Alger Hiss, by Wikipedia

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Alger Hiss, by Wikipedia

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Alger Hiss
by Wikipedia
Accessed: 11/6/18



Alger Hiss
Hiss testifying (1950)
Born November 11, 1904
Baltimore, Maryland, U.S.
Died November 15, 1996 (aged 92)
New York, New York, U.S.
Education Johns Hopkins University, Harvard Law School
Known for Conviction for perjury related to espionage
Spouse(s) Priscilla Hiss (1903–1984) (m. 1929–1984),
Isabel Johnson (d.2000) (m. 1985–1996)
Children Tony Hiss, Timothy Hobson (stepson)
Parent(s) Mary Lavinia Hughes, Charles Alger Hiss
Relatives Bosley Hiss, brother; Donald Hiss, brother; Anna Hiss, sister; Mary Ann Hiss, sister
Awards Honorary degree from Johns Hopkins (LL.D 1947) [1]

Alger Hiss (November 11, 1904 – November 15, 1996) was an American government official who was accused of being a Soviet spy in 1948[2] and convicted of perjury in connection with this charge in 1950. Before he was tried and convicted, he was involved in the establishment of the United Nations both as a U.S. State Department official and as a U.N. official. In later life he worked as a lecturer and author.

On August 3, 1948, Whittaker Chambers, a former U.S. Communist Party member, testified under subpoena before the House Un-American Activities Committee (HUAC) that Hiss had secretly been a Communist while in federal service. Called before HUAC, Hiss categorically denied the charge. When Chambers repeated his claim on nationwide radio, Hiss filed a defamation lawsuit against him.

During the pretrial discovery process, Chambers produced new evidence indicating that he and Hiss had been involved in espionage, which both men had previously denied under oath to HUAC. A federal grand jury indicted Hiss on two counts of perjury; Chambers admitted to the same offense but, as a cooperating government witness, was never charged. Although Hiss's indictment stemmed from the alleged espionage, he could not be tried for that crime because the statute of limitations had expired. After a mistrial due to a hung jury, Hiss was tried a second time. In January 1950, he was found guilty on both counts of perjury and received two concurrent five-year sentences, of which he eventually served three and a half years. Hiss maintained his innocence until his death.

Arguments about the case and the validity of the verdict took center stage in broader debates about the Cold War, McCarthyism, and the extent of Soviet espionage in the United States.[3] Since Hiss's conviction, statements by involved parties and newly exposed evidence have added to the dispute. Author Anthony Summers argued that since many relevant files continue to be unavailable, the Hiss controversy will continue to be debated.[4] In 2001, James Barron, a staff reporter for The New York Times, identified what he called a "growing consensus that Hiss, indeed, had most likely been a Soviet agent."[5]

Early life and family

Alger Hiss was one of five children born in Baltimore, Maryland, to Mary "Minnie" Lavinia (née Hughes) and Charles Alger Hiss. Both parents came from substantial Baltimore families who could trace their roots to the middle of the eighteenth century. Hiss's paternal great-great grandfather had emigrated from Germany in 1729, married well, and changed his surname from "Hesse" to "Hiss".[6] Minnie Hughes had attended teacher's college and was active in Baltimore society. Shortly after his marriage at age 24, Charles Hiss entered the business world and joined the dry goods importing firm Daniel Miller and Co. He did well, becoming an executive and stockholder. When Charles's brother John died suddenly at age 33, Charles assumed financial and emotional responsibility for his brother's widow and six children in addition to his own expanding family.[6] Charles also helped his wife's favorite brother, Albert Hughes, find work at Daniel Miller. Hughes at first distinguished himself and was promoted to treasurer of the firm, but then he became involved in a complicated business deal and was unable to meet the financial obligation that was part of a joint agreement.[6] As a matter of honor, Charles Hiss felt compelled to sell all his stocks to make good his brother-in-law's debts, as well as to resign from the firm. This was in 1907, the year of a great financial panic. After inconclusive attempts by relatives to find him a job, Charles fell into a serious depression and committed suicide, cutting his throat with a razor. Minnie, who had made the most of her former prosperity and social position, now had to rely on her inheritance and assistance from family members.

Alger Hiss was two years old at the time of his father's death, and his brother Donald was two months old. As was customary in those days, they were not told of the circumstances of Charles Hiss's death. When Alger learned of it inadvertently years later from neighbors, he angrily confronted his older brother Bosely, who then told him the truth. Shocked, Hiss resolved to devote the rest of his life to restoring the family's "good name".[6]

Although shadowed by melancholy, Hiss's early childhood, spent in rough and tumble games with his siblings and cousins who lived close by, was not unhappy. Their Baltimore neighborhood was described by columnist Murray Kempton as one of "shabby gentility."[7] Hiss, however, portrayed the economic circumstances of his childhood as "modest," but "not particularly shabby."[8] (Two further tragedies occurred when Hiss was in his twenties: his elder brother Bosley died of Bright's disease and his sister Mary Ann committed suicide.)[8]

Hiss learned to compartmentalize and to seek out paternal surrogates. At school he was popular and high performing. He attended high school at Baltimore City College and college at Johns Hopkins University, where he was voted "most popular student" by his classmates and graduated Phi Beta Kappa. In 1929, he received his law degree from Harvard Law School, where he was a protégé of Felix Frankfurter, the future U.S. Supreme Court justice. During his time at Harvard, the famous murder trial of anarchists Nicola Sacco and Bartolomeo Vanzetti transpired, which ended in their conviction and execution. Like Frankfurter, who wrote a book about the case, and like many prominent liberals of the day, Hiss maintained that Sacco and Vanzetti were convicted unjustly.

In 1929, Hiss married Priscilla Fansler Hobson, a Bryn Mawr graduate and grade school teacher. Priscilla, previously married to Thayer Hobson, had a three-year-old son, Timothy. Hiss and Priscilla had known each other before her marriage to Hobson. Hiss served for a year as clerk to Supreme Court Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr., before joining Choate, Hall & Stewart, a Boston law firm, and later the New York law firm then known as Cotton, Franklin, Wright & Gordon.


During the era of President Franklin Delano Roosevelt's New Deal, Hiss became a government attorney. In 1933, he served briefly at the Justice Department and then became a temporary assistant on the Senate's Nye Committee, investigating cost overruns and alleged profiteering by military contractors during World War I.[9] During this period, Hiss was also a member of the liberal legal team headed by Jerome Frank that defended the Agricultural Adjustment Administration (AAA) against challenges to its legitimacy. Because of intense opposition from agribusiness in Arkansas, Frank and his left-wing assistants, who included future labor lawyer Lee Pressman, were fired in 1935 in what came to be known as "the purge of liberals."[10] Hiss was not fired, but allegations that during this period he was connected with radicals on the Agriculture Department's legal team were to be the source of future controversy.

Meantime, Hiss also served initially as "investigator"[11] and then "legal assistant"[12][13][14] (counsel) to the Nye Committee from July 1934 to August 1935.[15] He "badgered" DuPont officials and questioned and cross-examined Bernard Baruch on March 29, 1935.[16][17][18][19] (In 1947, Baruch and Hiss both attended the burial of Nicholas Murray Butler. In 1988, he called Baruch "vain and overrated Polonius much given to trite pronouncements about the nation."[20]

In 1936, Alger Hiss and his younger brother Donald Hiss began working under Cordell Hull in the State Department. Alger was an assistant to Assistant Secretary of State Francis B. Sayre (son-in-law of Woodrow Wilson) and then special assistant to the director of the Office of Far Eastern Affairs. From 1939 to 1944 Hiss was an assistant to Stanley Hornbeck, a special adviser to Cordell Hull on Far Eastern affairs.

In 1944, Hiss was named Director of the Office of Special Political Affairs, a policy-making entity devoted to planning for post-war international organizations, Hiss served as executive secretary[21] of the Dumbarton Oaks Conference, which drew up plans for the future United Nations. In November 1944, Hull, who had led the United Nations project, retired as Secretary of State due to poor health and was succeeded by Undersecretary of State Edward Stettinius.

President Harry S. Truman addressing the United Nations Conference in San Francisco, California. From left to right: Unknown person, President Truman, Harry Vaughan, Secretary of State Edward Stettinius, and Alger Hiss. Armed Service personnel and the flags of nations are in the background, June 26, 1945

In February 1945, as a member of the U.S. delegation headed by Stettinius, Hiss attended the Yalta Conference, where the Big Three, Franklin D. Roosevelt, Joseph Stalin, and Winston Churchill, met to consolidate their alliance to forestall any possibility, now that the Soviets had entered German territory, that any of them might make a separate peace with the Nazi regime. Negotiations addressed the postwar division of Europe and configuration of its borders; reparations and de-Nazification; and the still unfinished plans, carried over from Dumbarton Oaks, for the United Nations. Before the conference took place Hiss participated in the meetings where the American draft of the "Declaration of Liberated Europe" was created. The Declaration concerned the political future of Eastern Europe and critics on the right later charged that it made damaging concessions to the Soviets.[22]

Hiss stated that he was responsible for assembling background papers and documentation for the conference "and any general matters that might come up relating to the Far East or the Near East." [23]

Hiss drafted a memorandum arguing against Stalin's proposal (made at Dumbarton Oaks)[24] to give one vote to each of the sixteen Soviet republics in the U.N. General Assembly. Fearing isolation, Stalin hoped thus to counterbalance the votes of the many countries of the British Empire, who he anticipated would vote with Britain, and those of Latin America, who could be expected to vote in lockstep with the United States.[25] In the final compromise offered by Roosevelt and Stettinius and accepted by Stalin, the Soviets obtained three votes: one each for the Soviet Union itself, the Ukrainian SSR, and the Belorussian SSR.[26]

Hiss was acting temporary secretary-general of the San Francisco United Nations Conference on International Organization (the United Nations Charter Conference), which began on April 25, 1945. He subsequently became full Director of the State Department's Office of Special Political Affairs.[27] According to Allen Weinstein, the Soviet delegate to the UN conference, Andrei Gromyko, praised Hiss to his superior Stettinus for his "impartiality and fairness".[28] In late 1946, Hiss left government service to become president of the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, where he served until May 5, 1949, when he was forced to step down.

Accusation of espionage

On August 3, 1948, Whittaker Chambers, a former Communist Party member, appeared before the House Committee on Un-American Activities (HUAC) to denounce Alger Hiss. A senior editor at Time magazine, Chambers had written a scathingly satirical editorial critical of the Yalta agreements.[29] Chambers asserted that he had known Hiss as a member of "an underground organization of the United States Communist Party" in the 1930s.[30] The group, which Chambers called the "Ware Group," had been organized by agriculturalist Harold Ware, an American communist intent on organizing black and white tenant farmers in the American South against exploitation and debt peonage by the cotton industry (Ware had died in 1935). According to Chambers, "the purpose of this group at that time was not primarily espionage. Its original purpose was the Communist infiltration of the American government. But espionage was certainly one of its eventual objectives."[31] As historian Tim Weiner points out, "This was a crucial point. Infiltration and invisible political influence were immoral, but arguably not illegal. Espionage was treason, traditionally punishable by death. The distinction was not lost on the cleverest member of HUAC, Congressman Richard Nixon.... He had been studying the FBI's files for five months, courtesy of J. Edgar Hoover. Nixon launched his political career in hot pursuit of Hiss and the alleged secret Communists of the New Deal."[32]

Rumors had circulated about Hiss since 1939, when Chambers, at the urging of anti-Stalinist Isaac Don Levine, had gone to Assistant Secretary of State Adolf A. Berle, Jr. and accused Hiss of having belonged to an underground communist cell at the Department of Agriculture.[33] In 1942, Chambers repeated this allegation to the FBI. In 1945 two other sources appeared to implicate Hiss. In September 1945, Igor Gouzenko, a 26-year-old Ukrainian whose three-year tour as a cipher clerk stationed at the Soviet Embassy in Ottawa was coming to an end, defected from the Soviet Union and remained in Canada.[34] In exchange for asylum Gouzenko offered to Canadian authorities evidence about a Soviet espionage network actively working to acquire information about nuclear weapons,[35] along with information that an unnamed assistant (or more precisely an "assistant to an assistant") to U.S. Secretary of State Stettinius was a Soviet agent. When informed of this, Hoover assumed Gouzenko was referring to Alger Hiss.[36] Three months later (in December 1945), Elizabeth Bentley, an American spy for the Soviet Union, who served also as courier between Communist groups,[37] told the FBI, as documented in the FBI Silvermaster File that "At this time Kramer told me that the person who had originally taken Glasser away from Perlo's group was named Hiss and that he was in the U.S. State Department."[38] Bentley also said that the man in question, whom she called "Eugene Hiss" worked in the State Department and was an adviser to Dean Acheson. In both cases (Gouzenko and Bentley), the FBI decided that Alger Hiss was the likely match.[30][39] Hoover put a wiretap on Hiss's home phone and had him and his wife investigated and tailed for the next two years.[40]

In response to Chambers's accusations, Hiss protested his innocence and insisted on appearing before HUAC to clear himself. Testifying on August 5, 1948, he denied having ever been a Communist or having personally met Chambers. Under fire from President Truman and the press, the Committee was reluctant to proceed with its investigation against so eminent a man.[41] Committee member Richard Nixon, however, a Congressman from California, who later described Hiss's demeanor that day as, "insolent," "condescending," and "insulting in the extreme," wanted to press on.[42] Nixon had received secret information about the FBI's suspicions from John Francis Cronin, a Roman Catholic priest who had infiltrated labor unions in Baltimore during World War II to report on Communist activities and had been given access to FBI files.[30][43] Writing in a paper titled "The Problem Of American Communism In 1945", Cronin wrote, "In the State Department, the most influential Communist has been Alger Hiss."[44]

With some reluctance, the Committee voted to make Nixon chair of a subcommittee that would seek to determine who was lying, Hiss or Chambers, at least on the question of whether they knew one another.[45]

Shown a photograph of Chambers, Hiss conceded that the face "might look familiar" and asked to see Chambers in person. Confronted with him in person in a hotel elevator with HUAC representatives present, Hiss admitted that he had indeed known Chambers, but under the name "George Crosley," a man who represented himself as a freelance writer. Hiss said that in the mid-1930s he had sublet his apartment to this "Crosley" and had given him an old car.[30][46] Chambers, for his part, denied on the stand ever having used the alias Crosley, though he admitted to Hiss's lawyers in private testimony that it could have been one of his pen names.[47] When Hiss and Chambers both appeared before a HUAC subcommittee on August 17, 1948, they had the following exchange:

HISS. Did you ever go under the name of George Crosley?
CHAMBERS. Not to my knowledge.
HISS. Did you ever sublet an apartment on Twenty-ninth Street from me?
CHAMBERS. No; I did not.
HISS. You did not?
HISS. Did you ever spend any time with your wife and child in an apartment on Twenty-ninth Street in Washington when I was not there because I and my family were living on P Street?
CHAMBERS. I most certainly did.
HISS. You did or did not?
HISS. Would you tell me how you reconcile your negative answers with this affirmative answer?
CHAMBERS. Very easily, Alger. I was a Communist and you were a Communist.[48]

Chambers's statements, because they were made in a Congressional hearing, were privileged against defamation suits; Hiss challenged Chambers to repeat them without benefit of such protection. When, on the national radio program Meet the Press, Chambers publicly called Hiss a communist, Hiss instituted a libel lawsuit against him.

