1947 March 17

General MacArthur Invites ACLU Head Roger Baldwin to Occupied Japan to Assist With Civil Liberties


ACLU Director Roger Baldwin announced on this day that he would visit Japan, occupied by U.S. military forces, at the invitation of General Douglas MacArthur, commander of U.S. forces in Asia. Baldwin said he was invited to study the civil liberties situation in Japan and to make recommendations to MacArthur. He explained that he had been asked to serve in an official capacity as a consultant but declined, saying he preferred to serve in an “unofficial role.” Baldwin further explained that the ACLU had a responsibility to promote civil liberties wherever U.S. responsibilities extend. His visit would also include Korea.

It is hard to believe that the nation’s leading civil libertarian would be able to get along with the autocratic General MacArthur, but Baldwin’s notes upon his return indicated that they did.

On August 21, 1948, U.S. authorities invited Baldwin to Germany to advise on civil liberties in the occupation in that country.

Learn more about Roger Baldwin: Robert Cottrell, Roger Nash Baldwin and the American Civil Liberties Union (2000)

Watch a documentary on Baldwin, Traveling Hopefully: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ND_uY_KXGgY

Read: Samuel Walker, In Defense of American Liberties: A History of the ACLU (1990)

Read the ACLU FBI File (not the complete file): http://vault.fbi.gov/ACLU

Learn about the ACLU today: www.aclu.org

Find a Day

Abortion Rights ACLU african-americans Alice Paul anti-communism Anti-Communist Hysteria Birth Control Brown v. Board of Education Censorship CIA Civil Rights Civil Rights Act of 1964 Cold War Espionage Act FBI First Amendment Fourteenth Amendment freedom of speech Free Speech Gay Rights Hate Speech homosexuality Hoover, J. Edgar HUAC Japanese American Internment King, Dr. Martin Luther Ku Klux Klan Labor Unions Lesbian and Gay Rights Loyalty Oaths McCarthy, Sen. Joe New York Times Obscenity Police Misconduct Same-Sex Marriage Separation of Church and State Sex Discrimination Smith Act Spying Spying on Americans Vietnam War Voting Rights Voting Rights Act of 1965 War on Terror Watergate White House Women's Rights Women's Suffrage World War I World War II Relocation Camps


Tell Us What You Think

We want to hear your comments, criticisms and suggestions!