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Nathaniel Weyl testimony corroborating Alger Hiss as member of CPUSA secret apparatus

Washington, DC.

The subcommittee met, pursuant to Senate Resolution 40, agreed to January 30, 1953, in room 357 of the Senate Office Building, Senator Joseph R. McCarthy, chairman, presiding. Present: Senator Joseph R. McCarthy, Republican, Wisconsin; Senator Karl E. Mundt, Republican, South Dakota; Senator Charles E. Potter, Republican, Michigan; Senator John L. McClellan, Democrat, Arkansas; Senator Henry M. Jackson, Democrat, Washington; Senator Stuart Symington, Democrat, Missouri. Present also: Roy Cohn, chief counsel; Donald Surine, assistant counsel; David Schine, chief consultant; Henry Hawkins, investigator; Ruth Young Watt, chief clerk. Present also: Robert Morris, chief counsel, Subcommittee on Internal Security of the Senate Committee on the Judiciary.

Senator POTTER. Mr. Weyl, will you stand and be sworn, please? Do you solemnly swear that you will tell the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth, so help you God?

Mr. WEYL. I do.

Senator POTTER. Will you identify yourself for the record, giving your name and your address?


Mr. WEYL. My name is Nathaniel Weyl; I live at 3434 Oakwood Terrace, Northwest, Washington.

Mr. COHN. Mr. Weyl, were you ever a member of the Communist party?

Mr. WEYL. Yes, Mr. Cohn, I was.

Mr. COHN. And when did you join the party, approximately?

Mr. WEYL. Approximately in December of 1932 or January of 1933.

Mr. COHN. And what were you doing when you joined the party?

Mr. WEYL. I was taking postgraduate work in Columbia University at that time.

Mr. COHN. Were you taking postgraduate work at Columbia?

Mr. WEYL. That is right, yes.

Mr. COHN. Now, did you ever hear of a man named Donald Henderson?

Mr. WEYL. Oh, yes.

Mr. COHN. Do you know Donald Henderson?

Mr. WEYL. I do.

Mr. COHN. Did you know him back in 1932 and 1933?

Mr. WEYL. Yes, I knew him in that period.

Mr. COHN. Now, was Donald Henderson a Communist?

Mr. WEYL. He was.

Mr. COHN. Was Donald Henderson, in addition to being a Communist an economics instructor at Columbia University?

Mr. WEYL. That is correct, yes.

Mr. COHN. Did there ever come a time when his contract was not renewed?

Mr. WEYL. Yes. The exact date of that you probably know. It was in ’32 or ’33.

Mr. COHN. Would you agree with me if I said that was around the spring of ’33?

Mr. WEYL. Yes.

Mr. COHN. By the way, Henderson was a party member; is that right?

Mr. WEYL. He was, yes.

Senator POTTER. How do you know he was a party member?

Mr. WEYL. Well, I did not ever see him show a Communist party card, but I was active in the National Student League, which was a Communist front organization. And there was what is called in the Communist movement a top fraction, which is the group that guides or directs the policies of the whole organization and consists only of Communist party members. And both of us were in that fraction.

Senator POTTER. Have you ever seen him in what was referred to as a closed Communist meeting?

Mr. WEYL. Yes.

Senator POTTER. Where only Communists would be allowed to attend?

Mr. WEYL. Yes, Senator. These fractions are such meetings.

Mr. COHN. Now, you say there came a time when Donald Henderson was a Communist, was an economist instructor at Columbia, and you say there came a time when his contract at Columbia was not renewed; is that correct?

Mr. WEYL. That is right, yes.

Mr. COHN. Did that cause quite a bit of fuss in certain quarters, when Columbia failed to renew his contract?

Mr. WEYL. Yes, the National Student League, which was the Communist-directed national student organization, and the Columbia Social Problems Club, which was then under Communist control, made this a great free speech issue.

Mr. COHN. Did you participate in this issue, as a Communist?

Mr. WEYL. I did.