Chambers retaliated by claiming Hiss was not merely a communist but also a spy, a charge he had not made earlier; and, on November 17, 1948, to support his explosive allegations he produced physical evidence consisting of sixty-five pages of re-typed State Department documents, the last of which was dated April 1, 1938, plus four notes in Hiss's handwriting summarizing the contents of State Department cables. These became known as the "Baltimore documents". Chambers claimed Hiss had given them to him in 1938 and that Priscilla had retyped them (Hiss could not type) on the Hisses' Woodstock typewriter for Chambers to pass along to the Soviets.[30] One of the handwritten notes copied the contents of a telegram (received January 28, 1938)[49] related to the November and December 1937 arrest and disappearance in Moscow of a Latvian-born man and his wife, an American citizen.[50] Under questioning, neither Hiss nor his superior, Francis Sayre, recollected the incident. Hiss initially denied writing the note, but experts confirmed it was his handwriting.[51] Interrogated in 1949, Sayre stated that the telegram was unrelated to Hiss's duties, which concerned trade matters and told his questioners, "He could not understand why he was on the distribution list for this cable nor why the note would be made on it or especially why an exact copy should be made."[52]

In their previous testimony, both Chambers and Hiss had denied having committed espionage. By introducing the Baltimore documents, Chambers admitted he had previously lied, opening both Hiss and himself to perjury charges. Chambers also gave a new date for his own break with the Communist Party, an important point in his accusations against Hiss. For over nine years, beginning September 1, 1939, he had claimed to have quit the Party in 1937. Chambers now began to claim the actual date was sometime in early March 1938, the year of the "Baltimore documents," before finally settling during the trial, on April 15, 1938.[53][54][55]

On December 2, Chambers led HUAC investigators to a pumpkin patch on his Maryland farm; from a hollowed-out pumpkin in which he had hidden them the previous day, he produced five rolls of 35 mm film that he said came from Hiss in 1938, as well. While some of the film was undeveloped and some contained images of trivial content such as publicly available Navy documents concerning the painting of fire extinguishers, there were also images of State Department documents that were classified at the time. As a consequence of the revelation's dramatic staging, both the film and the Baltimore documents soon became known collectively as the "Pumpkin Papers."[30]

Perjury trials and conviction

Alger Hiss in Lewisburg Federal Penitentiary
(Photos courtesy of the Federal Bureau of Prisons)

The grand jury charged Hiss with two counts of perjury—it did not indict him for espionage since the period of limitations had run out. Chambers was never charged with a crime. Hiss went to trial twice. The first trial, presided over by Judge Samuel Kaufman, started on May 31, 1949, and ended in a hung jury on July 7. Chambers admitted on the witness stand that he had previously committed perjury several times while he was under oath, including deliberately falsifying key dates in his story. Hiss's character witnesses at his first trial included such notables as future Democratic presidential candidate Adlai Stevenson, Supreme Court Justices Felix Frankfurter, and Stanley Reed, and former Democratic presidential candidate John W. Davis. President Truman famously called the trial "a red herring."[56] The second trial, presided over by Judge Henry W. Goddard, lasted from November 17, 1949, to January 21, 1950.

At both trials, a key to the prosecution's case was testimony from expert witnesses, stating that identifying characteristics of the typed Baltimore documents matched samples typed on a typewriter owned by the Hisses at the time of his alleged espionage work with Chambers. The prosecution also presented as evidence the typewriter itself. Given away years earlier, it had been located by defense investigators. This trial resulted in an eight-to-four deadlocked jury. "That, according to one of Hiss's friends and lawyers, Helen Buttenweiser, was the only time that she had ever seen Alger shocked—stunned by the fact that eight of his fellow citizens did not believe him."[57]

In the second trial, Hede Massing, an Austrian-born confessed Soviet spy who was being threatened with deportation, and whom the first judge had not permitted to testify, provided some slight corroboration of Chambers's story. She recounted meeting Hiss at a party in 1935.[55] Massing also described how Hiss had tried to recruit Noel Field, another Soviet spy at State, to switch from Massing's ring to his own.[58][59]

This time the jury found Hiss guilty. According to Anthony Summers, "Hiss spoke only two sentences in court after he had been found guilty. The first was to thank the judge. The second was to assert that one day in the future it would be disclosed how forgery by typewriter had been committed."[60]

On January 25, 1950, Judge Goddard sentenced Hiss to five years' imprisonment on each of the two counts, to run concurrently.

At a subsequent press conference, Secretary of State Dean Acheson reacted emotionally, affirming, "I do not intend to turn my back on Alger Hiss." Acheson quoted Jesus in the Bible: "I was a Stranger and ye took me in; Naked, and ye clothed me; I was sick and ye visited me; I was in prison and ye came unto me." Acheson's remarks enraged Nixon, who accused him of blasphemy.[61] The verdict was upheld by the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit,[62] and the Supreme Court of the United States denied a writ of certiorari.[63]

The case heightened public concern about Soviet espionage penetration of the U.S. government in the 1930s and 1940s. As a well-educated and highly connected government official from an old American family, Alger Hiss did not fit the profile of a typical spy.

Publicity surrounding the case thrust Richard M. Nixon into the public spotlight, helping him move from the U.S. House of Representatives to the U.S. Senate in 1950, to the Vice Presidency of the United States in 1952, and finally to President of the United States in 1968.

Senator Joseph McCarthy made his famous speech at Wheeling, West Virginia, two weeks after the Hiss verdict, launching his career as the nation's most visible anti-communist.


Although he had been sentenced to five years' imprisonment, Hiss served only three years and eight months in Lewisburg Federal Prison. He was released from prison on November 27, 1954.

While in prison, Hiss acted as a voluntary attorney, adviser, and tutor for many of his fellow inmates.


After his release in 1954, Hiss, who had been disbarred, worked as a salesman for the stationery company S. Novick & Sons located in the Puck Building, 225 Lafayette St. in New York City. In 1957, he published In the Court of Public Opinion,[64] a book challenging in detail the prosecution's case against him, and maintaining the typewritten documents traced to his typewriter had been forged. Hiss separated from his first wife, Priscilla, in 1959, though they remained married until her death in 1984. In 1985 he married Isabel Johnson, who had been living with him since soon after they met in 1960.[65]

On November 11, 1962, following Richard Nixon's failed 1962 bid for governor of California, Hiss appeared in a segment titled "The Political Obituary of Richard M. Nixon" on the Howard K. Smith: News and Comment show on ABC television. (The Chicago Tribune reported targets of Hiss's "invective" and whom he "denounced as conspirators in a monstrous plot to convict him on concocted evidence" included: the presiding judge at his second trial, the three appellate court justices who rejected his appeal, J. Edgar Hoover and the FBI, assistant attorney general Alexander M. Campbell, federal prosecutor Thomas F. Murphy, members of the New York grand jury who indicted him, jury members in his two trials who convicted him, and HUAC members and particularly Richard Nixon and Karl Mundt."[66]) His appearance led sponsors to withdraw from Smith's program when viewers bombarded ABC with complaints about letting a convicted perjurer appear on the air. Smith's show was cancelled in June 1963.[67]

The five rolls of 35 mm film known as the "pumpkin papers" had been characterized as highly classified and too sensitive to reveal and were thought until late 1974 to be locked in HUAC files. In 1975, independent researcher Stephen W. Salant, an economist at the University of Michigan, sued the U.S. Justice Department when it denied his request for access to them under the Freedom of Information Act. On July 31, 1975, as a result of this lawsuit and follow-on suits filed by Peter Irons and by Alger Hiss and William A. Reuben, the Justice Department released copies of the "pumpkin papers" that had been used to implicate Hiss. One roll of film turned out to be totally blank due to overexposure,[68] two others are faintly legible copies of non-classified Navy Department documents relating to such subjects as life rafts and fire extinguishers, and the remaining two are photographs of the State Department documents that had been introduced at the two Hiss trials.[69] A few days after the release of the Pumpkin Papers, on August 5, 1975, Hiss was readmitted to the Massachusetts bar. The state's Supreme Judicial Court overruled its Committee of Bar Overseers[70] and stated in a unanimous decision that, despite his conviction, Hiss had demonstrated the "moral and intellectual fitness" required to be an attorney. Hiss was the first lawyer ever readmitted to the Massachusetts bar after a major criminal conviction.[30]

In 1988 Hiss wrote an autobiography, Recollections of a Life, in which he maintained his innocence. He fought his perjury conviction until his death at age 92, from emphysema on November 15, 1996, at Lenox Hill Hospital in New York City.[71][72] His friends and family continue to insist on his innocence.

Later evidence, for and against

Testimony by Bullitt and Weyl

In 1952, former US Ambassador to France William C. Bullitt testified before the McCarran Committee (the Senate Internal Security Subcommittee) that in 1939, Premier Édouard Daladier had advised him of French intelligence reports that two State Department officials named Hiss were Soviet agents.[73] When asked about it the next day, Daladier, then 68 years old, told reporters that he did not recall this conversation from 13 years previously.[74] Also called to testify before the McCarran committee was economist Nathaniel Weyl, a former Communist Party member "at large" who had worked for the Department of Agriculture during the early days of the New Deal and had become disillusioned with what he considered the underhanded methods of the Communist Party. In 1950 Weyl had been interviewed by the FBI and had told them that in 1933 he had belonged to a secret Communist Party unit along with Harold Ware and Lee Pressman and confirmed that Alger Hiss had been present at some meetings held at Ware's sister's violin studio.[75] Weyl's is thus the only testimony appearing to corroborate some of Chambers's allegations. In 1950 Weyl, however, had published an anti-communist book, Treason: The Story of Disloyalty and Betrayal in American History (1950) that made no mention of the so-called "Ware Group." Moreover, in this book, which came out shortly after Hiss's conviction, Weyl expressed doubt that Alger Hiss had been guilty of espionage.[55][76][77]

Fake typewriter hypothesis

At both trials FBI typewriter experts testified that the Baltimore documents in Chambers's possession matched samples of typing done in the 1930s by Priscilla Hiss on the Hisses' home typewriter, a Woodstock brand. As early as December 1948 the chief investigator for the Hiss defense, Horace W. Schmahl, set off a race to find Hiss's typewriter.[78] The FBI, with superior resources was also searching for the typewriter, which the Hiss family had discarded some years earlier. Nevertheless, Schmahl was able to track it down first, and the Hiss defense introduced it with the intention of showing that its typeface would not be a match for that on the FBI's documents. Surprisingly, however, the typefaces proved to be an excellent match and seemed to confirm the FBI's evidence. Schmahl subsequently changed sides and went to work for the prosecution.

After Hiss had gone to prison, his lawyer, Chester T. Lane, acting on a tip he had received from someone who had worked with Schmahl that Hiss might have been framed, filed a motion in January 1952 for a new trial.[79] Lane sought to show that (1) forgery by typewriter was feasible and (2) such forgery had occurred in the Hiss case. Unaware that the feasibility of such forgeries had already been established throughout the War by the military intelligence services that engaged in such practices, the Hiss defense sought to establish feasibility directly by hiring a civilian typewriter expert, Martin Tytell, to create a typewriter that would be indistinguishable from the one the Hisses owned. Tytell spent two years creating a facsimile Woodstock typewriter whose print characteristics would match the peculiarities of the Hiss typewriter.[80]

To demonstrate that forgery by typewriter was not merely a theoretical possibility but had actually occurred in the Hiss case, the defense sought to show that Exhibit #UUU was not Hiss's old machine but a newer one altered to type like it. According to former Woodstock executives, the production date of a machine could be inferred from the machine's serial number. The serial number on the Exhibit #UUU typewriter indicated that it would have been manufactured after the man who sold the Hiss machine had retired from the company and the salesman insisted that he did not sell any typewriters after his retirement. Decades later, when FBI files were disclosed under the Freedom of Information Act, it turned out that the FBI had also doubted that the trial exhibit was Hiss's machine and for exactly the same reasons; although the FBI expressed these concerns internally as the first trial was about to begin, the public did not learn about the FBI's doubts until the mid-1970s.[81]

To explain why typing from Exhibit #UUU seemed indistinguishable from the typing on Hiss's old machine, Lane assembled experts prepared to testify that Exhibit #UUU had been tampered with in a way inconsistent with professional repair work to make it type like Hiss's old typewriter. In addition, experts were prepared to testify that Priscilla Hiss was not the typist of the Baltimore documents.[82] In summarizing the conclusions of the forensic experts he had assembled in his motion for a new trial, Lane told the court, "I no longer just question the authenticity of Woodstock N230099. I now say to the Court that Woodstock N230099—the typewriter in evidence at the trials—is a fake machine. I present in affidavit form, and will be able to produce at the hearing, expert testimony that this machine is a deliberately fabricated job, a new type face on an old body. This being so, it can only have been planted on the defense by or on behalf of Whittaker Chambers as part of his plot for the false incrimination of Alger Hiss."[83]

In July 1952 Judge Goddard denied Hiss's motion for a new trial, expressing great skepticism that Chambers had the resources, knew how to commit forgery by typewriter, and would have known where to plant such a fake machine so it would be found. In his decision, Goddard did not address the possibility, raised by Hiss's defenders, that someone other than Chambers, namely Horace Schmahl and/or his associates on the prosecution side, might have been involved in faking the typewriter.[84]

Based on Justice Department documents released in 1976, the Hiss defense filed a petition in federal court in July 1978 for a writ of coram nobis, asking that the guilty verdict be overturned due to prosecutorial misconduct. In 1982, the Federal Court denied the petition, and in 1983 the U.S. Supreme Court declined to hear the appeal. In the writ, Hiss's attorneys argued the following:

• The FBI illegally withheld important evidence from the Hiss defense team, specifically that typewritten documents could be forged. Unknown to the defense, military intelligence operatives in World War II, a decade before the trials, "could reproduce faultlessly the imprint of any typewriter on earth."[85]
• With regard to the Woodstock No. 230099 typewriter introduced as Exhibit #UUU by the defense at the trial, the FBI knew there was an inconsistency between its serial number and the manufacture date of Hiss's machine but illegally withheld this information from Hiss.[30]
• That the FBI had an informer on the Hiss defense team, a private detective named Horace W. Schmahl. Hired by the Hiss defense team, Schmahl reported on the Hiss defense strategy to the government.[86][87]
• That the FBI had conducted illegal surveillance of Hiss before and during the trials, including phone taps and mail openings. Also that the prosecution had withheld from Hiss and his lawyers the records of this surveillance, none of which provided any evidence that Hiss was a spy or a Communist.[88]

Federal Judge Owen, in denying Hiss's coram nobis petition, quoted verbatim two points made by Judge Goddard in denying Hiss's appeal for a new trial 30 years earlier, namely, that "there is not a trace of any evidence that Chambers had the mechanical skills, tools, equipment or material for such a difficult task [as typewriter forgery]," and that "If Chambers had constructed a duplicate machine, how would he have known where to plant it so that it would be found by Hiss?"

