De Toledano,









M. Wesley




INT: (interrupts) Do you want to start that sentence again? Do you want...

JS: Well, the Catholic prelate accused me, since I worked for Stillwell as a so-called political adviser, of having been responsible for statements made and actions taken by Stillwell, which are critical of Chiang and favourable to Chinese Communists. And all sorts of missionary things, people came forward about activities in Shanghai many years before, somebody came up with a report that I had been arrested and had a police record in New York for homosexual activity in a men's room, this sort of thing, wild sort of stories start coming in. People started leaking hearings of meetings, there were leaks of confidential documents, of the Loyalty Review Board, there were leaks of Guormindang's so-called, supposed secret intelligence reports on me. They had obviously kept me under surveillance in Chungking, but they were very confused about many things and their reports were just figments of the imagination. But these eventually get leaked and get into things. And then, of course, there were wire taps and the wire taps don't get leaked completely, but portions of 'em leak into the press, conversations you had long ago with somebody or so. I mean, this material accumulates and this is why the process went on so long, because the Loyalty Security Board, the State Department Board, had to continually reconvene itself and have new hearings to consider new evidence. No case could be decided as long as there was evidence coming in. So, we spent a year and a half in Washington before the Loyalty Review Board decided that it was going to have a hearing and it took over.

INT: And what happened in the end? Did you keep your job in the end of did you...?

JS: (interrupts) Oh no, no, no, no. I was fired. I was... The Loyalty Review Board assumed jurisdiction...

INT: Can I ask that question again, because we had a cross-over, a cross-over of sound, you came in before I'd finished speaking.

JS: Oh sorry.

INT: OK. So what happened to you in the end the, what...?

JS: Well, in the end the State Department Board always ruled in my favour. The State Department men were Foreign Service people and State Department people who had experience in foreign affairs. They knew something of the background, the circumstances and so on. They kept clearing me. But there was over all the State... the ministries, all the departments, there was a higher board called the Loyalty Review Board and they decided, they reviewed the case, and they disagreed with it, so they decided they would assume jurisdiction. They held a one-day hearing and then wrote a letter to the State Department, we find Service, reasonable doubts of his loyalty, fire him. So I was fired. And then after appealing to the White House and the Loyalty Review... the Civil Service Commission, everybody else we could, we finally got into the courts - it took a long time - we finally got our case to courts and in 1957, six years later almost, we got a decision, unanimous, in the Supreme Court that the discharge was illegal and the State Department had to reinstate me, which was sort of an embarrassment to them, but they did and then they had a big problem what to do with me.

INT: So what did you do in the intervening year..? Could you get a job, when you'd been fired from the State Department?

JS: Oh, it was very difficult, because all the publicity, the insurance company that had a group policy for foreign service was supposed to sell me... would be willing to sell me a group policy, I lost my foreign service policy and they wouldn't sell me insurance, group insurance. I had trouble renting a homes or any apartment in New York and the companies, well, what'll their stockholders say, you know. So, the companies that I had known and had dealings with abroad, export companies and so on, they said sorry, sorry, we think you're a fine guy, but we don't dare touch you. And the same with the agencies like the UN agencies and so on, I thought I might be able to fit into, 'cos they were under the gun too at the same time of being soft on Communists and employing Communists and so on. So, eventually, an Englishman who lived in New York, had been in New York for many, many years, who owned a company himself, he was the sole owner of the company, he wrote me and offered me a job. And I was glad to take it.

INT: What was that job doing?

JS: Well, he manufactured and sold something called Steam Specialties and this is valves, radio valves and especially steam traps. A steam trap is an automatic valve that opens to water and closes to steam. And so I learned about steam traps and sold 'em for some years.

INT: So it was a hard time that time?

JS: Yes, although we've got to give credit to Mr. Wells, that was the name, for giving us a job. We had to take a cut in standard of living and things like that, he didn't pay us what the State Department paid us, which was not really very great itself.

INT: Mmm. Right. Now, how...

(Crew interruption)

INT: Can I just... One final question, which is going back again to the whole sort of McCarthy atmosphere, the kind of pressure that people were put under, how do you think that affected the culture in the sense of a narrowing of the possibilities of political debate, in the sense of the fear that people had of being accused if they diverted in any way from a fairly narrow line? How do you think that period, looking back on it, affected the culture in those terms?

JS: Well, I think...

INT: (Interrupts) In terms of... Sorry...

JS: (overlapping) affected things, but I hope not permanently... I crossed over again?