1947 October 23

Ronald Reagan Testifies Before HUAC as “Friendly” Witness


Ronald Reagan, then president of the Screen Actors Guild, appeared before the House Committee on Un-American Activities (HUAC) as a “friendly” witness on this day. He testified to his opposition to Communism, and his testimony on this occasion was fairly mild anti-Communist rhetoric.

Earlier in the year, on April 10, 1947, Reagan had provided names of people he believed were Communists to the FBI. Reagan developed a close relationship with the FBI from that point on, and relied on the Bureau when confronted with student protests at the University of California when he was governor of California (see Seth Rosenfeld’s book, below).

Reagan: “Sir, I detest, I abhor their [alleged Communists in the Screen Actors Guild] philosophy, but I detest more than that their tactics, which are those of the fifth column, and are dishonest, but at the same time I never as a citizen want to see our country become urged, by either fear or resentment of this group that we ever compromise with any of our democratic principles through that fear or resentment. I still think that democracy can do it.”

Watch part of Reagan’s testimony: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=saVnq3snkeI

Get the full story: Marc Eliot, Reagan: The Hollywood Years (2008)

Learn more about Reagan’s relationship with the FBI: Seth Rosenfeld, Subversives: The FBI’s War on Student Radicals and Reagan’s Rise to Power (2012)

Learn more about HUAChttp://www.history.com/topics/cold-war/huac

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!