The Dellmus Record
To the Editor:
During the course of their hubristic political hegira from revolution to reaction, Peter Collier and David Horowitz, two self-proclaimed former New Left activists turned righteous writers, seem to have lost their way on the zealots’ road to Damascus. In their search for a new political lodestar they reinvent recent history seemingly to please their new patrons, suit their new suitors, and abuse their new adversaries.
We sadly note that their latest frenzied foray, “Another ‘Low Dishonest Decade’ on the Left” [January], contains much error and fantasy, telling us more about its authors than its targets.
Strikingly reminiscent of didactic and simplistic argumentation practiced more often in confrontation than serious discussion, their prose stands as a memorial to their apparently sympathetic, but intellectually fatuous, observation that in the 60′s the “Left took its case to the streets, where its commitments could at least be examined. . . .” It strikes us as a curious intellectual pose that they, who now embrace the “system” with the fervor of the religiously converted, would challenge the Left for its attempts to have an impact on the political process through public organizing, editorializing, and marshaling facts to support a political position. Would that Messrs. Collier and Horowitz had paid as much attention to the marshaling of facts to support their new Weltanschauung.
Obviously, they should have known or discovered in the course of the research that should attend such an article that periodicals such as Soldier of Fortune, Human Events, and the Washington Inquirer had previously printed many of these same specious charges. These same misstatements and distortions of fact were disproven then, but this has not prevented their periodic reappearance under new bylines and, now, in the pages of COMMENTARY. The resort to highly-charged innuendo and calumny may aid the cause of right-wing fund-raising, but it further subverts serious, informed political debates on the critical issues of our time.
Messrs. Collier and Horowitz have provided us with an exemplar of ideological invective masquerading as scholarship. We do not set out here to challenge the “intellectual” foundation of their dogma. We do intend, though, to set out the facts, especially as they relate to the extended assault upon Representative Ronald V. Dellums’s personal and political integrity and, ultimately, upon his patriotism.
This letter does not represent an effort to convince the reader of a political viewpoint, either as to the nature of the international problems confronting the United States or their possible resolution. However, we would hope that the careful reader will be sufficiently distressed at the errors of fact Messrs. Collier and Horowitz have cited to support their theories of a new/ continuing international Communist conspiracy dedicated to interests inimical to the United States, that he will reexamine the premises, evidence, and conclusions of their article.
In the order in which they appear, we would correct the following misstatements and/or distortions of fact:
1. Messrs. Collier and Horowitz assert that “members of the Communist party in Washington, D.C. introduced [Farid Handal, brother of Shank Handal, the “Salvadoran guerrilla leader”] to Congressman Ron Dellums of California, who in turn arranged for him to meet with the congressional Black Caucus.” They base their assertion on Handal’s alleged “journal (which was later found by authorities in Salvador in a captured guerrilla safe house).” General Alexander Haig’s State Department subsequently incorporated it in the so-called White Paper on El Salvador released in February 1981.
While many have raised questions about the authenticity of some of these documents, we have no way of validating even the authenticity of this so-called journal, or of Farid Handal’s authorship of same. However, we can state without equivocation that Mr. Dellums has never met Farid Handal or Shank Handal anywhere, at any time, or in any place. Further, at the time Farid Handal was on Capitol Hill, Mr. Dellums was in California, attending a series of events scheduled weeks and, in one instance, months before Handal’s appearance.
We would willingly debate U.S. policy vis-à-vis Central America at another time; Mr. Dellums makes no apologies for his repeated efforts since 1979 to end the death and destruction throughout Central America and to achieve a negotiated settlement among the contending factions there. However, that debate remains for another day.
2. Messrs. Collier and Horowitz make a series of statements about individuals challenging the U.S.-sponsored “air war” in El Salvador, in an effort to denigrate the validity of the charges and the integrity of the people who reported them.
