Search transcripts:    Advanced Search
Notable New     Yorkers
Select     Notable New Yorker

John B. OakesJohn B. Oakes
Photo Gallery

Part:         Session:         Page of 512

the McCarthy business, the McCarthy Committee as with, I think, the successor, the Eastland Committee, I think, that I wrote Arthur a memo saying -- It really wasn't any of my business. This was just a note from me to the publisher. Well, I guess it was my business in the sense that we were more or less taking this position, editorially, too. But in any case, I wrote him saying that I didn't think people ought to be fired from the Times, dropped from the Times because of that. There were one or two cases that were very alive at that point of Times employees who either had been or were about to be dropped because of the Fifth Amendment. You probably know -- have you done any recent looking into this? Are you familiar?


I know there were a couple of cases. I can't recall the name of the person who was fired. Was Sy Peck one of the people who was up for discussion?


I think that's right. I think that's right, and I think Clayton Knowles. I think Knowles was another reporter who was in that position too. I think Sy Peck was. And I really don't remember at this point precisely what I wrote to Arthur, but I know I did write him a memo suggesting it was wrong to drop people. Ultimately a very fine editorial appeared in the Times on this subject and this was in specific connection with the Eastland Committee. Senator Eastland's Committee, which was sort of a successor to McCarthy, trying to -- I can't remember exactly what kind of repressive work they were doing, but in any case, Charlie [Charles] Merz, my boss, the editor -- not I, but Merz, wrote a superb editorial, which became a famous editorial defending the -- I like to think maybe I had a certain amount of influence here. I am not taking any credit for that editorial, I assure you, because I always thought, and said, that that was one of the great editorials that appeared in the Times during my connection with the editorial page. It was very definitely one that was written in the mid-'50s by the then editor, Charlie Merz, who did a wonderful job. But I think, since you were asking

© 2006 Columbia University Libraries | Oral History Research Office | Rights and Permissions | Help