CONSERVATIVE CRITICS OF ROBERT WELCH AND THE BIRCH SOCIETY

revised 02/09/12

What follows is a representative sample of comments about Robert Welch and the JBS from prominent anti-communist conservatives and other authoritative sources.

Keep in mind as you read these comments, that many of them originate from sources whose writings were recommended (or published) by the Birch Society for all serious students of the Communist Conspiracy. 

In fact, many of these individuals were personal friends and acquaintances of Robert Welch and/or they often recommended, endorsed, and financially supported the same organizations, publications, and causes which Robert Welch did!  

 

Marian Welch (widow of Robert Welch)AP report in New York Times, 9/1/86, p24)

"I have nothing to do with the Society. The people who are running it are not standing on what it started out to be at all."

Fred Koch, former JBS National Council member (Wichita KS Eagle, 1/8/85, "Wichitans Found Welch Extreme" by Bill Hirschman

"Fred Koch's widow, Mary, recalled that Welch 'suspected everybody, and my husband thought he was too extreme and he withdrew his support.'  Koch particularly took offense at Welch's characterization of former President Dwight Eisenhower as a Communist pawn, she said." [Koch reportedly terminated his JBS membership shortly before his death in 1967.]

 

Barry Goldwater (San Diego CA Union, 3/30/61, “Goldwater Hits Birch Views” Associated Press report regarding Goldwater answers to questions regarding his views on Robert Welch and the JBS when interviewed at Pepperdine College Freedom Forum):

“Sen. Barry Goldwater told newsmen today that he disagreed with many of the theories of the right-wing John Birch Society but was ‘impressed by the type of people in it.

Newsmen asked Goldwater these questions, and got these replies: 

-Does he agree with the Society that this republic is not a fit form of government with which to fight communism?: 

I don’t agree’.

-Does he believe, like the Society, that ex-President Eisenhower was a tool of the Communists? 

‘I certainly don’t’

-Does he agree with the Society that Chief Justice Earl Warren should be impeached?

No, I don’t’

-Does he agree with Society contentions that the Communists have influenced some decisions of the Supreme Court?

I do not’

Sen. Barry Goldwater, 1962 letter-to-editor, National Review:

http://www.commentarymagazine.com/viewarticle.cfm/goldwater—the-john-birch-society—and-me-11248

“I think you have clearly stated the problem which Mr. Welch’s continued leadership of the John Birch Society poses for sincere conservatives. . . . Mr. Welch is only one man, and I do not believe his views, far removed from reality and common sense as they are, represent the feelings of most members of the John Birch Society. . . . Because of this, I believe the best thing Mr. Welch could do to serve the cause of anti-Communism in the United States would be to resign. . . . We cannot allow the emblem of irresponsibility to attach to the conservative banner.”

Sen. Barry Goldwater (KTLA-TV, Los Angeles, taped interview of Goldwater by Steve Allen broadcast on 5/29/64 - regarding Welch's book-length "private letter", entitled The Politician:

"I think I was supposed to have read it in the closet with a candle, and this was the famous book that downgraded the Eisenhower brothers and Mrs. Roosevelt and Mr. Truman.  I told him the next morning, when I returned the book, that he would be very wise to destroy all copies because he couldn't prove a word of it and it would do great damage to the conservative cause and his own friends if it were allowed to get out."  Goldwater also suggested that Welch step down as leader of the Birch Society:  "If he removed himself as leader of the Birch Society, it might allow that organization to proceed."  [See Los Angeles Herald-Examiner, 5/27/64, p1-2, "Barry To Welch--Step Down".]

Sen. Barry Goldwater (National Review, 10/19/65)

"Welch's statements have generally been wrong, ill-advised and, at times, ill-tempered."

Sen. Barry Goldwater (The American Adviser newsletter, 5/62, p3)

“I happen to know Bob Welch personally, yet I believe that many of the public statements he has made are unwarranted and unprovable.  At the time Mr. Welch originally made his statement about President Eisenhower I told him that even though his statement was included in a privately circulated paper, it could result in a great deal of harm to the movement that he was attempting to create.  I have disagreed with him privately and publicly on occasion and I believe that the John Birch Society would be far more effective if its leader were not making these intemperate statements.”

Sen. Barry Goldwater (upon reading Welch’s unpublished “private letter” The Politician)

Goldwater telephoned Welch and reportedly stated: ‘I want no part in this. I won’t even have it around. If you were smart, you’d burn every copy you have. (Robert Alan Goldberg book, Barry Goldwater, Yale University Press, 1995, p. 137)

James Burnham (National Review, 10/19/65, p. 925 – on the JBS)

“For years, it has used words irresponsibly, chiefly for their magically evocative and emotion-rousing effect…”

"Responsible conservatives have long tried to believe that the JBS, though 'misguided' was 'going in the same direction' and therefore an 'ally'...But, unfortunately, under the years of brainwashing and organization control by Robert Welch, the Society as a collective body has taken off in directions where no conservative can prudently venture and has become a suitable ally only for confusion and sterility.  Its stand on Vietnam confirms, not for the first time, that any American who seriously wants to contribute to his country's security and well-being and to oppose Communism will have to stay clear of the JBS."

Robert H. Bork (While recommending Jeffrey Hart’s 2005 book, The Making of the Conservative Mind): Bork refers to William F. Buckley “who rescued American conservatism from the fever swamps where dwelt the likes of the John Birch Society, making conservatism not merely respectable but the dominant intellectual force in our politics and culture.” 

J. Edgar Hoover 11/18/64 press conference:

"Personally, I have little respect for the head of the John Birch Society since he linked the names of former President Dwight D. Eisenhower, the late John Foster Dulles, and former CIA Director Allen Dulles with communism." 

J. Edgar Hoover, Warren Commission testimony (scroll to bottom of page in the link for text of Hoover's remarks quoted below):

http://www.jfk-assassination.de/warren/wch/vol5/page101.php  

"Mr. Hoover.

I have read that piece. My comment on it is this in general: I think the extreme right is just as much a danger to the freedom of this country as the extreme left. There are groups, organizations, and individuals on the extreme right who make these very violent statements, allegations that General Eisenhower was a Communist, disparaging references to the Chief Justice and at the other end of the spectrum you have these leftists who make wild statements charging almost anybody with being a Fascist or belonging to some of these so-called extreme right societies. Now, I have felt, and I have said publicly in speeches, that they are just as much a danger, at either end of the spectrum. They don't deal with facts. Anybody who will allege that General Eisenhower was a Communist agent, has something wrong with him. 