In reality, this and other adhominem attacks do not detract from the accuracy of many of these reports. Members of Mr. Dellums’s staff, various Catholic Church groups, and numerous reporters from the international community all have on-the-spot pictures and personal interviews with survivors dating back to 1981. They detail repeated bombing and strafing runs and other military action against civilians attempting to flee combat zones throughout and beyond the borders of El Salvador.
3. Messrs. Collier and Horowitz claim that Mr. Dellums “now speaks in the name of ‘peace’ and ‘democratic values,’ which in practice always seem to dictate attacking the United States and apologizing for the USSR and other enemies of this country.”
This charge reads like a variation on a theme by Ambassador Jeane Kirkpatrick, enunciated at the Dallas Republican convention of 1984, when she “went ballistic” against the alleged “Blame America First” philosophy of the “San Francisco Democrats.” Evidently Messrs. Collier and Horowitz have not read the prologue to Mr. Dellums’s book, Defense Sense: The Search for a Rational Military Policy (Ballinger, 1983, 1984), which contains a much more balanced analysis of the evolution of the cold war than does, for example, Mr. Horowitz’s The Free World Colossus (1965). Nor do they seem aware of Mr. Dellums’s speech to the Socialist International conference in Washington on December 5, 1980, in which he spoke out strongly against human-rights abuses on both the Left and the Right.
If the search for accuracy and balanced reporting truly interested Messrs. Collier and Horowitz, they might also have asked to read Mr. Dellums’s congressional newsletters or press-release file. To give one example, in his December 1985 newsletter, Mr. Dellums wrote:
No doubt exists that the Soviets and their allies have systematically violated many of the human-rights provisions of the Helsinki Accords. However, many allegations of human-rights abuses also can be leveled against the U.S. and its allies. Obviously self-serving, false statements such as Mr. Gorbachev’s assertion that there is “no Jewish problem” in the USSR are no less mind-boggling than the Vice President’s June 1981 toast to the Marcos regime in the Philippines: “We love your adherence to democratic principles and democratic processes.” We must pursue an honest, non-expedient discussion of the human-rights agenda if we are ever to succeed on these issues.
4. They also assert: “Thus he travels abroad as an ornament for functions of the World Peace Council.”
In reality, since the day he was sworn in as a Member of Congress in January 1971, Mr. Dellums has never traveled abroad to, or on behalf of, any function of the World Peace Council.
5. Messrs. Collier and Horowitz further assert that “when Carter sought to raise the military budget after the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan, Dellums was alarmed by the specter of a resurgent American ‘militarism’ in response to an action taken by the Soviets ‘to protect their borders.’”
For the record, Mr. Carter sought this military budget increase prior to the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan. The Carter administration used the invasion and the occupation of the U.S. embassy in neighboring Iran as ex-post-facto rationalizations to defend its preexisting budget formulation.
In a subsequent undated letter to a Dellums staff member who had inquired about the source of this quotation, they wrote:
Ron made these remarks in one of the protest meetings against the proposal to hold an alternate Olympics in Berkeley after Carter announced the U.S. boycott. . . . From our current political perspective we can understand why you might find the statement in question embarrassing, but it is absurd to allege, as you apparently did in your conversation with the office of Norman Podhoretz, that Ron didn’t say it.
Unfortunately for Messrs. Collier and Horowitz, the facts disprove what they would believe. According to contemporaneous records, Mr. Dellums made only one public speech in 1980 in the Bay Area that one might characterize as a “protest meeting”: viz., a “Teach-In” on world events organized by radio station KPFA in Berkeley. After two months of searching, we finally received a tape of the speech, made in April 1980 at the Community Theater in Berkeley, and listened to it several times over.
In that speech Mr. Dellums made extensive comments about the increased militarization of U.S. cold-war foreign policy. But he never uttered the alleged quote cited above about an action taken by the Soviets “to protect their borders.”
