AMERICAN GADFLY: THE STORY OF WAYNE MORSE
By Charles Deemer
LIGHTS UP in playhouse. MORSE enters from the back,
greeting people as he approaches the stage.
Thank you for coming ... Thanks so
much ... Nice to see you here ... I'd
appreciate your vote ... Thank you for
He notices the blank screen above the stage.
The HOUSE LIGHTS COME DOWN as Morse climbs onto the
stage. The first slide comes on.
TITLE SLIDE: December, 1951. Eugene, Oregon.
Morse is downstage, facing the audience.
In the crucial Presidential election
of 1952, I was the first one in my
party to endorse General Dwight
Eisenhower. I can't blame my
colleagues for being skeptical. The
Junior Senator from Oregon was, after
all the JUNIOR senator! And General
Eisenhower wasn't acting like anyone
interested in entering politics. He
was attending to the business of NATO
in Europe while Bob Taft was running
around the country talking as if he
had the Republican nomination wrapped
up. But I'll tell you something: Sen.
Taft couldn't win the election. He
couldn't beat Truman and even if the
President decided not to run again, he
still couldn't win. Sen. Taft
represents too narrow a wing of the
party. He would divide this country
as badly as Truman has divided it. Now
let me tell you something else: I've
had the opportunity to cross-examine
Gen. Eisenhower many times when he
appeared before the Armed Services
Committee. I found him to be honest
without exception and a man of great
integrity. I think the General
possesses one of the most brilliant
minds in public service today. I know
that the Senator from Ohio has the
support of many of our state chairmen
and party leaders. But the people
support Eisenhower, I'm sure of it.
Frankly I know of no other candidate
who can renew this country's faith in
the future. But we've got to get Gen.
Eisenhower back in the country and
campaigning, taking his case to the
SLIDE: The frenzied excitement of the convention floor.
Delegations are waving placards and banners for Taft
and for Eisenhower.
TITLE SLIDE: "July, 1952 - Chicago"
SLIDE: CONVENTION HALL as EISENHOWER is seen ON THE
PODIUM, waving to the crowd after winning the
(MORSE'S HOTEL ROOM - CHICAGO - LATE NIGHT. A phone
starts ringing. Morse moves to pick it up.)
The Junior Senator from Oregon has
been asked to nominate Leverett
Saltonstall to run with Gen.
Eisenhower! A liberal, a New England
man - he'd perfectly balance the
ticket. The Taft people are still
trying to bully in a conservative
platform but the fight's not over yet.
Morse answers the phone.
(to the audience)
Bill Berg, my administrative
(back on phone)
I've been asked to nominate
Saltonstall! . . . But I was just
talking to them only a minute ago. . .
. That's supposed to be decided on the
floor of the convention! . . . I can't
believe it. . . . No, I'll talk to you
in the morning. Goodnight, Bill.
He hangs up. He is very upset at the turn of affairs.
He speaks to the audience.
The running mate is Dick Nixon. Hand-
picked behind closed doors by Gen.
Eisenhower himself - but you can't
tell me the Taft people aren't behind
this. Dick Nixon -who's despised in
every union hall in the country!
SLIDE: EISENHOWER and NIXON are on the PODIUM, hands
joined and raised together, the Republican ticket for
(MORSE HOTEL ROOM - MORNING: Morse dials a number on
Dick Nixon's room, please . . . Hello,
Dick. Wayne Morse. I'm calling to
offer my congratulations. . . . I
won't beat around the bush with you,
Dick. I was going to nominate
Saltonstall of Massachusetts but I
recognize that you'll be a popular
candidate, and I can tell you that
Wayne Morse will support the ticket. .
. . Yes, as a matter of fact, there
are a couple points I'd like to make.
The platform bothers me a good deal.
It was written by Taft people, by and
large, and Eisenhower's nomination was
a rejection of the Taft wing of the
party. . . . I think the platform
takes us back fifty years. It makes
McKinley look like a liberal. . . . I
can be specific til the cows come
home. Look at civil rights: to
compromise with states rights is a
retreat from the principles of
Lincoln. In fact, the entire civil
rights plank strikes me as weasel-
worded double-talk. The plank on
labor isn't much better. It's
verbose, platitudinous and evasive.
