Oral History of Joseph L.. Rauh, Jr.
Conducted by Robert S. Peck
January 23, 1992
I wanted to mention one thing to you which was where I used
expressive language, curse words and so forth. I take it that you are going over this and you’ll
take that stuff out. You can put in your own adjective or you put in expletive deleted, whatever
you like.
Mr. Peck: We may do that famous little phrase there. When we do the
transcript, you will have a chance to see it.
Mr. Rauh: I know, but won’t you be going over it beforehand?
Mr. Peck: · I will, I will.
Mr. Rauh: You feel free. I mean, we’re so close to each other. Use what you
think. Just go ahead and fix it. We were talking about 1952. Also what made me think of it is if
there is repetition – I do repeat myself. Not only that, but there could be repetition that was
What really happened in 1952? You have to go back to 1951. The question was
whether Truman would run again. He could have under the Constitution. He hadn’t served more
than one full term He could have run in ’52, but he decided not to.
In ’51, strangely enough, the front-runner was a wholly different Illinoisan, Paul
Douglas. Paul Douglas was the first of the Democrats to talk about waste. He became quite a
top figure. In a poll sometime in early or mid-’51 of Democratic county chairmen, he won.
However, those numbers went down, and [Adlai] Stevenson became the obvious front-runner.
I remember in 1952 going to see Stevenson with Jim Loeb who had been in the
ADA, but at this time was working for Charlie Murphy in the White House. Jim and I went
down to see Stevenson. We spent the day with him in Springfield at the Governor’s mansion. He
was without any doubt the most charismatic guy that ever lived. He snowed us. A lot of the
things he said were not what we wanted to hear, but he said them in such a way that you could
hardly take issue. He got_me when he read me part of his veto message on the so-called Broyles
Bill which was a real Joe McCarthy-type performance. Stevenson had gotten it out of the
legislature of Illinois. Stevenson vetoed it. We were just devout fans of Stevenson. He was,
however, a much better politician than the rest of them He said, “I won’t be able to beat
Eisenhower. 11 We said, “It’s going to be Taft. 11 This is early ’52, and we were so smart. We said,
“Of course, it’s very hard to beat Eisenhower, you can beat Taft.” We also thought he could beat
.Eisenhower, but that wasn’t the simplest task when you had a war hero th?t way. At any rate, he
began to show that he was worried about running against EiseT;lhower, and he kept saying that he
wasn’t going to run. Hamlet is the best word to use for it. He couldn’t make up his mind. 1-Je
wasn’t going to be equivocal like Sherman, but he got awful close to it a few times.
A lot of people went for Harriman – a lot of hberals went for Harriman – not
because they weren’t for Stevenson but because, of the others, we thought Harriman was the best,
the others were primarily Kefauver. [NY Governor] Herbert Lehman called me in April, I think,
of ’52 and said that he and President Truman and a number of others were going to support
· Averill Harriman. They had decided that I was to be his campaign manager in the District-of
Columbia. Well, that wasn’t so strange. I had done an awful lot work in the party. I wasn’t a
ridiculous choice for being too liberal in this city. I probably would have been too liberal in
many places, but here I obviously wasn’t. There wasn’t any niche here for Averill except on the
far left because Kefauver was a hberal guy and they had a draft Stevenson crowd in there. I said
to Governor Lehman, ”You are a hero of mine, and I would like to do anything that you suggest,
but I would like to speak to Mr. Harriman because there is no way to do – there is no route to this
thing – except through civil rights and we got to go pretty far.” He said, “Go ahead.” I went out
and talked to Averill, and I don’t think he knew what I was talking about. At that particular
moment in his life, he hadn’t been in national political affairs. He said, ”Yes.” So, we wrote a
civil rights plank that was pretty damn far out. It was school integration. ?t w?_ everything you
would have wanted if you had been old enough So we ran in the District of Columbia, and we
won. We beat Kefauver, four to one.
There was a wonderful crack in this thing. The votes were counted at City Hall
down there at the D.C. Building, 14th & Pennsylvania. They were counting the votes, and Al
Friendly was one of the count?rs. He ?as the editor of The Washington Post. He came up to me
and said, ”What are you looking worried about?” I said, ”I’m not worried; it’s going all right.”
