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February 20, 1971 - Image 4

Resource type:
The Michigan Daily, 1971-02-20

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Eighty years of editorial freedom
Edited and managed by students at the University of Michigan

420 Maynard St., Ann Arbor, Mich.

News Phone: 764-0552

Editorials printed in The Michigan Daily express the individual opinions of staff writers
or the editors. This must be noted in all reprints.



Opening the door to violence

VIOLENCE returned to the University of
Michigan yesterday, precipitated by
an administration which exercised such
incompetent judgment that it takes con-
siderable restraint to discuss it calmly.
If the University administration had
sought an atmosphere that could not help
but lead to a confrontation, physical bru-
tality, and arrests, it could not have
planned yesterday's Regents meeting bet-
ter than it did.
At 11 a.m. yesterday morning, 50 peo-
ple (mostly students) stood outside the
Administration Bldg. seeking admission
to the Regents monthly public meeting.
On the other side of locked doors, a
contingent of plainclothes security men
and Ann Arbor police stood guard, or-
dered by the administration to allow only
certain, specially listed people, to enter
the "public" meeting.
IT WAS only natural that this setting
would amplify the sense of frustration
felt by the demonstrators. Aware that
the Regents meeting room is large enough
to admit their relatively small group
without difficulty, the demonstrators saw
the locked, guarded building as poignant
testimony to their separation from the
University's decision-making p r o c e s s.
Ironically, this is why they were there in
the first place.
It is appalling that the administration
lacked the sensitivity to understand that
its elaborate security measures, aimed at
preventing a disruption, merely mani-
fested to the students the very closed,
guarded, decision-making process which
prompts them to take disruptive actions.
And sure enough, by 11:10, the admin-
istration's security precautions-the lock-
ed doors, the presence of police-had pro-
voked the disturbance it was designed to
Certainly, the administrators s h o u 1 d
have forseen that when the locked en-
trance was opened to admit someone, the
students would attempt to gain entrance

to a meeting they felt they should be
allowed to attend.
This was sure to bring them into con-
tact with the police blocking the door-
way, and, as has happened so many times
before, the enmity which police and stu-
dents feel toward each other accelerated
the progression to violence.
The administration has assuredly seen
this happen before. Fleming, at least,
should harbor some memory of the sum-
mer evening in 1969, when he is said to
have urged Sheriff Douglas Harvey to
remove his men from South University
Ave., where they were stirring up a large
NEVERTHELESS, t h e administrators
and Regents continue to display a
poor understanding of the factors which
cause and prevent eruptions within the
academic community.
The initial unrest will continue to be
an outgrowth of the University's inequit-
able governing system. What will inflame
it will be the Regents' unwillingness to
at least take the modest step of entering
into good-faith discussions with students
on issues both students and administra-
tors believe are significant.
Of immediate importance, if such in-
cidents as yesterday's are to be avoided,
is the opening of all Regents meetings
to the public. This can be facilitated by
holding the meetings in'a larger room to
accommodate those who wish to attend.
However, such a step must be accom-
panied by a marked increase in the sensi-
tivity of the administration and Regents
to the frustrations felt by students at the
While this would not correct the basic
c a u s e of disturbances like yesterday's,
which lies in the inequities of University
governance, it would significantly damp-
en the likelihood of violence and disrup-
tion at future Regents meetings.