Mr. COHN. And do you have any recollection of having addressed a meeting in connection with this incident?

Mr. WEYL. I have a recollection of addressing a meeting, but nothing beyond that.

Mr. COHN. In connection with the Henderson ouster; is that right?

Mr. WEYL. Precisely, yes.

Mr. COHN. Now, was that around the time of his ouster?

Mr. WEYL. I think so.

Mr. COHN. And if I were to tell you that the article in the Daily Worker reflected that the meeting took place on May 11th, 1933, and that you were present and addressed a meeting, I assume you would not have any disagreement with the probable accuracy of that?

Mr. WEYL. I would assume that is correct. Of course, I have no specific recollection of the date.

Mr. COHN. You remember a meeting but you do not recall the exact date?

Mr. WEYL. That is right.

Mr. COHN. Now, I am going to ask you about some of the other people who addressed that same meeting—Kunitz, Joshua Kunitz? Did you know Joshua Kunitz?

Mr. WEYL. Yes, I did.

Mr. COHN. Was he then a member of the Communist party?

Mr. WEYL. I think I can testify that he was a Communist. I am not sure that I could say specifically under oath that he was a member of the party.

Mr. COHN. He was a Communist?

Mr. WEYL. Yes.

Mr. COHN. Now, we also have a man by the name of Hersh representing the International Labor Defense. Now, with reference to the International Labor Defense, do you know whether or not that had any connection with the Communist party?

Mr. WEYL. Yes. It was a Red-front organization controlled by the party.

Mr. COHN. Mr. Surine, do you have any reference in the ‘‘Guide to Subversive Organizations’’ concerning the International Labor Defense?

Mr. SURINE. Yes.

Mr. COHN. I wonder if we could have that, Mr. Chairman?

Senator POTTER. Yes.

Mr. SURINE. This was the official citation by the House Committee on Un-American Activities, including the citation of the attorney general. Rather than read all of the citations, I will just mention it was cited by the attorney general as subversive and Communist and suggest that this be made part of the record.

The CHAIRMAN. Very well. [The information referred to follows:]

From, ‘‘Citations by Official Government Agencies of Organizations and Publications Found to be Communist or Communist-Fronts,’’ December 16, 1946, prepared and released by the Committee on Un-American Activities, U. S. House of Representatives, Washington, D. C. Page 53, International Labor Defense:
1. Cited as subversive and Communist. Attorney General Tom Clark, letters to Loyalty Review Board, released June 1, 1948, and September 21, 1946.
2. Legal Arm of the Communist Party. Attorney General Francis Biddle, Congressional Record, September 24, 1942, P. 7686.
3. ‘‘It is essentially the legal defense arm of the Communist Party of the United States.’’ It is the American Section of M.O.P.R. or Red International of Labor Defense, often referred to as the Red International Aid. Its International Congresses meet in Moscow. (Special Committee on Un-American Activities, Reports’, January 3, 1939, PP. 75–76: Also cited in reports, January 3, 1940, P. 9, June 25, 1942 P. 19, March 29, 1944 P. 69.)
4. ‘‘The International Labor Defense was part of an International network of organizations for the defense of Communist lawbreakers. At a conference held in Detroit, Michigan, April 27–28, 1946, the International Labor Defense and the National Federation for Constitutional Liberties merged to form the new front, Civil Rights Congress.’’ (Senate Congressional Committee on Un-American Activities, Report No. 1115, September 2, 1947, PP. 1 and 2.)
5. ‘‘One of the more potent and obvious Communist front organizations.’’ (California Committee on Un-American Activities, Report, 1947, P. 214.)
6. ‘‘The Communist party established the International Labor Defense in this country during the summer of 1925, as the United States section of the International Red Aid. . . with headquarters in Moscow.’’ (Massachusetts House Committee on Un-American Activities, Report, 1936, PP. 196 and 342.)
7. ‘‘An organization whose Communist character and international affiliation are a matter of public record.’’ (New York City Council Committee Investigating the Municipal Civil Service Commission.)

