From the New York Times:
Pacifist Educator Refuses to Pay Tax
Ann Arbor, Mich. — A University of Michigan professor said today that he was refusing to pay his Federal income tax in protest against its being spent on war supplies.
Dr. Johan W. Eliot, assistant professor at the university’s School of Public Health, said in a letter accompanying his tax return, that his conscience would not let him contribute to “armaments which threaten the world and provide no security for this country or my family.”
A Quaker and a professed pacifist, Professor Eliot said that the recent retaliatory air raids on North Vietnamese targets prompted his decision. But he added, “My protest is not directed solely at the situation in Vietnam, which is only symptomatic of a foreign policy based on threats.”
“I stand ready to face prison or whatever penalties may come of this matter, having determined in prayerful counsel with my family that we must take this course together to resist the evil that this great country of ours is doing,” the educator wrote to the office of the Detroit director of the Internal Revenue Service.
Married and the father of five, Professor Eliot gave up his practice as a physician here seven years ago to take the post at the university.
Dr. Eliot said he thought that he owed $300 more than was deducted from his salary.
Another wire service article added more details about Eliot’s stand:
Prof Refusing To Pay Part Of Income Tax
Ann Arbor, Mich. (UPI) — A University of Michigan professor has refused to pay part of his federal income tax because of the United States involvement in the war in Viet Nam and the arms race in general.
Dr. Johan W. Eliot, an assistant professor at the U. of M. School of Public Health, notified the Detroit office of the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) in a letter accompanying his income tax return.
Eliot, a Quaker and a pacifist, wrote:
“I am submitting my income tax form this year under great weight of conscience, aware that much of my tax money is going to armaments which threaten the world and provide no security for this country or my family.
“I am therefore refusing to pay that portion of my income tax not already paid by deductions from my salary, and will not voluntarily yield this sum to the government.”
Eliot, who gave up a private medical practice seven years ago to take the teaching job, said he and his wife, Frances, did not make a “casual decision,” but pondered the problem for some time. The recent retaliatory American air raids on North Viet Nam was the final straw, he said.
“Though the air raids triggered my decision, my protest is not directed solely at the situation in Viet Nam, which is only symptomatic of a foreign policy based on threats,” he said.
He said he stands “ready to face prison or whatever other penalties may come from this matter…”
Eliot emphasized he was “not out to overthrow the U.S. government, and I fully realize they can come get the money anytime they want it, because the IRS has the machinery to extract funds from anyone with property.”
Eliot said he hoped his action would give some encouragement to those who favor negotiation of the Viet Nam problem. He sent copies of his letter to President Johnson, Defense Secretary Robert McNamara, Secretary of State Dean Rusk and Michigan congressmen.
In a very unusual response, a pro-taxpaying citizen volunteered to pay Eliot’s taxes. From the Tri City Herald :
Offer Made To Pay Taxes For Protesting Professor
Ann Arbor, Mich. (AP) — An offer has been made to pay the income taxes of a University of Michigan professor who plans not to pay them.
The offer was made in a letter to the Internal Revenue Service by Edward J. Hutcheson, owner of an advertising and design firm here.
Dr. Johan W. Eliot, an assistant professor in the university’s school of public health, had written the IRS that he would not pay the balance of his income taxes because “much of my tax money is going to armaments which threaten the world and provide no security for this country or my family.”
Hutcheson said he was willing to pay the approximately $300 Eliot said he thought he still owed because “this is a basic issue with me as is Dr. Eliot’s stand. Not to pay taxes borders on anarchy. My motivations are purely patriotic. I do not look at my taxes as being used in war but rather to defend my country.”
Eliot had no comment on Hutcheson’s offer. Neither did the IRS.
, Eliot reported that the IRS had seized some of his bank account.