In Memoriam, Paul Findley

Former Congressman Paul Findley, who represented Illinois’ 20th District from 1961 to 1983 and served on the Streit Council’s Board of Directors, passed away on August 9, 2019. He served as Assistant Editor for Freedom & Union magazine from 1948 to 1949, and was also on the Boards of Federal Union and the Association to Unite the Democracies. His many accomplishments in Congress include authoring the Famine Prevention Act, coauthoring the 1973 War Powers Resolution, leading agricultural trade missions to the Soviet Union and China, strongly opposing the Vietnam War, and advancing the project of transatlantic federation. He also authored several books.

A longtime friend and supporter of Clarence Streit, he recalled the enduring impact of their first meeting in his memoir1:

“As a college student, I endorsed his proposal in a column published in the campus newspaper, then entered the text in a national college contest sponsored by Streit’s Federal Union membership organization. It won second prize, a train ticket to Washington, D.C., and the promise of a day with Streit. On Christmas Day 1941, I reached the capital. The next day, after lunch with Streit at the National Press Club, I squeezed through a door in the House of Representatives gallery to hear British Prime Minister Winston Churchill’s stirring speech to a joint meeting of Congress. It was one of the great thrills of my life, adding fuel to my already blazing interest in politics….In a somber conversation, Streit told me he felt I had taken the place of his only son, killed just days earlier in an auto accident. During the forty-six years that followed, Streit was an important, inspiring part of my life.”

In Congress, he was an ardent supporter of Atlantic unity. With the backing of Streit, former President Dwight Eisenhower, Richard Nixon (as vice president and president), members of Congress, and governors, he pressed for the adoption of an Atlantic Union resolution. By calling a NATO-wide convention to consider steps for transforming the alliance into a federal union, the resolution would have constituted a leap toward a union of democracies.

The Streit Council is grateful for Paul Findley’s life of service, and he will be sorely missed. We offer our condolences to his: sister, Barbara Stuart; daughter, Diane Findley McLaughlin; son, Craig Findley; four grandchildren; and four great-grandchildren.

(Printable version)

1. Paul Findley, Speaking Out: A Congressman’s Lifelong Fight Against Bigotry, Famine, and War (Chicago: Lawrence Hill Books, 2011).

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