Stephen Salant, whose FOIA requests had revealed to the public the contents of the "pumpkin papers," has documented that Schmahl was a trained Army "spy-catcher" (as they called themselves), a special agent in the Counter Intelligence Corps (CIC). While on the payroll of the Hiss defense and searching for Hiss's typewriter, Schmahl confided to the FBI that his "present employment" in December 1948 was with Military Intelligence; his claim has not yet been independently verified.[89][90] At the Military Intelligence Training Center, CIC agents learned the rudiments of forgery and how to detect it through matching of typed samples with the typewriter that produced them.[91] During the 1940s the CIC's domestic surveillance of civilians was extensive but so covert that it usually escaped notice. When detected, undercover CIC agents were often mistaken for FBI agents, since only the Bureau was authorized to investigate civilians.[92] During the 1930s Army counterintelligence monitored another suspected communist connected to Chambers, Franklin Vincent Reno, a civilian employed at the Aberdeen Proving Ground, who shortly afterwards passed information about U.S. Army weapons to Chambers.[93] It is not known if U.S. Army counterintelligence monitored Chambers' other associates, but when Hiss presided over the UN Charter Conference, more than a hundred undercover CIC agents were in attendance.[94]

In his 1976 memoir, former White House counsel John Dean states that President Nixon's chief counsel Charles Colson told him that Nixon had admitted in a conversation that HUAC had fabricated a typewriter, saying, "We built one on the Hiss case."[95] According to Anthony Summers, "When Dean's book was published, Colson protested that he had 'no recollection of Nixon's having said the typewriter was 'phonied,'" and Nixon himself characterized the claim as 'totally false.' Dean, however, insisted that his contemporaneous notes confirmed that Colson had quoted the President as he indicated and seemed serious when he did so."[96] Summers and others suggest that Dean's version of events is plausible: "'Had Nixon asked the FBI to manufacture evidence to prove his case against Hiss,' opined former FBI Assistant Director Sullivan, 'Hoover would actually been only too glad to oblige.'" As to whether Nixon would actually have gone as far as to frame Hiss, Summers notes, "the later record includes disquieting instances of forgery or planting false information."[97]

Cold War historian John V. Fleming disagrees, arguing that on the White House tapes Nixon never says anything that would have corroborated Colson's statement to John Dean about forging a typewriter in the Hiss case. Fleming and others maintain that the indistinct phrase during a conversation with John Dean that sounded to certain transcribers like "we made a typewriter" is actually a reference to Hiss's legal team.[98] Throughout the tapes Nixon stresses how he had tried Hiss in the press, not the law courts, because that's how these things were done:

We won the Hiss case in the papers. We did. I had to leak stuff all over the place. Because the Justice Department would not prosecute it. Hoover didn't even cooperate.... It was won in the papers. I leaked out the papers.... I leaked out the testimony. I had Hiss convicted before he ever got to the grand jury.... Go back and read the chapter on the Hiss case in Six Crises and you’ll see how it was done. It wasn't done waiting for the goddamn courts or the attorney general or the FBI.[99]

According to Anthony Summers:[100]

The one substantive piece of information indicating typewriter forgery features the OSS and its chief, William Donovan. In late 1948, when the Hiss defense and the FBI began hunting for the Woodstock typewriter, a man named Horace Schmahl joined the defense team as an investigator. Schmahl had worked for either the OSS or army intelligence during the war, then joined the Central Intelligence Group, which operated between the closedown of the OSS and the inception of the CIA. After his stint for the Hiss side, Schmahl defected to the prosecution team.[101]

Against the forged typewriter theory Allen Weinstein writes:

[I]f there existed any persons with the means, motive, and opportunity to "substitute" a different Woodstock for the Hiss machine in the months after Hiss's indictment, the evidence ... indicates the possible conspirators, Mike Catlett and Donald Hiss, who for two months withheld knowledge from Alger's lawyers that the typewriter had been traced to Ira Lockey.[102]

Soviet archives

After the dissolution of the Soviet Union in 1991, Alger Hiss petitioned General Dmitry Antonovich Volkogonov, who had become President Yeltsin's military advisor and the overseer of all the Soviet intelligence archives, to request the release of any Soviet files on the Hiss case. Both former President Nixon and the director of his presidential library, John H. Taylor, wrote similar letters, though their full contents are not yet publicly available.

Russian archivists responded by reviewing their files, and in late 1992 reported back that they had found no evidence Hiss ever engaged in espionage for the Soviet Union nor that he was a member of the Communist Party. However, Volkogonov subsequently stated he spent only two days on the search and had mainly relied on the word of KGB archivists. "What I saw gave me no basis to claim a full clarification", he said. Referring to Hiss's lawyer, he added, "John Lowenthal pushed me to say things of which I was not fully convinced."[103] General-Lieutenant Vitaly Pavlov, who ran Soviet intelligence work in North America in the late 1930s and early 1940s for the NKVD said that Hiss never worked for the USSR as one of his agents.[104]

In 2003, retired Russian intelligence official General Julius Kobyakov disclosed that it was he who had actually searched the files for Volkogonov. Kobyakov stated that Hiss did not have a relationship with SVR predecessor organizations,[104] although Hiss was accused of being with the GRU, a military intelligence organization separate from SVR predecessors. In 2007, Svetlana Chervonnaya, a Russian researcher who had been studying Soviet archives since the early 1990s, argued that based on documents she reviewed, Hiss was not implicated in spying.[105] In May 2009, at a conference hosted by the Wilson Center, Mark Kramer, director of Cold War Studies at Harvard University at the John F. Kennedy School of Government, stated that he did not "trust a word [Kobyakov] says",[106] At the same conference, historian Ronald Radosh reported that while researching the papers of Marshal Voroshilov in Moscow, he and Mary Habeck had encountered two GRU (Soviet military intelligence) files referring to Alger Hiss as "our agent".[107]

In 2009, Haynes, Klehr, and Alexander Vassiliev published Spies: The Rise and Fall of the KGB in America, based on KGB documents reportedly hand-copied by Vassiliev, a former KGB agent, during the 1990s. The authors attempted to show definitively that Alger Hiss had indeed been a Soviet spy and argue that KGB documents prove not only that Hiss was the elusive ALES, but that he also went by the codenames "Jurist" and "Leonard" while working for the GRU. Some documentation brought back by Vassiliev also refers to Hiss by his actual name, leaving no room, in the authors' opinion, for doubt about his guilt. Calling this the "massive weight of accumulated evidence", Haynes and Klehr conclude, "to serious students of history continued claims for Hiss's innocence are akin to a terminal case of ideological blindness."[108] In a review published in the Journal of Cold War Studies, military historian Eduard Mark heartily concurred, stating that the documents "conclusively show that Hiss was, as Whittaker Chambers charged more than six decades ago, an agent of Soviet military intelligence (GRU) in the 1930s."[109] Newsweek magazine reported that Civil Rights Movement historian David Garrow also concluded that, in his opinion, Spies "provides irrefutable confirmation of [Hiss's] guilt".[110]

Other historians, such as D. D. Guttenplan, Jeff Kisseloff, and Amy Knight, however, assert that Spies' conclusions were not borne out by the evidence and accused its authors of engaging in "shoddy" research.[111][112][113] Guttenplan stresses that Haynes and Klehr never saw and cannot even prove the existence of the documents that supposedly convict Hiss and others of espionage, but rather relied exclusively on handwritten notebooks authored by Vassiliev during the time he was given access to the Soviet archives in the 1990s while he collaborated with Weinstein. According to Guttenplan, Vassiliev could never explain how he managed, despite being required to leave his files and notebooks in a safe at the KGB press office at the end of each day, to smuggle out the notebooks with his extensive transcriptions of documents.[114] Haynes and Klehr respond that the material was examined by historians, archivists, and intelligence professionals who unanimously agreed that the material was genuine.[115]

Guttenplan also suggested, moreover, that Vassiliev might have omitted relevant facts and selectively replaced cover names with his own notion of the real names of various persons.[114] According to Guttenplan, Boris Labusov, a press officer of the SVR, the successor to the KGB, has stated that Vassiliev could not in the course of his research have possibly "met the name of Alger Hiss in the context of some cooperation with some special services of the Soviet Union".[114] Guttenplan also points out that Vasiliev admitted under oath in 2003 that he'd never seen a single document linking Hiss with the cover name "Ales".[114] However, Haynes and Klehr also cite a 1950 memo indicating that a GRU agent, described as a senior State Department official, had recently been convicted in an American court. "The only senior American diplomat convicted of an espionage-related crime in 1950 was Alger Hiss."[115]

Historian Jeff Kisseloff questions Haynes and Klehr's conclusion that Vassiliev's notes support Hede Massing's story about talking to Hiss at a party in 1935 about recruiting their mutual friend and host Noel Field into the Communist underground. According to Kisseloff, "all that the files Vassiliev saw really indicate is that she was telling yet another version of her story in the 1930s. Haynes and Klehr never consider that, as an agent in Washington, D.C., who was having little success in the tasks assigned to her, she may have felt pressure back then to make up a few triumphs to reassure her superiors."[116] Kisseloff also disputes Haynes and Klehr's linking of Hiss with former Treasury Department official Harold Glasser, who they allege was a Soviet agent.[117] Finally, Kisseloff states that some of the evidence compiled by Haynes and Klehr actually tends to exonerate rather than convict Hiss. For example, their book cites a KGB report from 1938 in which Iskhak Akhmerov, New York station chief, writes, "I don't know for sure who Hiss is connected with."[118] Haynes and Klehr also claim that Hiss was the agent who used the cover name "Doctor". According to Soviet sources, however, "Doctor" was a middle-aged Bessarabian Jew who was educated in Vienna.[119]

Other historians[not in citation given] felt that Haynes and Klehr's information was suspect because their publisher, Crown (a division of Random House), obtained temporary and limited access to KGB files through a payment of money (amount unspecified) to a pension fund for retired KGB agents, of whom Vassiliev was one, as was KGB archivist Volkogonov.[120] Other historians had not been permitted to verify Vassiliev's data. In 2002, Vassiliev sued John Lowenthal for libel in a court of British law for publishing a journal article questioning his conclusions. Vassiliev lost the case before a jury and was further reprimanded by The Times for trying to exert a "chilling effect" on scholarship by resorting to the law courts.[121] Vassiliev has since also unsuccessfully sued for publishing a customer review critical of his work.[122] In 1978, Victor Navasky interviewed six people Weinstein had quoted in his book Perjury, who all claimed to have been misquoted by Weinstein.[123] One, Sam Krieger, won a cash payment from Weinstein, who issued an apology and promised to correct future editions of his book and to release his interview transcripts, which he subsequently failed to do.[124]

Noel Field

In 1992, records were found in Hungarian Interior Ministry archives in which self-confessed Soviet spy Noel Field named Alger Hiss as a fellow agent. An American citizen from a Quaker family who had grown up in Switzerland, Field attended Harvard and worked in the US Foreign Service from 1929 until 1936, when he left the State Department for a job at the League of Nations in Geneva, helping refugees from the Spanish Civil War. During World War II, Field, who never concealed he was a Communist, headed a Unitarian Services organization to aid displaced persons in Marseilles, before fleeing to Geneva, where he collaborated with Allen Dulles of the OSS (who was based in Bern). In 1948, when the Hiss trials started, Field and his German wife were still living in Switzerland. By 1949 Field was broke, having been fired from the U.S.-based Unitarian Services Committee for his Communist associations. Wishing to avoid returning to the United States and possibly having to testify before Congress, Field traveled to Prague, hoping to be hired as a lecturer at the Charles University.[125] Instead, he was seized by Stalinist security services from Poland and Czechoslovakia and secretly imprisoned in Hungary. Field was accused of having organized an anti-Communist resistance network in Eastern Europe for the OSS during the war and later for the new CIA[126] and was held for five years in solitary confinement.[127] Repeatedly interrogated under rigorous torture, Field broke down and confessed to being "head of the U.S. Secret Service", under his controller, Allen Dulles, "the famous pro-Nazi OSS spymaster".[128]

While being "rehabilitated" after the torture had ceased Field referred four times to Hiss as a Soviet agent, for example: "Around the summer of 1935 Alger Hiss tried to induce me to do service for the Soviets. I was indiscreet enough to tell him he had come too late." This agreed with Hede Massing's assertion to US authorities in 1947 that when she attempted to recruit Noel Field for one Soviet spy network (the OGPU), Field had replied that he already worked for another (the GRU). (Massing repeated this story at Hiss's second trial when she testified that at a party at Noel Field's house in 1935 she had obliquely joked with Hiss about recruiting Noel Field.[129]) In 1954, the Hungarian secret police released Field, exonerating him. He then formally wrote to the Communist Party's Central Committee in Moscow stating for the record that the tortures he had undergone in captivity had made him "confess more and more lies as truth". Hiss's defenders argue that Field's implications of Hiss may well have been among those lies.[103][130] Field remained in Communist Hungary until his death in 1970. In public Field continued to maintain Hiss was innocent and, in 1957, wrote Hiss a letter calling Hede Massing's dinner party story "the false testimony of a perjured witness" and an "outrageous lie".[131]
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Re: Alger Hiss, by Wikipedia

Postby admin » Tue Nov 06, 2018 10:08 pm

Part 2 of 2

Venona and "ALES"

Robert J. Lamphere

In 1995, the CIA and the NSA for the first time made public the existence of the World War II Venona project, which, beginning in 1943, had decrypted or partially decrypted thousands of telegrams sent from 1940 to 1948 to the primary Soviet foreign intelligence agency—for most of that period, the NKVD—by its U.S. operatives. Although known to the FBI, VENONA had been kept secret even from President Truman. One cable, Venona #1822, mentioned a Soviet spy codenamed "ALES" who worked with a group of "Neighbors"—members of another Soviet intelligence organization, such as the military's GRU. FBI Special Agent Robert J. Lamphere,[132] who supervised the FBI's spy chasing squad, concluded that the codename "ALES" was "probably Alger Hiss".[133][134]

In 1997, Allen Weinstein, in the second edition of his 1978 book Perjury: The Hiss-Chambers Case, calls the Venona evidence "persuasive but not conclusive".[30] The bipartisan Moynihan Commission on Government Secrecy, chaired by Democratic Senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan, however, stated in its findings that year: "The complicity of Alger Hiss of the State Department seems settled. As does that of Harry Dexter White of the Treasury Department."[135] In his 1998 book Secrecy: The American Experience, Moynihan wrote, "Belief in the guilt or innocence of Alger Hiss became a defining issue in American intellectual life. Parts of the American government had conclusive evidence of his guilt, but they never told."[136] In their numerous books, Harvey Klehr, professor of political science at Emory University, and John Earl Haynes, historian of twentieth-century politics at the Library of Congress, have mounted an energetic defense of Lamphere's conclusion that ALES indeed referred to Alger Hiss.[137] National Security Agency analysts have also gone on record asserting that ALES could only have been Alger Hiss.[138] The Venona transcript # 1822, sent March 30, 1945, from the Soviets' Washington station chief to Moscow,[134] appears to indicate that ALES attended the February 4–11, 1945, Yalta conference and then went to Moscow. Hiss did attend Yalta and then traveled to Moscow with Secretary of State Stettinius.[139]

Some, however, question whether Venona #1822 constitutes definitive proof that ALES was Hiss. Hiss's lawyer, John Lowenthal argued:

• ALES was said to be the leader of a small group of espionage agents but, apart from using his wife as a typist and Chambers as courier, Hiss was alleged by the prosecution to have acted alone.[140]The CIA, however, concluded the "small group" comprised Alger, his wife Priscilla, and brother Donald.
• ALES was a GRU (military intelligence) agent who obtained military intelligence and only rarely provided State Department material. In contrast, during his trial, Alger Hiss, an employee of the State Department, was accused of having obtained only non-military information, and the papers he was accused of having passed to the Soviets on a regular basis were non-military, State Department documents.
• Even had Hiss been a spy as alleged, after 1938 he would have been unlikely to have continued espionage activities as ALES did, since in 1938 Whittaker Chambers had broken with the Communist Party and gone into hiding, threatening to denounce his Communist Party colleagues unless they followed suit. Had Hiss been ALES, his cover would thus have been in extreme jeopardy and it would have been too risky for any Soviet agency to continue using him.[141]
• Lowenthal suggests that ALES was not at the Yalta conference at all and that the cable instead was directed to Soviet deputy foreign minister Andrey Vyshinsky.[142] According to Lowenthal, in paragraph six of Venona #1822, the GRU asks Vyshinsky to get in touch with ALES to convey thanks from the GRU for a job well done — which would have been unnecessary if ALES had actually gone to Moscow, because the GRU could have thanked him there in person.[131]