Mr. COHN. You say it was cited by the attorney general as Communist?

Mr. WEYL. Yes.

Mr. COHN. When I talked to you over the weekend, I asked you about a man named Reed Harris.

Mr. WEYL. That is correct.

Mr. COHN. And I asked you whether he was a Communist, and you said you had a certain impression concerning him being a Communist, but you would not care to testify about this, because your recollection was dim, and you could not recall the facts upon which an impression was based. Is that still your feeling?

Mr. WEYL. Well, yes, except that I feel, for the reason you have given, I should withdraw the impression. In other words, if it is an impression that can’t be substantiated, perhaps it should not be in the record. That is, of course up to the senator.

Mr. COHN. You cannot recall the facts upon which it was predicated?

Mr. WEYL. Precisely. I can’t.

Mr. COHN. I want to ask you about one or two other organizations. First of all, are you familiar with an organization known as the American Student Union?

Mr. WEYL. Yes.

Mr. COHN. Did the Communists have any connection with that organization?

Mr. WEYL. They did, Mr. Cohn. There were two student organizations in ’32–’33, one of which was completely Communist controlled, the National Student League, and the other was controlled by socialist groups. That was the Student League for Industrial Democracy. These two organizations merged into the American Student Union, I think it is.

Senator JACKSON. Was that a part of the League for Industrial Democracy?

Mr. WEYL. The Student League for Industrial Democracy. And in the merger of the two groups into the American Student Union, the Communists took control. But, of course, the Socialist students and League for Industrial Democracy students remained in the new organization until it became so obviously Communist they had to get out.

Senator POTTER. Your testimony is as it relates to Columbia University?

Mr. WEYL. No, sir, as to the national student movement.

Senator POTTER. I see.

Mr. COHN. Let me ask you this, if I may. Are you familiar with the American Student Union as of, say, 1937 to 1938?

Mr. WEYL. No. That would only be by hearsay.

Mr. COHN. When did you leave the Communist party, by the way, Mr. Weyl?

Mr. WEYL. I dropped out about ’37 or ’38, and broke with the Communist party at the time of the Hitler-Stalin pact.

Mr. COHN. By the way, did you know Alger Hiss?

Mr. WEYL. Yes, I did.

Mr. COHN. Did you know Alger Hiss to be a member of the Communist party?

Mr. WEYL. Yes, I did.

Mr. COHN. Were you in the same Communist cell with Alger Hiss at one time?

Mr. WEYL. That is correct.

Mr. COHN. Let me ask you this, Mr. Weyl. Did you ever encounter an organization known as the League of American Writers?

Mr. WEYL. Yes.

Mr. COHN. And did that have any connection with the Communists?

Mr. WEYL. It is my distinct impression that this was Communist controlled.

Mr. COHN. I would ask, Mr. Chairman, if from this ‘‘Guide to Subversive Organizations,’’ compiled by the House committee be it noted in this record that the Attorney General of the United States has cited the League of American Writers as subversive and Communist at page 72.

Senator JACKSON. From what time on?

Mr. COHN. June 1, ’48, by the attorney general, I am sorry. The latest citation was September 21, 1948. It was cited first by the attorney general, September 24th, 1942. In the course of the citation, the attorney general stated—Attorney General Francis Biddle stated: ‘‘The League of American Writers was founded under Communist auspices in 1935,’’ and so on and so forth. Of course, Senator Jackson, the citation when announced is predicated on the past activities of the organization rather than its status at the moment. It is cited as subversive.

Senator POTTER. The citation will be made a part of the record.

Mr. COHN. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.

Mr. WEYL. May I add to the answer I just gave you?

Mr. COHN. Surely.

Mr. WEYL. When I say that this organization was, to the best of my belief, Communist-controlled, I don’t mean to imply that all the members were Communists or that they were aware of that control.

Mr. COHN. I see. I think that is all I have of Mr. Weyl, Mr. Chairman.

