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Full text of "Hearings regarding communism in the District of Columbia. Hearings"

HARVARD COLLEGE 
LIBRARY 




GIFT OF THE 

GOVERNMENT 
OF THE UNITED STATES 



ON PUBLIC LIBRARY 




3 9 



{y 

JAN 13 ; 

HEARINGS REGARDING COMMUNISM IN 
THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA— PART 2 

[ i - 

HEARINGS 

BEFORE THE 

COMMITTEE ON UN-AMERICAN ACTIVITIES 
HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES 

EIGHTY-FIKST CONGRESS 

SECOND SESSION 



DECEMBER 6, 11, 12, AND 13, 1950 



Printed for the use of the Committee on Un-American Activities 




UNITED STATES / 

GOVERNMENT PRINTING OFFICE 
WASHINGTON : 1950 



COMMITTEE ON UN-AMERICAN ACTIVITIES 

United States House of Representatives 
JOHN S. WOOD, Georgia, Chairman 
FRANCIS B. WALTER, Pennsylvania RICHARD M. NIXON, California J 

BURR P. HARRISON, Virginia FRANCIS CASE South Dakota 

JOHN McSWEENEY, Ohio HAROLD H. VELDE, Illinois 

MORGAN M. MOULDER, Missouri BERNARD W. KEARNEY, New York 

Frank S. Tavenner, Jr., Counsel 
Louis J. Russell, Senior Investigator 
John W. CarRington, Clerk of Committee 
Benjamin Mandel, Director of Research 



1 Resigned from the committee November 30, 1950, to enter United States Senate. 

n 



CONTENTS 



Page 

December 6, 1950, testimony of Henry Thomas 3169 

December 11, 1950, testimony of Henry Thomas 3205 

December 12, 1950: 
Testimony of — 

Thomas G. Sampler 3237 

William Gray 3257 

Norris Hammond 3260 

Roy H. Wood 3263 

Ernest L. Chambers 3270 

Roy H. Wood (recalled) 3274 

McKinley Gray 3275 

Robert Paul 3277 

December 13, 1950: 
Testimony of — 

Alice Mary Theresa Stapleton 3281 

Chester L. Kurrier 3289 

Clarence Darrow Gurewitz 3292 



HEARINGS REGARDING COMMUNISM IN THE DISTRICT 
OF COLUMBIA— PART 2 



WEDNESDAY, DECEMBER 6, 1950 

United States House of Representatives, 

Subcommittee of the 
Committee on Un-American Activities, 

Washington, D. C. 

PUBLIC HEARING 

A subcommittee of the Committee on Un-American Activities met, 
pursuant to notice, at 10 : 30 a. m., in room 226, Old House Office Build- 
ing, Hon. Francis E. Walter presiding. 

Committee members present: Representatives Francis E. Walter, 
Burr P. Harrison, John McSweeney, Morgan M. Moulder, and 
Bernard W. Kearney. 

Staff members present : Frank S. Tavenner, Jr., counsel ; Louis J. 
Russell, senior investigator; William A. Wheeler, Courtney E. 
Owens, and James A. Andrews, investigators ; John W. Carrington, 
clerk; Benjamin Mandel, director of research, and A. S. Poore, editor. 

Mr. Walter. The meeting will come to order. 

Let the record show that a subcommittee consisting of Messrs. Harri- 
son, McSweeney, Moulder, Kearney, and Walter has been designated 
by the chairman to conduct this hearing. 

Mr. Tavenner, who is your first witness ? 

Mr. Tavenner. Mr. Chairman, we desire to present evidence in rela- 
tion to communism in the District of Columbia, and our first witness 
is Henry Thomas. 

Mr. Walter. Mr. Thomas, will you raise your right hand, please. 
You swear that the testimony you are about to give in this matter in 
hearing shall be the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth, 
so help you God ? 

Mr. Thomas. I do. 

TESTIMONY OF HENRY THOMAS 

Mr. Tavenner. Will you state your name, please ? 
Mr. Thomas. Henry Thomas. 
Mr. Tavenner. Where do you live ? 
Mr. Thomas. 716 L Street SE., Washington, D. C. 
Mr. Tavenner. What is your occupation? 

Mr. Thomas. I am a laborer and at present I am president of a 
laborers' union. 

Mr. Tavenner. What union is it that you are president of? 

3169 



3170 COMMUNISM IN THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA 

Mr. Thomas. Building Laborers' Local Union 74, affiliated with the 
International Hod Carriers, Building, and Common Laborers Union 
of America. 

Mr. Tavenner. How long have you been president of that local? 

Mr. Thomas. Since June 17, 1948. 

Mr. Tavenner. Prior to June 17, 1948, did you hold any official 
position with that or any other union ? 

Mr. Thomas. Yes. I was secretary of local 30, the United Con- 
struction Workers. At that time that union was affiliated with the 
CIO. And I was subsequently elected vice president of local 74, in 
1946. I served about 11 months, I think, in that capacity. 

Mr. Tavenner. During the time that you were president of local 74, 
were you a member of the Communist Party ? 

Mr. Thomas. I was. 

Mr. Harrison. Local 74 is the union you are president of now ; is 
that correct ? 

Mr. Thomas. That is correct. 

Mr. Harrison. Are you now a member of the Communist Party ? 

Mr. Thomas. Beg pardon ? 

Mr. Harrison. Are you now a member of the Communist Party? 

Mr. Thomas. No ; no. 

Mr. Tavenner. During the period that you were president of that 
union, were there other officers who, like yourself, were members of 
the Communist Party ? 

Mr. Thomas. Yes, there were. 

Mr. Tavenner. Will you state to the committee who they were ? 

Mr. Thomas. Thomas G. Sampler, secretary-treasurer; Ernest 
Chambers ■ 

Mr. Tavenner. When you state secretary -treasurer, -do you mean 
secretary-treasurer of the union ? 

Mr. Thomas. That is right. Ernest Chambers was vice president of 
the union. Norris Hammond, sergeant at arms; and William Gray, 
business agent. McKinley Gray was not an officer at that time. He 
was subsequently elected a member of the executive board in 1949. 

Mr. Harrison. Do I understand this witness is still president of this 
local? 

Mr. Tavenner. Yes. 

How do you know that those individuals who were officers of the 
union were members of the Communist Party ? 

Mr. Thomas. We were in the same Communist club together. 

Mr. Tavenner. This union to which you refer, of which you are the 
president, is it one of the American Federation of Labor unions? 

Mr. Thomas. It is. 

Mr. Tavenner. Do you know whether there were employees of that 
union, that is, employees other than the officers, who were members of 
the Communist Party ? 

Mr. Thomas. Robert Paul. 

Mr. Tavenner. Robert Paul. Are there others whose names you can 
recall at the moment ? 

Mr. Thomas. I never met in any Communist meeting, to the best of 
my knowledge, with Albert Underwood, but I can say I am pretty 
sure that he was a member of the Communist Party. He is the engi- 
neer in the building. 



COMMUNISM IN THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA 3171 

Mr. Tavenner. Are there others whose names you can recall ? 

Mr. Thomas. My wife at that time was associated. Her name is 
■Gladys G. K. Thomas. She worked as bookkeeper for a period. 

Mr. Tavenner. Before I ask you any more detailed questions relat- 
ing to your Communist Party activities while president of the local 
union, I want to go back and find out just what your record has been 
in the Communist Party from the very beginning of your activities in 
the Communist Party. When did you become a Communist? 

Mr. Thomas. I joined the Communist Party — I don't know the exact 
year; it was in 1937 or 1938. It was in the winter, so I don't know 
if it was before Christmas or after Christmas. 

Mr. Tavenner. Tell the committee how you became a member of the 
Communist Party. 

