Maclean letter

Autograph letter, signed, from Fitzroy Maclean to Charles and Gladys Maclean. 10 May 1944 (with postscript May 26).

From the Fitzroy Maclean Collection.

When the U. S. Government monitors and edits the contents of personal mail during a war, is it censorship or national security? How extensive are the tenets of the First Amendment? Should freedom of the press include the right to publish "sensitive" material that may influence the outcome of ongoing wars?

A member of the Cameron Highlanders Regiment and the Special Air Service, Fitzroy Maclean had been dropped by parachute into German-occupied Yugoslavia in 1943. Here, he served as Winston Churchill's personal representative to Marshall Tito and was the Commander of the British Military Mission to the Yugoslav Partisans. Maclean wrote the letter on display from London where he was conferring with Churchill and other government officials about the military and political situation in Yugoslavia. In the letter, he describes seeing family and friends and refers in general terms to his official business. His parents received the letter on October 16 in Montreaux, Switzerland, in fragments. A small slip of paper, written in German and stamped with a red swastika, accompanied the letter. It translates: "This letter is forwarded to you in the same condition in which it was received here."

Latham postcard

Autograph postcard, signed, from Albert Latham to May Edgington. No date.

From the Joseph M. Bruccoli Great War Collection.

Seibel cartoon

Seibel, Fred O. Cartoon: "Where There's Smoke There Must Be Fire." 21 December 1944.

For over four decades, Fred Seibel's political cartoons appeared daily in the Richmond Times-Dispatch. In these drawings, his mascot, Moses Crow, appeared frequently, sometimes merely as an observer, sometimes as a commentator.

DoD pamphlet

Department of Defense. United States-Vietnam Relations, 1945-1967. Washington: U. S. Government Printing Office, 1971.

In 1967, Secretary of Defense Robert McNamara commissioned a top-secret study on the history of America's involvement with Communist Vietnam, known to us as the Pentagon Papers. Completed several years later, this massive document was obtained by the New York Times and then published in an extensive series of articles in 1971. The study indicated that the United States Government secretly had escalated a "war mentality" through covert military operations against North Vietnam, while publicly claiming disengagement. Shortly after the series began, the Times was requested and then forced to cease publication of the material. Arguing that the document was protected under anti-espionage laws, the government sought the suppression of the articles that "could be used to the injury of the United States or to the advantage of any foreign nation." The Times successfully argued that the First Amendment took precedence over the anti-espionage laws and continued to run the series. The United States still had over 350,000 troops in Southeast Asia in 1971. Should the government suppress information to keep its citizens out of harm's way?