T H E MiICHIGAN DAIILY
THURSDAY, NOVEMBER 1"7, 1949
Hiss Retrial Set
(EDITOR'S NOTE: The following is a background story of the Hiss perjury
tra n Ne Ya1ork, which was covered this summer by Miss Lipsky for the
By ROMA LIPSKY
Retrial of the Alger Hiss perjury case-probably the most confus-
ing and controversial trial of the century--begins today in New York's
Skyscraper Federal Court Building.
A six-week trial last summer ended with a jury unable to reach a
decision on the guilt or innocence of the former State Department of-
ficial. The vote was eight for conviction; four for acquittal.
* * *
BUT THE CASE actually began long before today's opening trial
session, and long before the first trial last spring.
It goes back to a meeting of the Congressional Un-American
Activities Committee in August, 1948.
At that time, Whittaker Chambers, a confessed former Commu-
nist spy, testified that Alger Hiiss, one time State Department official
and then president of the Carnegie Endowment for Peace, had been a
Communist party member.
* * * *
HISS WAS A MEMBER of an underground spy ring operating in
Washington, and passed secret government papers to the Communists
in the 30's, Chambers said.
Hiss immediately denied the charge, and \vhen Chambers
repeated it in public, Hiss countered with a libel suit for some
for some $'75,O0O. (This suit is still pending in Baltimore.)
During the preliminary hearings for the libel suit in the f all of
1948, Chambers, who had previously claimed that he had no evidence
to substantiate his charges, produced secret state department docu-
ments which he had hidden in a pumpkin on his Maryland farm.
These papers were a portion of the documents which Hiss had
passed to the Communist party, Chambers alleged.
IN DECEMBER of 1948 the New York Grand Jury, investigating
subversive activities, called Hiss to testify.
While on the stand, IHiss was asked if lie had (1) ever given
secret State Department douewnrts to Chambers or (2) seen
Chambers after Jan. 1, 1937.
Hiss emphatically replied "no'' to both statements, and the GrandI
Jury then indicted him for perjury.
THE TRIAL began in New York in mid-May, 1949, and lasted for
six intensely dramatic weeks.
Under Federal law, perjury must be proved by either 1) testi-
mony of two witnesses to the perjury; or 2) testimony of one wit-
ness plus corroborative evidence.
The Government in this case took the second course.
CHIEF GOVERNMENT witness was Whittaker Chambers, whose
testimony was closely corroborated by that of his wife.
On the first count, Chambers testified that lie and hiss were
"members of the Communist party together."'
Hiss stole secret government papers and passed them to Chambers
for delivery to a Colonel Bykov, Chambers alleged.
THIS BEGAN EARLY in 1937 and continued well past the Janu-
ary to March, 1938 period charged in the indictment, Chambers said.
He described the "usual method was for . . . Hiss . . . to bring
home documents which Mrs. Hiss typed.",
As to the relationship between the two men, Chambers described
Hiss as "the closest friend I ever had in the Communist party."
HE TESTIFIED to numerous visits to the Hiss home, to loans of
an apartment and an old Ford, as well as varying amounts of money
received from Hiss.
Chambers said he and his wife were known to the Hisses as
"Garl" and "Lisa," and claimed to have seen Hiss repeatedly until
the end of 1938 when "I tried to break away from the Communist
He went to Hiss at that time, Chambers said, and tried to con-
vince Hiss to break with the party also, but "he absolutely refused."
That was the last time, according to Chambers' account, that the
4wo men met.
TO SUBSTANTIATE Chambers' testimony, the government intro-
duced into the evidence 47 State Department documents-the pumpkin
papers produced by Chambers.
......Forty-three of these were typed and four handwritten. .. . . ..
The Government contended that the typed documents came from
an old Woodstock typewriter once owned by the Hisses, and that the
written memorandum were in Hiss' handwriting.
THE IMPORTANCE of these documents and the typewriter to the
Government's case was clearly indicated by Prosecuting Attorney
Thomas Murphy last July.
Again and again during his three and one-half hour summa-
tion, Murphy pointed to the battered Woodstock machine, the
typed documents, and the originals from State Department files
DEFENSE ATTORNEY LloydPau hsStryker, playing on the theme
"If you don't believe Chambers, the Government has no case," concen-
trated his energies on an attempt to discredit Chambers credibility as
-a witness and establish beyond doubt Hiss' good character and relia-
On the stand in his own defense, Hiss emphatically repeated his
denial of each of Chamber's statements.
