I Decline to Testify on the Basis of My Fifth Amendment Right





Mr. Ritchie is associate Senate historian and editor of the transcripts of the Executive Sessions of the Senate Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations of the Committee on Government Operations (McCarthy Hearings 1953-54, which were released in May.

Editor's Note: How bad was McCarthyism? It's still in dispute. Just this past week HNN received an email from a teacher in Georgia who claimed that Joe McCarthy"uncovered 'real' facts about communist spies in Democratic administrative positions" and"did not deserve the censure and mockery he received from the mouths of lying Democrats."

While this teacher's viewpoint may be in the minority, it is worth remembering what McCarthyism was and why it frightened so many millions of people.

One way is to read the transcripts of the McCarthy hearings (1953-54), which were made available this past spring. HNN asked Mr. Ritchie, the editor of the transcripts, to recommend a representative selection. He pointed us toward the 1953 transcript printed below, which featured questioning by Henry Scoop Jackson, Democrat of Washington State. (Shortly afterward, in June 1953, Jackson and the other Democrats on the committee resigned. Click here for an explanation.)

Note by Donald Ritchie

Naphtali Lewis was a professor of classical studies at the City University of New York, teaching also at Columbia, Yale, and Boston universities. He specialized in deciphering and interpreting the oldest Greek manuscripts, called papyri, and was president of the International Association of Papyrologists. In April 1953, Lewis received a U.S. Educational Exchange Award, or Fulbright scholarship, to study ancient manuscripts in Florence. He testified in public session on June 10, and again with his wife, Helen Lewis, on June 19, 1953.

During their public testimony, Helen Lewis invoked the Fifth Amendment, after which Senator McCarthy announced: ‘‘Dr. Lewis, we have just been notified by the State Department that your job in Italy has been canceled; that you are not being sent there. I think that is an excellent idea.’’ In a written statement that he filed with the committee, Professor Lewis asserted: ‘‘Senator McCarthy has not inquired concerning my qualification as a scholar for a scholarly assignment. He appears to be interested in my Fulbright award only to the extent of inquiring into my political opinions and, what is even more astonishing, into my wife’s politics, past as well as present. This inquisition, if it has its way, establishes a novel and singularly un- American principle; namely, that before a man is permitted to pursue a career of research—even in ancient manuscripts—he must have the stamp of approval of a congressional subcommittee on himself and his family.’’

