WASHINGTON, April 22, 1954 (UP) - Maj. Gen. Miles W. Reber testified today that Sen. Joseph R. McCarthy and Roy M. Cohn exerted great pressure on him to try to get a speedy Army commission for G. David Schine last summer. "I recall no instance in which I have been put under greater pressure" in 10 years of dealing with senators, Reber testified as the McCarthy-Army hearings opened.
Reber said he was not intimidated by Cohn or McCarthy and did not consider the calls "improper effort."
But if there had not been so many calls, he said, "I don't believe frankly I'd have moved quite as fast" in efforts - which were futile - to help Schine.
Schine, a friend of Cohn, then was unpaid chief consultant to the investigating subcommittee of which McCarthy is chairman.
Schine did not qualify for a commission and later was drafted. He is still a private.
Reber, former Army liaison officer with Congress, was the first witness in the subcommittee's hearings.
The Army has accused the senator and Cohn, his subcommittee chief counsel, with trying improperly to get special treatment for Schine. McCarthy and Cohn have charged the Army tried to blackmail them into calling off their Reds-in-Army probe.
The general, now commanding general of the U.S. Western European army, served 10 years as a military liaison officer with Congress.
He said Cohn called him an average of "two or three times a day" between July 17, 1953, and the end of July. Reber said he received "two or three calls directly" from McCarthy on behalf of Schine.
"I recall no instance in which I have been put under greater pressure," Reber said.
The hearings, expected to last two weeks, were televised and broadcast.
As the hearings opened McCarthy challenged the right of Army Secretary Robert Stevens and Army Counsel John Adams to speak for the Army. Acting Chairman Karl Mundt, R-S.D., of the Senate investigating committee ruled McCarthy out of order.
McCarthy, in raising his point, said Stevens, Adams and Assistant Defense Secretary H. Struve Hensel had been named parties to the dispute - but McCarthy said the Army itself had not.
McCarthy demanded that all three - Stevens, Adams and Hensel - list themselves as individuals and speak for themselves instead of the Army.
"They are three civilians in the Army," he said.
Mundt replied that the 29-point formal bill of charges filed against McCarthy by Stevens and Adams was not before the subcommittee at this time. Mundt said McCarthy could raise his point of order later when the charges were formally placed before the subcommittee.
Reber testified that the efforts to get a commission for Schine started when he was summoned to a conference in McCarthy's office last July 8. Cohn joined in the discussion.
Asked by Subcommittee Counsel Ray H. Jenkins if he felt that McCarthy was "high-pressuring" him, Reber said: "No sir."
But at another point, in response to a question by Jenkins, Reber said: "I felt I was being put under definite pressure" by Cohn.
When it was McCarthy's turn to question Reber, the senator charged that Reber showed "bias and prejudice" because Reber's brother had had a run-in with McCarthy's aides.
McCarthy charged Reber's brother made "vicious attacks" on Cohn and Schine last year while they were touring Europe to inspect State Department overseas libraries.
McCarthy identified the brother as Sam Reber and said he was at that time acting U.S. high commissioner in Germany.
Jenkins objected when McCarthy said Sam Reber "made attacks" on Cohn and Schine and appointed a man to shadow them around Europe.
Jenkins said this was "wholly irrelevant."
"If I can't show bias and prejudice on the part of a witness," McCarthy retorted, "that's a violation of every rule of law I know of."
"I'm going to object to your giving testimony," Sen. John L. McClellan, D-Ark., broke in.
"John, don't object in the middle of my question," said McCarthy.
Jenkins ruled that McCarthy had the right to ask questions "designed to show motive to slant or color testimony-but not (the right) to make a statement of fact."
Reber related at length how Schine was found not qualified time and again by various branches of the Army when he applied for a direct commission.
The Army Transport Corps, in one case, turned down the application because Schine's 1946 service on an Army ship had been in a job like a purser's instead of as a junior ship's officer, Reber said. The Provost Marshal and Office of Psychological Warfare also held Schine not qualified for commissions in those branches, Reber said.
Reber testified that after 26-year-old Schine had been found not qualified for direct commissions, he went to commanding generals of various Army districts, who had authority to award direct commissions to specialists.
In late July, a specially appointed officers board in the New York command considered Schine's case but found him not qualified for a commission.
Reber said officers had trouble getting Schine to fill out a full application. He said Col. Ralph C. Bing reported that Schine had shown impatience with the details of the application.
The ruddy-faced, self-assured general testified that he had received about 1,000 inquiries a week from members of Congress during his 10 years as liaison man.
Jenkins asked how many of those calls asked for some favor.
"I had very few requests for favors," Reber replied. "There were a large number of requests for information."