For most of its thirty-six years the American Legion has been issuing strident alarms against extremist minorities who might work their will against the national interest. These years of vigilance reached a climax at the convention in Miami last year when the Legion condemned the United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization.
That the Legion would have an initial bias against UNESCO, or any international agency, is not unnatural. The heart of the organization is in the rural and small-town Midwest, an isolationist region. Only during war and in rare instances in peacetime have its conventions encouraged international cooperation. Its most common attitude is one of supernationalism at home and acceptance of the devil theory that whenever anything international goes badly for the United States some traitor or "dupe" is responsible.
In 1950, for example, its Foreign Relations Committee condemned the State Department for the loss of China and for general Communist advances. The man who drafted the original paragraph of censure was Ray Murphy, an Iowa lawyer and national commander of the Legion in 1935.
In 1951 the Legion became concerned with the United Nations' Covenant of Human Rights. The national commander at the time, Donald R. Wilson, a man with serious doubts about the United Nations, felt confident in appointing Murphy chairman of a Special Committee to study the United Nations matter. With Murphy were two past department commanders (each state is a Legion "department"), a past department chaplain, a national executive committeeman, and a past national commander of the Legion Auxiliary (the women's branch). In 1953 when UNESCO was criticized by the Legion's national executive committee, Murphy's Special Committee was given the job of studying that agency to see if it violated American principles and interests. The majority of the committee, including its chairman, said they expected their study would prove the allegations that UNESCO promotes world government, atheism, and Communism.