Mr. Thomas. I was walking the street more or less in search of a job 
at that time. I had not worked in 3 or 4 months, and my shoes were 
tied with wire ; I had to put paper in them to keep my feet off the 
ground ; and I met a gentleman in the street. His name was Martin 
Chancey. I asked him for a cigarette, and from this we became ac- 
quainted, and he sold me on the idea of joining the Communist Party to 
fight against the things that I was caught in at that time. I didn't 
have a cent in my pocket and it was a good line, I felt at that time, and 
I went in with him. In fact, he loaned me the dime to pay my 
original initiation fee. It was 10 cents for an unemployed member 
at that time. 

Mr. Tavenner. Do you know what position Martin Chancey had at 
that time or later held in the Communist Party in the District of 
Columbia ? 

Mr. Thomas. At that time he was city secretary. 

Mr. Tavenner. Do you know what position he held later? 

Mr. Thomas. To the best of my knowledge he was the city secretary 
when he left for the Army. He was drafted into the Army in 1943, 1 
believe. 

Mr. Tavenner. Do you know whether he is now district organizer 
in the State of Ohio? " 

Mr. Thomas. I do. 

Mr. Tavenner. That is, district organizer of the Communist Party ? 

Mr. Thomas. Correction. I think he is the secretary out there of 
the Communist Party for the State of Ohio. He was the last time I 
heard about him. 

Mr. Tavenner. I interrupted you. You said you became a member 
of the Communist Party in the winter of 1937 or 1938 ? 

Mr. Thomas. Yes. 

Mr. Tavenner. Will you state just how you were brought into the 
party and to whom you paid your dues, and to what unit you were 
assigned ? 

Mr. Thomas. They brought us in — they had what they called a new 
members' class at that time. You stayed in that class 2 or 3 weeks to 
learn some of the fundamental principles, as they were supposed to be, 
to the best of my knowledge. 

Then I was assigned to a group in Georgetown. Tljat has been quite 
a while ago and I am sorry that I can't remember the address, because 
I did not stay in that group very long, because they transferred me out 
of that group to the Young Communist League because of my age. 



3172 COMMUNISM IN THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA 

Mr. Tavenner. Did that group in Georgetown have a special name ? 

Mr. Thomas. No, I don't think they had a special name. I don't 
think they had names then. Some of them may have had names. 
The nearest I can remember is a number. It was either 11 or 12 ; it 
was a high number, I remember. 

Mr. Tavenner. How long do you think you remained in the George- 
town group? 

Mr. Thomas. I really couldn't say ; I couldn't say. 

Mr. Tavenner. Who were members of the Georgetown group with 
you, if you can recall ? 

Mr. Thomas. I will do the best I can on that one. I remember a 
West Indian, and his last name was Stevens; and one other fellow, 
his name was Jones. I can't piece that other part together. I was 
quite } 7 oung then. I think I must have been 18 or 19 years old. I 
can't remember any others. 

Mr. Tavenner. Can you give us any other information regarding 
Jones, as to where he was from and what he was doing at that time % 

Mr. Thomas. He was working in a hotel and was a member of the 
Hotel and Restaurant Workers' Union. That is about all the informa- 
tion I can give you. I remember that because I asked him about a job 
during that time and he said he was going to try to see what he 
could do. 

Mr. Tavenner. Tell us of your activities during the period that 
you were a member of the Young Communist League. Before doing 
so, are there any other persons whose names you can remember who 
were associated with you in the Georgetown group of the Communist 
Party? 

Mr. Thomas. I don't remember that now. During this time, 1938, 1 
was put into the Young Communist League, and I stayed there for a 
while, and then they transferred me into a new group that was being 
organized in Southwest called the Southwest branch of the Communist 
Party. 

I can't tell you how many street-corner meetings we held down 
there. There was a series of them, and I was acting as chairman at 
most of those meetings that I can recall, because I was supposed to 
have been the organizer of the Southwest club of the Communist 
Party, which incidentally, was never successful; it died of its own 
weight. 

Mr. Tavenner. Let me see if I can refresh your recollection about 
the meetings to which you refer. According to information in the 
committee tiles, the Young Communist League, on July 7, 1939, held an 
open-air meeting at Tenth and U Streets NW., Washington, D. C, at 
which you were alleged to have been the chairman. 

Mr. Thomas. I may have been the chairman. 

Mr. Tavenner. The information in the committee files also indi- 
cates that you introduced a person known as Comrade Gilbert as a 
speaker, and identified him as a member of the Georgetown branch of 
the Communist Party. Do you recall that ? 

Mr. Thomas. Yes ; yes. 

Mr. Tavenner. The committee files also disclose that after intro- 
ducing Comrade Gilbert, you then introduced Martin Chancey as the 
city secretary of the Communist Party. Do you recall that? 

Mr. Thomas. Yes. 



COMMUNISM IN THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA 3173 

Mr. Tavenner. The same information shows that you introduced 
Eddie Felder, F-e-1-d-e-r, as a representative of the Young Com- 
munist League. 

Mr. Thomas. Yes. 

Mr. Tavenner. Can you tell us about Eddie Felder, who he was 
and what his functions were ? 

Mr. Thomas. I believe he was the secretary of the Young Com- 
munist League in the District of Columbia at that time. 

Mr. Tavenner. Do you know where he is now ? 

Mr. Thomas. No. I haven't seen him in several years. 

Mr. Tavenner. The same record shows that you introduced William 
Taylor as State chairman and member of the Communist Party. 

Mr. Thomas. It couldn't have been State chairman, was it? He 
just had come in town. I remember that. I must have made a 
mistake in my announcement there, because I don't think he was 
State chairman at that time. 

Mr. Tavenner. Do you remember what position he gained in the 
Communist Party at a later date ? 

Mr. Thomas. Yes. He was secretary of the Communist Party 
in Washington, D. C, and he was also an officer in the State. I don't 
remember what office he held. 

Mr. Tavenner. What do you mean by the "State" ? 

(Hon. John McSweeney left hearing room.) 

Mr. Thomas. The State Communist Party of Maryland and the 
District of Columbia. 

Mr. Tavenner. During what period of time was William Taylor 
secretary of the Communist Party of the District of Columbia or — 
did you say chairman of the State organization ? 

Mr. Thomas. I don't remember him being chairman of the State 
organization, but he was an officer there. I don't remember exactly 
what office he held. 

Mr. Tavenner. Can you give us some idea of the time when he held 
that position ? 

Mr. Thomas. When he came into the District, he and Martin 
Chancey were here together. They were both officers of the Com- 
munist Party in the District of Columbia, and I know he was secre- 
tary of the Communist Party in the District of Columbia after the 
war, after the last war was over, but I think that he held the posi- 
tion opposite Martin Chancey; either he was chairman here in 
Washington or some other place, but he was one of the two top people 
in Washington. 

Mr. Tavenner. To how late a date did he hold that or other offi- 
cial position in the Communist Party ? 

Mr. Thomas. To the best of my knowledge until he went into the 
Army. 

Mr. Tavenner. Do you know what became of him after that ? 

Mr. Thomas. Yes. 'He came back to Washington and was secretary 
of the Communist Party in Washington. 

Mr. Tavenner. Again? 

Mr. Thomas. Yes. 

Mr. Tavenner. And how long did he remain as an official of the 
Communist Party after he came back from the Army ? 

Mr. Thomas. From 1946 until I believe it was the first part of 1949, 
or the middle of 1949. I can't exactly recall. 



3174 COMMUNISM IN THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA 

Mr. Tavenner. Do you know where he is now ? 

Mr. Thomas. The last time I heard from him he was in California. 

Mr. Tavenner. Do you know what his job is in California? 

Mr. Thomas. I understand he went out there to be secretary of one 
of the districts. 

Mr. Tavenner. Of the Communist Party ? 

Mr. Thomas. Yes. 

Mr. Tavenner. Both in my question and your answer he was re- 
ferred to as William Taylor. Do you know whether he had a middle 
initial? 

Mr. Thomas. William C. Tavlor. 

Mr. Tavenner. William C. Taylor? 

Mr. Thomas. That is right. 

Mr. Tavenner. You referred to the fact that the efforts to organize 
the Southwest district unit or branch of the Communist Party was not 
completely successful. Did I understand you correctly ? 

Mr. Thomas. That is right. 