Foreign policy is a hodgepodge of
inconsistent compromises and- . . .
well, yes, I think you and Gen.
Eisenhower have to take a stronger
platform to the American people to
win. I think that- . . . certainly,
Dick, I understand. I just wanted to
give you my congratulations.
TITLE SLIDE: "October, 1952 - Eugene, Oregon"
SLIDE: Wayne Morse ranch in Eugene.
(ON THE RANCH - DAY: MORSE moves to the ranch area.
He'll take off his jacket, roll up his sleeves and pick
up a rake. He'll then be "raking leaves.")
The Armed Services Committee sent me
to Europe to inspect NATO bases. What
I found over there was shocking. I
hardly know where to begin. There's a
shocking waste of taxpayers' money,
gross inefficiency, I doubt if we get
thirty cents of value for a dollar. I
found a cadre of military men and
military minds who are convinced that
war with the Soviet Union is
inevitable, that any attempt at
keeping the peace is doomed to fail.
Gen. Eisenhower has been the chief
administrator of NATO and, as far as
I'm concerned, the buck stops with
him. I now have very serious doubts
about the wisdom of putting a military
mind in the White House. And his
campaign speeches: I've heard no
retreat from that reactionary
platform. All I hear is double-talk
and political mush. As hard as this is
to say for a lifelong Republican like
myself, Adlai Stevenson sounded like a
statesman compared to Eisenhower.
(MORSE RANCH - EUGENE: Morse moves inside to listen to
a radio speech by Stevenson. He'll roll down his
sleeves and put his jacket back on.)
I want to speak to you today on the
idea of peace on earth. And I want to
speak of the institution of the United
Nations. However great the assaults
on the peace of the world may have
been since the United Nations was
founded, no nation today would dare to
remove itself from membership and
separate his country from the human
hopes that are woven into the very
texture of the organization. And this
is why to celebrate the United Nations
is to hold communion with the idea of
peace on earth.
Morse turns to the audience.
Instead of empty rhetoric and double-
talk, here were words of hope and
vision. Then came the proverbial
straw that broke the camel's back.
(MORSE OFFICE - WASHINGTON D.C.: Morse moves to his
desk in office area. He picks up a newspaper on it. He
shows the audience a front page article.)
Morningside Heights, October 18th:
Eisenhower and Taft issue a joint
statement of party unity.
He angrily throws down the newspaper.
Unity, my posterior! This campaign
has been nothing but demogoguery,
double-talk and dangerous dissertion
by Eisenhower of every principle he
professed to believe in. This is not
the man I cross-examined before the
Armed Services Committee. This is a
sellout to the reactionary wing of the
party. He embraces Taft, he endorses
Joe McCarthy - McCarthy, who calls
Gen. George Marshall a front man for
communists! Behavior like this
disqualifies Eisenhower for public
office. I wouldn't trust him as dog
He buzzes his secretary.
Get Bill to set up a press conference
as soon as possible.
He buzzes off. He takes a deep breath.
No one endorses what I'm about to do,
but it's the only way I can stand
looking at myself in the mirror.
(AT THE PODIUM - POLITICAL RALLY: Morse moves to behind
SLIDE: A campaign banner for Stevenson.
My decision to leave the Republican
party in this campaign and perhaps
permanently has not been an easy one
to make. It has been a declaration of
conscience. My attempt, along with
other constitutional liberals, to
bring the Republican Party back to the
people and free it from the domination
of selfish and materialistic interests
in our country has been disheartening.
From this day onward, I am an
Independent Republican. Today, then, I
can tell you that the choice in this
election is between the double-talking
demogoguery of Eisenhower and the
sound statesmanship of Stevenson. I
have full confidence that the American
people will elect Adlai Stevenson by a
SLIDE: newspaper headline of Eisenhower's presidential
(MORSE OFFICE - WASHINGTON D.C.: Morse looks up at the
slide, then hurries to his office in a rage.)
They won't get away with this!