Eduard Mark of the Center for Air Force History hotly disputed this analysis.[143] In 2005, NSA released the original Russian of the Venona texts. At a symposium held at the Center for Cryptologic History that year, intelligence historian John R. Schindler concluded that the Russian text of Venona #1822 made clear that ALES was indeed at Yalta: "the identification of ALES as Alger Hiss, made by the U.S. Government more than a half-century ago, seems exceptionally solid, based on the evidence now available; message 1822 is only one piece of that evidence, yet a compelling one."[144]

Rebutting Lowenthal's other points, John Earl Haynes and Harvey Klehr argued that:

• None of the evidence presented at the Hiss trial precludes the possibility that Hiss could have been an espionage agent after 1938 or that he had only passed State Department documents after 1938.
• Chambers's charges were not seriously investigated until 1945 when Elizabeth Bentley defected, so the Soviets could in theory have considered it an acceptable risk for him continue his espionage work even after Chambers's 1938 defection.
• Vyshinsky was not in the U.S. between Yalta and the time of the Venona message, and the message is from the Washington KGB station reporting on a talk with ALES in the U.S., rendering Lowenthal's analysis impossible.[145]

An earlier Venona document, #1579, had actually mentioned "HISS" by name. This partially decrypted cable consists of fragments of a 1943 message from the GRU chief in New York to headquarters in Moscow and reads: "from the State Department by name of HISS" (with "HISS" "spelled out in the Latin alphabet", according to a footnote by the cryptanalysts). "HISS" could refer either to Alger or Donald Hiss, both State Department officials at that time. Lowenthal argued that had Alger Hiss really been a spy, the GRU would not have mentioned his real name[131] in a coded transmission, since this was contrary to their usual practice.[137]

At an April 2007 symposium, authors Kai Bird and Svetlana Chervonnaya postulated that, based on the movements of officials present at Yalta, Wilder Foote, a U.S. diplomat, not Hiss, was the best match for ALES.[146] They note Foote was in Mexico City when a Soviet cable placed ALES there, whereas Hiss had left several days earlier for Washington (see above). In response, Haynes and Klehr point out that Foote doesn't fit other aspects of the description of ALES (Foote was publishing newspapers in Vermont at the time when ALES was said to have been working for Soviet military intelligence) and suggest that the cable came from someone who managed KGB assets (rather than GRU assets like ALES) and may have been mistaken when he stated that ALES was still in Mexico City.[147][148] Mark also disputes that Foote was ALES, arguing that Foote was never shown to be associated with the Communists or any foreign intelligence services; Hiss was the "one possible candidate" who could have been ALES, Mark contends.[149]

Oleg Gordievsky

In 1985, a high-ranking KGB agent, Oleg Gordievsky (b. 1938), who was recruited in 1974 to become a British double agent, defected and wrote a series of memoirs, in one of which, The KGB (1990), he recalled attending a lecture given before a KGB audience by Iskhak Abdulovich Akhmerov, who identified Hiss as a World War II Soviet agent.[150] Gordievsky went further and claimed that Hiss had the codename identity of "ALES". Appearing before the VENONA cables were made public, this at first appeared to be independent corroboration of the codename, but it was later revealed that Gordievsky's source for the ALES identity was an article by journalist Thomas Powell, who had seen National Security Agency documents on VENONA years before their release.[151] Gordievsky's status as a reliable source was challenged in the British media.[152]

See also

• Priscilla Hiss
• Donald Hiss
• John Abt
• Elizabeth Bentley
• Whittaker Chambers
• Noel Field
• Harold Glasser
• John Herrmann
• Victor Perlo
• J. Peters
• Ward Pigman
• Lee Pressman
• Vincent Reno
• Julian Wadleigh
• Harold Ware
• Nathaniel Weyl
• Harry Dexter White
• Nathan Witt
• List of law clerks of the Supreme Court of the United States


