June 4, 1954 – Army-McCarthy Hearings: Day 27 – Past Daily Reference Room
Day 27 of the now-infamous Army-McCarthy Hearings – in a few days the hearings would come to a dramatic conclusion. But leading up that point were charges and countercharges in an increasingly contentious atmosphere.
In public testimony on June 4, 1954, the appointment clerk to the secretary of the army read into the record a transcript of a monitored telephone conversation on February 20, 1954, in which Army Secretary Robert Stevens advised Senator Stuart Symington that he had decided not to permit Gen. Zwicker to testify publicly before the subcommittee. Stevens said he ‘‘did not intend to have this abuse of our professional officer corps continued.’’ He reported that Senator McCarthy had angrily told him to expect to be subpoenaed to appear before the subcommittee the following Tuesday. Senator Symington planned to leave for Europe that day, and he advised Stevens not to testify until he returned. The senator added: ‘‘Let me talk to Clifford about it and I will call you.’’ Later that day, Senator Symington called Stevens to report that he had talked ‘‘to our legal friend’’ and had written to the chairman asking that the hearing be postponed until his return. Symington further urged Stevens not to act until he had talked ‘‘with my friend.’’ Presented with this information, Senator McCarthy charged that Symington had allowed Clark Clifford, ‘‘one of the top aides to President Truman to run the show.’’ McCarthy called on Symington to disqualify himself from further service on the subcommittee. Senator Symington dismissed this demand as ‘‘just another diversion.’’ He explained that when the secretary of the army had appealed to him for help, he had ‘‘recommended him to Mr. Clifford.’’ During the public hearing on June 7, McCarthy accused Symington of having ‘‘got Clark Clifford to mislead a fine, naive, not too brilliant Republican Secretary of the Army,’’ and demanded that both Symington and Clifford be subpoenaed to testify under oath. Democrats then offered a motion in executive session to call Clifford to testify. This was defeated by a Republican substitute motion. Clark Clifford did not testify in public.
Here is a recap of the day, as presented by George Herman and Daniel Schorr for CBS Radio on June 4, 1954.