He said, “Going all right; you just carried some black precinct 331 to 3.” He said, ”It’s just a case
of Harriman and his brown brother.” Then we stayed with Harriman. The D?trict delegation
went to the convention for Harriman. It soon was clear that Harriman couldn’t go over the top:
that Kefauver couldn’t go over the top. Then Truman arrived and told Harriman to withdraw. He
couldn’t tell Kefauver to withdraw beca1:1se they were aimed c!t Kefauver. Kefauver had beat
. Truman in New Hampshire and was the enemy. So the President tqld Harriman to get out and
the thing went to Stevenson in a walk after that.
Mr. Peck: Before you got to the campaign, there was an issue of loyalty oaths
and the platform
Mr. Rauh: That is absolutely correct. My role in the thing has been written up
in a book by John Frederick Martin. I think he is the son of the Stevenson biographer. What
happened was that the hberals were awfully sore ‘because what had happened in ’48 was that
[Senator Strom] Thurmond and the Governor of Mississippi and a number of others had
participated in the Democratic Convention [and then ran against the party’s ticket]. They had
fought us – that was a great ?ght – on the minority plank on civil rights. They came to this
Convention {even though] they had started a third party for the purposes of the ’48 election. They
had carried four states where they didn’t have Truman’s name on the ballot under the Democratic
label. We proposed what may be misnamed as a loyalty oath, but what its real purpose was to
say if you are going to participate in a convention, you can’t go out and lick the nominee or, at
least, there was a little fallback position there too – at least, you can’t keep the nominee off the
ballot. We finally just fought for the right to have our guy on the ballot, ’cause you would win.
In those days, if you were on the ballot under the Democratic label, you would carry the South.
You really didn’t need to make it a loyalty oath. It was really a ballot oath. That’s what we
fought for there. It was finally compromised and ultimately the rule- I think the rule today still
stands the way it came out there. If you participate, you are agreeing to see that the nominee is
on the ballot, or if you are a member of the Democratic National Committee, you are agreeing to
support the .candidate. I think something like that is the rule today. That was what came out of
that battle. The battle in ’52 was precipitated by Thurmond’s party in which he kept Truman off
the ballot under the symbol and maybe in some places he was totally off. Southerners were
educated to vote for the rooster, whatever (I think it was a rooster not a mule in those days) – so
that was the battle in ’52. By ’56 it was all cleared up. I think that now nobody would try what
Thurmond did there.
Again, Stevenson took [Alabama Senator John] Sparkman as his person, and that
was bad. Sparkman was probably the best of the Southerners. He was not a racist. He was
political, anti-black as to politics, but he was not a racist. He was very fine guy if you could be
anti-black and be a fine guy. That’s a good question one has to consider. If there is some way
you could avoid considering that, he was a first-class guy. On the civil rights plank in ’52, we got
most of everything we wanted, but not everything. We did, however, get a provision in there
against the filibuster. There is a provision in there about majority rule in Congress, not that
anyone paid any attention to it. But we did go into the convention demanding majority rule
against the filibuster and we got it. That’s sort of a hidden secret of history. The Democratic
party pledged the end of the filibuster in 1952, and it succeeded in having it used ever since.
Mr. Peck: Before I brought you back to the loyalty oath issue, we were going
to talk a little bit about the campaign.
Mr. Rauh: The campaign was really difficult. Stevenson obviously was
worried about Truman. As you look back, there wasn’t very much squalid in the Administration
– there wasn’t too much corruption. There was some. Stevenson once in arriving in Washington
referred to ”the mess in Washington.” Oh, the White House was so mad. It was not a
particularly good campaign, except Stevenson was perfect. He would go to the American
Legion and tell off Joe McCarthy. People like us and my wife and our friends, we were just in
seventh heaven with this candidate. It didn’t go against Ike – with jokes on Ike’s train – “we just
passed the thirty-eighth platitude” and things like that, but platitude or not, he had what it took as
a war hero and he won rather big. Stevenson always had felt that. Ifhe had had bis way, he
wouldn’t have run. He was really pressured into running. He wanted to be President, but he
doubted that anyone could be President .against Eisenhower. Whether he would have won in ’60
ifbe hadn’t run in 1952 and 1956, one will never know.
Mr. Peck: I noticed in 1952 you also bad a case in D.C. Circuit Kutcher v.
Gray (199 F.2d 783 (D.C. Cir. 1952)].