The Transcript

May 20, 2003

TESTIMONY OF NAPHTALI LEWIS

Senator JACKSON. Will you rise and be sworn, please?
Raise your right hand.
Do you solemnly swear the testimony you are about to give shall
be the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth so help
you God?
Mr. LEWIS. I do.
Mr. COHN. Would you give us your full name?
Mr. LEWIS. My full name is Naphtali Lewis.
Mr. COHN. How do you spell that first name?
Mr. LEWIS. N-a-p-h-t-a-l-i.
Mr. COHN. Mr. Lewis, have you ever been a Communist?
Mr. LEWIS. Well, you are barking up the wrong tree, mister. The
answer is ‘‘no.’’
Senator JACKSON. Before we proceed any further, you understand
you have a right to counsel if you so desire.
Mr. LEWIS. Mr. Cohn explained that to me.
Senator JACKSON. I just wanted to make the record clear.
Mr. LEWIS. But since no one indicated, in summoning me here,
that I was to be accused of anything, it never occurred to me.
Senator JACKSON. Do you desire to have counsel?
Mr. LEWIS. I don’t think I need one, no, sir. I have nothing but
simple answers to simple questions, if that is all that is involved.
Now, I am not a lawyer, and if we get into legalities——
Senator JACKSON. You may want to reserve the right?
Mr. LEWIS. I hope you will inform me of what my rights are, and
so on.
Senator JACKSON. You understand that you have the right to
refuse to answer any question if, in answering that question it may
tend to incriminate you. That means that it may cause you to be
a witness against yourself. Even though that tendency is slight,
you have the right under the Fifth Amendment to refuse to answer
if you conscientiously believe, if you believe in conscience, that to
answer the question would tend to incriminate you, not in itself incriminate
you, but tend to incriminate you. In that case, you have
the right to refuse to answer.
Mr. LEWIS. I understand.
Mr. COHN. Your testimony is that you have never been a Communist?
Mr. LEWIS. That is right.
Mr. COHN. Have you ever attended a Communist meeting?
Mr. LEWIS. Certainly not to my knowledge.
Mr. COHN. Are you at Brooklyn College?
Mr. LEWIS. That is correct.
Mr. COHN. Do you know someone named David McKelvy White?
Mr. LEWIS. No, sir, I do not.
Mr. COHN. Do you know Alex Novikov?
Mr. LEWIS. Now, that is a name that I do know. Alex Novikov
was at Brooklyn College in the biology department. I knew him
slightly, but he has for a long time now not been in New York.
Mr. COHN. Have you ever attended a meeting with him?
Mr. LEWIS. A meeting?
Mr. CORN. Yes, any kind of a meeting other than one connected
with your official activities at Brooklyn College.
Mr. LEWIS. My best recollection is ‘‘no.’’ I mean it would surprise
me if I had. I just don’t recall.
Senator JACKSON. You do not have any recollection as of now?
Mr. LEWIS. I don’t have any recollection of having attended a
meeting.
Senator JACKSON. Where he was present?
Mr. LEWIS. Where he was present. Well, now, wait a moment. If
you mean where he was present in a large gathering of five hundred
people or so, I can’t answer for that.
You mean where he was present to my knowledge?
Senator JACKSON. Yes.
Mr. LEWIS. Where he was present to my knowledge. Unless it
was some kind of social meeting, the answer is ‘‘no.’’
Mr. COHN. Do you know anyone named Albaum?
Mr. LEWIS. Yes, he is a member of the biology department now.
Mr. COHN. How well do you know him?
Mr. LEWIS. I know him as a colleague.
Mr. COHN. Have you ever attended any meeting with him?
Mr. LEWIS. Not that I can recall, no.
Mr. COHN. Do you know whether or not he is a Communist?
Mr. LEWIS. No, I would not know.
Mr. COHN. Do you know of any Communists at Brooklyn College?
Mr. LEWIS. By the way, I could amend my answer on Albaum to
say I have read in the paper about his testimony.
Mr. COHN. What did you read concerning his testimony?
Mr. LEWIS. Well, he testified some months ago that he had been
a Communist.
Mr. COHN. That was the first you knew of it?
Mr. LEWIS. This was all I know about Mr. Albaum’s communism
or anybody’s. I have no direct knowledge of Communist activity or
membership, since I have not been one myself and have not associated
with such people, to my knowledge.
Mr. COHN. Do you know Irving Goldman?
Mr. LEWIS. Who?
Mr. COHN. Irving Goldman.
Mr. LEWIS. I don’t know him, though I know who he is.
Mr. COHN. Do you know Charlotte Robinson?
Mr. LEWIS. Yes. Her name is now Charlotte Jenkins.
Mr. COHN. That is right.
Mr. LEWIS. She works in the registrar’s office.
Mr. COHN. How well do you know her?
Mr. LEWIS. Again, only as a person who works for the college.
Mr. COHN. Did you ever attend any meeting with her?
Mr. LEWIS. Well, again, I don’t know what you mean by ‘‘meeting.’’
If you mean a Communist meeting, the answer is ‘‘no.’’ I have
never been to a Communist meeting, to my knowledge.
But if you mean could she have been present at a faculty meeting
where I was, the answer is that she could have been.
Mr. COHN. As I first told you, we were excluding meetings held
in the course of official business.
Mr. LEWIS. Yes. I had forgotten.
Mr. COHN. So that is out.
Now, outside of that, did you ever attend any meeting with Charlotte
Robinson?
Mr. LEWIS. To the best of my recollection, no.
Mr. COHN. Do you know anyone named Pomerance, P-o-m-e-r-an-
c-e?
Mr. LEWIS. I know him slightly. He is in the philosophy department.
Mr. COHN. Did you ever attend any meeting with him?
Mr. LEWIS. Again, to the best of my recollection, no.
Mr. COHN. Do you know Mrs. Pomerance?
Mr. LEWIS. I don’t believe so.
Mr. COHN. You are married, Mr. Lewis?
Mr. LEWIS. That is correct.
Mr. COHN. And what is your wife’s first name?
Mr. LEWIS. Helen.
Mr. COHN. Has she ever been a Communist?
Mr. LEWIS. Well, again, if you knew my wife, it is really—My
wife is a wife and a mother, and she certainly is no Communist.
Mr. COHN. No, my question was: Has she ever been a Communist?
Mr. LEWIS. Has she ever been a Communist? Well, let me give
you a very precise answer. Eleven years ago, when our first child
was born, my wife ceased being a teacher, and since then she has
devoted herself and concentrated on bringing up the family. She
has been, since we have had a family, I would say, all that any
man could want in a devoted wife and a devoted mother of his children.
Now, before we began our family, my wife was a teacher.
Mr. COHN. You do have my question in mind?
Mr. LEWIS. Yes, I am answering it in the fullest way I know.
And in those years of her teaching activity, she was very active
in teachers’ organizations, teachers committees, and so on.
Now, at that time, unlike the present, where we are a very quiet
family and have no outside activities, she had many outside activities
in which I did not share. Many times she would go off to meetings,
and I would go to the library to work.
Now, I am well aware of the fact that in those days, many teachers’
activities were participated in by Communists and non-Communists
alike, but I would want it demonstrated certainly to me
that my wife was engaged in any Communist activity. Now, naturally,
I don’t know all of what she was engaged in those days, and
frankly, I much less cared. That is the best answer I can give you.
Senator JACKSON. To your knowledge, is she or has she ever been
a member of the Communist party?
Mr. LEWIS. To my knowledge, sir, the answer is ‘‘no’’ and the reason
I say ‘‘to my knowledge’’ is that knowing that she was associated
with all of these teachers outfits, and so on, I certainly urged
her never to join up, and I have no reason to believe she disregarded
my advice.
Mr. COHN. Your sworn testimony is that to your knowledge your
wife was never a Communist?
Mr. LEWIS. I have no reason to believe that she was, yes, sir.
Mr. COHN. Do you know whether she attended Communist meetings?
Mr. LEWIS. I cannot tell you, because——
Mr. COHN. Have you ever discussed that with her?
Mr. LEWIS. Well, I remember that back in those days when she
was a teacher, she discussed sometimes the meetings she attended,
and I am fully aware of the fact that there must have been Communists
at them.
Senator JACKSON. What meeting? Let us pinpoint this a moment.
Let me first of all ask you when you were married. I am not asking
this question to get into your personal affairs.
Mr. LEWIS. 1936.
Senator JACKSON. Now, the meetings you are talking about were
subsequent to your marriage?
Mr. LEWIS. That is right. They would be from about ’37 or ’39
to the time when my wife quit all that, when her first child was
born, beginning in ’42.
Senator JACKSON. Now, between ’36 and ’42, you say your wife
attended meetings?
Mr. LEWIS. Yes. They were teachers union meetings.
Senator JACKSON. Was that the Teachers’ Union?
Mr. LEWIS. That is the Teachers’ Union of New York.
Senator JACKSON. And did the Communists dominate those
locals, or the local she belonged to?
Mr. LEWIS. As you know, that has frequently been charged and
possibly sustained. But in those days, if you recall, there was a
kind of united front, and in those days the Teachers’ Union, that
is, in the late thirties, was a very large and respected organization,
to which many of the teachers of New York City belonged, including
for a time myself.
Senator JACKSON. Did you attend the meetings with her?
Mr. LEWIS. Teachers Union meetings, yes, but not these committee
meetings and all these other things.
Senator JACKSON. What do you mean by ‘‘committee meetings’’?
Mr. LEWIS. Well, she was on committees of the union. She was
editor of their newspaper for a time, and so on.
Senator JACKSON. Those were committee meetings set up by the
union?
Mr. LEWIS. Yes.
Senator JACKSON. It did not go beyond that?
Mr. LEWIS. Well, not to my knowledge, no; and I say, there are
lots she went to that I never talked with her about.
Senator JACKSON. Did she ever talk to you about meetings being
controlled by the commies, or anything like that?
Mr. LEWIS. I don’t think so. I remember that after a while, toward
the forties, communism began to become an issue.
Senator JACKSON. An issue where?
Mr. LEWIS. In the Teachers Union. And then, of course as you
undoubtedly know, the Teachers Union split up. It splintered into
pieces. And that is when she dropped out and I dropped out, and
so on.
Senator JACKSON. If she were a member of the Communist party
and you were her husband, you certainly should know about it,
should you not?
