Dayton v. Dulles

LOCATION: LaSalle Street Station

DECIDED BY: Warren Court (1957-1958)
LOWER COURT: United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit

CITATION: 357 US 144 (1958)
ARGUED: Apr 10, 1958
DECIDED: Jun 16, 1958

Facts of the case


Media for Dayton v. Dulles

Audio Transcription for Oral Argument - April 10, 1958 in Dayton v. Dulles

Earl Warren:

Number 621, Weldon Bruce Dayton, Petitioner, versus John Foster Dulles.

Mr. Rand, you may proceed.

Harry I. Rand:

Mr. Chief Justice and may it please the Court.

This case like the preceding case involves the denial of a passport by the Secretary of State under section 51.135 of this Passport Regulations.

Unlike the previous case however, in this case, petitioner has filed an affidavit stating that he was never a member of the Communist Party.

He has exhausted all the steps in the administered proceeding in the Department of State and nevertheless, more than four years after, the application was filed, he still stands here today by his counsel deprived of a passport and therefore barred under the presently effective provisions of law from travel abroad.

The petition here, Dr. Weldon Bruce Dayton is a physicist by education and training.

He's a native-born American citizen, born -- post and just a bit more than 40 years ago.

His specialty in physics as a result of his training has been on the field of Cosmic Ray Physical Research.

The field that as I understand it, deals with researches in the elementary particles of matter and which as the record discloses without dispute, is completely non-classified, is completely without secrecy.

On March 5, 1954, petitioner filed an application with Department of State to enable him to travel to India where he had been offered an appointment of the Tata Institute of Fundamental Research in Bombay.

The Tata Institute is a well-renowned educational institution attached and affiliated with the University of Bombay.

Advised by the Director of the Passport Office that a passport would be refused to him because its issuance would be contrary to the best interest of the United States.

Petitioner immediately sought an informal conference in the Passport Office and at that conference, petitioner and I as his council attended.

Petitioner was interrogated, asked numerous questions by an official of the Passport Office, he answered all those questions.

The official then suggested that the petitioner file an affidavit in which he would embody the answers of those questions.

And so, petitioner prepared a comprehensive 22-paged, single-spaced, typewritten affidavit in which he set forth the details in which he thought the Passport Office would be interested.

That affidavit appears at pages 10-42 of the record.

And in that affidavit, at page 12 of the record, petitioner averred the record as this very large joint appendix, Your Honors.

I'm sorry, we had to impose that on you but we have not been able to print the record in this case.

At page 12 of the record, Your Honors will find the petitioner averred among other things in this affidavit as follows.

“I am not now and I've never been a member of the Communist Party with a possible exception of a casual and brief association with the work of the Joint Anti-Fascist Refugee Committee for a few months in 1941 and the 1942, I am not now and never have been a member of any of the organizations designated on the Attorney General's list which I have carefully examined.

I am not now engaged and I have never engaged in any activities which so far as I know or at any time knew, support or supported the Communist movement.

I wish to go abroad for the sole purpose of engaging in experimental research at the Tata Institute of Fundamental Research in Bombay.

I am not going abroad to engage in any activities which so far as I know or can imagine will in any way advance to Communist movement.”

Notwithstanding this lengthy affidavit, the Passport Office persisted in his denial of a passport, and so petitioner, in accordance with the Passport Regulations, appealed to Board of Passport Appeals of the Department of State.

Several hearings were held before that Board.

The testimony adduced that those hearings both from petitioner and Dr. Corson, a professor of physics at Cornell University whom he called and three witnesses from the Board, called with respect to a single aspect with the charges against petitioner.

All their testimony is set forth in the record beginning with page 58 and continuing perhaps ad nauseam until page 270 of this record.

At the beginning of these hearings before the Board, it was made clear that despite the vigorous protest of petitioner, the Board would consider in making its determination and recommendation to the secretary confidential files of investigative reports which it said it had before it, reports derived from other Government agencies but which it said it would refuse to disclose to petitioner.