Mr. Tavenner. The committee has information that on May 6, 
1938, there was a meeting of the Communist Party at K and First 
Streets SW., Washington, D. C. The chairman of this meeting was 
not identified. You were introduced by the chairman of this meeting 
as an organizer of the Southwest branch of the Communist Party. 
1 believe you have already testified that you were such an organizer ? 

Mr. Thomas. Yes. 

Mr. Tavenner. Do you recall that the chairman at this meeting in- 
troduced an individual by the name of Edward H. Ozmun, O-z-m-u-n, 
as a speaker ? 

Mr. Thomas. Edmund ? 

Mr. Tavenner. Edward H. Ozmun, O-z-m-u-n. 

Mr. Thomas. Yes. 

Mr. Tavenner. Do you know whether or not he was a member of the 
Communist Party ? 

Mr. Thomas. If he spoke at that meeting I think it is evident that 
he was a member. Of course I will have to say that I know he was 
a member if he spoke there, because only a Communist could speak at 
a Communist street rally. 

Mr. Tavenner. Can you at this time recall offhand the names of any 
other speakers at that Communist Party meeting? 

Mr. Thomas. One was Benny Secundy. He spoke once or twice. 

Mr. Tavenner. S-e-c-u-n-d-y ? 

Mr. Thomas. I believe that is the way he spelled it. 

Mr. Tavenner. Describe him more definitely for the committee. 
What was his position or his occupation? 

Mr. Thomas. I believe he was an electrician at that time. 

Mr. Tavenner. Do you recall whether the chairman on this occa- 
sion introduced a speaker by the name of Calvin Cousin, C-o-u-s-i-n? 

Mr. Thomas. That is a long time to recall back, but if Calvin Cou- 
sin's name is there he was at that meeting, because he was one of the 
faithful Communists at that time. 

Mr. Tavenner. Though you have no independent recollection of his 
speaking on that occasion, you do know whether or not he is a Com- 
munist; is that what I understand? 

Mr. Thomas. Yes. 



COMMUNISM IN THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA 3175 

Mr. Tavenner. And what is your answer to that, was he a Com- 
munist or not ? 

Mr. Thomas. He was a Communist at that time. 

Mr. Tavenner. How do you know ? 

Mr. Thomas. Because I met with him on several occasions and he 
helped plan these meetings and so on. 

Mr. Tavenner. Do you know what position he held with a union in 
the District of Columbia at that time? 

Mr. Thomas. Not at that time. I knew he was working in a union, 
organizing the laundry workers or something, but I can't recall every- 
thing about it. 

Mr. Tavenner. Do you recall whether he at any time became presi- 
dent of the Cleaners and Dyers Union of Washington, D. C. ? 

Mr. Thomas. Yes ; I believe it was during the war or a little before 
the war. I didn't see him during that period, but I saw him prior 
to that time and afterwards. 

Mr. Tavenner. Who were members of the southwest branch of the 
Communist Party with you ? 

Mr. Thomas. As I told you before, the southwest club fell through. 
The people came in like coming through a revolving door; they just 
didn't stay. Some of the regular Communists were assigned to that 
group to have some numbers there. I think there were four or five 
of us altogether. 

I may not be able to remember all the names right off here now. 
One fellow by the name of Dan O'Day was in that group. I believe 
Calvin Cousin was later assigned to that group, too. Of course myself. 
And I am not sure whether Benny Secundy was in that group or not, 
but I believe he was also given a definite assignment to help build 
up that club. And there may have been one or two others I can't 
remember. 

Mr. Tavenner. Do you know anything about Dan O'Day at this 
time, where he is and what he is doing ? 

Mr. Thomas. He dropped out of sight. I don't know what hap- 
pened to him. 

Mr. Walter. Who gave these assignments ? 

Mr. Thomas. The Communist Party. 

Mr. Walter. Who? 

Mr. Thomas. I guess it must have been Martin Chancey or the City 
Committee. 

Mr. Tavenner. From whom did you receive your directions? 

Mr. Thomas. I got mine from Martin Chancey. I was told what to 
do by him. 

Mr. Tavenner. Just what did he tell you to do ? 

Mr. Thomas. He told me my job was to organize a branch of the 
Communist Party in southwest Washington and to make arrange- 
ments for a series of street meetings, and if I am not mistaken, gen- 
tlemen, I think these meetings consisted of discussing housing. I 
can't remember everything that was discussed, but I think housing 
was one of them, and some other problem that I can't remember now. 
There was a series of meetings. 

Mr. Tavenner. This individual whose name was Calvin Cousin, do 
you know anything about his present whereabouts ? 

Mr. Thomas. I haven't seen him in about a year and a half now, I 
understand he is in some kind of cleaning business for himself, but 



3176 COMMUNISM IN THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA 

I have never taken anything to his place, so I could not lead you 
there now. It is in town. He is in the cleaning business. 

Mr. Tavenner. See if you can identify any other persons who 
attended the meetings of the southwest branch. 

Mr. Thomas. I think William Gray attended one or two meetings, 
but he was not a regular member of that branch. 

Mr. Tavenner. Was William Gray known to you to be a member 
of the Communist Party ? 

Mr. Thomas. Yes. 

Mr. Tavenner. How did you know that? 

Mr. Thomas. I met with him as a Communist. 

Mr. Tavenner. Is he the same William Gray to whom you referred 
in your earlier testimony as being a steward of your local union? 

Mr. Thomas. Business agent. 

Mr. Tavenner. Business agent of your union? 

Mr. Thomas. That is right. 

Mr. Tavenner. According to information in the files of the com- 
mittee, a meeting was held of the southwest branch of the Communist 
Party on May 20, 1938. May 20. The other meeting to which I 
referred was May 6. The chairman was not identified at this meeting 
but you were introduced as one of the speakers, according to the 
committee's information. Is that correct or not? 

Mr. Thomas. I can't remember offhand just what happened back 
there, but I assume that it is. 

Mr. Tavenner. You were speaker at a number of these meetings, 
weren't you ? 

Mr. Thomas. That is right. 

Mr. Tavenner. According to the committee's information there was 
an individual by the name of Tansel Butler introduced at this meeting, 
T-a-n-s-e-1 Butler ; do you recall him ? 

Mr. Thomas. I do. 

Mr. Tavenner. Was he a member of the Communist Party ? 

Mr. Thomas. He was a member of the Communist Party at that 
time. 

Mr. Tavenner. Do you know where he was from or where he had 
attended school ? 

Mr. Thomas. I was told that he attended Howard University, but 
he got out of that school before I knew anything about him. 

Mr. Tavenner. How long did you continue your efforts with the 
organization of the southwest branch of the Communist Party ? 

Mr. Thomas. If I attempted to answer that I think that I would 
make a wrong statement. I don't know exactly how long that attempt 
went on. 

Mr. Tavenner. What was your next activity in the Communist 
Party ? 

Mr. Thomas. At that time I had a dual role, in the Young Commu- 
nist League and in the Communist Party at the same time. I don't 
remember exactly where I went from there. I don't remember what 
the next step was. 

Mr. Tavenner. Did you become affiliated with any other branch of 
the Communist Party ? Were you assigned to any other group ? 

Mr. Thomas. I can't remember that right off. 



COMMUNISM IN THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA 3177 

Mr. Tavenner. Do you know of a unit or branch of the Communist 
Party known as the Tom Paine branch ? 

Mr. Thomas. That was the Young Communist League. 

Mr. Tavenner. That was when you were in the Young Communist 
League ? 

Mr. Thomas. That is right. 

Mr. Tavenner. During this period of time when you say that you 
were active in the Young Communist League, were you a member of the 
Tom Paine branch ? 

Mr. Thomas. That is right. 

Mr. Tavenner. Can you tell us what branches of the Young Com- 
munist League there were in the city of Washington and immediate 
vicinity ? 

Mr. Thomas. To the best of my knowledge there were three 
branches. One was Tom Paine; the student branch; and one they 
called the white-collar branch. 

Mr. Tavenner. The white-collar branch ? 