Senator SYMINGTON. Counsel has asked some of the questions I was going to ask, but I have a few. Did you ever know Lee Pressman?

Mr. WEYL. Yes, I did.

Senator SYMINGTON. Tell us a little about that. How did you know him and where?

Mr. WEYL. Lee Pressman was a member of the Ware Unit of the Communist party in Washington, D.C. In fact, Pressman, Hiss and I were among the eight or nine people who met with the first meeting of that organization, I presume. So I was in this Communist cell with him for a period of approximately nine months.

Senator SYMINGTON. What are you doing now, Mr. Weyl?

Mr. WEYL. I am a writer, sir.

Senator SYMINGTON. You live in Washington?

Mr. WEYL. Yes, sir.

Senator SYMINGTON. Now, with respect to Mr. Reed Harris, you say it is your impression he was a Communist. Do you want to go into that a little bit?

Mr. WEYL. I would like to withdraw that, Senator, and explain how little I know about him. Reed Harris was either expelled from Columbia or forced out during the academic year, 1931–32. I was an undergraduate student in Columbia until ’31. Then, during the year of Harris’ expulsion, I was taking the first year of my postgraduate work in the London School of Economics in London. So when I returned to Columbia to take my second year of graduate work, Harris had already been severed from the university. Therefore, anything that I might recollect about him would be pure hearsay. I couldn’t give a source for the hearsay, after ten years.

Senator SYMINGTON. What was the hearsay that you heard?

Mr. WEYL. Well, that is just why I didn’t really want this in the record.

Senator SYMINGTON. Well, we might as well have it in the record, because you have put it in the record now. When you indict a fellow, the fact you withdraw it later on is not very conclusive, so there must be some reason why you had an impression that Harris was a Communist, and I would like to know what it was.

Mr. WEYL. Yes. Well, again, subject to imperfection of recollection after this period, the Social Problems Club had fallen under Communist control during the time when I was in London.

Senator SYMINGTON. The Social Problems Club?

Mr. WEYL. Yes.

Senator SYMINGTON. And what is that?

Mr. WEYL. This was—I don’t know whether it still exists—the radical club of Columbia University. And I had been president of it during my undergraduate days for, I think, two years; at which time I was a Socialist and the club was Socialist. During the year of my absence, it fell under Communist domination. So, on my return, I joined the executive board of the Social Problems Club, and I can remember a discussion of the Reed Harris fight.

Senator SYMINGTON. When was that? In what year?

Mr. WEYL. This is the academic year of ’32–’33.

Senator SYMINGTON. I thought you were a Communist then.

Mr. WEYL. I became a Communist toward the middle of that academic year.

Senator SYMINGTON. I see.

Mr. WEYL. But I was sufficiently sympathetic to be brought on the board of a Communist-controlled student group of which I had previously been president. So that all I can recollect is really that the campaign on Reed Harris, which was discussed before me as past history, and in which I had no interest, was led by a group which was at the time under Communist control. And as to testifying that my impression of Harris was this: When Mr Cohn asked me this over the telephone, I simply said this is vaguely my impression, but I would like, if possible, not to have any such indictment on my part in the record, because it is an impression I certainly can’t substantiate, and I don’t know whether it is correct.

Senator SYMINGTON. Then your impressions, if any, with respect to Reed Harris being a Communist, were based on the fact that an organization dominated by Communists led a fight against his expulsion from Columbia? Is that about the net of it?

Mr. WEYL. Yes. And that is not a necessary inference at all, of course, as to him.

Senator POTTER. For what reason was he expelled?

Mr. WEYL. This I just don’t recollect. I was not there at the time, and I didn’t feel I should refresh my recollection by newspaper files before coming here.

Mr. COHN. Did you participate in this meeting as a Communist, Mr. Weyl?

Mr. WEYL. Well, let me see if I understand the question.

Mr. COHN. Let me withdraw that. Henderson was ousted as an economics instructor at Columbia. Now, did the Communist organization or leader espouse the demonstration to have him reinstated? Let me put it that way.

