AUTOMATICALLY DECLASSIFIED ON 12-31-2006
cc: Mr. Tolson
January 15, 1948
MEMORANDUM FOR D.M. JUDD
RE: AL CAPP
Creator of Comic Strip "Li'l Abner"
SECURITY MATTER - C
The Bureau is conducting an employee investigation under the Atomic Energy Act of [Delete], a [delete] for the Atomic Energy Commission at Oak Ridge, that [delete]. He is reported by close associates as highly pro-Communist and pro-Soviet in his views. Several indicate that he is a member of the Communist Party. (116-10135)
During this investigation it was determined that [delete], with whom he resided in late 1946, is the mother of Al Capp, creator of the comic strip Li'l Abner. Capp recently visited Oak Ridge, Tennessee to secure background data for the present sequence in the Li'l Abner strip which is concerned with Oak Ridge.
A check of the Bureau files concerning Capp reflects that [delete] [delete], and his [delete] [delete].
In July and August, 1943, Capp was a Judge in a ski writing contest by the Russian War Relief in his home city of Boston. (61-777-5-23). On February 11, 1946, Capp appeared before the Massachusetts Legislative Committee on State Administration in behalf of State Fair Employment Practices legislation which was under consideration. He gave a description of wounded servicement he had visited in hospital wards and pointed out that "all races and creeds were given an equal opportunity to stop a mortar shell" and should, therefore, be given an equal opportunity in the post-war world. (100-7660-3766) On January 9, 1947, [delete], Communist Party Secretary in Cambridge, Massachusetts, was asked by the Massachusetts Citizens Political Action Committee, reportedly a Communist infiltrated organization, if she knew Capp well enough to ask him for a subscription to the Progressive Citizens of Massachusetts. (100-347501-3)
ACTION: None. This is for your information.
THIS MEMORANDUM IS FOR ADMINISTRATIVE PURPOSES TO BE DESTROYED AFTER ACTION IS TAKEN AND NOT SENT TO FILES
FEDERAL BUREAU OF INVESTIGATION
TO: Mr. Tolson
Subtle propaganda. Very definitely.
17 JAN 24 1956
By Al Capp
[MAN] GET ALL THE FACTS ABOUT THE YOUNG YOKUMS. I THINK THEY'RE THE ONES!!
[MAN] WE'SSECH DEAR FRIENDS, WE KNOWS THINGS 'BOUT 'EM THEY'D DIE O' EMBARRASSMENT, EF THEY KNOWED WE KNEW!! --
BUT -- WE'LL TELL YO' STRANGER!!
[WOMAN] SPLENDID!! BUT DON'T REVEAL THEY'RE BEING INVESTIGATED!!
[MAN] ?? -- THEY IS? -- GULP! -- W-WE BETTER N-NOT HAVE NOTHIN' MORE T'DO WIF THEM RATS!!
Date: JAN 10, 1956
Wash. Post and times Herald 4-3
By Al Capp
[MAN] ALL WE KNOWS 'BOUT TH' YOUNG YOKUMS IS, THEY'S A FINE CLEAN-LIVIN' YOUNG COUPLE.
[WOMAN] I'M GLAD YOU THINK SO -- UNDER NO CIRCUMSTANCES REVEAL THIS INVESTIGATION HAS TAKEN PLACE!!
[MAN] ?? YO' IS INVESTIGATIN' 'EM? -- !! -- THEN THEY MUSTA DONE SOMETHIN' AWFUL, HUH?
[WOMAN] OUR JOB IS SIMPLY TO COLLECT FACTS
[MAN] THEM ROTTEN, SNEAKY, YOUNG YOKUMS!! WHO'D EVER OF THUNK!!
[GIRL [TO BABY]] YO' KEEP AWAY FUM HONEST ABE -- UNDERSTAND?
Date: JAN 11, 1956
Wash. Post and times Herald 4-9
August 2, 1960
Mr. Al Capp
The United Feature Syndicate
220 East 42nd Street
New York 17, New York
Dear Mr. Capp:
I noted your Lil Abner comic strip of July 31 in the Arkansas Gazette which indirectly ridiculed the investigation of un-American activities by implying that senators so engaged merely enjoy themselves licentiously in vacation spots the world over.
That surreptitious attack is a dis-service to your country, since the F.B.I., American Legion, American Bar Association and other American groups who have seriously and objectively studied communist infiltration, warn that the House Committee on Un-American activities and the Senate Internal Security Subcommittee constitute the very heart of our defense against communist take-over from within by revealing their inroads specifically.
There are the only governmental agencies authorized to perform this vital service.
For your consideration, I have enclosed some pertinent documents. Since these committees are under constant attack by vocal commie fronts, perhaps you might find it advantageous to publish soon a strip or statement plainly stating that your parody in no matter seriously implies that these committees actually perform as you depicted -- i.e., the members have no even traveled abroad.
Even the most searching examinations have found NO laxity or incompetence in these committees, so it is only fair play not to influence the public insidiously against them by such perhaps unintentional innuendo on your part.
I hope to receive a reply from you denoting affirmative action as a patriotic and fair-minded citizen.
Yours very truly,
I realize that this satire was probably unintentional on your part; but its danger still exists.
UNITED STATES DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE
FEDERAL BUREAU OF INVESTIGATION
WASHINGTON 25, D.C.
COMMUNIST "NEW LOOK" -- A STUDY IN DUPLICITY
BY JOHN EDGAR HOOVER
DIRECTOR, FEDERAL BUREAU OF INVESTIGATION
The sole purpose of the new Party line is to hoodwink you.
(Reprinted by permission from "The Elks Magazine," August, 1956)
HOW CAN COMMUNISM AFFECT YOU?
As a decent American citizen you mind your own business, work hard at your job, discharge your civic duties, and when you come home after a busy day you desire nothing so much as to stretch out in your favorite chair with the evening paper. The sense of well-being you experience is enhanced if the news happens to reflect even the most nebulous indication that the nightmare world of communism may be willing -- sometimes -- somewhere -- to make some slight concession toward civilized standards of behavior. So, you relax, and communism seems a threat that is sinister but distant, and one which, given time, might eventually recede and leave you and your loved ones untouched.
