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

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