Mr. Dellums based this speech on his prior public statements condemning the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan and his opposition to the Carter-imposed U.S. boycott of the 1980 Summer Olympics. Had Messrs. Collier and Horowitz consulted such a primary-source document as the U.S. Congressional Record, they would have made some interesting discoveries. For example, on January 24, 1980, during debate on the House floor concerning President Carter’s call for a U.S. boycott of the Olympics, Mr. Dellums spoke in opposition to the proposal, because he felt this would further politicize international athletics and punish innocent American athletes for Soviet misdeeds. He concluded his remarks by saying:
Finally, Mr. Speaker, I would simply say to my colleagues that the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan was wrong, there is no question about it. But to leap to the conclusion [as President Carter stated] that this is the greatest threat to world peace and the security of the nation since World War II is an absurd, irresponsible overstatement and it is an incredibly demagogic reaction. [Vol. 126, Part 1, p. 576]
Two weeks later, on February 6, 1980, Mr. Dellums made a public press-conference statement criticizing the increased Carter military budget. He then entered the full text of that statement in the Congressional Record. Regarding the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan he said:
What the Soviets have done in Afghanistan is morally wrong and politically stupid, both from a short-term and long-term perspective. One must ask why they choose to do so. Surely they must have known—and understood—that, in a [U.S.] presidential election year, it meant an inevitable swing to the Right in both political parties. The hardliners of both sides have now been reinforced in their prejudices that a SALT treaty is unfeasible, and that the only recourse left is a further escalation in military budgets and weapons escalation. [Vol. 126, Part 2, pp. 2236-2237]
Mr. Dellums also offered a similar analysis of the Soviets’ “record of moral malfeasance” concerning their invasions of Hungary, Czechoslovakia, and Afghanistan in his book, Defense Sense (pp. xxiv-xxv).
6. Messrs. Collier and Horowitz assert: “In a speech about this issue [Afghanistan?] [Dellums] said: ‘This is the capitalist, monopoly capital structure at work, preparing now to draft eighteen-year-olds to go and fight to protect their oil while every one of them are taking in billions of dollars in profits. . .’”
If they refer to Mr. Dellums’s April 1980 speech in Berkeley, the radio tape contains no such statement or anything even remotely approximating it. According to the tape, Mr. Dellums actually said the following concerning the oil issue:
And, finally, these questions must be asked. Is oil the bottom line in this incredibly insane scenario? Are we willing to go to the brink of nuclear war to preserve our excessive consumption of energy, rather than practice as well as preach energy conservation? Will the militarization of the Middle East bring stability to an area of the world that has seen four major wars between Arabs and Israelis in the past thirty-two years? These are hard questions to which there are no easy answers. . . . But of this I am certain. The solutions proposed by the Carter administration are ill-conceived, overreactive, and a definite danger to the peace of the entire world.
7. Messrs. Collier and Horowitz make a series of assertions and allegations concerning Mr. Dellums and Grenada. The following misstatements of fact and distortions of fact ought to be noted:
• They assert that “when he traveled among the Marxist-Leninists of Grenada a few years ago, he did so as an open admirer of their revolution.”
In reality, Mr. Dellums has visited Grenada twice. In April 1982 the chairman of the House Armed Services Committee asked him to visit and to report back on the new airport under construction there. Subsequent to his return, Mr. Dellums submitted his report to the committee in June 1982. Not a word of that report was subsequently changed by any person at anyone’s request.
Inter alia, this report included the information that six civilian airports already existed in the Caribbean Basin with longer runways than the one under construction in Grenada. Further, various NATO countries and Sweden provided the overwhelming and primary funding for the new Grenada airport, a development project likewise sought by prerevolutionary governments as well.
Ironically, in the aftermath of the invasion, the Reagan administration implemented many of Mr. Dellums’s proposals for assistance to Grenada, including an intensified effort to finish the new airport for tourist use at an early date.
Following the Reagan administration’s invasion of Grenada in October 1983, the Speaker of the House asked Mr. Dellums to visit Grenada as a member of the Speaker’s investigation delegation and report back to him. Mr. Dellums’s report to the Speaker criticized the Reagan administration’s preference for covert and overt military action rather than diplomatic, negotiated solutions to fundamentally political, social, and economic problems.
