BRIAN LAMB, HOST:
Lee Edwards, author of the new book "The Life & Times of Walter Judd: Missionary for Freedom," who was Walter Judd?
Mr. LEE EDWARDS, AUTHOR, "MISSIONARY FOR FREEDOM: THE LIFE AND TIMES OF WALTER JUDD": Walter Judd was an extraordinary man, someone whose career, Brian, extended some 66 years, from 1923 to 1989. I really believe there probably isn't any other American who may have talked to as many people, been heard by as many people during those more than six decades than Walter Judd.
LAMB: Is he still alive? And if he is, how old is he?
Mr. EDWARDS: He'll be 92 on September 25th, and we're looking forward to having a birthday party and a book party for the book.
LAMB: Where is he?
Mr. EDWARDS: He's out here in Maryland in a retirement community with his wife, Miriam Judd, who is still very much active. They have been a terrific partnership and a terrific team during their--their years together as--as missionaries, really.
LAMB: Why did you write the book?
Mr. EDWARDS: Brian, I wrote the book "Missionary for Freedom" because I felt that this man's wisdom and insights into our history, into our life deserved to be read and studied today. For example, we see today a lot of people talking about isolationism, and it's time for us to perhaps draw back and to withdraw behind a fortress America. Well, Walter Judd addressed this same question in the '40s after World War II--looked at them and said, `Look, it's just not possible to withdraw, to be isolationists. We've got to reach out and not build ourselves peace and security but to organize into united nations or to other security arrangements to provide for our security. We just can't spend billions and billions of dollars, withdraw with air and sea power and expect to maintain our security. The world's too small. The world's become too interdependent for us to possibly go that way.' That was true 40 years ago and it's true today.
I also felt that it was important to tell this man's story as a politician, that it was possible for a politician to be honest and principled, and to get re-elected. It's an incredible fact, but it still is a fact that he never raised one dollar for himself during all of his campaigns. He was in Congress for some 20 years. And he never asked anyone to vote for him. All he said was, `Well, if you agree with what I say and my positions and what I believe in, then vote for me. But don't vote just for Walter Judd. Vote for what I stand in.'
I also think it's important that we have heroes in today's world, and I think that Walter Judd is a genuine hero. He's a man who stuck to principle, stuck to things that he believed in and, I think, set a model for the rest of us. And finally, I wrote the book because it's just a terrific story. I mean, there are enough death-defying feats in this book to satisfy Indiana Jones.
LAMB: I've got Publishers Weekly's review of the book and I want to read just a couple of sentences here and--and get your reaction to it. `The remarkable career of Judd, now age 92, who, after 10 adventurous years as a medical missionary in China, served for 20 years as a forceful and liberal Republican congressman from Minnesota.' This book is an alternate selection for the conservative Book of the Month Club.
Mr. EDWARDS: Mm-hmm.
LAMB: How can he be a liberal congressman from Minnesota and the conservative book club select-your-book?
Mr. EDWARDS: Right. Well, I think it's because he is and was a liberal on domestic issues and was for the GI Bill and was for increases in Social Security and increases in the minimum wage. But at the same time, in the foreign policy field, he was a very strong anti-Communist. And making him and regarding him as an anti-Communist makes him a conservative in the minds of many, many Americans. But he was both. He was both a liberal and a conservative. Actually, if you want to know what Walter Judd was, I think he was a Jeffersonian Democrat. That is to say he was for individual freedom, limited government and a strong defense.
LAMB: Where'd you first see him?
Mr. EDWARDS: Well, I think I first saw him in 1960, and--and maybe you did as well, as so many Americans did and--with his very famous keynote address in 1960 in Chicago at the Republican convention. And that was a pivotal--it was a classic bit of political oratory. And it was very important for his career, and it could have been very important for American history because the keynote address really stampeded the convention in 1960. And there were people who were saying, you know, `Judd for vice president. Judd for vice president.' And Richard Nixon, who had already gotten the nomination, had already picked his man, Henry Cabot Lodge.
Well, the voice of the people was so loud that Mr. Nixon said, `Well, maybe I've got to think about someone else.' And he called Walter Judd in and he said, `Look, Walter, it's down to two people: Cabot or yourself. Do you think that you can be a better candidate than Cabot Lodge?' And Dr. Judd, being the physician that he was, trying to be as objective and scientific about himself as he was trained to be, at the same time being trained not to talk about himself or to promote himself, said, `Well, I think that Cabot can be good in the Northeast. I think he can be good because he's an attractive figure. He's been working against the--the Soviets in the United Nations. Myself, I think I can be strong in the Midwest and the South. But really, you have to make the judgment, Dick.'
But I think--and he has said since that if he had pushed himself a little bit harder and sold himself a little bit more that Richard Nixon might very well have picked him. What would that have done? Would that have made any difference in American history? Well, as a matter of fact, Richard Nixon sent telegram to Walter Judd several years later, when neither of them were--was--was anymore in office, and said, `Walter, if I had picked you instead of Cabot, we'd both still be in Washington, DC.'
LAMB: What's so special about him?
