Joseph N. Welch

American lawyer

Joseph Nye Welch (22 October 18906 October 1960) was an American lawyer, and the head counsel for the United States Army while it was under investigation by Joseph McCarthy’s Senate Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations for Communist activities. Welch played a Michigan judge in Otto Preminger's Anatomy of a Murder (1959).

You’ve done enough. Have you no sense of decency, sir? At long last, have you left no sense of decency?


Statements to Joseph McCarthy on the 30th day of the Army–McCarthy hearings (9 June 1954) · partial video of exchange at YouTube
  • Until this moment, Senator, I think I have never really gauged your cruelty or your recklessness. Fred Fisher is a young man who went to the Harvard Law School and came into my firm and is starting what looks to be a brilliant career with us. Little did I dream you could be so reckless and so cruel as to do an injury to that lad. It is true he is still with Hale and Dorr. It is true that he will continue to be with Hale and Dorr. It is, I regret to say, equally true that I fear he shall always bear a scar needlessly inflicted by you. If it were in my power to forgive you for your reckless cruelty I would do so. I like to think I am a gentle man, but your forgiveness will have to come from someone other than me.
    • Highlighted section cited in: William Lee Miller (2012) Two Americans: Truman, Eisenhower, and a Dangerous World. p. 309
  • Senator, may we not drop this? We know he belonged to the Lawyers Guild. Let us not assassinate this lad further, Senator. You’ve done enough. Have you no sense of decency, sir? At long last, have you left no sense of decency?
    • Highlighted section quoted in: Robert Shogan (2009) No Sense Of Decency: The Army-McCarthy Hearings. p. xiii
  • Mr. McCarthy, I will not discuss this further with you. You have sat within six feet of me and could have asked me about Fred Fisher. You have seen fit to bring it out. And if there is a God in Heaven it will do neither you nor your cause any good. I will not discuss it further. I will not ask Mr. Cohn any more questions. You, Mr. Chairman, may, if you will, call the next witness.
    • As cited in: Thomas Doherty, ‎Thomas Patrick Doherty (2013) Cold War, Cool Medium: Television, McCarthyism, and American Culture. p. 207