member of the subcommittee, and toward the Senate, was contemptuous, contumacious, and denunciatory, without reason or justification, and was obstructive to legislative processes.

"For this conduct, it is our recommendation that he be censured by the Senate."

The report devoted 14 pages to a detailed discussion of the Zwicker incident and ended this section with these words:

"The select committee concludes the conduct of Sen. McCarthy toward Gen. Zwicker was reprehensible and that for this conduct he should be censured by the Senate."

The report said "in the opinion of this select committee, the conduct of Sen. McCarthy toward Gen. Zwicker was not proper. We do not think that this conduct would have been proper in the case of any witness, whether a general or a private citizen, testifying in a similar situation."

The committee said McCarthy knew when he called Zwicker last February that the general had been ordered to give an honorable discharge to Maj. Irving Peress, the dentist tagged by McCarthy as "a Fifth Amendment communist."

Not Successful

The committee added that McCarthy also knew that Zwicker had been advised that a court-martial of Peress would not be successful.

"Sen. McCarthy knew," the report went on, "that Gen. Zwicker was a loyal and outstanding officer who had devoted his life to the service of his country, that Gen. Zwicker was strongly opposed to Communists and their activities, that Gen. Zwikcer was cooperative and helpful to staff of the subcommittee in giving information with reference to Maj. Peress, that Gen. Zwicker opposed the Peress promotion and opposed the giving to him of an honorable discharge, and that he was testifying under the restrictions of lawful executive orders.

"Under these circumstances, the conduct of Sen. McCarthy toward Gen. Zwicker in reprimanding and ridiculing him, in holding him up to public scorn and contumely and in disclosing the proceedings of the executive session in violation of the rules of his own committee, was inexcusable.

"Sen. McCarthy acted as a critic and judge, upon preconceived and prejudicial notions. He did much to destroy the effectiveness and reputation of a witness who was not in any way responsible for the Peress situation, a situation which we do not in any way condone. The blame should have been placed on the shoulders of those culpable and not attributed publicly to one who had no share of the responsibility."

The committee denounced as "Improper" McCarthy's stand in the dispute over his appeal to government employees to hand him information, regardless of whether it was classified as secret, and accused him of "a high degree of irresponsibility" in handling one such document.

Refrain From Order

But it specifically refrained from recommending censure for this. The report said:

"The select committee feels compelled to conclude that the conduct of Sen. McCarthy in inviting federal employes to supply him with information, without expressly excluding therefrom classified documents, tends to create a disruption of the orderly and constitutional functioning of the executive and legislative branches of the government, which tends to bring both into disrepute.

"Such conduct cannot be codoned and is deemed improper."

The committee said, however, it was not recommending censure because it preferred "to give Sen. McCarthy the benefit of whatever doubts and uncertainties may have confused the issue in the past" and because McCarthy is chairman of the Senate investigations subcommittee.

But the report recommended that Senate leaders seek some means for reform in Senate investigating procedures.

The committee took issue with McCarthy in two findings in the Zwicker affair.

In the Feb. 18 hearing at which the general testified, McCarthy accused him of saying in effect, "I will protect another general who protected Communists."

The report commented: "General Zwicker did not make any such statement."

McCarthy testified in the Walkin's committed hearings that Zwicker also said in effect, "It is all right to give Communists honorable discharges."

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This report is from the Senate select committee charged with reviewing the resolution to censure Wisconsin Senator Joseph McCarthy. James Madison stated that "The use of the Senate is to consist in its proceeding with more coolness, with more system, and with more wisdom than the popular branch." When the nation saw the telecast of the Senate Army-McCarthy hearings in the spring of 1954, wisdom, system and coolness seemed to have vanished. But by July, they once again returned when Vermont Senator Ralph Flanders introduced a resolution calling for the censure of Wisconsin Senator Joseph McCarthy. Flanders declared that McCarthy's conduct as chairman of the Senate's Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations was "contrary to senatorial traditions." Senators added 46 specific charges of misconduct to the original censure resolution and on August 2, the Senate referred the matter to a bi-partisan select committee composed of three Democrats and three Republicans. This committee reviewed the 46 counts of misconduct, and reduced the charges to: "contempt of the Senate or a senatorial committee"; encouraging federal government employees to violate the law by providing him with classified materials; "receipt or use of confidential or classified document"; abuse of Senate colleagues; and abuse of Brigadier General Ralph W. Zwicker during the army hearings. The Senate convened in a post-election session on November 8 to deal with the McCarthy case. On December 2, 1954, the Senate voted by a two-thirds majority to censure him.


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"Committee Recommends Senate Censure McCarthy, Charges He Treated Group Contemptuously" article from Greenfield Recorder-Gazette

creator   Greenfield Recorder-Gazette
date   Sep 27, 1954
location   Greenfield, Massachusetts
height   21.0"
width   2.0"
process/materials   printed paper, ink
item type   Periodicals/Newspaper
accession #   #L06.069

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See Also...

"Stevens May Resign If He Does Not Receive Support From Eisenhower" article from Greenfield Recorder-Gazette newspaper

"High Court Bars Alien Deportation" article in Greenfield Recorder-Gazette newspaper

Editorial on "Sen. Joseph McCarthy" from the Greenfield Recorder-Gazette newspaper

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