Mr. LEWIS. I certainly should, unless she chose to keep it secret
from me.
Senator JACKSON. But she never discussed any membership?
Mr. LEWIS. Oh, yes. She discussed it. She discussed it in the
sense that inevitably we had to, when communism became an
issue. And I constantly warned her to keep clear of that.
Senator JACKSON. Now, explain that. You said you discussed the
membership. You mean they asked her to join?
Mr. LEWIS. I shouldn’t be surprised. Not to my recollection, did
I ever ask her that confidence. I don’t think I ever did.
Senator JACKSON. Are you sure?
Mr. LEWIS. Well, I am just trying to recollect. You know this is
fifteen years ago. That is my best recollection, sir.
Senator JACKSON. That they never asked her to join?
Mr. LEWIS. No, my best recollection is that we did not discuss
that.
Senator JACKSON. You did not discuss that.
Mr. LEWIS. That is, in those specific terms. What I tried to convey
before is that when the Teachers Union began to be attacked
because of its Communist membership and alleged Communist
domination, at that point I strongly advised her not to get involved
in any of this.
Senator JACKSON. What was your position and the position of
your wife on the Soviet-Nazi Pact in ’39?
Mr. LEWIS. Well, I really can only speak for my position I suppose,
sir. I certainly regarded that as a disillusionment.
Senator JACKSON. At that time?
Mr. LEWIS. Yes, and I still do.
Senator JACKSON. You opposed it?
Mr. LEWIS. Well, I frankly neither opposed nor approved. I have
no real major concern with these things.
Senator JACKSON. What was your wife’s position on the subject?
Mr. LEWIS. I think it was mostly like mine. But, again, you see,
we have not been a particularly political family, and we had no
really profound or great political discussions. Her position used to
be at any rate, in those days, slightly left of mine, and perhaps she
had fewer reservations.
Mr. COHN. Where was she teaching then?
Mr. LEWIS. She was teaching at Brooklyn College.
Mr. COHN. What was she teaching?
Mr. LEWIS. Psychology.
Mr. COHN. She was teaching psychology at Brooklyn College.
And you taught philosophy?
Mr. LEWIS. No, I taught classical languages.
Senator JACKSON. Have you published any books?
Mr. LEWIS. Yes, in the last years I have published three books,
twenty articles in learned journals, over thirty book reviews.
Mr. COHN. For what have you written book reviews?
Mr. LEWIS. The Classical Weekly, Classical Journal, American
Journal of Philology, American Historical Review, Classical Philology.
Mr. COHN. Have you had any connection with the exchange program
of the State Department?
Mr. LEWIS. If you mean connection with anything in the State
Department, no. But I have applied.
Mr. COHN. Have you applied?
Mr. LEWIS. Yes, I have applied for an exchange fellowship.
Mr. COHN. Has there been any action on your application?
Mr. LEWIS. Yes.
Mr. COHN. Was it accepted, or rejected?
Mr. LEWIS. It was accepted.
Mr. COHN. And when was that?
Mr. LEWIS. I believe the letter informing me of acceptance was
dated April 30th last.
Mr. COHN. Just this past April 30th?
Mr. LEWIS. That is right.
Mr. COHN. Where were you supposed to go?
Mr. LEWIS. Italy.
Mr. COHN. And when?
Mr. LEWIS. The next academic year.
Mr. COHN. What were you supposed to? Teach over there?
Mr. LEWIS. No, I was supposed to do research in the library.
Mr. COHN. In what city?
Mr. LEWIS. Florence.
Mr. COHN. On classical subjects?
Mr. LEWIS. That is right, and decipherment of the oldest Greek
manuscripts known, which is my specialty.
Mr. COHN. Was your wife going to accompany you over there?
Mr. LEWIS. Yes.
Mr. COHN. Mr. Chairman, I would suggest this. There are some
other witnesses we want to hear on the subject of Mr. Lewis, and
we were anxious to talk with Mrs. Lewis. I was going to suggest
that we adjourn for the afternoon, and maybe Mr. Lewis would
want to consult counsel. I would feel better about it if he did. And
we would like Mr. and Mrs. Lewis to be down on Monday afternoon,
if that is agreeable, at 2:30.
What room would that be, Ruth?
Mrs. WATT. If the Senate is in session, we could come over here.
But we could get room 101.
Mr. COHN. Let us make it room 101.
Mr. LEWIS. Room 101 where?
Senator JACKSON. Senate Office Building.
Mr. LEWIS. At 2:30 p.m., next Monday.
Senator JACKSON. On Monday the 25th, this coming Monday.
Just one last question. Do you have any recollection of belonging
to any organization cited by the attorney general as subversive?
Mr. LEWIS. No, I don’t. As I said, I am not an organization man,
myself.
Senator JACKSON. You are not a joiner?
Mr. LEWIS. I am not a joiner. I belong to only two or three professional
associations, like the American Philological Association, Phi
Beta Kappa, and the International Association of Papyrologists,
which is my specialty, and I believe that is all.
Mr. COHN. What was your wife’s maiden name?
Mr. LEWIS. Helen Block, B-l-o-c-k.
Mr. COHN. Was she teaching under her married or maiden
name?
Mr. LEWIS. Both, I think. I think after she was married she used
her married name.
Mr. COHN. Could I get your street address?
Mr. LEWIS. Yes. 245 West 101st Street.
Mr. COHN. And your phone is Academy——
Mr. LEWIS. 2–4424.
Senator JACKSON. Do you know what organizations your wife
might have belonged to?
Mr. LEWIS. I certainly——
Senator JACKSON. If you do not know, do not say so.
Mr. LEWIS. No, I would have no way of knowing, sir.
Mr. COHN. Mr. Lewis, would you produce that April 30th letter
when you come down on Monday?
Mr. LEWIS. Yes.
Mr. COHN. And any other correspondence you had. I assume you
had to make some kind of application.
Mr. LEWIS. I can’t produce the application, because they have it.
Mr. COHN. You didn’t retain a copy of it?
Mr. LEWIS. No.
Mr. COHN. I see. We can get that from them. And who did you
give as references on that application?
Mr. LEWIS. The dean of Brooklyn College.
Mr. COHN. What is his name?
Mr. LEWIS. His name is William Gaede, G-a-e-d-e, Professor C.
Bradford Welles, W-e-l-l-e-s, of Yale, and Professor James H. Oliver,
of Johns Hopkins.
Mr. COHN. All right, sir. And anything else, any correspondence
you have had with them of which you have copies, in other words,
your file. That was James C. Oliver?
Mr. LEWIS. James H. Oliver.
Mr. COHN. Johns Hopkins?
Mr. LEWIS. Yes. Oh, yes. There were four. And Professor Meyer
Reinhold, M-e-y-e-r of my own department. They asked for one reference
from my own department.
Mr. COHN. And then your whole file on that. And, as I say, and
as Senator Jackson explained, you have a right to consult with
counsel. He will not be allowed to participate in the proceedings,
but may accompany you, and if at any time you or your wife desires
to confer with him in privacy, you have that right, and I
would suggest that you procure counsel.
Mr. LEWIS. All right. You make it sound very serious.
Mr. COHN. If it weren’t serious, we wouldn’t trouble you to come
down here.
Mr. LEWIS. Well, my record is an open book. There is nothing in
it I am ashamed of or that any American would not be proud of.
Senator JACKSON. Do you have anything you would like to say?
You understand, the question was asked: if you are or ever have
been a member of the Communist party. And you have been very
frank about it. You say you have never belonged.
And obviously, the committee would like to ask the same question
of your wife when she comes.
Mr. LEWIS. Naturally.
Mr. COHN. So you have an idea about what the questions will be
about. I am not saying that it is limited to that, on Monday, but
I am sure you understand that some question has been raised
about whether your wife was a member of the Communist party or
is now.
Mr. LEWIS. I gather that, and I think I have answered that to
the best of my ability. I understood also from Mr. Cohn that there
was an accusation made that I was a Communist. I believe you
said that.
Mr. COHN. No, I didn’t say that. But I say you have a right to
assume it is a very serious matter, and if we weren’t acting on the
basis of other testimony, we wouldn’t trouble you to come down
here.
Mr. LEWIS. Didn’t you say before that there were witnesses before
me?
Mr. COHN. Well, I said we were going to talk to other witnesses,
that we had heard witnesses and we would be talking to some
other witnesses. There is no doubt about that.
Mr. LEWIS. All right.
In matters of this kind, do you assign or recommend counsel, or
is that something I do on my own?
Senator JACKSON. I would suggest, as a lawyer myself, that I
would get competent counsel, to make sure that you are advised of
all your rights. The committee does not recommend any particular
counsel, but I think that from your own standpoint it is wise to
have counsel. The fact that you have counsel does not create any
inference that your case is any more serious than anybody else’s,
nor does it create any inference of guilt of anything. That is your
American right, and the decision as to whether you obtain counsel
is entirely up to you. But I would volunteer the statement that it
is usually a pretty wise thing to do.
Mr. LEWIS. Bring counsel with me to the next hearing?
Senator JACKSON. Yes. But you understand, the committee is not
requesting you to bring counsel.
Mr. LEWIS. I understand. It is a recommendation, shall we say.
Mr. COHN. It is just a step for your protection.
Senator JACKSON. I am merely trying to be fair to you in saying
that for your own protection it might be a wise thing. You will be
released, then, from the subpoena until Monday.
Mr. LEWIS. Well, I haven’t received any subpoena.
Mr. COHN. You were asked to come down. That is the same thing
under the Senate rules.
Mr. LEWIS. The girl who phoned me said very specifically I was
not being subpoenaed.
Mr. COHN. As long as you receive some formal notification, that
is the equivalent of a subpoena.
Senator JACKSON. You will be under subpoena until released by
the committee, and the committee will then notify you. This constitutes
a subpoena under the rules.
Mr. LEWIS. Well, I am not interested so much in the legal technicalities.
I understand you want me and my wife here on Monday
afternoon.
Mr. COHN. At 2:30.
Senator JACKSON. Monday, the 25th of May.
Mr. LEWIS. At the room that I jotted down.
Senator JACKSON. Yes.
[Whereupon, at 3:25 p.m., the hearing was recessed until 2:30
p.m., Monday, May 25, 1953.]