• Messrs. Collier and Horowitz also allege that Mr. Dellums “has different criteria for Communist dictatorships.”
Concerning Grenada, the following facts might also be noted. Despite his personal acquaintance with Maurice Bishop, Mr. Dellums, a man noted for his political integrity and candor on both sides of the aisle, had no difficulty in openly criticizing some of Bishop’s policies during meetings with the Speaker of the House and with members of the House Armed Services Committee in June 1983, at which Bishop was present.
• With respect to Messrs. Collier and Horowitz’s assertions regarding members of Mr. Dellums’s staff: Carlottia Scott had a longstanding personal relationshp with Maurice Bishop, dating back to the early 1970′s when he was a law student in the United Kingdom. Her statements in the letter quoted by the authors reflect her own personal attitudes on these matters.
The allegations concerning a former staff member, Barbara Lee, are somewhat misleading. Barbara Lee did visit Grenada in December 1982. She did have personal friends and acquaintances in the Grenadan government, and she did show them a copy of the Dellums report (an unclassified document) some six months after Mr. Dellums had submitted it to the House Armed Services Committee, and the committee had received it.
We would hope that this effort to set the record straight will inspire a more scholarly and even-handed appraisal of political activism in the 80′s and beyond. The planet remains too dangerous and unstable a place in which to have important decisions made on the basis of expedient analyses and misrepresentation of the facts.
Finally, in the 1980 Berkeley speech alluded to above, Mr. Dellums provided, ironically, a definition of what true patriotism requires in a society that would remain free:
I think it is terribly important that we begin to make the statement that the process has to have some integrity. It would seem to me that when people stand up to challenge policies, it is very frightening when they are called unpatriotic. Because it is my belief that the true patriots of our society are those who have the strength and the courage to challenge policies when they perceive that they are wrong. As Americans we have a responsibility to do that.
In this year of the bicentennial of our Constitution we can only hope that, in the future, both COMMENTARY and these authors will recognize that various segments of our society can honorably hold divergent views on the critical issues of war and peace in the nuclear age; and that they should feel free to express them without fear of having their integrity and patriotism impugned with such reckless abandon.
Such discourse can only strengthen our nation; uncritical obeisance to cold-war orthodoxy, and ad-hominem attacks on those who would challenge that orthodoxy, can only hasten the end of this experiment in democracy and, in the current world context, perhaps the demise of us all.
H. Lee Halterman and
R.H. (Max) Miller
[H. Lee Halterman, Ronald V.
Dellums's District Counsel, has
worked for Mr. Dellums since his
first election in 1970. R.H. Miller
has worked in Mr. Dellums's
Washington office since 1979]
Peter Collier and David Horowitz write:
Adopting an air of injured innocence in behalf of Ronald V. Dellums, H. Lee Halterman and R.H. Miller imply that they are not merely defending the Congressman but attempting to restore integrity to political discourse itself, thereby strengthening the nation and ultimately (radicals were never modest) forestalling the end of the world. Presenting themselves as troubled communicants in the church of liberalism, Messrs. Halterman and Miller portray Mr. Dellums himself as a saint of democracy—brave critic of his country’s faults, incorruptible defender of human rights on both sides of the cold-war divide, passionate champion of global peace.
They got one of these three assertions right. That Mr. Dellums is a critic of his own country, no one who has seen him in action can deny. In April 1980, at a time when Soviet armies were pouring across the border of Afghanistan with a savagery reminiscent of the Nazi invasions of World War II, Mr. Dellums was telling a thousand students at the University of California, Berkeley: “From my vantage point as your Representative, we are at an incredibly dangerous moment. Washington, D.C. is a very evil place. . . . While Mr. Zignu [sic] Brzezinski professes to see the arc of crises in Southwest Asia as the Balkan tinderbox of World War III, well Ron Dellums sees the only arc of crises being the one that runs between the basement of the west wing of the White House and the war room of the Pentagon.”