EDITOR'S NOTE: This is the first artics
a five-part series concerning North Vietn
treatment of the more than 330 American p
imprisoned there. The rest of the series, by
author cf a Pulitzer-prize winning article or
My Lai tragedy, will appear next week.
WASHINGTON-On September 2, 1
Navy Lt. Robert F. Frishman, then
held a news conference at Bethesda Ni
Hospital just outside of Washington.
had been released a month earlier fro:
prison cell somewhere in Hanoi; he
the first of nine pilots who had been f:
by North Vietnam to speak out.
It was, he said, an ordeal of horror.
He was given insufficient medical trt
ment for his arm that was serioi
wounded when he crashed. He was kep
solitary confinement. He was fed
skimpy meals a day. He was forced to3
confessions against his will.
He told what happened when a fel
pilot, Lieutenant Commander Richard
Stratton, refused to make a statement:
"He's been tied up with ropes to sue
degree that he still has large scars on
arms from rope burns which became
fected. He was deprived of sleep, bea
had his finger nails removed and put
solitary, but the North Vietnamese ins
ed that he make the false humane tr
ment statements and threw him int
dark cell along for thirty-eight days
think about it."
It was a front-page story around the
Henry Cabot Lodge, then President I
on's Ambassador to the Paris peace to
cited the officer - "I can do no be
than to repeat the words of Lieuter
Frishman" - in a sharp attack on
North Vietnamese at the next negotiai
session a few days later. Similar atto

outlined by the Geneva Convention: it did
not permit a full flow of mail and pack-
ages: it did not provide accurate lists of
the number and location of prisoners; and
it did not permit impartial inspection of its
prison camps. Yet the solid evidence of
systematic abuse of prisoners had always
been missing. Even the intensive interro-
gation of the six prisoners released by Ha-
noi during 1968 provided no evidence of
such abuse.
The pilots reported that their biggest
complaint was boredom and demoraliza-
tion. The only serious manhandling came
at the hands of local peasants after their
plane crashed (the pilots were, of course,
hated because of the heavy bombing) and
occasionally at the hands of interrogators
after reaching the federal prisons.
Even those sessions were hard to evalu-
ate, with treatment varying on which Viet-
namese official was doing the questioning
and the attitude of the pilot.
"You have to remember," explained one
State Department official close to POW
affairs during an interview, "that much of
this revolves over how men react to mis-
treatment. For example, some children will
cry over scratches; others w il1 tolerate
broken ankles."
THERE IS NO question that the pilots
now in captivity are suffering serious de-
privation - the mere fact that they are
12,000 miles from their homes and families
would be agony enough.
Yet, most of the evidence before Frish-
man's return indicated that the food sup-
plied to the prisoners meager as it was, was
at least as plentiful - if not more - than
the hard-pressed Hanoi regime was giving
to its prison camp guards.,
In addition, the isolation reported by the
six men was not as great as had been fear-
ed. One returned pilot told how he shared
living quarters with three other pilots. The
men, he said, often noisily argued among
themselves. Most of the captives appa-.
ently were living in groups of two and
four, although each group was carefully
isolated from others.
There is some evidence that military of-
ficials were aware of the strained case that
was being presented at the news confer-
ence. In a private letter sent by the mili-
tary on June 5, wives and parents of cap-
tured and missing Air Force pilots were
1 told they would be given a personal brief-
ing on the prisoner situation.
The letter also enclosed copies of the
materials supplied to the press, with this
explanation: "The briefing was specifical-
ly designed to bring the pressure of the
world opinion to bear on the enemy which,
hopefully, will result in more information
about and better treatment for our downed
The letter concluded with this remark-
able sentence: "We are certain that you
will not become unduly concerned over the
briefing if you keep in mind the purpose
for which it was tailored (emphasis add-
DESPITE THE new Nixon Administra-
tion emphasis on the prisoners, the issue
still hadn't evolved into a major public de-
bate by late summer, 1969, when Hanoi re-
leased Frishman and two other prisoners
into the care of anti-war groups.
Even the wives and mothers of captured
and missing men, who had begun to or-
ganize in 1968 in protest over the Johnson
Administration's quiet diplomacy, h a d
failed to arouse broad interest with their