Would it surprise you to know that you are experiencing the very feeling of relaxation which the proponents of the most monstrous tyranny ever conceived desire to evoke in you?
The following list of MAJOR Communist Party, USA, objectives has been compiled by The American Bar Association:
THESE ARE THE THINGS COMMUNISTS DEEM NECESSARY TO ACCOMPLISH IN ORDER TO CONQUER YOU:
1. Repeal or weaken the Anti-Communist legislation on the books, especially the Smith act, the Internal Security Act, and the Subversive Activities Control Act.
2. Discredit and hamper the Senate Internal Security Sub-Committee, the House Un-American Activities Committee, and State officials investigating Communism.
3. Weaken the effectiveness of the FBI and reveal its sources of information.
The National Education Program
A dramatic, new
Communism on the Map
*DESIGNED TO AWAKEN AN APATHETIC AMERICA
... tracing the conquest of the world by international Communism -- with full, shocking documentation on how the Reds have won each victory!
From all over America have come requests from individuals and groups seeking "something dramatic" with which to "shock our friends and neighbors" into an awareness of international Communism's continuing takeover of the world. Many have written: "People just won't become concerned about our world situation. We need to develop something that will frighten them out of their apathy -- permanently!"
The facts of recent history are enough to frighten any freedom-loving person --
October 29, 1960
My studies of the Communist system have convinced me that its greatest evil lies in its rigid policing of the mind, its frenzy and fear of the slightest deviation from approved thinking.
I am sure your typically Communist reaction to the mildly critical tone used in my strip of July 21 was an unfortunate and unintentional resemblance to Communist response to the slightest criticism of Communist orthodoxy. I am also sure that investigation of your political affiliations would reveal no tie-up with subversive elements. Nonetheless, I consider it my duty to turn your communication over to the FBI. In the unforgettable words of the late Senator McCarthy, "No man who is clean has anything to fear from investigation."
cc: Mr. J. Edgar Hoover
Federal Bureau of Investigation
November 3, 1960
Mr. Al Capp
33 Beaver Place
Boston 8, Massachusetts
Dear Mr. Capp:
Your letter of October 29, 1960, with enclosures, was received in Mr. Hoover's absence from the city, and I am acknowledging it for him. You may be sure that he will appreciate your thoughtfulness in sending this material to him.
NOTE: Capp was criticized by [delete] for a satire in his comic strip regarding investigation of un-American activities. He also furnished a copy of his reply to [delete] Bufiles reflect very limited correspondence with Capp. [Delete] [Delete] [Delete] In view of controversial nature of Capp's comic strip portraying un-American activities investigators, in-absence felt desirable. Bufiles contain no information regarding [delete] to preclude sending this letter.
October 29, 1960
Mr. J. Edgar Hoover
Federal Bureau of Investigation
Dear Mr. Hoover:
I feel that it is my duty to bring the enclosed correspondence to your attention.
February 9, 1961
Your letter, with enclosure, was received on February 3, 1961, and the interest which prompted you to write is indeed appreciated.
I was glad to have the benefit of your observations and comments. The jurisdiction and responsibilities of the FBI do not, however, extend to furnishing evaluations or comments relative to the character or integrity of any individual, publication or organization. I hope you will not infer in this connection either that we do or do not have information in our files regarding the individual about whom you wrote.
John Edgar Hoover
NOTE: Correspondent is not identifiable in Bufiles. (The Bureau has not conducted an investigation of Al Capp whose full name is Alfred Gerald Caplin. [Delete] testified before the Senate Internal Security Subcommittee in 1958 and admitted he had served as State Secretary of the Communist Party, USA, in Louisiana, and as having served as Party organizer in West Pennsylvania. He claimed that he had severed his connections with the Party in 1942. [Delete] [Delete] Bufiles contain numerous references to Al Capp. A cross-section of them are as follows: In 1940, a national training school for the Communist Party, USA, was reported held at his apartment although he was not present at the time. In 1948, he created a character known as "schmoo". By means of the episodes in his comic strip surrounding the "schmoo," he implied that the American economy was being mismanaged by vicious tycoons. His efforts were hailed in "The Worker" the East Coast publication of the Communist Party, USA, and he received high praise at a Communist Party meeting in New Haven in 1949. A 1949 issue of "Daily People's World" contained an article describing Capp as one of 200 "cultural leaders" who had signed an invitation for the re-establishment of American-Soviet understanding and cooperation. In 1956, his strip depicted an incident in which several persons were converted to outcasts because of questioning concerning them by government investigators.)
February 1, 1961
United States Department of Justice
Washington 25, D.C.
Dear Mr. Hoover:
I have had the intentions to write to you some time ago but I kept putting it off thinking my suspicions were silly imagination.
Now I came to the conclusion is the time to write. One never is positive these days what might be uncovered.
Enclosed you will find a copy of the comic strip (LI'L ABNER) and my curiosity was aroused at the second part in which the lady is holding the phone with gloves and uses the expression HEW HESS HESS HARR -- USSR. If any information is going out it may be he is on the right side of the fence -- but again he might be on the wrong side. I have scrutinized this cartoon strip for years now and each day that goes by arouses my suspicions more and more. It seems that not only this one could produce leaks but others could do so as well.
I know that I shall feel better this being off my mind. Putting it off just seems to irritate one all the more.
Hoping my suspicions will be cleared up satisfactorily so that I can read the comics WITHOUT WONDERING if something is leaking out. Thank you for your patience in reading this letter.
Yours very truly,
By Al Capp
[WOMAN] PFINISHED! MAKE COMRADE-TO-COMRADE CALL TO KREMLIN!!
[MAN] TO CHIFF?
[WOMAN] TSUPREME CHAIRMAN OF TCENTRAL COMMITTEE, HEW HESS HESS HARR, SPIKKINK!! HOLLO, BALDY!! I GOT NEWS FOR YOU -- ??? -- HOLD PLISS THE PHONE!! IS A FONNY NOISE HOUTSIDE!! CAN A JET WARM OPP IN A BUILDINK?
[MAN] MAMMY!! -- YO' IS CRANKIN' UP TH' -- GASP!! -- "GOODNIGHT IRENE" PUNCH!!
