(Continued from page 54)
Von did think that there was some-
"Well, you are entitled tn express
'vour personal opinion on that," granted Mr. Brownell, "but I believe that
the facts will show, as I say, th.it when
the situation became apparent quick
action was taken. With that we come
light back tei the- basic peiint. that —
by and large, anel in the- broad view —
the Administration lias conducted one
of the most clean and honorable administrations that we have ever seen
in this country."
"Mr. Attorney-General," interposed
Mr. Sylvester, "not to press this point
p" but, when a man who is Secretary
of the Air Force resigns under pressure, vein don't really do that in a
Strong position, do yon? When your
honesty and your good moral sense is
charged, yon don't e'nit under fire if
Von are really in the clear, de) von?
"Well, he said, and 1 certainly believe him," Mr. Brownell insisted, "that
he felt that he had made a mistake in
judgment, and was then-fore retiring."
| A Changed Tune
"Let's turn to the Dixon-Yates
thing.'' prefaced Mr. Sylvester. "Why
Was it that a year ago the President
Was able to say that he considered the
role of Mr. Wenzel, who represented
both Dixon-Yates on the one hand and
the government on the other, when
asked at his press conference, ancl I
'■note him, 'perfectly proper'? Now,
on the same basis, with no new facts
developed, a year later your department is saying that not only was it not
proper, but it was a violation of criminal laws of the United States."
Mr. Brownell expressed the opinion
that new facts hael come out in the
Intervening time which indicated that
a conflict of interest existed.
"You mean that you all caught on to
them," corrected Mr. Sylvester, "for it
had been shown before then, as well
as printed, what the conflict of interest was."
"That is not my recollection," Mr.
Brownell stated unequivocally.
There was some amusement at Mr.
Sylvester's succeeding statement that
he could understand that the Attorney-General might not recollect this.
"Mr. Brownell, on that particular
point tlie testimony had been given
before the Senate Committee prior to
the time the question was asked of
the President," reminded Mr. Mollenhoff, "and apparently he had not been
informed of the testimony at this
stage. Apparently be hael been informed that Mr. Wenzel had absolutely nothing to do with Dixon-Yates,
and so stated. Now, who misinformed
him? You've looked into this, haven't
Mr. Brownell recalled only the part
the Department of Justice took in this
President's Full Support
"After the testimony was taken and
the full facts came out," he reported,
"the transcript was sent to us in the
orderly course of business to find out
whether or not a violation of the law
occurred. We thought that there was
a conflict of interest, and, as you know,
we took a very vigorous action.
"I know," he added, "that our action
has had the President's full support all
the way through."
"You felt the Administration was
wrong in initial decisions in this case?"
Mr. Mollenhoff had again picked up a
loose thread ancl attempted, by pulling it, to unravel the snarled skein.
"Well, that doesn't follow," denied
the Attorney-General. "What happened on this 'conflict of interest'
matter, and I think we should get this
clear, was that when the facts came
out — they were not known before,
but when thev came out — as I say, we
took vit\ prompt and vigorous action
to see- to it that the courts of law had
the- opportunity to settle whether any
violation of the law had occurred."
"Senator Kefauver, among others,
has charged that there- was an actual
attempt in the Administration to cover
this up." staled Mr. Mollenhoff. "and
he cited individuals like the head of
the Security Exchange Commission
and Sherman Adams, who were persons he saiel had knowledge of this
ancl were covering up Mr. Wen/el's
part. Have you looked into that?"
"Oh, yes," Mr. Brownell replied
matter-of-factly. "I think that his
rather reckless charge's in this matter
have- been completely disproved Indie fact that, as I say, as soon as these
facts came out through an orderly in
vestigation, the whole matter has been
put up to the courts and will be decided there, which is the proper procedure."
Mr. Sylvester reminded the Attorney-General that although the President had announced at a press conference that all facts would be made
clear about this case, Mr. Wenzel's
name was eliminated and not brought
"It didn't come out from the White
House, or from the Administration,"
he continued. "It was dug out, really.
So when you say all facts were known,
what do you mean?"
"I mean," explained Mr. Brownell,
"that we have presented this matter to
the courts in great detail and, I think,
with great forccfulness, and we have
asked the courts to rule as to whether
or not there was any violation of the
law. They will do that in due course.
"I think," he continued, "you will
find in our briefs and in statements
made to the court that every pertinent fact has been brought out and
presented to them for decision."
"Didn't you really, though," persisted Mr. Sylvester, "only act after
the General Services Administration
advised the government not to pay
any money until this whole conflict
of interest thing was tested in the
Mr. Brownell indicated disagreement on this score.
"That opinion came out a good
many months before your department
acted, did it not?" persisted Mr. Sylvester.
"I suppose you mean General Accounting —"
Mr. Sylvester agreed.
"Well, we worked in cooperation
with them on the whole program
which led up to this lawsuit," replied
Executive Secrecy Questioned
Mr. Mollenhoff opened a new line
of questioning with the statement,
"Mr. Brownell, at least four Democratic congressional committees that
I know of off-hand have contended
that vour administration has thrown
a secrecy around the operations of the
Executive branch of government to
the point where they cannot get anything because it is all considered confidential. And they state that you are
taking the position that the Executive
branch can classify anything confidential, ls this a fact?"
Mr. Brownell did not feel that this
I'm is Forum News, December, 1956