THE MOTION PICTURE INDUSTRY REACTS TO
McCARTHY’S ANTI-COMMUNIST TACTICS
RONALD REAGAN. President. Document Signed Ronald Reagan, ten pages, large quarto, June 18, 1952. Headed Minutes of the Meeting of the Motion Picture Industry Council. Held in the Board Room of the Association of Motion Picture Producers. Reagan signs the minutes as secretary of the MPIC.
The minutes report on various items, including the proposed Patriotic Services Committee plan. Due to Senator Joseph P. McCarthy’s red-scare tactics, the Committee on Un-American Activities pushed Hollywood into black balling many actors, directors, and other employees in the industry who were thought to be Communists or sympathizers. The present minutes discuss a motion by the MPIC to retaliate by forming its own committee to investigate accused Communists: “There was also discussion of whether organizations favoring the plan could then act independently-apart entirely from the MPIC. Note was taken that one organization, the S[creen] A[ctors] G[uild], had stated that if the MPIC didn’t adopt a plan which would help individuals being unfairly attacked, it would act on its own in behalf of actors who were affected by the situation.
The minutes also report on Ronald Reagan’s account of the Texas COMPO conference, after which he was applauded for being “outstanding in his consistent contributions to industry progress” and for his many services. The last item concerns the Executive Secretary’s report “on details of the MPIC’s endorsement of the AFL Film Council’s statement criticizing Congressman Donald Jackson for ‘blanket condemnation’ of Hollywood’s guilds and unions in the matter of Communism.”
As head of the Screen Actors Guild, Ronald Reagan served as secretary of the Council, which was formed to unite the motion picture industry. Reagan’s biographer Lou Cannon explains that “What is most remarkable about Reagan’s immersion in the anticommunism of his time is that he emerged from it in such good health. Ronald Reagan was not trapped. He became more wary than he had been before and his views changed, as his views would change on other things, but he rarely became obsessive about his new opinions. Looking back on his experiences, he never apologized and hardly ever explained. In a time of hysteria he could talk about Communists without raising his voice.”
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