Mr. Thomas. Yes. 

Mr. Tavenner. Those are the three branches, the Tom Paine branch, 
the student branch 

Mr. Thomas. They had two student branches at that time, I believe. 

Mr. Tavenner. Do you know the names of the two branches ? 

Mr. Thomas. They had one on the campus at Howard University 
and one at American University or George Washington, one of those. 
And the high-school students had one. 

Mr. Tavenner. Tell us a little more in detail about the organization 
of those branches. Tell us all you know about them. 

Mr. Thomas. The white-collar branch was one branch they never 
did let us know who was in that branch. They were supposed to be 
secretaries, and so forth and so on, and clerks, but they didn't tell us 
about those people. 

In the student branches they operated directly on the campus if 
there were enough students in the Young Communist League to com- 
pose a branch. I don't know how many people were in the Howard 
University branch; I don't know how many people were in the student 
branch ; but to the best of my knowledge the Tom Paine branch had 
about 25. 

Mr. Kearney. When was that? 

Mr. Thomas. About 1939. 

Mr. Kearney. How many members were in that branch, did you 
say? 

Mr. Thomas. About 25. 

Mr. Tavenner. Where did the Tom Paine branch hold its meetings ? 

Mr. Thomas. 509 G Street NW., most of the time. 

Mr. Tavenner. Will you give that address again ? 

Mr. Thomas. 509 G Street, on the third floor. 

Mr. Tavenner. What building was that? 

Mr. Thomas. It didn't have a name. It is right on the corner of 
Fifth and G Streets. I believe they call it Unity Hall. 

Mr. Tavenner. While a member of the Young Communist League, 
did you attend meetings of any of the other branches other than the 
one you were a member of, the Tom Paine branch ? 



3178 COMMUNISM IN THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA 

Mr. Thomas. I don't recall. I may have gone to one of the student 
branches to give a lecture in my own little way. I think I did once. 

Mr. Tavenner. Do you recall which branch that was? 

Mr. Thomas. That was the Howard University branch? 

Mr. Tavenner. At what other schools were these branches main- 
tained ? 

Mr. Thomas. As I said before, they had one at Howard and one at 
either George Washington or American University ; I can't remember 
which one it was. It may have been a combined group. I didn't know 
too much about what they were doing out there. 

Mr. Tavenner. You spoke about a branch in a high school, if I 
understood you correctly ? 

Mr. Thomas. Yes. 

Mr. Tavenner. Tell us what you know about that. 

Mr. Thomas. I don't know too much about that, because they were 
the youngest members at that time in the Young Communist League, 
16, 15, 14 years old, something like that; but they would come around 
occasionally to some parties and so on. That is the way I met them. 
They were the youngest set. 

Mr. Tavenner. Do you know what high school in the city of 
Washington had that branch? 

Mr. Thomas. I remember Central. They had a high-school branch 
that was a combined branch for all the high schools. They didn't 
have too many in the high-school branch. Central was one high 
school that had two or three people in the branch. 

Mr. Tavenner. Do you know how many were in the combined 
high-school branch? 

Mr. Thomas. No. I could make a guess. 

Mr. Tavenner. I wouldn't want you to guess unless you had some 
basis for an estimate. 

Mr. Thomas. I couldn't say right off. That was quite a while ago. 

Mr. Tavenner. How long were you acquainted with the organiza- 
tion work of the Young Communist League? 

Mr. Thomas. I was pretty well acquainted with it up to a point. 
I knew my own branch. I knew how it worked and how it functioned. 
And I was supposed to have been on a city committee of the Young 
Communist League set-up where all the branches sent a representative. 

Mr. Tavenner. I would like you to tell us about that organizational 
set-up. You had these branches, about which you have testified; 
then you say there was a committee? 

Mr. Thomas. A central committee or city committee, where these 
branches would send a representative to meet once a week or every 2 
weeks. 

Mr. Tavenner. Were there officers of that central commttee ? 

Mr. Thomas. Yes. 

Mr. Tavenner. Do you remember the names of any of them ? 

Mr. Thomas. Eddie Felder was the chairman, I believe. And there 
was a girl, Florence Plotnick I believe was her name ; she was the sec- 
retary for some time. 

Mr. Tavenner. The selling of that is P-1-o-t-n-i-c-k? 

Mr. Thomas. I believe it is. 

Mr. Tavenner. Can you give us the names of any other members 
of the central committee of the Young Communist League? 



COMMUNISM IN THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA 3179 

Mr. Thomas. If I had something to go on I could give them to you, 
but I can't remember because this thing never crossed my mind for 
a long time. 

Mr. Tavenner. Did you hold any position of any kind on this cen- 
tral committee of the Young Communist League ? 

Mr. Thomas. I did once. I was supposed to have been the secre- 
tary, but I never really functioned as a secretary should have func- 
tioned, because there was a fight going on between myself and some- 
body else, but I did the best I could in that job. 

Mr. Moulder. Mr. Chairman, may I interrupt for a question? 

Mr. Walter. Mr. Moulder. 

Mr. Moulder. When did you terminate your affiliation with the 
Communist Party ? 

Mr. Thomas. When I signed that Taft-Hartley affidavit. 

Mr. Moulder. When was that ? 

Mr. Thomas. In 1949. 

Mr. Moulder. You were a Communist up until that date? 

Mr. Thomas. I called myself a Communist. 

Mr. Moulder. Sir? 

Mr. Thomas. I called myself a Communist. 

Mr. Moulder. The period of time you have referred to in your 
testimony as to the activity of the organization in the District of 
Columbia, what period of time did that cover? 

Mr. Thomas. This covered before I went into the Army. Is that 
right ? 

Mr. Tavenner. That is right. I was beginning with the very be- 
ginning of your association. 

Mr. Moulder. When did you cease being an active Communist Party 
worker ? 

Mr. Thomas. After we were placed in the untenable position of 
having to sign this affidavit. 

Mr. Moulder. Up to that time had you been attending Communist 
Party meetings ? 

Mr. Thomas. Yes. 

Mr. Moulder. Organization meetings and meetings of Communist 
Party workers ? 

Mr. Thomas. I don't remember club meetings or anything like that, 
but there were other types of Communist Party meetings I attended. 

Mr. Moulder. You have named a number of people here. Do you 
know if they were Communists up until that date ? 

Mr. Thomas. Some of them were. 

Mr. Moulder. Do you know if they are now ? 

Mr. Thomas. I don't believe any of them are now. 

Mr. Moulder. Are the people whose names you have mentioned 
colored or white people ? 

Mr. Thomas. All the people I have mentioned in the union are 
colored, but what I am trying to remember now is who were the people 
in the beginning of this thing, and most of the people I am naming 
now are white people. 

Mr. Moulder. Were your activities in the Communist Party confined 
to colored people? 

Mr. Thomas. Most were colored people. 

Mr. Walter. Was it necessary for you to maintain your membership 
in the Communist Party in order to 'keep your position in the union? 



3180 COMMUNISM IN THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA 

Mr. Thomas. Sir, that is a question I don't know exactly how to 
answer, because once you get tied up in this mess you are a little afraid 
to just break completely, unless you are assured of protection. 

Mr. Kearney. Have you attended any Communist Party meetings 
since 1949? 

Mr. Thomas. Since 1949 ? To the best of my knowledge I haven't,, 
but I will have this statement now, I have met with certain leaders of 
the Communist Party. 

Mr. Kearney. Did you sign the affidavit under the Taft-Hartley 
Act? 

Mr. Thomas. Yes, but I was not a member ; I did not pay dues or 
assessments or anything. 

Mr. Kearney. What were you meeting with the leaders of the Com- 
munist Party for, to talk over Communist activities ? 

Mr. Thomas. Generally speaking. 

Mr. Tavenner. Mr. Chairman, I might state that that is of im- 
portance in the development of the circumstances surrounding the 
signing of the Taft-Hartley affidavit, which we expect eventually to 
develop. 

Mr. Walter. Proceed. 

