Media attention was drawn this week to an April, 1982 laudatory letter from President Ronald Reagan to Roger Pearson, a London born academician and editor whose 30-year career has been devoted to writings on Nordic and Aryan superiority and the “science” of selective breeding known as eugenics.
The Administration contends that it was unaware of Pearson’s theories when the President signed a letter thanking the 57-year-old extremist for “valuable service in bringing to a wide audience the work of leading [scholars?*] who are supportive of a free enterprise economy, a firm and consistent foreign policy and a strong national defense.”
For over two years Pearson has been soliciting new subscriptions to his publications – the Mankind Quarterly and Journal of Social, Political and Economic Studies – with the help of the President’s written appreciation for Pearson’s “substantial contributions to promoting those ideals and principles we value.”
On Sept. 28, assistant presidential press secretary Anson Franklin, referring to the letter, told The Wall Street Journal: “The President has long held views opposing discrimination in any form, and he would never condone anything to the contrary. But that’s a general statement; I’m not addressing Dr. Pearson specifically.” The White House added that the letter was written after Reagan had received an issue of one of Pearson’s journals that contained none of his controversial racial theories.
Justin Finger, civil rights director of the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) of B’nai Brith, told the Journal, “The White House ought to repudiate this bird.” Finger became aware of the letter this summer. He has protested to the White House but received no reply.
Robert Schuetzinger, who now works at the Pentagon, is reported to have written the letter for Mr. Reagan while on the White House staff. Schuetzinger was formerly affiliated with the Heritage Foundation, a conservative think tank that has prepared research reports for the Reagan administration in a variety of governmental areas. He has also served on the editorial board of one of Pearson’s journals. In 1977, Pearson served on the editorial board of Policy Review, which is published by the Heritage Foundation. He was reportedly asked to resign when the foundation learned of his past.
Pearson was born in London but spent much of his youth in India. He served in the British Indian Army after the war and went on to a successful career in business. By the mid-1960’s he had become the chairman of the Pakistan Tea Association as well as the managing director of a Pakistani steel company. He then moved to the United States, changing careers to become an academician in the field of anthropology. He taught at a number of universities before becoming dean of academic affairs at Montana College in Butte.
As early as 1956 Pearson was the editor of a magazine on racial hierarchies known as Northern World. Though published in Calcutta it was cited here in the United States in the magazine Right, which wrote in its September 1957 issue:
“Every once in a while something truly unusual turns up and this month honors go to Northern World.”
According to Danger on the Right, a 1964 study by Arnold Foster and Benjamin Epstein of the Anti-Defamation League of B’nai B’rith, Right featured “blatant anti-Semitism” and served as a “clearing-house for news and information about anti-Semitic activities.”
The Wall Street Journal referred to an issue of Northern World in which Pearson promoted the use of artificial insemination as a means of preserving “pure healthy stock” and “breeding back the ‘ideal’ types.” Pearson told the Journal he is ashamed of nothing he has said or written.
Around 1958 Pearson helped found the “Northern League,” whose avowed purpose was to promote “the interests, friendship and solidarity of al Teutonic nations.” Among the League’s co-founders was Hans Günther, a pre-war Nazi philosopher whose anti-Semitic study, Rassenkinde des Deutschen Volkes, was revered by high-standing Nazi officials.
Günther’s readers included the chief Nazi party theoretician, Alfred Rosenberg, who became Hitler’s minister for the Occupied Eastern Territories. A National Socialist before Hitler, Rosenberg was one of the select few who were tried and executed at Nuremburg. In 1941 he honored Günther with the Goethe prize and an invitation to the first conference on Research into the Jewish Question.
Besides Northern World, Pearson has edited and written for Western Destiny, a magazine published by the extreme rightwing Liberty Lobby, which is known for its anti-Semitic literature. Pearson’s books, including Race and Civilization (on Aryan racial history) and Eugenics and Race, were published by the same group.
In addition, Pearson has been a leader of the far right umbrella organization known as the World Anti-Communist League, which was founded in Seoul, South Korea in 1966. He chaired the 1978 WACL conference in Washington, D.C. Four years earlier, the British WACL delegation had resigned, citing among its reasons the growing penetration of the League by anti-Semitic organizations. They referred specifically to the Mexican branch of the Latin American Anti-Communist Confederation (Spanish acronym CAL).
Earlier this year columnist Jack Anderson charged that CAL’s Mexico City office was coordinating death squads in a number of Latin American nations including El Salvador. This led to the Mexican group’s expulsion from WACL. Pearson had himself resigned following the earlier charges that he had encouraged membership in the WACL of anti-Semitic organizations.
The recently elected chairman of the WACL, former Major General John Singlaub (who had been relieved of his command in South Korea following his criticism of President Jimmy Carter) described Roger Pearson to The Wall Street Journal as an “embarrassment … not at all welcome in any activity” of the WACL.
Robert Schuetzinger, composer of the President’s letter to Pearson, told the Journal “there was absolutely no valid grounds to accuse [Pearson] of racism,” though he might have been “a little naïve” in his choice of company.