TITLE SLIDE: "Washington D.C. - January, 1953"
They can strip me of Armed Services,
they strip me of Labor, they can ban
me from every committee in the
Senate - but they can't stop me from
speaking on the floor! And if they
don't want an Independent Republican
sitting on their side of aisle - well,
where do they expect me to sit? With
the Democrats? I'd be no better off
there because I'll tell you something,
you don't have two parties in this
country, you've got a coalition of
reactionary Republicans and
reactionary Democrats who are running
American politics, irrespective of
what party label they wear.
He is buzzed by his secretary.
I'm taking no calls.
Back to audience:
I vote my conscience, not a party
line. If you want a Western Union boy
as your senator, don't send Wayne
He gets up and will fetch a folding chair.
The Republicans disown me, the
Democrats have nothing to offer me.
Then I'll bring my own chair to the
Senate and sit in the aisle!
He unfolds the chair and sits in it, facing the
audience, his arms crossed defiantly.
SLIDE: A SERIES OF POLITICAL CARTOONS depicting
cartoonists' reactions to Morse leaving the Republican
Party. As we see the CARTOONS we hear a conversation
between two women, one of whom is a little tipsy.
TIPSY WOMAN (V.O.)
Wayne Morse is an embarrassment to the
OTHER WOMAN (V.O.)
He was kicked in the head by a horse,
TIPSY WOMAN (V.O.)
OTHER WOMAN (V.O.)
Yes, a few years ago. They say he's
been imbalanced since then.
TIPSY WOMAN (V.O.)
I saw him in the Senate, sitting in
the aisle. He looked arrogant and
OTHER WOMAN (V.O.)
I'm sure he'll never win another
TIPSY WOMAN (V.O.)
That's too long to wait. He should be
(MORSE'S OFFICE - WASHINGTON D.C.: Morse is in a
reflective mood, sitting at his desk and speaking to
For myself, I soon got used to insults
and defamation of character. The
press has never been fair to me. It's
the price one sometimes has to pay for
speaking his mind. But the personal
attacks on my family, the phone calls
to my wife Midge at all hours of the
day and night, ranging from threats of
violence to vile pornography; and the
charges of treason against my
daughters by their schoolmates; and
the loss of lifelong friends who
phoned or wrote they never wanted to
see us again - all because I followed
my own conscience. And my conscience
was clear -because no sooner had
Eisenhower taken office than my worst
fears began to materialize. The
President sided with economic pirates
to begin a systematic and complete
giveaway of this country's valuable
natural resources, and the Republican
press was conducting a virtual news
blockade against letting the American
people know what was going on. Well,
they could gag the press - but they
couldn't censor the Congressional
Morse picks up the phone, speaking to Bill Berg.
Bill, I'm going to speak against
giving away the Texas tidelands to oil
interests for as long as it takes to
be heard. But we've got to be
careful - they slipped a mickey to La
Folette once, and I wouldn't put
anything past the Eisenhower gang. I
don't want anything from the Senate
kitchen that hasn't been tasted
first. I'll want an aide with me at
all times - you can work in shifts.
I'll need boullion, tea, a little
coffee, fruit juice. Be sure to have
someone standing guard in the Senate
kitchen at all times. Oh yes - I'll
need some Kotex . . .
SLIDE: of the Senate clock, which reads 11:30
(SENATE PODIUM: Morse moves behind the podium to begin
the Tidelands filibuster}.
Mr. President, I do have a few things
which I wish to talk about today. I
also intend to speak for several hours
on the pending joint measure
concerning ownership of tidelands.
TITLE SLIDE: "April 24, 1953"
There is a purpose to prolonged
debate, even when it takes on the
features of a filibuster.
SLIDE: the clock reads 3:15
That is the purpose of arousing public
understanding and educating the public
about controversial pieces of
Morse clears his throat, coughs, and continues.
I know that the little band of
liberals who are fighting for the
public interest in preventing this
giveaway program of the people's
treasure are going to get terrible
treatment in the press. They will try
to make monsters out of us, and our
patriotism will be attacked. This
happened in the Washington Star only
last night. My colleagues may be
surprised to learn that I read a
reactionary newspaper like the
Washington Star. I find it helps me
get to sleep.