A lot of people read such allegations because I get some of the weirdest letters wanting to know whether we have inquired to find out whether that is true. I have known General Eisenhower quite well myself and I have found him to be a sound, level-headed man." ...

 

FBI memo characterization of JBS, 2/8/61

On 2/8/61 the FBI received a phone call from a self-identified JBS member from Columbus, Ohio concerning the House Committee on Un-American Activities filmstrip entitled Operation Abolition.  The JBS member asked J. Edgar Hoover to respond to critical comments about the filmstrip made by a local Columbus minister during his Sunday sermon.  The Bureau memo observed:

“The John Birch Society is an extremist organization which was founded by Robert Welch in Indianapolis, Indiana in December 1958…It is quite apparent [JBS member name deleted] and the John Birch Society are attempting to involve the Bureau and the Director personally in the controversy concerning this film.  We certainly should not allow ourselves to be placed in a position where an organization of the character of the JBS can use statements attributed to the Bureau or to the Director to support its position in this or any other matter.  This organization would not hesitate to twist any statement by the Bureau to confirm with its extremist position.”   J. Edgar Hoover wrote “OK” on memo as did Associate Director Tolson.  [FBI HQ file 62-7582, #4729; 2/8/61 memo from A.J. Decker to A.H. Belmont re: JBS member phone call; also in HQ file 62-104401, #unrecorded]

J. Edgar Hoover, 4/27/62 FBI memo discussing Cong. Claude Pepper:

"I would no more give a boost to Pepper than I would to the Birchites.  They are two extremes and equally bad."

J. Edgar Hoover  re: Birchers-as-policemen controversy in Philadelphia, 11/18/64 FBI memo

"The Director replied that this was a problem for the city administration in Philadelphia.  He stated he had no respect for Welch...because of his unjustified criticism against General Eisenhower..."

"The Director was asked for his opinion informally regarding the JBS.  He replied that any group which is supposedly dedicated to observing freedom should be meticulous in the statements they make.  The Director indicated that if a person lies to you once, he certainly would not believe him again.  He stated that organizations should never make wild charges." 

 

10/28/61 FBI Domestic Intelligence Division memo regarding their concern about JBS and CPUSA

By memo dated October 2, 1961, J. Edgar Hoover told Attorney General Robert Kennedy about a 9/27/61 briefing on communism given at FBI headquarters to the American Bar Association Committee on Communist Tactics, Strategy and Objectives. 

The Attorney General praised this activity and he then asked J. Edgar Hoover to consider a proposal for expanding such instruction to include FBI seminars on communism at FBI field offices for high school students and college freshmen “to create a nucleus of informed students to help offset and combat the Communist drive for young members and to start the development of responsible and informed community leaders.” 

The idea was to set up such seminars along the lines of what the Bureau did at the FBI National Academy for law enforcement officers from around the country. The Bureau’s Domestic Intelligence Division subsequently analyzed this proposal in a 10/28/61 memo. The memo contains a paragraph entitled “Arguments in Favor” – copied below.  Notice the reference to the JBS.

“Unquestionably there are apparent arguments in favor of such a procedure, including the reaching of a large segment of the American public during their formative years and thus thwarting to a great extent current recruiting drives among youths by the Communist Party USA, and combating the growth of extreme rightists as exemplified by the John Birch Society.” [HQ 62-106364, #72, 10/28/61 memo from Mr. Sullivan to Mr. Belmont, page 1]

Herbert A. Philbrick (former FBI informant of I Led 3 Lives fame), 3/4/88 letter to me:

“Very early on I formed the opinion that sincere as he was, Bob Welch was ‘off the mark’ in his crusade.  Rather than hitting – or even aiming at – ‘the bull’s eye’, his arrows were landing all around the circumference of the target. As with the late Senator Joseph McCarthy, I don’t think Bob ever really understood the communist mind; how a communist thinks.  I never read anything of his suggesting a true understanding of dialectical materialism; and, as Chambers and many others have pointed out, if you don’t understand D.M., you cannot grasp the real meaning of Marxism-Leninism.”  

Frank S. Meyer (National Review magazine, 10/19/65, p920)

"The false analysis and conspiratorial mania of the John Birch Society has moved beyond diversion and waste of the devotion of its members, to the mobilization of that devotion in ways directly anti-conservative and dangerous to the interest of the United States. It is no longer possible to consider the Society merely as moving toward legitimate objectives in a misguided way.  However worthy the original motivations of those who have joined it, it is time for them to realize that the John Birch Society is rapidly losing whatever it had in common with patriotism or conservatism—and to do so before their own minds become warped by adherence to its unrolling psychosis of conspiracy."

And on the civil rights movement:

“It is true that here (as everywhere it profits them) Communist groups are active, seeking to take advantage of the turmoil and are sometimes successful in penetrating sections of the leadership of the movement.  But the movement is not a Communist movement, as the John Birch Society implies with every device of rhetoric, with pictures, with innuendo, and often with straight-forward statement.  There is, of course, much in the civil rights movement that conservatives should oppose, but when it is attacked in the Birch manner, on the basis of an obsessed insistence on conspiracy  (’it’s all a Communist plot’) sober opposition is discredited and great positive harm done the conservative cause.” 

William Henry Chamberlin (11/9/65 Wall Street Journal column “John Birch Society No Help To Conservatism”)

“One of the most thorough available expositions of the bizarre views of the John Birch Society is to be found in a recent issue of "National Review." This is an avowedly conservative magazine and its editor, William F. Buckley Jr., "third man" in the recent New York mayoral contest, belongs, on his writing and speaking record, in political rightfield. But the editors of ‘National Review’ have evidently reached the conclusion that Mr. Welch and the John Birch Society which he founded and rules with an iron hand represent a handicap, not an aid, to the conservative movement in general and the Republican Party in particular. And they make out a pretty good case for their point of view.”

Congressman Gordon H. Scherer (OH), of House Committee on Un-American Activities

Scherer comment reported in 4/2/61 Dayton OH Daily News article by Dick Cull Jr., “Ridiculous, Scherer Says of Communist Label on Ike”.  Scherer quoted as saying that if Welch made charge that President Eisenhower was a Communist sympathizer, then it wasperfectly asinine and ridiculous.”

