Pepper: Maverick Congressman

In his article "Decency and Vision Made Claude Pepper a Congressional Maverick" (Op-Ed Page, June 2) on the career of Rep. Claude Pepper (D-Fla.), Roger Morris made some very dubious statements about the late congressman's actions during the Cold War period.

In defending Rep. Pepper's "courage" in withstanding American anti-Soviet "hysteria," Morris does not take into consideration that Pepper's defense of a moderate policy towards the Soviet Union came at the height of the Stalinist terror.

The years immediately following World War II saw the Communist coup in Czechoslovakia, the show trials to crush "Titoist" deviation throughout Eastern Europe resulting in the torture and hanging of dozens of innocent persons, as well as the "doctors' plot" and the assault on intellectuals within the Soviet Union.

These were all controlled and masterminded by Stalin and carried out by his associates. In addition, there was the North Korean invasion in 1950 by a client state of the Soviet Union.

I bring these incidents up to illustrate that a "moderate" and "reasonable" policy towards the Soviet Union advocated by Rep. Pepper and others including Henry Wallace was not courageous but naive in the extreme.

Let us remember Claude Pepper for his work with Social Security and government aid and assistance to senior citizens not for his mistakes of 40 years previous.

BRIAN DELANEY

San Diego

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