By Al Capp
LI'L ABNER'S IDEEL "FEARLESS FOSDICK"
HIS RED LIGHT IS FLASHING!! HE'S DISCOVERED THE CENTER OF CRIME IN OUR CITY!!
AT LAST WE'LL FIND OUR TOP CRIMINALS
[STATION SLOB] WE'VE SIGNED UP "THE UNSPEAKABLES" AND "MICHAEL SHAMELESS PRIVATE EYE-GOUGER"!! IT'S GREAT STUFF FOR THE KIDS
The Washington Post and Times Herald B-20
141 FEB 9, 1961
Capp Answers Video Violence
WIFE MEN have said that one picture is worth a thousand words. That's the way we felt reading Al Capp's popular cartoon "Li'l Abner" in last Saturday's New York Mirror. Capp had one of his cartoon characters (a TV producer) telling how he plans to produce a TV series that will teach kids how to murder, torture, and steal.
"Sponsors will pay me millions for corrupting youth. TV stations will give me prime time to do it," chortles the pen-and-ink Fagin. "But best of all I'll be respectable, and the F.B.I. won't put me on the "Ten most dangerous criminals' list, much as I'll deserve it."
This is cartoonist's Al Capp's answer to the video violence that is so rampant on TV. We urge readers to follow the Capp cartoon strip, especially latest episode touching on TV.
Cartoonists have an uncanny knack of spot-lighting what's wrong with the world. Here's one case where the pen may prove mightier than the sword. Hurry day!
New York Mirror - 12
Dec 15, 1960
57 Dec 21, 1960
By Al Capp
[DAISY MAE] YO' DONE RUN A LI'L CRIME SCHOOL, HUH, FAGIN?
[FAGIN] JUST A LITTLE SCHOOL, DEARIE -- TEACHIN' A LITTLE GROUP LITTLE CRIMES!! BUT THIS BOX PUT ME H'OUT O'BUSINESS. IT TEACHES 30 MILLION YOUNGSTERS BIG CRIMES ... IN TH' H'UTMOST DETAIL, AND IN TH' MOST H'ATTRACTIVE MANNER!! IT CONDUCTS NIGHTLY CLASSES IN KNIFIN', GUNNIN', H'EXTORTION, H'ASSAULT AN' BATTERY, AN H'EVERY TYPE O' 'IDEOUS H'EXECUTION!!
[DAISY MAE] IT'S A KINDA ELECTRONIC FAGIN, HUH, FAGIN?
New York Mirror - 13
DEC 27, 1960
63 Dec 30, 1960
UNITED STATES GOVERNMENT
To: Mr. DeLoach
SUBJECT: HONORABLE FRANK J. BECKER
MEMBER OF CONGRESS
LETTER DATED 9/19/61
FOLLOWING RECEIPT OF COPY OF
CONGRESSIONAL RECORD OF 9/11/61
FROM CONGRESSMAN BECKER
You will recall that we received a copy of the 9/11/61 issue of the Congressional Record from Congressman Becker which contained his statement "Unfair Attack on Law Enforcement Officers." Congressman Becker referred to the comic strip "Li'l Abner" drawn by Al Capp which depicts our Nation's law enforcement officers in a most unfavorable light. You telephoned Congressman Becker on 9/19/61 and conveyed the Director's appreciation for Becker's defense of the law enforcement profession.
We have received another letter from Congressman Becker dated 9/19/61. He has enclosed a copy of a letter he sent to [delete] General Manager and Editor, United Feature Syndicate, Inc., and [delete] reply to him. In [delete] reply he advised Congressman Becker that he had talked to Al Capp and that Capp had assured him he would bring that sequence to a speedy close. [Delete] considered Congressman Becker's criticism justifiable and understandable. [Delete] advised that Al Capp is an independent contractor and not an employee of United Feature Syndicate.
That the attached letter be sent to Congressman Becker in view of his continued interest in preventing attacks on law enforcement.
56 Oct 2, 1961
From the office of Representative Frank J. Becker
Republican, Third District, New York
1727 New House Office Building, Washington, D.C.
CA 4-3121, Ext. 4921
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
September 11, 1961
Congressman Frank J. Becker (R.-N.Y.) blasted cartoonist Al Capp on the Floor of the House of Representatives today for his "offensive, demoralizing and grossly unfair smear" of the nation's law enforcement officers.
UNITED STATES GOVERNMENT
TO: Mr. DeLoach
SUBJECT: RECEIPT OF COPY OF CONGRESSIONAL RECORD OF 9-11-61 FROM CONGRESSMAN FRANK J. BECKER CONTAINING HIS STATEMENT "UNFAIR ATTACK ON LAW ENFORCEMENT OFFICERS"
By letter of 9-12-61 Congressman Frank J. Becker forwarded a copy of the 9-11-61 issue of the Congressional Record which sets forth a statement by him on page 17689 entitled "Unfair Attack on Law Enforcement Officers." At this time, he was inserting into the Record a letter from him dated 9-6-61 to [delete] General Manager and Editor of United Feature Syndicate, Inc. [delete] was taking issue both in the statement and in his letter to [delete] with the recent installments in the "Li'l Abner" comic strip by Al Capp which depicts our Nation's law enforcement officers in a most unfavorable light. Becker feels that a comic strip of this type will cause young offenders to lose respect and confidence in constituted authority. Becker feels that the comic strip will serve to smear the Nation's law enforcement officers. Congressman Becker forwarded this material in the belief that the Director would be interested in it and he would appreciate any comments the director would care to make
INFORMATION IN BUFILES: Alfred Gerald Caplin -- Summary N.Y.
We have had cordial relations with Congressman Becker who is on the Special Correspondents' List.
