Guilt by Family Relationships: A Case In Point

Bill Jr.

Americans for Traditional Liberties put out a statement saying: ‘Guilt by association, now extended to guilt by family relationships, was one of the things condemned.’ It is my text for today.

I know a man 1 years ago had a job in the department of commerce under Herbert Hoover. He drummed up business in an Asian country for American business and later was moved to an even better job in Europe. Hoover was at the top of his list of great Americans. Then came Roosevelt, so he was notified that ‘for reasons of economy’ the activities of the Department of Commerce were being curtailed and that his services were no longer required. Economy or not, he knew that a Democratic ward-heeler had been shipped to Europe to take his job.

Not being happy about it, he has spent a good deal of time since campaigning for the Republicans. He did it for Eisenhower and was rewarded with a well paying job. As things are now (Oct. 27, 1955), it had to be determined whether he is a security risk.  It was found that he has a brother 2 a small town, whose FBI file is fairly fat. So into the town come the FBI boys to snoop among the neighbors. The story has a happy ending: the Hoover-Republican brother, as near as these agents could discover at considerable expense, hasn’t seen his non-Republican brother for years and years. So they allowed him to continue to feed out of the Republican trough.

This next piece is titled: ‘How the Government Makes Radicals.” Two young students 3 at a midwestern college fell in love and decided to marry. The boy, a Republican, planned to go into a profession so he not only had to get his college degree but had graduate work to do after that. So the girl quit college and took a job with one of the government agencies. She sat all day punching out checks on one of Mr. Watson’s machines, with a minimum number required, work that hardly involved ‘risk’ to the government.

However this did not prevent her from getting a long letter setting down in great detail a lot of things about her father, her sister 4, her brother’s 5 father-in-law 6, some of it factual and some more of it hogwash. She was informed that she had ten days in which to reply after which it would be decided whether she would have her job or not.

Her reply was simple. She believed her father to be a sincere Christian; her recollections of her sister were vague since she had left home when the young wife under investigation was eight and ‘I remember he as a loving sister, and one whom I admired greatly; I don’t recall ever hearing her express any political views.’ As for her brother’s father-in-law, she only knew him to be a regular church-goer and a successful businessman.

A few days later her boss told her that there were two men in the office to see her. With the eyes of her fellow-workers following her, she went to the office where FBI agents gave her the works for about an hour. Did she still see her father — the inference being that if she didn’t maybe she could keep her $40 a week job. Questions too about her brother’s father-in-law, and her sister who had been dead for ten years. Then: ‘you can go back to work. You will hear from us in due course.”

Pregnancy and a very innocent baby boy provided an answer before the government got around to theirs.

The young husband meanwhile says: ‘I suppose they think my wife sat at one of those machines all day figuring how she could overthrow the government by force and violence.’

Very much the Republican before he shared this experience with his wife, he now rips into his father-in-law for being too conservative.

‘Guilt by family relationship’, in this particular case thanks to governmental procedures, has moved from the sins of the father being visited upon the children to the sins of the children being visited upon the fathers.

My only complaint is that nobody seemed to ask about me…I was identified only through my father-in-law.  Didn’t I ever do anything radical enough to warrant a file with J. Edgar Hoover?

  1. Charles Byron Spofford, Jr. (deceased)
  2. Wm. B. Spofford, Sr. (deceased)
  3. Charles Adamek (deceased) and Suzanne Spofford Adamek
  4. Marcia Spofford Russell (deceased)
  5. Wm. B. Spofford, Jr. (deceased
  6. Arthur Fawcett (deceased), co-founder of Fawcett Boats in Annapolis, Md. and vestryman at Church of the Epiphany, D.C., St. Ann’s, Annapolis and St. Luke’s, Eastport, Md