'Racial Hygiene' in America: 1960 Capital Times Article on Eugenicist Wycliffe Draper
Ron May, “Rich New Yorker Trying to Prove Negroes Inferior,” The Capital Times (Madison, Wisconsin 5 March 1960) p. 1, 20.
WASHINGTON — Richard Arens, staff director of the House Committee on Un-American Activities, serves as a paid consultant on research grants given by a wealthy New Yorker trying to prove Negroes genetically inferior.
Arens has conceded to newsmen that he assists multi-millionaire Wycliffe Draper of Manhattan, in making grants to researchers and writers in the fields of genetics and immigration. Such gifts have been made in the last few years on the advice of himself and others, he said.
Draper wants American Negroes to be resettled in emerging African republics because as a race he considers them undesirable in this country, persons who have dealt with him report.
He seeks evidence through research to prove that his ideas are correct and feasible according to these persons.
Committee Chairman Francis E. Walter (D-Pa.) was informed by a newsman of Arens’ association with Draper more than a week ago, and said the news caused him concern. He indicated that he was aware of some kind of Arens-Draper relationship, but had not understood it.
While the chairman appeared agitated, he did not press his visitor for details or for the sources of the information. Before he could be told of the grants, he said he had developed a plan himself for Draper to finance — a plan involving the improvement of African universities to promote stability in native governments.
Jointly Defended Manual Attacking Clergymen
Since the interview, Walter has made no public move concerning Arens’ association. Instead, the chairman has worked more closely than ever with his aide as they jointly defended an Air force manual charging Protestant clergymen with Communist leanings.
In an interview with newsmen several weks (sic!) ago, Arens conceded that he serves as a Draper consultant channeling funds for research into certain aspects of “genetics and immigration.” But he would not explain the aspects.
He said he sees nothing wrong with his activity, but refused to describe the research project or list the recipients.
His role is only to “recommend” projects, subject to later approval by a committee, he said. But he would not name the persons who compose the committee.
A reporter found a similar reticence at every turn in his inquiry.
Draper himself would not even discuss his grants when reached by telephone. he curtly advised the caller to seek information from Harry Weyher, a New York lawyer, and gave Weyher’s number.
Weyher indicated in a telephone conversation that two, not one, committee made awards of Draper funds and that Arens serves as a paid consultant only to one. Arens gets only a small amount for his duties, Weyher said.
Mysterious Reference to Eastland Committee
His Disclosure of two committees seemed to be inadvertent, made evident by a reference to Sen. James Eastland (D-Miss) as being connected with “the other one.”
Weyher hesitated and stammered when asked for personal data about his mysterious associate.
However, a few hints were dropped by Arens when he described Draper as a rich “recluse” who seldom leaves his apartment, shuns public appearances and on occasion, even affects poor hearing as an excuse for hanging up on associates who telephone. He is in his seventies, Arens said, and seems to be physically energetic.
Other sources indicate Draper holds a degree from Harvard University and is a bachelor or widower. His sumptuously furnished apartment is described as decorated with trophies of African hunts.
Many leading geneticists have heard of Draper, and a number have been approached by him for acceptance of funds for special research. After learning his interests, most have refused the money.
A typical experience was that of Dr. L. D. Dunn, of the Zoology Department of Columbia University:
“When he first came to me, he introduced himself as a bachelor who had the responsibility of disposing of inherited wealth in ways to benefit society and wished to prepare himself by learning about human genetics… We took dinner at the Harvard Club and his first remark about the waiter (a Negro) apprised me of the nature of his interest in human heredity. I don’t believe he made any offer of support but left the impression that what interested him was evidence of race inequalities. I bid him goodbye after dinner…”
Approaches Laboratories in ‘Bombastic Fashion’
Another leading geneticist wrote to a reporter:
“Physically he (Draper) is a very large man… He approaches the laboratories in a bombastic fashion and I am sure that it is very difficult to get money out of him which one could use an (sic!) any way that would seem sensible to them.
“To my knowledge, two laboratories played along with him and took his money which, as far as I know, they spent without any particular repercussions from him. Accepting the money in those two cases, I am sure, was done with tongue in cheek. I do not recall that Mr. Draper offered us a specific amount … He did not really know any genetics himself and was a racist of the usual type. He wished to prove simply that Negroes were inferior to other people and wished to promote some program to send them all to Africa. As we were perhaps less opportunistic than the other two laboratories, which I have mentioned, we merely told him that his ideas were a lot of nonsense and certainly would not work, so our contacts ended without any further exchange. ” [The science of] genetics, which is a perfectly sensible science, is always getting saddled with… paranoid individuals and regardless of how explicit and elaborate your attempt to disassociate such people from the science of genetics, the general public will forget your qualifying statements and only remember the correlation between these … individuals and the science which attempts to repulse them, but gets blamed for them, instead.”
Wanted Resumption of Liberia Experiment
Sheldon Reed, director of the Dight Institute of Human Genetics of the University of Minnesota, had several contacts with Draper. He wrote:
“As far as I could tell he thought the country would be better off without Negroes and thought that the ideas current immediately after the Civil War of repatriating the Negroes to Africa as was done with the Liberia experiment, could be resumed on a larger scale and would be successful. As this seemed to be completely foolish to me, I did not go into the question of whether it was a either desirable or undesirable but merely told him that I did not think it was a sensible project. I have never considered it to be completely honest to accept money when you have no intention of using it the way the donor had in mind.”