Mr. Tavenner. During the time you were connected with the 
Young Communist League, and particularly while you served as sec- 
retary of the central committee, did you receive, or did the central 
committee receive, directions as to the Communist Party line from any 
higher sources ? 

Mr. Thomas. Very definitely. We received, I would call it our in- 
structions, from the city secretary. Whenever there was a question of 
somebody going off the deep end, so to speak, the city secretary would 
always come in and straighten it out. He would come in a meeting 
and lay the line down that was to be followed. 

Mr. Tavenner. How long were you active in the Young Communist 
League? 

Mr. Thomas. For several years; in fact, up until I went into the 
Army. I was in both the Communist Party and the Young Communist 
League. 

Mr. Tavenner. Did you affiliate with any particular branch of the 
Communist Party other than the Young Communist League before 
you went into the Army ? 

Mr. Thomas. Yes. I was in two or three branches. I was shifted 
around quite a bit, to the best of my knowledge, during that period. 
One was unit No. 1. I stayed there for a while. I am not sure, but I 
think we organized the Frederick Douglas club of laborers, but we 
never could get over two or three or four or five laborers in that club. 
This is the club I was in when I was inducted into the Army. 

Mr. Tavenner. I would like at this time for you to tell us how 
many branches or cells of the Communist Party you were acquainted 
with in the District of Columbia, and I think for the purpose of an- 
swering that question you should consider your knowledge after you 
came back from the Army as well as before you went in. How many 
cells or branches of the Communist Party were you acquainted with 
in the District of Columbia ? 

Mr. Thomas. I can't give you a figure right off on that. As I said: 
before, I could give a guess on that. 



COMMUNISM IN THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA 3181 

Mr. Moulder. You mean existing at one time, or covering the whole 
period of time ? 

Mr. Tavenner. Covering the whole period of time. 

Mr. Thomas. That is covering quite a bit of ground there. 

Mr. Walter. To the best of your knowledge. 

Mr. Thomas. I was acquainted with about six, I think ; six or seven. 

Mr. Tavenner. Will you give us the names and descriptions of 
them, and their locations, as nearly as you can? 

Mr. Thomas. The first I remember was in Georgetown, out around 
Twenty-sixth Street. It was in an apartment building. 

Mr. Tavenner. Is that the one you referred to in the beginning of 
your testimony? 

Mr. Thomas. Yes. That is No. 12. Just what the duties were and 
so on, I don't remember that. That was the Georgetown branch. 

Then there was the Southwest branch of the Communist Party. 

Mr. Walter. What was the number of that ? 

Mr. Thomas. That didn't have a number, because it wasn't really 
organized. They just called it the Southwest branch of the Commu- 
nist Party. 

Mr. Tavenner. That is the one you testified that you attempted to 
organize ? 

Mr. Thomas. That is right. 

Then they had a big one in town that was No. 1, 1 believe, unit No. 1. 

Mr. Tavenner. Suppose you tell us what you know about unit 
No. 1? 

Mr. Thomas. Unit No. 1 had mostly colored in it, and it was during 
some campaign, I remember very well, they recruited a very large 
number of colored people into this branch. 

Mr. Walter. What was the campaign about? Housing? 

Mr. Thomas. No. I think this campaign was about police brutality 
at that time. It was a very hot subject in Washington at that time. 

Mr. Harrison. What kind of brutality ? 

Mr. Thomas. Police brutality. 

Mr. Moulder. When was that ? 

Mr. Thomas. In the period between 1940 and 1941. This branch 
was in the midtown section, and they had an opportunity to bring 
many Negroes into the Communist Party at that time. After this 
thing died down it kept on being a revolving door ; they came in and 
went right out. 

Mr. Tavenner. What was the membership of that unit ? 

Mr. Thomas. I can't say. I didn't have charge of the records. It 
must have had 50 people in it at one time. 

Mr. Tavenner. All right. What other branches, to your knowl- 
edge? 

Mr. Thomas. I was in one branch all during the time I was in the 
Communist Party after I came out of the Army, so that settles that 
end of it. 

Mr. Tavenner. What was the name of that branch ? 

Mr. Thomas. The Frederic Douglas Branch. 

Mr. Walter. You described the membership as being like a revolv- 
ing door. Did the membership fall off because the members came into 
an appreciation of the fact that the lofty purposes the members were 
told could be achieved through communism could not be accomplished? 

76461 — 50 — pt. 2 2 



3182 COMMUNISM IN THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA 

Mr. Thomas. I didn't understand it at that time, and I think if I 
had been one of the people who made that revolving door I would 
be better off. I understand it now. 

Mr. Walter. They know the Communist Party can't accomplish 
anything in the United States? 

Mr. Thomas. It is evident to me now. 

Mr. Tavenner. Can you recall the names of any other branches or 
cells of the Communist Party? 

Mr. Thomas. I can recall the names, but there is very little I know 
about them. They had the White Collar Branch. They had some 
super, super, secret branch of employees in the Government that a guy 
like me couldn't know anything about. We heard talk about it occa- 
sionally. And there was a Petworth Branch, I believe. 

Mr. Tavenner. What was that? Petworth? 

Mr. Thomas. Petworth ; yes. Then they had Stanton Park, South- 
east Club. 

Mr. Tavenner. Southeast? 

Mr. Thomas. Yes. 

Mr. Tavenner. Did you say Stanton ? 

Mr. Thomas. Stanton Park. I don't know if that was the same as 
Southeast, but I don't think it was the same. 

Then there was the Northeast Club. 

Mr. Moulder. You made a statement about a branch of Govern- 
ment employees. That is important. Do you personally know any 
member of the Communist Party at that time who was employed in 
any branch of the Government ? 

Mr. Thomas. Sir, that is one of the things they really kept secret. 
I may have known somebody working in the Government who was a 
Communist, but they didn't let us know it. 

Mr. Moulder. To the best of your knowledge you don't know of a 
single person, then ? 

Mr. Thomas. To the best of my knowledge I can't recall anybody 
working for the Government at that time who was a member of the 
Communist Party. 

Mr. Moulder. All right. 

Mr. Thomas. Then there was a West End Branch of the Communist 
Party. There is a difference between Georgetown and West End. I 
don't think West End is considered in Georgetown. It was on the edge 
of Georgetown. 

Mr. Tavenner. What was the type of organization established above 
that of the branches, and to which the branches were responsible. 

Mr. Thomas The city committee. They had an organizational set- 
up — I wouldn't want to get twisted up on this thing. They had a city 
committee where all the branches were supposed to have been repre- 
sented. Then they had an organizational secretary who had meetings 
with the various secretaries from the different branches. That is what 
I recall. 

Mr. Walter. How many people attended the city committee meet- 
ings? 

Mr. Thomas. It would vary from time to time. I remember at one 
time they only had about 8 people on the city committee, and at 
another time thoy had 20 or 25 people on the city committee. 

Mr. Walter. If they had 25 people, that wouid indicate there were 
25 branches of the Communist Party in the city at that time? 



COMMUNISM IN THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA 3183 

Mr. Thomas. Not necessarily. The branches would have propor- 
tional representation : the more members you have, the more people you 
would have representing you on this city committee. 

Mr. Tavenner. Do you recall knowing a branch known as the 
Thomas Jefferson Branch? 

Mr. Thomas. Yes; I recall that name of a branch. 

Mr. Tavenner. Do you recall the Abraham Lincoln Branch being 
the name of one of the branches of the Communist Party in the 
District ? 

Mr. Thomas. That must have been one that slipped my mind. I 
don't remember. 

Mr. Tavenner. What type of organization was there above that 
of the city committee, which the city committee in turn was responsible 
to? 

Mr. Thomas. The State committee. That was the Maryland-D. C. 
State committee of the Communist Party. 

Mr. Tavenner. So that there was a district composed of the State 
of Maryland and the District of Columbia ? 

Mr. Thomas. That is right. 

Mr. Tavenner. Do you recall whether there was a Northwest 
Branch of the Communist Party in the District of Columbia? 

Mr. Thomas. Yes. 

Mr. Tavenner. There was? 