occasional picketing of government build-
ings and protests,
"There was an absolutely valid case that
somebody had to make" against the North
Vietnamese, one State Department official
said, recalling those days. "But we were
always under an evidence problem. Frish-
man truly was a godsend . ."
After his appearance in Washington,
Frishman was taken on tour by the Navy,
making highly publicized visits to six ma-
jor cities within five days to tell his story
to the wives and families of captured and
missing American pilots. He gave many
television and newspaper interviews, and
even published a first-person account of
his experiences that appeared as a featur-
ed article in the Readers Digest magazine
for December, 1969. No o t h e r returned
prisoner had been given such freedom tc
speak out.
Duringtestimony in mid-December be-
fore the House Committee on Internal Se-
curity, formerly known as the House Un-
American Activities Committee, Frishman
declared that the treatment afforded the
pilots in North Vietnam was "generally
worse" than that given to the crew of the
The worst torture, however, was the iso-
lation, he said. Encouraged by the commit-
tee members to continue, Frishman added:
"I don't know all the prisoners up there,
but I would say there are a large percent-
age that are in isolation and have been so
for a long time." He himself had indicated
to an Italian reporter during an interview
in Hanoi that he had been in isolation for
18 months.
IN HIS TESTIMONY before the House
Internal Security Committee, Frishman
reported how he had been taken on trips
to war and art museums in downtown Ha-
He told at one point how, after an op-
eration on his injured elbow, ". . . I could
not even get up so they (the prison offi-
cials) brought someone in; another pris-
oner came in and he would more or less
just take care of me like a nurse. He would
get my food, empty my bucket, actuall
feed me, wash my clothes, and things lik
that. It was a tremendous help for me."
Another indication that Frishman's iso!
lation was not as severe as he had indi-"
cated publicly was privately supplied by
the Pentagon to a family that had report-
ed the tentative identification of its POW

A racist recruiting policy

I IN DETERMINING a n e w recruiting
policy for the entire University, the
Regents have succeeded only in weaken-
ing the existing Office of Student Services
policy in a way that undermines all of
its effectiveness.
While the new policy approved yester-
day seems to partially accept the idea
that discrimination must be fought on
the institutional level, it only exacerbates
the procedural problems that critics di-
rected at the OSS plan. Thus, it is likely
to please no one.
For example, the OSS plan, which bar-
red recruiting by companies with sub-
sidiaries in countries which legally en-
force discrimination, was often crticized
for being so broadly defined that it could
not be enforced. There were, the critics
said, too many companies in too many
countries with too many laws to allow
such judgments to be at all feasible.
If the OSS policy was loose enough to
let an occasional offender slip by, how-
ever, the new regental plan is so dras-
tically ill-defined that it will not only
make mistakes, but be completely in-
The Regents new policy reads, "(No)
placement service shall be made avail-
able for the purpose of recruitment for
employment in any country where dis-
crimination is legally enforced .. ."
BY THUS allowing companies to recruit
for jobs in countries which supposed-
ly do not enforce such discrimination
(presumably the U.S., for example) the
policy therefore bars no American com-
pany from recruiting here. And this fact
alone is enough to render the policy com-
pletely ineffective in sopping the com-
plicity of the University in sending work-
ers to countries with such racist policies
as South Africa.
To be sure, the Regents' policy would
prevent direct recruiting by officials of
American subsidiaries in South Africa,
but it certainly would not stop any com-
pany that was seriously interested in
getting workers from the University for
its foreign offices. A company would only