Mr. WEYL. Yes, operating through fellow traveler organizations.

Senator POTTER. I think possibly, along that line, if you can, briefly, would you answer the question of Senator Symington concerning your impression or upon what basis you gained your impression, that Harris was a Communist?

Mr. WEYL. I have been trying to see how I could withdraw that statement. Because in the first place, there is this gap of twenty years. Secondly, if I ever knew Reed Harris, I have no recollection of it. The only thing I do know is that the Reed Harris case, involving his expulsion or severance from Columbia occurred at a time when I was studying in London, so that I was not present at the campus at that time. And I can merely recollect discussion about it. But with this gap in time, I would not like to give any impression as to what Reed Harris was or was not. The fact that the Social Problems Club, which was Communist-dominated, defended him, does not necessarily mean that he himself was a Communist.

Mr. COHN. Did the Social Problems Club defend him? Is that your recollection?

Mr. WEYL. That is my recollection.

The CHAIRMAN. Was Reed Harris a teacher or a student at that time?

Mr. WEYL. A student.

The CHAIRMAN. Do you have the record of his expulsion and the reasons for it?

Mr. COHN. We have a whole file on it, Senator, and will develop that.

Senator POTTER. Senator Jackson, any questions?

Senator JACKSON. I was just trying to find out whether Mr. Harris was active in the Social Problems Club

Mr. WEYL. I can’t testify to that, Senator.

Senator JACKSON. Was he at the time you were in it? At the time you were in it, it was dominated by the Socialists and you were then a Socialist?

Mr. WEYL. Yes.

Senator JACKSON. And that was in 1931–32?

Mr. WEYL. This was roughly ’28 to February of ’31.

Senator JACKSON. 1928 to February of 1931?

Mr. WEYL. To February ’31.

Senator JACKSON. And then?

Mr. WEYL. In ’31 and ’32, I came back for further graduate work and again became active in the Social Problems Club.

Senator JACKSON. When did it move from dominance by the Socialists to control by the Communists?

Mr. WEYL. In ’31 and ’32.

Senator JACKSON. 1931 and 1932.

Mr. WEYL. Yes.

Senator JACKSON. And when was the protest filed by the club in behalf of Mr. Reed Harris? Do you remember?

Mr. WEYL. All I can say about that, Senator, is that the case was in 1931–32. The Reed Harris case was in that academic year.

Senator JACKSON. In the spring of 1932?

Mr. COHN. Was it in the spring of 1932?

Mr. WEYL. At which time I was in London. So I have no knowledge about that.

Senator JACKSON. Now, was he a member of the club when you were in it?

Mr. WEYL. This would mean the two and a half years in which it was a Socialist club.

Senator JACKSON. 1928 to 1930.

Mr. WEYL. ’28 to February, ’31.

Senator JACKSON. Yes.

Mr. WEYL. If he was, I don’t remember. We had a fairly large club, I think a hundred members.

Senator JACKSON. Then was he a member of the club after you came back?

Mr. WEYL. No, he wasn’t in Columbia at that time.

Mr. COHN. He had been expelled.

Senator Potter. Your recollection is as to what was told you as to what happened in the club during the year you were away?

Mr. WEYL. Yes. And then, of course, coming back to the club and finding it was Communist-dominated on my return.

The CHAIRMAN. Let me ask you this. When you came back to the club, did you have occasion to talk with any other Communists about the removal of Harris, or do you recall? I know that is a long time, twenty years.

Mr. WEYL. Senator, I am afraid my recollection of that is too vague.

The CHAIRMAN. I assume by that time the name, Harris, had no special significance, and there was no particular reason why you would recall all the details twenty years later.

Mr. WEYL. I remembered the name, Senator, when Mr. Cohn telephoned me, but I don’t remember any details about it.

Senator JACKSON. Was the remembrance more about the controversy on the campus?