Mr. Thomas. Yes. 

Mr. Tavenner. While we are discussing these branches in a general 
way, did you become acquainted with the organization in the State 
of Maryland in any way, with the branches ? 

Mr. Thomas. No. I used to hear the names of branches called when 
I was at the State committee, but it was a little foreign to me. I 
remember one branch in particular was the Dundalk Turner. 

Mr. Tavenner. Will you give that name again ? 

Mr. Thomas. Dundalk Turner. 

Mr. Tavenner. Where was that located ; do you know ? 

Mr. Thomas. I think in the Dundalk Turner neighborhood. I 
don't know too much about Baltimore or where that is. 

Mr. Tavenner. Do you know any other names of branches, such as 
the Professional Branch? 

Mr. Thomas. I heard of that. 

Mr. Tavenner. You have heard of the Professional Branch ? 

Mr. Thomas. Yes ; I have. 

Mr. Tavenner. Can you at this time recall any other branches? 

Mr. Thomas. They had one White Collar Branch, but the Profes- 
sional Branch may have been the same as the White Collar Branch, 
you see. 

Mr. Tavenner. I do not recall whether you said you were a member 
of the Frederic Douglas Branch before you went into the Army or not ? 

Mr. Thomas. I believe that was the branch that we were in, the 
laborers were in, that were working in local 74 and any other union 
around town. 

Mr. Tavenner. Was that prior to your going into the Army, or 
afterward ? 

Mr. Thomas. That was just before I went into the Army. I can't 
recall if it was the Frederic Douglas Club then or just a laborers' club. 



3184 COMMUNISM IN THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA 

Mr. Tavenner. When did you go in the United States Army ? 

Mr. Thomas. August 1943. 

Mr. Tavenner. And how long were you in the Army ? 

Mr. Thomas. Twenty-eight months. 

Mr. Tavenner. When were you discharged? 

Mr. Thomas. December 6, 1945. 

Mr. Tavenner. While you were in the service, did you continue any 
of your Communist Party activities? 

Mr. Thomas. No; I didn't. 

Mr. Walter. Mr. Tavenner, I would like to direct a few questions 
to the witness at this point. 

You mentioned the Professional Branch. Did you know any of the 
members of the Professional Branch ? 

Mr. Thomas. I knew one lawyer. 

Mr. Walter. Who was he? 

Mr. Thomas. I can't say I knew him. I have seen him. That was 
in Baltimore, you are talking about ? 

Mr. Walter. I am talking about the District of Columbia. 

Mr. Thomas. Oh ! That is different. Sir, right off I can't remem- 
ber those people. 

Mr. Walter. Were there any lawyers who advised people when 
they got into difficulties, who were retained by the Communist Party ? 

Mr. Thomas. Well, sir, since I didn't get into no trouble, that ques- 
tion didn't crop up as far as I am concerned. I really don't know. I 
was never in any trouble where I needed a lawyer. 

Mr. Walter. You discussed a group that had its start because of 
police brutality. Weren't there lawyers retained at that time ? 

Mr. Thomas. I remember one case where a group of people got 
locked up at the German Embassy — in 1938, I believe — and at that 
time they used the Civil Liberties Union lawyer. 

Mr. Walter. Was the Civil Liberties Union lawyer paid by the 
Communist Party ? 

Mr. Thomas. Well, sir, I don't know. 

Mr. Harrison. May I ask some questions along that line ? 

Mr. Walter. Yes. 

Mr. Harrison. Who are the attorneys for local 74 ? 

Mr. Thomas. Jenkins and Mr. Levine. 

Mr. Harrison. Mr. Levine ? 

Mr. Thomas. Mr. Samuel Levine. 

Mr. Harrison. What is the name of the other gentleman ? 

Mr. Thomas. Howard Jenkins. 

Mr. Harrison. Do you know whether either of them is a member of 
the Communist Party ? 

Mr. Thomas. I really don't know. 

Mr. Harrison. Do you know if either of them is a member of the 
National Lawyers' Guild? 

Mr. Thomas. I believe both are members of the National Lawyers' 
Guild. 

Mr. Moulder. You mentioned a white-collar branch of the Com- 
munist Party in Washington. Can you give us the names of any 
members of that branch? 

Mr. Thomas. Sir, I wish I could help you. I wouldn't want to 
make any mistake about that. But if any names are called, I could 
identify them. 



COMMUNISM IN THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA 3185 

Mr. Tavenner. I think the record should show some further facts 
relating to the two attorneys whose names you have mentioned. Did 
you at any time confer with either of those attorneys about appearing 
here before this committee and testifying ? 

Mr. Thomas. I conferred with both of them. 

Mr. Tavenner. With both of them ? 

Mr. Thomas. Yes. 

Mr. Tavenner. When? 

Mr. Thomas. Right after I got this subpena. 

Mr. Tavenner. How did you happen to go see those two attorneys ? 

Mr. Thomas. I called them and told them I had a subpena and 
wanted to talk to them about it. The first one I went to was Mr. 
Levine. Mr. Levine didn't know what position I was going to take 
on this whole matter, and he said, "The only thing you can do is go 
down and tell the truth to the best of your knowledge," and he referred 
me — he didn't refer me to another lawyer, but another lawyer had 
called him. Then I went to see this other lawyer. Then I called Mr. 
Jenkins and I talked to Mr. Jenkins, and I told him part of the story, 
then I went back and told him the rest of the story. The only advice 
he gave me was to go on down and tell the truth. 

Mr. Tavenner. Had you gotten in touch with this third lawyer 
whose name you did not mention before he called Mr. Levine ? 

Mr. Thomas. I called him; yes. He wanted to see me because my 
wife had called him. He had been her attorney on some small mat- 
ters, and she called him and he called for me, and I called him back 
and we both went up to see him, and we discussed the subject of our 
appearing before the committee, and, as you see, I have no attorney 
with me here now, and I don't think I need one, because I am going 
to tell the truth, and my friends have told me that is the best thing 
to do. 

Mr. Harrison. You think if you tell the truth you don't need an 
attorney ? 

Mr. Thomas. I think that is the way it stacks up. 

Mr. Harrison. This third lawyer didn't solicit you ? You solicited 
his advice? 

Mr. Thomas. That is right. 

Mr. Tavenner. I want to ask you another question about your 
activities in the Communist Party before you went into the Army. 
Did you attend a Communist Party school of any character before 
you went into the Army ? 

Mr. Thomas. I did. 

Mr. Tavenner. What was the name of the school ? 

Mr. Thomas. I don't remember what they called it now. It was 
one of those advanced training schools, I think. 

Mr. Tavenner. Where was it located ? 

Mr. Thomas. Within New York City on One Hundred and Twenty- 
eighth Street, right off Seventh Avenue. That is where they con- 
ducted classes. 

Mr. Tavenner. Can't you recall the name of it? 

Mr. Thomas. What — the school? 

Mr. Tavenner. Yes. 

Mr. Thomas. It was a series of classes. It wasn't a school as such. 
They rented this place to conduct these classes in. 



3186 COMMUNISM IN THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA 

Mr. Tavenner. How were you selected to attend that school, or 
what were the circumstances under which you went there? 

Mr. Thomas. Well, they thought that I was a good prospect for 
some day becoming a professional revolutionary, I guess, and they 
selected me on that basis. That is a term that is used quite frequently 
for full-time Communists. 

Mr. Tavenner. Who selected you and how was that done? 

Mr. Thomas. Well, the order came down for two or three students 
from the District to go to this school. 

Mr. Tavenner. Came down 

Mr. Thomas. From New York, that this school was being planned. 

Mr. Tavenner. Came down to what group ? 

Mr. Thomas. To the officers of the Communist Party in the District. 
I guess it came through channels and it got down to the city com- 
mittee, and JJien they discussed prospects to go to the school, and 
maybe I appeared to be promising, I don't know, and they picked me. 

Mr. Tavenner. Who picked you, do you know ? 

Mr. Thomas. Martin Chancey was one. He was the guy who had 
the last say about it. 