SLIDE: the clock reads 5:52
I'm glad to see my colleagues from
North Dakota have returned from
dinner. I was run out of Verdon,
South Dakota once. I was mistaken for
SLIDE: the senate clock reads 8:10
Most politicians cannot seem to look
beyond the next election; they do not
seem to be able to raise their sights
into the next century. Yet what we do
in our generation has terrific
repercusions for decades and sometimes
centuries to come - especially in the
entire field of natural resources
SLIDE: the empty Senate chambers as Morse talks on.
Historians writing a hundred years
from now will record that our
generation of Congress, by means of
the beginning made by such legislation
as that now proposed, began to write
the first chapter of the volume on the
decline of American civilization.
That is what is involved in this
SLIDE: clock reads 1:05
Let me say that someone had better
start thinking about paying off the
SLIDE: the senate clock reads 8:30
Morse stifles a yawn and talks on.
Nice to see you back this morning,
gentlemen. As I was saying before you
came in, my daughters rib me from time
to time. They will say, Dad, do you
ever get anything through the Senate?
Do you ever win any of your battles?
SLIDE: clock reads 9:11
Morse stretches while speaking and looks at the Senate
Until I got into this debate, I
thought I knew something about the
separation of powers doctrine. But I
certainly don't know anything about it
if this giveaway program is passed. I
cannot believe that it will be.
SLIDE: the Senate clock: it is 9:56.
Thank you, Mr. President. That is all
I have to say.
(SENATE LAVATORY - AFTER THE FILIBUSTER: Morse gets a
towel from the podium and moves downstage, wiping his
As I left the floor of the Senate, a
reporter asked me what I had to eat
during the past 22 hours and 26
minutes. Not a question of substance,
mind you. What I had to eat!
For the record: I had four cups of
boullion, two cups of coffee, nine
cups of tea, three cups of orange
juice and a few crackers. It
sustained me very well.
He starts out and stops.
Oh yes - another reporter asked if I
had any desire to use the men's room.
I told him, Yes, thank you, I believe
(MORSE OFFICE - WASHINGTON D.C.: Morse moves to his
desk and sets up a microphone of the era. We hear the
This is Washington.
TITLE SLIDE: "May 6, 1954"
Morse waits patiently to begin.
Direct from the nation's capital, we
present at this time as a public
service the regular weekly report of
your United States Senator Wayne
Morse. Now here is Senator Morse.
Morse goes on the air.
Fellow Oregonians. This is your
Senator Wayne Morse, reporting from
the capital at Washington. Our
country faces many serious problems
but none equals in importance or has
the potential consequences of the
dilemma of Indo-China . . .
(MORSE gets up to move behind the podium.)
I raised this issue in the Senate
before any of my colleagues were ready
to discuss it.
(SENATE PODIUM - WASHINGTON D.C.: Morse is behind
Mr. President, it is my patriotic duty
and an obligation to my own conscience
to rise and express my objection to
involving the United States in a
Chinese civil war.
TITLE SLIDE: "January 26, 1955
SLIDE: map of Formosa and area.
Now I am in favor of defending Formosa
and its nearby islands to the hilt but
we don't need the resolution before us
to do this. The President, as
Commander in Chief, has the emergency
power to take whatever defensive
action in his wise discretion is
necessary to protect the security of
the United States. But I also wish to
stress the point that under its
constitutional checking power, the
Congress has jurisdiction and
authorization to modify a course of
action followed by a President, even
when exercising his emergency powers.
The Formosa resolution would handcuff
Congress in this regard.
(MORSE OFFICE - WASHINGTON D.C. MORSE moves back into
office. He points up at the map on the slide.)
Here is Formosa, over a hundred miles
from the Red Chinese mainland. The
adjacent Pescadores islands, clearly
in the defensive sphere of Formosa.
But look here - the islands of Matsu
and Quemoy, only eight miles from the
Chinese mainland. These islands do
not threaten the security of Formosa.