Mr. WEYL. Yes, that was one of the——

Senator JACKSON. Well, his name was in prominence, because he was up for ouster, and groups were rallying behind him.

Mr. WEYL. I believe this is the case. Again, I wasn’t there at that time, and that that is probably the reason I recalled something about it when I was telephoned.

Senator POTTER. Any other questions?

Senator JACKSON. Why did you join the Communist party? Because of the economic conditions?

Mr. WEYL. They didn’t affect me particularly. I think the main reason was that I had been in Europe and had seen the rise of the Nazis to power, and I was a Socialist, you see, to start with, and felt that a revolutionary organization would be needed.

Senator JACKSON. To stop the Nazis?

Mr. WEYL. Right.

Senator JACKSON. You had your own independent means of getting along?

Mr. WEYL. That is right, yes.

Senator JACKSON. I mean, as far as going to school was concerned, it was no problem for you from the standpoint of making your own way?

Mr. WEYL. No, it wasn’t.

Senator JACKSON. You had an independent means.

Mr. WEYL. That is right.

Senator POTTER. Any other questions?

The CHAIRMAN. I want to thank you very much, Mr. Weyl.

Mr. COHN. Were you ever a member of the League of American Writers?

Mr. WEYL. I attended one of their conferences.

Mr. COHN. About when?

Mr. WEYL. I can’t recall. I would think ’35.

Mr. COHN. ’39?

Mr. WEYL. No, I would think 1935.

Mr. COHN. Just after its organization?

Mr. WEYL. And if I was a member, it was simply pro forma.

Mr. COHN. Did you know that it was Communist-controlled?

Mr. WEYL. I assumed so, yes.

Senator JACKSON. What percentage would you say, of the writers, were Communists?

Mr. WEYL. This would also be guess work, but since it was a large organization, I would assume the percentage was small.

Senator JACKSON. Very small?

Mr. WEYL. Small, yes.

Senator JACKSON. What do you mean? Relatively speaking, what would you say?

Mr. WEYL. I can’t testify on this in terms of knowledge. I don’t know whether I should guess.

Senator JACKSON. Well, were some of them actually naive that belonged, did not know that it was Communist-controlled?

Mr. WEYL. Oh, yes. Yes. This was so about most of these fellow traveler organizations at that time.

Senator POTTER. This was a front organization established by the Communists and controlled by the Communists, I think, the record will establish.

Senator JACKSON. Yes. I was just trying to find out whether a substantial number of them knowingly belonged.

The CHAIRMAN. I think the history of these fronts—and I think Mr. Weyl will back me up on this—that the principal thing that has made them valuable to the Communist party is that they have been able to get good names and some well meaning dupes to belong to a front. I might say in all this investigating I have been doing over the past three years, I have never been impressed by the fact that a man belonged to one particular Communist front. I want to find out how active he was in it, who his close associates were in it, and if you find that he belonged to a number of them.

Senator JACKSON. Where there is a pattern established.

Senator POTTER. That it is by design rather than happenstance.

The CHAIRMAN. Yes. Because it is pretty easy to write to Senator Jones and say: ‘‘Will you contribute ten dollars for the benefit of the starving children of China’’ and you may send in ten dollars, and they get your name on the list, and it is very easy. But I think the significant thing, as I have said, has the club actively supported the individual when he was in trouble? You may have covered this already, but, very briefly: The Social Problems Club, you say, was Communist controlled when you returned from Europe and were active to some extent in the club?

Mr. WEYL. Yes.

The CHAIRMAN. Would you say it was organized under Communist auspices originally? Or was it later infiltrated and controlled?

Mr. WEYL. No, it was later infiltrated. The history of that, briefly, is that when I came to Columbia in ’26, the Social Problems Club already existed, but as a tiny little organization of about seven or eight members. I became the president of it and it was under Socialist control.

The CHAIRMAN. You became the president in 1926. At that time you were a Socialist not a Communist?

Mr. WEYL. Yes.