May 25, 1953

TESTIMONY OF HELEN B. LEWIS (ACCOMPANIED BY HER
COUNSEL, MURRAY WEINSTEIN)

The CHAIRMAN. Will you rise and be sworn, please? Raise your
right hand.
Do you solemnly swear the testimony you are about to give shall
be the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth, so help
you God?
Mrs. LEWIS. I do.
The CHAIRMAN. Who is your counsel?
Mr. WEINSTEIN. Murray Weinstein, 37 Wall Street, New York
City.
The CHAIRMAN. You can confer with your lawyer at any time you
care to at any time during the testimony. Under the rules of the
committee, counsel is not allowed to take a part in the proceedings
except to freely advise his client whenever he cares to.
Mr. COHN. Mrs. Lewis, you are the wife of Naphtali Lewis, is
that right?
Mrs. LEWIS. That is right.
Mr. COHN. And Mr. Lewis is a professor at Brooklyn College?
Mrs. LEWIS. That is right.
Mr. COHN. And he has been elected under the State Department
Exchange Program to go abroad?
Mrs. LEWIS. Yes, sir.
Mr. COHN. Are you planning to accompany him?
Mrs. LEWIS. Yes, sir.
Mr. COHN. Have you been a teacher in the school system at New
York?
Mrs. LEWIS. I taught at Brooklyn College.
Mr. COHN. Have you ever been a Communist?
Mrs. LEWIS. I must decline to answer that question under the
privileges afforded me by the Fifth Amendment.
Mr. COHN. Were you a member of the Communist party while
teaching at Brooklyn college?
Mrs. LEWIS. I must decline to answer that question under the
privileges afforded me by the Fifth Amendment.
Senator JACKSON. Are you now a member of the Communist
party?
Mrs. LEWIS. No.
Mr. COHN. Were you a member of the Communist party last
year?
Mrs. LEWIS. No.
Mr. COHN. What date will you assert a privilege under the Fifth
Amendment and what date will you deny membership?
Mrs. LEWIS. Well, I must decline to answer that question.
The CHAIRMAN. Two years ago were you a member of the Communist
party?
Mrs. LEWIS. No.
The CHAIRMAN. Three years ago were you a member?
Mrs. LEWIS. I was not a member of the Communist party two
years ago. Three years ago I was not a member of the Communist
party.
The CHAIRMAN. Were you a Communist three years ago?
Mrs. LEWIS. Well, Senator, the use of the word Communist is
very loose.
The CHAIRMAN. You seem to distinguish between membership
and being a Communist.
Mrs. LEWIS. Very frequently the word Communist is used as
quoting anybody you disagree with.
Senator JACKSON. Using the definition following Communist programs
and policies, then would you answer the question?
Mrs. LEWIS. I am not a member of the Communist party.
Senator SYMINGTON. Have you ever been a member of the Communist
party?
Mrs. LEWIS. I must decline to answer that question.
Senator JACKSON. The chairman asked you if you were a Communist
three years ago, and I defined a Communist as following
the program and policies of the Communist party. Were you following
the policies adhering to the party line of the Communist
party?
Mrs. LEWIS. Well, there might be some things such as housing
or——
The CHAIRMAN. May I ask the witness a question? Will you define
what in your mind is Communist?
Mrs. LEWIS. In my mind a Communist is an enrolled member of
the Communist party.
Senator JACKSON. How about one who follows the program in
every respect but doesn’t pay the dues?
Mrs. LEWIS. I think when you get into the question of definition
of people’s beliefs, opinions and sympathies, you get into questions
which simply cannot be answered.
Senator JACKSON. If you walk like a duck, sit like a duck, quack
like a duck, must you not be a duck?
Mrs. LEWIS. No.
Senator SYMINGTON. Wouldn’t it save the committee’s time and
save your being in open session by answering the question. I can
see this has distressed you a little bit, but wouldn’t it save the
Committee’s time and your time to give us the year you left the
Communist party?
Senator JACKSON. Let me rephrase the question. Would you give
us a year when you would be willing to say you were not a member
of the Communist party?
Mrs. LEWIS. I must decline to answer that question. If you had
asked me about a specific year.
Senator SYMINGTON. I suggest you ask her as she says, Mr.
Chairman.
The CHAIRMAN. In 1950 were you a member of the Communist
party?
Mrs. LEWIS. No.
The CHAIRMAN. In 1949 were you a member of the Communist
party?
Mrs. LEWIS. No.
The CHAIRMAN. 1948?
Mrs. LEWIS. No.
The CHAIRMAN. In 1947?
Mrs. LEWIS. I must decline to answer that question.
The CHAIRMAN. 1940?
Mrs. LEWIS. I must decline to answer that question.
The CHAIRMAN. In 1935?
Mrs. LEWIS. I must decline to answer.
The CHAIRMAN. 1930?
Mrs. LEWIS. In 1930, sir, I was roughly seventeen years old.
The CHAIRMAN. The Young Communist League?
Mrs. LEWIS. No.
The CHAIRMAN. 1931?
Mrs. LEWIS. I must decline to answer.
The CHAIRMAN. You decline to answer on the ground that if you
give a truthful answer, the answer might tend to incriminate you?
Mrs. LEWIS. No, sir. As I understand it no such inference can be
drawn.
The CHAIRMAN. Then you are ordered to answer.
Mrs Lewis. I must decline to answer.
The CHAIRMAN. You are ordered to answer or I shall ask that you
be held in contempt.
Senator MCCLELLAN. Maybe we are moving too rapidly. I suggest
that you ask the question again.
The CHAIRMAN. The question is: in 1931 were you a member of
the Communist party?
Mrs. LEWIS. No.
The CHAIRMAN. 1932?
Mrs. LEWIS. No.
The CHAIRMAN. 1933?
Mrs. LEWIS. No.
The CHAIRMAN. 1934?
Mrs. LEWIS. Well, I must decline to answer that question.
The CHAIRMAN. Are you declining on the ground that if you told
the truth, gave a truthful answer that answer might tend to incriminate
you?
Mrs. LEWIS. I am declining under the protection of the Fifth
Amendment which says that I may not be a witness against myself.
The CHAIRMAN. You are entitled to refuse to answer the question
only if you feel a truthful answer might tend to incriminate you.
I am asking you if that is the reason you decline to answer the
question.
Mrs. LEWIS. I must decline to answer your question.
The CHAIRMAN. You are ordered to answer the question. Just so
you understand, we must determine whether you are entitled to
refuse to answer the question under the Fifth Amendment. You are
only entitled to refuse to answer my question if you feel an honest
answer might tend to incriminate you. If you refuse to answer that,
I am not going to threaten you, but for your own information, if
you do not I will ask the committee to cite you for contempt. You
may consult with counsel?
Mrs. LEWIS. Well, then, I will answer your question that if I answer
the question it might tend to incriminate me.
The CHAIRMAN. And you feel if you gave a truthful answer it
might tend to incriminate?
Mrs. LEWIS. Yes, sir.
The CHAIRMAN. Today would you say that you feel sympathetic
towards the Communist philosophy?
Mrs. LEWIS. Senator, that is a question now that is asking about
my opinions and beliefs, is that right?
The CHAIRMAN. I think you understood the question. The question
is: Are you now sympathetic to Communist philosophy?
Mrs. LEWIS. There are some things in the Communist philosophy
that I am not particularly sympathetic with.
The CHAIRMAN. Can you tell us those things in the Communist
philosophy you are not sympathetic with?
Mrs. LEWIS. Well, there have been certain world events which
certainly make it appear as if there is a possibility of conflict between the United States, for instance, and the Soviet Union. I am
a loyal and patriotic American.
The CHAIRMAN. I wonder if you will get back to the question.
What part of the Communist philosophy are you not in sympathy
with. You are entitled to refuse to answer.
Mrs. LEWIS. I don’t see what particularly—what might be incriminating
in my beliefs.
The CHAIRMAN. May I say, just for your information, if you were
really an American citizen, we would not be concerned with your
beliefs. You could believe anything. However, in view of the fact
that there has been testimony concerning you and your husband
before another committee—your husband has been selected at considerable
expense to the taxpayers to a rather important position.
For that reason we are curious to know whether you are still a believer
in communism or not. You are going on this trip, you see.
Otherwise we are not checking whether you believe in the Communist
cause. I ask you again—what part of the Communist philosophy
