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Hoover: Communist Party “This Nation’s Most Formidable Enemy”

June 4, 1963 - FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover (pictured last month) has warned that the Communist Party, “this nation’s most formidable enemy,” is pressing a major, national propaganda effort to “establish firm roots” among minority groups and youths, particularly college students. Hoover told Congress in testimony made public today that the party is so intent on snaring youths that it has scratched its membership requirement for prior exposure to Marxist-Leninist teachings. “All that is needed now is an interest,” Hoover told the House appropriations subcommittee. “Consideration is even being given to lowering the minimum age qualification, which presently is only 18.” Party speakers have stepped up appearances before student groups, mostly at on-campus sites, he added. Under questioning by Rep. Frank T. Bow (R-Ohio), Hoover stressed that “suppression of free speech” was not involved in his firm opposition to the appearance of Communist Party speakers before college groups. “Academic freedom does not grant license to deliberately present distortions or falsehoods,” Hoover testified.


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