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George Bush vs. Observer Editor a II EXCltfiN.9 Views ;4=1.341111.1114WIM.MIN.11..~11.04100001 Transcript of an exchange of views between Ronnie Dugger, editor of the Texas Observer, and George Bush, Houston oilman and prominent Republican, before the Junior Bar of Texas, at convention in Fort Worth, Texas, Thursday, July 1, 1965. Transcribed from audio-tape by the Texas Bill of Rights Foundation of Houston, Texas. William Gibson, President, Junior Bar of Texas: Mr. George Bush of Houston, Texas. Yale graduate, Phi Beta Kappa, Distinguished Flying Cross, Republican can didate for United States Senate in 1964, and President of Zapata Off-Shore Company. Mr. Ronnie Dugger. Reporter, columnist, author, and editor of that journal of free voices, the Texas Observer. With the permission of the speakers and with the consent of your directors, this session is being audio-taped for the Texas Bill of Rights Foundation of Houston and will be available for rebroadcast. The subject of today’s discussion is Viet Nam, civil rights, demonstrations, and civil disobedience. Mr. Bush, you have twenty minutes. Extremist Demonstrations Wrong; U.S. Policy in Viet. Nam Upheld George Bush: Thank you very much, Mr. President. I ran into a friend of mine on the street in Houston, and he said “I understand you are going to be in Fort Worth.” And I told him “Yeah. I am going up to debate Ronnie Dugger before the State Bar.” And the fellow was visibly affected. I thought at first it was the heat. And he started wincing, and he said “Don’t tell me they are putting you and Dugger on in place of the annual strip tease that we normally have!” And not being a lawyer, I wasn’t familiar with this tradition, but I can assure you that if there was any contemplation that we be substituted that you ought to revert back. Many Republicans always are kind of looking back, you know, and I would suggest that you go back to your old ways. I am pleased to be here with Ronnie Dugger. You might say I am here because of Ronnie Dugger. His paper endorsed me in the primary, and this proved to be a cross that I was unable to bear, to the satisfaction of some of my conservative friends, at least, and they have always had a little bit of suspicion about me. And I attribute that to Ronnie. But after the primary, he got squared away, and I don’t think he endorsed me. But I would like to feel that we are friendsI know we are and one of the reasons that I made every effort to be here today was because Ronnie was going to be on this program. I have made a deal with him that if I ever run for office, I would like to say whether he comes out for me or against me, and he has agreed to go along with this. You know, we campaigned here in Fort Worth, and for a fleeting moment, I thought we were going to convince Ronnie. We put him in the back of an air conditioned Greyhound bus and traveled all over this county and surrounded him with 6 The Texas Observer many lovely Fort Worth housewives, and I thought I saw a sign of weakness there at the end. But he didn’t straighten out, and he has gone along his path of pursuing the truth there with the Observer. I thought there for a minute that he was going to switch over to the National Review just to be kind of one of the fellows with the girls there. TODAY, we are talking about a very complicated subject. Viet Nam, civil rights, and demonstrations and civil disobedience. And I made it specifically clear to your president that I wasn’t about to get up here and have a formal debate with Mr. Dugger on these subjects, and I would hate to admit that I would be bested. But anyway, we worked out a format with which I felt I could live. And the complexity of the subject is a very difficult one, and I am sure that as we pursue it in this 20-minute part, why each of us will emphasize different things. Because when you go to tie together a subject this broad, I think it’s extremely difficult. But many. people today, deeply troubled by the long-standing inequities in the area of civil rights and in full accord with the goals of fair play for the Negroequal schooling, voting rights, or equal job opportunitiesare today shaking their heads and beginning to wonder what’s, happening in this great country of ours. Many who have given financial and moral and physical support to the Negro in his struggle and I might say parenthetically, his legitimate strugglefor freedom are confused when they see the civil rights movement being made over into a massive vehicle with which to attack the President’s foreign policy in Viet Nam. Conrad Lynn, a Negro lawyer from Harlem, in a recent appearance at my old university -Yale University said “The United States white supremacists’ army has been sent out to suppress the non-white people of the world.” The Yale News reported that the audience applauded when he announced that several Negroes had gone to Asia to enlist in the North Viet Nam army to fight against the United States. Martin Luther King, identified with the freedom of the Negro cause, says in Boston the other day that he doesn’t want to sit at a segregated lunch counter where you have strontium 90 in the milk, overlooking the fact that it’s the communists who are testing in the atmosphere today, the Red Chinese. It’s not the United States. Russ Nixon, the managing editor of the National Guardian, links civil rights in Viet Nam when he said in discussing Selma and Viet Nam that the policy in both places is hostile to popular rule. Then Bayard Rustin, a leading individual in the Negro struggle for freedom, calls for withdrawal from Viet Nam. Now I admit that I simply don’t understand the far left in this country. They profess to be in favor of freedom, and yet they demonstrate for Castro. They scream when we send troops to the Dominican Republic to protect our own people and guarantee against the communist take-over, and yet they are silent when the Russian boots grind Hungarian freedom fighters into the ground. They profess to be against totalitarianism, and yet they suggest that we pull out of Viet Nam and turn over Southeast Asia to the communists. They want us to let the South Viet-Namese go down the drain, taking with them Southeast Asia’s last hope for freedom. They talk about civil rights in this country, but they are willing to sacrifice the individual rights in the communist countries. How would you like to be living in Thailand today? A country which has stood up on our side, which has been proWestern and which has taken great corn