The CHAIRMAN. I see. I know this has all been covered. When did you become a member of the party?

Mr. WEYL. Either December of ’32 or the January following.

The CHAIRMAN. So you did not become a member of the party until you returned from Europe?

Mr. WEYL. That is right.

The CHAIRMAN. So would you be in a position then to estimate at this time when the Social Problems Club became completely under Communist control?

Mr. WEYL. All I could say about that matter, Senator, is that when I left for England, in the early spring of ’31, it was under Socialist control. When I returned from England—strike that. When I left Columbia, finishing my undergraduate work in ’31, it was socialist—controlled, and when I returned from England, in the fall of ’32, it was under Communist control.

The CHAIRMAN. The thought that occurs to me is this: that you were not a Communist when you left. You were when you returned. I was just wondering if you would have any way of knowing definitely when you left whether it was under Communist control. You were not a Communist yourself, did not know who the Communist members in the club were. The first time you had contact with it after you returned you knew it was Communist controlled. Is it not entirely possible it was Communist controlled at all the times that you were associated with it?

Mr. WEYL. No, that wouldn’t have been possible, Senator because we were aware of who the Communist leaders on the campus were.

The CHAIRMAN. I see.

Mr. WEYL. And we were aware of the majority that we had. Now, on my return from London—at this time I was veering toward communism but was still a member of the Socialist party. One of the first things I learned in Columbia was that the Socialist who had succeeded me as president had lost control at some time during the academic year in which I was not in the country. He could testify on that matter much more fully, I am sure, and he was certainly there, in the Social Problems Club, at the time of the Reed Harris fight.

Senator JACKSON. Is he available now?

Mr. WEYL. I would think so; his name is Maurice Jackson Goldbloom. I have given Mr. Cohn that name.

Mr. COHN. When you participated in this demonstration meeting in connection with Henderson’s ouster, was Henderson at that time a Communist?

Mr. WEYL. Yes.

Mr. COHN. And were you a Communist?

Mr. WEYL. If it is May, yes.

Mr. COHN. May of ’33.

Mr. WEYL. Right.

Mr. COHN. You were both Communists?

Mr. WEYL. Yes.

Mr. COHN. And you say Mr. Kunitz was a Communist?

Mr. WEYL. I said ‘‘communist’’ with a small ‘‘c.’’ Perhaps I should give my reason for that. Because you asked me, I think, very properly, about Henderson.

Mr. COHN. Surely.

Mr. WEYL. One of my first activities in the Communist party was to be assigned, I think by Browder, to a committee, which was supposed to organize what I believe was the first anti-Nazi organization in the United States. And this was a steering committee of Communists, in which we discussed means of influencing non-Communists.

Mr. COHN. Was he on that?

Mr. WEYL. He was on that. So I can’t say that he was formally a member of the Communist party, but he was certainly under party discipline, or he wouldn’t have been there.

Mr. COHN. Can you tell us whether the International Labor Defense was Communist-controlled?

Mr. WEYL. That is common knowledge, yes.

Mr. COHN. Did you know Heywood Broun?

Mr. WEYL. Yes, I did.

Mr. COHN. Heywood Broun was at one time a Socialist; is that right?

Mr. WEYL. At the time I knew Broun he was active in the Socialist party.

Mr. COHN. Do you know whether Heywood Broun became a Communist?

Mr. WEYL. I do not know that.

Senator JACKSON. He was an admitted Communist. That is a matter of admission.

Mr. WEYL. I didn’t know that personally, so I can’t testify.

The CHAIRMAN. So you had four speakers protesting the removal of a Communist, Donald Henderson; three of them are Communists, two, to your knowledge, the third one by his own admission; the fourth one was Reed Harris. Would you, having been a member of the Communist party yourself and having been a speaker at that time, attach any significance to Harris being present defending a Communist, with three other Communist speakers defending him also? Would that indicate to you that Harris might also be a member of the party?

Mr. WEYL. I would not infer from that that he was a member of the party. And may I elaborate on this a bit?