Mr. Rauh: Kutcher v. Gray was a beautiful case for which I have the original
the Herblock cartoon. That is about the Kutcher case. I’ll explain it as we go along. So sad.
What happened there was Kutcher had bis legs amputated at Anzio. He was an admitted member
of the Socialist Workers party which was on the Attorney General’s list and was probably more
radical than the Communist party was at that time. But the country was in the battle. He fought
all the way up with his troops, lost his two legs at Anzio, came home, recuperated and they gave
him a job in the Veteran’s Administration as a file clerk. Kutcher was a man wholly without –
he’s dead now, but he was a man wholly without education, knowledge or anything. He was a
legless veteran. He was the Socialist Workers party’s best drawing card. He’d come into the
meeting with two canes, stumble up and say a few sentences that he had memorized. He was a
manipulated guy but as a danger, there was a joke in there. But he was an admitted member of
the Socialist Workers party. So we lost it in the district court before some right-wing judge.
Curran – Judge_Eddie Curran. He had been the, I think, the U.S. Attorney. He was a very rightwing
guy. He said, ”It says here you can’t belong to the Socialist Workers party.” You’d·have to
read the court of appeals decision because the law was against us. It was so outrageous because
they just weren’t going to let this guy be fired, They sent it back. I don’t know how it happened;
they had another hearing and then they sent it back a second time. I believe it was the second
time. I am actually not-sure. Each time Curran would rule against us, and the court of appeals
would rule for us. After I guess it was the second ruling, I went with my order to Curran to have
Kutcher reinstated with back pay. The government comes in with an order not to reinstate him
Curran, after listening to me for a couple minutes and the government for a couple of minutes, I
guess it was in his chambers, says, “I’ll sign the government’s order.” I said, “Your Honor, you
are going to be reversed.” He said, “Well, I have been reversed before,” and I said, “Not for the
second time.” That came pretty close to being contemptuous. But I was contemptuous. If you
want to know the honest truth, he kept fighting the court of appeals on this.
I admit it was a hard case, because this guy is an admitted member of the Socialist
Workers party. On the other hand, it was so ridiculous a case – it was the kind of case where
they had to find some way out. They found a couple of ways out procedurally. They were trying
to let him keep his job. They just thought it was such an outrageous thing. Anyway, he goes
back to work at the Veterans Administration in Newark, and North Korea invades South Korea
The Socialist Workers party for some reason, I don’t know why, because they hated the Stalinists.
The Socialist Workers party had Kutcher issue a written statement that North Korea was
absolutely right. That’s where the eggs really hit the fan. I won the case to get him his job back.
He gets a letter saying your disability pension has been stopped because of what you did – what
you said about – here we’re fighting – the U.S. is fighting in South Korea and you are saying that
North Korea is right. Naturally, I demanded a hearing. We go to the bearing over there at the
Veterans Administration at 15th and Vermont. Every television camera in the city is there. I
walk in with this guy, it takes you about 10 minutes to go a block and we would go, get in, and
sit down and a guy comes in who is the hearing examiner. I figured, I’ve gotta blow this thing up
some way or another. I can’t figure exactly how to do it but I was saying to myself, “There must
be some way.” This is so absurd to take away this guy’s disability payment for losing his legs
fighting because be says that North Korea is right.” I looked at the guy and be starts the bearing
and he asks for Kutcher’ s name and my name. Do you James Kutcher take this man as your
lawyer? He wanted to make sure I was his lawyer and not some violent guy with a bomb. I
suddenly realized, “I got it.” When he said Mr. Rauh, he recognized me, I said I have a question.
May I have a copy of the rules for this hearing? I knew that there had never been a hearing like
this an_d there were no darn rules. I said, “May I have a copy of the rules?” He said, “What
rules?” I said, ”The rules of this hearing. What are we proceeding under?” And he said, “I’ll
make the rules as we go along.” I said·, ”Well you can’t do that. I’ve got to know now how this
thing happens. I’ve got to go see the Administrator of Veterans Affairs. I can’t possibly allow
this. It’s bad_ enough that you are doing all this stuff.” I said, “This is a kangaroo court.”
It was so easy. It was like taking candy from a baby. All the reporters are just
laughing at this guy. So he says, ”We will have five minute recess.” ”That’s all right with me.”
. .