do you disagree with?
Mrs. LEWIS. If I follow your reasoning, it stems from my husband’s
selection for the student exchange. I fail to see where my
beliefs are relevant to his selection.
The CHAIRMAN. I order you to answer the question unless you
refuse to answer it on the grounds that your answer might tend to
incriminate you. Will you answer that question, Mrs. Lewis?
Mrs. LEWIS. Well, as I have already begun to indicate—although
let me say, as I said before, that I think my beliefs are entirely irrelevant
to my husband’s selection for the Student Exchange Program.
The CHAIRMAN. Have you gotten a passport yet?
Mrs. LEWIS. No.
The CHAIRMAN. You haven’t gotten your passport yet?
Mrs. LEWIS. No.
The CHAIRMAN. What part of the Communist philosophy do you
disagree with?
Mrs. LEWIS. Let me begin with the beginning of my answer for
the record. I wish the record to indicate that my beliefs—that questions
of my opinions are irrelevant to my husband’s Fulbright
scholarship. If you want to know about my opinions and direct me
to answer you as to what part of the Communist—what was it
again?
The CHAIRMAN. You said you disagree with some part of the
Communist philosophy.
Mrs. LEWIS. I do not believe in philosophy that allows aggressive
action against other states, for instance.
Senator SYMINGTON. What was that?
Mrs. LEWIS. I do not believe in aggressive action. I believe that
is wrong.
Senator JACKSON. You believe aggressive action is wrong?
Mrs. LEWIS. Yes.
Senator JACKSON. In other words, you believe that Communists
are wrong now in taking aggressive action against other states.
You believe the Communists are wrong in Korea?
Mrs. LEWIS. Yes, sir. I think it has been demonstrated that the
first moves were made by the North Koreans, and in the light of that, I am opposed to aggressive action as a solution to international
problems.
Senator POTTER. Do you oppose the persecution of the Jewish
people in the Soviet Union?
Mrs. LEWIS. I certainly do. I have been against discrimination all
my life.
The CHAIRMAN. Would you favor a Communistic form of government
in the United States?
Mrs. LEWIS. I am inalterably in favor of our democracy.
The CHAIRMAN. I will ask you again. Would you be opposed to
a Communist form of government in the United States?
Mrs. LEWIS. Yes, I would.
The CHAIRMAN. In 1947 were you opposed to a Communist form
of government in the United States?
Mrs. LEWIS. I must decline to answer your question.
The CHAIRMAN. Has your husband ever been a member of the
Communist party?
Mrs. LEWIS. Now, Senator McCarthy, on advice of counsel, I am
not going to answer any questions about my husband as I believe
such questions would be an invasion of the sanctity and privacy of
our marriage.
Mr. COHN. Sir, I believe that only includes confidential communications.
In other words, confidential communications to her
which were given in the capacity as his wife. There is no such
thing as an absolute privilege between husband and wife. It only
applies to confidential communications. She cannot assert a general
statement that she is not going to answer any questions about her
husband.
The CHAIRMAN. I think you are right, Mr. Cohn——
Senator MCCLELLAN. I am inclined to think it would be rather
difficult to separate confidential communications from others.
Senator SYMINGTON. I agree with that.
Mr. COHN. Mr. Chairman, suppose they attended meetings.
The CHAIRMAN. I think you are strictly right on the rule, Roy,
but I am inclined to agree with Senator McClellan that you can’t
tell whether they are confidential communications or not.
Did you attend Communist meetings in 1948?
Mrs. LEWIS. No.
The CHAIRMAN. 1947?
Mrs. LEWIS. I must decline to answer your question.
Senator MCCLELLAN. I will ask you if you attended Communist
meetings in 1946 or 1947 with your husband?
Mrs. LEWIS. I must decline to answer that.
The CHAIRMAN. On the ground of self-incrimination?
Senator MCCLELLAN. I would like to ask a question of the committee
here. I am a little bit lacking in background on this thing.
Has her husband been questioned by this committee or any other
committee?
The CHAIRMAN. Yes, he was questioned by Senator Jackson. Before
further questioning he decided he wanted counsel.
Senator JACKSON. Mr. Cohn and myself strongly advised him
that he should consult counsel.
Senator MCCLELLAN. I feel this way about it. The husband is
available and he is seeking benefit of this government and I think
we should ask him questions directly.
The CHAIRMAN. As far as I am concerned, we have finished with
you, Mrs. Lewis. May I say, you are asking for a passport to go
overseas. We have many fine people who have been in the Communist
party who have decided communism was evil and they have
dropped out of that party and are very fond of America now. If you
have been a member of the party and, if you think that was
wrong—if you dropped out of the party and you would care to tell
us about that and tell us why, I assume that is something that the
State Department would be interested in before granting a passport.
I doubt very much that a passport will be granted to someone,
to go overseas and represent us as your husband will be teaching
in the exchange program. I doubt very much if they will give you
a passport unless you come in and tell us about your activity in the
party—if and when and why you left the party.
Senator SYMINGTON. Mr. Chairman, you have asked the question
that I was going to talk about. The chairman has proved his belief
in that position by having an ex-Communist on the staff of this
committee. I am only telling you what is now a matter of record.
It seems if you say you are a good American, and in effect have
admitted you were a member of the Communist party, it would be
far better for you if you said you had been a member and felt it
was wrong based on subsequent thinking, and inasmuch as you feel
you are a good American—looking at you and listening to you and
certainly you are out of it now—if I had anything to do with giving
you a passport, I would be glad to see you get one. On the other
hand, if you come up here and say that you are a good American
and take refuge through a lot of legal ‘‘claptrap’’ behind the Fifth
Amendment, do you think the people of this committee will approve
of your getting a passport to go out of the United States while you
might have reason for not admitting anything about it. I think you
are making a mistake. I think you are doing yourself an injustice
from listening to you.
Mrs. LEWIS. I thank you for your interest in my welfare, but I,
myself, do not agree with all the interpretations that you put on
my testimony and my exercise of the Fifth Amendment, as this is
something that I have thought about and do intend to do.
Senator SYMINGTON. One more point. In regard to not answering
questions concerning your husband, you might be interested to
know that in my opinion you have already testified while I have
been here at length against your husband—if you are interested in
his future.
Senator JACKSON. I would like to supplement Senator Symington’s
statement. The general tenor of the questions will come up in
connection with your passport and would have come up, and I
think that it is a matter that you ought to give fuller consideration
to. Maybe you will want to come back and discuss it with the committee.
The CHAIRMAN. Have you ever engaged in espionage?
Mrs. LEWIS. No.
The CHAIRMAN. Sabotage?
Mrs. LEWIS. No.
Senator JACKSON. You don’t believe or advocate the overthrow of
this government by force and violence?
Mrs. LEWIS. I certainly do not. Never have. I certainly do not believe
in force and violence. I believe in the democratic solution.
Senator JACKSON. Have you ever believed in it—the utilization of
force to change our government here in the United States?
Mrs. LEWIS. I am a peaceful person, sir.
Senator JACKSON. Then, if you have never believed in such force
and violence to achieve that end, you can answer the question. It
might be well to keep the record straight,
Mrs. LEWIS. I must decline to answer on the grounds of the Fifth
Amendment.
Senator SYMINGTON. You realize you will have to take a position
in a public hearing——
Mrs. LEWIS. I am going to if I have to.
The CHAIRMAN. Mrs. Lewis, you may be excused now. You are
still under subpoena and you will be notified when you are to appear.


