AR had been subpoenaed to testify before the House Un-American Activities Committee. Her testimony as a “friendly witness” about Communist influence in Hollywood was reprinted in The Objectivist Forum (August 1987) and in Robert Mayhew, Ayn Rand and “Song of Russia” (Lanham, MD: Scarecrow Press, 2005).
March 26, 1949
Miss Edna Lonigan
American Writers Assoc., Inc.
270 Park Avenue, Suite 7C
New York 17, N. Y.
Dear Miss Lonigan:
Thank you for your letter of March 16.
Yes, I certainly think that we should make an issue of the case of Jim McGuinness, provided we make it an issue of all the Friendly Witnesses who appeared at the Hollywood hearings in Washington and have had to suffer for it since. I have not been in touch with all of them, but from what I hear, some of them have taken a terrible beating.
I would suggest that we prepare a factual report on the present standing of all the Friendly Witnesses. It could be quite brief: merely list their income and their work for two years preceding the Washington hearings and for the year since. Of course, there is a depression in Hollywood at the moment, so that everyone’s income has probably suffered in the past year, but that can be covered by citing a few comparative cases of people in the same income brackets, and showing the difference between the losses suffered by other, non-political people in Hollywood, (the losses caused purely by curtailment of Hollywood production), and the losses suffered by the Friendly Witnesses.
Incidentally, I cannot claim that I have been a victim (except for some unsuccessful intrigues against me), although I am one of the Friendly Witnesses, because I am writing my new novel now and have not been available for picture work. Therefore, my suggestion is not motivated by the desire to have someone defend me personally. I think that the fate suffered by some of the other witnesses,
Miss Edna Lonigan
March 26, 1949
who were in a less favorable professional position, is outrageous—the worst part of it being that our side has not risen to their defense. If we do not defend the people who take the risk of standing openly on our side, we shall defeat our cause completely, and we shall deserve to be defeated.
The plan I would like to propose to our Board is as follows: have the survey made by one of our members in Hollywood; have the survey mimeographed, with a few brief, eloquent comments on its significance, and send it to the newspapers, to all the columnists and commentators who are on our side, to all the patriotic, anti-Communist organizations in the country—with the request that they all take action, that they voice their protest in print and that their members write letters of protest to Hollywood. Would it work? Oh, boy!
The dirty things going on in Hollywood are not caused by the sympathy of the majority of the producers with the Reds—but only by the fact that the Reds are an active pressure group, while our side is inactive, so that it becomes safe to sacrifice the conservatives. Let a real, loud, concerted protest be made just once—and Hollywood will be safe for conservatives for a long, long time. This will be much more effective than any Washington hearing.
I am glad that our Association has protested against the Soviet Cultural Conference. Would you send me a copy of the protest? I have not seen it in the newspapers here.
With best regards,
In a following March 29, 1949 letter to Rand, Lonigan wrote of Rand’s House Un-American Activities Committee testimony: “Your courageous, positive, beautifully clear statements fill me with joy.”