Try to think like a Red Chinese for a
moment. You see the Seventh Fleet in
the Formosa Straits. You see the
United States claiming a defensive
posture with these islands only eight
miles from your mainland. It's as if
the Red Chinese would claim Cuba. So
who is the aggressor and the real
threat to peace? Who is behaving like
an international bandit? We have no
business making these unilateral
resolutions when we should be taking
the entire dilemma to the United
Nations. This is a sad time for this
(MORSE RANCH - EUGENE - DAY: Morse moves into ranch
area. He is in good spirits.
TITLE SLIDE: "February, 1955"
Morse smiles at the audience.
They say I've become the number one
target of the Eisenhower
administration! I consider that an
honor. Why? Because Dwight Eisenhower
is the most dangerous man ever to
occupy the White House! They also say
Eisenhower himself has handpicked my
opponent next year, and it's none
other than Douglas McKay, our former
governor here in Oregon -and more
recently Eisenhower's Secretary of the
Interior and a Charlie McCarthy puppet
of private monopolies. I can't wait
for the campaign to begin!
In the meantime, it's good to catch up
on chores. I've got three more Devon
cattle on their way to Oregon, from
the Mark Hammette herd, probably the
best in the country. That'll bring us
to over a dozen registered Devons
here, and a few more back in
Maryland. I grew up on a farm in
Wisconsin, and it's still the best
work there is. There's nothing like
cleaning out the barn on election day!
People are wondering which political
convention I'm going to attend. I'm
accused of doing a political dance of
the seven veils. One thing to say for
the Democrats, though, they managed to
defeat the reactionary Republicans
here in Oregon last year. But to be
honest with you, I'm not sure which
convention I'll go to. Maybe I'll have
my own. I could hold it in a phone
(MORSE RANCH - DAY: Morse moves inside. He'll sit down
and get comfortable.)
I wouldn't join the Democrats unless
I'm wanted and unless they understand
I'm not a party man, I reserve the
right to be independent no matter what
party I'm affiliated with. I'm not
sure but that I represent more people
as an Independent, that your Mr. and
Mrs. Independent Voter is the real
majority in this country. But it would
be interesting to see Eisenhower's
reaction if I returned to the Senate
as a Democrat.
Morse has to smile at this, enjoying the thought.
SLIDE: newspaper headline that morse has become a
SLIDE: Newspaper headline that Mckay has returned to
Oregon to take on Morse
SLIDE: a political cartoon about the campaign
(MORSE RANCH - ELECTION NIGHT: Morse breaks his reverie
and stands up.)
Always clean the barn out on election
SLIDE: election results showing that morse is winning
Morse is relaxed and confident, speaking to the
audience, as he rolls up his sleeves and goes outside
the ranch to work.
You know who helped me in this
campaign more than anyone? Dick
Nixon. The Vice-President came to
Oregon in September and gave poor Doug
McKay an albatross of an idea. He
said forget about the issues, it's the
votes that count. And McKay couldn't
help repeating it and making it a part
of his champaign! I said from the
beginning that the issues are
important. Tell the people how McKay
would sell the Snake River to private
monopolies, to the Idaho Power
Company, which would develop only a
fraction of its power and neglect the
irrigation and flood control potential
of a major multi-purpose dam in Hell's
Canyon - well, you give the people of
Oregon the facts and they will listen.
Poor McKay didn't even want to be in
this race. He was put up to it by the
Eisenhower gang. But I was confident
that the people of Oregon were not
about to let the White House purge
them of their Senior Senator. We rate
second in the nation in literacy here
in Oregon -give me an enlightened
people, and I'm never going to worry.
TITLE SLIDE: "December, 1959"
The phone is ringing as Morse comes back inside.
Hello? . . . No, I just got in this
afternoon. . . . In the L.A. Times?
Well, it's the first I've heard about
it. . . . They don't need my
permission in Oregon. . . . To tell
the truth, I've never given it any
thought. . . . Yes, maybe I should. .
. . Have good holidays. Goodbye.
He hangs up and calls to his wife in another part of
Midge, we appear to be running for
He dials a number.