TESTIMONY OF NAPHTALI LEWIS

The CHAIRMAN. Professor Lewis, you have previously been sworn
by the acting chairman of the committee, Senator Jackson?
Mr. LEWIS. Yes, sir.
The CHAIRMAN. You are reminded that you are still under oath.
Mr. LEWIS. Yes.
The CHAIRMAN. You understand that you can freely discuss any
matter with your counsel at any time you care to?
Mr. LEWIS. Yes, sir.
The CHAIRMAN. I understand that the hearing adjourned the
other day so that you could obtain counsel. Mr. Cohn, will you proceed.
Mr. COHN. Mr. Lewis, you were in here Friday and you have
counsel now.
Mr. LEWIS. Wednesday.
Mr. COHN. You have obtained counsel and had a chance to confer
with counsel, is that right?
Mr. LEWIS. That is correct.
Mr. COHN. Have you ever been a Communist?
Mr. LEWIS. I have never been a member of the Communist party.
Mr. COHN. Have you ever been a Communist? I am not referring
to party membership.
Mr. LEWIS. The word Communist is bandied about today so
much——
Senator JACKSON. Let’s let the witness define it. How would you
define a Communist?
Mr. LEWIS. Sir, I hardly know how. Perhaps you would be interested
in something that happened in my presence in the last half
year. I was riding on a bus and two men got into an argument as
to whom pushed whom. One party got off the bus and the parting
shot of the other one was—yelled, ‘‘Oh, you Communist.’’ These
days the word Communist is used to describe anybody they disagree
with.
The CHAIRMAN. We are not interested in the different definitions
of the users—not interested in something you heard on the bus.
Mr. LEWIS. My definition of a Communist is a person who is a
member of the Communist party.
Senator JACKSON. How about a person who is not a formal member
but believes in each and every principle of the Communist
party, but does not hold a formal party membership. Is he a Communist?
Mr. LEWIS. Well, I don’t know if there are such people.
Senator JACKSON. I am asking you the question assuming there
are such people.
Mr. LEWIS. Is that a hypothetical question?
Senator JACKSON. If a person believes in all the principles of the
Communist party that apply to formal membership, is he a Communist
under your definition?
The question I put, Mr. Chairman, assuming that an individual
believes in the principal objectives and aims of the Communist
party but is not a formal member of the party, is he a Communist
under your definition?
Mr. LEWIS. Under my definition? You mean of a moment ago? My
definition was a member of the Communist party. You have given
me a hypothetical question. You wish me to respond not in terms
of my definition but as I interpret your question—Well, I suppose
such a person could be called a Communist with a small ‘‘c.’’
The CHAIRMAN. Would you answer that question?
Senator JACKSON. Have you ever been one who has believed in
accordance with my hypothetical question?
Mr. LEWIS. No, I have not.
Senator JACKSON. Have you ever attended Communist meetings,
Professor?
Mr. LEWIS. Not to my knowledge.
Senator JACKSON. Have you ever believed in or espoused the
Communist cause—Communist philosophy?
Mr. LEWIS. Well, again perhaps if you specify what you mean by
Communist philosophy.
Senator JACKSON. Use your definition?
Mr. LEWIS. No, sir, I have not.
Senator JACKSON. What is your definition of the Communist philosophy?
Mr. LEWIS. My definition of the Communist philosophy. Senator,
I am no expert on the philosophy of the Communist party. I suppose
——
Senator JACKSON. You say you never believed in or espoused the
philosophy of the Communist party?
Mr. LEWIS. Certainly not. There might have been certain doctrines
held by the Communists that I approve of.
The CHAIRMAN. Was your wife a member of the Communist
party?
Mr. LEWIS. Senator, I am advised by counsel that for questions
to be put to me concerning my wife is an invasion of the sanctity
and privacy of our marriage and I must refuse to answer questions
concerning my wife.
The CHAIRMAN. Did you ever attend a Communist party meeting
with your wife?
Mr. LEWIS. You have asked a question concerning my wife. I
must refuse on advice of counsel to answer that question.
The CHAIRMAN. You will be ordered to answer that question. You
are entitled to refuse to answer any questions concerning any private
communications between yourself and your wife. That is interpreted
very broadly. However, when asked whether or not you attended
a Communist meeting with your wife—that is not a confidential
communication. Have you ever attended Communist meetings
with your wife at which people other than you and your wife
were present?
Mr. LEWIS. Well, may I consult with counsel, please?
Senator, I will state here and now, I have never knowingly attended
any Communist party meeting whatever.
Senator JACKSON. With or without your wife?
Mr. LEWIS. I have not knowingly attended any Communist party
meeting.
Senator MUNDT. May I inquire why you inject knowingly?
Mr. LEWIS. Had I known it was a meeting of the Communist
party——
Senator MUNDT. Have you attended meetings where when you
left the meeting you had knowledge that it was a meeting of the
Communist party?
Mr. LEWIS. No. I have not attended a meeting that I knew was
a meeting of the Communist party after I left.
The CHAIRMAN. Have you ever attended a meeting which you
subsequently had reason to believe was a meeting of Communist
party members or a meeting for the purpose of recruiting members
of the party?
Mr. LEWIS. Not to my knowledge.
The CHAIRMAN. Then your testimony is at this time that you are
of the opinion that you have never attended a meeting called by the
Communist party?
Mr. LEWIS. That is correct.
The CHAIRMAN. Have you ever been asked to join the Communist
party?
Mr. LEWIS. To the best of my recollection, ‘‘no.’’
The CHAIRMAN. To the best of your recollection ‘‘no.’’
Mr. LEWIS. That is correct.
The CHAIRMAN. How long have you been married Mr. Lewis?
Mr. LEWIS. Counsel informs me that he thinks the question is
covered by the marital privilege.
The CHAIRMAN. You will be ordered to tell when you were married.
It is not a confidential communication.
Senator MCCLELLAN. That is a matter of public record.
Mr. LEWIS. I was married in 1946.
The CHAIRMAN. To your present wife?
Mr. LEWIS. That is correct.
Senator JACKSON. And you have been married all that time—
ever since—to her?
Mr. LEWIS. That is right.
The CHAIRMAN. Roy, have you any further questions?
Mr. COHN. Mr. Lewis, you deny that you ever believed in communism
for the United States?
Mr. LEWIS. Well, of course, you have not defined what you mean
by communism. I have been given a hypothetical question. I certainly do not hold the view that there is any better form of government
for the United States than the liberal American democracy.
Mr. COHN. And you never held an opinion contrary to that? Have
you ever thought communism would be better? Have you ever advocated
communism? Have you ever belonged to the Young Communist
League?
Mr. LEWIS. Certainly not.
Senator JACKSON. I think I asked you previously at the last
meeting of the committee whether you have ever belonged to any
organization listed by the attorney general to be subversive?
Mr. LEWIS. Yes, sir. I believe I told you at that time I had not.
As far as I know, I believe that is a correct answer. I have not examined
the attorney general’s list, but the reason I would think my
answer is correct is that I have never belonged to other than professional
organizations.
The CHAIRMAN. Do you feel that a person can be a Communist
and at the same time a good American?
Mr. LEWIS. There again it depends on what you mean by a Communist.
The CHAIRMAN. A member of the Communist party.
Mr. LEWIS. Well, you are way out of my line. I am a professor
of Greek and Latin. I really don’t know that I have any concrete
opinion on that.
The CHAIRMAN. You don’t have any opinion as to whether a
member of the Communist party could also be a good American?
Mr. LEWIS. It would seem to me that the American tradition of
liberalism would permit a man to hold opinions ranging from the
extreme right to the extreme left.
Senator SYMINGTON. Do you know that the Communist party advocates
the overthrow of the United States by force and violence.
Mr. LEWIS. I don’t know it. If it is so dedicated, I would be, with
my entire being, opposed to it.
Senator SYMINGTON. Would you like to correct your testimony
then that if it is true that the Communist party is dedicated to the
overthrow of the American system of government by force and violence
you do not think a good American could be a member of the
Communist party?
Mr. LEWIS. Again, I don’t see that the second follows entirely
from the first.
The CHAIRMAN. Let me rephrase the question. If you don’t know
it, we can inform you that the Communist party is dedicated to the
overthrow by force and violence——
Mr. LEWIS. I am certainly opposed to that.
The CHAIRMAN. If that is true, any member of that organization
cannot be a good American?
Mr. LEWIS. That I don’t know.