1. ^ ... s-awarded/
2. ^ Trussell, C.P. (August 3, 1948). "Red 'Underground' in Federal Posts Alleged by Editor: In New Deal Era – Ex-Communist Names Alger Hiss, Then in State Department – Wallace Aides on List – Chambers Also Includes Former Treasury Official, White -Tells of Fears for His Life". New York Times. Retrieved January 25,2017 – via Proquest NYTimes Historical.
3. ^ Rosenbaum, Ron (July 16, 2007). "Alger Hiss Rides Again". Slate. Archived from the original on December 11, 2007. Retrieved November 13, 2007.
4. ^ Anthony Summers, The Arrogance of Power: The Secret World of Richard Nixon (New York, London: Penguin-Putnam Inc, 2000), p. 77.
5. ^ Barron, James (August 16, 2001). "Online, the Hiss Defense Doesn't Rest". The New York Times. Retrieved August 29, 2009. See also:
• "... the vast majority [sic] of modern American historians today and particularly those specializing in domestic Cold War accept Chambers' overall version of events."
Oshinsky, David (April 5, 2007). "Transcript, Alger Hiss and History, Inaugural Conference" (PDF). New York University, Center for the United States and the Cold War.
• "Yet the weight of historical evidence indicates that Hiss was ... a member of the communist underground and a Soviet spy." Elson, John (November 25, 1996). "Gentleman and Spy?". Time.
• "The case against Hiss, which has been strong but controversial ever since his conviction for perjury... is now overwhelming as a result of new evidence... from the VENONA decrypts, KGB files made available to Weinstein and Vassiliev... and Hungarian interrogation records of Hiss's fellow agent Noel Field."Andrew, Christopher; Mitrokhin, Vasili (1999). The Sword and the Shield: The Mitrokhin Archive and the Secret History of the KGB. New York: Basic Books. p. 591. ISBN 0-465-00310-9.
• "In the end, the publication of the Venona intercepts ... settled the matter—to all but the truest of believers." Stanley I. Kutler (August 6, 2004). "Rethinking the Story of Alger Hiss". FindLaw.
• "Most historians have conceded the argument to Weinstein. They have done so, however, not because the evidence against Hiss is clear and definitive, but because the evidence box—filled as it is with a morass of circumstantial detail—leaves them the easy option of finding him guilty of some form of espionage activity during his murky relationship with Chambers." Bird, Kai; Chervonnaya, Svetlana (Summer 2007). "The Mystery of Ales". American Scholar.
• "The question of his guilt or innocence remains controversial." Svetlana Chervonnaya Hiss, Alger (1904 – 1996) Accessed: 2010-09-09.
6. ^ to:a b c d Levitt, Morton; Levitt, Michael (1979). A Tissue Of Lies: Nixon vs. Hiss. New York: McGraw Hill. pp. 255–56.
7. ^ Kempton, Murray (2012). Part of Our Time: Some Ruins and Monuments of the Thirties. New York Review of Books. p. 17. ISBN 1590175441. Retrieved January 26,2015.
8. ^ to:a b White, G. Edward (2004). Alger Hiss's Looking-Glass Wars: The Covert Life of a Soviet Spy. Oxford University Press. pp. 3–4. ISBN 0195348400. Retrieved June 13, 2017.
9. ^ See "Merchants of Death", on the U.S. Senate website.
10. ^ The following year the Supreme Court ruled the AAA unconstitutional, though Congress reinstated it in 1938. See John C. Culver, John Hyde, American Dreamer, a Life of Henry A. Wallace (New York: W. W. Norton) pp. 143–57.
11. ^ "Munitions industry, naval shipbuilding: Preliminary Report of the Special Committee on Investigation of the Munitions Industry". Washington: US Government Printing Office (GPO). September 1934. p. 691. Retrieved 23 November 2016.
12. ^ "Munitions industry, naval shipbuilding: Preliminary Report of the Special Committee on Investigation of the Munitions Industry". Washington: US Government Printing Office (GPO). 10 December 1934. pp. ii. Retrieved 23 November 2016.
13. ^ "Munitions industry, naval shipbuilding: Preliminary Report of the Special Committee on Investigation of the Munitions Industry". Washington: US Government Printing Office (GPO). 18 December 1934. pp. ii. Retrieved 23 November 2016.
14. ^ "Munitions industry, naval shipbuilding: Preliminary Report of the Special Committee on Investigation of the Munitions Industry". Washington: US Government Printing Office (GPO). 1935. pp. ii. Retrieved 23 November 2016.
15. ^ Weinstein, Allen (1978). Perjury: The Hiss-Chambers Case. New York. ISBN 9780817912260. Retrieved 23 November 2016.
16. ^ "Munitions industry. Preliminary report on wartime taxation and price control". US Government Printing Office (US GPO). 20 August 1935. pp. 23, 28, 60, 113–115, 127. Retrieved 23 November 2016.
17. ^ Smith, John Chabot (1976). Alger Hiss, the true story. New York: Holt, Rinehart and Winston. pp. 83–84. ISBN 9780030137761. Retrieved 23 November 2016.
18. ^ Herman, Arthur (2002). Joseph McCarthy: Reexamining the Life and Legacy of America's Most Hated Senator. New York: Simon & Schuster. pp. 220–221. ISBN 9780684836256. Retrieved 23 November 2016.
19. ^ Marbury, Jr., William L. (1988). In the Catbird Seat. Maryland Historic Society. p. 253 (award), 263 (Baruch).
20. ^ Hiss, Alger (1988). Recollections of a Life. New York: Seaver/Henry Holt. p. 82. ISBN 9780805006124. Retrieved 23 November 2016.
21. ^ "Guide to the Alger Hiss Family Papers TAM.314: Historical/Biographical Note". New York University Digital Library Technology Services. The Tamiment Library & Robert F. Wagner Labor Archives. 2015. Retrieved June 4, 2017. ... he was named executive secretary of the 1944 Dumbarton Oaks Conference ...'
22. ^ Allen Weinstein, Perjury (New York: Knopf, 1978), p. 353.
23. ^ Weinstein, Perjury (1978), pp. 353–54.
24. ^ "Hiss Identifies Yalta Notation". The New York Times. 1955.
25. ^ Historian Fraser J. Harbutt recounts that at Dumbarton Oaks, "The consternation aroused by this Soviet demand (Stettinius recalled that it burst upon the British and Americans 'like a bombshell') is a telling illustration of the State Department's lack of imagination and foresight in this area." Harbutt points out that FDR had been present in April 1917 when pre-Lenin Russia brought up the same issue during negotiations for the League of Nations and argues that he and Stettinius ought to have anticipated and been prepared for it. See Fraser J. Harbutt, Yalta 1945: Europe and America at the Crossroads (Cambridge University Press, 2010) p. 261.
26. ^ Details of the final Yalta agreements on spheres of influence, hammered out at Tehran (1943), Moscow Conference (1944), and earlier, were kept secret, even from Vice President Harry Truman. Instead, Roosevelt, aiming at getting domestic public opinion to support American internationalism and the establishment of the United Nations, chose to publicize the deceptively optimistic "Declaration on Liberated Europe," which pledged the three allies to establishing free elections and democratic governments, in accordance with the principles of the 1941 Atlantic Charter) in the nations they had liberated. See Harbutt.
27. ^ Hiss, Alger (1990). "The Founding of the United Nations : an Interview with Alger Hiss by James S. Sutterlin". DAG Repository. Interviewed by James S. Sutterlin. United Nations. Retrieved 7 August 2017.
28. ^ Weinstein, Perjury (1978), p. 361.
29. ^ "The Ghosts on the Roof," Time, March 5, 1945, reprinted in Time, January 5, 1948. See also Whittaker Chambers, The Ghosts on the Roof, Selected Essays, edited by Terry Teachout, (Regnery, 1989, and Transaction Publishers, 1996). In his ironic editorial Chambers has the ghost of the Czar of Russia profess himself happy with Stalin because he has restored the pre-World War I borders of the Russian empire and abandoned revolutionary ideals for conservatism, while the Czarina accuses the Muse of History of reading the works of Leon Trotsky.
30. ^ to:a b c d e f g h i Weinstein 1997 pp. 5: pp. 316–317: pp 7: pp. 37, 46–47: pp. 153–157: pp. 163–170: pp. 499: pp. 502: pp. 519: pp. 512
31. ^ Doug Linder. "Testimony of Whittaker Chambers before the House Committee on Un-American Activities (August 3, 1948)". Retrieved February 9, 2013.
32. ^ See Tim Weiner, Enemies: A History of the FBI (Allen Weiner, 2012), p. 159. Being the agent of a foreign government, however repulsive, was only made illegal in 1938, with the passage of the Foreign Agents Registration Act.
33. ^ William Fitzgibbon (June 12, 1949). "The Hiss-Chambers Case: A Chronology Since 1934". The New York Times. Retrieved May 2, 2014.
34. ^ Nigel West, The A to Z of British Intelligence (Lanham, Maryland: Scarecrow Press, 2009), p. 214
35. ^ Bohdan S. Kordan, Canada and the Ukrainian Question, 1939-1945: A Study in Statecraft (Toronto: McGill-Queen's Press, 2001), p. 172.
36. ^ "Wayback Machine". 2007-11-14. Archived from the original on 2007-11-14. Retrieved 2018-09-12.
37. ^ Joseph B. Treaster (December 10, 1999). "Victor Perlo, 87, Economist For Communist Party in U.S." The New York Times. Retrieved May 2, 2014.
38. ^ "Statement of Elizabeth Terrell Bentley (Silvermaster file, Vol. 6), p. 105 (PDF p. 106), November 30, 1945"(PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on March 10, 2012. Retrieved February 9, 2013.
39. ^ James Barros, "Alger Hiss and Harry Dexter White: The Canadian Connection," Orbis vol. 21 no. 3 (Fall 1977), pp. 593–605
40. ^ Gentry, Hoover the Man and the Secrets, p. 346.
41. ^ Rick Perlstein writes, "When [Hiss] first testified it seemed to work.... He talked circles around his hapless interrogators. The committee, awed by Hiss, sat and took it while he lectured them. He finished to thunderclaps of applause. Rankin of Mississippi led a procession of witnesses to the table to apologize.... Supportive journalists confided to HUAC members that unless they ignored Chambers, their committee, already weakened by the Hollywood 10 circus of the previous year, was finished. The members were ready to pack it in and spend the rest of the summer back home. Only one member thought differently." Perlstein, Rick (2008). Nixonland: The Rise of a President and the Fracturing of America. Simon and Schuster. p. 30. ISBN 978-0-7432-4302-5.
42. ^ Perlstein, Nixonland, p. 31.
43. ^ Cronin was the main author of Communists Within the Labor Movement: A Handbook on the Facts and Countermeasures, published by the Chamber of Commerce in 1947. See John T. Donovan, Crusader in the Cold War: a Biography of Fr. John F. Cronin, S.S. (1908–1994) (Peter Lang Publishing, 2005), pp. 48, 88, and passim. In the 1950s, when Nixon was Vice President, Cronin worked for him as his adviser and chief speech writer.
44. ^ "John F. Cronin, S.S., "The Problem of American Communism in 1945," p. 49 (PDF p. 58)" (PDF). Retrieved February 9, 2013.
45. ^ Douglas Linder, "The Trials of Alger Hiss: An Account",Famous Trials (University of Missouri-Kansas City School of Law, 2003).
46. ^ Whalen, Robert G. (December 12, 1948). "Hiss and Chambers: Strange Story of Two Men; The Drama Since 1934". The New York Times. Retrieved November 11,2007.
47. ^ Samuel Roth, a publisher of erotica who had accepted some of Chambers' poetry written under his own name, came forth with an affidavit that Chambers had also submitted poetry to him using the pen name of George Crosley. The Hiss defense decided not to use this information, however, because Roth had been prosecuted for obscenity. Chambers, also, admitted in secret testimony to the FBI that it was "entirely possible" that he had used the name Crosley during the time he knew Hiss. See William Howard Moore, Two Foolish Men: The True Story of the Friendship Between Alger Hiss and Whittaker Chambers, (Moorup, 1987), p. 32 and passim for an extended discussion of this issue, available in pdf form on the Alger Hiss Story Website. See also Anthony Summers, The Arrogance of Power: The Secret World of Richard Nixon (New York, London: Penguin-Putnam Inc, 2000), p. 490; and Gay Talese, Thy Neighbor's Wife, (New York: Harper Perennial Book, 2009) p. 102.
48. ^ Hearing of August 17, 1948 Archived July 21, 2010, at the Wayback Machine. Special Subcommittee of the Committee on Un-American Activities, U.S. House of Representatives. (Transcript at "The Alger Hiss Trials: An Account," Famous Trials, by Douglas Linder, University of Missouri-Kansas City School of Law.) Retrieved July 15, 2009.
49. ^ Scanned original of Henderson cable from January 28, 1938, at website Documents Talk
50. ^ See: United Press, "Robinson Case Leads to a Trail of Racketeers" and "Mrs. Robinson Reportedly Executed,"Pittsburg Press, January 7, 1938, p. 1; and Associated Press, "Passport Mystery Baffles Probers: Case of Robinson-Rubens linked to racket," Reading Eagle, January 9, 1938, pages 1 & 16.
51. ^ Scan of Hiss's January 28, 1938, handwritten note from website Documents Talk.
52. ^ FBI report, quoted by Weinstein (1978), p. 247.
53. ^ Sidney Zion, "The Hiss Case, a mystery ignored," New York Magazine, April 24, 1978, pp. 10–11.
54. ^ Navasky, Victor (April 8, 1978). "The Case Not Proved Against Alger Hiss". The Nation.
55. ^ to:a b c Cook, Fred J. (1958). The Unfinished Story of Alger Hiss. William Morrow Company. pp. 19: pp. 69–73: pp. 75–81 pp 155: pp. 126: pp. 147–151: pp. 156. ISBN 1-131-85352-0.
56. ^ "Truman thought the anti-communist hearings were 'a red herring to keep people from doing what they ought to do. They are slandering people who don't deserve it.'" (David McCullough, Truman, [New York: Simon and Schuster], p. 652). Truman told oral biographer, Merle Miller, "What they were trying to do, all those birds," he said, "they were trying to get the Democrats. They were trying to get me out of the White House, and they would go to any lengths to do it.... They did do just about anything they could think of, all that witch hunting.... The constitution has never been in so much danger...." (quoted in Anthony Summers (2000), p. 65). Miller's accuracy in reporting Truman's statements has been questioned by some.
57. ^ Halberstam, David. The Fifties, (New York: Random House, 1993), 16. Halberstam concludes that "Whether Hiss actually participated in espionage was never proved and the evidence was, at best, flawed" (14–25).
58. ^ "The Alger Hiss Case — Central Intelligence Agency". 2007-07-11. Archived from the original on 2007-07-11. Retrieved 2018-09-12.
59. ^ Summers, Anthony. The Arrogance of Power: The Secret World of Richard Nixon, (Penguin-Putnam Inc., 2000), pp. 73–77.
60. ^ Summers (2000), p. 71.
61. ^ Perlstein, Nixonland, p. 33.
62. ^ United States v. Hiss, 185 F.2d 822 (2d Cir. 1950).
63. ^ 340 U.S. 948 (1950).
64. ^ Hiss, Alger. "In the court of public opinion" 1957 Hardback, 424 pages. Library of Congress catalog card number: 57-7546
65. ^ White (2005), pp. 205–6.
66. ^ Edwards, William (18 November 1962). "How U.S. Probers Tripped Alger Hiss". Chicago Tribune. Retrieved 26 November 2016.
67. ^ "Smith, Howard K." The Museum of Broadcast Communications. Archived from the original on February 2, 2009. Retrieved December 30, 2008.
68. ^ Noe, Denise (2005). "The Alger Hiss Case; The Pumpkin Papers". Crime Library. Courtroom Television Network. Archived from the original on October 17, 2008.
69. ^ Tom Goldstein (August 1, 1975). "U.S. Releases Copies of 'Pumpkin Papers'". The New York Times. Retrieved May 2, 2014.
70. ^ Stone, Geoffrey; M. Wald, Patricia; Fried, Charles; Scheppele, Kim Lane (Winter 2006). "Constitutions Under Stress: International and Historical Perspectives"(PDF). Bulletin of the American Academy.
71. ^ "Alger Hiss Dead at 92". Boston Globe. November 16, 1996. Retrieved March 17, 2008. Alger Hiss, the high-ranking State Department official accused of espionage whose case became one of the most celebrated—and controversial—in US history, died yesterday in Lenox Hill Hospital in New York City. He was 92.
72. ^ Scott, Janny (November 16, 1996). "Alger Hiss, Divisive Icon of the Cold War, Dies at 92". The New York Times. Retrieved May 2, 2014.
73. ^ Edward F. Ryan (April 9, 1952). "French in 1939 Called Hiss Red, Bullitt Says". The Washington Post. Retrieved May 2, 2014.
74. ^ "Daladier Does Not Recollect Giving Bullitt a Report on Hiss". The Washington Post. April 10, 1952. Retrieved May 2, 2014.
75. ^ According to Gilbert Gall, the FBI's 1950 report on Weyl states that he told the agency that when he participated in the Ware group, "Lee Pressman was present at about ninety percent of the meetings he attended, and that he has a fairly clear recollection of Alger Hiss being present at some of the meetings." See Gilbert J. Gall, Pursuing Justice: Lee Pressman, the New Deal, and the CIO(SUNY Press, 1999), p. 40.
76. ^ Weyl, Nathaniel (1950). Treason: The Story of Disloyalty and Betrayal in American History. Public Affairs Press. ISBN 1-296-19279-2.
77. ^ Weyl, Nathaniel (2003). Encounters With Communism. Xlibris Corporation. pp. 30–31, 114–118. ISBN 1-4134-0747-1. One thing that would have been discussed at these meetings was the New Deal's response to the plight of black tenant farm workers in Alabama. Weyl told reporter I. F. Stone that "nothing improper" had happened in the unit, but that he (Weyl) was so uncomfortable with Communist secrecy that he soon quit government to become a full-time organizer among agricultural workers. See J. J. Guttenplan, American Radical: The Life and Times of I. F. Stone (New York: Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2009), p. 105. Stone, though convinced Hiss had been railroaded by Nixon, said he didn't know whether Hiss had ever been a Soviet agent. Another celebrated liberal reporter, A. J. Liebling, who struck up a warm friendship with Hiss while covering the trial, came to similar conclusions. See Raymond Sokolov's Wayward Reporter: the Life of A. J. Liebling (New York: Creative Arts Book Company, 1984) p. 207.
78. ^ "Sleuth "Hired by Hiss" Touched Off Hunt for Typewriter Here". Philadelphia Evening Bulletin. December 14, 1948. hdl:2027/spo.hiss1111.0182.001.
79. ^ After Hiss had been jailed, his lawyer Chester Lane received a tip that "'Schmahl was implicated with the typewriter.' An investigator who had worked with Schmahl, Harold Bretnall, subsequently told the lawyer that Schmahl had been involved in forging the Hiss typewriter. 'Hiss', Bretnall said, 'was framed.' Schmahl, tracked down in 1973, admitted to a Hiss investigator he had been a 'consultant' on the typewriter forgery. He said the OSS had set Hiss up—just when was not clear—and the orders had come from through [OSS Director] Donovan's law firm, Donovan, Leisure. Schmahl later retracted his statements and declined further interviews." (Summers (2000), p. 73).
80. ^ Squier, Michael. "Typewriter Evidence; Alger Hiss' appeal in court may depend on the credibility of a mute witness.", The New York Times, February 3, 1952. Retrieved September 12, 2008.
81. ^ John Lowenthal (June 26, 1976). "What the FBI knew and hid". The Nation. Retrieved July 12, 2010.
82. ^ Alger Hiss (1957). In the Court of Public Opinion. Alfred Knopf. pp. 363–409.
83. ^ Alger Hiss (1957). In the Court of Public Opinion. Alfred Knopf. p. 401.
84. ^ Allen Weinstein disparages such ideas at some length as far-fetched "conspiracy theories," calling them "inconsistent and contradictory" (Perjury [Vintage Books, 1979] p. 575 and passim).
85. ^ Lowenthal, John (June 26, 1976). "What the FBI Knew But Hid from Hiss and the Court". The Nation. Retrieved August 13, 2007.
See also:
Bradford, Russell R.; Bradford, Ralph B. (1992). "A History of Forgery by Typewriter". An Introduction to Handwriting Examination and Identification.
86. ^ Weinstein 1997, p. 501
87. ^ "Horace W. Schmahl". The Alger Hiss Story. Retrieved April 10, 2007.
88. ^ Cook, Fred J. (October 11, 1980). "Alger Hiss — A Whole New Ball Game". The Nation.
89. ^ Stephen W. Salant (2010). "Successful Strategic Deception: A Case Study". Retrieved July 12, 2010.
90. ^ During the War, Schmahl graduated from the Military Intelligence Training Center. See: Graduates of Twenty-First Class (Report). 2010. hdl:2027/spo.hiss1111.0216.001. He became a Special Agent in the Counter Intelligence Corps. See: Summary of St. Louis Personnel Record (Report). 2010. hdl:2027/spo.hiss1111.0144.002. See also: FBI Memorandum re Horace Schmahl (Report). 2010. hdl:2027/spo.hiss1111.0161.002.
91. ^ For a class lecture on forgery, typewriting, and alteration of documents, see: Lieutenant Thompson (1942). Handout on Questioned Documents (Handwriting, Typewriting) (Report). hdl:2027/spo.hiss1111.0222.001. For a textbook clarifying counterintelligence techniques taught at the time of the first Hiss trial, see: Counter Intelligence Corps Investigator. June 1949. hdl:2027/spo.hiss1111.0224.001.
92. ^ For the official rationale for such domestic activities despite delimitation agreements with the FBI, see the official history: CIC in the Zone of the Interior. 1942. hdl:2027/spo.hiss1111.0220.001. especially p. 1093. For an academic historian's assessment of these violations, see: Joan Jensen (July 12, 2010). "World War II: Expanding the Boundaries". Army Surveillance in America, 1775–1980. hdl:2027/spo.hiss1111.0208.001.especially p. 219. For the accounts of special agents surveiling civilians suspected of (1) aiding communists, see: Special Agent Duval Edwards (1994). Spy Catchers of the U.S. Army. Red Apple Publishing. especially p. 88; (2) aiding Nazis, see: Anthony Karge (2009). "Memorial Day parade grand marshal returns to service". Westport News. hdl:2027/spo.hiss1111.0234.001.; and (3) aiding all political shades in between, see: Isadore Zack (July 12, 2010). "Isadore Zack-CIC Collection at the Milne Special Collection, University of New Hampshire Library". Retrieved July 12, 2010.
93. ^ Franklin Victor Reno arrived on the Army base on July 26, 1937, and aroused enough suspicion that by August 5, the Army put him under surveillance. See: Franklin Victor Reno, 1937 investigation and incomplete IRR file (Report). July 12, 2010. hdl:2027/spo.hiss1111.0221.001.
94. ^ For one agent's account of working undercover at the San Francisco conference and photos of fellow agents there, see: Leonard L. (Igor) Gorin (Winter 2004–2005). "United Nations Formation 1945—CIC Security Role". Golden Sphinx (Serial Issue #2004–3): 16–20. hdl:2027/spo.hiss1111.0206.001.
95. ^ Dean, John (1976). Blind Ambition: The White House Years. Simon & Schuster. ISBN 0-671-22438-7.
96. ^ Summers, Anthony (2000). The Arrogance of Power: The Secret World of Richard Nixon. Penguin-Putnam Inc. p. 73. ISBN 0-670-87151-6.
97. ^ Summers (2000), p. 75)
98. ^ Fleming, John F. (2009). The Anti-Communist Manifestos: Four Books that Shaped the Cold War. pp. 292–93. ISBN 978-0-393-06925-9.. When first issued by the White House the phrase had been transcribed as "we got a typewriter," the official transcript was subsequently amended to read "We got Piper [the name of Hiss's lawyer's law firm]." The context for the remark was a conversation with John Dean in which Nixon states that J. Edgar Hoover had been ordered not to help him. He says, "But we broke that thing ... without any help. The FBI got the evidence which eventually—See, we got the [typewriter (?)/Piper(?)] who—We got the, the, oh, Pumpkin Papers, for instance. We got all of that ourselves.... The FBI did not cooperate. The Justice Department did not cooperate." [February 28, 1973]
99. ^ See Barry Werth, 31 Days: The Crisis That Gave Us the Government We Have Today (New York: Nan Talese, 2006), pp. 84–87; and Stanley I Kutler, Abuse of Power: The New Nixon Tapes (New York: Touchstone, 1998), pp. 338–39, where Nixon says: "Don't worry about his trial.... Just get everything out. Try him in the press. Try him in the press ... leak it out. We want to destroy him in the press. Press. Is that clear.... I want somebody to take it just like I took the Hiss case"
100. ^ Summers (2000), p. 73
101. ^ In the decades that followed Schmahl and his associates were to be linked to the CIA and with Richard Nixon (Summers (2000), p. 491).
102. ^ Allen Weinstein, Perjury (1978), p. 578.
103. ^ to:a b Tanenhaus, Sam (April 1993). "Hiss: guilty as charged". Commentary. V. 95.
104. ^ to:a b Kobyakov, Julius N. (October 10, 2003). "Lowenthal and Alger Hiss". Humanities and Social Services Net. Retrieved October 25, 2007.; and:
Kobyakov, Julius N. (October 16, 2003). "Alger Hiss". Humanities and Social Services Net. Retrieved October 25, 2007.
105. ^ Pyle, Richard (April 5, 2007). "Researcher adds to Alger Hiss debate". The Washington Post. Associated Press.
106. ^ The Vassiliev Notebooks and Soviet Intelligence Operations in the U.S video transcript of day 1, at 2:24:42 Wilson Center On Demand May 20, 2009
107. ^ The Vassiliev Notebooks and Soviet Intelligence Operations in the U.S Archived June 6, 2011, at the Wayback Machine. video transcript of day 2, Part I at 1:43:10 Wilson Center On Demand May 21, 2009
108. ^ Haynes, John Earl; Harvey Klehr; Alexander Vassiliev (2010). Spies: The Rise and Fall of the KGB in America. Yale University Press. ISBN 0-300-16438-6.
109. ^ "In Re Alger Hiss: A Final Verdict from the Archives of the KGB", in Journal of Cold War Studies (Summer 2009): 11:No. 3: 26–67.
110. ^ David J. Garrow "From Russia, With Love"Newsweek May 16, 2009
111. ^ Guttenplan, D. D., Red Harvest: The KGB in America, The Nation, May 25, 2009. [1]
112. ^ Kisseloff, Jeff. "Kisseloff, Jeff, "'Spies': Fact or Fiction?", ''The Alger Hiss Story'' (2009)". Retrieved February 9, 2013.
113. ^ Amy Knight, "Leonard?", Times Literary Supplement(June 26, 2009). Haynes responded to Knight on his website.
114. ^ to:a b c d Guttenplan, Red Harvest.
115. ^ to:a b Comment on Amy Knight's review of Spies in the Times Literary Supplement by John Earl Haynes and Harvey Klehr
116. ^ Kisseloff, "Spies: Fact or Fiction" (2009).
117. ^ According to Kisseloff, "In the handwritten Glasser autobiography [copied by Vassiliev] ... that Haynes and Klehr refer to in "Spies", Glasser says, as they report, that he met with a 'Karl' [Chambers] on a regular basis through 1939.... But on December 31, 1948, Chambers told the FBI that he and Glasser had only met 'on two or three occasions'. Chambers also told the Bureau that 'Glasser had not been part of his apparatus and he had no knowledge of his underground activities.' (Chambers's comments didn't help Elizabeth Bentley's credibility either, as the FBI report noted the discrepancy between his comments and what Bentley had told them: that Glasser had been stolen from the Perlo group by Alger Hiss.)" See Kisseloff (2009.)
118. ^ "Kisseloff (2009).
119. ^ Kisseloff (2009).
120. ^ "Just a year after the collapse of the Soviet Union, the intelligence services responded to an offer from Crown Publishers, which offered a substantial payment to a pension fund for its retired officers in return for cooperation on a series of books on Soviet intelligence. As part of the agreement the SVR gave Alexander Vassiliev permission to examine archival records for a book project that teamed a Russian (Vassiliev) and an American (Allen Weinstein) for a book on Soviet espionage in the 1930s and 40s", Haynes, Klehr, and Vassiliev (2009), p. xxii.
121. ^ Judge Eady also issued a separate opinion in which he stated that the book by Haynes, et al., by asserting that the Hiss case was definitively "settled", had in effect "thrown down a gauntlet" to any would-be defender of Hiss; and that family, friends, or any other defender of Hiss should not be penalized for "picking up that gauntlet".
122. ^ Charles Arthur, "Former KGB Agent Sues Amazon Over Book Review" The Independent, UK (May 3, 2003).
123. ^ Jon Wiener, "Allen Weinstein, Historian With a History",Los Angeles Times, May 2, 2004, reprinted in the HNN.
124. ^ See "Costly Error for Hiss Historian: Weinstein Pays for Mistake", New York Magazine (May 21, 1979), 61. For more on Weinstein, see also Jon Wiener, "Alger Hiss, the Archives, and Allen Weinstein", pp. 31–57, Chapter Two, in Historians in Trouble: Plagiarism, Fraud, and Politics in the Ivory Tower (New York: New Press, 2004, ISBN 978-1565848849 (Paperback 2007).
125. ^ Field lacked confidence he could stand up under testimony: "Alger defended himself ... with great intelligence. He had been trained as a lawyer and knew all the phrases and tricks. I, on the other hand, had no such experience.... I did not trust myself to stand before my accusers and shout 'innocent' in their faces.... I also understood the same from a short letter from Hiss, who obviously could not write openly," he stated. Sam Tanenhaus, Hiss Case 'Smoking Gun'?, The New York Times, Oct. 15, 1993.
126. ^ James Srodes, Allen Dulles: Master of Spies (Regnery, 2000), p. 412.
127. ^ It has been suggested that Field was a victim of a disinformation campaign by Allen Dulles called "Operation Splinter Factor", see William Blum, Killing Hope: US Military and CIA Interventions Since World War II (London: Zed Books, 2003) p. 58, and even the inspiration for John le Carré's thriller, The Spy Who Came In From the Cold, but the CIA disputes these theories. See Stephen Dorril, MI6: Inside the Covert World of Her Majesty's Secret Intelligence Service (Simon and Schuster, 2002), p. 484. The narrator in Norman Mailer's fictional chronicle about the CIA, Harlot's Ghost, refers to Noel Field as "the American Martyr".
128. ^ Srodes, Allen Dulles, p. 413./
129. ^ The Alger Hiss Story: The Cast: Hede Massing. For more on the dinner party story from newly available Soviet and Hungarian documents see the website, Documents Talk, maintained by Svetlana Chervonnaya.
130. ^ Klingsberg, Ethan (November 8, 1993). "Case Closed on Alger Hiss?". The Nation.
131. ^ to:a b c Lowenthal, John (Autumn 2000). "Venona and Alger Hiss" (PDF). The Alger Hiss Story. note #76 and pg. 119,
132. ^ Douglas Martin (February 11, 2002). "Robert J. Lamphere, 83, Spy Chaser for the F.B.I., Dies". The New York Times. Retrieved May 2, 2014.
133. ^ Venona 1822.
134. ^ to:a b "Venona transcript #1822, with commentary by Douglas Linder". The Trials of Alger Hiss: A Commentary. Archived from the original on June 19, 2006.
135. ^ "Appendix A; SECRECY; A Brief Account of the American Experience" (PDF). Report Of The Commission On Protecting And Reducing Government Secrecy. United States Government Printing Office. 1997. pp. A–37. Archived from the original (PDF) on June 29, 2007.
136. ^ Moynihan, Daniel Patrick (1998). Secrecy: The American Experience. Yale University Press. p. 146. ISBN 0-300-08079-4.
137. ^ to:a b Haynes, John Earl; Klehr, Harvey (2000). Venona: Decoding Soviet Espionage in America. Yale University Press. pp. 170: pp. 36. ISBN 0-300-08462-5. For an assessment of Haynes and Klehr's perspective on the role of the American Communist Party in the 1930s, see James T. Patterson, "The Enemy Within", The Atlantic Monthly (October 1998).
138. ^ "Secrets, Lies and Atomic Spies; Alger Hiss". Nova Online. 2002.
139. ^ Linder, Doug (2003). "The Venona Files and the Alger Hiss Case". Famous Trials: The Alger Hiss Trials - 1949–50. Archived from the original on August 30, 2006. Retrieved September 13, 2006.
140. ^ default (March 30, 1945). "Alger Hiss and the VENONA files". Archived from the original on June 19, 2006. Retrieved February 15, 2014.
141. ^ Lowenthal, David (May 2005). "Did Allen Weinstein Get the Alger Hiss Story Wrong?". History News Network. Retrieved September 13, 2006.
142. ^ Also spelled "Vyshinskii", "Vishinsky" and "Vyshinski".
143. ^ Mark, Eduard (September 2003). "Who was 'Venona's' 'ALES'? cryptanalysis and the Hiss case". Intelligence and National Security. 18 (3): 45–72. doi:10.1080/02684520412331306920. A Cold War hardliner, Mark also maintained that Venona proved that Roosevelt's close adviser, Harry Hopkins, originator of The New Deal, was a Soviet agent. See also Mark's previous (1998) article in the same periodical: "Venona's Source 19 and the Trident Conference of May 1943: Diplomacy or Espionage?" Intelligence and National Security: 13: 2 (April 1998): 1–31.
144. ^ Schindler, John R. (October 27, 2005). "Hiss in VENONA: The Continuing Controversy". Center for Cryptologic History Symposium.
145. ^ Haynes, John Earl; Klehr, Harvey (2003). In Denial: Historians, Communism, and Espionage. Encounter Books. pp. 158–163. ISBN 1-893554-72-4.
146. ^ Bird, Kai; Chervonnaya, Svetlana (Summer 2007). "The Mystery of Ales". American Scholar. Retrieved September 12, 2009.
147. ^ Haynes, John Earl; Klehr, Harvey (April 16, 2007). "Hiss Was Guilty". History News Network.
148. ^ Haynes, John Earl (April 14, 2007). "Ales: Hiss, Foote, Stettinius?".
149. ^ Mark, Eduard (Summer 2009). "In Re Alger Hiss: A Final Verdict from the Archives of the KGB". Journal of Cold War Studies. 11 (3): 50. doi:10.1162/jcws.2009.11.3.26.
150. ^ Andrew, Christopher; Gordievsky, Oleg (1990). KGB: The Inside Story of Its Foreign Operations from Lenin to Gorbachev. Harpercollins. p. 287. ISBN 0-06-016605-3.
151. ^ "The New York Review of Books: NOT A RECRUITER". 2004-03-24. Archived from the original on 2004-03-24. Retrieved 2018-09-12.
152. ^ "LEADING ARTICLE : Michael Foot's tainted accuser". The Independent.