This is Wayne. . . . Yes, I just
heard. I appreciate the vote of
confidence but between you, me, and
the fence post, I would have preferred
to stay out of it. . . . No, what's
done is done, and I'm not going to
dodge a good political fight if it's
inevitable. At the very least, I may
be able to keep Humphrey, Kennedy and
the rest honest. . . . I'm not saying
I'm angry - I'm just the last to know!
Morse begins cross to Washington office.
I could hardly refuse the challenge
when so much spontaneous support from
the grass roots demanded my candidacy.
But there certainly was a lot of work
(MORSE OFFICE - WASHINGTON D.C.: Morse arrives and
quickly starts giving dictation, thinking on his feet.)
For immediate release, et cetera.
TITLE SLIDE: "January, 1960"
Despite news reports to the contrary,
Sen. Wayne Morse is a serious
candidate for President of the United
States. For this reason, he has
entered primaries in Oregon,
Washington D.C. and Maryland, and he
will enter any other primary in this
country where sufficient political
backing justifies his running. He is
running for himself and is not a
stalking horse for Stevenson.
SLIDE: newspaper headline, Humphrey wins Washington
SLIDE: newspaper headline, Kennedy landslide in
TITLE SLIDE: "May 20, 1960"
Morse on the phone.
Bill, can you draft a statement of
congratulations to Kennedy? And
another withdrawing from the race. We
spoke to the issues. It's all we can
He hangs up and speaks to the audience.
And we did speak to the issues. You
know, I was brought up in the
political school of Bob La Folette,
who was for years a Senator in my home
state of Wisconsin. Often I've heard
him tell how many times he lost a
fight for policies that five, ten
years later, became national policy.
And that speaks to a problem in this
country, to a great cancer in American
life. It's that politicians don't
enter fights, they don't battle for
policies, unless they believe they can
win. In that sense, I'm not a
politician. Because I believe great
good can be accomplished by entering
fights and espousing policies even
though they will, at the moment, be
unsuccessful. It wakes people up. It
makes them think. And in the long
run, it brings victory to the
policies, if not to the individuals
who fight for them early on. It
demonstrates something else as well:
it demonstrates that there are
individuals in this country who don't
think and vote as organization men,
and this in turn, in time, encourages
others to act independently. So I'm
not ashamed of what we did in the
District of Columbia, or in Maryland,
or here in Oregon.
The phone rings. Morse answers it. There is a quick
change of mood.
Hello? . . . Condolences seem a little
out of hand, considering you backed
Kennedy when I could have used your
support myself. . . . Betrayal might
be a better word for it. . . . Of
course I was a serious candidate!
Morse angrily hangs up and turns back to the audience.
I'll tell you this, I don't trust Jack
Kennedy any farther than I can throw
SLIDE: the Kennedy funeral
But how quickly things can change.
(MORSE OFFICE - WASHINGTON D.C. - LATE NIGHT: Morse
sees the slide and changes into a weary, reflective
The late President and I had our
disagreements but we agreed on many
things as well. As chairman of the
education subcommittee, I'd worked
closely and agreeably with President
Kennedy on a number of important
education bills. With one exception,
President Kennedy never discussed
Vietnam with me, though I was often on
record speaking against our foreign
policy in Southeast Asia. The only
time we discussed Vietnam was during
my last conference with him, only a
few weeks before his assassination. I
was sponsoring an amendment that would
prohibit a President from making
foreign aid available to any military
junta that had overthrown a
democratically elected, constitutional
form of government. The President and
I discussed the amendment and then we
discussed the Diem regeme in South
Vietnam. I told him that I did not
believe Diem represented the South
Vietnamese people and our support of
him amounted to the creation of an
American protectorate in Vietnam, in
violation of the Geneva Accords, the
United Nations Charter, and
international law. And then President
Kennedy surprised me. "I've come to
the conclusion," he told me, "that
you're probably not wrong in your
criticism of our involvement in
Vietnam. I want you to know that I'm
in the midst of analyzing an intensive
study that concerns, in part, an
analysis of your speeches in the
Senate on Vietnam." A bit later, the
President walked with me from the Oval
Office, down the sidewalk to the
pavement within the White House
grounds, where I was to take a car.
