Dodd Report


I finally got around to reading the report Dodd submitted to the Reece Committee in 1954, only to find to my surprise that it was a mere 16 pages long. On top of this, the report is clear, concise and very significant. It has left me scratching my head as to whether Dodd had read Gaither’s report from 1949.

Starting with the definitions put forward by Dodd:

DEFINITIONS

These studies also enabled me to settle upon the following definitions:

Foundations-Those organizations resulting from the capitalization of the desire on the part of an individual, or a group of individuals, to divert his or their wealth from private use to public purpose .

Un-American and Subversive -Any action having as its purpose the alteration of either the principle or the form of the United States Government by other than constitutional means . (This definition is derived from a study of this subject made by the Brookings Institute at the request of the House Un-American Activities Committee .)

Political -Any action favoring either a candidacy for public office, or legislation or attitudes normally expected to lead to legislative action.

Propaganda -Action having as its purpose the spread of a particular doctrine or a specifically identifiable system of principles. (In use this word has come to infer half-truths, incomplete truths, as well as techniques of a covert nature .

 

I think we know where this is going. Dodd then begins the salvo:

FOUNDATION CRITICISMS .

Our studies indicated very clearly how and why a critical attitude could have developed from the assumption that Foundations operating within the sphere of education had been guilty of favoritism in making their grants. After having analyzed responses relating to this subject from nearly 1,000 colleges in the United States, it became evident that only a few have participated in the grants made.

However, when the uniqueness of the projects supported by Foundations was considered, it became understandable why institutions such as Columbia, Harvard, Chicago and the University of California had received monies in amounts far greater than had been distributed to others . Originally, scholars capable of handling these unique subjects were few . Most of them were members of these seemingly favored institutions .

Now that these subjects no longer appear to be regarded as unique and sufficient time has elapsed within which to train such competent specialists, the tendency of Foundations to distribute grants over a wider area has become noticeable .

The purported deterioration in scholarship and in the techniques of teaching which, lately, has attracted the attention of the American public, has apparently been caused primarily by a premature effort to reduce our meagre knowledge of social phenomena to the level of an applied science .

[…]

Confronted with the foregoing seemingly justifiable conclusions and with the task of assisting the Committee to discharge its duties as set forth in H. Res. 217, within the seventeen month period, August 1, 1953-December 31, 1954, it became obvious to me that it would be impossible to perform his task if the staff were to concentrate on the internal practices and the grant-making policies of Foundations themselves . It also became obvious that if the staff was to render the service for which it had been assembled, it must expose those factors which were common to all Foundations, and reduce them to terms which would permit their effects to be compared with the purposes set forth in Foundation charters, the principles and the form of the United States Government, and the means provided by the Constitution for altering either these principles or this form.

In addition, these common factors would have to be expressed in terms which would permit a comparison of their effects with the activities and interests connoted by the word “political”, and also with those ordinarily meant by the word “propaganda”.

Our effort to expose these common factors revealed only one, namely–“the public interest” . It further revealed that if this finding were to prove useful to the Committee, it would be necessary to define “the public interest” . We believe this would be found in the principles and form of the Federal Government, as expressed in our Constitution and in our other basic founding documents.

This will explain why subsequent studies were made by the staff of the size, scope, form and functions of the Federal Government for the period 1903-1953, the results of which are set forth in detail in a report by Thomas M . McNiece, Assistant Research Director, entitled, The Economics of the Public Interest.

These original studies of “the public interest” disclosed that during the four years, 1933-1936, a change took place which was so drastic as to constitute a “revolution” . They also indicated conclusively that the responsibility for the economic welfare of the American people had been transferred heavily to the Executive Branch of -the Federal Government ; that a corresponding change in education had taken place from an impetus of of the local community, and that this “revolution” had occurred without violence and with the full consent of an overwhelming majority of the electorate .

EDUCATION

In seeking to explain this unprecedented phenomenon, subsequent studies pursued by the staff clearly showed it could not have occurred peacefully, or with the consent of the majority, unless education in the United States had been prepared in advance to endorse it.

These findings appeared to justify two postulates :

  • that the policies and practices of institutions purporting or obliged by statute to serve “the public interest” would reflect this phenomenon, and
  • that Foundations whose trustees were empowered to make grants for educational purposes would be no exception, on the basis of which, after consultation with Counsel, I directed the staff to explore Foundation practices, educational procedures, and the operations of the Executive branch of the Federal Government since 1903 for reasonable evidence of a purposeful relationship between them .

Its ensuing studies disclosed such a relationship and that it had existed continuously since the beginning of this 50-year period . In addition, these studies seem to give evidence of a response to our involvement in international affairs . Likewise, they seemed to re- veal that grants had been made by Foundations (chiefly by Carnegie and Rockefeller) which were used to further this purpose by :

Directing education in the United States toward an international viewpoint and discrediting the traditions to which it [formerly) had been dedicated.*

Training individuals and servicing agencies to render advice to the Executive branch of the Federal Government.