Mr. Tavenner. Who advised you that you had been chosen to go? 

Mr. Thomas. He did. 

Mr. Tavenner. When did you go? When was the school held? 

Mr. Thomas. I can't remember what month it was. It was in the 
fall of the year. It was in 1940, because I remember I registered 
for the draft in New York at that time. I was in school when I 
registered for the draft. 

Mr. Kearney. Who paid your expenses? 

Mr. Thomas. The Communist Party. 

Mr. Kearney. The District Communist Party ? 

Mr. Thomas. Yes. 

Mr. Tavenner. How many attended this school ? 

Mr. Thomas. That would be hard to say right now. I imagine 
about 20. 

Mr. Tavenner. How long were you there ? How long did the course 
take? 

Mr. Thomas. Six weeks. 

Mr. Tavenner. Can you give me the names of any of the 20 who 
attended that school with you in 1940 ? 

Mr. Thomas. I will give you the name of one person that I know 
now, but that has been quite a long time ago and I can't remember 
them now, because I haven't seen but a few since then, and I haven't 
seen any since I came back from the Army. 

James Jackson went to school with me at that time. 

Mr. Tavenner. James Jackson? 

Mr. Thomas. That is right. 

Mr. Tavenner. Where was he from? 

Mr. Thomas. He was from Alabama, I believe, working in the 
Southern Negro Youth Congress at that time. Subsequently he was 
made a Communist Party organizer in Michigan, I believe. 

Mr. Tavenner. Was he white or colored ? 

Mr. Thomas. He was colored. 

Mr. Tavenner. Were there both colored and white at this school ? 

Mr. Thomas. Yes. It was a mixed school. 



COMMUNISM IN THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA 3187 

Mr. Tavenner. Can you give us the names of any others who 
attended ? 

Mr. Thomas. I don't want to appear as a reluctant witness. 

Mr. Tavenner. I want you to be certain when you testify that you 
are correct. 

Mr. Thomas. I know about Jackson. I know that. But the other 
people, it would be a guess right now. I would have to refresh my 
memory and I would have to have something to go on. 

Mr. Tavenner. Where were the other students from, as far as 
you could tell, what section of the country ? 

Mr. Thomas. Pretty much from all over the eastern seaboard and 
as far west as Chicago, as far as I can recall. 

Mr. Tavenner. Who were the instructors at this school, if you 
recall the names of any of them ? 

Mr. Thomas. One was George Siskin. 

Mr. Tavenner. George Siskin? 

Mr. Thomas. Yes. 

Mr. Tavenner. This is the school in 1940 that you are talking 
about ? 

Mr. Thomas. That is right. And "Pop" Mindel, they called him. 
His subject was dialectical materialism. I will never forget that. 

Mr. Kearney. What was that ? 

Mr. Thomas. Dialectical materialism. 

Mr. Tavenner. A rather deep subject? 

Mr. Thomas. It was a little too deep for me. 

Mr. Tavenner. The person referred to as "Pop" Mindel is the 
same as Jacob Mindel, M-i-n-d-e-1 ? 

Mr. Thomas. I don't know. He has always been referred to in 
my papers as "Pop" Mindel. I never knew his first name. 

Mr. Tavenner. What age man was he ? 

Mr. Thomas. He was an old man. I guess he was approaching 
70 the last time I saw him. 

Mr. Tavenner. And when was that ? 

Mr. Thomas. When I was at the last school. 

Mr. Tavenner. That was in 1946 ? 

Mr. Thomas. Yes. 

Mr. Tavenner. Can you give the names of any others ? 

Mr. Thomas. Who were instructors in that school ? 

Mr. Tavenner. Yes. 

Mr. Thomas. Carl Ross. 

Mr. Tavenner. Carl Ross ? 

Mr. Thomas. Yes. Abner Berry. 

Mr. Tavenner. Do you know where Carl Ross was from ? 

Mr. Thomas. He was secretary of the national committee of the 
Young Communist League. I think he was secretary. 

Mr. Tavenner. He was an officer of the national committee of the 
Young Communist League ? 

Mr. Thomas. Yes. 

Mr. Tavenner. And Abner Berry? 

Mr. Thomas. He was an organizer for the Communist Party in 
Harlem, I believe, at that time. 

Mr. Tavenner. Can you give us the names of others? First, can 
you identify George Siskin more definitely for the committee ? 



3188 COMMUNISM IN THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA 

Mr. Thomas. All I know about him, he is a very good talker. I 
have seen him on several occasions around these schools when I 
attended. In fact, he was in charge of that first school I attended, 
and he seemed to know his stuff. I mean, he knows how to put over 
whatever he wants to say. He is very good at that. He is a middle- 
aged man, about 50, maybe 55. I don't know whether he was an 
alien or not. 

Mr. Tavenner. Can you give us any further information about 
the person referred to by you as "Pop" Mindel ? 

Mr. Thomas. That is all I can tell you, except he is supposed 
to have two daughters in New York who are open members of the 
Communist Party. I never met them. 

Mr. Tavenner. Were there any other persons who assisted in the 
instruction at that school whose names you can recall ? 

Mr. Thomas. There were more there, but I can't recall them. I 
think practically the whole national committee of the Communist 
Party was down there at one time or another. 

Mr. Tavenner. What were you told was the reason for your being 
sent to this school ? 

Mr. Thomas. To understand the theories of Marx and Lenin and 
Stalin. That is how it was put, to understand something about the 
Communist Party and the Communist movement. That is the way 
it was put to me. 

Mr. Tavenner. Were you advised what use would be made of the 
teachings of those persons — Marx, Lenin, and Stalin ? 

(Hon. Morgan M. Moulder left hearing room.) 

Mr. Thomas. The intention, when you go to one of those schools, 
you have to be pretty good material to become a professional revolu- 
tionary, a person who is going to work only in the interest of pro- 
moting socialism. 

Mr. Tavenner. Tell the committee what course of instruction was 
given you, as nearly as you can. 

Mr. Thomas. We had American history, and we had Russian his- 
tory. I think one of the textbooks we used on American history was 
by Mary Beard, Mary and Charles Beard, something like that. I saw 
one of the books not so long ago. 

The Negro question in the United States was discussed. There were 
quite a few subjects discussed — Political Economy and Capital, by 
Karl Marx. I have always tried to understand what I read in that 
book, but it is kind of hard to read. 

Mr. Walter. It is more difficult to believe. 

Mr. Thomas. Well, I don't know what is wrong with it, but I could 
never read over a couple pages of it before I would be asleep. 

Mr. Tavenner. Is there anything more you can tell us about that 
school or the conduct of that school that would be of interest to the 
committee ? 

Mr. Thomas. I can't remember right off. If I had something to re- 
fresh my memory. 

Mr. Tavenner. You spoke several times of being trained as a 
revolutionary. What did you mean by that ? 

Mr. Thomas. Just what it says. I have been in the Communist 
Party and around it since 1937, and this word is one of the bywords, 
"professional revolutionary." You become a professional revolu- 



COMMUNISM IN THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA 3189 

tionary and sever all ties with family, church, all institutions that 
would in any way tie you down and prevent you from going from one 
place to another at any time you are ordered to go. You were at the 
command of the Communist Party. That is all you worked for. That 
is what you lived for. 

That is my understanding of what a professional revolutionary is. 
Your mother means nothing; your father means nothing; your 
brothers and sisters or anybody else mean anything. 

Mr. Tavenner. In other words, you were subject to the total dis- 
cipline of the Communist Party ? 

Mr. Thomas. That is right. 

Mr. Tavenner. The files of the committee reflect that prior to your 
going into the Army you were present at a Communist Party con- 
vention held on March 14, 1943, at the Whitelaw Hotel, Thirteenth 
and T Streets NW., Washington, D. C, and that you were chairman 
of the second session of this convention, and that at the third session 
you were elected to the executive committee of the Communist Party 
in Washington. 

Is that information correct? 

Mr. Thomas. To the best of my knowledge it is. I will say that 
it is. 

