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

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