REAGAN, Ronald (1911- ), President. Autograph letter signed (''Ronald Reagan'') as President of the Screen Actors Guild, to Mrs. Wyncoop, n.p., 28 February [late 1950s]. 2 pages, 4to (11 x 8½ in.), in fine condition.
REAGAN, Ronald (1911- ), President. Autograph letter signed ("Ronald Reagan") as President of the Screen Actors Guild, to Mrs. Wyncoop, n.p., 28 February [late 1950s]. 2 pages, 4to (11 x 8½ in.), in fine condition.
REAGAN DEFENDS HIS ACTIONS AGAINST THE COMMUNISTS: "WE EXPOSED THEM AND DROVE THEM OUT"
Reagan responds to criticisms expressed by Wyncoop: "... I think I have been closely connected with the fight against Communism as anyone in our industry and I can assure you attacks from the 'lunatic fringe' such as the one you questioned me about were one of the hardest things we had to overcome in waging an effective & sensible campaign against the 'Reds.' Myron C. Fagin was not a famous screen writer & director nor have I any knowledge that he ever was connected with those of us who were in the Anti-Red battle." Reagan admits that a list brought up by Wyncoop includes Communists, "but they are no longer in our industry." In a fiery defence of himself he writes: "We exposed them & drove them out." About "suspicions" of certain people on the list, he writes: "I for one am sure that if the House Un-American Activities Committee & the F.B.I. did not tag some one as Commie--Myron C. Fagin was not possessed of information superior to theirs... Again let me thank you for this opportunity to tell another side of the story."
According to Lou Cannon, Reagan's actual role within the larger context of the widely-publicized HUAC hearings "was more ambiguous. Even though the Screen Actors Guild assisted actors who were targets of the unofficial vigilante blacklists that sprang up in Hollywood... Reagan and the union went along with the studios in denying employment to actors who refused to cooperate with HUAC. Reagan denied that a blacklist of Communists existed but said the studios had the right to consider an actor's outside activities or reputation, since these could affect the public acceptance of a film" (Lou Cannon, President Reagan, New York, 2000, p.245). In 1985, the San Jose Mercury News obtained Reagan's FBI file through the Freedom of Information Act and discovered that Reagan, under code name T-10, had been an FBI informant during the 1940s, passing on names of those actors he believed to be Communists. His file revealed that Reagan had pressed Congress to declare Communism a "foreign-inspired conspiracy."