Further reading


• Brady, Joan (2015). America's Dreyfus: The Case Nixon Rigged. London, UK: Skyscraper Publications.
• Chambers, Whittaker (1952). Witness. Random House. ISBN 0-89526-571-0.
• Cook, Fred J (1957). The Unfinished Story of Alger Hiss. New York: William Morrow.
• Cooke, Alistair (1950). A Generation on Trial: USA v. Alger Hiss. Greenwood Press. ISBN 0-313-23373-X.
• Gentry, Curt. J. Edgar Hoover: The Man and The Secrets. New York: W. W. Norton, 1991.
• Hartshorn, Lewis. Alger Hiss, Whittaker Chambers and the Case That Ignited McCarthyism. Jefferson, North Carolina: McFarland, 2013.
• Haynes, John Earl; Klehr, Harvey; Vassiliev, Alexander (2009). Spies: The Rise and Fall of the KGB in America. New Haven: Yale University Press. ISBN 978-0-300-12390-6.
• Hiss, Alger (1957). In the Court of Public Opinion. Harper Collins. ISBN 0-06-090293-0.
• Hiss, Alger (1988). Recollections of a Life. Little Brown & Co. ISBN 1-55970-024-6.
• Hiss, Tony (1999). The View from Alger's Window: A Son's Memoir. Alfred E. Knopf. ISBN 0-375-40127-X.
• Jacoby, Susan (2009). Alger Hiss and the Battle for History. New Haven: Yale University Press.
• Jowitt, William (The Earl Jowitt) (1953). The Strange Case of Alger Hiss. Hodder and Stoughton.
• Levitt, Morton and Michael Levitt (1979). A Tissue Of Lies: Nixon Vs. Hiss. New York: McGraw Hill.
• Lowenthal, David. "Academic Freedom: The Hiss Case Yields a Noteworthy Victory". American Historical Association Perspectives (May 2004): 23–26.
• Moore, William Howard. (1987) Two Foolish Men: The True Story of the Friendship Between Alger Hiss and Whittaker Chambers. Moorup
• Smith, John Chalbot (1976). Alger Hiss: The True Story. New York, Holt Rinehart Winston.
• Summers, Anthony (2000). The Arrogance of Power: The Secret World of Richard Nixon. Penguin-Putnam Inc. ISBN 0-670-87151-6.
• Swan, Patrick (Editor) (2003). Alger Hiss, Whittaker Chambers, and the Schism in the American Soul. ISI Books. ISBN 1-882926-91-9.
• Tanenhaus, Sam (1998). Whittaker Chambers: A Biography. Modern Library. ISBN 0-375-75145-9.
• Theoharis, Athan (Editor) (1982). Beyond the Hiss Case: The FBI, Congress, and the Cold War. Temple University Press. ISBN 0-87722-241-X.
• Weinstein, Allen (1997). Perjury: The Hiss-Chambers Case (2d rev. ed.). Knopf. ISBN 0-394-49546-2.
• Weinstein, Allen; Vassiliev, Alexander (1999). The Haunted Wood: Soviet Espionage in America—The Stalin Era. Modern Library. ISBN 0-375-75536-5.
• White, G. Edward (2005). Alger Hiss's Looking-Glass Wars: The Covert Life of a Soviet Spy. Oxford University Press. ISBN 0-19-518255-3.


• Kai Bird and Svetlana Chervonnaya, "The Mystery of Ales (expanded version)", The American Scholar, Summer 2007.
• John Erhman (2007), "The Alger Hiss Case; A Half-Century of Controversy", Center for the Study of Intelligence, Central Intelligence Agency, 2007. Searchable by google: › ... › Studies Archive Indexes › Vol44No5 › html
• Interview footage with Alger Hiss
• Chervonnaya, Svetlana. Letting Documents Talk: A Non-Definitive History. Website about documents from formerly secret Soviet and other Eastern and Central European archives relating to the Hiss controversy.
• "Hiss: A New Book Finds Him Guilty as Charged". Time. March 29, 1976. A review of the 1976 edition of Weinstein's Perjury
• Gay, James Thomas (1998). "The Alger Hiss Spy Case". Retrieved September 13, 2006.
• Hermann, Donald H. J. (2005). "Deception And Betrayal: The Tragedy Of Alger Hiss". The Chicago Literary Club. Archived from the original on June 14, 2006.
• Kisseloff, Jeff (Managing Editor) (2003). "The Alger Hiss Story; Search for the Truth". Archived from the original on September 5, 2006. Retrieved September 13, 2006.
• Kisseloff, Jeff. "Distorted Reflections". Retrieved December 7, 2006. A detailed critique of the book Alger Hiss's Looking-Glass Wars
• Kisseloff, Jeff. "101 Errors in Ann Coulter's "Treason"". The Alger Hiss Story. Retrieved June 13, 2007. A critique of the chapter of Coulter's book that deals with Hiss
• Levin, David (1976). "In the Court of Historical Criticism: Alger Hiss's Narrative", Virginia Quarterly Review Online, Winter, 1976, 41pp.–71.
• Levin, David (1978). "Perjury, History, and Unreliable Witnesses", Virginia Quarterly Review Online, Autumn, 1978, pp. 725–32.
• Linder, Douglas (2003). "The Alger Hiss Trials: An Account". "Famous Trials". University Of Missouri-Kansas City School Of Law. Archived from the original on August 30, 2006.
• Lowenthal, David. (2005) "Did Allen Weinstein Get the Hiss Story Wrong?" History News Network
• Lowenthal, John (Autumn 2000). "Venona and Alger Hiss" (PDF). Intelligence and National Security. Archived(PDF) from the original on September 9, 2006. Retrieved September 13, 2006.
• Moynihan, Daniel Patrick (Chairman) (1997). "Report of the Commission On Protecting And Reducing Government Secrecy" (PDF). United States Government Printing Office. Archived from the original (PDF) on May 4, 2011. Retrieved September 13, 2006.
• Navasky, Victor (1997). "Allen Weinstein's Docudrama". The Nation. Archived from the original on June 27, 2003.A review of Weinstein's "Perjury"
• Noe, Denise (2005). "The Alger Hiss Case". Crime Library. Courtroom Television Network. Archived from the original on September 25, 2008.
• Rustin, Susanna. "Joan Brady: Alger Hiss 'was framed by Nixon'" The Guardian, October 19, 2015. Read online
• Salant, Stephen W. (2010). "Successful Strategic Deception: A Case Study". Retrieved July 12, 2010.
• Scott, Janny (November 16, 1996). "Alger Hiss, Divisive Icon of the Cold War, Dies at 92". The New York Times.
• Schrecker, Ellen (December 14, 2009). Review of John Earl Haynes, Harvey Klehr, and Alexander Vassiliev's Spies: The Rise and Fall of the KGB in America. Diplo Roundtable Review: XI: 9 (December 14, 2009): 22–25.
• Schrecker, Ellen (May 24, 1999). "The Spies Who Loved Us? Book review of Weinstein and Vassiliev's The Haunted Wood". The Nation. Discusses "unique context" of 1930s and 1940s espionage.
• Sunstein, Cass R. (October 29, 2013). "How the Alger Hiss Case Explains the Tea Party". Bloomberg News.
• Weinberg, Robert L. "Not Guilty as Charged: A Revised Verdict for Alger Hiss". The Champion, May/June 2008, Page 18. (Published by the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers)

Unpublished materials

• Vassiliev, Alexander. "Black Notebook [Translated]" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on July 11, 2010. Retrieved August 31, 2009.
• Vassiliev, Alexander. "White Notebook #3 [Translated]" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on July 11, 2010. Retrieved August 31, 2009.
• Vassiliev, Alexander. "Yellow Notebook #2 [Translated]" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on July 11, 2010. Retrieved August 31, 2009.

