Linus Pauling and the International Peace Movement Narrative  
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Once he was over the trauma of his night on the cliff, Pauling threw himself back into speechmaking. In Washington, D. C., while on a lecture tour, he was approached by a stranger who served him with a subpoena to appear before the United States Senate. The committee requesting his appearance was the Senate Internal Security Subcommittee (SISS), the Senate’s equivalent of HUAC. The purpose was to investigate Pauling’s anti-Bomb petitions -- how they were devised, who gathered signatures, and where the funding came from. The underlying question was: How had Pauling managed to get all those thousands of names without a large -- possibly Communist -- organization behind him?

When he appeared before the committee with his lawyer at his side, Pauling answered all the members’ questions except one: a request to provide the names of everyone who had helped him circulate his petitions. Pauling, after conferring with his lawyer, refused to name names. "The circulation of petitions is an important part of our democratic process," he told the committee. "If it is abolished or inhibited, it would be a step toward a police state. No matter what assurances the subcommittee might give me concerning the use of names, I am convinced the names would be used for reprisals against these enthusiastic, idealistic, high-minded workers for peace." He knew he was risking a citation for contempt of Congress. But he was adamant. He was told in reply that the committee would give him a month to come up with the requested names. The stage was set for a very public fight between Linus Pauling and the United States Senate.

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Video Clip  Video: An Act of Conscience. 1996. (0:36) Transcript and More Information

See Also: "Reluctant Pauling Gets Ultimatum on Petition." June 22, 1960. 
See Also: "Linus Pauling, Crusading Scientist." 1977.  Clip: Subpoena from the Senate Internal Security Subcommittee. (0:19)

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"I Appeal to My Fellow Americans." September 30, 1960.

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"My Experiences with the Internal Security Subcommittee of the U.S. Senate." September 1960.

"I am astonished that in the United States a scientist gets into such trouble because of his scientific beliefs; that your activity in 1957 and 1958 in relation to the petition to the United Nations asking for a bomb-test agreement causes you now to be called before the authorities and ordered to give the names of the scientists who have the same opinions that you have and who have helped you to gather signatures to the petition. I think that I must be dreaming!"

Albert Schweitzer
July 23, 1960
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