Senator SYMINGTON. If membership in the Communist party involves
being a member of an organization that is dedicated to the
overthrow of the American form of government by force and violence,
can you have membership in the Communist party and be
a good American?
Mr. LEWIS. If membership means dedicated to the overthrow of
our government——
Senator SYMINGTON. Not dedicated—being a member of the Communist
party which advocates the overthrow of our government by
force and violence.
Mr. LEWIS. Well, you see, Senator——
Senator SYMINGTON. It is beginning to look as if your reason for
evading the question is that somebody close to you might be a
member of the Communist party. As to whether it is you or not,
I don’t know.
Mr. LEWIS. I resent the implication.
Senator SYMINGTON. Well, I resent your attitude too. I am getting
a little tired of your ducking and dodging. We are trying to
make the questions very straight and simple. The chairman asked
you if you felt a member of the Communist party could be a loyal
American. That is what I remember, and you felt it was all right
for anybody to hold any political views. After that I asked you if
you knew that the Communist party advocates the overthrow of
the American system of government by force and violence and you
get into a lot of languages instead of saying ‘‘yes’’ or ‘‘no.’’
Mr. LEWIS. I cannot answer that question.
Senator JACKSON. Mr. Lewis, you are an intelligent man and certainly,
I assume you read the newspapers even though you are engaged
in teaching classical studies at Brooklyn College.
Mr. LEWIS. Yes.
Senator JACKSON. Aren’t you aware of the fact by now that a person
who is a member of the Communist party not only believes in
the advocacy of force and violence to achieve that end in the United
States, but above that owes loyalty to the Soviet Union?
Mr. LEWIS. You asked me if I was aware of it. I am certainly
aware of what has appeared in newspapers and aware that this is
the prevalent view.
Senator JACKSON. Now, you are aware of the events that have
taken place since the end of World War II, namely the first move
of the Soviet Union into Greece, threatening violence in Turkey,
and I assume you are also aware of Czechoslovakia and what happened
to Communists in that country. Can there be any doubt that
a member of the Communist party in this country is in the international
conspiracy and is strongly disloyal to this country?
Mr. LEWIS. I am certainly opposed to every one of the acts of aggression.
Senator JACKSON. Just answer the question.
Mr. LEWIS. The reason I cannot answer your question—at the
end you seem to me to presuppose that I know what a member of
the Communist party in this country is supposed to do?
Senator JACKSON. Aren’t you pretty much convinced what they
are supposed to do?
Mr. LEWIS. I know nothing of Communist affairs. If you ask me
about events of the day, I will be perfectly willing and happy to do
that, but if you ask me to make a judgment that is based on knowledge
which I do not have, I don’t see how I can do that.
Senator JACKSON. Listen, Mr. Lewis, you have been selected to
go abroad and while you are, undoubtedly well-informed in the
classics and very able to teach, responsibility of the Student Exchange
Program entails broad responsibilities of citizenship above
and beyond books.
What about American Communists? Are they loyal?
Mr. LEWIS. I don’t know. I haven’t made a personal examination
of American Communists, so, therefore, I can’t say.
Senator JACKSON. They may be all right?
Mr. LEWIS. I don’t think I said that.
Senator JACKSON. That is the effect of your testimony. Isn’t that
the effect of your testimony? You are saying because you don’t have
personal knowledge of the Communist movement in the United
States, you can’t answer the question. As an intelligent citizen you
know, or should know, if you don’t, that there is a Communist conspiracy
in the world. Three-fourths of your tax dollar is paying for
defense. I don’t see how you can qualify for a scholarship and go
overseas to Italy, as you have been selected to go, without knowing
something more than the classics.
The CHAIRMAN. I don’t think we should refer to the exchange
program as the Fulbright Scholarship. The people will connect it
with Senator Fulbright. I think we should refer to it whenever it
appears in the record as the Student Exchange Program.
Senator MUNDT. Do you think a man who holds Communist beliefs
is a suitable man to work for the federal government?
Mr. LEWIS. Under present conditions of world affairs I don’t
think so.
Mr. COHN. Do you think, Professor, that a man who holds Communist
beliefs is a suitable man to teach on a college or university
faculty publicly supported?
Mr. LEWIS. There, sir, you have touched on one of the moot questions
of the day. There is much argument about the question.
Senator JACKSON. You don’t mean it is ‘‘moot.’’
Mr. LEWIS. I don’t know that I know what the word means?
Senator JACKSON. Legally it means a judicial issue that doesn’t
exist—a hypothetical question.
Mr. LEWIS. I think the word ‘‘moot’’ has a non-legal sense, which
I was applying to it, Senator, that this is an issue which is very
much discussed these days.
The CHAIRMAN. Counsel asked you a very simple question. He
asked you whether Communists should be allowed to teach in colleges.
Mr. LEWIS. I have not made up my mind. Senator Taft says they
should, and the Board of American Universities and Colleges say
they should.
The CHAIRMAN. The American Association of Universities has
taken the position on one side and the American Association of
University Professors has taken a position on the other side.
Mr. LEWIS. I am quoting the American Association of University
Professors.
The CHAIRMAN. Do you think a man who holds Communist beliefs
should be granted an American passport to travel abroad?
Mr. LEWIS. What do you mean Communist beliefs?
The CHAIRMAN. Communist sympathies?
Mr. LEWIS. If his purpose is innocent, a man who is an American
citizen and has broken no laws is entitled to protection of an American
passport——
The CHAIRMAN. Your answer to the question would be ‘‘yes.’’
Mr. LEWIS. Yes, provided conditions are met—he hasn’t broken
any laws.
Senator POTTER. A man can be a member of the Communist
party and not break any laws at present. He can be an active member
of the Communist party and not break any laws. Is that your
opinion regarding a passport whether he abided by the laws of our
country?
Mr. LEWIS. I may be wrong, but my understanding of a passport
is that it provides protection to American citizens who travel
abroad.
The CHAIRMAN. Let me ask you two or three questions. If a person
came before a committee and he refused to tell whether she
was a member of the Communist party, whether she had broken
with the party, refused to tell whether she believed in our form of
government or it should be destroyed by force and violence, on the
ground that if she answered the question, such answer might tend
to incriminate her, refused to give names of fellow members-Let’s
say that person was the wife of a professor to go overseas and
teach in the Student Exchange Program, would you say that person
should be given a passport to go overseas and hold that position
of a professor representing the United States.
Mr. LEWIS. Senator, if your question refers to my wife in any respect
——
The CHAIRMAN. Just answer the question. It you don’t understand
I will have it re-read to you.
Mr. LEWIS. Is it a hypothetical question or a real question?
The CHAIRMAN. It is exactly as I asked it.
Mr. LEWIS. I will ask to consult with counsel.
As I analyze your question, it does not seem to me that you have
given any indication of breaking any of our laws and as long as
people do not break our laws, I do not see why they are not entitled
to an American passport.
The CHAIRMAN. In other words, you say a person that refused to
tell whether they were a member of the Communist party, refused
to identify fellow members, refused to tell whether they advocated
the overthrow of the government by force or violence—you think
such a person should be given a passport?
Mr. LEWIS. Well, such a person invokes a privilege from which,
as I understand it, no inferences are permissible.
The CHAIRMAN. Have you gotten your passport yet?
Mr. LEWIS. No.
The CHAIRMAN. You are under subpoena and will be told when
to return.
Mr. Lewis, would you turn over the correspondence we asked you
to produce concerning your selection as an exchange student?
Mr. LEWIS. Yes. Will this be returned?
The CHAIRMAN. You have handed counsel letter dated April 20,
1953; carbon copy of letter dated April 27, 1953; original letter
dated April 24, 1953; April 22, 1953; another memorandum dated
February 26, 1953; letter dated February 17, 1953; one dated May
2, 1952; and one dated 28 April 1952. Is it your testimony that this
is the only correspondence you have had with anyone regarding
your selection in this exchange program?
Mr. LEWIS. That is correct.