External links

Wikimedia Commons has media related to Alger Hiss.

• The Alger Hiss Story FBI official site
• The Alger Hiss Case CIA Official Site
• The Alger Hiss Story Hosted by New York University
• Algar Hiss Interview, 1970 British Pathé Online Archive
• John Beresford, "YouTube Videos About Hiss-Chambers Case", Historians of American Communism, H-Net, February 26, 2014
• United Nations Oral History: Interview with Alger Hiss (February 13, 1990; October 11, 1990)
• Newspaper clippings about Alger Hiss in the 20th Century Press Archives of the German National Library of Economics (ZBW)
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Re: Alger Hiss, by Wikipedia

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Whittaker Chambers
by Wikipedia
Accessed: 11/6/18



Whittaker Chambers
Whittaker Chambers in 1948
Born Jay Vivian Chambers
April 1, 1901
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, U.S.
Died July 9, 1961 (aged 60)
Westminster, Maryland, U.S.
Cause of death Heart attack
Nationality American
Alma mater Columbia University
Occupation Journalist, Writer, Spy, Poet, Translator
Spouse(s) Esther Shemitz
Children daughter, son
Parent(s) Jay Chambers, Laha Whittaker
Spying career
Allegiance Soviet Union
United States
Service "Communist underground" controlled by GRU
Active 1932–1938 (spy), 1922–1959 (writer, poet), 1926–1939 (translator)
Codename(s) Carl (Karl)
David Breen
Lloyd Cantwell
Carl Schroeder

Jay Vivian Chambers (April 1, 1901 – July 9, 1961), known as Whittaker Chambers, was an American editor who denounced his Communist spying and became respected by the American Conservative movement during the 1950s.

After early years as a Communist Party member (1925) and Soviet spy (1932–1938), he defected from communism (underground and open party) and worked at Time magazine (1939–1948). Under subpoena in 1948, he testified in what became Alger Hiss's perjury (espionage) trials (1949–1950) and he became an outspoken anti-communist (all described in his 1952 memoir Witness).[1] Afterwards, he worked briefly as a senior editor at National Review (1957–1959). President Ronald Reagan awarded him the Medal of Freedom posthumously in 1984.

Youth and education

Hartley Hall at Columbia University, where Chambers boarded in the 1920s

Chambers was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania,[2] and spent his infancy in Brooklyn. His family moved to Lynbrook, Long Island, New York, in 1904, where he grew up and attended school.[3] His parents were Jay Chambers and Laha Whittaker. Chambers described his childhood as troubled because of his parents' separation and their need to care for their mentally ill grandmother. His father was a half-closeted homosexual and treated Whittaker cruelly, while his mother was neurotic.[4] Chambers's brother committed suicide shortly after withdrawing from his first year of college. Chambers would cite his brother's fate as one of many reasons that he was drawn to communism at that time. As he wrote, communism "offered me what nothing else in the dying world had power to offer at the same intensity, faith and a vision, something for which to live and something for which to die."[1]

After graduating from South Side High School in neighboring Rockville Centre in 1919, Chambers worked itinerantly in Washington and New Orleans, briefly attended Williams College, and then enrolled as a day student at Columbia College of Columbia University.[1] At Columbia, his undergraduate peers included Meyer Schapiro, Frank S. Hogan, Herbert Solow, Louis Zukofsky, Arthur F. Burns, Clifton Fadiman, Elliott V. Bell, John Gassner, Lionel Trilling (who later fictionalized him as a main character in his novel The Middle of the Journey),[5] Guy Endore, and City College student poet Henry Zolinsky. In the intellectual environment of Columbia he gained friends and respect. His professors and fellow students found him a talented writer and believed he might become a major poet or novelist.[6]

In his sophomore year, Chambers joined the Boar's Head Society[7] and wrote a play called A Play for Puppets for Columbia's literary magazine The Morningside, which he edited. The work was deemed blasphemous by many students and administrators, and the controversy spread to New York City newspapers. Later, the play would be used against Chambers during his testimony against Alger Hiss. Disheartened over the controversy, Chambers left Columbia in 1925.[1] From Columbia, Chambers also knew Isaiah Oggins, who went into the Soviet underground a few years earlier; Chambers's wife, Esther Shemitz. Chambers, knew Oggins's wife, Nerma Berman Oggins, from the Rand School of Social Science, the ILGWU, and The World Tomorrow.[8]

Communism and espionage

In 1924, Chambers read Vladimir Lenin's Soviets at Work[9] and was deeply affected by it. He now saw the dysfunctional nature of his family, he would write, as "in miniature the whole crisis of the middle class"; a malaise from which Communism promised liberation. Chambers's biographer Sam Tanenhaus wrote that Lenin's authoritarianism was "precisely what attracts Chambers ... He had at last found his church"; that is, he became a Marxist. In 1925, Chambers joined the Communist Party of the United States (CPUSA) (then known as the Workers Party of America). Chambers wrote and edited for Communist publications, including The Daily Worker newspaper and The New Masses magazine.

Combining his literary talents with his devotion to Communism, Chambers wrote four short stories in 1931 about proletarian hardship and revolt, including Can You Make Out Their Voices?, considered by critics as one of the best pieces of fiction from the American Communist movement.[10] Hallie Flanagan co-adapted and produced it as a play entitled Can You Hear Their Voices? (q.v. Bibliography of Whittaker Chambers), staged across America and in many other countries. Chambers also worked as a translator during this period; among his works was the English version of Felix Salten's 1923 novel Bambi, A Life in the Woods.[11][12]

Harold Ware

Chambers was recruited to join the "Communist underground" and began his career as a spy, working for a GRU apparatus headed by Alexander Ulanovsky (aka Ulrich). Later, his main controller in the underground was Josef Peters (whom CPUSA General Secretary Earl Browder later replaced with Rudy Baker). Chambers claimed Peters introduced him to Harold Ware (although he later denied he had ever been introduced to Ware), and that he was head of a Communist underground cell in Washington that reportedly included:[13]

Name / Description

Lee Pressman / Assistant general counsel of Agricultural Adjustment Administration (AAA)
John Abt / Chief of Litigation for AAA (1933-1935), assistant general counsel of the WPA 1935, chief counsel on Senator Robert La Follette Jr.'s La Follette Committee (1936-1937) and special assistant to U.S. Attorney General (1937-1938)
Marion Bachrach / Sister of John Abt; office manager to Representative John Bernard of the Minnesota Farmer-Labor Party
Alger Hiss / Attorney for AAA and Nye Committee; moved to Department of State in 1936, where he became an increasingly prominent figure
Donald Hiss / Brother of Alger Hiss; employed at Department of State
Nathan Witt / Employed at AAA; later moved to NLRB
Victor Perlo / Chief of Aviation Section of War Production Board; later, joined Office of Price Administration at Commerce and Division of Monetary Research at Treasury
Charles Kramer / Employed at Department of Labor's NLRB
George Silverman / Employed at RRB; later worked with Federal Coordinator of Transport, U.S. Tariff Commission and Labor Advisory Board of National Recovery Administration
Henry Collins / Employed at National Recovery Administration and later Agricultural Adjustment Administration (AAA)
Nathaniel Weyl / Economist at AAA; later, defected from Communism himself and give evidence against party members
John Herrmann / Author; assistant to Harold Ware; employed at Agricultural Adjustment Administration; courier and document photographer for Ware group; introduced Chambers to Hiss

Apart from Marion Bachrach, these people were all members of Franklin D. Roosevelt's New Deal administration. Chambers worked in Washington as an organizer among Communists in the city and as a courier between New York and Washington for stolen documents which were delivered to Boris Bykov, the GRU station chief.[citation needed]

Other covert sources

Using the codename "Karl" or "Carl", Chambers served during the mid-1930s as a courier between various covert sources and Soviet intelligence. In addition to the Ware group mentioned above, other sources that Chambers dealt with allegedly included:[14]

Name / Description

Harry Dexter White / Director of Division of Monetary Research at Treasury
Harold Glasser / Assistant Director, Division of Monetary Research, Treasury
Noel Field / Employed at Department of State
Julian Wadleigh / Economist with Agriculture; later, Trade Agreements section of Department of State
Vincent Reno / Mathematician at U.S. Army Aberdeen Proving Ground
Ward Pigman / Employed at National Bureau of Standards, then Labor and Public Welfare Committee

Break with Communism

Juliet Stuart Poyntz (circa 1918), whose disappearance spurred Chambers to defect

Chambers carried on his espionage activities from 1932 until 1937 or 1938 even while his faith in Communism was waning. He became increasingly disturbed by Joseph Stalin's Great Purge, which began in 1936. He was also fearful for his own life, having noted the murder in Switzerland of Ignace Reiss, a high-ranking Soviet spy who had broken with Stalin, and the disappearance of Chambers's friend and fellow spy Juliet Stuart Poyntz in the United States. Poyntz had vanished in 1937, shortly after she had visited Moscow and returned disillusioned with the Communist cause due to the Stalinist Purges.[15]

Chambers ignored several orders that he travel to Moscow, worried that he might be "purged." He also started concealing some of the documents he collected from his sources. He planned to use these, along with several rolls of microfilm photographs of documents, as a "life preserver" to prevent the Soviets from killing him and his family.[1]

In 1938, Chambers broke with Communism and took his family into hiding, storing the "life preserver" at the home of his nephew and his parents. Initially, he had no plans to give information on his espionage activities to the U.S. government. His espionage contacts were his friends, and he had no desire to inform on them.[1]

In his examination of Chambers's conversion from the political left to the right, author Daniel Oppenheimer noted that Chambers substituted his passion for communism for a passion for God. Chambers saw the world in black and white terms both before his defection and after. In his autobiography, he presented his devotion to communism as a reason for living, but after defecting saw his actions as being part of an "absolute evil." [4]

Berle meeting

Adolf A. Berle (circa 1965), who ignored Chambers's report in 1939

The August 1939 Hitler–Stalin non-aggression pact drove Chambers to take action against the Soviet Union.[16] In September 1939, at the urging of anti-Communist, Russian-born journalist Isaac Don Levine, Chambers and Levine met with Assistant Secretary of State Adolf A. Berle. Levine had introduced Chambers to Walter Krivitsky, who was already informing American and British authorities about Soviet agents who held posts in both governments. Krivitsky told Chambers it was their duty to inform. Chambers agreed to reveal what he knew on the condition of immunity from prosecution.[17] During the meeting, which took place at Berle's home, Woodley Mansion in Washington, Chambers named 18 current and former government employees as spies or Communist sympathizers. Many names mentioned held relatively minor posts or were already under suspicion. Some names, however, were more significant and surprising: Alger Hiss, his brother Donald Hiss, and Laurence Duggan—who were all respected, mid-level officials in the State Department—and Lauchlin Currie, a special assistant to Franklin Roosevelt. Another person named had worked on a top secret bombsight project at the Aberdeen Proving Grounds.[citation needed]

Berle found Chambers's information tentative, unclear, and uncorroborated. He took the information to the White House, but the President dismissed it, to which Berle made little if any objection. Berle kept his notes, however (later, evidence during Hiss's perjury trials).[18]

Berle notified the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) of Chambers's information in March 1940. In February 1941, Krivitsky was found dead in his hotel room. While police ruled the death a suicide, it was widely speculated that Krivitsky had been killed by Soviet intelligence. Worried that the Soviets might try to kill Chambers too, Berle again told the FBI about his interview with Chambers. Nevertheless, the FBI took no immediate action, in line with the political orientation of the United States, which viewed the potential threat from the USSR as minor, when compared to that of Nazi Germany.[citation needed]

(The FBI did interview Chambers in May 1942 and June 1945, without further action. Only in November 1945, when Elizabeth Bentley defected and corroborated much of Chambers's story, did the FBI begin to take Chambers seriously).[19]

Time magazine

Henry Luce and Clare Boothe Luce (here circa 1954) valued Chambers's writing

By the time of the Berle meeting, Chambers had come out of hiding after a year and joined the staff of Time (April 1939). He landed a cover story within a month on James Joyce's latest book, Finnegans Wake.[20] He started at the back of the magazine, reviewing books and film with James Agee and then Calvin Fixx. When Fixx suffered a heart attack in October 1942, Wilder Hobson succeeded him as Chambers's assistant editor in Arts & Entertainment. Other writers working for Chambers in that section included: novelist Nigel Dennis, future New York Times Book Review editor Harvey Breit, and poets Howard Moss and Weldon Kees.[21][22]

During this time, a struggle arose between those, like Theodore H. White and Richard Lauterbach, who raised criticism of what they saw as the elitism, corruption and ineptitude of Chiang Kai-shek's regime in China and advocated greater cooperation with Mao's Red Army in the struggle against Japanese imperialism, and Chambers and others like Willi Schlamm who adhered to a staunchly pro-Chiang, anti-communist perspective (and who both later joined the founding editorial board of William F. Buckley, Jr.'s National Review). Time founder Henry Luce, who grew up in China and was a personal friend of Chiang and his wife, came down squarely on the side of Chambers to the point that White complained that his stories were being censored, and even suppressed in their entirety, and left Time shortly after the war as a result.[23]

In 1940, William Saroyan lists Fixx among "contributing editors" at Time in Saroyan's play, Love's Old Sweet Song.[24] Luce promoted him senior editor in either Summer 1942 (Weinstein[25]) or September 1943 (Tanenhaus[26]) and became a member of Time's "Senior Group" (which determined editorial policy) in December 1943.[26]

Chambers, close colleagues, and many staff members as of the 1930s helped elevate TIME–"interstitial intellectuals," as historian Robert Vanderlan has called them.[27] Colleague John Hersey described them as follows:

Time was in an interesting phase; an editor named Tom Matthews had gathered a brilliant group of writers, including James Agee, Robert Fitzgerald, Whittaker Chambers, Robert Cantwell, Louis Kronenberger, and Calvin Fixx ... They were dazzling. Time's style was still very hokey—"backward ran sentences till reeled the mind"—but I could tell, even as a neophyte, who had written each of the pieces in the magazine, because each of these writers had such a distinctive voice.[28]

By early 1948, Chambers had become one of the best known writer-editors at Time. First had come his scathing commentary "The Ghosts on the Roof" (March 5, 1945) on the Yalta Conference (in which Hiss partook). Subsequent cover-story essays profiled Marian Anderson, Arnold J. Toynbee, Rebecca West and Reinhold Niebuhr. The cover story on Marian Anderson ("Religion: In Egypt Land", December 30, 1946) proved so popular that the magazine broke its rule of non-attribution in response to readers' letters:

Most Time cover stories are written and edited by the regular staffs of the section in which they appear. Certain cover stories, that present special difficulties or call for a special literary skill, are written by Senior Editor Whittaker Chambers.[29]

In a 1945 letter to Time colleague Charles Wertenbaker, Time-Life deputy editorial director John Shaw Billings said of Chambers, "Whit puts on the best show in words of any writer we've ever had ... a superb technician, particularly skilled in the mosaic art of putting a Time section together."[30] Chambers was at the height of his career when the Hiss case broke later that year.[31]

During this period, Chambers and his family became Quakers, attending Pipe Creek Friends Meetinghouse near his Maryland farm.[32]

The Hiss case

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Alger Hiss (1948) denied Chambers's allegations and was convicted of perjury.