Lee Edwards, Distinguished Fellow in Conservative Thought, Heritage Foundation, quoted in 12/3/10 Matthew Boyle article posted on website Daily Caller: “Conservatives Question Whether John Birch Society Should Be Accepted As Part Of The Tea Party Movement”:

“If the John Birch Society, in its present incarnation, was to repudiate Robert Welch and his fantasies about Dwight David Eisenhower, and was to repudiate the many issues of [the organization's magazine] American Opinion, then maybe, maybe you could begin discussing whether or not they have any place in the current political discussion. But, until, and if, that day comes, show them door politely, but firmly.”

“This is not just a personal duel between Bill Buckley and Robert Welch. The responsible leaders of the conservative movement all shared that particular opinion, and I’m sure would still do so. After Bill Buckley properly read the John Birch Society out the conservative movement, Barry Goldwater, Ronald Reagan and Russell Kirk, three very prominent conservatives, all endorsed the National Review’s position.”


Congressman Martin Dies, former Chairman of House Committee on Un-American Activities, and paid contributor for articles he wrote for JBS magazine, American Opinion

Deposition in libel lawsuit:  William C. McGaw and Saddlebag Press Publishing Company, Inc. v. A.A. Webster Jr., alias Patrick J. Hale, 9959 Otero, New Mexico, 1964, p537-538. 

Cong. Dies was asked about Robert Welch’s characterization of President Eisenhower as a conscious agent” of the Communist conspiracy:

Q:  “In your experience in investigating un-American activities, Congressman, would you not say that the malign of constitutional authority in this nation in such terms as that is, in fact, un-American?”

Dies: “Well, I certainly would say that a statement that any President of the United States was a conscious agent of a foreign power and serving the interest of that foreign power would be serving—what did you say?”

Q:  “Un-American purposes”

Dies:  “Yes, I would say it would be un-American in the sense that I do not believe that any man was ever President of the United States that would become the conscious agent, and, of course I do not know that that statement was made.”

Editorial in Left and Right: A Journal of Libertarian Thought, Winter 1966, p12 criticizes National Review magazine for being “increasingly Establishment-y  but then agrees with the fundamental National Review premise that:

“…Mr. Robert Welch and the John Birch Society…embarrass the Conservative Movement by accepting its own major premises (such as the bogey of the all-pervasive ‘international Communist conspiracy’) and deduce from it…absurd but consistent conclusions (e.g. Welch on Eisenhower as a dedicated Communist.)”

Thomas Winter, Editor, conservative newspaper, Human Events – 6/15/81 letter to me

“We have never taken a ‘public position’ as such, on the John Birch Society or many other groups.  We believe many well-meaning conservatives are members of the JBS, but that if they buy all the talk of ‘Insiders’ running everything, they get a distorted view of political reality and their effectiveness is reduced accordingly. ‘Conspiracy’ theories are convenient and they answer many people’s cravings for total explanations.  They just happen to be false.”

Joe Crail, President Coast Federal Savings and Loan Assn’s Free Enterprise Dept described Birch Society as a wrongheaded extremist cult.  It’s a dictatorship type of organization which I wouldn’t want to belong to.  [New York Times, 8-12-62, p64 School Study Aid on Coast Scored]

Col. William R. Kintner of Foreign Policy Research Institute comments at annual National War College, National Strategy Seminar in 1961 as reported in Washington Post, 8/7/61, pA2, “Seminars on the Cold War Spring From A Top Secret Report”:

“Kintner, it should be noted, has since been quoted at another seminar as attacking the John Birch Society for playing into the hands of the Communists.”

G-2 Army Intelligence Analysis of The Politician by Robert Welch [2/11/59 memo by Lt. Col. Ned W. Glenn, Acting Chief, Security Division, Army Intelligence with attachment of review by 108th CIC Group, Governors Island, New York, FBI HQ file 62-104401, serials 7 and 8 and Boston FBI field 100-32899, serial #7]

“As an evaluation of the motives of Robert H.W. Welch Jr. in writing The Politician and distributing it, it is felt that he is a Republican of the extreme right-wing of the party who has become progressively more and more disillusioned by the post-World War II soft attitude of the United States toward International Communism and who has been frustrated by the preponderance of moderate Republicans in the present Administration…An attack such as this one on the Chief Executive of the United States can only favor those elements of society who oppose the democratic processes by which we elect Presidents, and, as such, aids the cause of International Communism which the author claims to abhor.  The author must be considered to have become unbalanced on his subject or to be consciously aiding the enemies of the Republic.  In view of his previous writings and background, it must be concluded that his hate for Communism has obscured his judgment and that he has written an unbalanced book.”

George Romney, Republican Governor of Michigan

Cited in Chapman v. Romney, Docket #1810, Michigan Court of Appeals, 2/14/67 [6 Mich App 36 (1967); 148N.W. 2d 230].  Chapman, a member of the JBS, sued Gov. Romney for slander. The Court found in favor of Governor Romney – who had said about the JBS and GOP that:

"I think the party's future depends upon repudiating the John Birch Society as an organization and avoiding any possibility of the society developing influence within the Party. I think this is because from experience, I have found that the John Birch Society as an organization uses methods of infiltration and subversion and tactics that we associate with other secret organizations like the Communists. And while there are members of the society that I am sure are not themselves responsible for such conduct, this conduct on the part of the organization makes it essential, as far as I'm concerned, that the Republican Party repudiate the John Birch Society as an organization."

EX-SOVIET SPY Antoli Granovsky on Birch Society

In July 1961, wire services and major newspapers in the U.S. reported comments made by former Soviet spy Anatoli Granovsky who was a Captain of Political Intelligence in the Ministry of State Security of the Soviet Union in 1945 and 1946 and who previously was in the NKVD (Soviet Secret Police). 

The Birch Society was so impressed with Granovsky’s credentials that they chose to publish the paperback edition of Granovsky's book in 1962 and the JBS sold it in their American Opinion bookstores. The hardback edition was published by the noted conservative book publisher, Henry Regnery.

Granovsky's comment:

"The Soviet Communists would sacrifice a thousand American Communists to save the John Birch Society, for instance. 