Mr. EDWARDS: The man's integrity--absolute integrity. Would never do anything that was the slightest bit, you know, dishonest or immoral or--or off the mark. His passion--absolute passion and certainty that what he was saying was right and was what needed to be done and needed to be said. And also, he was so terrifically prepared. I mean, it--it was incredible tha--that he knew more about the foreign aid bill than not only other members of Congress but the staffers on the s--House Foreign Affairs Committee. I mean, they said that themselves. He was so well prepared and he was determined that he was going to do his homework and he did it.
LAMB: You point out in the opening of this book that Walter Judd never wrote an autobiography. Why not?
Mr. EDWARDS: He was a doer. He felt that he ought to be about the business of what he called `serving the cause.' The cause to him was freedom--not so much that he was an anti-Communist, but that he was pro-freedom. And he felt that communism during his decades, when he was in public service and even since then, was the greatest enemy of freedom around the world and particularly for the Chinese people.
LAMB: But no autobiography?
Mr. EDWARDS: We tried. We tried very hard. I and many others tried. We said, `Look, you've really got to write this book.' And he said, `I'm not a writer. I'm a rewriter. I'm a speaker. I'm a doer. I--you just can't expect me to do it.' So finally, as I say in--in the book "Missionary for Freedom," I--I finally got mad with him one day and I said, `Well, look, if you're not going to do it, I'm going to do it.' And I had known him and I had worked with him. And he said, `Well, OK.' And we set about it, and it proved to be an extraordinary challenge because, you know, a--a life of 90 years, a public career of over 60 years, nearly 70 years, there was a--a little bit of material to get through.
LAMB: And where did you do it? Did you--I mean, where did you find the material?
Mr. EDWARDS: Everywhere. Everywhere. We had to go to Stanford Univ ersity and the Hoover Institution, and plow through some 330 boxes of material there. We had to go to Minne--Minneapolis and to the Minnesota Historical Society and--to plow through the material there. We looked at various archival collections which were at universities around the country. And we also had to go to the man. I interviewed the man about 50 hours, which--it sounds like an awful lot, but with Walter Judd, that isn't a great deal because once you get him talking, it's hard to get him stopping. And we found that there was always one more thing that came up. We ran across material that he had saved from his days as a student in the 1920s.
LAMB: What was the most interesting period for you?
Mr. EDWARDS: In writing about his life?
Mr. EDWARDS: I think probably his years in China in terms of interest, in terms of its importance to the country and to the world, certainly his--his years in Congress. But interesting--it was his adventures of coming to the--what they call the `Middle Kingdom' in 1925 for the first time, being under the nationalist Chinese, being under the bandits, being under the Japanese. That was an extraordinary period when he was able and how he went about getting his--his release from the Japanese in 1938.
LAMB: Let's go back. Where was he born?
Mr. EDWARDS: Born in Rising City, Nebraska--a small town, about 500. Little farming town in the middle of the--of the prairies. His father owned a lumber yard there in--in Rising City. This was 1898. Grew up, went to school there in a little o--one-room schoolhouse in Rising City with his brothers and sisters. And then decided that he wanted to go off to college and become a medical missionary--actually become a missionary first and then to go as a medical missionary. And finally settled upon China because he felt that that was where the needs were the greatest and the workers were the few. There were so few medical missionaries, so few medical doctors in China in the 1920s so that's where he wanted to go. He was very much inspired by David Livingstone, Dr. Livingstone, the famous explorer and missionary, and what he had done in Africa. And he hoped to emulate him in some small fashion in China.
LAMB: Where'd he go to med school?
Mr. EDWARDS: He went to Nebr--Nebraska Medical School.
LAMB: How did h--how did he get to Minnesota?
Mr. EDWARDS: Well, he felt that although he was born in Nebraska that the best medical school for him was there in Nebraska, there in Omaha. And that's where his older sister had also gone, so he wanted to go there as well. So this was a man who really was of the Midwest, of that--of the great rolling prairies of the Midwest, sort of in the--in the Borah and the William Jennings Bryan and the Hubert Humphrey tradition as well. He was an interesting man in contrasting and--and combining really that Midwestern populism, but also a New England discipline and steadfastness. That's because his forebearers went all the way back to the Pilgrims of the Massachusetts Bay Colony.
LAMB: Go back to the--the Chinese experience and the--being a missionary. How long did he live in China?
Mr. EDWARDS: Well, he first lived there from 1925 to 1931 as a medical missionary in the south of China, up in the hills in a little town named Shouwu. He was there for six years, but then had to leave. He would have stayed for the rest of his life perhaps, but he had to leave because he had so many attacks of malaria that, finally, he almost died--literally, died of malaria. He had 44 different attacks of malaria. Left in '31, came back to the States and then decided he needed a little bit more to do in terms of learning how to be a surgeon. He had performed so many operations when he'd had to, when he really wanted to know more about the art of surgery. So he picked the Mayo Clinic. The Mayo Clinic didn't want him. The Mayo Clinic said, `Well, you're awfully old, Dr. Judd,' you know. `Usually we take students right out of medical school.' He said, `I think I know what your problem is.' He was talking to the admissions office there. `You think that I won't perhaps be willing to get down and take the urine samples.' He said, `I'll do anything if you'll just let me in here to the Mayo Clinic.'
