It was amazing how clever and subtle some of these fellows were. They were just lousy foreign laborers, but they spent all their spare time reading; you would find large collections of books in their rooms when you made your raids, and they knew exactly what you wanted, and would parry your questions. Peter would say: “You’re an Anarchist, aren’t you?” And the answer would be: “I’m not an Anarchist in the sense of the word you mean”—as if there could be two meanings of the word “Anarchist!” Peter would say, “You believe in violence, do you not?” And then the fellow would become impertinent: “It is you who believe in violence, look at my face that you have smashed.” Or Peter would say, “You don’t like this government, do you?” And the answer would be, “I always liked it until it treated me so badly”—all kinds of evasions like that, and there would be a stenographer taking it down, and unless Peter could get something into the record that was a confession, it would not be possible to deport that Red. So Peter would fall upon him and “tender him up” until be would answer what he was told to answer; or maybe Peter would prepare an interview as he wanted it to be, and the detectives would grab the man’s hand and make him sign it; or maybe Peter would just sign it himself.
These were harsh methods, but there was no way to help it, the Reds were so cunning. They were secretly undermining the government, and was the government to lie down and admit its helplessness? The answer of 100% Americanism was thundered from every wood and templed hill in the country; also from every newspaper office. The answer was “No!” 100% Americanism would find a way to preserve itself from the sophistries of European Bolshevism; 100% Americanism had worked out its formula: “If they don’t like this country, let them go back where they come from.” But of course, knowing in their hearts that America was the best country in the world, they didn’t want to go back, and it was necessary to make them go.