I don't mean the Birch Society is Communist-infiltrated.  It doesn't have to be.  By discrediting prominent Americans, it confuses the population about whom to trust.  In socializing Czechoslovakia…we did everything to divide the armed forces units trained by the British and the Americans by spreading rumors about officers until they were so thoroughly discredited their men would not obey them and they had to be removed."

 

George Sokolsky (conservative columnist, 4/7/61 column, Washington Post, pA17, “The John Birch Society”):

“I disagree with the John Birch Society’s campaign to impeach the Chief Justice, Earl Warren.  I wrote that it is both strategically and tactically unsound.”

"Welch organized as he thinks the Communists organize, namely by arranging for small cells, often unknown to each other.  Communists do not organize that way at all.  It is the Soviet espionage organizations that are organized that way.  No one can question Welch’s sincerity or his desire to serve his country.  How deeply he has studied Hegel, Darwin, Marx, Engels, Lenin, Bukharin, Berstein, and the history of the 19th century, I do not know. He jumps at conclusions often based upon misapplication of terms.  But none of this is as criminal as the treason of the Communists and many of their fellow-travelers.  It is not sound to believe that everyone who disagrees in 1961…with the economics of Mark Hanna is a Communist…It is so easy to straighten out many of these things by a definition of terms.  A Communist is a person who accepts a clearly stated dogmatic set of sociological postulates…Neither ex-President Eisenhower nor Chief Justice Earl Warren fits the specifications" 

 

Cardinal Richard Cushing (Roman Catholic Bishop of Boston in 4/13/61 Boston newspaper interview re: Robert Welch's description of President Eisenhower)

"He also said anyone who charges former President Eisenhower with Communist leanings is ‘speaking absurdities' "

When Cardinal Cushing was asked during an April 1964 radio interview [WNAC-Boston] about JBS comments about President John F. Kennedy, Cushing observed:

"I would prefer imprisonment and death under a slave state than membership in an organization which has branded a martyred President of the U.S. as a Communist."

“In view of the extreme statements and articles printed or approved by this society in recent years, I could not in conscience endorse this organization nor would I be affiliated with it in any way.  Furthermore, I do not consider this society as an effective way of confronting the international conspiracy of atheistic communism.” 

Russell Kirk (America magazine,The Birchites”, 2/17/62, p644):

"Robert Welch...is remarkably ignorant of the nature of the Communist conspiracy which he denounces; and the sound of his own words has led him to the verge of what Burke calledmetaphysical madness’. Ever since he founded his society he has done more to injure the cause of responsible conservatism than to act effectively against communism…Many members of the Birch Society, I think,…got into the Society without knowing Mr. Welch’s drift, and might have left some time ago, had they not disliked seeming to desert under fire. Already some of the original abler members have drifted away or become inactive.  This leaves the Society in the hands of the fanatic fringe of course…" 

Russell Kirk (National Review magazine, 10/19/65, p928)

"Nothing could do more to discredit all conservatives than the violent language and unreal views regularly found in American Opinion.  As several conservatively-inclined gentlemen have remarked to me...they would be sorely tempted to believe that the leaders of the Birch Society are agents of the Kremlin subtly working to discredit all opposition to Communism by reducing anti-Communism to absurdity.  All Americans of a conservative bent should be warned against associating themselves with an organization which is totally ineffectual in resisting Communism and socialism..."

 

Father Benjamin L. Masse (S.J.) (America magazine,Can Catholics Tag Along?”, 2/17/62, p646-647):

“I submit that Mr. Welch’s attitude toward government---disregarding for the moment his false assumptions, distorted history and liberalistic (that is, ultra-liberalistic philosophy)—cannot be reconciled with the Church’s social doctrine as that doctrine has been explained and developed by Popes from the time of Leo XIII…Clearly in his denigration of the state and his defense of the completely free market, Mr. Welch is espousing doctrines which the Church rejected seventy years ago.  He is not only espousing them: he is making them an integral part of his anti-Communist program…Far from accepting Mr. Welch’s thesis that there is no middle ground between the completely free market (laissez-faire capitalism) on the one hand, and collectivism, socialism and communism on the other, Pope John believes just the opposite.  He goes so far as to say that ‘systems of social insurance and social security can contribute effectively to the redistribution of national income according to standards of justice and equity.’  Nor does Pope John stop even there…he vindicates the efforts which all democratic governments, including our own, are making today, ‘to control fluctuations in the economy and to bring effective remedies to bear on the problem of mass unemployment.’  Obviously, in the Catholic scheme of things, there is no necessary conflict between private enterprise and government intervention in the economy.”

Lawrence Fertig, (National Review magazine, 2/27/62, p141

“I have long known of Welch’s theory that American defeats by the Communists could only have been caused by conspiracy at the highest level of government.  But I did not realize how far Welch had gone in pursuing this ridiculous logic until I read the profusion of Welch quotations in your article…It is essential for the conservative cause to dissociate itself completely from the irresponsible fringe which seeks to attach itself to this movement.”

Anthony Bouscaren, National Review magazine, 3/13/62, p177

“Although I sometimes agree with Mr. Welch and believe some of the Birch letter-writing campaigns have been most effective, this does not excuse the untruths and poorly formulated statements he has issued.  These have given the other side valuable ammunition with which to try to discredit the entire anti-Communist and conservative movement.”

The Editors of National Review magazine, 10/19/65, p915 referring to previous article on JBS in National Review issue of 2/13/62:

”…we closely analyzed the most recent writings of Mr. Robert Welch and concluded that his distortions disqualified him from effective services as an anti-Communist leader.”

National Review, 2/13/62,The Question of Robert Welch”, p83 and 88

Russell Kirk, replying to a letter addressed to him by an executive of the JBS, writes that he knows Mr. Welch to be a ‘likeable, honest, courageous, energetic man’ who nevertheless ‘by silliness and injustice of utterance’ has become ‘the kiss of death’ for any conservative enterprise.  Congressman Walter Judd said in Minneapolis that he considers Mr. Welch’s judgment so flawed as to disqualify him from leadership of an effective anti-Communist movement.  Senator Barry Goldwater said he feels Mr. Welch should resign; and, should he refuse to do so, the Society should disband and reorganize under different leadership, Fulton Lewis Jr., at the Human Events Conference in Washington criticized Mr. Welch’s direction of the Society.” …

“The fact of the matter is that Mr. Welch, by what Russell Kirk has called ‘an excess of zeal, intemperance, and imprudence’ promotes a split in the conservative movement…Mr. Welch, for all his good intentions, threatens to divert militant conservative action to irrelevance and ineffectuality…Mr. Welch has revived in many men the spirit of patriotism, and that same spirit calls now for rejecting out of a love of truth and country, his false counsels.”