He was there for a couple of years in residency, got a scholarship, was among the highest grades of trying to get into--into the Mayo Clinic. And then the call came again from his church, the Congregationalist Church, `Would you like to be a medical missionary again?' but in the north, not in the south where he would, again, have been much too prone to get malaria. And he said, `Yes.' He dropped what would have been, I'm sure, a very successful career because he always felt himself to be a missionary.
LAMB: Is he a minister?
Mr. EDWARDS: He's not a minister, no.
LAMB: What's the difference between a medical missionary and a minister then?
Mr. EDWARDS: A medical missionary would be someone who was sent by a church to run a particular hospital or clinic or other compound. But, of course, you combine that sort of Christian approach to medicine and to care, and that sort of imbues all that you do. And--and a--when he was there in Phensho, in north China from 1934 to 1938 there was not only a hospital, but there were also--were schools and there also was a--a church. And they trained Chinese to become pastors, to move out around and to carry the gospel of--of Christ to the people of China in that part of--of the country.
LAMB: So he went back for four years?
Mr. EDWARDS: Yes.
LAMB: Why didn't he stay?
Mr. EDWARDS: Well, he didn't stay because in 1937 the Japanese invaded China and he had a choice to make: Should he stay or should he go back with his family? He was married to Miriam, of course, by this time. In 1937, he had two children--two girls--two and four. And Miriam was pregnant with their third daughter. Well, I don't know whether it was a daughter or a son, but their third child.
And when the Japanese invaded and began moving west towards Phensho from Beijing he said, `I'm going to get the family out,' and they went all the way down by train to Hangchow trying to get out. This is in about September of 1937. But the streets--it was like a scene out of "Casablanca." The foreign--foreigners were there trying to get out of Hangchow. The city was being bombed by the Japanese--biplanes coming in and bombing it. People were trying to get out. There were only two or three planes every week leaving. They were there for several weeks trying to get tickets on this one last--or perhaps one of the last planes to leave Hangchow.
Finally, he was able to do so, put his wife--pregnant wife Miriam, the two children on the plane, waved goodbye. Was never sure that he would see them again. He went back up north to Phensho, feeling that as a missionary, as much as he loved his wife and his children and his family, that his obligation was to the mission and to those some 1,000 Christians who were still there in Phensho, which were his responsibility.
LAMB: Then what happened?
Mr. EDWARDS: Well, that was in the fall of 1937. The Japanese kept coming west and they took the city in February of 1938. So from February until July of 1938 he was a prisoner, in effect, of the--of the Japanese who had taken this old city of Phensho in north China.
LAMB: What impact did that have on him in his po--political beliefs?
Mr. EDWARDS: He felt that the Japanese had to be understood. He felt, as he got to know them more and to talk with them, that it was important to show strength against the Japanese; that if you gave in to them that they would take advantage of that. And so he became determined and--and began praying and--and desperately seeking ways to get out of Phensho and to get back to this country and to warn the American people about what the Japanese might very well do to us because he had saw that they were able to take over this large country, China--you know, 400 million people at the time. And he was--he was fearful that Americans would not understand that Japan could be a very formidable adversary for us as well. But yet he stayed there month after month after month. There was no rescue in sight, no way of--of leaving. How was he going to get out of Phensho?
And finally, one day, as I recount in my book, a Korean interpreter came to him and said, `The general--the commanding general--the Japanese commanding general wants to see you, but he wants to see you at night and privately.' And he said, `Well, of course. I'll be happy to.' Doesn't have to, but he wants to--he wants to do it in private. He came the next night and the general--this very proud Japanese general said to Dr. Judd, this foreigner,this barbarian, if you will, `I have a venereal disease. I don't dare go to my own doctors, because if I do, they will have to report it. That will be a disgrace to me and to my family. Will you cure me? Will you treat me?'
And Dr. Judd, feeling that although this man was a Japanese, although he had done these terrible things to the Chinese people in the course of the war, raping and pillaging, but he was a man who needed his help as a doctor. And so he auto--and he had taken, of course, the Hippocratic oath. So he treated him over the next several weeks for this venereal disease and was able to cure him, and nothing more was said at that time. Several days passed, the Korean came back and he said, `Is there something that--that the general can do for you? Would you like to see your family?' And Dr. said--Judd said, `Of course. Yes, I would like to very, very much.' And the Japanese general gave him a pass out of Phensho, back to Beijing and back home.
LAMB: Then what?
Mr. EDWARDS: He had a choice. What should he do? He was 40 years old. He had a family to take care of--three children, as he found out, including a young--a third young daughter. `Well, what should I do? Should I try to go back to my medical practice and to my medical career or should I try to warn the American people about what might very well be coming?' And he determined, again as a missionary in this sense of mission, this sense of a cause that he had to follow, that the important thing for him to do was sort of put aside the medical career fr--and the medical practice, and to go out and carry the message of what Japan might very well do to America, to the American people.
And so for the next two years he made 1,400 speeches. I don't think anybody--even a Gary Hart or a Jimmy Carter or a Ronald Reagan ever made as many speeches over such a short period of time. And he had a very simple message. He said, `Look, I'm not saying that we have to have a military invasion or military incursion of Japan. All I'm saying is let's stop giving them the wherewithal, the means to build them up. Let's stop trading with them, stop giving Japan the wherewithal, the sinews of war, if you will, to fight us. That's all.' And as he said over and over again, `Give up silk stockings now or your sons later.'