A leading geneticist at an Ivy League college wrote: “My impression was strong that he was a racist and a radical eugenicist who believed that inferior people ought to be sterilized.”
Dr. Bruce Wallace, now of the Department of Plant breeding, Cornell University, Itaca, (sic!) N.Y., served as a private teacher in genetics to Draper in New York City some years ago. Wallace wrote: “Regardless of my opinions of Mr. Draper, it is true that he holds views which I find distasteful.”
From a number of sources, including Arens, it seems clear that the consultants and two committees to suggest and approve recipients were set up to forestall further rebuffs from scientists who turned down Draper’s offers.
Arens has been investigating security and immigration problems and “un-American activities” for congressional committees for 14 years, beginning with the Senate Internal Security Committee
Advised Expenditures on ‘Patriotic’ Projects
He said that Draper gives money to various recipients, including “patriotic” organizations fighting Communism. The wealthy man, heir to a Massachusetts textile-machinery fortune, was first introduced to the political scene by the late Sen. Pat McCarran (D-Nev). This was verified by a friend of the late senator, who was chairman of the Senate Internal Security Committee, for which Arens worked.
The staff director said that he has advised the expenditure of money on “patriotic” projects not only for Draper, but also for H.L. Hunt, wealthy Texas oilman, and for Smith Richardson, North Carolina manufacturer of Vicks medications.
Arens described Hunt as somewhat eccentric and said the Texan, who has given money to right wing publications and to such senators as the late Sen. Joseph McCarthy (R-Wis), once came to him seeking possible recipients of grants. The two had lunch near the Capital, Arens said, and afterwards he was suprised (sic!) that Hunt did not pick up the check, but out waited Arens, who paid the modest amount. but the meeting was successful, Arens said, and Hunt offered him a job as an adviser.
He said he has been approached by other wealthy men seeking ways to make “patriotic” grants.
Arens said he does not intend to investigate racist or hate groups because they are isolated and unimportant.
In the extended interview, in which he cautioned he was not to be directed quoted, he made an emotional defense of the late Sen. McCarthy, who, he said, was destroyed by left-wingers.
McCarran, it was recalled, is the author of with Rep. Walter of the McCarrran-Walter immigration act, which sought to retain the racial balance in America that existed at an early period of the nation’s history.
Walter told a reporter that he has long been interested in immigration and in African affairs. He said that in connection with the proposed Draper grant to African universities he had visited the University of Dakar in western Africa, to discuss with university officials their teaching of government administration. He said that he understood that Draper believed, as he did, that Africans should learn to administer the new republics well.
“Mr. Draper wants to set up a chair of government in an African university,” he said. “I thought that the University of Dakar, or the one at Mali, in Senegal, might be possible.”
He denied any direct contact with Draper, but would not disclose how he know of Draper’s interest.
Admits Lawmakers are Interested In Grants
Weyher, identified as an administrator of Draper grants, stated that he was “uncertain about the details.” He said his law firm handles a number of foundations in similar fashion.
But he conceded that Rep. Walter and Sen. Eastland are interested in the giving of Draper grants. He said the two committees made the final decisions, but he could not reveal who serves on them now, or has served on them.
Weyher explained that Draper money, dispensed through both committees, pays for “research into genetic and blood-type” science and on “isolysin.” This is a substance developed by blood serum capable of liberating hemoglobin from red corpuscles in blood of different animals and of humans. It is an important factor in blood banks and blood transfusions, since isolysin of one type of blood may have harmful effects when given to a person with another type.
The New York lawyer said that Draper grants have also gone for studies of population problems. Most of the money goes to researches in the South, he said.
From a clue dropped by Weyher, a reporter telephoned Dr. Joseph Walter Brouillette, Sr., at Louisana State University. He is the director of general extension teaching.
Dr. Brouillette acknowledged that he is connected with Draper funds, but would not say how. He said no one involved would talk except Weyher.
The professor described Weyher as conversant with all the details, and refused “to say yes or no” when asked if he serves on a committee with Sen. Eastland. he termed himself a “consultant” to Draper, an activity which “is only a small part of my work.”
Associated With Former Marquette Professor
Newsmen first heard of Draper last year when Dr. Anthony Bouscaren resigned a political science professorship at Marquette University, in Milwaukee, in a dispute with university authorities over his acceptance of Draper grants.
Bouscaren said Draper had paid him to study immigration, and also security measures to keep out of America diplomats from Communist nations, and even tourists who “probably would, after entry, engage in subversive activities” or “whose entry would be prejudicial to the interests of the United States.”
In a foreword to a 1959 book, he thanked Arens for unspecified assistance. Arens and Dr. Bouscaren have appeared together on programs of the Christian anti-Communist Crusade and similar groups. The staff director said he had hired Bouscaren as a “consultant” to the committee.
Arens told newsmen that his job was always “insecure” because of enemies, but that he would fight any attempt to fire him. Such a move, he said, would bring “thousands of signatures from the crossroads of America” affixed to petitions demanding his retention. He said “patriots” would know that Communists and pro-Communists were behind any effort to oust or embarrass him.
He indicated he has a free hand with committee activity and laughingly showed reporters a speech that Walter would give, but which he said he had written himself and had not yet shown to Walter.
Weyher, while disclaiming intimate knowledge of Draper grants, referred the caller to Henry Guild Sr., a Boston lawyer, whom Weyher said had set up the trust agreement. But Guild was not available and an assistant, John Woolsey, said he know little the matter.
Sen. Eastland said he could not remember having had any connection with Draper.