Sen. John Tower-TX (New York Times,Tower Hits Birchers”, 2/17/62, p20)

“They have used bad judgment, minimizing serious threats and maximizing less serious ones. I demand that conservatives reject Mr. Welch’s leadership” which Tower described as “terribly misguided”.

Sen. John Tower-TX (Tower 3/14/62 letter-to-editor Glenn O. Young, published in American Adviser newsletter, Sapulpa OK), March 1962, page 2: 

“Thank you for your letter and for the opportunity to back up my public statements regarding Mr. Robert Welch:  In my opinion, he has compromised the effectiveness, indeed, the good name, of the John Birch Society, by intemperate and irresponsible pronouncements…

 

I have not criticized the membership or objectives of the John Birch Society.  I have criticized Mr. Welch’s leadership because he has become a divisive and weakening factor in the whole conservative movement. 

 

He is, of course, entitled to his opinions and has every right to express them.  However, he often draws conclusions from circumstances rather than facts, even when the facts are available to him.  Those who base their judgments on facts, thereby disagreeing with him, are called ‘comsymps’, ‘conscious agents’ or outright communists.

 

In closing, I would point out that my own record of conservatism has been tested under pressure in the United States Senate.  Responsible conservative groups such as the Americans For Constitutional Action and others have rated me 100% conservative by my voting record.  In contrast, Mr. Welch has no such record of public service on which to evaluate his leadership.”

 

Richard Nixon (Centralia WA Daily Chronicle,Nixon Speaks Out”, 3/16/62, p1)

“The irresponsible tactics of Robert Welch and others like him have hurt the fight against communism.”

Richard Nixon (Hayward CA Daily Review, Associated Press, “Nixon Endorsed, Birch Issue Fought”, 3/5/62, p1)

Nixon told California Republican Assembly:  "It is essential that Republicans disassociate themselves from any organizations whose members are required to take dictation from a man who has attacked President Eisenhower as a ‘dedicated conscious agent of the Communist conspiracy’.”

Sen. Thomas Dodd-CT Vice Chairman, U.S. Senate Internal Security Subcommittee

(Philadelphia Inquirer, 3/31/61, p1, “Birch Probe Asked”)

“To accuse people like President Eisenhower and John Foster Dulles of being Communist agents is an affront to both decency and intelligence.” 

Sen. Thomas Dodd-CT (Oakland CA Tribune, 1/31/61, p1: “Dodd Levels Blast At Mosk Charges” Dodd remarks to press when he was featured speaker at Fred Schwarz’s Bay Region School of Anti-Communism):

I’m not an extremist.  I was one of the first to criticize the John Birch Society and other crackpots and nuts on the extreme right.  They are a nuisance.”

Sen. Thomas J. Dodd—CT (Congressional Record, 9/20/65, p23594-23595: “How The JBS Abets The Communists”)

“[The] John Birch Society has been a real windfall to the Communist conspiracy because it provides them with a convenient caricature of anti-communism which they skillfully exploit to encourage the spread of anti-anti-communism.  Despite the anti-Communist intention of those who have joined the Society, the Society in terns of its objective impact, must be put down as an unwitting abettor of the Communist conspiracy.”

Sen. Thruston Morton—KY:  “There are three organizations in this country which give me grave doubts as a citizen: the CPUSA, the KKK and the JBS…What really concerns me is that a secret society should threaten and attempt to destroy one of our two great political parties. The Birchites label Gen. Dwight Eisenhower as a Communist sympathizer…I don’t think we have any room in the Republican Party for a clandestine organization engaged in character assassination.”

John F. McManus (National Review, 3/13/62before he joined the JBS)

"May I suggest that you reprint your editorial (critical of JBS) in pamphlet form so that I may let others see that Welch and conservatism are not synonymous." 

Gen. Albert C. Wedemeyer (Washington DC Evening Star, 4/11/61, pA5, “Wedemeyer Hits Welch’s Birch Story”):

“General Albert C. Wedemeyer has refused to join the John Birch Society and has accused its founder, Robert H.W. Welch Jr., of distorting the circumstances surrounding the death of the Society’s namesake, according to a North American Newspaper Alliance report. 

As Mr. Welch tells the story, John Birch, a missionary turned Army intelligence officer, was killed by Chinese Communists 10 days after the end of World War II.  He has described him as the first casualty’ of the cold war and has charged the Pentagon with attempting to suppress the facts of the Birch case at the behest of hidden pro-Soviet forces.

That just isn’t true’ says Gen. Wedemeyer, who was the American commander in China at the time of Birch’s death. ‘I just can’t believe that the case was hushed up. I had sent a full report to Washington at the time. As I recall, I reported that the unfortunate episode had been provoked by Birch’s arrogant behavior toward a Communist patrol.’

“General Wedemeyer said Birch ‘was only one of a number of brave courageous Americans who were killed in one incident or another about the same time.  Why Birch should have been singled out for special attention is beyond my comprehension.’ ”

General Albert Wedemeyer (Newsweek, 12/4/61)

"I knew John Birch, as a captain in China, when I was out there during the war. Birch was one of a number of men who participated in operations in China, parachuted behind enemy lines.  He provoked the attack on himself; he was arrogant.  I warned Welch not to make a hero of Birch. That's why I quit as an adviser.  I think Welch is a dedicated, fine American but he lacks good judgment."

William F. Buckley Jr. column 3/2/66:

"Those of you who read JBS literature should bear in mind that the most responsible anti-communist conservatives in the United States, for instance, Sen. Goldwater, Sen. Tower, Russell Kirk, James Jackson Kilpatrick, J. Edgar Hoover have bemoaned the society's intellectually and morally crippling excesses."