On August 3, 1948, Chambers was called to testify before the House Un-American Activities Committee (HUAC). There he gave the names of individuals he said were part of the underground "Ware group" in the late 1930s, including Alger Hiss. He thus once again named Hiss as a member of the Communist Party, but did not yet make any accusations of espionage. In subsequent HUAC sessions, Hiss testified and initially denied that he knew anyone by the name of Chambers, but on seeing him in person (and after it became clear that Chambers knew details about Hiss's life), said that he had known Chambers under the name "George Crosley". Hiss denied that he had ever been a Communist, however. Since Chambers still presented no evidence, the committee had initially been inclined to take the word of Hiss on the matter. However, committee member Richard Nixon received secret information from the FBI which had led him to pursue the issue. When it issued its report, HUAC described Hiss's testimony as "vague and evasive".

"Red Herring"

Harry S. Truman (center, with Joseph Stalin left and Winston Churchill right in 1945) called Chambers's allegations a "red herring"

The country quickly became divided over the Hiss–Chambers issue. President Harry S. Truman, not pleased with the allegation that the man who had presided over the United Nations Charter Conference was a Communist, dismissed the case as a "red herring".[33] In the atmosphere of increasing anti-communism that would later be termed McCarthyism, many conservatives viewed the Hiss case as emblematic of what they saw as Democrats' laxity towards the danger of communist infiltration and influence in the State Department. Many liberals, in turn, saw the Hiss case as part of the desperation of the Republican party to regain the office of president, having been out of power for 16 years. Truman also issued Executive Order 9835, which initiated a program of loyalty reviews for federal employees in 1947.[34]

"Pumpkin Papers"

Hiss filed a $75,000 libel suit against Chambers on October 8, 1948. Under pressure from Hiss's lawyers, Chambers finally retrieved his envelope of evidence and presented it to the HUAC after they subpoenaed them. It contained four notes in Alger Hiss's handwriting, sixty-five typewritten copies of State Department documents and five strips of microfilm, some of which contained photographs of State Department documents. The press came to call these the "Pumpkin Papers" referring to the fact that Chambers had briefly hidden the microfilm in a hollowed-out pumpkin. These documents indicated that Hiss knew Chambers long after mid-1936, when Hiss said he had last seen "Crosley," and also that Hiss had engaged in espionage with Chambers. Chambers explained his delay in producing this evidence as an effort to spare an old friend from more trouble than necessary. Until October 1948, Chambers had repeatedly stated that Hiss had not engaged in espionage, even when Chambers testified under oath. Chambers was forced to testify at the Hiss trials that he had committed perjury several times, which reduced his credibility in the eyes of his critics.

The five rolls of 35 mm film known as the "pumpkin papers" were thought until late 1974 to be locked in HUAC files. Independent researcher Stephen W. Salant, an economist at the University of Michigan, sued the U.S. Justice Department in 1975 when his request for access to them under the Freedom of Information Act was denied. On July 31, 1975, as a result of this lawsuit and follow-on suits filed by Peter Irons and by Alger Hiss and William Reuben, the Justice Department released copies of the "pumpkin papers" that had been used to implicate Hiss. One roll of film turned out to be totally blank due to overexposure, two others are faintly legible copies of nonclassified Navy Department documents relating to such subjects as life rafts and fire extinguishers, and the remaining two are photographs of the State Department documents introduced by the prosecution at the two Hiss trials, relating to U.S./German relations in the late 1930s.[35]

This story, however, as reported by the New York Times in the 1970s, contains only a partial truth. The blank roll had been mentioned by Chambers in his autobiography Witness. But in addition to innocuous farm reports, etc., the documents on the other pumpkin patch microfilms also included "confidential memos sent from overseas embassies to diplomatic staff in Washington, D.C.";[36] worse, those memos had originally been transmitted in code, which, thanks to their (presumably) having both coded originals and the translations forwarded by Hiss, the Soviets now could easily understand.[36]


Hiss could not be tried for espionage at that time, because the evidence indicated the offense had occurred more than ten years prior to that time, and the statute of limitations for espionage was five years. Instead, Hiss was indicted for two counts of perjury relating to testimony he had given before a federal grand jury the previous December. There he had denied giving any documents to Whittaker Chambers, and testified he had not seen Chambers after mid-1936.

Hiss was tried twice for perjury. The first trial, in June 1949, ended with the jury deadlocked eight to four for conviction. In addition to Chambers's testimony, a government expert testified that other papers typed on a typewriter belonging to the Hiss family matched the secret papers produced by Chambers. An impressive array of character witnesses appeared on behalf of Hiss: two U.S. Supreme Court justices, Felix Frankfurter and Stanley Reed, former Democratic presidential nominee John W. Davis and future Democratic presidential nominee Adlai Stevenson. Chambers, on the other hand, was attacked by Hiss's attorneys as "an enemy of the Republic, a blasphemer of Christ, a disbeliever in God, with no respect for matrimony or motherhood".[33] In the second trial, Hiss's defense produced a psychiatrist who characterized Chambers as a "psychopathic personality" and "a pathological liar".[37]

The second trial ended in January 1950 with Hiss found guilty on both counts of perjury. He was sentenced to five years in prison.

After the Hiss case

Chambers had resigned from Time in December 1948. After the Hiss Case, he wrote a few articles for Fortune, Life, and Look magazines.[1]

In 1951 during HUAC hearings, William Spiegel of Baltimore identified a photo of "Carl Schroeder" as Whittaker Chambers while he was describing his involvement with David Zimmerman, a spy in Chambers' network.[38][39]


In 1952, Chambers's book Witness was published to widespread acclaim.[40][41][42][43] The book was a combination of autobiography and a warning about the dangers of Communism. Arthur Schlesinger, Jr. called it "a powerful book".[44] Ronald Reagan credited the book as the inspiration behind his conversion from a New Deal Democrat to a conservative Republican.[33] Witness was a bestseller for more than a year[44] and helped pay off Chambers's legal debts, though bills lingered ("as Odysseus was beset by a ghost").[45]

According to commentator George Will in 2017:

Witness became a canonical text of conservatism. Unfortunately, it injected conservatism with a sour, whiney, complaining, crybaby populism. It is the screechy and dominant tone of the loutish faux conservatism that today is erasing [William F.] Buckley's legacy of infectious cheerfulness and unapologetic embrace of high culture. Chambers wallowed in cloying sentimentality and curdled resentment about "the plain men and women" — "my people, humble people, strong in common sense, in common goodness" — enduring the "musk of snobbism" emanating from the "socially formidable circles" of the "nicest people" produced by "certain collegiate eyries."[46]

National Review

William F. Buckley Jr. (right, L. Brent Bozell Jr. left in 1954), first asked Chambers to endorse their book on McCarthy.

In 1955, William F. Buckley Jr. started the magazine National Review, and Chambers worked there as senior editor, publishing articles there for a little over a year and a half (October 1957–June 1959).[47] The most widely cited article to date[48][49][50][51][52] is a scathing review, "Big Sister is Watching You", of Ayn Rand's Atlas Shrugged.[53][54][55]

In 1959, after resigning from National Review, Chambers and his wife embarked on a visit to Europe, the highlight of which was a meeting with Arthur Koestler and Margarete Buber-Neumann at Koestler's home in Austria.[45] That fall, he recommenced studies at Western Maryland College (now McDaniel College) in Westminster, Maryland.[56]

Personal life and death

In 1930 or 1931,[57] Chambers married the artist Esther Shemitz (1900–1986).[1] [58] Shemitz, who had studied at the Art Students League and integrated herself into New York City's intellectual circles, met Chambers at the 1926 textile strike at Passaic, New Jersey. They then underwent a stormy courtship that faced resistance from their comrades, with Chambers having climbed through her window at five o'clock in the morning to propose. Shemitz identified as "a pacifist rather than a revolutionary."[59] In the 1920s, she worked for The World Tomorrow, a pacifist magazine.[1]

The couple had two children, Ellen and John during the 1930s. (Communist leadership expected couples to go childless, but like many Chambers refused, a choice he cited as part of his gradual disillusionment with communism.[1]). His grandchildren include Stephen, Pamela, and John Into. Kyle Into is his great grandson.

In 1978, Allen Weinstein's Perjury revealed that the FBI has a copy of a letter in which Chambers described homosexual liaisons during the 1930s.[60] The letter copy states that Chambers gave up these practices in 1938 when he left the underground, attributed to newfound Christianity.[61] The letter has remained controversial from many perspectives.[62]

Chambers died of a heart attack on July 9, 1961, at his 300-acre (1.2 km2) farm in Westminster, Maryland.[63][64] He had suffered from angina since the age of 38 and had previously suffered several heart attacks.[1]

Cold Friday, his second memoir, was published posthumously in 1964 with the help of Duncan Norton-Taylor. The book predicted that the fall of Communism would start in the satellite states surrounding the Soviet Union in Eastern Europe. A collection of his correspondence with William F. Buckley, Jr., Odyssey of a Friend, was published in 1968; a collection of his journalism—including several of his Time and National Review writings, was published in 1989 as Ghosts on the Roof: Selected Journalism of Whittaker Chambers (q.v. Bibliography of Whittaker Chambers.)


• 1952 – Honorary Doctorate of Law from Mount Mary College (Milwaukee)[65]
• 1953 – National Book Award finalist for nonfiction (Witness)[66]
• 1984 – Presidential Medal of Freedom (posthumously) (for contribution to "the century's epic struggle between freedom and totalitarianism")[67]


Presidential Medal of Freedom.

Chambers's book Witness is on the reading lists of The Heritage Foundation, The Weekly Standard, The Leadership Institute, and the Russell Kirk Center for Cultural Renewal. He is regularly cited by conservative writers such as Heritage's president Edwin Feulner[68][69] and George H. Nash.[70][71][72][73]

In 1984, President Ronald Reagan posthumously awarded Chambers the Presidential Medal of Freedom, for his contribution to "the century's epic struggle between freedom and totalitarianism". In 1988, Interior Secretary Donald P. Hodel granted national landmark status to the Pipe Creek Farm.[74] In 2001, members of the George W. Bush Administration held a private ceremony to commemorate the hundredth anniversary of Chambers's birth. Speakers included William F. Buckley, Jr.[75]

In 2007, John Chambers stated that a library with his father's papers should open in 2008 on the Chambers farm in Maryland. He indicated that the facility will be available to all scholars and that a separate library, rather than one within an established university, is needed to guarantee open access.[76]

In 2011, author Elena Maria Vidal interviewed David Chambers about his grandfather's legacy. Versions of the interview were published in the National Observer and The American Conservative.[77][78]

In 2017, the National Review Institute inaugurated a "Whittaker Chambers Award" for its 2017 Ideas Summit, for presentation on March 16, 2017.[79] The first recipient is Daniel Hannan,[80] dubbed "the man who brought you Brexit" by The Guardian.[81]

Chambers translated Bambi, a Life in the Woods, by Felix Salten, into English.

See also

• Bibliography of Whittaker Chambers
• History of Soviet espionage in the United States
• List of Presidential Medal of Freedom recipients
• List of American spies
• John Abt
• Noel Field
• Harold Glasser
• John Herrmann
• Alger Hiss
• Donald Hiss
• Victor Perlo
• J. Peters
• Ward Pigman
• Lee Pressman
• Vincent Reno
• Julian Wadleigh
• Harold Ware
• Nathaniel Weyl
• Harry Dexter White
• Nathan Witt
• Esther Shemitz
• Nathan Levine
• Reuben Shemitz
• Chambers (surname)


1. ^ to:a b c d e f g h i j k Chambers, Whittaker (May 1952). Witness. New York: Random House. pp. 799 (total).
2. ^ "Whittaker Chambers". Find A Grave. Retrieved September 25, 2012.
3. ^ Vinciguerra, Thomas (30 March 1997). "Ghosts Rest at Whittaker Chambers Home". New York Times. Retrieved 31 October 2018.
4. ^ to:a b Packer, George (22 February 2016). "Turned Around". The New Yorker. Retrieved 24 February 2016.
5. ^ Staff."A Sad, Solemn Sweetness", Time (magazine), November 17, 1975. Retrieved September 24, 2008. "Trilling's first and only novel, published in 1947, made his name known in an unexpected circle—the FBI. Titled The Middle of the Journey, the book described the intellectual torture of a Communist in the process of quitting the party. Reviews which praised its "assurance, literacy and intelligence" aroused the interest of FBI agents investigating Whittaker Chambers's allegations of spying by State Department official Alger Hiss. Indeed Trilling had shared a class with Chambers when both were Columbia students, and he frankly admitted fictionalizing Chambers's story in his novel."
6. ^ Tanenhaus 1998, p. 28
7. ^ Ahearn, Barry (1983). Zukofsky's "A": An Introduction. Berkeley, CA: University of California Press. p. 12. Retrieved 5 March 2016.
8. ^ Meier, Andrew (August 11, 2008). The Lost Spy: An American in Stalin's Secret Service. W. W. Norton. pp. 224–267, 289–300. ISBN 978-0-393-06097-3.
9. ^ Vladimir Ilyich Lenin. "Soviets at Work". Retrieved 4 September 2016.
10. ^ Tanenhaus 1998, pp. 70–71
11. ^ "Translations". Retrieved January 28, 2012.
12. ^ Vinciguerra, Thomas (3 October 2004). "The Old College Try". New York Times. Retrieved 31 October2018.
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Further reading[edit]
• Chambers, Whittaker (1952). Witness. New York: Random House. LCCN 52005149.
• Chambers, Whittaker (1964). Cold Friday. New York: Random House.
• Tanenhaus, Sam (1998). Whittaker Chambers: A Biography. Modern Library. ISBN 0-375-75145-9.
• Weinstein, Allen (1978). Perjury: The Hiss–Chambers Case. New York: Knopf.

External links

• Official website
• Whittaker Chambers on IMDb
• Whittaker Chambers at the TCM Movie Database
• Appearances on C-SPAN
• "Writings of Whittaker Chambers". American Writers: A Journey Through History. C-SPAN. May 26, 2002. 170139-1.* Berresford, John (Feb 2014). "A Pumpkin Patch, A Typewriter, And Richard Nixon: The Hiss–Chambers Espionage Case". YouTube. Lecture series, 38 pt.
• Tanenhaus, Sam (Feb 23, 1997). "Whittaker Chambers: A Biography". Part 1. Booknotes. C-SPAN. 78890-1., "Part 2". Mar 2, 1997. 78894-1.
• "Whittaker Chambers". Contemporary Authors Online (CAO). Gale. 2009. H1000016972.
• Ingle, H. Larry (2018). "An Assessment of Whittaker Chambers, Quaker". Fides et Historia. 50:1: 15–34.
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