In the same speech, Mr. Dellums gave this analysis of the crisis in Iran where the Ayatullah’s fanatics had seized their American hostages: “That the hostages are still in Iran is due solely to the Carter administration’s repeated refusals to deal with the revolutionary government in Iran as a legitimate expression of Iran’s national will.” If by Mr. Dellums’s radical logic we had made the Ayatollah take the hostages, his solution to the crisis was for America to get down on its knees and apologize before the world for its sins:
. . . What is wrong with us standing publicly in the international arena and saying, “Yes . . . we have fouled up the lives of many people in Iran, but as Americans we now have come to understand that there are millions of human beings in the world who do not love Americans because under the flag of the United States we have wreaked havoc on millions of people. But we are going to cleanse ourselves and right that wrong. . . .”
The occasion of this proposal was a demonstration which Messrs. Halterman and Miller coyly describe in their letter as a “‘Teach-In’ on world events.” In fact the organizers were much more specific than that, designing the teach-in as the climax of a week of protest against President Carter’s call for a military draft in response to the Soviet aggression in Afghanistan. Its official designation was “The KPFA Stop the War Teach-in.”
“Stop the War”—a slogan revived from the 1960′s. And this was exactly the way the organizers of the event, Mr. Dellums, and other speakers such as Communist party leader Angela Davis saw the occasion. In the eyes of Mr. Dellums and the others present, Afghanistan needed to be seen in the context of Vietnam. To “stop the war,” needless to say, did not refer to the Soviet war against the Afghan people, but rather to any U.S. response to that war. In the bizarre logic understood only by people like Mr. Dellums and Angela Davis, the U.S. was the aggressor merely because the Carter administration had begun to talk, however tentatively, of responding to Soviet aggression.
To Mr. Dellums, who has condemned America’s defense budget as “insidious and insane” and who condemned the liberation of Grenada which was supported by some 92 percent of the people there as a “war crime,” the Soviets’ campaign of genocide against Afghanistan was merely an understandable Russian concern with secure borders. While the Soviets were beginning the slaughter that would eventually claim the lives of a million Afghans and make a quarter of the nation into refugees, Mr. Dellums advised Americans to “look at it from the Russians’ point of view; they only want a stable neighbor” (Berkeley Gazette, February 10, 1980).
Mr. Dellums’s aides now try to draw a smokescreen across these attitudes by quoting, first, a speech made in the House in which Mr. Dellums described the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan as “wrong,” but then immediately went on to characterize President Carter’s reaction to it as “absurd,” “irresponsible,” and “demagogic.”
They then quote another statement of his: “What the Soviets have done in Afghanistan is morally wrong and politically stupid.” Now for a man who condemns his own government as “very evil,” this is pretty weak stuff.
What Messrs. Halterman and Miller do not make clear, however, is that Mr. Dellums never actually uttered the words in this mild criticism of the Soviets, but rather entered them silently into the unread tomes of the Congressional Record. In fact, it is hard to believe that this paltry criticism really represents a personal view. Rather, it is part of a political formula hammered out by all the members of the congressional Black Caucus. The statement is buried in the ninth paragraph of a Caucus broadside against the post-invasion policies of the Carter White House. The Black Caucus position, which Mr. Dellums explained at a press conference, was not so much to express concern about Soviet military aggression as to criticize the White House for exaggerating its concern; not so much to condemn the militarism of the Soviet Union as to attack the Carter administration for calling the invasion a “serious threat to world peace.”
This is the context in which Messrs. Halterman and Miller’s denial that Mr. Dellums made the statement we attributed to him about Afghanistan must be seen. It hardly surprises us that they cite a letter we ourselves had written to Mr. Dellums’s office, but remove by ellipses the only important information the letter conveyed. After our article appeared, when they claimed that Mr. Dellums had not made the statement on Afghanistan we attributed to him, we wrote them to point out that we knew at first hand that Mr. Dellums makes off-the-cuff remarks when he is back home in the People’s Republic of Berkeley where it is still de rigueur to see America as evil. We also noted in this letter—in the passage Messrs. Halterman and Miller decided to elide—that the remarks made at an appearance in Berkeley were recorded at the time by a reporter on assignment from the New York Times who made his notes available to us.