He goes back and has to talk to the higher ups. He comes back, I can’t remember what be said,
but it was something to the effect, ”If there is anything you object to, I’ll take it up to a higher
authority.” He came back – there weren’t any rules. Herb [Herblock.] hears about this, and does a
wonderful cartoon: “I’ll make the rules as we go along.” Anyway, they ducked out of it as fast as
they could, reinstated the disability thing. The court of appeals, at this stage is a divided body
and everything depends on the panel you get. We got a good panel is my recollection, although I
couldn’t remember exactly who we got. Do you remember who we bad? [Wilbur K. Miller, E.
Barrett Prettyman, and James M. Proctor, who wrote the opinion.]
Mr. Peck: No, I don’t. I didn’t jot that down.
Mr. Rauh: It was a good a panel, and we won. It was justice done. There is a
full book on the Kutcher case, if it’s of any interest.
Mr. Peck: For purposes of the tape, let me just state that the Herblock cartoon
depicts Alice in Wonderland with the quotation, “I’ll make the rules as we go along” attributed to
the Chainnan of the VA Pension Committee Hearinl? in the Kutcher lovaltv case. It has. I 1rness.
it’s the queen saying, “Gad, I wished I’d said that.”
That was also the period in which the Senate Internal Security Committee was
domg ‘its investigations. I know that you’ve said in the past that although Arnold, Fortas &
Porter’s corporate work was something that you criticized, that they were cashing in somewhat on
their New Deal experience. Still you said they did wonderful work in the loyalty cases.
Mr. Rauh: Arnold, Fortas & Porter were simply superb. Paul Porter was the
superb-est, and Abe [Fortas] was very good. They were wonderful on loyalty stuff. They
represented Dorothy Bailey. This case, I believe, went to the court of appeals. I know it did.
What happened was that sometime about 1949, the Loyalty Review Board had two cases before
it. One was William Remington who was my client. The other was Dorothy Bailey who was
Arnold, Fortas & Porte(s client. The charge against her was that she was a member of the
Communist party. I have never known if it was true. I was busy with Remington, and I didn’t
follow that very closely. They held her disloyal. They held Remington loyal. The same day,
they balanced them So naturally there was joy in our office, and there was sadness there. It had
nothing to do with them; they put everything into the case. We didn’t have to _go to court because
we’d won. Our cases in court came up through an indictment in New York which never got to
the court of appeals here. It got to the court of appeals in New York. Theirs went to court, and
the court of appeals ruled against them If my memory serves me, the Supreme Court denied
cert. They handled a lot of cases for people and usually they were able to do it for nothing. Their
other clients were in effect paying for it. That was fme. I have only the highest regard for their
performance in the field of civil hberties during this period.
What Porter and Fortas and Thurman Arnold wanted was a decision that you
couldn’t use secret informers. That comes many years later. They did make clear that they didn’t
think Congress intended the use of informers. I don’t know what Congress intended or not.
Anyway it was really stopped to a large degree. Unfortunately, Arnold, Fortas & Porter didn’t
have a chance when the Supreme Court finally acted. There were two cases. One was mine and
one was a fellow named Carl Bereuffy whose case was actually the one that they wrote the
opinion in.
Mr. Peck: Since you mentioned him, William Remington bad been a
Commerce Department official. One of the things be bad been accused of was conveying secrets
to a Soviet agent during the war. He had been the subject of both a House Un-American
Activities Committee investigation and a grand jury.
Mr. Raub: The details on that are this. Though I think at the time that it came
out, be was at the Commerce Department. He bad been at the War Production Board and other
agencies. He was a very brilliant young man. This history is too long to go through the whole
thing. Let me summarize it. Miss Elizabeth Bentley, the spy queen, was not what you’d call
Mata Hari. She did testify before both the Senate Investigating Committee and the House Un-
American Activities Corrmrittee that Bill had given her secret in.formation. She called him a
Communist on “Meet the Press.” We brought a hbel suit which NBC settled with us for a fair
amount of money. They kept on after him, and the loyalty program opened up on him, and the
lower board found him guilty and ordered his discharge. That’s when he came to see me. I was
not in during the hearing stage or the loyalty lower board. We appealed to the higher board. We
asked them to call Miss Bentley for cross-examination. Ms. Bentley didn’t come. They didn’t
have subpoena powers. Bill testified and they ruled that he … [tape ends]
[Side A of January 23, 1992, Tape]
Mr. Peck: We had left it where this had upset a number of people.
