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The Reuther Memorandum - Precusor to the Ideological Organizations Audit Project Created by President John F. Kennedy and Attorney General Robert Kennedy in 1961

The Reuther Memorandum - Precusor to the Ideological Organizations Audit Project Created by President John F. Kennedy and Attorney General Robert Kennedy in 1961

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Published by Joseph Norman Kish

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Published by: Joseph Norman Kish on May 10, 2010
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08/05/2013

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World Wide Web Exclusive!The original, unedited text witha forward by Church League of America.
December 19, 1961
The Reuther Memorandum
To the Attorney General of the United StatesForward by Church League of America
(Note: this forward is not part of the original memo)Walter and Victor Reuther called on Attorney General Robert Kennedy in the Fall of 1961 and laid out an oral plan on
how to destroy the Conservative rebellionwithin the United States
. Robert Kennedy requested that the plan be submitted tohim in writing. On December 19, 1961 a 24-page memorandum was given to theAttorney-General and the writer was identified as Victor Reuther.The memorandum, which was distributed to all high Kennedy Administration officialsand to "certain sympathetic Senators and Congressmen" contained five major coursesof action which should be initiated by the Attorney General:1.Muzzle the militaryand stop the recall to active duty of Conservatives such asGeneral James Van Fleet by having the Secretary of Defense issue ordersagainst speeches or articles opposing Communism.2.Stop listing pro-communist organizationsexclusively as subversive on theannual Attorney General's list and add the names of conservative organizationsso that the list would not be "top-sided." This would cause the membership of the conservative organizations to drop out as they would not want to beassociated with a "subversive" organization on the Attorney General's list. Thatwould then bring about the end of the organization.3.Stop the flow of funds to the conservative organizationsby having the InternalRevenue Service
investigate all tax-exempt conservative religious andeducational organizations
and find some pretext for removing tax-exemption.4. Use the power of the Federal Communications Commission toinvestigateradio and television stations carrying conservative programsand see if suchstations are violating FCC regulations.5.Curb the activities of J. Edgar Hoover who "exaggerates the domesticCommunist menace at every turn and contributes to the public's frame of mind."Hoover was charged in the memo with "fifteen years of overstating a problem."
5/4/2010The Reuther Memorandum - precusor tweb.archive.org//reuther_memo.html1/11
 
At least four of the suggestions of the Reuthers are in operation now and proof isoverwhelming.Here is the covering letter from the Office of the Attorney General, signed by AndrewF. Oehmann, Executive Assistant to the Attorney General, identifying the following as"The Reuther Memorandum."Seal of theDepartmentOf JusticeOffice of the Attorney GeneralWashington, D.C.July 11, 1963Mr. John Wesley Rhoads1801-1802 Finance BuildingPhiladelphia 2, PennsylvaniaDear Mr. Rhoads:This is in response to your letter of June 6, 1963 to the AttorneyGeneral requesting a copy of the Reuther Memorandum concerningthe "radical right."A copy of the memorandum is enclosed herewith. Please excuse thedelay in answering your inquiry. We were unable to locate the memo before this.Sincerely,Andrew F. OehmannExecutive Assistant to theAttorney General
December 19, 1961
THE REUTHER MEMORANDUM
The Radical Right in America Today
5/4/2010The Reuther Memorandum - precusor tweb.archive.org//reuther_memo.html2/11
 
President Kennedy's address to Seattle and Los Angeles on November 16 and 18 evidenced both a deepconcern with, and a profound understanding of the serious problems injected into American life by the growningstrength of the radical right. A spate of articles in responsible newspapers and periodicals reflect this sameconcern and understanding. Perhaps therefore this memorandum will prove but a repetition and restatement of suggestions already under consideration by the Administration. Since, however, the public discussion to dateconcerning the radical right has produced little in the line of suggested policies and programs for dealing with theserious problems raised, this memorandum may have some value in focusing attention upon possibleAdministration policies and programs to combat the radical right.Initially, it needs to be said that far more is required in the struggle against the radical right then simply callingattention to present and potential dangers. If the Administration truly recognizes this as a serious problem, as itcertainly appears to do, it is most important that President Kennedy's addresses in Seattle and Los Angeles beimplemented. Speeches without action may well only mobilize the radical right instead of mobilizing thedemocratic forces within our nation. It is with this consideration in view that there is set forth below an estimate of the extent of the problem and suggested Administration policies and programs for dealing with the problem.
Extent of Problem
The radical right or extreme right-wing, or however it may be designated, includes an unknown number of millions of Americans of viewpoints bounded on the left by Senator Goldwater and on the right by RobertWelch. The active component of these radical right millions would, of course, be only a small fraction of the total.But, whatever may be the difficulty of ascertaining their numbers, these radical right groups are probably stronger and are almost certainly better organized than at any time in recent history. More significant yet, they are growingin strength and there is no reason to expect a turning of the tide in this regard during the foreseeable Cold War  period ahead. And, possibly most significant of all, their relationship to and infiltration of the Armed Service addsa new dimension to the seriousness with which they must be viewed. New radical right organizations have sprung up like weeds in the last few years; it is estimated by the Anti-Defamation League that almost a hundred such organizations have been organized in 1961 alone. Welch's BirchSociety, Schwarz' Christian Anti-Communist Crusade, and Hargis' Christian Crusade, are among the most powerful of the new groups. Benson's Harding College and National Education Program and H.L. Hunt's LifeLine have earlier histories, but they have expanded along with the growth of the new groups. But all of thesegroups together are only part of an even larger and constantly growing movement which is well manned and even better financed.The Birch Society alone probably has a million dollars a year at its disposal; so does the Christian Crusade(which is just one of 3 Hargis ventures). The radical right as a whole -- and estimating conservatively -- musthave twenty or more times this much on call. There are vast quantities of literature, films and records emanatingfrom the radical right and even such things as radical right bookshops are beginning to spring up. (GeneralWalker gave one of these bookshops, The Bookmailer in New York, a big plug on national television December 3rd).[TOP]The Birch Society may be the best known today. But others are equally strong and perhaps more influential.Take a look at Scharz' Christian Anti-Communist Crusade, for example. In the Anti-Communist School he ran in
5/4/2010The Reuther Memorandum - precusor tweb.archive.org//reuther_memo.html3/11

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