The CHAIRMAN. We have nothing further. We will notify your
counsel when you are to return.

Editorial Note from Donald Ritchie

During the spring of 1953, several members of the subcommittee staff departed after encountering difficulties in working with chief counsel Roy Cohn. ‘‘Everything was in shambles . . . as far as staff was concerned,’’ chief clerk Ruth Young Watt later recalled, ‘‘because everybody was at cross-purposes.’’ On June 18, 1953, Senator McCarthy announced the appointment of J. B. Matthews as the new staff director. A former Methodist minister and Marxist turned anti- Communist, Matthews had previously served as staff director of the House Un- American Activities Committee. Matthews had a reputation as an able administrator, but the chairman had failed to consult with minority party senators on the subcommittee before making the selection, at a time when committee staffs were considered to be nonpartisan professionals who worked for both the majority and minority. Displeasure mounted when Matthews’s article ‘‘Reds and Our Churches’’ appeared in the July issue of American Mercury, asserting that ‘‘The largest single group supporting the Communist apparatus in the United States is composed of Protestant clergymen.’’

The three Democratic senators on the subcommittee met privately with the chairman to demand Matthews’ removal. Members of the subcommittee met again on the afternoon of July 7, at which time Republican Senator Charles Potter joined the Democrats in insisting on a change in staff directors. Senator McCarthy refused to fire Matthews or accept his resignation, and that meeting ended with no resolution of the issue. The following day, the Democratic senators announced their intention to protest to the full Committee on Government Operations. Republican senators on the subcommittee then drafted a compromise to preserve the chairman’s exclusive right to appoint subcommittee staff while at the same time replacing Matthews as staff director. Senator McCarthy announced Matthews’ resignation on July 9. However, Democrats on the subcommittee objected to his assertion of exclusive power to appoint staff, and demanded authority to hire a minority counsel. Denied their request, the three Democratic senators resigned from the subcommittee and did not attend its meetings for the rest of the year. In January 1954, they returned to the subcommittee, having been permitted to hire Robert F. Kennedy as the minority counsel.


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Jonathan Dresner - 10/10/2003

Mr. Green writes "Before, during and after WWII, there was no tolerance for Nazis anywhere in American society."

Wrong. Look up "The Bund." Look up Henry Ford and Lindbergh. Look at the American companies who did business with Nazi Germany up to and in some cases after 1939 and even 1941. Look at the article on eugenics in American society (http://hnn.us/articles/1662.html). Look at the constant and growing popularity of "Mein Kampf" in English, and the neo-Nazi and Christian Identity movements spreading through prisons and websites.

There's a movement now to study (and possibly apologize for) the US government's treatment of Italian Americans and German Americans during WWII. Think about that.


mark green - 10/9/2003

In America, were there Communists in many high places (including government) for years, even decades, preceeding the McCarthy hearings? Yes. Did many Communists hide behind the fifth Amendment? Yes. Should one's 'political sympathies' be a strictly private matter? Good question. Here's another one: what if all these communist sympathizers were instead, Nazi sympathizers? Would that matter? You bet it would.

Both Communism and Nazism were harnessed to create conditions for radical rebellion and upheaval. Clearly, neither 'philosophy' claimed pascifism as a guiding principle. Both Communists and Nazis murdered millions to achieve their political goals.

Both 'philosophies' were radical fig leafs behind which revolutionaries hid. Before, during and after WWII, there was no tolerance for Nazis anywhere in American society. Period. Communists however, with the blood of millions on their hands, simply pushed on, finally morphing back into capitalism. Many have assumed high places in America and elsewhere. Virtually no Communists were ever held accountable for the greatest volume of murders in world history. The issue simply fell into an Orwellian Memory Hole.

Historian Robert Conquest put the number of Russian dead under this totalitarian cloak at some "twenty million". Please don't hold your breath however for a Hollywood examination of this monumental atrocity.

Unfortunately, in today's processed political universe, it is only the Nazis who are held accountable for their crimes. Endlessly. Meanwhile, ex-Communists and their 'red daiper' apologists claim 'victim status'. Falsely. Listen to these horrific stories: during the height of the 'Red Scare', some were held in contempt of court; others even had to write for Hollywood under pseudonyms. Oh my! Tell that to the dead.

They attemp to deceive us as they deceive themselves.


John Adams - 10/6/2003

McCarthyism is still alive only now at ESPN.


Alvin W. Brinson - 10/2/2003

My first reaction is to release obscenities about the utter stupidity that we once allowed to reign in our hallowed halls of government. The next - is to realize that such attitudes still reign. We cannot be a free people and trounce upon the rights of the free at the same time. We are one or the other - free or not. A majority has chosen to not be free, apparently.


bill maher - 10/1/2003



McCarthy was dangerous. Only fools would deny this. But consider historian Ellen Schrecker: "Whatever harm may have come to the country from Soviet-sponsored spies was dwarfed by McCarthy's wave of terror." Historian Bernice Schrank adds that the spying was really an "unauthorized technological transfer" to the Soviet Union. Leftist idicocy hidden on under the convenient cloak of McCarthyism. One hopes that in the future, especially after the publication of "In Denial: Historians, Communism, and Espionage" (by John Haynes and Harvey Klehr), that McCarthy is attacked along with those who betrayed their country.