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Through more than 40 years in the Nation's capital, his first priority was to put Mississippi first.

The legacy of JOHN STENNIS can be seen throughout the state of Mississippi, from the Tennessee-Tombigbee Waterway in the north, to Meridian's Naval Air Station to the Stennis Space Center on the gulf coast. At points in between, he was responsible for bringing Federal funds for water systems and economic development projects that helped improve the lives of his fellow Mississippians.

As chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee, he felt the United States should always deal from a position of military strength. He worked hard to see that our fighting men and women, both in the active forces and the National Guard and Reserve, had the equipment and training they needed to do the job.

In honor of Senator STENNIS' commitment to the military, Ronald Reagan announced during his presidency that the Navy's next aircraft carrier would be named the U.S.S. John C. Stennis. The ship is undergoing sea trials this spring and summer and will be officially commissioned later this year.

Senator STENNIS always called me "his Congressman" since I represented his hometown of DeKalb in Kemper County. It was a great honor to serve as his Congressman for 28 years and his colleague for 23. He was a remarkable man whose legacy will live on, here in Washington and in his beloved Mississippi.

Legislative Censure

November 12, 1954.


Senator JOHN C. STENNIS, Democrat of Mississippi, spoke before the United States Senate on November 12, 1954, in support of the resolution to censure Senator Joseph McCarthy.

Senator STENNIS, a Member of the Senate's special censure committee, indicted Senator McCarthy for his alleged continued abuse of the Senate.

The Senate had met in extraordinary session four days before to consider the report of the Select Committee appointed to study the censure charges.

The bipartisan six-man group, under Chairman Senator Arthur Watkins, Utah Republican, was set up in August. On September 27, grounds for censure on two counts were presented: (1) Senator McCarthy had acted contemptuously toward a Senate Subcommittee investigating charges against him involving his finances; (2) Senator McCarthy had used "reprehensible" language to Brigadier General Ralph Zwicker during hearings on the discharge of Major Irving Peress, an Army dentist accused of pro-communism. Behind these charges was the implication that his investigating methods, his denunciation of all who opposed him, his defiance of President Eisenhower's authority, brought into disrepute the United States Senate.

Although the debate was scheduled to begin on November 10, Senator McCarthy on November 9 released a long speech that he proposed to give before the Senate the next day. (He did not deliver it but inserted it in the Record.) Statements in that "speech" further inflamed some Senators.

Senator Watkins opened the debate. Senator McCarthy subjected him to long cross-examination. Senator Case of South Dakota, also on the Select Committee, suggested that if Senator McCarthy would apologize for charge number one both charges might be handled without censure.

In this atmosphere Senator STENNIS spoke in ringing tones and with much physical aggressiveness before the crowded galleries and chamber. He made the issue not militancy against communism, as Senator McCarthy argued it should be, but McCarthyism-"political morality in senatorial conduct." Senator Bricker, among others, replied.

On Monday, November 15, Senator Jenner led the debate for Senator McCarthy, and Senator Ervin, of North Carolina, called for censure. On November 16, Senators Watkins, Welker, and Case continued the debate, and Senator McCarthy entered the Naval Hospital at Bethesda, MD, with a disabled elbow. The Senate adjourned from November 18 until November 29.

On Thursday, December 2, after three days of debate and preliminary voting on resolutions to soften the resolution, the Senate voted 67 to 22 to "condemn" the Wisconsin Senator.

On January 20, 1955, the Senator lost his chairmanship of the Government Operations Committee and its Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations as a result of the 1954 elections, which returned a Democratic majority to the Senate. Speculation continued concerning his role as aggressive fighter against communistic subversion and as spokesman for Republican dissenters against Eisenhower.

Mr. President, what is the question here? It is purely a question of political morality in senatorial conduct. To be more precise, the question is whether I, as a Senator, approve or disapprove of these proven acts as proper standards of senatorial conduct. Each Senator must make up his own mind about what are the proper standards; but, as Senators, let us remember that it is not as individuals that we are to make up our minds in this case. We are to make them up as representatives of the 161 million people of the United States; we are setting standards of conduct for a time-proven and time-tested institution which belongs to the people-the United States Senate. . .

This is not merely a question of an attack upon a Member of the Committee. I would not pass it by if it were. But that is not all it was. As I recall, I am the Member of the Committee who said that the remarks of the junior Senator from Wisconsin with reference to Senator Hendrickson belong in the category relating to the treatment of the Committee, because the Senator from New Jersey was a Member of that Committee, and the insult to him was not merely an insult to an individual. It was an insult to the constituted authority

of the Senate, which was carrying out a constitutional mission. Moreover, there was an insult to a constitutional authority, the personnel of which had recently been expressly approved, including Senator Hendrickson, by a unanimous vote of the Senate.

Is it a sufficient answer to say, "Joe has done some good in hunting Communists"? Shall we destroy what have been considered the necessary processes in carrying out one mission because a man has done good in another field, on another mission? I cannot assent to such an argument.

In view of the facts which I have related, do Senators believe that the mission of the Subcommittee was obstructed? Do Senators think there was an obstruction of justice? Of course, they do. There is no way to avoid such a conclusion. That is the final reason why I say there is no escape from an affirmative charge. Such conduct must be condemned. Otherwise, when challenge is made of these facts, and we fail to disapprove them, we adopt them as a standard. Let us be clear. Let us tell the youth of this country, "This is the way. This is the high road of which the Senate approves, and upon which it likes to travel in the consideration of public business." That is the conclusion of this Member of the Committee.

That is not all. After the report was filed and the subject set for special consideration by the Senate, and after the Senate had reassembled, the first words to be uttered on the floor by this same source of conduct were a continuation of the slush and the slime which have been poured on other committees which were charged with the duty of trying to look into the conduct. I have no personal resentment toward the junior Senator from Wisconsin for having made such statements. I feel sorry for him for having done so. I refer to Senator McCarthy's speech which was not delivered on the floor, but released to the press and inserted in the Congressional Record on the first day of the debate. It represented a continuation of the same pattern, his same course of conduct. It is another spot on the escutcheon of the Senate, another splash and splatter.

Every Senator must decide this case for himself. As for the Senator from Mississippi, I cannot approve such slush and slime as a proper standard of senatorial conduct as we labor to carry on and transact the business of the people. For that reason, and that reason alone, I state my position here.

I repeat that the question before the Senate is not a question of fact. The facts are agreed upon. The question is not,

"Do we approve or disapprove of everything that was done or everything that was said by every Member of the Committee at every turn throughout these proceedings?” The question is one purely of political morality in senatorial conduct. To be precise, the question is, "As a Senator, and not merely as an individual, do I approve or do I disapprove of these proven facts as proper standards of senatorial conduct?"

If we approve, then something big and fine will have gone from this Chamber and something wrong, something representing a wrong course, will have entered and gotten itself accepted as a proper standard of conduct.

As we consider that question, I hope that in some way each Senator will seek and finally find divine guidance in deciding what his duty is, and, from the same source, find help and encouragement in performing that duty. Mr. President, I yield the floor.

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