Fred Schwarz, Christian Anti-Communism Crusade, as reported in Sacramento CA Union, 5/15/63, p1 “Schwarz Takes Slap At Birchers”:

Schwarz described the JBS aim of impeaching Chief Justice Earl Warren as entirely irrelevant and he characterized Robert Welch’s assertions about President Eisenhower as “ridiculous”.  Schwarz “said he believes Eisenhower and Warren both are ‘very patriotic gentlemen’.”

Milorad Draskovich – former JBS National Council member – on Firing Line TV program 1/8/67 – (transcript #82, p18-19) answering William F. Buckley’s question: But at this point, do you think the JBS is not worth preserving presumably?”:

“Exactly, exactly. Because it has been transformed into a Robert Welch Society.  It is no longer John Birch – it’s Robert Welch.”

Max Rafferty – California State Superintendent of Public Instruction and prominent syndicated conservative columnist quoted in Sacramento CA Union, 5/15/63 article, “Bircher Tactics Assailed By State Leaders”:  “I made my position very clear condemning the John Birch Society and other organizations like it in the statement given especially to the Sacramento Union last spring. I repeat and endorse what I said, namely, I do not solicit nor accept Birch support…I am opposed in principle to any society which operates secretly in an attempt to influence national policy” and “Rafferty said he does not agree that men of the national stature of President Eisenhower and Chief Justice Earl Warren are Communists or Communist sympathizers. ‘And I deplore the fact that anyone would so slander them.”

Pat Buchanan re JBS/Welch on President Eisenhower (Washington Post, 9/13/2000, pC1)

"My own view is that he was an excellent president, second only to Ronald Reagan since World War II."  

Pat Buchanan, on MSNBC “Hardball”, 10/17/08, (hosted by Chris Matthews) responding to Matthews’ characterization of the attacks on Obama for his connection to William Ayers as guilt by association”.  Buchanan stated that since Ayers has not apologized and has “lots of seedy friends”, Obama should not have associated with Ayers.  Buchanan then described a comparable situation, on the other side of the political spectrum, if he (Buchanan) was associated with “the Klan or Birch Society”.

http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/21134540/vp/27243729#27243729 (at 10:05 of 11:05 minute discussion)

Ayn Rand (Alvin Toffler: “Playboy Interview, Ayn Rand”, 03/64, pp 35-43)

I consider the Birch Society futile, because they are not for capitalism, but merely against communism. I gather they believe that the disastrous state of today’s world is caused by a communist conspiracy. This is childishly naive and superficial. No country can be destroyed by a mere conspiracy, it can be destroyed only by ideas. The Birchers seem to be either nonintellectual or anti-intellectual. They do not attach importance to ideas. They do not realize that the great battle in the world today is a philosophical, ideological conflict.”

William Loeb (ultra-conservative publisher of Manchester NH Union-Leader -- January 1972 editorial comment about Robert Welch): 

"He's a bloody nut."

William Loeb – additional comments

“[We] resent the fact that Welch attributes every setback in U.S. foreign policy to subversive influences—whether he can prove his charges or not—and allows no room at all for human error.” [Manchester NH Union-Leader, 2/16/62]

“If anything ever illustrated why the John Birch Society would be much better off without its founder, Robert Welch, it was Welch’s recent statement…to the effect that Cuba’s Batista and Dominica’s Trujillo were all right.  Apparently, in Welch’s way of thinking, because both Batista and Trujillo were against Communists, that makes them good men.  This is nonsense.” [Manchester NH Union-Leader, 2/27/62]

“These silly remarks…are typical of the sort of thing which have discredited Welch in the eyes of many sensible Americans.  His remarks have also laid his organization and his friends open to effective attack by the Communists and left wingers.  IT IS INDEED TIME FOR WELCH TO RETIRE.” [Manchester NH Union-Leader, 2/27/62; caps in original.] 

Ronald Reagan (10/28/66 at Commonwealth Club - San Francisco, when asked about Robert Welch:

"I think his statements about President Eisenhower are thoroughly reprehensible."

Ronald Reagan (Hayward CA Daily Review, “Reagan Rips Birchers”, 9/25/65, p6 – on Robert Welch):

“I am in great disagreement with much of what he says.”

Ronald Reagan (Los Angeles Times, 9/5/66, p10)

“In my opinion those persons who are members of the John Birch Society have a decision to make concerning the reckless and imprudent statements of their leader, Robert Welch.”

Roy Cohn in New York Times, 5/15/82, p47 "Roy Cohn Joins Board of Anti-Communist Group" reports that Cohn said that "he has always opposed the Birch Society" and would only join the Board of Western Goals, Inc. "after satisfying himself that Western Goals, Inc…has no ties to the right-wing John Birch Society."

Tom Davis former JBS East Coast Public Relations Director: Excerpts from January 1967 Barry Farber [BF] radio program interview of Tom Davis [TD], [Reported in IAD Homefront newsletter, 12/67, p3]

BF:  Asked Tom if the only reason he left JBS was because, as he claimed, he has 7 children and needed to earn more money

TD: “Barry, I will say this, that the Society’s policy which was enunciated in its monthly Bulletin…did not always say things they way I thought they ought to be said. Let me give you an example…There was a Bulletin of the Society several years ago in which we said, the Society said, ‘the government of the United States of America is under the operational control of the Communists’.  That’s a pretty specific, a pretty bold, a pretty daring statement.  And a very difficult statement to present to an American population. It is not really on a day-to-day basis following what is going on.

BF:Do you agree?”

TD: “Uh…no, I don’t agree.”

BF:  Asks Davis about Welch’s claim that the civil rights movement was a Communist plot.

TD: “Yes, which I think that was unfortunately said by Mr .Welch.  Again, let me say I have been very close to him.  I know the man well. I know his thinking on the subject of the civil rights movement. I know that Mr. Welch feels that the Communists were perhaps totally responsible for instigating the trouble which exists in our southern states today, and we might say all over the country, to the degree that he believes that, I disagree with him…I think it was an example of his saying something in a way which was not salable to the American people.  It was salable to Birchers because Birchers generally agreed with him anyway.”

William Norman Grigg, former Senior Editor of the JBS magazine, The New American (explaining why he was fired) in 4/18/09 message posted on newstalgia.crooksandliars.com:

http://newstalgia.crooksandliars.com/gordonskene/flying-under-radar-john-birch-society

“The individual who was fired was Yours Truly, former TNA Senior Editor William Grigg.