wittingly is irrelevant, since the whole
problem could be avoided in the first
place by adopting the original OSS policy
that simply would have barred recruiting
by companies with subsidiaries in such
A large part of the blame for the Re-
gents' poor decision surely lies with efforts
of President Fleming to keep the Uni-
versity from "imposing" values concern-
ing racism on its students.
IN A STATEMENT released yesterday, he
said, "It would seem to me quite proper
to make known to the individual such in-
formation as that the employer operated
in South Africa . . ., or even to deny the
right of an employer to recruit for em-
ployes who are to work in a foreign coun-
try which discriminates. In the last an-
alysis, however, I would let the individual
make' all other decisions."
The correlation between the wording
of the regental policy and Fleming's state-
ment makes it entirely clear who really
decided on the new policy.
Fleming's statement continued, "It is
not so clear to me that one (recruiting
policy) is right and the other 'wrong.'
Therefore, I am not willing to force on
all the view of one side. I would prefer
to see each, individual make his own
Fleming appears not to have had his
way totally. For the regental policy, by
banning "any organization or individual
that discriminates in recruitment or em-
ployment against any person . . ., or that
does not maintain an affirmative action
program to assure equal employment,"
does indeed attempt to take an institu-
tional stand against discrimination, in
form if not in actual practice.
On closer scrutiny, however, it is clear
that Fleming has won out completely.
For, whether or not the University words
its policy in such a way that it appears
to be against discrimination, the real
effects of Fleming's maneuverings have
been to make the policy so ineffective
that the University remains a part of the
machinery that supports and reinforces
racism in this country and abroad.

were quickly made by U.S. representatives
at the 21st International Red Cross con-
ference in Istanbul, Turkey, and in the
United Nations.
IN CONGRESS, nearly 300 resolutions
expressing support for the prisoners were
introduced within two months of Frish-
man's news conference.
Frishman's testimony came at a critical
time for the United States. The White
House had approved a major change in
policy on the prisoner issue just a few
months earlier.
No longer would American officials at-
tempt to negotiate privately and with re-
straint - as in the Johnson Administra-
tion - for the release and safety of the
more than 300 American pilots known to
be captured by the North Vietnamese.
On May 19, 1969, five months after tak-
ing office, Secretary of Defense Melvin A.
Laird made the prisoner issue public at a
news conference, calling on Hanoi to re-
spect the Geneva Convention on prison-
ers of war, which that nation had signed
in 1957.
Photographs indicating that some pilots
had lost weight while in capativity were
distributed, along with a f a c t booklet
questioning the medical care being pro-
vided for others.
"The North Vietnamese have claimed
that they are treating our men humanely,"
the defense secretary said. "I am distressed
by the fact that there is clear evidence
that this is not the case."
The defense chief had, as many officials
later acknowledged, somewhat overstated
his case. Hanoi had refused to abide by
many of the standards for prisoner care
L e t ers:0
To The Daily: Studer
access t
IN THE COURSE of the open even in
meeting on University policy re- modest
garding corporate recruiting I was, range o
for a brief moment, struck by one made or
of those rare Gestalt flashes when A
suddenly one feels he has had an AND
insight into a knotty problem. The a white
moment came when the Dean of ably oc
the Business School referred to the ed and
"moral autonomy" various schools social st
within the University should be political
free to exercise vis-a-vis corpor- richest;
ate recruiting. Just what were the try in t
dissidents asking? The practical ing why
effect of a University-wide adop- limited
tion of the OSS policy would be which u
to force some corporations to tional c
spend a few thousand dollars to eral Mo
rent and or buy services they now budget
-' a na pp except t

