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Defense Department Repudiates Gerald L. K. Smith Program; Says Program Has ‘been Pulled out of Servi

January 29, 1973
See Original Daily Bulletin From This Date

Department of Defense Information administrators repudiated Friday a program featuring Gerald L. K. Smith, the professional anti-Semite and racist, which had been broadcast over the Armed Forces network Jan. 23 and they also reported that the New Jersey Council of Churches, which had been associated with the program, had directed its producer not to use the council’s name with his productions.

The Armed Forces Radio and Television Service had picked up the broadcast, prepared by Mutual Broadcasting System in cooperation with the council’s radio and TV department, and transmitted it to its 492 radio and television stations serving some 2 million American military and civilian personnel. Mutual had broadcast the program on Jan. 21.

The Jewish Telegraphic Agency, which first reported the story, was told by John Broger, director of the Defense Department’s information for the armed forces, that “Obviously the broadcast will not be repeated. Normally a program is recycled. This one has been pulled out of service.”

(See separate story p. 3 on protests by Jewish Organizations.)


Hoyt Wertz, chief of AFRTS and Broger’s subordinate, told the JTA that he had been informed by James Roberts of the New Jersey church council that the council had cooperated in the production of the first four programs in the series but forbade the producer three months ago to use the council’s name in connection with the series. Roberts, production manager for the council’s communications department in East Orange, could not be reached by the JTA for comment.

However, Wertz said Roberts told him that the council had cooperated with Bill Bertenshaw on the preparation of the first four programs in the series, called “Suggested Solutions,” but not on any programs after that. According to Wertz, Roberts said the council had supplied personalities for the four programs in a contract with Bertenshaw but that Smith was not one of them.

Wertz described Bertenshaw as a free-lance producer and a member of the council’s TV and radio group. According to Wertz, Roberts said the council “in no way sponsors or cooperates, in the production of these shows and credit on the participation should have been removed.” JTA also was unable to reach the administrator reportedly connected with the Bertenshaw program.


Both Broger and Wortz indicated that high officials of the department were involved in the investigation. The appearance of Smith on the network, rather than what he said in the broadcast, was considered the prime complaint. Smith is connected with development of a “sanctuary” in Eureka Springs, Ark.

Smith said on the broadcast that “we are now launching the building of a now Holy Land due to the fact that the original Holy Land, which was visited by Jesus Christ 2000 years ago, has been scarred and marred and its appearance has been changed and some of the most sacred shrines are being blighted by the building of housing projects. Therefore we feel that the image of the Holy Land should be built here in the United States.” Apparently Smith did not use the word “Israel” in his program as had been initially reported.

Broger said he was working with an office assistant of Defense Secretary Melvin Laird in providing Sen. Jacob Javits (R. N.Y.) “with all the information we have.” Javits had asked for an explanation of the Armed Forces network’s use of the program.

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