The Bureau has not conducted an investigation of Al Capp, whose full name is Alfred Gerald Caplin. [Delete] testified before the Senate Internal Security Subcommittee in 1958 and admitted he had served as State Secretary of the Communist Party, USA, in Louisiana, and as having served as Party organizer in West Pennsylvania. He claimed that he had severed his connections with the Party in 1942, [delete] [delete]. Bufiles contain numerous references to Al Capp. A cross-section of them are as follows: In 1940, a national training school for the Communist Party, USA, was reported held at his apartment although he was not present at the time. In 1948, he created a character known as "schmoo". By means of the episodes in his comic strip surrounding the "schmoo," he implied that the American economy was being mismanaged by vicious tycoons. His efforts were hailed in "The Worker" the East Coast publication of the Communist Party, USA, and he received high praise at a Communist Party meeting in New Haven in 1949. A 1949 issue of "Daily People's World" contained an article describing Capp as one of 200 "cultural leaders" who had signed an invitation for the re-establishment of American-Soviet understanding and cooperation. In 1956, his strip depicted an incident in which several persons were converted to outcasts because of questioning concerning them by government investigators.
In May, 1961, the Spring, 1961, quarterly issue of NAFBRAT (National Association For Better Radio and Television) was reviewed. On page 11 of this quarterly, is a reprint of an article from the "New York Herald Tribune" by Al Capp. This article is "a first letter to a first lady." In it Capp cites the bad effects which some television programs have on children but in referring to the curiosity of children he concludes with "They may ask why some of the grownups who work for Pop, like J. Edgar Hoover and his lads, spend so much time with the comparatively small group of pornographers who furtively send still pictures of naked and writhing bodies through the mail and haven't the guts to lay a finger on the infinitely greater group of greater enemies of decency -- the television station owners ... "
In Al Capp's column in the 3-30-61 issue of the "New York Herald Tribune" under the caption "Too Poor To Be a Communist, " Capp related his experience in the 30's of how he was too poor to pay $1 membership fee in a Young Peoples' Social Club which turned out to be the Young Communist League. He concluded this article by stating "If I had had that dollar, my name would have eradicably been on their lists, entitling any Congressional committee thirty years later to denounce me as a traitor, and any investigative agency to reject my services to my country, because I was once a card-carrying subversive."
Although Capp could have an ulterior motive in his depicting law enforcement officers in an unfavorable light in his comic strip, he could reasonably refute this argument by stating that he is actually taking a slam at the over preponderance of crime and violence such as in "The Untouchables" show. However, it is felt that Congressman Becker should be complimented for coming to the defense of law enforcement agencies.
You or a representative of your office contact Congressman Becker and convey the Director's appreciation for Becker's forthright statement in defense of the loyal and dedicated members of the law enforcement profession.
UNITED STATES GOVERNMENT
DATE: October 7, 1963
TO: Mr. Mohr
FROM: C. D. DeLoach
SUBJECT: JACK O'BRIAN'S COLUMN
NEW YORK JOURNAL-AMERICAN
OCTOBER 4, 1963
Reference is made to Jack O'Brian's column in the New York Journal-American, October 4, 1963, which stated "All Capp's 'Tonight' appearance caught the 'Li'l Abner' cartoonist ridiculing everyone in sight: both Mr. and Mrs. JFK; J. Edgar Hoover, Sen. McClellan, etc."
[Delete] of my office heard this program. She recalls that Capp referred to various gangsters whom Valachi had mentioned, would make some comment about them, and then would say "Call him (by the name of some prominent person)." For instance, he referred to Buster, commented he was the gangster who carried the machine gun in his violin case and this made Senator McClellan think he was a musician. Capp then said "call him Norman Vincent Peale."
Capp referred to Senator McClellan's "inquiring mind" because the Senator stopped Valachi in the middle of explaining his initiation into La Cosa Nostra to ask Valachi if the table around which they were all sitting was "round or square." After laughing about that, he commented he wondered what Elliot Ness was doing about this, or J. Edgar Hoover. He then hesitated a minute and said "probably worrying."
Action: For information.
102 OCT 14, 1963
53 OCT 16, 1963
JACK O'BRIAN SAYS:
Pizza in Eye Not Very Filling
SID CAESAR's new TV series started last night much in the same old Caesar style, and the material rendered to Caesar didn't bury him, including in laughter; a commonplace program ... Not, however, Gisele Mackenzie, a queensize doll ... The show's biggest laugh came when Sid got pasted in the puss with a dripping, messy pizza; the new, possibly topical Valachi version of custard pies ... Its prize pun: Sid said he had a job as "a gopher," which meant "I gopher hot dogs, gopher pizzas," etc. ... That misplay on words wasn't even very funny 30 years ago ... Why are pizzas suddenly this season's commedy crust? ... NBC wanted its "Cosa Nostra" documentary last 7:30 to 8:30 to be more than it turned out -- a series of old Joe Valachi tapes plus some static interviews ... NBC had camera crews out getting films of the hoods and their homes, hangouts, etc., but turned up too little too late.... Pitsburgh literally lit up its whole downtown in honor of visiting son Perry Como ... We couldn't review the Como Show (Altra Baer reviews Perry's hour in these pages) but did see enough of Cyd Charisse to register a passing "wow" and note her lovely gams seemed to go straight up to her shoulders.
DR. KILDARE had a good and pertinent story well acted in most roles, especially by Thomas Gomez as the tricky lawyer and Barbara Billingsley as the unwilling litigant ... Kildare played a physician sued for malpractice after he stopped to help a mother in childbirth ... The play had its fine subtle sermon -- that laws to protect doctors from unjustified suits should be passed or doctors won't bother to reply to an unexpected cry for help from strangers ... Kildare lost the case; maybe he should have hired Perry Mason.
Al Capp's "Tonight" appearance caught the "Li'l Abner" cartoonist ridiculing everyone in sight: both Mr. and Mrs JFK; J. Edgar Hoover, Sen. McClellan, police, senators ... But his ridicule seemed mis-aimed when he came to comic conclusions as the result of TV dialogue he quoted which actually never happened ... Cutrate iconoclast Capp didn't knock Valachi, oddly ... Probably his sudden recent exposure on TV is either cause or effect of his new regular job on NBC's "Monitor" radio show.'
New York Journal-American - 22
Oct 4, 1963
WE DOUBT the Federal government should or will do anything official about controlling TV commercials ... We don't think the government has the right; but the networks certainly should get wise instead of shrewd and do something inside the industry to quiet the rising tide of public resistance to the frequency, noise and lack of taste in their commercials.