Unfortunately, as we know, his warnings were not heeded. We kept treating--although there was something of an embargo, which finally, in 1940, under President Roosevelt, did come up. By this time, he felt that he had done the best that he could do. He took up his medical practice in Minneapolis and it was there in--December 7th of 1941 that the war s--of course, he learned about the war being started in--in Pearl Harbor. People came to him and said, `Look, you--you know, you were right. You were right about the possibility of our going to war with Japan. And we didn't think that those people sitting on those volcanic islands would--would attack us. But they have. Well, we'd like you to run for Congress.' And he said, `Well, that's crazy. I never thought, you know, about being a congressman, about being publ--I'm a doctor. I may be a missionary, but I'm--I'm not a--someone who should go to Congress.'
But they kept pressing him. Finally, they said, `Look, you keep telling us about what our mission is and what we should be doing, what our public duty is, and yet, you won't follow your own public duty which we say is for you to run for Congress.' So he did.
LAMB: Was that a partisan call?
Mr. EDWARDS: It--he ran against a Republican in the Republican primary, a very famous name, Youngdahl, in Minnesota politics and--and beat him, to everybody's surprise. But that wonderful conviction of his, that passion, that certainty which he had and this ability he had to talk about what was going on over there in Asia--because there are very few people this time, Brian, who knew much about Asia, who knew much about Japan or China or the Far East. He truly was an expert at a time when there were very few.
LAMB: Again, during this period, what set him off as being so special? You mentioned he made 1,400 speeches. Was he a good orator?
Mr. EDWARDS: He was a wonderful orator. He was a wonderful orator because he marshaled his facts. As I say, he spoke with this utter certainty that what he was saying was the truth and ought to be heard. He also had a facility for using phrases which would impact on the people. For example, in testimony before the House and the Senate in '38 and '39--they--they heard about his speechmaking and they brought him down there to testify. He called the war between China and Japan a totalitarian war, a total war, which was probably one of the first times that that phrase was ever used.
Later on, when he was talking about communism, he was the first public official to refer to communism as a cancer--these sort of, you know, very vivid phrases. Or he would say that, in--in our--during the Cold War, in our--our protracted conflict, if you will, with the Communists, that they wanted us to play on our 50th, our--our side of the 50-yard line; never wanted us to advance. He also said, for example, that the Communists were like any quarterback. They were always practicing deception--power and deception, just like a football game. So he was able to use these very, very homely similes and metaphors to get the people's attention, and they--they--these vivid images would stay in people's minds for--for decades.
LAMB: We've got a picture here of Walter Judd with Barry Goldwater. And the reason--it's the most vivid picture of--and if we get a close-up of Walter Judd, you see that his face was scarred...
Mr. EDWARDS: Mm-hmm.
LAMB: ...with a lot of cancer.
Mr. EDWARDS: Yes. Yeah.
LAMB: How long did he live with that?
Mr. EDWARDS: It's--it's extraordinary that--when he was 19 years old and a student--undergraduate student at the University of Nebraska, he had a very bad case of acne and he went to a doctor and said, `Look, can you clear up this acne?' And was very self-conscious about it and he wanted to date and go out with the girls, but he had this very bad acne. And this doctor said, `Well, there's a new cure that we've just run across.' This would have been about 1917--yes. `It's called X-rays.' And he exposed Dr. Judd's face without any protection to X-rays. Well, as a result of that, for several weeks of treatment, his face swelled up, became red. And, of course, when it dried, that--his face was just, you know, ravaged, like--like a prune face, really--like a prune face.
And it had killed, in the process, not only the acne, but many cells throughout the entire skin so that, some 10 or 15 years later, when he was in China, a cancer appeared here (points to lip) and then they had to take it out by surgery. And so, for the rest of his life, for some 50, almost 60 years now, he has had twice a year operations, either with laser or with surgery, to take away this--this skin cancer. And he just accepts it. Says, `Well, you know, that's just the way things are,' and just goes on about his business.
LAMB: It never spread beyond the face?
Mr. EDWARDS: Never spread beyond the face. No.
LAMB: Any--and he's--and he's had these operations twice a year since--since he was 19 years old?
Mr. EDWARDS: Well--since the 1930s and 1940s.
LAMB: Did it have any impact on his political career?
Mr. EDWARDS: He felt self-conscious about it, as you might--as you might suspect, with this, you know, rather unattractive f--face. And yet he determined that he was either going to be someone who would just sort of sit back and hide in a room or else he was going to just sort of overcome that, again, through this force of this personality, this conviction, this passion, this mission which he felt that he must carry out.
So it didn't have any effect, really, on his career--only this effect, I think, Brian, that he felt--again, going back to this period of 1960, we're talking about, between Cabot Lodge and Walter Judd--he felt that maybe, as a vice presidential candidate, that the cancer-ravaged face might offend certain people seeing it on television. And so he did--didn't talk about this, but it was very much on his mind as what kind of a candidate would he be nationally. But, as we know, it didn't make any difference on the keynote address. It hasn't made any difference on all the various other addresses and speeches and talks and debates which he's conducted for--for more than 60 years.
LAMB: The name of the book is "The Life & Times of Walter Judd: Missionary for Freedom." And our guest is the author of this book, Lee Edwards.