It was a beautiful day.
Morse stops. The memory is too painful. He regains
his composure before going on.
That was my last meeting with him. I
don't know what happened to that
study. But I do know this: Vietnam
didn't disappear. Before you knew it,
Goldwater was campaigning like a
trigger-happy madman until he was
soundly defeated - and then Lyndon
Johnson was turning around and out-
(SENATE PODIUM - WASHINGTON D.C.: Morse moves behind
TITLE SLIDE: "August, 1964"
Mr. President, I don't know how many
times the Senior Senator of Oregon has
gone on record in the past decade to
distinguish between the defensive
powers of the President as Commander-
in-Chief and the constitutional
perogative of the Congress, which
alone can declare war, to check those
powers. The Gulf of Tonkin resolution
now before us gives me no choice but
to rise and speak out again.
(MORSE OFFICE - WASHINGTON D.C.: Morse hurries to
answer the phone in his office. He begins lambasting
You have no right to call yourself a
liberal! There's not a bona fide
liberal in the Senate except my
colleague from Alaska! The rest of
you are phony liberals, phraseological
liberals. You've let yourself become
jelly-bellied puppets of the
(He hangs up and turns to the audience.}
We have no way of knowing what really
happened in the Gulf of Tonkin. What
we do know is this: South Vietnamese
vessels have been shelling islands in
the north. Then what was an American
vessel doing in the area in the first
place, if not offering protection to
the South Vietnames? Is it any wonder
the North Vietnames fired on us?
Above all else, we need to determine
the facts in this case. Ignorance does
not justify giving the President the
power to make war when Congress has
not declared war! We can't win a land
war in Asia. The French tried for
eight years, at the expense of 240,000
casualties, at the expense of a
toppled government. The French dumped
the whole mess in our lap and we took
it, hook, line and sinker. Now we
find ourselves in the strangest, the
most ludicrous, most paradoxical,
inexcusable American military
operation in the history of this
He picks up the phone and dials.
Bill, Wayne. . . . I want you to
accept any speaking engagement I'm
offered. I want you to find speaking
engagements where I've never had them
before. . . . I don't care if it's a
Ladies Church Bizarre! . . . Starting
Morse returns behind the podium.
TITLE SLIDE: "Baltimore"
Foreign policy belongs to the American
people, not to the President of the
United States. Under our constitution,
all the President is is the
administrator of a people's foreign
TITLE SLIDE: "The University of New Mexico"
The American people are not well
informed about the facts concerning
our foreign policy in Asia. Fiction,
propaganda, concealment of behind-the-
scene diplomatic activities and a
shroud of government secrecy have
withheld the facts from the public.
TITLE SLIDE: "Mississippi Junior Chamber of Commerce"
The immediate, massive violations of
the Geneva Agreement - which took
France out of Indochina after World
War Two - were committed by the United
States and South Vietnam, not by North
TITLE SLIDE: "Coos Bay Lions Club"
Don't you forget, as you sit here
tonight in relative affluence,
relative security, that you're not
dying in the jungles of Asia in an
TITLE SLIDE: "United States Senate"
Mr. President, I ask unanimous consent
to put on record an article published
in the American Journal of
Orthopsychiatry called "Psychological
Habituation to War." It discusses the
techniques employed by the government
to reduce opposition to the war in
TITLE SLIDE: "Brown University"
I believe we should: one, stop the
bombing of North Vietnam; two, stop
the progressive increase of American
forces within Vietnam; three, seek a
multilateral peace table that includes
the National Liberation Front, North
Vietnam and Red China, as well as the
United States and South Vietnam.
TITLE SLIDE: "Concerned Clergy About the War in
President Johnson and his
administration have fixed the 1968
election as a major test of his
national popularity front in support
of the war. But don't forget that the
unity of the Democratic Party was
never greater and never wider than it
was in 1964, when our candidate called
the war in Vietnam one that Asians
should fight and to which American
boys should not be sent to do the job
that Asian boys should do.
Morse begins a slow cross to ranch.