HERE'S A REAL SWITCH: Revue-Universal (MCA) made a pilot for an hour
August 13, 1964
ALFRED GERALD CAPLAN, ALSO KNOWN AS AL CAPP
BORN: SEPTEMBER 28, 1909
NEW HAVEN, CONNECTICUT
The FBI has never conducted an investigation concerning Alfred Gerald Caplin, who is known professionally as Al Capp; however, its files contain the following pertinent information regarding him.
[Delete] testified before the Senate Internal Security Subcommittee in 1953, admitting he had served as State Secretary of the Communist Party, USA, in Louisiana. [Delete [Delete] alleged he severed his connections with the Party in 1942 [delete] [delete].
In April, 1949, [delete] was reported employed as the manager of Capp Enterprise, Inc., a firm organized by Al Capp. A reliable informant advised this Bureau on November 14, 1950, that he believed [delete] he was then working full time with [delete] Al Capp. (100-138754-681, pp. 45, 56.)
An article in the January 12, 1949, issue of the "Daily People's World," a west coast communist newspaper, listed Al Capp as one of two hundred "cultural leaders" who signed an invitation to a peace conference to be held at the Waldorf-Astoria Hotel, New York City, March 25-27, 1949. He was quoted as asking for "re-establishment of American-Soviet understanding and cooperation which alone can make peace possible." (100-345137-A)
On October 6, 1959, a reliable source advised the FBI that Al Capp must have been close to the Communist Party, if not an actual member. This informant based his conclusion on the fact that [delete] [delete] [delete].
In his column which appeared in the March 30, 1961, edition of the "New York Herald Tribune," under the caption "Too Poor to Be a Communist," Al Capp related his experience in the 1930's of being too poor to pay a $1 membership fee in a social club which turned out to be the Young Communist League. He concluded this column by stating: "If I had had that dollar, my name would have eradicably been on their lists, entitling any Congressional committee thirty years later to denounce me as a traitor, and any investigative agency to reject my services to my country, because I was once a card-carrying subversive." (100-354397-8).
(Request per [delete], Social Secretary, White House.)
UNITED STATES GOVERNMENT
TO: Mr. DeLoach
SUBJECT: NAME CHECK REQUESTS FOR WHITE HOUSE
[Delete] Social Secretary of the White House, requested a check of Bureau files concerning the following individuals: [delete] Alfred Gerald Caplin (Al Capp)) [delete] [delete]
There are attached 14 memoranda reflecting the results of these checks.
That you, Mr. DeLoach, furnish the attached letterhead memoranda to [delete]
141 AUG. 21, 1964
3 AUG. 20, 1964
64 AUG 28, 1964
CAPP 5/25 NX
UNIVERSITY PARK, PA. (UPI) -- AL CAPP, THE ACID-TONGUE CARTOONIST, NEARLY WAS DENIED AN AWARD BY A FEW STUDENTS AT PENNSYLVANIA STATE UNIVERSITY SATURDAY NIGHT AFTER HE CRITICIZED THE NEW LEFT.
SPEAKING TO A STUDENT ASSEMBLY OF ABOUT 5,500, CAPP SAID THE MOVEMENT FOR STUDENT CONTROL OF THE UNIVERSITY WAS LIKE GETTING "THE LUNATICS RUN THE ASYLUM."
WHEN CAPP SAT DOWN, THE MASTER OF CEREMONIES, [DELETE], A JUNIOR FROM CARLISLE, PA., SAID THE COMMITTEE IN CHARGE OF THE PROGRAM HAD DECIDED NOT TO GIVE CAPP A NITTANY LION STATUTE, THE SYMBOL OF THE UNIVERSITY.
[DELETE] WHO WAS HOLDING THE STATUE INTENDED FOR CAPP, SAID THE CARTOONIST'S PRESENTATION "WAS NOT IN THE SPIRIT OF THE COLLOQUY PROGRAM WHICH AS AN INTERCHANGE OF IDEAS, A DIALOGUE."
[DELETE] WAS BOOED BY THE AUDIENCE AS HE LEFT THE STAGE.
[DELETE] A SENIOR HONOR STUDENT, THEN JUMPED UP OUT OF THE AUDIENCE, GRABBED THE STATUE FROM [DELETE] AND HANDED IT TO CAPP, MOST OF THE STUDENTS APPLAUDED [DELETE] GESTURE.
[DELETE] LATER APOLOGIZED TO CAPP. "I GOT CARRIED AWAY WITH MY PERSONAL FEELINGS," HE SAID. "IT WAS A MISTAKE AND AN ERROR IN JUDGMENT FOR WHICH I OFFER MY DEEPEST APOLOGIES."
CAPP, WHO ACCEPTED THE APOLOGY, TOLD [DELETE] "THERE'S SOMETHING FOR YOU TO LEARN HERE TONIGHT."
"NINETY-EIGHT PER CENT OF THE YOUNG PEOPLE TODAY ARE GOOD PEOPLE," CAPP EARLIER TOLD THE AUDIENCE. "THEY ARE THE ONES WHOSE COLLEGE EDUCATIONS ARE BEING DISRUPTED, WHOSE COLLEGES ARE BEING BURNED, WHOSE CAREERS ARE BEING INTERRUPTED BY A TWO PER CENT GROUP OF HYENAS. NOW TWO PER CENT MAY NOT BE MUCH, BUT TWO PER OF CANCER IN A BEING CAN DESTROY THAT BEING UNLESS THERE IS SOMETHING DRASTIC DONE."
ASKED HIS REACTION TO THE STUDENTS FOR A DEMOCRATIC SOCIETY, HE SAID:
"THAT'S LIKE SAYING THERE IS A LEPER COLONY IN THE NEIGHBORHOOD. THE NAME STUDENTS FOR A DEMOCRATIC SOCIETY" SOUNDED FIND TO ME UNTIL I SAW THE DEMOCRATIC SOCIETY THEY WERE TRYING TO BUILD."
WASHINGTON CAPITAL NEWS SERVICE
UNITED STATES GOVERNMENT
TO: The Director
SUBJECT: The Congressional Records
UNDER CONSTRUCTION ... Mr. Rarick also advised that "on the evening of May 15, 1968, the Police Association of the District of Columbia honored the famed cartoonist, Al Capp, at the annual dinner meeting of the Association." He inserted in the Record the remarks made by Mr. Capp on that occasion. Mr. Capp stated "I'm surprised anyone came. You guys are 'out.' It isn't the 'in' thing to be in law enforcement today. It's much more 'in' to be in lawbreaking. --- We live in a time when Bonnie and Clyde are 'in' and when one presidential candidate can't wait to throw J. Edgar Hoover out."