Mr. Rauh: This clearance of Remington upset the publishing house of Devon
Adair which had a contract for a book on Miss Bentley which was ultimately published. They
wanted her cleared. I believe they got the House committee to reopen it. The main thing in the
reopened he_aring, which I think was also in ’49, was a couple of people down in the Tennessee
Valley Authority who said that Bill had been a Communist that summer down in TV A and that
made some news. Although there was nothing new on Bentley, she didn’t show up again. They
did have these two people in the Tennessee Valley. Bill, at that time, I think was 19. · He was
. there from Dartmouth, where he was a junior. They did go after Bill.· To show how tough the
Justice Department was, they indicted him in New York. They indicted him for denying he had
ever been a member of the Communist party. The grand jury that indicted him was headed by
the man who had the contract to write the book about her which depended on rehabilitating her
through debilitating Remington. In addition, the lawyer for the government before the grand jury
was a man named Donovan, I believe, who had been Miss Bentley’s lawyer. The head of the
grand jury called Mrs. Remington, the wife of Bill, before the grand jury; bis name was Brunini,
he was a high-ranking person in the church there, he ran the grand jury, he had the contract for
the book. It was a pretty shocking story. When we learned of it by telephone from somebody at
Devon Adair, we tried to get the case dismissed. We were unsuccessful. The case went on and
Bill was convicted of having been a member of the Communist party. We went to the court of
appeals and won. The court of appeals reversed and sent it back – that was the New York Court
of Appeals [for the Second Circuit]. It sent it back. We tried to get cert. to get the case
dismissed. The government, however, in what I think was an outrageous thing, dismissed the
complaint on the membership and indicted him on five counts of things he said in bis own
defense when he took the stand at the trial. By this time, we knew all about the shenanigans in
front of the first grand jury, and since the second grand jury would never have been there but for
the first grand jury, Bill would never have testified, we tried to get the thing dismissed. Bill hired
a regular criminal lawyer to try the case. He got Bill off on a couple of the counts, but on three of
them the jury found him guilty. We then went to the Court of Appeals in the Second Circuit.
We had a remarkable bench Tom Swan, Gus Hand, and Learned Hand – they split two to one.
Learned Hand was so shocked by the grand jury that he said that you couldn’t possibly affirm
that. The other two didn’t want to go that far. We petitioned for cert., and now my authority is
Justice Frankfurter. There were four votes for cert. going into the conference – the Supreme
Court Conference-Frankfurter said. Himself, Jackson, Black and Douglas. During the
discussion of the case, Black said he wanted to go for cert. for the purpose of overruling an
earlier case, the Williams case, which he thought was wrong, and this would be the place to
straighten the law out on the problem of grand jury actions like this. Jackson lost bis temper and
voted against cert., even though be told Frankfurter that he was going to vote for cert. We had
three votes for cert. and we didn’t get it; it takes four votes to get cert. I was in Frankfurter’s
chambers one time shortly afterwards, and he told me this whole story of what had happened. It
was after Remington was killed in jail. What happened there was they sent him not to a
minimum security prison, as they would all other white-collar criminals except Alger Hiss. They
sent him to Lewisburg, which was a highly secure place, and two car thieves announced that they
were going to – quote – get me a commie – unquote – went in and killed Bill who was in an open
donnitory with bricks in a sock which could never have happened if adequate arrangements for
Bill’s security had been.made. After thi?, I think it was after Bill had died, Justice Frankfurter
told me the story of the cert., and then said, “We did everything we could, Joe, you and I, to save
this man. Yo1,1 should not feel badly.” I did not say anything, because I was sort of overwhelmed
by the fact that he thought that Black was the wrongdoer in this thing, not Jackson, who should
not have allowed bis temper to change his mind. I love Felix and I couldn’t bring myself to ask
that question.
Mr. Peck: Another of those issues, actually it was 1952 when you were
counseling Lillian Hellman before the House Un-American Activities Committee, and she was
not prosecuted. I think she may have been referred to you by Fortas?
Mr. Rauh: Yes, I think Abe did suggest it to her. That, too, is rather a lengthy
story. I can tell it or not as you see fit.
Mr. Peck: I think you should.
