Independent Citizens Committee of the Arts, Sciences and Professions
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Independent Citizens Committee of the Arts, Sciences and Professions
Independent Citizens Committee of the Arts, Sciences and Professions (ICCASP)
ICCASP chair Jo Davidson and member Harlow Shapley stand behind fellow Progressive Citizens of America members supporting fmr US VP Henry A. Wallace and his Progressive Party: from left seated, Wallace and FDR's son Elliott Roosevelt (1947)
FormationJune 1945
DissolvedDecember 1946
PurposeCreate third American political party
HeadquartersNew York City
Jo Davidson
Executive Chair
Harold Ickes
Leonard Bernstein, Eddie Cantor, Duke Ellington, John Hersey, Gene Kelly, Thomas Mann, Linus Pauling, Eleanor Roosevelt, Frank Sinatra

The Independent Citizens Committee of the Arts, Sciences and Professions (ICCASP) (1945-1946) was an American association that lobbied unofficially for New Deal causes, as well as the cause of world peace; members included future US President Ronald Reagan. Some members would later be accused of infiltrating the group to spread socialist, and occasionally pro-Soviet Communist ideas. The group included a chapter sometimes called the "Hollywood Independent Citizens Committee of the Arts, Sciences and Professions" (HICCASP) involved in the Hollywood Ten.[1][2][3][4]


January 1946 national group:

Other sources:



Members of ICCASP precursor Independent Voters Committee of the Arts and Sciences for Roosevelt visit FDR at White House (October 1944), from left: Van Wyck Brooks, Hannah Dorner, Jo Davidson, Jan Kiepura, Joseph Cotten, Dorothy Gish, Harlow Shapley.

The ICCASP started in 1944, as an "Independent Voters Committee of the Arts and Sciences for Roosevelt" (IVCASR).[5]

After FDR's successful fourth election as US President in November 1944, the group formalized itself with professional staff.[10]

The ICCASP formed in 1945 shortly after the end of World War II. From the start, the group found itself at odds with the Truman administration's "aggressive anti-Soviet" and anti-labor policies, as well as his accommodation to racism.[5] Tied to a primary issue of global peace was the issue of atomic power and, more immediately, a "May-Johnson Bill"[11][12][13] started in June 1945 that would become the Atomic Energy Act of 1946 (signed August 1, 1946). In November 1945, scientist Linus Pauling spoke to the group on atomic weapons; shortly after, his wife Ava Helen and he accepted membership.[2]

In late 1945, the ICCASP's Hollywood chapter ("HICCASP") published a scathing critique of Dies Committee chairman, entitled Introducing... Representative John E. Rankin.[14][15]

On January 21, 1946, the group met to discuss academic freedom, during which Pauling said, "There is, of course, always a threat to academic freedom - as there is to the other aspects of the freedom and rights of the individual, in the continued attacks which are made on this freedom, these rights, by the selfish, the overly ambitious, the misguided, the unscrupulous, who seek to oppress the great body of mankind in order that they themselves may profit - and we must always be on the alert against this threat, and must fight it with vigor when it becomes dangerous."[2]

Also in January 1946, ICCASP's Theatre Division, headed by actor José Ferrer, held a discussion on "Artist as Citizen" at the Henry Miller Theatre that featured US Rep. Joseph Clark Baldwin, war correspondent Quentin Reynolds, and Marxist economist Dr. J. Raymond Walsh.[16]

In February 1946, Desi Arnaz appeared in a show sponsored by the ICCASP, "a group the FBI said was a communist front."[17]

In September 1946, ICCASP joined the CIO-PAC, the National Citizens PAC (NCPAC), the NAACP, the Railroad Brothers, the National Farmers' Union, and the Southern Conference for Human Welfare for a Chicago Conference of Progressives.[7] The Union for Democratic Action did not participate because of perceived communist infiltration.[5]

On September 24, 1946, the ICCASP issued a joint declaration with the CIO PAC that opposed the . This joint declaration came in response to the Baruch Plan. A few months earlier, on June 14, 1946, US representative to the United Nations Atomic Energy Commission (UNAEC) had presented his plan as a modified version of the Acheson-Lilienthal plan; it proposed international control of then-new atomic energy. The USSR rejected Baruch's proposal as unfair (given the fact that the US already had nuclear weapons) and counter-proposed that the US eliminate its nuclear arsenal.[18] The ICCASP (like the Soviets) opposed the Baruch Plan. By October 1946, Ickes was urging the ICCASP to reconsider its position on atomic energy.[19] The ICCASP's position on nuclear arms, plus Republican victories in the 1946 mid-term elections, led members like Ickes to resign "because of perceived Communist domination of the organization."[5] (Baruch resigned from the commission in 1947 as he grew further out of step with the views of the Truman administration.[18])