UNITED STATES GOVERNMENT
SUBJECT: AL CAPP
By letter of 6/26/69, our Boston Office submitted a reprinted speech delivered by Al Capp, the well-known cartoonist, at the Franklin Pierce College, Rindge, New Hampshire, on 4/27/69, appearing in the 6/25/69 edition of "The Boston Globe." In his speech, Capp is critical of Harvard University's handling of student agitation and during the speech, takes Harvard Economist John Kenneth Galbraith to task. Also submitted is a "Letter to the Globe from Al Capp" which appeared in the same edition of the Globe. In this letter, Capp alleges that Galbraith in commencement addresses made unfavorable references to both Capp and Mr. Hoover. According to Capp, Galbraith supposedly questioned the right of Capp and the Director to comment on the campus situation since neither had any experience in the field. Capp then largely defends the Director and ends his letter by making reference to the FBI National Academy as a great "graduate" school and states: "No student of Hoover's ever burned his country's flag, beat up his instructors, or screeched obscenities at school the day he graduated."
This material was submitted with the thought that the Director may want to write Mr. Capp thanking him for his favorable comments. [delete]
By letter dated 6/27/69, [delete] secretary to Al Capp, sent, at Mr. Capp's direction, copies of the aforementiond commencement address and letter to the Globe to the Bureau. [delete] expressed gratitude to our Boston Office for its help in furnishing him information regarding the Director.
Both Al Capp (also known as Alfred G. Capplin) and John Kenneth Galbraith are, of course, well-known to the Bureau. In the past, Capp has been praised by the Communist Party, USA (CPUSA) and its publications for some of his comic strips which have implied, among other things, that the American economy was being mismanaged by vicious tycoons, that several persons were converted to outcasts because of questioning concerning them by government investigators and like matters. In 1961, a Congressman criticized Capp for unfair attacks on law enforcement officers in his comic strip, "Li'l Abner," and, that same year, Capp wrote in a column that during the 1930's he was too poor to pay a membership fee in a social club that turned out to be the Young Communist League. He concluded that if he had joined, thirty years later any Congressional Committee would be entitled to call him a traitor and any
JUL 9, 1969
CONTINUED -- OVER
investigative agency would be entitled to reject his services to his country. [delete] [delete] admittedly held a position in the CPUSA during the late 1930's
. In recent years, Capp has become increasingly conservative in many of his views. In addition to his cartooning, he has become a very active speaker who expresses strong views against student agitation. Galbraith, subject of FBI investigations in 1941, 1950, 1961, and 1965, is widely known as a liberal and one who has been a sharp critic of American foreign policy through his participation in the Americans for a Democratic Action. Our investigations reflect Galbraith was closely associated with individuals affiliated with communist front groups and, in the case of [delete] a Communist Party member in 1961, Galbraith's name was in the files of the Fair Play for Cuba Committee.
OBSERVATION:That despite Capp's previous background, inasmuch as he has in recent years shown a tendency toward a more conservative point of view and since his letter to the Globe does contain favorable comments regarding the Director and the Bureau, it would seem appropriate to write him a letter expressing appreciation for these kind comments.
That in line with above, attached letter be sent to Mr. Capp.
UNITED STATES GOVERNMENT
TO: DIRECTOR, FBI
Attention: Central Research Unit,
Domestic Intelligence Division
FROM: SAC, BOSTON (62-0)
SUBJECT: AL CAPP
SYNDICATED NEWSPAPER CARTOONIST
Enclosed for the Bureau is a cop of an address by JOHN KENNETH GALBRAITH, entitled, "One More Look at Our Current Troubles," which was delivered at a Commencement Convocation of Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Cambridge, Mass., on 6/12/69.
Also enclosed is a clipping from the 6/8/69 edition of the "Worcester Sunday Telegram." The clipping is entitled, "Galbraith Deplores 'Harassment' of Universities." The Bureau will note that this clipping mentions that JOHN KENNETH GALBRAITH remarked during a commencement speech to graduates of Assumption College, Worcester, Mass., on 6/7/69, that voices rising against universities and warnings issued to college administrators were coming from people who have never much concerned themselves with the issues behind student unrest. He described FBI Director J. EDGAR HOOVER as one of these people and stated parenthetically after mentioning the Director by name, "Who went from chasing old Communists to chasing the SDS." It would appear, therefore, that the remarks of GALBRAITH made at Assumption College on 6/7/69 either paralleled or were identical to those he made at MIT on 6/12/69.
An established reliable source at Assumption College has advised that GALBRAITH did not submit a prepared text prior to his commencement address and stated that he intended to speak from notes.
Consequently, there is no transcription of GALBRAITH's remarks presently available at Assumption College. The reliable source added, however, that the entire graduation exercise had been recorded on tape and that it would be possible to transcribe GALBRAITH's speech if such were desired. 100-354-397-11
2-Bureau (Encs. 2)
Boston will attempt to obtain a transcription of Assumption College speech of GALBRAITH and will forward it to the Bureau as soon as it is received.
ONE MORE LOOK AT OUR CURRENT TROUBLES
Address by John Kenneth Galbraith, Paul M. Warburg Professor of Economics at Harvard University, at the Commencement Convocation of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, Massachusetts, June 12, 1969
I have always, as I have said often before, had some difficulties with the baccalaureate address as an art form. It is an occasion for a kind of final moral instruction to the young. The problem is that I have never heard of anyone being influenced by that instruction -- anyone saying, "My entire life was altered by that speech of Everett Dirksen." Or Hubert Humphrey. Perhaps this is no longer true -- now that President Nixon has also spoken. The graduates of the Air Force, Academy and the General Beadle State College may have been permanently affected. But that would only be because the students in these two fine old educational institutions had special appreciation courses in the non-stop, non-sequitured, endurance-tested, self-regenerating cliche. The President has long been experimenting with this prose form. Henceforth he must be counted a master.