Lee Edwards, you're writing a column for the Boston Globe?
Mr. EDWARDS: Yes, I am. Mm-hmm.
LAMB: About what?
Mr. EDWARDS: Everything: politics, history, foreign affairs, domestic affairs, whatever they want me to write about. I'm also teaching here in Washington, DC, at Catholic University of America. And in my--my spare time, I'm a--I'm a senior editor of The World & I magazine.
LAMB: When did you start in politics in your own life?
Mr. EDWARDS: Well, that's hard to--to figure out because of my father, who was a journalist for the Chicago Tribune. Came here to Washington when I was a baby and so I grew up in a political atmosphere.
LAMB: Willard Edwards.
Mr. EDWARDS: Willard Edwards, right. And he was a very fine journalist--very fine. Covered politics, covered the White House, covered Congress, covered political conventions, covered political campaigns for presidents from Roosevelt through Nixon. My fath--my mother was also involved in politics in the Republican Party. And as a re--I didn't really have much of a choice. I almost had to be a Republican involved in politics.
LAMB: What did she do in politics?
Mr. EDWARDS: Well, she was involved with the League of Republican Women, both nationally and both--and here in Washington, DC.
LAMB: What was your first job in politics?
Mr. EDWARDS: My first job in politics was as press secretary to John Marshall Butler of Maryland, United States senator. I was his press secretary for some three years.
LAMB: And then what?
Mr. EDWARDS: Well, then I decided that I wanted to do a little PR. I did that for about a year. And then a man named Barry Goldwater came along. I sort of liked him. I had known him when I was press secretary in the Senate a little bit; admired him tremendously. And so starting in 1963 and in 1964 I worked in his campaign.
LAMB: At some point in your background there was the Committee of One Million.
Mr. EDWARDS: Yes. Yes, there was. Around 1967 Walter Judd had been the chairman of the Committee of One Million from its founding in 1953. And I had an opportunity to become the secretary and to work with Walter Judd, which I did, through the--the next several years, during the--the final years of the Committee of One Million, and then with a new committee which Dr. Judd founded called the Committee for a Free China.
I should say, Brian, that the--the Committee of One Million was an extraordinary--maybe the first special-interest group in American politics, founded in 1953 by Walter Judd with the help of a man named George Meany, who was head of the AFL at that time--later on, AFL-CIO--and also with the head of--head--help of the American Legion. And these organizations and such people as George Marshall, former secretary of state, some very prominent bankers and lawyers and Arthur Schlesinger Sr.--not Jr.--founded the Committee of One Million against the admission of Communist China to the United Nations, the idea being that we should not reward Communist China for its aggression in the Korean War by bringing it into the United Nations.
LAMB: It wasn't successful.
Mr. EDWARDS: The committee was successful for 18 years, from 1953 to 1971. Then, finally, in 1971, Richard Nixon--again, a part of this story--sent a mixed signal. On the one hand, he told our ambassador at the United Nations to maintain the membership of the Republic of China--Taiwan, as it's more commonly known--in the United Nations. By the way, our ambassador was a man named George Bush, now President Bush.
LAMB: At the UN.
Mr. EDWARDS: At the UN. So while Ambassador Bush was fighting for the Republic of China over here, Mr. Nixon sent Henry Kissinger to China to arrange for his--Nixon's historic visit to China the following year. These
mixed signals were read by the members of the United Nations as an indication that the United States cared more about The People's Republic of China than the Republic of China. And so they voted for the expulsion, in effect, of the Republic of China from the United Nations, where it had been an original member since 1945.
LAMB: By the way, was Taiwan free? Did they have a democracy? Did they vote?
Mr. EDWARDS: At that time?
Mr. EDWARDS: At that time they didn't--they had an authoritarian form of government under--under Chiang Kai-shek, but it was becoming liberalized; it was becoming democratized. And I might say that I think that Chiang Kai-shek, who is a great hero of Walter Judd's, has not gotten, I think, a proper appreciation by historians and by political scientists in this--in this country.
It was through Chiang Kai-shek and what he was able to establish on the island of Taiwan which made possible the kind of democratization and liberalization which you have today. Chiang Kai-shek said that you must have a period of what he called `political tutelage'--this is taking it right from Sun Yat-sen--before you can move from a non-democratic to a democratic society. And it was under his ability, first, to establish an economic base,
to have prosperity, then to move gradually from that period of non-democratization to democratization, what he called `political tutelage,' which is precisely what's happened.
LAMB: Who was Sun Yat-sen?
Mr. EDWARDS: Sun Yat-sen was the founder of the Republic of China in 1911, responsible for the overthrow of the Manchu dynasty after nearly three centuries.
LAMB: G--go through the numbers a--and the dates on this. When did China become Communist?
Mr. EDWARDS: 1949.
Mr. EDWARDS: It became Communist because Mao Tse-tung beat Chiang Kai-shek, the nationalist Chinese, at the end of a civil war, which began in 1945 to 1949. There's a great debate, of course, Brian, as you know, that--you know: Who lost China? It's a good question, and I think it's an important question. And I think what we have to say is that a major factor in the defeat of Chiang Kai-shek was not only his own conduct, his own inability or unwillingness, if you will, to handle a certain amount of corruption around him; he, himself, was a--very straightforward, a man of rectitude, a man of--of civility, someone who did not personally engage in corruption, but there was some around him.