This happened a year after the nasty "leadership" dispute, and shortly after the resolution of a couple of lawsuits that grew out of that conflict. I notice that the main article here links to the "Freedom First Society" in Colorado for biographical information about Robert Welch. The FFS is a rump organization headed by former JBS CEO Vance Smith, who was forced out in 2005, almost exactly a year before I was kicked to the curb.

During the 2005 conflict, Vance Smith and his allies sought to capitalize on the fact that Jack McManus, the current JBS President (at the time, president emeritus and Council member) had given a number of blatantly, brazenly anti-Semitic speeches to schismatic Catholic groups.

Audio and video recordings of those speeches had been made and marketed, and excerpts of some of the worst elements were compiled into a kind of highlight reel for use by Vance's faction in lobbying various people, including myself.

I was furious with Jack; I'd known he was capable of saying some really vicious things (he once referred to AEI's Ben Wattenberg, who had interviewed Jack on the radio, as a "slimy New York Jew"; I about collapsed from shock), but my position is that one's internal prejudices are his own affair. (As an American of Mexican ancestry I apply that principle in dealing with anti-Latino prejudice as well). When I learned that Jack, for years, had been making speeches of that kind, my reaction was a mixture of rage and weary disgust.

But I was just as disgusted with what amounted to an effort by Vance and Company to blackmail Jack into supporting Vance's effort to retain his position. Two of Vance's allies threatened to take the Jack McManus anti-Jewish "highlight reel" to Morris Dees and Larry King.

So, I resigned. I really couldn't imagine staying with the organization if Vance's blackmail effort succeeded. And I wasn't nuts about sticking around if Jack ended up regaining his position as president, given both his bizarre prejudices and his complete lack of discipline and judgment.

After Vance was forced out, Jack McManus called me and personally urged me to rejoin the staff, if only to provide a sense of continuity to members and employees. I did so.

And a year later, Jack was one of four people who agreed to throw me and my family under the bus. This group included three people for whom I had risked my job a year earlier.

The pretext for canning me was that my after-hours, personal blog contained material that 1) was considered offensive by some Mormon JBS members (which was written in the context of Mitt Romney's candidacy); and 2) had potentially libelous material that exposed the Society to a potential lawsuit (a piece of genuinely paranoid speculation without a particle of merit).

The obvious irony here is that the current JBS President actually exposed the organization to *blackmail* by carrying on a years-long part-time crusade against the "Jewish menace." When that was discovered back in 2000-2001, Jack (who was already receiving Social Security) wasn't fired; he was removed as President, given a pay cut, and put on the JBS Council.

That's pretty gentle treatment compared to what was done to me. I have a family of six children and an invalid, frequently hospitalized wife for whom I'm the primary in-home caretaker; this has been the case since about May of 2006. At the time I was fired I was putting in 60-hour weeks, and regularly receiving plaudits for the volume and quality of my work. Yet the course of a single weekend I went from star employee to pariah for reasons never honestly explained to me or anybody else.

I'm hardly the first or only JBS employee to be treated this way; the organization has a long-lived and eminently justified reputation for treating its employees very badly, and attacking, in cult-like fashion, the character of those who depart on less-than-favorable terms (this happened to me, but the scope of the defamation was limited by my ability to use the blogosphere to publicize the truth about what was done to me).

Whatever one thinks of the views of the JBS, there are thousands of genuinely decent, public-minded people who join in the belief that doing so will help save/rescue/restore constitutional government.

There was a time a few years ago when I hoped the JBS would embrace a trans-partisan view, working with people of goodwill across the spectrum to restore the Bill of Rights, end the Iraq war, and oppose corporate welfare (to name just three issues with trans-partisan appeal). But the present upper management -- which is concerned ONLY with preserving the revenue stream that supports their sinecures -- considers it to be more profitable to play to the Limbaugh/Hannity/Beck/O'Reilly faction than to stand for constitutional principles.” 

Gary Allen, former writer for JBS magazine, American Opinion, [AO] in 8/19/95 letter addressed to "Dear Fellow Bircher" -- on the firing of Scott Stanley Jr., editor of AO and treatment of Mrs. Robert Welch:

"This month would have marked my 20th anniversary as a writer for American Opinion. During this time I have written over 200 articles for the magazine.  The total word count is over two million.  I never intended to be a journalist. I became one because I was mad as Hell about what was going on in the world.  That is why I first became a Bircher and then, by circumstances, a journalist.

My writings have been well-received by Birchers because they knew I was telling the truth and not mincing any words.  Well, it's time to tell some more truths.  Unfortunately, this is the most unpalatable truth I have ever had to tell.  But the fact is that our vehicle to preserve and regain our freedom and liberties has been stolen from us.  And, it was an inside job.  I am going to tell you things that you don't want to hear; things that will break your heart.  But we can't hide from the truth.  If we do, we are simply engaging in the same kind of fantasies as your typical slumbering citizen.

You know by now that AO has been ash-canned.  Robert Welch must be spinning in his grave. He created AO as the ideological base and transmission belt for our movement.  AO and The Review of the News are theoretically to be replaced by a hybrid whose name, The New American, is also used by the Social Democrats for their newspaper!  An ideological journal and a newsmagazine don't mix very well, but that is not the point.  The official line is that the magazines had low circulation and were losing money.  This conveniently ignores the fact that Scott Stanley only produced the magazines.  He was denied any voice in promotion although he certainly craved to see his creations get the promotion and circulation they deserved.  He was promised repeatedly that marketing, subscription renewal policies and the like would be improved.  These promises were never honored.

Before we go any further, let's get something straight.  The official party line from Belmont will be that I wrote this letter because I am angry about Scott being fired. Guilty, but with an explanation.  Yes, Scott Stanley is the closest friend I have on this earth.  I couldn't love him more if we were genetic brothers.

The only people to whom I feel more loyalty are my family members.  The survival of freedom and liberty for my children comes first.  That is why this letter had to be written.