On November 14, 1946, scientist Harlow Shapley appeared under subpoena by the House Un-American Activities Committee for his role as a member of ICCASP, a "major political arm of the Russophile left", specifically about ICCASP's Massachusetts's chapter, and also for opposing U.S. Representative Joseph William Martin Jr. during mid-term elections that year. HUAC committee chairman John E. Rankin commented, "I have never seen a witness treat a committee with more contempt" and considered contempt of Congress charges. Shapley accused HUAC of "Gestapo methods" and advocated for its abolition for making "civic cowards of many citizens" by pursuing the "bogey of political radicalism."[20][21]

On December 26, 1946, ICCASP and the National Citizens PAC merged to form the Progressive Citizens of America (PCA).[7][22][23] In his 1993, memoir John J. Abt (CPUSA legal counsel in the 1950s), negotiated the merger with Calvin Benham Baldwin ("Beanie Baldwin") and Hannah Dorner.[7] A week later, the Union for Democratic Action reformed as Americans for Democratic Action and took an anti-communist stance against the PCA. "The split in liberal ranks had become a chasm."[5]

Ronald Reagan was a former member of ICCASP's Hollywood chapter.[24]


Olivia de Havilland (1946) accepting Oscars around the time she was an ICCASP member

From its start, the ICCASP found itself overlapping in mission with the Artists League of America (ALA), successor of the American Artists' Congress (ACA).[5]

In 1947, the ICCASP came under attack by the House Un-American Activities Committee (HUAC) during congressional hearings on communist infiltration in Hollywood, which led to the indictment of the Hollywood Ten.[2]

In 1948, the ICCASP and National Citizens PAC merged and supported former US Vice President Henry A. Wallace as presidential candidate for the Progressive Party (United States, 1948).[25]

On August 2, 1948, Louis F. Budenz testified before the Senate subcommittee of the Committee of Expenditures in the Executive Department:

The Independent [Citizens] Committee of the Arts, Sciences, and Professions was worked out originally in my office in the Daily Worker, of which Lionel Berman, of the cultural section organizer of the party, was a member, and he was entrusted not only by that meeting but by the political committee, as the result of these discussions with the task of forming the Independent Citizens Committee of the Arts, Sciences, and Professions.[26]

HUAC published details from Budenz's testimony regarding the "National Council of the Arts, Sciences, and Professions," which (according to HUAC) was a "descendant" of ICCASP.[27]

In the 1950s, many form ICCASP members found themselves hounded for communist subversive activities during McCarthyism. For example, scientist Linus Pauling found himself under investigation by the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), HUAC, and internal groups at Caltech, where he worked.[2]

In the 2000s, actress Olive de Havilland[28] described her experienced with the ICCASP:

After the war, she happily pledged her support for FDR's legacy through involvement with the Independent Citizens' Committee of the Arts, Sciences and Professions, a national public policy advocacy group with more than 3,000 members (including Bette Davis, Gregory Peck and Humphrey Bogart) in its Hollywood chapter. "I thought, 'I'll join and try to be a good citizen,'" says Ms. de Havilland.
But that dedication was exploited for a darker agenda. In June 1946, Ms. de Havilland was asked to deliver speeches that seemed to be straight from the Communist Party line. This was disturbing to her given that the Kremlin had declared, the year before, that communism and capitalism could not co-exist in the world and war with the U.S. was inevitable. She refused and rewrote the speeches, this time championing President Truman's anti-Communist program, making her persona non grata in Communist Party circles. In executive meetings of the Citizens' Committee, Ms. de Havilland also took note that the group rarely embraced the kind of independent spirit it publicly proclaimed. It always ended up siding with the Soviet Union even though the rank-and-file members were noncommunist. "I thought, 'If we reserve the right to criticize the American policies, why don't we reserve the right to criticize Russia?'" After scrutiny, Ms. de Havilland saw that this had become quite impossible.[29]


  • The Independent (CPUSA), bimonthly, ICCASP New York
  • ICCASP news letter (June 1946)[30]
  • Don't You Believe It, HICCASP (1946)[31]
  • Report From Washington, monthly, IAACP New York (1949)[32][33][34]