But I think what happened was the Chinese people were so worn out after four years of a civil war, which had followed eight years of war between China and Japan from 1937 to 1945, that finally Chinese Communists--when they promised peace to the Chinese people, they said, `OK, we'll go that route.' But certainly a factor in it was a determination by the US government to side with the Chinese Communists rather than with the nationalist Chinese. And Walter Judd fought against that.
Why did he fight against it? I mean, you might ask yourself, you know, `Why is China important?' Well, Dr. Judd always used to like to say this; that if you look at Asia, that China is the pond, the Middle Kingdom, the center of Asia. And all the other countries are fingers that come off it.' We're talking about Korea or Japan or Vietnam or Thailand or the Philippines or what have you. And he said, `As long as China is under a non-beligerent government, one which is friendly to the West and to the cause of freedom, we don't have to worry about Asia. We don't have to worry about these fingers.'
Well, of course, he realized that with China Communist in 1950 and with Korea here, it's quite possible that some terrible things could happen in the Peninsula of Korea. And in--matter of fact, in January of 1950, Walter Judd predicted--predicted that South Korea would be overrun. It would not have been overrun, there is good reason to believe, if China had not been Communist; had been in the hands of a non-Communist government.
LAMB: How many years was he a member of Congress, Dr. Walter Judd?
Mr. EDWARDS: He was a member of Congress for 20 years, from 1943 to 1962.
LAMB: He quit or t--tried to quit...
Mr. EDWARDS: He tried to quit.
LAMB: ...at one point.
Mr. EDWARDS: Tried to quit--wanted to quit, said he was going to quit. And then this extraordinary outpouring of telegrams and letters from Republicans and Democrats and people in high places and not-so-high places came pouring in, said, `You've got to reconsider. We need you.'
LAMB: What year was that?
Mr. EDWARDS: This was 1962. And probably one of the most important telegrams--as a matter of fact, he got two telegrams or two letters from a man named Dwight David Eisenhower who really wanted him to run again. And as a little--little parenthetical thought here, it just shows to me the extent to which Eisenhower was a man very much involved in the fortunes of the Republican Party, in politics. Two years after he was out of office as president, he was still concerned about who was going to run for Congress from Minneapolis.
As a result of that, Walter Judd decided to run again knowing, in all likelihood, that he would be defeated because the district had been gerrymandered by the Minnesota Legislature. And many of the so-called Democratic-F--Farmer-Labor party people were now in his district, the DFL, whereas they had not been there before. He knew it would be a very, very tough race in any event for him to win. He gave it his best. It was a very close race; he lost 52 to 48 which is not bad.
Mr. EDWARDS: He won--he won in his own--his own district--his old district, he won. But with the new people coming in providing about a 6,000-vote margin for his Democratic DFL opponent.
LAMB: And he lost to?
Mr. EDWARDS: A man named Donald Fraser, who went on to become, as I said, a congressman and then tried to run for the Senate and who is now mayor of Minneapolis.
LAMB: What, in your opinion, distinguished his 20 years in the United States Congress?
Mr. EDWARDS: I think the most important thing was the role which he played in bringing this country out of its isolationist mode and the Republican Party out of its isolationist stance; that he was one of those rare people, like Arthur Vandenberg in the Senate. I think that Walter Judd was a comparable figure in the House, who saw that we were now in an interdependent world and isolationism was no longer possible. And so through his good offices and through his arguments and through his rhetoric and through his marshaling of facts, he was able to get, for example, the Republican Party to support things like the Truman Doctrine, the Marshall Plan, NATO, the World Health Organization, the Voice of America, a great variety of--of initiatives.
As a matter of fact, it is said--and I've looked into this pretty carefully--that he was able in the '50s to control--I wouldn't say really to control, but to--influence is a better word--to influence about 125 votes in the House of Representatives all by him--if he would go one way, about 80 Republicans and about 45 Democrats would go the same way. And for any one man, who was never a chairman of any committee, to have that much influence, it's a measure of the man.
And I think, again, in 1961, he was voted by his Republican colleagues as the man they most admired in the House of Representatives. And then when both sides asked who were the most influential members of the House and of the Senate, leaving aside the--the--the Senate majority leader and the--the--the speaker of the House, there were 10 men--all men, at least in those days--10 men named. He was the only Republican who was named as among--being among the most influential.
LAMB: You suggest in your book that he had a rather large ego.
Mr. EDWARDS: Yes, he did. And I think you have to have a large ego if you're going to stand up to what the--the conventional wisdom is, as he did time and time again. And when he was talking about--well, for example, in 1966, there were a bunch of specialists in China affairs who testified before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, and they said--this was in March of 1966--that, `Now is the time to recognize Communist China. Now is the time to realize that we have to be practical and realize that the Communists are in control and are running things and let's recognize them,' including John K. Fairbank, the very famous sinologist up at Harvard.
Well, Dr. Judd got up there and testified against that conventional wisdom, saying, `That's not necessarily the case. There are some signs of unrest. There are some signs of disquiet among the--the people of that regime.' Four months later the cultural revolution began and tore up China for 10 years. I think you have to have a fairly strong ego to go against the grain, as he did time and time again, but was proven right rather often.