To summarize: we were not present when Mr. Dellums made the statement at issue. We were given notes containing the statement by a reporter working on a story about Berkeley for the Times who was present, a fact Messrs. Halterman and Miller try to airbrush out of the record just as they try to airbrush away the fact that Mr. Dellums, with the exception of formulaic criticisms of the Soviets in Afghanistan, has seen the only danger of the invasion of Afghanistan to be the danger of a U.S. response. Knowing the members of the dishonest Left for who they are, we are not surprised by any of this.
Messrs. Halterman and Miller make other charges of “misstatement of fact.”
1. They deny that Mr. Dellums ever met face to face with Far id Handal, as the Communist agent’s diary indicates. They allege that “many have raised questions about the authenticity” of the diary, which we cited to show how on one specific occasion Mr. Dellums worked hand in glove with the totalitarian guerrilla movements trying to subvert U.S. policy on Central America from within.
Not only is the U.S. State Department on record with a judgment that the Handal diary is authentic, there is in fact no serious question about the authenticity of the diary. So it is not our word against Mr. Dellums’s, but Mr. Dellums’s word against Farid Handal’s. It is worth noting that in any case the Congressman’s aides do not deny the most telling statement in the Handal diary in relation to Mr. Dellums—that he turned over his congressional offices to an agent of the Salvadoran guerrillas who used it to create a support apparatus throughout the United States. (“Monday morning the offices of Congressman Dellums were turned into our offices. Everything was done from there.”)
2. Messrs. Halterman and Miller accuse us of making ad-horninem attacks on people who “challenged the U.S.-sponsored ‘air war’ in El Salvador” during congressional hearings. Actually, the “witnesses” were not challenging this phenomenon but attempting to prove that it existed. If their dubious assertions had been accepted, the Duarte government would have been in violation of the “certification conditions” Congress had recently established for it to qualify for U.S. aid. Congress would then have cut off support for Duarte and a major blow would have been struck in behalf of the Salvadoran guerrillas.
In our article, we identified the “witnesses” of the “air war” as dedicated supporters of the guerrilla forces and diehard opponents of the Duarte government. Mr. Dellums’s aides, whose sympathies also seem to lie with the Communist-dominated guerrillas in El Salvador, naturally disparage this view as an ad-hominem attack. Is it ad-hominem to point out the biases that affect the credibility of witnesses during an adversarial proceeding?
3. In our article we asserted that Mr. Dellums’s actions reveal a distinctive bias toward the Soviet camp in the cold-war struggle. As an illustration we referred to his involvement with the Soviet-financed and controlled World Peace Council, a front created by Stalin himself.
While not disputing the general assertion, Messrs. Halterman and Miller deny the specific—that the Congressman traveled abroad for the World Peace Council. The travel is something we cannot prove. But in 1978, Mr. Dellums was one of the organizers of a meeting of the World Peace Council’s Washington Bureau in the nation’s capital. (This was the first time the World Peace Council had appeared on U.S. soil since 1949.) And given the fact that in 1986 Mr. Dellums was a member on the official International Preparatory Committee of the World Peace Council’s World Congress in Copenhagen, it is easy to understand how we drew the inference of travel. Mr. Dellums did not actually attend this World Congress, but his top aide, Carlottia Scott, did. The proceedings were presided over by Mr. Dellums’s political protégé, Berkeley Mayor Gus Newport, who is vice-chairman of the World Peace Council itself.
It is disingenuous, to say the least, for Messrs. Halterman and Miller to give the impression that Mr. Dellums maintains the same sort of decorous distance from the World Peace Council as he does, say, from the National Rifle Association.