Mr. Rauh: What happened is a very fascinating legal problem and public
relations problem It is 1952, McCarthy is at his height, the House Un-American Activities
Committee is at its height, and she gets a subpoena from the House Un-American Activities
Committee. She came in to see me and said she would like me to represent her. Of course, I
thought that was great. She’s a great playwright, probably the greatest lady playwright in the
history of this country. Brilliant woman, had cooperated with the Communists for many years,
but I had no idea what she actually was, but she had been in the same conferences the
Communists had run. She made a number of statements. First, she would be happy to tell all
about herself, her activities, her political affiliations, anything, Communist or otherwise, if she
was asked about herself. But, a) she wouldn’t name other people who had been in various
meetings with her, b) she didn’t want to go to jail, and c) she didn’t want to plead the Fifth
Amendment. When one thinks for a minute, those are rather inconsistent things. If you don’t
want to go to jail, the safest way not to go to jail is to plead the Fifth Amendment and the
Supreme Court had already ruled that you could use the Fifth Amendment on Communist activity
because of the Smith Act, which makes it a crime to advocate the overthrow the government by
force or violence.
So, here’s this dilemma. If she tells all about herself, she waives the privilege
against self-incrimination and then can’t refuse to talk about others, so she is going to jail. On the
other hand, if she doesn’t tell about herself and doesn’t want to tell about· the others, she has to
plead the privilege of the Fifth Amendment for herself. She says she doesn’t want to plead the
privilege. After many starts and stops, I made the following suggestion: We would write a letter
to the House Un-American Activities Committee saying that she is prepared to tell all about
herself but she wants them to agree not to demand answers about others because she will have
waived her privilege. We got a very negative answer to that suggestion and so we had to do
something. It had been shown that you keep the privilege for a period just before the statute of
limitations runs out. In other words, if the statute of limitations is 6 years, you could say that you
weren’t a Corrnnunist for the last 4 years, and you still save the incrimination for the later period.
We got ready for the hearing. We went in front of the hearing and they asked her if she was a
member of the Communist party. She said, ”No,” and they asked, ”were you last year” and she
said, “no,” “the year before,” ”no”, “the year before”, ”no.” I think it was about this time when
she said I refer you to my letter. Dan Pollitt, who was my associate then, gave out the letter to
the press. The Committee and the counsel are having a fit because we look so good in the letter
and everything, and so they’re having a fit. Here we’re giving out the letter so the counsel for the
committee, Tavenner was his name, he read the letter into the record. After about an hour it was all
over. We agreed, Lillian and I, that the test of whether we won or lost, was whether the New
York Times account of the story said, “Lillian Hellman refuses to name names” or “Lillian
Hellman pleads the Fifth Amendment. ” If it reads that “Lillian Hellman pleads the Fifth
Amendment,” we lost. If it reads “Lillian Hellman refuses on principle to name names,” we won.
It was perfect. Absolutely a perfect story. I don’t think that the Fifth Amendment is mentioned
until about the sixth paragraph in the story. We were all very happy with that result. That shows
a lawyer’s public relations abilities, as well as legal know ledge of the case, and I think it was
copied a number of times after that. At least Lillian was pleased with the outcome, and she’s
written a book called “Scoundrel Time” which relates the story of that meeting. I would say I’d
give it an A+ for drama and a B+ for accuracy, but there are some mistakes in it.
Mr. Peck: Obviously there were lots of hopes to try and get past the
McCarthy period, to somehow take away his power. In 1954, there was the Paul Hughes incident
which, I guess, basically was a scam
Mr. Rauh: It was a scam We were all taken by a confidence man. There is a
man at the Library of G?:mgress writing a piece right now in which he shows that Bill Buckley’s
ugly hand was in the whole thing. There is no question that this confidence man had fooled me,
and The Washington Post, too. I think I can be fooled easier than The Washington Post, but he
was obviously a guy of considerable ability, and he fooled us. I hate to be fooled. I wanted so
desperately to find some way to stop this thing. Luckily for the country, Joe McCarthy stopped it
himself by drinking himself to death after his hearings, so the country was inoculated against any
future McCarthyism
Mr. Peck: You’ve called 1955 ?e year that the tide turned back toward civil
Mr. Rauh: In the end of 1954, we had to censure McCarthy. You saw an
awful lot of it. There was an article printed in one of the magazines that I wrote about the tide
having turned. McCarthy was dead. HUAC had been weakened. Arthur Miller had told HUAC
off in ’56. They went to court but they lost. So that ’57 was sort of the dawn of a new day. May
I ask you, do you have the date of the first Kohler case up there? When does it come? Does it
come later or are we about there? Because that is a very interesting story.