SLIDE: Johnson announces he will not seek reelection
SLIDE: riots at the Democratic convention, 1968
SLIDE: Humphrey at podium as Democratic candidate
(MORSE RANCH - EUGENE: Morse gets the rake, outside.)
TITLE SLIDE: "September, 1968"
What has happened to us? What has
produced the kind of national
psychology we have in the United
States today? Are we surprised at all
the criticism being shot at us from
all around the world? Does it really
come as any surprise that we are
becoming the most feared country in
the world? I don't care if people
don't want to hear this - it's the
truth! I sometimes wonder if I'm going
at this a little too hard. But then I
think of all the men and women who
wish there were just one politician in
Washington who would speak his mind
and cast his vote honestly and freely
with only his conscience to guide
him. Maybe it's a bit brash to assume
that I'm that man, but believe me, I'm
trying to be. The hawks came after me
with guns blazing in the primary.
Every daily newspaper in Oregon
endorsed my opponent, Bob Duncan. But
we won because we gave the people of
Oregon the facts about this war. Now
we have Bob Packwood on our hands.
But this time we have an endorsement -
the Coos Bay World! That's one more
than we managed in the primary. It's a
tough campaign. Bill Berg passed
away, and I miss him. You don't have
an administrative assistant for over
two decades and not miss him. Some of
the people around me now, they'd have
me dodge the fight. No one wants me
to debate Packwood but I've never
dodged a political fight in my life.
My record speaks for itself.
(MORSE RANCH - EUGENE - NIGHT: Morse moves inside and
picks up the phone.)
TITLE SLIDE: "November, 1968"
Here's what we do about it: absolutely
I'm not going to be remembered as
someone who doesn't know how to take
defeat. I'm not asking for a recount
and I'm not drumming up charges of
election misconduct. If they want to
remember me, let them remember my
record on constitutional law and the
fifteen-odd years I've argued against
our immoral policies in Asia. We lost
and, frankly, it doesn't surprise me.
It was closer than I thought it would
He hangs up. To audience:
But don't think for a minute that I'm
going to retire. Retiring isn't a
part of my blood chemistry.
Morse makes cross to podium.
SLIDE: newspaper headlines about morse winning
Democratic primary, leading to a rematch with Packwood
SLIDE: newspaper headline, the race is too close to
SLIDE: Morse at 4th of July picnic, surrounded by
TITLE CARD: "July 4, 1974"
The struggle for peace, which is the
major crisis of our generation, is a
struggle for men's minds, rather than
for their emotions. It is a struggle
for human decency, rather than for
SLIDE: A three-legged race has begun, the 73-year-old
Morse and his young companion among its most
enthusiastic contestants. Various angles during the
race. Morse and girl are having the time of their
It involves an appeal to reason. Peace
can be won and maintained only if we
convince freedom-loving people
elsewhere in the world that rule of
reason, procedures of international
justice, and the relinquishment of
selfish interests must be substituted
in the thinking of people everywhere
for the emotional nationalism that
still dominates the world.
SLIDE: close on Morse and the girl, in the three-legged
race, one generation bound to the next
So if you asked me, Wayne Morse, name
the one thing in our country that you
think will do more to strengthen
American foreign policy in the next
half century, you might be surprised
at my reply. I would say, Do something
to protect the educational standard of
American boys and girls. Do something
to protect American brain power.
Because the only sure and lasting
defense of peace is a highly educated
and enlightened citizenry.
BLACKOUT EXCEPT FOR:
SLIDE: Close on Morse and the girl
"I am a sort of gadfly, given to the
State by the gods; and the State is a
great and noble steed who is tardy in
his motions owing to his very size,
and requires to be stirred into life.
I am that gadfly which the gods have
attached to the State, and all day
long and in all places am always
fastening upon you, arousing and
persuading and reproaching you. . . .
You think that you might easily strike
me dead . . . but then you would sleep
on for the remainder of your lives,
unless the gods in their care of you
sent you another gadfly." Socrates in
his own defense.
TITLE SLIDE: "Wayne Morse died in Portland, Oregon, on
July 22, 1974. He was seventy-three years old and
vigorously campaigning for reelection to the United