vocations, may be required to procure a license, or to register. That this was the decision of the Court is clearly demonstrated by the following statement in the concurring opinion of Mr. Justice Jackson, 323 U.S.at page 548, 65 S. Ct.at page 331, 89 L. Ed. 430: 'I concur in the opinion of Mr. Justice Rutledge that this case falls in the category of a public speech, rather than that of practicing a vocation as solicitor.' Even so, Mr. Justice Roberts, Chief Justice Stone, Mr. Justice Reed and Mr. Justice Frankfurter dissented.
The statute involved in the case at bar, paraphrasing the words of Mr. Justice Jackson, relates to practicing a vocation as an agent of a foreign principal, rather than to making a public speech. It is clear, therefore, that Thomas v. Collins, supra, is not authority for the contention that the Foreign Agents Registration Act is repugnant to the First Amendment.
Recent expressions of the Supreme Court on the right of freedom of speech are to be found in the opinion of Chief Justice Vinson in American Communications Ass'n v. Douds, 339 U.S. 382, 70 S. Ct. 674, 682, 94 L. Ed. 925. After repudiating an attempt to apply the term 'clear and present danger' as a mechanical test in every case touching the First Amendment freedoms, the Chief Justice states: 'Although the First Amendment provides that Congress shall make no law abridging the freedom of speech, press or assembly, it has long been established that those freedoms themselves are dependent upon the power of constitutional government to survive. If it is to survive it must have power to protect itself against unlawful conduct and, under some circumstances, against incitements to commit unlawful acts. Freedom of speech thus does not comprehend the right to speak on any subject at any time.'
In another recent case, Kovacs v. Cooper, 336 U.S. 77, 88, 69 S. Ct. 448, 454, 93 L. Ed. 513, Mr. Justice Reed states: 'To enforce freedom of speech in disregard of the rights of others would be harsh and arbitrary in itself.'
It follows hence that the statute under scrutiny in the case at bar is not violative of the First Amendment.
The next objection raised against the validity of the statute is that it violates the privilege against self-incrimination conferred by the Fifth Amendment. The privilege against self-incrimination is, however, personal to the individual and may be either asserted or waived by him. It does not constitute a basis for invalidating a statute. For example, a corporation or an unincorporated association, such as the first named defendant in this case, does not possess the privilege and may not invoke it, United States v. White, 322 U.S. 694, 699, 64 S. Ct. 1248, 88 L. Ed. 1542.
Moreover, the statute does not require the disclosure of any information except on a voluntary basis as a condition of carrying on certain occupations or certain activities. The information called for by the statute is not incriminating on its face. If any specific item would be incriminating then the time to assert the privilege would be when the statement is filed, if, indeed, the privilege may be invoked at all. For instance, one may hardly argue that an applicant for admission to the bar who is asked concerning some complaint filed against him, may decline to answer on the ground that to do so would tend to incriminate him, and yet insist on being admitted to practice law.
The final objection to the constitutionality of the Act is that it is repugnant to the due process clause of the Fifth Amendment, in that its provisions are not sufficiently definite to establish and formulate an ascertainable standard of guilt. Undoubtedly, a criminal statute must define the crime. Otherwise it is lacking in due process and hence is unconstitutional.
The statute is, however, sufficiently precise. It requires the filing of a registration statement. Obviously this provision is definite. The persons who are required to register are agents of foreign principals. A foreign principal is defined. An agent of a foreign principal is likewise defined. True, there may be borderline cases in which a person may have some doubt whether he is within the terms of the Act. This circumstance is not sufficient, however, to vitiate the law. It occurs in numerous statutes. Perhaps the most striking illustration is the Sherman Antitrust Act, 15 U.S.C.A. §§ 1-7, 15 note, which proscribes contracts, combinations, and conspiracies in restraint of trade or commerce. What constitutes a restraint banned by the Act is frequently a doubtful question. Yet the constitutionality of the statute was upheld as against an objection that it is too vague. The objection raised by the defendants in this Court is best disposed of in the following words of Mr. Justice Holmes in sustaining the validity of the Sherman Act, in Nash v. United States, 229 U.S. 373, 377, 33 S. Ct. 780, 781, 57 L. Ed. 1232: 'But, apart from the common law as to restraint of trade thus taken up by the statute, the law is full of instances where a man's fate depends on his estimating rightly, that is, as the jury subsequently estimates it, some matter of degree. If his judgment is wrong, not only may he incur a fine or a short imprisonment, as here; he may incur the penalty of death.' This doctrine was recently followed in United States v. Petrillo, 332 U.S. 1, 7, 67 S. Ct. 1538, 91 L. Ed. 1877.
In the light of the foregoing discussion the Court reaches the conclusion that the statute is valid and is not subject to any constitutional infirmity.
The defendants further argue that the indictment is insufficient. It is well settled that under the Federal Rules of Criminal Procedure an indictment need contain only a plain, concise and definite written statement of the essential facts constituting the offense charged.
It suffices if the indictment apprizes the defendant of the specific charge that he is called upon to answer, and likewise contains sufficient facts to enable him to plead former jeopardy, if he should be later confronted with the same accusation.
The Court is of the opinion that the indictment meets these tests.
Paragraph 5 of the indictment sets forth that the defendant Peace Information Center has unlawfully and wilfully failed to file a registration statement as an agent of a foreign principal. The principal is named.
Reverting to paragraph 2 of the indictment, we find that the principal is alleged to have been a foreign principal as defined in the Act.
Paragraph 3 of the indictment avers that the defendant Peace Information Center has been an agent of a foreign principal. It is argued that it is insufficient to allege that the defendant has acted as an agent without explaining in what manner he has done so. The indictment in this case, however, is not confined to such a general assertion. It goes on to state in what manner the defendant has acted as an agent: it avers that the defendant has acted and held itself out to be the publicity agent for, has reported information to, and has acted at the request of the foreign principal. The Court is of the opinion that the allegations of count 1 of the indictment are sufficient to charge an offense. Obviously, if count 1 is free from defects, it necessarily follows that count 2 is likewise sufficient.
Motion to dismiss the indictment is denied.