THE FACT that the "pumpkin papers" were typed on the Wood-
stock machine was not contested, but the defense did attempt to es-
tablish that the typewriter was not in the Hiss' possession during the
January to March 1938 period cited in the indictment.
Therefore, the defense contends, the documents must have
been typed by someone else-.
Hiss himself identified the four written papers as being in his
handwriting, but said that at the time, they were inter-office memo-
randum easily accessible to anyone entering the office.
HISS' VERSION of the delationship between the two men devi-
ates sharply from the advanced by Chambers.
Hiss testified that their first meeting was in 1935, when
Chambers came to Hiss' Washington office and represented him-
self as a "free-lance writer named George Crosley."
He gave Chambers (or Crosley) some information for a proposed
magazine article, lunched with him several times, drove him to New
York once, and sublet an apartment to the Chambers family for a pe-
.riod of six weeks, Hiss said.
HISS ALSO admitted turning over a worthless old Ford and mak-
ing several small loans to Chambers. He testified to seeing Chambers
for the last time in "May or June, 1936."
"I told Mr. Chambers that I was convinced he would not re-
pay the sums he owed me and that I thought any further con-
tacts had best be discontinued," Hiss declared.
Defense lawyer Stryker kept Chambers on the stand for five days,
during which the witness confessed to several perjiuries.
E NU:NE E RS D E B ATE:
1)1] Sees Laek of Loeal
IR ie Fault of Cenitralisiu
Chief weakness of the nation's
trend toward centralization lies
im the absence of local self-govern-
ment, accordigt tghe 01gDetroit n
Matched against members of
Sigma Rho Tau, the engineering
speech society, the DIT speakers
took an affirmative stand this
the Trend Toeward Centralization
in the Federal Government Be
SIGMA RHO TAU, taking the
negative stand, won the debate by
a narrow margin.
Loss of contact with the pco-
ile results in decision-making
nothing of local needs and de-
sires, DIT speakers said.
They stated that in the San
Francisco area six unnecessary
yeteran's hospitals are operating,
but the government, not realizing
local needs, is planning to build
three more hospitals in the same
EXPRESSING the affirmative
point of view, members of Sigma
Rho Tau said that centralization
is entirely in keeping with the
Constitution and is an economic
The federal government has
-been forced to accept problems
that cannot be handled on a
local basis, they said.
The Sigma Rho Tau team in-
cluded Warren Norquist '53E,
George Pfaffman '51E, Howard
Luckey '52E, Albert Atwell '53E,
and Robert Skulstad '50E.
MDIT was represented by Leonard
Zucklinski arnd James La Pointe.
dHdifferent styles #iii Colors
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( Engravers - PRINTERS - Stafioners
i 119 East Liberty Phone 7900
NEW S'TYLES INTRODUCED-BusAd students Dick Murphy,
Ted Ward and John Bodnaruk drew the attention of students on
the diag yesterday afternoon when they proclaimed the coming of
the Bankruptcy Ball tomorrow at the League.
CIVIL WAR IN QUAD:-
Decision On 'Ensian Picture
Spurs Chicago House Revolt
OHIO STA TE
CALL THE STUDENT
ROOM BU REA U
2-9850 for reservations
between 12 & 1 and 6 & 7
PAY L ESS AT MA RSH A LL'S * PAY L ESS AT MA RSH A LL'S *
By BOB KEITH
Full -scale rebellion flared in
West Quad's Chicago House this
week as the third floor came with-
in inches of~ "seceding."
It all came about when the house
voted not to allot $60 from its trea-
sury to buy a page in the 'Ensian.
THE MOTION, calling for a
group picture of all residents to
appear in the yearbook, was
soundly defeated by every floor
but the third.
A third floor man, Jay Sand-
ercock, '50, then suggested that
the floor have its own picture
in the 'Ensian, despite what the
rest of the house did.
House leaders assailed the idea,
telling third floor men they could
not run their picture as such with-
out the backing of the entire
house. This prompted the floor to
fro te house ad become auton-
omous. * * *
JOHN PAUL JONES, '50E, was
the most vehement leader of the
insurrection. "I refuse to submit to
these injustices and tyrannies
*which the house has imposed up-
on us,"' he declared.
Adopting the motto "success
or secession," the third floor de-
mnanded that another vote be
taken. Under vigorous pressure
from the dissenting element, the
At a stormy hour-long session
late Wednesday night, residents
gave the picture a virtual approval.
L IMiT ON E
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