Decreasing the dependency of education upon the resources of the local community and freeing it from many of the natural safeguards inherent in this American tradition .

Changing both school and college curricula to the point where they sometimes denied the principles underlying the American way of life.

Financing experiments designed to determine the most effective means by which education could be pressed into service of a political nature .

[…]

To insure these determinations being made on the basis of impersonal facts, I directed the staff to make a study of the development of American education since the turn of the century and of the trends in techniques of teaching and of the development of curricula since that time. As a result, it became quite evident that this study would have to enlarge to include accessory agencies to which these developments and trends had been traced.

The work of the staff was then expanded to include an investigation of such agencies as: The American Council of Learned Societies, the National Research Council, the Social Science Research Council, the American Council on Education, the National Education Association, the League for Industrial Democracy, the Progressive Education Association, the American Historical Association, John Dewey Society, and the Anti-Defamation league.

 

At this point let us cut into this paranoid screed, and present some of the Ford Foundation report from Gaither:

  1. Policy and Public Understanding

Our Government and the United Nations cannot effectively formulate or execute policy in  international affairs without public understanding and support. While in some instances such understanding and support are automatically shaped by events, or created by the President, the State Department, or Congress, in numerous situations independent aid can be of significant supplemental value. This is particularly true where policy is initiated by the executive but is subject to later Congressional action, either in the form of appropriations or ratification.
Obvious limitations surround executive efforts to achieve wide public understanding of policies requiring legislative approval. Furthermore, official policy will generally be the better as a result of criticism by responsible and objective private groups and institutions and, when adjudged
sound by them, such policy will have a better chance of public support.

Independent and nonpartisan efforts to secure the relevant facts and judgments and to make them widely available to officials, to interested groups, to the press, and to the electorate at large can thus render important assistance. This does not imply that a foundation should sponsor or support activities designed to propagandize the views of the State Department or any other agency or group. Quite the contrary, it must at all times preserve impartiality and objectivity in its activities, and if the results of undeniably expert and objective analyses are contrary to or critical of existing policy, their wide dissemination is perhaps even more important.
Foundation success in this field may at times require activities in public education long in advance of official policy formulation. In fact, a foundation can make a most significant contribution by anticipating critical issues and by stimulating awareness and understanding of them in advance of governmental action. Government is greatly hampered when public understanding lags behind the realistic requirements of international policy formulation.
Further discussion of agencies or mechanisms whereby such aids to policy makers and to the public understanding of policy might be provided is contained in Program Area Two and in Chapter IV.

P58-59

Got that? It is not propagandizing, it is merely anticipating change and informing the public as an independent institution. Back to Dodd:

          The broad study which called our attention to the activities of  these organizations has revealed pot only their support by foundations but has disclosed a degree of cooperation between them which they have referred to as “an interlock”, thus indicating a concentration of influence and power By this phrase they indicate they are bound by a common interest rather than a dependency upon a single source for capital funds. It is difficult to study their relation without confirming this. Likewise, it is difficult to avoid the feeling that their common interest has led them to cooperate closely with one another and that this common interest lies in the planning and control of certain aspects of American life through a combination of the Federal Government and education.

This may explain why the Foundations have played such an active role in the promotion of the social sciences, why they have favored so strongly the employment of social scientists by the Federal Government and why they seem to have used their influence to transform education into an instrument for social change .

[…]

THE FORD FOUNDATION

Finally, I suggest that the Committee give special consideration to the Ford Foundation . This Foundation gives ample evidence of having taken the initiative in selecting purposes of its own . Being of recent origin, it should not be held responsible for the actions or accomplishments of any of its predecessors . It is without precedent as to size, and it is the first Foundation to dedicate itself openly to “problem solving” on a world scale.

In a sense, Ford appears to be capitalizing on developments which took place long before it was founded, and which have enabled it to take advantage of:

the wholesale dedication of education to a social purpose

the need to defend this dedication against criticism

the need to indoctrinate adults along these lines

the acceptance by the Executive branch of the Federal Government of responsibility for planning on a national and international scale

the diminishing importance of the Congress and the states and the growing power of the Executive branch of the Federal government-and –

the seeming indispensability of control over human behaviour.

As if they had been influenced directly by these developments, .Vie trustees established separate funds for use in the fields of education, national planning, and politics. They set up a division devoted to the Behavioral Sciences, which includes a Center for Advanced Study, a program of Research and Training Abroad, an Institutional Exchange Program, and miscellaneous grants-in-aid .

[…]

CONCLUSION

It seems incredible that the trustees of typically American fortune created foundations should have permitted them to be used to finance ideas and practices incompatible with the fundamental concepts of our Constitution . Yet there seems evidence that this may have occurred.”

Advertisements