The Foreign Service Journal, March 2014

26 MARCH 2014 | THE FOREIGN SERVICE JOURNAL Geneva. I presented him with some documents that had been brought down to me by one of the agents that we had working in the north, who brought information to us. They were the maps of all the emplacements of the antiaircraft equipment of Germans all in and around Paris. He turned sort of white and said, “Oh, for goodness’ sake, you just brought this in by hand?” I said, “Oh, yes, no problem.” I had a Ford car, and when you crossed the frontier, there was always a member of the Gestapo right at the frontier with a French officer, watching as you went back and forth. That Ford car had a glove compartment for which there was a separate key, not the key to the rest of the car, the ignition. So when I went in, I just locked up papers inside the glove compartment and turned the key down inside my bosom. When I went into the place to check out with the French officer and the Gestapo to go into Switzerland, I left my car open, with the keys just hanging from the ignition. Sometimes people had hid- den things in the machinery under the hood, and they sometimes looked under the hood. I thought that was something to avoid. I remember the general said, “I shall remember that, Con- stance.” So later, when he gave me the Medal of Freedom, I guess he remembered. n 1950s: The McCarthy Witch Hunt— Who “Lost” China? In February 1950, months after Mao Zedong’s establishment of the People’s Republic of China, Senator Joseph McCarthy, R-Wis., gave his infamous speech accusing the State Department of har- boring communist agents and sympathizers. FSO John S. Service , one of the State Department’s top experts on China, one of the so- called China Hands, was among those caught up in the spurious charges. With deep knowledge, and experience on the ground in China, Service had been reporting since the early 1940s that Mao’s forces should not be underestimated, and that the United States could not assume that the Chinese Nationalists would succeed against them. The U.S. would need to deal with the communists. For this, Service was fired in December 1951. Six years later, the Supreme Court ordered his reinstatement, but the damage to the Foreign Service, and U.S. Asia policy, was done. As Senator J. William Fulbright, D-Ark., would later say, during a hearing in 1971: For doing their job, reporting about conditions in China, “[the China Hands] were so persecuted because [they] were hon- est. This is a strange thing to occur in what is called a civilized country.” Here are excerpts from John Service’s account of the McCarthy witch hunt as he experienced it. W e were going by freighter from Seattle to Yokohama on our way to India [and his new assignment]. One night at supper [the radio operator] said, “Say, is your name John Stewart Service?” I said, “Yes.” He said, “There’s been a lot of stuff about you on the radio news, talking a lot about you in Washington.” This was the first intimation we had. A day or two later I got a telegram from the department say- ing I should return because of charges by Senator McCarthy. The family could either remain in Japan or go on to India. We decided they should go on to India. We expected that there would be a hearing. We knew from the radio broadcast that a Senate committee had been set up. [I was] certainly annoyed, uncertain of course, about what was going on, but not particularly concerned. After all, I’d been through the Amerasia case [Service was arrested by the FBI on suspicion of passing classified government documents to a Far Eastern affairs journal in 1945] and gotten a unanimous clean bill. The department went all out. The department’s policy was obviously to meet McCarthy head-on. A big welcome was planned for me. v [S enator Joseph] Tydings’ committee hearings had been going on for three months and had produced a great deal of furor, but no clear refutation in the mind of the public of [McCarthy’s] wild charges. We had three days of hearings. The third day they insisted on being closed because they’d had this so-called secret recording of a conversation between [ Amerasia editor Philip] Jaffe and myself. It wasn’t a recording at all. It was a transcription, an alleged transcription, of some sort of a wiretap or a listening device put in a room in Jaffe’s hotel. It was incom- plete and very garbled. We got, finally, a statement out of the Department of Justice; and they said that it was excerpts, portions, of a transcript and that the original had been destroyed. It’s got me—as we say in the testimony—saying things that I couldn’t possibly have said. It’s been argued that we should have made more of an issue— Originally, there had to be a reasonable basis to consider you dis loyal. That was changed to reasonable doubts as to loyalty. –John S. Service