Mr. WEYL. I think I should say, first, that I don’t know Mr. Harris and don’t know what the evidence is. I am just trying to take it as if it were simply a problem of unknown people. Harris was apparently a very important figure on the Columbia campus, and he was a name with great drawing power. In the first place he had been the editor of the Spectator, and in the second place, he had been expelled under conditions that gave him a lot of publicity. So he would be a logical man to get in on a large protest meeting. And the fact that the other speakers were Communist does not, to my way of thinking, mean that he necessarily was at all.

Mr. COHN. Does it have any significance?

Mr. WEYL. Well, I think if you had many such episodes, it would, yes.

Mr. COHN. In other words, is this a fair statement. You would regard that as one circumstance which, in itself, was certainly not conclusive one way or the other, and you would want to see it in its setting, whether or not it is a pattern, or whether it is an isolated instance, and so on and so forth, along with the other facts in the record?

Mr. WEYL. Oh, yes. And also depending on his explanation of why he was there. I might say about the Henderson matter, that Henderson’s dismissal was defended by a much larger group than the Communist party. In the first place, there was a conflict between the university and ourselves as to what the issue was about.

Mr. COHN. You mean between the university and the Communists?

Mr. WEYL. Yes, or between them and the university——

Mr. COHN. As a matter of fact, there was the same controversy as to Harris’s dismissal. Columbia said it was for one reason and the Communists said it was for another reason.

Mr. WEYL. In this case, it would simply be hearsay, because I wasn’t there.

Senator SYMINGTON. Briefly, why was Harris expelled? We have not had that in the testimony yet.

Mr. WEYL. I don’t remember, sir.

Senator SYMINGTON. You said it was a very big thing, and yet you still do not remember how big it was or anything about it at all. Is that it?

Mr. WEYL. That is right. It came to me as something that was already over when I returned, and I had no particular interest in it.

The CHAIRMAN. See if you recall this. At the time that both Henderson was expelled and Harris was expelled, the Communist elements maintained their being expelled was because they were liberals, and that the expulsion has nothing to do with their Communist or radical activities. The university maintained they were expelling them because of their Communist line or extremely radical activities. Is that correct?

Mr. WEYL. No, sir, it is not. Again, it is my recollection, and I will speak only of the Henderson case, the Social Problems Club took the view that he was expelled for liberalism and for being the president of the National Student League. Now, the university said he was not being expelled because of his political convictions but because he had cut too many classes. He hadn’t taken his Ph.D. and it was more or less assumed that after so many years an instructor should do that. The university view was that he had neglected his academic work for political activity.

The CHAIRMAN. And did your Communist group feel he was being expelled because he was a member of the party, because of his activities in the party? Was that what you felt at that time?

Mr. WEYL. Very frankly, I felt, Senator, that the university was right.

Senator JACKSON. Are we talking about Henderson now?

Mr. WEYL. About Henderson.

The CHAIRMAN. I want to know whether the Communist groups, of necessity, had to discuss this matter, about one of their members being expelled. The question is: did they feel he was being expelled because of his Communist activities?

Mr. WEYL. Yes.

The CHAIRMAN. Now, I do not want to put any words in your mouth, but am I correct in this that the situation, in so far as Harris was concerned, is almost identical to the Henderson situation in so far as the reasons for expulsion were concerned, in so far as the defense he got from the party and front groups was concerned, in so far as the reasons for which you felt he was expelled? Was it not almost an identical case?

Mr. WEYL. Well, I can’t say that. You see, when I got Mr. Cohn’s telephone call, I felt I shouldn’t go to the morgue and find the facts in this Harris case, and so I have to come here with a very poor recollection of it. I just don’t remember at this time why he was expelled or why various groups said he was expelled.

The CHAIRMAN. Thank you very much.

Mr. COHN. May we have the Daily Worker article of May 11, 1933, in evidence, Mr. Chairman?

The CHAIRMAN. Certainly.

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