And this year there is a further and more serious problem. That is the generation gap. The old, one of which indisputably I am becoming, are no longer assumed to have anything to say to the young. Communication, I read every day in the papers, has broken down. Or as the better scholars say, the dialogue has been suspended. You will appreciate my sense of difficulty and hazard.
Also, I have been on a sabbatical leave this year. Besides giving me a bad sense of guilt (I did return for the recent troubles at Harvard) distance has induced a considerable feeling of mystification. This comes not so much as I survey the campus scene as I look at the reaction to it. As a substitute for noncommunication, let me share with you my sense of puzzlement.
Clearly there has been much tribulation in the universities during this past year. But as I survey the scene, I am struck less by the contention on the campuses than by the odd gallery of specialists which has constituted itself the authority on the situation. Whose voices do we hear on campus disorder and violence? Are they of people who have long been deeply and passionately concerned with education? Do we hear those who are known to be sensitive to the issues which are agitating students and faculties -- men with a record of long, and intimate concern with the war in Vietnam, the military-industrial complex, the draft, race, educational administration? Alas, no. The new sages in the university world, the sources of the advice on how to end disorder, are Strom Thurmond and John McClellan and their allies of the late feudal era in the United States Senate; and Joseph Alsop, whom we had hitherto celebrated as the Edward Gibbon of the Viet Cong; and Al Capp, whom many of us had supposed was the permanent Peter Pan but who is now the Fearless Fosdick of the youth-baiting right; and J. Edgar Hoover, poor old man, as he makes the unhappy transition from the good old-fashioned Communists he knows and cherishes to the incomprehensible S. D. S.; and Spiro Agnew and Walter Annenberg.
The intervention of Ambassador Annenberg is especially interesting. I suppose as a former ambassador, I react professionally here. He used the occasion of his maiden speech as our new plenipotentiary in London to denounce students -- American, not those at the London School of Economics. And, speaking out bravely, he demanded an end to permissiveness at Harvard, Swarthmore and, of course, Berkeley. One wondered why. Was it because the British were especially aroused about this issue? That is hard to believe. They are known to suffer our misfortunes with some fortitude.
Was it because Mr. Annenberg, who has spent a lifetime cultivating the clientele of the Morning Telegraph and The Daily Racing Form, those Guttenberg Bibles of the gambling episcopate, not to mention the Philadelphia Inquirer, had suddenly at 60 developed a passion for people who could read? No, that seems too optimistic. I fear there was another reason. He was encouraged to the choice. Some old hand in the State Department took cognizance of the new man and decided that little as he knew about education, he was even less knowledgeable on all other subjects.But let me get back to my theme. Any matter on which Strom Thurmond, John McClellan, Joe Alsop, Al Capp, Spiro Agnew, J. Edgar Hoover and Walter Annenberg are in solemn agreement obviously has another side. That tells us something.
But I come to another problem. It is violence that is being deplored. And I am the least violent of men. But then we find those who deplore violence are those who urge violence.
I was a delegate in Chicago last summer. I am an avowed and card-carrying member of the liberal establishment. I am not without other natural advantages. So I had an adequate view of the proceedings. The violence at Chicago was not the work of youngsters who came in protest against the war. The violence was all accomplished, some imaginative verbal aggression apart, by those who speak in the name of law and order. And Richard Daley, the ultimate author of that violence, was greatly applauded by the enemies of violence. I am not a defender of the tactic of taking over university buildings -- although I think it was a little invited by those who proclaimed them to be not buildings but holy tabernacles.
But at my own university, as elsewhere, the greatest violence came not from those who did this foolish thing. It came from those who, interrupting for a moment a lifetime of speeches about reliance on reason, abruptly ordered in the police. Even a reasoned consultation with the faculty was not possible: it would have jeopardized the security of the operation.
In California the use of violence by the defenders of law and order has, of course, entered a new dimension. It shows us the danger against which we are guarding. No one has suggested that the street people, students, faculty members and citizens of Berkeley who were agitating for that park were much disposed to violence. And no one denies that Ronald Reagan, the most compulsive spokesman for law and order in all the country, mobilized the soldiers and was responsible for the buckshot, helicopters and spraying of a noxious gas in violation of the Geneva Convention.
It has long been a point that those who were most indifferent to violence in Vietnam were most concerned about violence here at home. It is now a point that those who talk most unctuously about violence here at home are least reluctant to unleash it here at home.Before anyone asks us to listen to the wickedness of violence let him, henceforth, establish his credentials as an opponent of violence -- both at home and abroad. Otherwise let us ignore him.
Or rather if he is a politician let us be sure that we remember him.Another thing. I hear the instant educational sages whom I mentioned at the outset proclaiming that university faculties are to blame because they are permissive. And I sense that some of my fellow educators wince a bit at that term. Let us wince no more. To be permissive is to inquire whether the other person has a grievance. And it is to try to understand that grievance. And even though we find his behavior inconvenient or objectionable we do not immediately react by banging him over the head. We recognize that he is another human being with another point of view. Possibly he has another and even hostile sense of values. But even then our instinct is to permit, not deny. That is the instinct of civilized men. Let us be proud of that instinct. And especially in the universities.
So much for those who are engaged in the newest political pastime, that of attacking the universities. Let us give them nothing. But what of the universities; surely there must be some instruction for them. What of balanced liberal view, now in some places so unfashionable? You must expect something on the other side. You are quite right.
For those who seek social change, including those who seek great change, I cannot, for the life of me, see that the university is the enemy. That our universities need reform I do not doubt. Rather before the students got around to worrying about Harvard, I had urged that we have a look at our obsolete administration and leadership -- one admirably related to the classical student aberrations of idleness, alcohol and sex but not much related to the modern world of deep political concern. I received a rather lofty brush-off; another difficulty with many of the more devout enemies of violence is that automatically they use its absence as an excuse for inaction.
But larger issues than university reform are at stake. In the United States the universities are the instruments of change -- and they are, very nearly, the only instruments of change. And nothing could better affirm the fact than that the present ferment occurs in the universities. Not in the unions, not in the legislatures, not even to the same extent in the slums. The point is also affirmed by the enthusiasm with which the people who most dislike social change have joined in the attack on the universities. If the American university is a bulwark of the existing power structure, that news has not reached a lot of people who are members of the power structure.