Mr. Peck:
Mr. Rauh:
Mr. Peck:
turning of that tide.
Mr. Rauh:
Mr. Peck:
Mr. Rauh:
Mr. Peck:
Mr. Rauh:
I think it comes a little later.
I just didn’t want to get ahead of the story.
Right. Since you mentioned Miller, I mean, this happened after the
It was at the turning of the tide – ’56, ’57.
He first testified on June 21, 1956.
l understand it was an exciting time in this household, too.
Well, no she [Marilyn Monroe] wasn’t here then. She came in ’57
when we had the trial. Arthur just came. I guess we just spent a few hours the day before going
over it. Arthur was an easy client. You might say that Lillian Hellman required a great deal of
skill. Arthur Miller didn’t require any skill. He said, “I’m not going to tell about anybody else. I
don’t mind going to jail.” This was a perfect client. If you got him into jail, h? wasn’t so angry; if
you kept him out of jail, he was very happy. He was the perfect client. I’ll tell you about the
court of appeals on that case. We were convicted in the district court.
Mr. Peck:
Mr. Rauh:
Congress charged him with contempt by a vote of373 to 9.
Yes, and all my friends were calling – do I have to vote for Miller .
and against contempt, and I said, ”No. Vote your political best thing.” We could have gotten up
to 50 or 100 votes, but what was the use. We couldn’t win. – Why put guys on the spot that are
honorable guys. I think that the 9 is not an accurate reflection of the feeling up there. I don’t
know what ‘Ne could hav.e gotten, but we could have gotten more. Guys there who were my best
friends that voted for contempt. We_ did have that, and they indicted him. Then he was tried. He
was convicted. His prison sentence was suspended, and his fin? was not exorbitant. In a sense,
there was no day, but he didn’t want a conviction of a federal crime on the books. It was only a
misdemeanor because that statute only calls for a misdemeanor. Why did he want that? We
went to court to reverse that. We went to the court of appeals. We desperately wanted to get a
decision on the First Amendment. I think both of us wanted a decision on the First Amendment
so badly we could taste it. We didn’t want a decision on some crackpot point. The court wanted
a decision on a crazy thing just to get out of ruling. The court didn’t want to say there was no
First Amendment right here, but they didn’t want to say there was either. So they said he hadn’t
been ordered to answer the question. That was sheer nonsense. He knew, I knew, that he was
under orders to answer the question. That’s the ground on which they let us off. The First
Amendment case was so appealing. What they did, the Committee, was to ask him questions
about his plays, about his writing, about his feelings toward the Committee. If there ever was a
chilling of First Amendment rights, this was the perfect case. I’m dreaming of a win on the First
Amendment. Then they would have had to go to the Supreme Court. We might very well have
gotten a really staunch case. After all, in the Watkins case, Chief Justice Warren says there is a
First Amendment right here. He doesn’t say what it is, but he says it’s here. We had the perfect
First Amendment case under Watkins. You can’t get the Court to go beyond what it wanted to
say and what it wanted to say was that he hadn’t been directed to answer the question. Of course,
Arthur Miller could say, “Well, I beat the court of appeals.” He did. They directed that he be
acquitted, but it wasn’t the civil liberties thing that Arthur and I were praying for.
Mr. Peck: The district court in its original finding, that he was guilty of
contempt, relied on Watkins, which at that point was just a D.C. Circuit opinion. It was pending
at the time before the Supreme Court. So when the D.C. Circuit heard that, it was still pending.
They were basically ignoring their own decision on Watkins, weren’t they?
Mr. Raub: You have to straighten out the time factor in Watkins. The first
thing that happened was we won in Watkins two to one. Then they had a rehearing, and we lost
in Watkins. I’m sorry, but my memory doesn’t serve me, whether Miller, timeframe-wise – can
you straighten me out?
Mr. Peck: The Watkins decision in the Supreme Court was 1957. The D.C.
Circuit was 1958, in Miller. They already had the benefit of the Supreme Court’s decision.