You have been told that Scott ‘resigned'.  That is about 10% truth and 90% falsehood. Scott was, for all intents and purposes, fired.  This is what really happened:  Barker told Scott that he had to desist from making speeches to raise money for Kathy McDonald's court defense against the vicious ACLU; that doing so was ‘competition' with the Society. (Barker has said ‘What has Kathy McDonald done for the Society lately?').  Scott told him that his conscience would not allow him to throw Larry's widow and babies to the wolves.  Barker replied that if this was Scott's attitude, he should resign.  The Barker Gang obviously saw Scott with all his creativity as a threat to their reign.  The wanted him out, gone.  So they created circumstances under which no man of honor could stay on.  That is the real story of how Scott ‘resigned'.

There was never a thank you for 25 years of sweat, blood, and total dedication.  Not a single friend of Scott's (outside his staff and writers) even called to express their appreciation.  Unbelievable!  Barker then fired Lee Clark, Scott's brilliant associate editor of nearly 20 years.

Scott's loyal staff has left virtually en masse.  Gone are associate editors Bill Hoar, Jim Graves and editorial assistant Julie Harding.  Gone are key writers John Rees, Alan Stang, Sue Huck, Medford Evans, and Gary Allen.

The new editor of The Review of the News is Jack McManus.  Jack is fairly glib orally, but he is no journalist.  His assistant has done most of the writing for The Birch Log.  There is a big difference between turning out a single-sheet commentary and putting out a weekly newsmagazine. …

The only thing crueler than the way Scott was treated was the absolutely despicable way Mrs. Welch was treated.  The Barker Gang's line on this one is that Mrs. Welch retired because of age.  Another lie.  She was rudely treated and was shoved out.  Can you believe that?  Call her and ask her about it …

About the lowest, most vulgar stunt I've ever heard of was when John McManus slithered into Mrs. Welch's office just two days after Mr. Welch’s death to gloat to her that her husband had converted to Feeneyite Catholicism on his deathbed, after having taken instructions in the faith.  This is a damnable lie.  During the last months of his life he didn't even recognize his wife most of the time.  He couldn't take instructions in anything.  You may think this stunt is beneath contempt, but I have a lot of contempt for it.

The Feeneyites believe the Pope, whom the KGB tried to assassinate, is a Communist and that all non-Feeneyites are going to Hell.  Outside of Tom Hill and Barker, this cult virtually runs Belmont.  If the general membership ever found out about Feeneyite control of the Belmont bureaucracy, there would be revolt in the ranks. …

Incidentally, Mr. Welch paid for the upkeep and maintenance of his home with royalties from The Blue Book and The Politician.  Barker has told Mrs. Welch that this policy has been cancelled.  Robert Welch put every cent he had into the fight.  There is no estate to speak of other than the house.  Mrs. Welch, after everything else she has suffered, has been forced to put that house up for sale."

Who is A. Clifford Barker, anyway?  Nobody knows this guy.  Barker became the head of the Society not because he was chosen, but because he volunteered.  The Belmont line is that he took over the Society at great personal sacrifice.  Well, he did have to give up his welfare check.  You see, he had filed bankruptcy.  His board of directors threw him out after his company had gone broke doing government defense contracts.  I thought that was impossible.  It was after the bankruptcy that Sperry-Rand stepped in and took over the debacle.  That is the true story behind Barker's great sacrifice, despite the baloney being peddled from Belmont…The truth is that Barker is a consummate liar. What are his motivations?  I don't know. Some think he was sent in to deliberately destroy the Society.  John Rees contends that if this were true, he would be more subtle about it.  What can be done about Barker, ‘The Destroyer'?  I don't know.  I don't know if anything can be done.  That is up to YOU.  I only know that, as Burke observed, all that is necessary for evil to triumph is for good men to do nothing.  Sincerely, Gary Allen."

California State Senator Hugh M. Burns (former Chairman of the California Senate Fact-Finding Subcommittee on Un-American Activities) when asked about the JBS in 1963, described it as follows [Quotes appear in Galal Kernahan article “Conservative Draws Birch Wrath”, published in The Dixon Line newsletter, (La Habra CA) 2/16/65, p7 ]

“...an extremist group, and, like extremist groups from time immemorial, plagues our country.  Extremists from the Know-Nothings on have served no useful purpose."

When asked about the 1963 Report of his Senate Subcommittee which Birchers always cite as “clearing” the JBS, Burns replied:

“As I have stated before, the report is highly critical of Robert Welch, making mention of his historical ignorance, his belonging to an organization started by Fabian Socialists, his organizing the Society along Communist lines, and his extreme statements against distinguished Americans.  Since the report was first prepared, other information has been brought to our attention, which material --- until further investigated and reported --- makes highly undesirable and improper any use of the subcommittee’s name for seeming exoneration of the John Birch Society.”

Msgr Francis W. Carney, President of National Catholic Adult Education Commission, 02/62 described the JBS as…

"wholly antagonistic to Catholic social philosophy.  Those Catholics in the Society  should start reading Pope John's encyclical Mater et Magistra and throw out the Blue Book."

James Jackson Kilpatrick, editor of the Richmond VA News Leader and a prominent syndicated conservative columnist and an official of the Virginia Commission on Constitutional Government described the JBS as "a bunch of nuts" [quoted in Hugh V. White Jr. to Mills E. Godwin Jr., March 13, 1961, Box 1, Mills E. Godwin Jr. Papers (Manuscripts and Rare Books Department, Earl Gregg Swem Library, College of William and Mary, Williamsburg, VA]

Kilpatrick also observed that there was "always some madness" in Birchers. "They always had to go the mile beyond into wacky areas. They were kind of bit by the conspiratorial bug. They destroyed themselves by their extremism."  [Los Angeles Times, 11/2/85, page 1]

Ray Bliss (former GOP National Chairman):

"Honest, patriotic and conscientious conservatives may be misjudged because of irresponsible radicals such as Robert Welch."

George F. Will column 8/24/05comparing JBS to Cindy Sheehan:

“In the 1960s, just as conservatism was beginning to grow from a fringe tendency into what it has become — the nation's most potent persuasion — it was threatened by a boarding party of people not much, if any, loonier than Sheehan. The John Birch Society, whose catechism included the novel tenet that Dwight Eisenhower was an agent of the Kremlin, was not numerous — its membership probably never numbered more than 100,000 — but its power to taint all of conservatism was huge, particularly given the media's eagerness to abet the tainting. Responsible conservatives, especially William F. Buckley and his National Review, repelled the boarders, driving them into the dark cave where, today, they ferociously guard the secret of their size from a nation no longer curious about it.”