4. As evidence of our “misstatements of fact and distortions of fact” on the Grenada issue, Messrs. Halterman and Miller refer to our observation that when Mr. Dellums traveled among the Marxist-Leninists of Grenada he did so “as an open admirer of their revolution” and reply that he only visited Grenada twice. They dodge the issue and then reapproach it gingerly by citing private meetings at which Mr. Dellums “had no difficulty in openly criticizing some of [Maurice] Bishop’s policies.” The policies are not named, and so the measure of the Congressman’s criticism cannot be taken. Perhaps Mr. Dellums thought that Grenadan taxes were too high; perhaps he told Bishop that there ought to be more Cuban militiamen protecting the revolution from the United States.
The crucial facts regarding Mr. Dellums’s disturbing actions in relation to the airport the Cubans were constructing for the Grenadan Politburo are neither refuted nor explained in Messrs. Halterman and Miller’s letter. Having investigated the matter of the airport for the House Armed Services Committee, Mr. Dellums reported that it was intended solely for tourist traffic and that the Reagan administration’s suspicions to the contrary were “absurd, patronizing, and totally unwarranted.”
In their letter, Messrs. Halterman and Miller repeat Mr. Dellums’s assurances, and even invoke the subsequent effort of the Reagan administration to complete the airport as confirmation that Mr. Dellums had been right all along. The legerdemain is a little awkward here: what would serve military uses in a Marxist-Leninist regime could and should be turned to peaceful purposes by a democratic government such as the one now in place in Grenada thanks to the U.S. military.
Messrs. Halterman and Miller ignore evidence we cited in our article that shows Mr. Dellums was not only wrong about the airport but so egregiously wrong that his report amounted to disinformation. In the notebook of Grenadan Defense Minister Liam James, captured after the liberation, an entry dated March 22, 1980, clearly states: “The Revolution] has been able to crush counterrevolution internationally. Airport will be used for Cuban and Soviet military” (emphasis added). Was the Grenadan Defense Minister referring to Cuban and Soviet military tourists?
Also among the cache of documents retrieved after the liberation of Grenada are the minutes of a Politburo meeting where the following remarks by Maurice Bishop appear: “Barbara Lee [a Dellums aide] is here presently and has brought with her a report on the international airport that was done by Ron Dellums. They have requested that we look at the document and suggest any changes we deem necessary. They will be willing to make the changes.” Mr. Dellums’s aides do not deny that the offer was made to the head of the dictatorsip by an emissary of the Congressman. Nor do they offer any possible legitimate reason to explain why this happened. Why would Barbara Lee offer Maurice Bishop the opportunity to see and change a report six months after it had been completed?
Messrs. Halterman and Miller would have us believe that there is a vast chasm between the Congressman and his staff members, whom he apparently allows to go freelancing throughout the Marxist-Leninist world without constraint. This allows them not only to finesse the issue of Barbara Lee’s behavior but also to avoid addressing the even more disturbing case of Mr. Dellums’s chief aide, Carlottia Scott, whose love letters to Maurice Bishop were also among the documents captured in Grenada. We quoted one of these letters in our article. “Ron [Dellums] has become truly committed to Grenada . . . [and to] making [the Revolution] strong,” Miss Scott wrote, adding that after Bishop himself, the only person “that [Dellums] expresses such admiration for is Fidel.”
Messrs. Halterman and Miller offer no comment as to the propriety of the top aide of the chairman of a House committee overseeing U.S. military installations being romantically involved with the dictator of a country allied to the Soviet bloc. Nor do they suggest any purpose she might have had in making such statements to Bishop about Mr. Dellums’s views. If the statements are untrue, why doesn’t Mr. Dellums disclaim them? Why doesn’t he fire Carlottia Scott the next time she takes time out from her travels to the guerrilla movement of Central America to touch base in Washington?
One aide, Barbara Lee, had “personal friends” in the Grenadan dictatorship; another, Carlottia Scott, was in love with the dictator himself. These women visited the Marxist junta; they passed information from Washington to Grenada. Whether the divided loyalties of the Dellums office led the Congressman or his staff members to step beyond the boundaries of legal behavior in the matter of Grenada—a question openly discussed by many of Mr. Dellums’s colleagues in the House even if Messrs. Halterman and Miller ignore it—should be the matter for a formal inquiry that is long overdue.