LAMB: Does that...
Mr. EDWARDS: I don't...
LAMB: Does that word `ego' also translate into testy or difficult to deal with?
Mr. EDWARDS: Well, I would say that Dr. Judd was and is not difficult to deal with, but he is a perfectionist. He's a man who insists upon things being right, being correct, being factually proper. And I'm-- sort of waiting in fear and dread for him to find a mistake on page 238 that, `You misspelled so and so's name.' And I probably did. One measure of this man's search for perfection is that after he would make a speech on the floor--they are given--congressmen--senators and congressmen--the right to revise and their remarks. But he would go over to the government printing office and check line by line, word for word, to make sure that what it said was what he had said. And even, maybe, to fix up the grammar a little bit because he had this--this obsession, if you will, with perfection and being absolutely correct.
LAMB: Are you happy and is he happy with the way Taiwan has developed?
Mr. EDWARDS: Oh, yes. Oh, yes. It's a...
LAMB: Free country today?
Mr. EDWARDS: Yes. It's an extraordinary story. It really is. It's one of the great success stories. And he's proud because he had some small part in it, not only because of things like foreign aid and trying to protect it through it--its membership at the United Nations, but I think he's probably proudest of something called the Joint Rural Reconstruction Commission, which he was responsible for back in--in 1948. This was a joint commission--US-China, in those days as we called it, US-China--in which there were five members running it: three Chinese and two Americans. Majority was given to the Chinese, not to the Americans.
And these five men would oversee the programs coming from the United States--in effect, foreign aid--not only for rural redevelopment, but for education and health and many other things through the years. And this is a model, it seems to me, which we should look at and consider in terms of how we administer our foreign-aid program.
If you're talking about his contributions, Brian, I think that we could learn a great deal today still about what to do with our foreign aid. For example, wh--how should we handle the question of foreign aid to Eastern Europe or to the Soviet Union? Dr. Judd always used to say, `Look, it's not a question of giving them as much foreign aid as they want or even as much as they need, but how much they can handle. What are they able to absorb and to use properly?'
And there's this tendency, you know, today, `Well, I'll just take a couple of billion dollars and just pour it into Poland or to Czechoslovakia or even to the Soviet Union.' Well, that's not the right way to go and look at it in foreign--I think these kinds of--of ways that he has of looking at foreign aid and many other things, as well, make him as pertinent and appropriate for today's world as for the world that he dominated when he was a congressman.
LAMB: After he left Congress in the early '60s, what did he do?
Mr. EDWARDS: Well, he called it `retirement.'
LAMB: He was in his 70s?
Mr. EDWARDS: Well, he was 64 when he actually retired.
LAMB: Born in '98?
Mr. EDWARDS: '98--1898. And for you and for me, I mean, his version of retirement would--would put us probably in the hospital. He decided that he was--he had been a medical missionary in China, he had been a political missionary in the Congress and now he was going to be a missionary at large to the nation and, particularly, to the young people. So he began speaking, particularly on campuses, about freedom, what it requires and what it demands from--from young people and from all people if it's going to be maintained. In 1965--a whole new career; he became a radio commentator. And there may even be some listeners who remember that from 1965 to 1970 he had a daily radio commentary, five minutes, which eventually was carried on 1,000 radio stations. It was the largest public-affairs commentary program of its time.
LAMB: And that was up until 1970.
Mr. EDWARDS: 1970, right.
LAMB: Then what? We've got 20 years in between there.
Mr. EDWARDS: He then kept speaking to campuses. He kept going with the--first, the Committee of One Million, then the-- Committee for a Free China because he felt that there should be maintained the right kind of political and--as well as economic and social relations between the US and the Republic of China. He kept writing for the Reader's Digest. He was a contributing editor for the Reader's Digest throughout most of the 1970s.
One of his last articles is one of my favorites. It's called `Everyone is for Economy Without the Me.' And his point was that we're all for, you know, doing away with government programs or government spending as long as it doesn't affect me. I think that probably his reaching out to young people, to his saying that, `Look, you have one life to lead. What kind of life are you going to lead? Are you just going to settle back and be concerned only about yourself? Or are you going to use your talents to help this country and to preserve the freedom which this country has had for this generation, for generations to come?'
LAMB: Did you ever total up how much money he raised for the Committee of One Million and its successor organization?
Mr. EDWARDS: It was always a nickel-dime organization. That's very, very funny. The people think of, you know, the China lobby as being this gigantic organization that is somehow threatening people to go a particular way in terms of its policy. It never raised more than $100,000 in any one year until its last year.
But what it really had behind it was the conviction of people like--like a George Meany or a Senator Paul Douglas or an Arthur Schlesinger or George Marshall or many, many others who felt that the best way to preserve the--the freedom for the Chinese people was to keep that hope of freedom alive in the Republic of China. I think this is becoming more and more true because we're seeing a tendency now between Taiwan, if you will--Republic of China--and mainland China to come together. Some of those barriers are coming down and some very interesting things are happening in terms of an exchange between them. I think the day may come when we will see freedom return to the mainland China.
LAMB: Do you think that the decision to allow China in the UN proved out to be a positive decision? And in that vote...
