Edna Lonigan was a well-known conservative writer on economics and politics. She was a member of the board of directors and was secretary of the American Writers Association. The AWA, as reported in The New York Times, was created “to combat … an attempt to establish a monopoly control over all literary material in the country,” an attempt referred to as the Cain Plan, named for novelist-screenwriter James M. Cain who proposed it. (The New York Times, September 13, 1946). AR was elected to the AWA board of directors in November 1949.
This letter was previously published only on the Ayn Rand Institute website.
January 29, 1949
Miss Edna Lonigan
American Writers Assoc., Inc.
270 Park Avenue
New York 19, N. Y.
Dear Miss Lonigan:
Thank you very much for your letter of January 24.
I shall be glad to help the Association in any way I can with the plan to fight the Authors League’s defense of the ten Hollywood writers convicted of contempt of Congress.
If our Association plans to submit a brief to the Court in the case of these ten, I would like very much to see a copy of it before it is released officially and publicly. I think all the members of the Board should have a copy and a chance to make suggestions before it is released in our name.
My concern here is that the brief must be written most carefully so that it contain no sentences and no implication, direct or indirect, that we advocate any sort of Government censorship of ideas. You may remember my concern last year when I was in New York over the unfortunate stand taken by the Hearst papers at the time, when they tried to use the Hollywood hearings as a justification for establishing a Federal censorship of the movies. That is what the Reds accuse all conservatives of doing or trying to do—and we must be very sure not to give them any foothold to justify such an accusation.
I am enclosing a few suggestions for what I think should be our official stand on this question.[*] Would you show it to the persons who will write the brief? I hope that they may find it of some help or value.
With best regards,
*The “few suggestions” to which Rand refers is her eight-page paper “Suggestions re: The Congressional Investigation of Communism,” reprinted in Journals of Ayn Rand (New York: Plume, 1999), 381–96.