Mr. Raub:
Mr. Peck:
Mr. Raub:
They wouldn’t go for the First Amendment?
You know, I don’t think that’s been decided yet. What do you
think? Do you think that it has been decided? Whether the right of silence before a committee is
a First Amendment right?
Mr. Peck: I don’t think it has been decided.
Mr. Rauh: I don’t either. You have the Hollywood Ten cases and the Supreme
Court refused to go into those cases, so you have those cases. I do not know anything that
overruled them in the court of appeals, but there may be something. I haven’t kept up as much as
I should over the last few years.
Mr. Peck: I’m not aware of anything that has. Okay, so it was during the
hearings in the D.C. Circuit that Miller and his new bride stayed here. I read somewhere that you
have dined out on this story for years.
Mr. Rauh: That’s true. That’s absolutely true. Do you want to hear the story?
We had the hearing before the Committee in ’56, contempt charges come down, Arthur is
indicted, the day for the hearing in May ’57 comes and the day before Arthur calls and says “Do I
have to be there?” I said, “Yeah, you have to be here. Don’t you remember, you’re the
defendant?” He says, “Well, what’ll I do about my wife? We can’t stay in a hotel. People take
snippets of her dress and everything.” I said, “Why don’t you stay at our house.” I came home
that night, and Carl was sitting in his usual pose in front of the television with his feet up on
another chair. I said, “Carl, you got to go to the station tomorrow morning and pick up Marilyn
Monroe.” He fell off the_ chair. At least that’s my story. Carl went to the station the next
morning, picked up Arthur and Marilyn, and he recognized her some way or other, and they came
out. We were having breakfast, and Marilyn asked for a glass of water, and Carl and I knocked
each other down in the doorway trying to get to the glass of water. Olie muttered something
about it was the first time she had seen us off a chair in a long time. Anyway, we had a nice two
weeks there. They went home over the weekends, but they were here for a few weeks.
Everybody had a good time, except Arthur. He got convicted, but the rest of us had a fine time.
Nobody knew that Marilyn was there. It was a secret. We would come home in the evening and
she would talk. She was very bright, but totally uneducated. She was not on dope or drinking.
Whatever happened in the next 5 years we don’t know, but we can vouch for that. They were
very much in love. She was having a miscarriage, and we got the doctor. I always said that the
way to get a doctor is to tell him th?t Marilyn Monroe is here, because when I hung up the phone
from the doctor, the doorbell rang and you know, house calls are okay. Carl caJlle home from
school every day for lunch, allegedly to take a shower, but really to have another quick view of
Marilyn and talk to her. He came home the last day – the day they were leaving – and he came
home from school at about 3:00 and it had gotten to the press that Marilyn was here. Our front
lawn looked like Sherman’s march to the sea. Everyone knowing that Marilyn was inside, and
they wanted her to come out. I think Olie went out and said to the lady press people that Marilyn
will receive them in our house shortly but she wasn’t ready. So Carl held a press conference on
our front lawn. They said, ”What’s it like?” They asked rum all about her. The last question
was, “What’s it feel like, Carl, (he was then 16) to have Marilyn Monroe around your house for a
couple of weeks?” Carl said, “Well, it ain’t quite like having your brother at home.” The New
York Times Review of the Week used to have the Remark of the Week. Carl made the Remark
of the Week at age16 with that remark. We were very devoted to both of them and were very
broken up about their breakup. Most important of all, we did, especially Olie, had an interview
in Ms. magazine defending her against all the charges that had been made – drugs, booze, men, in
which we saw no evidence of any of that. Most important of all, I think, is our lesson from this.
[Side BJ
[The press people] are reckless. Here is Olie Rauh who spent every day all day
with this woman, all alone, except Olie would invite one friend for lunch and swear her to
secrecy; other than that, they talked a lot. Olie was watching what she was reading, she was
reading all psychiatric books, the book we remember the most was one called The Fifty-Minute
Hour by a man named Linder. Here they never asked a person about her -character or habits, who
knew something about it, it was alljust vicious stuff. So there is, we’re proud to say, in Ms.
Magazine, they sent a reporter, she spent the night with us, she interviewed the kids, she
interviewed me, but primarily she lived with Olie for the time, so there is a story about Marilyn
that reflects nicely upon her.