See also


  1. ^ a b c d e f g Hager, Tom (29 November 2007), ICCASP, Linus Pauling and the International Peace Movement, retrieved 2019
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h The Independent Citizens Committee of the Arts, Sciences and Professions, Linus Pauling and the International Peace Movement, 2009, retrieved 2019
  3. ^ Diggines, John P. (2007). Ronald Reagan: Fate, Freedom, and the Making of History. W. W. Norton. pp. 100-4 (Reagan, HICCASP). Retrieved 2019.
  4. ^ Knutson, Lawrence L. (13 November 1985). "Reagan, Communism Met in Hollywood". Associated Press. Retrieved 2019.
  5. ^ a b c d e f g h i Hemingway, Andrew (2002). Artists on the left: American artists and the Communist movement, 1926-1956. Yale University Press. pp. 195 (origins), 197 (history). ISBN 978-0-300-09220-2. Retrieved 2019.
  6. ^ Independent Citizens Committee of the Arts, Sciences and Professions, New York City April 1946, 6 June 2013, retrieved 2019
  7. ^ a b c d e f Abt, John J.; Myerson, Michael (1993). Advocate and Activist: Memoirs of an American Communist Lawyer. University of Illinois Press. pp. 138-9 (Chicago), 141 (merger). Retrieved 2019.
  8. ^ Frank Sinatra, Columbia University - Louis Proyect, 6 June 2013, retrieved 2019
  9. ^ "Edward U. Condon Papers". American Philosophical Society. 1998. Retrieved 2019.
  10. ^ The ICCASP in 1946, New York City April 1946, 6 June 2013, retrieved 2019
  11. ^ "Part VI: The Manhattan District in Peacetime: The May-Johnson Bill", Atomic Archive, 1998, retrieved 2019
  12. ^ Atomic Energy Commission, Atomic Heritage Foundation, 18 November 2016, retrieved 2019
  13. ^ Roy Glauber & Priscilla McMillan on Oppenheimer - Atomic Energy Commission, Voices of the Manhattan Project, 6 June 2013, retrieved 2019
  14. ^ Hollywood Independent Citizens Committee of the Arts, Sciences, and Professions (HICCASP) pamphlet, Introducing ... Representative John Elliot Rankin, June 1945. Adrian Scott Papers, American Heritage Center, University of Wyoming-Laramie. Retrieved April 4, 2017.
  15. ^ There is an error in the archiving of this document. At its end, it speculates a publishing date of June 1945, but there are several later dates mentioned, the latest being October 17, 1945.
  16. ^ The ICCASP in 1946, New York City April 1946, 6 June 2013, retrieved 2019
  17. ^ "The ICCASP in 1946". Washington Post. 7 December 1989. Retrieved 2019.
  18. ^ a b Leab, Daniel et al., ed. The Great Depression and the New Deal: A Thematic Encyclopedia ABC-CLIO LLC., 2010, p. 12.
  19. ^ Hamilton, Thomas J. (8 October 1946). "Ickes Challenges Liberals on Atom". New York Times. p. 3. Retrieved 2019.
  20. ^ "Dr. Harlow Shapley Dies at 86. Dean of American Astronomers. Dr. Harlow Shapley, Dean of American Astronomers, Dies at 86". New York Times. October 21, 1972. Retrieved .
  21. ^ Goodman, Walter (1968). The Committee: The Extraordinary Career of the House Committee on Un-American Activities. Farrar, Straus, and Giroux. p. 187. Retrieved 2018.
  22. ^ "National Affairs: Merger". TIME. 6 January 1947. Retrieved 2019.
  23. ^ "Guide to the C.B. Baldwin Papers". University of Iowa. Retrieved 2016.
  24. ^ Mitgang, Herbert (October 5, 1987). "Policing America's Writers". The New Yorker.
  25. ^ Epstein, Mark J. (April 1972). "The Progressive Party of 1948". Books at Iowa. Retrieved 2018.
  26. ^ Supreme Court of the State of New York: Appellate Division-First Department. State of New York. 1956. p. 538. Retrieved 2019.
  27. ^ Hearings before the Committee on Un-American Activities. US GPO. 1949. Retrieved 2019.
  28. ^ "How Olivia de Havilland Bucked Dalton Trumbo And Helped Save Hollywood From Itself". Daily Beast. 8 July 2017. Retrieved 2019.
  29. ^ Meroney, John (7 September 2006). "Olivia de Havilland Recalls Her Role -- in the Cold War". Wall Street Journal. Retrieved 2019.
  30. ^ Independent Citizens Committee for the Arts, Sciences and Professions newsletter, ca. June 1946. UMassAmherst. June 1946. Retrieved 2019.
  31. ^ Don't You Believe It. Los Angeles Emergency Committee to Aid the Strikes. 1946. Retrieved 2019.
  32. ^ Fifth Report of the Senate Fact-Finding Committee On Un-American Activities, California Legislature, 1949, pp. 545-546.
  33. ^ Hearings before the Committee on Un-American Activities, House of Representatives, Eightieth Congress, first session, on H. R. 1884 and H. R. 2122, bills. US GPO. 1947. Retrieved 2019.
  34. ^ Guide to Subversive Organizations and Publications (And Appendixes). US GPO. 1 December 1961. pp. 183-205. Retrieved 2019.

External links

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