Capital Hill Interns voice their political opinions on Vietnam policy.
Congressional Uproar With J By DAVID A. MEEKER S A Staff Correspondent I Of the Post-Dispatch Post-Dispatch Post-Dispatch WASHINGTON, Aug, 5 It tit traditional for several hundred hundred college students to work Son Capitol Hill each summer as Scongressional interns to get a wfirst-hand wfirst-hand wfirst-hand look at democracy in Suction. But as many have learned fthis summer, watching democracy democracy at work and practicing it are two different matters, especially especially if the practice involves gcriticism of the American poli-gcy poli-gcy poli-gcy in Vietnam. The lesson began in mid-July mid-July mid-July when a group of interns on the jjSenate side of Capitol Hill laid gplans to "convince the policy-makers policy-makers policy-makers that some of the most respectable e 1 e m e n t s of our young society are concerned jabout our actions in Vietnam." Letter Drafted m The interns drafted a letter to President Lyndon B. Johnson expressing their concern and prepared to gather signatures won it from House and Senate in-Items. in-Items. in-Items. Attending the meeting Sunder an assumed name was an "intern from the office of con- con- wnervative , Representative Rob-"ert Rob-"ert Rob-"ert H. Michel (Rep.), Illinois, Swho carried back to his office a copy of the anti-war anti-war anti-war letter. m Michel took the House floor July 20 to "expose to public light" the doings of the interns. He said, "These young people have the right to voice their op- op- Unions, just as any other Amen- Amen- can, but it does distress me S that there are those who would 5 seek to exploit collectively this group of outstanding young peo-2 peo-2 peo-2 Pie Michel then went on to link j the interns' actions with the left 1 wing, citing similar activities of I the Student Nonviolent Co-"ordinating Co-"ordinating Co-"ordinating Committee, the Young Socialist Alliance, draft g card b u r n e rs in general and "j Muhammad AH, Cassius Clay, jf "I cannot help but observe," J! Michel concluded, "that at one JJ time, particularly in the Kenne-S Kenne-S Kenne-S dy Administration, these young 5 people (in t e r n s) were being ,jjvooed an(j courted in an unending unending stream by Administration t.people, hopefully to get them to ;p arret the party line, so to 5 speak. 1 'Well-Planned 'Well-Planned 'Well-Planned Scheme' ' "It seems, however, that un-;-der un-;-der un-;-der un-;-der un-;-der the Johnson Administration t h e s e lines of communication have become completely dis-jrupted dis-jrupted dis-jrupted and we now find a very well-planned well-planned well-planned scheme being hatched right under our House 'wing' to undercut and embarrass embarrass the Administration." Renresentative John Kyi (Rep.), Iowa, warned in a letter to all interns. "You are here to study and to learn, and to per form whatever service tne I member asks you to perform The intern program is not a nolitiiral convention and it is not a fnrum for the nroDoundine of your own political, economic, or ocial philosophy. "You have the same right of free speech as all other Americans, Americans, but it is essential that vou rnmpmher vou are euests of the Congress and the Government," Kvl asserted. Then he warned "The program will exist only as long as the members approve it." With the backing of several prowar Congressmen, a counter group of interns quicKiy circulated circulated a 1 e 1 1 e r supporting the President. The petition ot support support bearing 150 signatures was delivered to the White House. Although many Congressmen d e c r i e d the activities of the "Congressional Interns for Peace" which were conducted on lunch hours and after work ing hours, they gave the prowar interns time off to drum up i u p p o r t. One of the leading hawks in Congress, Represent tive L. Mendel Rivers (Dem.) South Carolina, chairman of the House Armed Services Commit tee nledeed his full sUDDOrt and office facilities to offset the peace advocate, the Post-Dis Post-Dis Post-Dis natch learned. Mark Green, 22-y 22-y 22-y e a r -o -o 1 d Harvard Law School student who is working as an intern in the office of Senator jacoD is. J a v i t a (Reo.). New York, i: leading the interns who oppose the war. "I'm convinced that we would have gotten a maiority of the 1300 interns to sign (the peace letter) if it wasn't for the pres-gure pres-gure pres-gure the interns received from Comeressmen." Green told the Post-Dispatch. Post-Dispatch. Post-Dispatch. "I see interns as hidenti and I think we have right and almost an obligation to speak on issues wnicn con cern them. Called Breach of Ethics Robert A. Martin, a Columbia University student and intern in the office of Representative Donald E. Lukens (Rep.), Ohio, disagrees with Green. Martin chairman of the Committee for ResDonsible Interns, said that interns committed a breach of ethics by speaking out on issues. issues. His group has proposed a voluntary code of ethics which would include sell-imposed sell-imposed sell-imposed lim its on freedom of speech. "Our concern is not with the antiwar or urowar views in- in- wived." Martin told the Post Dispatch, "but with the effect this can have on the future of the Intern oroeram." However. Martin, e former member of the Young Ameri cans for Freedom, admitted he oersona v favors the war, Sometime this week. Green Intend to deliver his petition to the White House with about 150 signatures. It says, "Our pres ence here this summer evl dences our desire to be 'doers end b u i i d e r s' of whom you snoke. Yet. althoutrh we are anx ) toua to build a greater nation and that achievement . The share Great dis-ap urges de-escalation de-escalation meets has that him cause walk war. to shin ters lO.'i nlan H. The and has a