In the years ahead, the universities will need to defend themselves. They are not helpless. On the contrary, their power is great. Numerous senators, congressmen, governors and legislators, including some whose instinct might be to attack the universities, are remaining commendably silent this year. They are aware, as other politicians of lesser wisdom are not, that next year university activism may well manifest itself in politics. And they have not forgotten who engineered the improbable ascent of Eugene McCarthy in the improbable state of New Hampshire
. And they remember the collapse of Lyndon Johnson and what happened to Hubert Humphrey when they alienated the university community. I hope in 1970 that we can have a general and salutary assault on the political careers of all who are assuming that universities are an easy and harmless object of political diatribe. But we will be able to defend ourselves and launch this kind of counterattack only if we are not busy tearing ourselves apart. That must not happen.
If universities are to be internally at peace, they must be governed. That means all must respect the necessary rules by which universities are run. That, of course, does not mean that they will be politically tranquil places; universities enrolling millions of politically motivated men and women will never again be passive. Some issues that currently divide the university community are simply not worth a fight. With others, I have doubts about course offerings in Afro-American studies now coming into fashion on many campuses. Much of the instruction, despite the best efforts to the contrary, will be poor; the content, I suspect, will often be superficial. A sudden expansion of Irish studies would involve difficulties. But we can afford to try. If these fields of study don't work out, the students will be the first to desert them for something better. As with the Afro studies, so with experiments in radical social studies and student instruction -- matters which are currently agitating some of my more sensitive colleagues at Harvard. But on some things there can be no compromise. Some things, odd as it may seem, man has learned.
There must, in the university, be a tolerance of every reasonable and competently argued position -- and there can be no physical or other disruptive barrier to that argument. That holds for Herbert Marcuse; it holds for Walt Rostow. It holds for Marx and Herbert Spencer and Vilfredo Pareto if their return can be arranged and most definitely for Mao Tse-tung if a leave of absence can be managed. Only those may be excluded who insist by physical means on reserving the right of speech to themselves, and even that rule must be applied with restraint. There are few enough rules in life that have been truly learned -- and to which there are no exceptions. This is one. I wonder, incidentally, why the most obdurate member of S.D.S., the man most bent -- as the modern saying goes -- on radicalizing other students, would disagree.
On the basis of the most acute personal experience I can testify that nothing so inculcated doubts about the foreign policy that my radical friends so deplore as its uninterrupted defense by Dean Rusk.Some equally firm rules must apply to university government. I enthusiastically concede to students the management of student life. Doubtless that government will be imperfect; so is most government. But few occupations for an adult male are less graceful than the supervision of the sex life of an unconsenting undergraduate. So with other behavior. But the setting of academic standards and the selection of academic faculty must equally be a matter of faculty government.
I am not here protecting my prerogatives as a faculty member. Few things do so little for my vanity as meetings to pass on the promotions of my younger colleagues. In point of fact, to my considerable discredit, I rarely attend them. But the treatment of heart disease or delirium tremens requires professional judgment. So does the selection of physicians. There is no doubt that the present process is biased in favor of orthodoxy. But it is the best there is. And students seem admirably able to resist the resulting conservatism these days. And the student interest is at stake. If professional competence is absent, students are the first to suffer -- and on recent form, the first to complain. No question of democracy is here involved. I am excluded from the process by which Harvard selects its chemistry faculty for promotion. And even its psychiatrists. That may be undemocratic of the chemists and psychiatrists. But surely it is a wise abridgement of democracy. Students must share my exclusion and are wise to wish it. The case of firm academic standards of achievement is similar. They are imperfect, but no substitute for inducing effort has ever been found. It is unlikely that this will suddenly happen, with all the economy of intellectual effort that might be involved, in the year 1969.
If rules allowing all tolerant men to speak and excluding obstruction to such speech exist, they must be enforced. The most important instrument of enforcement must be the belief of the community that these rules are right. But this is not enough; a little itching powder is an effective weapon against a naked multitude armed only with a just cause. Those who do not accept the accepted rules of the community cannot reasonably protest their exclusion. With others, I was unhappy about some of the preliminary rules promulgated by the faculty student body -- the Committee of Fifteen -- at Harvard this week. I would have liked, as you will gather, a more even-handed view of violence. There must be a procedure against students who resort to violence. There should also be a procedure against administrators who, without reckoning the consequences, unwisely invite the violence of the police. (I am assured that in further deliberations this will come up.) But the Committee was fairly elected by faculty and students. It fairly reflected the views of the community. (I do not believe, as has been suggested, that it involved any concessions to the Board of Overseers. I cannot imagine anyone taking that honorific body so seriously.) One must support judicial process in a university as elsewhere. That, unequivocally, I urged and did. Nothing is more profoundly in the interest of all the community.
One final point. I am struck by the gloom that pervades the modern university community. It is a widely held view that Harvard is tottering on the brink; one slight further nudge and it will tumble into the Charles and the splash will be noted even here at MIT. Or to change the metaphor, everywhere we look we see a great wave of repression rolling up. Soon it will engulf us.
I do not wish to seem an optimist. I am not above protecting my reputation for scholarship and insight by spreading a little gloom. But let us not be too depressed. Universities are going to survive. For one thing, as a matter of simple economics, the modern industrial community cannot survive without them. It was not some new access of enlightenment that brought the recent vast expansion in university numbers and budgets. It was because any state, any city, any community will promptly become economically and industrially obsolete in the absence of a good university system.
Universities will be here when those that are now making a career of harassing them have been called to what we may all hope will be a properly ambiguous reward. (As I have said, perhaps we can speed the earthly aspects of that reward.) Just because life has been tranquil in the past does not mean we cannot survive a little strife. Engineers, we know, are not all that sensitive. Neither are economists. Perhaps not even modern poets. So let us be of reasonably good cheer. All is not over yet. On the contrary, I counsel you, as members of the graduating class, to remember that your great test lies ahead. You have sought, not without success, as undergraduates to be a source of radical pressure on your university. Now you must do something really difficult and promote a similar pressure from the alumni.