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[[image - photo of Wilber M. Brucker]] [[credit]] U. S. Army [[/credit]] [[caption]] WILBER M. BRUCKER [[/caption]] on April 6, 1954. His nomination was confirmed by the Senate on April 19, 1954 and he was sworn into office on April 23, 1954. In this post he has also been in charge of the Pentagon's internal security system (Washington Post and Times Herald, June 23, 1955). During hearings on the U.S. Government employee security program by a Senate Government Operations subcommittee on March 9, 1955, Brucker urged legislation to help the Department of Defense keep subversives out of defense plants and other strategic facilities. Earlier, in February 1955, he had stated that 4,000 defense plant employees had been suspended on security charges in eighteen months. Brucker also told the subcommittee that "a substantial number" of ex-Defense Department employees reported ousted as "security risks" actually had not been fired through security procedures, but were probationary workers dropped for "unsuitability." Brucker announced a new defense plant program, effective April 4, 1955, under which a central office in the Pentagon in Washington would screen and review security cases. Before ordering suspensions, military security officials in defense plants would have to secure the office's approval. He admitted that more than a "desirable number of offhand suspensions" by such officials had taken place and stated that the central office was expected to lower the number of suspensions and to speed clearances of defense plant workers who sometimes were suspended for as long as six months because of accusations later found to be baseless. According to the New York Times (June 23, 1955), Brucker "was regarded as a supporter of Senator [Joseph R.] McCarthy [of Wisconsin] before Brucker came to Washington ... in 1954. But in March 1955 Brucker laughed in Senator McCarthy's face and otherwise sought to ridicule him in a series of hearings on the [Major] Irving Peress case." (The Army's promotion and honorable discharge of Peress, a dentist who refused to answer questions about Communism, had touched off the Army-McCarthy dispute in 1954; further hearings were conducted in March 1955 by the Senate Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations on "who promoted Peress"; as general counsel of the Department of Defense, Brucker was involved in some of the subcommittee's meetings; for the subcommittee's final report, see the New York Times, July 15, 1955.) Appearing as a witness before the subcommittee on March 19, 1955, Brucker "reared back in his chair and guffawed" when McCarthy accused President Eisenhower of creating a "conspiracy" to keep executive branch officials from talking about the Peress case. Later, when McCarthy asked military witnesses complicated questions, Brucker interrupted: "Now wait; don't answer that. There are three or four questions in that one, Senator. Split 'em up and we'll answer" (Time, July 4, 1955). Testifying before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee in June 1955 on the proposed ratification by the United States of the 1949 Geneva conventions for the protection of war victims, Brucker stated that Communist China was violating international law as well as the Korean armistice by detaining U.S. fliers captured during the Korean war. He said that the 1949 conventions, to which Communist China had indicated its adherence, required repatriation of prisoners of war "without delay" after hostilities ended. Brucker urged U.S. ratification of the conventions, which are designed to modernize and in some respects broaden international law relating to war prisoners and civilians in wartime. The Senate voted unanimous approval of the conventions on July 6, 1955. When questioned in a television interview on Today after his appointment as Army Secretary in June 1955 by President Eisenhower, Brucker stated that one of the big problems facing the Army is "retaining the best personnel, both officers and men, who are gradually filtering out because of present and future prospects." He asserted that "some way has to be found of handling morale and all those other little intangibles" (Christian Science Monitor, June 23, 1955). He belongs to the Michigan and American bar associations and has served as chairman of the A.B.A committee on professional ethics and grievances. He is a member of the American Legion and the Veterans of Foreign Wars, and is a past national president of the Rainbow Division Veterans. He is a Mason and an Elk, and belongs to the Delta Sigma Rho and Sigma Delta Kappa fraterniites. He received an honorary J.D. degree from the University of Detroit (1931), from Hillsdale College in Michigan (1932), and from Alma College in Michigan (1932). He is a Presbyterian. Wilber Marion Brucker was married to Clara Hantel of Saginaw, Michigan on August 18, 1923. He has one son, Wilber Marion Brucker 2d, a lawyer. He is five feet ten inches tall and weighs 182 pounds. He enjoys playing golf and swimming in the pool at his home in
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