Mr. EDWARDS: Mm-hmm.
LAMB: ...what was our position on it?
Mr. EDWARDS: Our position was against--was against it.
LAMB: H--do you remember how close that vote was?
Mr. EDWARDS: It was fairly close. It was probably about 15 votes--about...
LAMB: And in retrospect, was that a wise decision by the UN?
Mr. EDWARDS: I think it was--what should have happened was to go with the two-China policy, which was what I--in all fairness, I should say that what the Nixon administration was trying to do, was trying to have a two-China policy at that time; was to have both the People's Republic and the Republic of China in as--as members. That's what they were trying for. But it wasn't realistic because--as I said before, because Nixon was tipping it too much towards the People's Republic of China and mainland China with his policy.
I think, in retrospect, it shows that the resiliency of the Chinese people is absolutely extraordinary; that they were able to come back from that--from losing their seat in the United Nations to keep going ahead. And then in 1979, when Jimmy Carter made the--I think, the absolute, totally unnecessary and bonehead decision to derecognize the Republic of China--it was just totally unnecessary. I think he paid for that in some case in 1980 with his defeat.
LAMB: This is a picture at The Willard Hotel...
Mr. EDWARDS: Mm-hmm.
LAMB: ...90th birthday celebration of Walter Judd.
Mr. EDWARDS: Mm-hmm.
LAMB: Is he still on his feet...
Mr. EDWARDS: Yes, he is.
LAMB: ...and--and active?
Mr. EDWARDS: Mm-hmm. I've spent a couple of hours with him, not too long ago, talking about things, including the book. And earlier this year we--we talked for several days about this book. And it--it's an extraordinarily inspiring thing to see this man still looking, in a sense, back at his career and feeling that it has been justified. I say in the book there I think an extraordinary thing happened.
In May of 1989, when people were very, very excited about the democracy movement in China, the goddess of liberty and what was happening in Tiananmen Square--as a matter of fact, C-SPAN televised a program of the ethics and Public Policy Center, which they were talking about: What is the future? This was mid-May of 1989, about two weeks before the massacre at Tiananmen Square. Everybody was very optimistic. And Dr. Judd, who was not formally on the program, stood up and said, `Well, excuse me. I share your happiness for this day, but I'm a little bit concerned. We must remember that the Chinese Communists are still running the government. It is still a Communist regime. I still worry at night. I still see the possibility of there being a violent reaction.' He said, `I see the possibility of tanks rolling through the streets of Beijing.'
Well, of course, that's precisely what happened two weeks later, and he had that ability to see realistically. It wasn't what people wanted to hear. You know, the conventional wisdom where everything was going to be fine; that the--the students were going to be able to bring about democracy and freedom somehow. But here was the realist looking at things, scientifically, objectively and seeing the possibility of there being terror and there being a massacre.
Then two months later, in July, after Tiananmen Square, speaking here in Washington, DC, to some students, he got up and said, `I'm encouraged by the events in Tiananmen Square.' Everybody sort of--you know, `What--what is it? You know, has this--this guy sort of, you know, lost it? Wh--why is he saying that?' He said, `I am encouraged because communism has been revealed for what it is. That it's not Chinese. It is truly barbarian. It failed on its promises to deliver freedom and land and rice to the people of China.' He said, `I feel that sometime, although as terrible as that event was in Tiananmen Square, that there will be other Tiananmen Squares, that the Chinese people will finally rise up, perhaps in this decade, and cast off--cast off communism.'
LAMB: He also said he's not big on President Gorbachev.
Mr. EDWARDS: Skeptical. Skeptical. He said, `Look, containment has worked very nicely for 40 years: kept the peace; preserved freedom in many, many countries around the world. Let's not just, you know, get rid of it right away.' He said, `Yes, there are some wonderful things which have happened. But not only should we allow--or should Mr. Gorbachev and the Communists allow elections in Eastern Europe, but let's truly allow them elections in the Soviet Union and let's go one step beyond that. If we really want to be no longer concerned about communism, let us have them finally renounce world socialization as a goal. As long as Gorbachev says that he's a Leninist'--and he's said that many, many times and he keeps saying it--`then he still is someone that we should not sit down with and think that he's a--you know, a Richard Daley of--of Chicago and some kind of Democrat that we can reason with. He's not out of that same tradition. He's something different.'
LAMB: About out of time. What are then the big lessons from Walter Judd's life?
Mr. EDWARDS: That it's possible to be a man of principle. It's possible to be a man of honesty. It's possible to stick to your principles and to be a success, whether you're talking about being in politics, talking about being a
missionary or just being an ordinary human being. And I think that that--that kind of truly American way of looking at life, of sticking to your principles, of hewing to them, which I think makes him an inspiration for young and old for now and I think for generations to come.
LAMB: This is the book. It's written by Lee Edwards, who teaches school at Catholic University, writes a column for the Boston Globe and wrote this book, which is "Missionary for Freedom: The Life & Times of Walter Judd."
Thank you for joining us.
Mr. EDWARDS: Thank you very much, Brian.
Copyright National Cable Satellite Corporation 2004. Personal, noncommercial use of this transcript is permitted. No commercial, political or other use may be made of this transcript without the express permission of National Cable Satellite Corporation.