son in a national magazine article. "Lieu-
tenant Frishman's debriefing," a dis-
couraging letter to the family said, "pos-
itively identified the photograph as that
of a U.S. Air Force office (not their son)
who had been Lieutenant Frishman's room-
mate while in captivity.
My interviews with government officials
in late 1970 also prodiced the fact that
Frishman and the two other returnees had
been able to tentatively name more than
three hundred pilots believed to be pris-
oners of war in North Vietnam, another
sign of some social contact.
THERE WERE doubts about Frishman's
account of prison life being expressed -
privately - at various stages of the gov-
Patrick J. McGarvey, now a Washington
free lance writer, was then an analyst for
the Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA)
working on the North Vietnam desk. When
the Frishman debriefing papers . came
across his desk, he recalled, "I smelled a
ringer right off. It just didn't jibe with
everything else I h a d seen." McGarvey
said he and others in the agency were con-
vinced Frishman was telling "a song and
dance story."
Officials at the State Department con-
cerned with prisoner matters also were
surprised by the Frishnan statements. Al-
though the military had been interrogat-
ing the Navy officer for weeks, before the
Sept. 2 news conference, none of the in-
terrogation papers had been forwarded to
There were further disturbing questions
about one of Frishman's fellow prisoners
who had been released with him, Navy
Seaman Douglas B. Hegdahl, then 23.
Hegdahl had been captured by the North
Vietnamese in April, 1967 after falling off
his destroyer while it was on duty in the
Gulf of Tonkin.
He appeared at the Bethesda news con-
ference and told how he had lost 60 pounds
and been kept in solitary confinement for
more than a year during his 16 months of
YET' A FEW DAYS after the news con-
ference, Hegdahl, who is from South Da-
kota, returned home and told a Minneap-
olis reporter the reason why he had lost so
much weight: the prison authorities had
taken away his roommate, so he went on
a hunger strike for months to get another.
He ate only part of the two meals of
soup and bread he received daily, until
"'the higher ups saw that I was skinny and
I later got a roommate." Hegdahl ack-
nowledged that the food served to him in
North Vietnam "would have b e e n ade-
quate" if he had eaten it all.
At no time did the young sailor, or any
government official, volunteer the infor-
mation that his weight loss was directly
due to a voluntary hunger strike.
More than a year later I asked a gov-
ernment official not involved in the in-
terrogation of Hegdahl if he knew why the
sailor had lost so much weight. He quickly
replied that Hegdahl had gone on a hun-
ger strike. I asked why that information
hadn't been made available to journalists.
"I don't know about that, but I had no
trouble learning about it," was the re-
C Reporters News Service




and corporate America

nts would not be denied
o corporate personnel nor
convenienced. It is quite a
proposal considering the
f demands that could be
n the issue.
THERE stood Dean Bond,
American male, comfort-
cupying a highly privileg-
influencial niche in the
tructure, a member of the
and economic elite of the
and most powerful coun-
the world, calmly explain-
he opposed a policy, both
a n d largely symbolic,
would require an interna-
orporate colossus like Gen-
tors, who has an annual
larger than every nation
the U.S. and the U.S.S.R.,

well groomed, confident, and dis-
armingly charming in his o w n
way, juxtaposed against vivid
pictures of black South Africans,
among the most wretched and sup-
pressed people of the earth.
I am not usually given to dra-
matic moral visions but for me
this one was worth a thousand
words. I do not accuse Dean Bond
of dishonesty and, for the sake
of generosity, I will even acquit
him of acting at all disingenuous-
ly; however, this increases rather
than diminishes the moral weak-
ness of his position. Often I have
had difficulty describing exactly
where I stand along the political
spectrum. As long as men like
Dean Bond consider themselves to
any extent "liberals," I must de-
clare mvslfr adical.

discrimination from using the
placement services on this cam-
While the people who favored
such a policy w e r e allowed to
speak without any heckling, this
was not the case for those who did
not agree w i t h this policy. By
their childish actions, the heck-
lers showed that they do not have
the ability to listen to both sides
of a question before making up
their minds.
Sitting at my right was one per-
son who proceeded to ridicule ev-
ery view which obviously did not
coincide with his own. After
threatening me and calling me a
Nazi, he finally shut up when I
told him I wasn't a Nazi but, face-
tiously, a bigot. T h is obviously

To the Daily:
I FEEL compelled to comment
on an incident which I observed
late Friday night in an expensive
Ann Arbor restaurant. A group of
six young couples, who were seated
together, dined for over two hours
and were graciously served by two
conscientious waitresses. At the
conclusion of the meal, the twelve
patrons left a combined tip of just
over $1.00 for both waitresses.
The lack of social consciousness
would have aroused anyon's indig-
nation, considering the extent to
which waitresses depend on tips for
their income. However, the fact
waitresses were white raises fur-
that the patrons were black and the
tho nvictn.

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