Mr. Tavenner. Can you give to the committee the names of any 
other delegates who attended that convention % 

Mr. Thomas. I think except for the people you already have in 
the record that I have mentioned, there are very few more that I 
could give you right off. It is hard to remember names back that far 
when you lose contact with those people. 

I would like to make this statement : When I came back from the 
Army there were a lot of people I never met again. They had a 
general house-cleaning or something while I was away. There was 
this Browder fight, and a lot were dropped out and a lot quit, and a 
lot of people I have never met since then, and it would be hard for me 
to remember who those people were. 

Mr. Tavenner. Back during the time that you were active in the 
Young Communist League, did you become acquainted with a young 
man by the name of Anderson ? 

Mr. Thomas. Yes. 

Mr. Tavenner. What was his first name ? 

Mr. Thomas. I don't remember his first name. He is the same 
Anderson, I believe, who enlisted in the Marines and was killed over- 
seas. He was the son of John P. Anderson. I heard that he was 
killed overseas. 

Mr. Tavenner. Do you know his mother's name? You said his 
father's name was John. 

Mr. Thomas. I don't think she was his mother. She was his step- 
mother. Rose Anderson. I have heard of her. I have never seen that 
woman in my life to know her. 

Mr. Tavenner. What was his affiliation, if any, with the Young 
Communist League ? 

Mr. Thomas. He was just a member of the Young Communist 
League. 

Mr. Tavenner. Did I understand you to say you did not continue 
your Communist Party activities while you were in the Army? 



3190 COMMUNISM IN THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA 

Mr. Thomas. No. I heard from some of the people. They wrote 
to me and sent me books and so forth and so on. But I love my 
record in the Army. I did a job in the Army, and that is what I 
thought I should do. 

Mr. Tavenner. While you were in the Army, did you meet persons 
you knew to be members of the Communist Party ? 

Mr. Thomas. Yes, I did. I met Henry Winston, who was in a 
company that was stationed not too far from ours. And Bob Campbell 
was also in that battalion. I don't know if he was in the company or 
not. 

Mr. Tavenner. Is that the same Henry Winston who was convicted 
as one of the 11 Communists on trial in New York? 

Mr. Thomas. That is right. 

Mr. Tavenner. Identify this second individual more definitely, 
Bob CampbeH. 

Mr. Thomas. Robert Campbell was originally from Harlem, and 
was subsequently transferred out to take over a small district in Ohio. 

Mr. Tavenner. Take it over in what capacity ? 

Mr. Thomas. As an officer, secretary or chairman or something. 
I know he was sent out there as the organizer for that section. 

Mr. Tavenner. Communist Party organizer? 

Mr. Thomas. Yes. 

Mr. Tavenner. Were these two individuals, or either of them, 
actively engaged in work for the Communist Party while in the Army, 
as far as you know ? 

Mr. Thomas. Not as far as I know. I used to discuss with them 
old times and so forth, but we never discussed any Communist Party 
activities as such in the Army. 

Mr. Tavenner. Where did you serve while in the Army ? 

Mr. Thomas. In the European theater, mostly in France. 

Mr. Tavenner. I believe you have stated that you were discharged 
on December 6, 1945 ? 

Mr. Thomas. That is right. 

Mr. Tavenner. Did you then return to the city of Washington ? 

Mr. Thomas. I did. 

Mr. Tavenner. How long was it after your return before you 
became affiliated again with the Communist Party ? 

Mr. Thomas. I will be safe in saying it was within a month. It 
was within a month. 

Mr. Walter. The hearing will recess until 2 o'clock. 

(Thereupon, at 12: 15 p. m., a recess was taken until 2 p. m. of the 
same day.) 

afternoon session 

(The hearing was resumed at 2 p. m., Hon. Francis E. Walter 
presiding.) 

Mr. Walter. The committee will come to order. Mr. Tavenner, 
you may proceed. 

TESTIMONY OF HENRY THOMAS— Resumed 

Mr. Tavenner. Mr. Thomas, you were asked the question this 
morning by the chairman as to the names of the persons in the pro- 
fessional group who were known to you as members of the Com- 



COMMUNISM IN THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA 3191 

munist Party, and you started to tell us about an attorney in Balti- 
more; in fact, you said you knew the name of one person there, an 
attorney. 

Mr. Thomas. Yes. 

Mr. Tavenner. Was that person a member of the Communist 
Party, to your knowledge ? 

Mr. Thomas. I have seen him in some meetings, Communist 
meetings. 

Mr. Tavenner. "What were the circumstances under which the 
meetings were held ? What type of meetings were they ? 

Mr. Thomas. State committee meeting. 

Mr. Tavenner. State committee meeting ? 

Mr. Thomas. Yes. 

Mr. Tavenner. Was such a meeting open to persons who were not 
members of the Communist Party ? 

Mr. Thomas. No. 

Mr. Tavenner. What was the name of the person to whom you 
referred ? 

Mr. Thomas. All I knew at one time was Maurice, but since I have 
learned that it was Maurice Braverman. 

Mr. Tavennee. Braverman? 

Mr. Thomas. Braverman. 

Mr. Tavenner. Do you know the spelling of it ? 

Mr. Thomas. B-r-a-v-e-r-m-a-n. 

Mr. Tavenner. B-r-a-v-e-r-m-a-n? 

Mr. Thomas. Yes. 

Mr. Tavenner. I was asking about your return from the Army and 
y r our reamliation with the Communist Party at the noon recess. Will 
you tell us now the circumstances under which you reaffiliated with 
the Communist Party ? 

Mr. Thomas. I received my discharge on the 6th of December 1915, 
and the first couple of days I was out, of course, I was around the 
house and rested, and so on, and after that I made my first contact 
with Mary Stalcup. 

Mr. Tavenner. Mary who ? 

Mr. Thomas. Stalcup. 

Mr. Tavenner. S-t-a-1-c-u-p? 

Mr. Thomas. That is right. To the best of my knowledge she was 
the secretary or the treasurer of the Communist Party for the District 
of Columbia at that time. I contacted her to find out the where- 
abouts of Elizabeth Searle, who was the leader of the Communist Par- 
ty when I got out of the Army. 

Mr. Tavenner. Do you spell her name S-e-a-r-1-e ? 

Mr. Thomas. That is right. I arranged to meet her in the office of 
the Communist Party and I discussed with her the question of coming 
back into the Communist Party and she accepted my application and I 
was back in again. 

Mr. Moulder. What is the date of that, Mr. Thomas? 

Mr. Thomas. I really don't know, sir. Dates are a little mixed 
up. I cannot remember whether it was December or January. 
Mr. Moulder., Of what year ? 

Mr. Thomas. 1945 or 1946 ; it was in those years. 
Mr. Tavenner. Mr. Chairman, I have checked again with the rec- 
ord and for the committee's information I merely wanted to state that 



3192 COMMUNISM IN THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA 

Mr. Maurice Louis Braverman appeared before this committee as a 
witness and declined to answer questions relating to his alleged Com- 
munist Part} 7 membership. 

Now will you proceed? 

Mr. Thomas. After I was accepted into the Communist Party I was 
told to organize a branch of the Communist Party consisting of some 
of the fellows who were in with me before I went into the Army, if 
I could find them, and any new person that would want to come into 
the Communist Party ; in other words, to build a branch of the Com- 
munist Party, a new branch. 

Mr. Tavenner. Then tell just what occurred? 

Mr. Thomas. At that time Chambers, Ernest Chambers, was dis- 
charged from the Army and I got together with him, William Gray, 
my wife, Gladys Thomas, and I believe at that time Norris Hammond. 
I am not certain whether he came at that time of not, but he subsequent- 
ly was in that club, I know, and those are the people who formed this 
club. 

Mr. Tavenner. Who was the president of the club ? 

Mr. Thomas. I was the chairman. 

Mr. Tavenner. What was the name of the club ? 

Mr. Thomas. At that time it was just the Laborer's Club. 

(Hon. Burr P. Harrison entered hearing room.) 

Mr. Tavenner. Was Tom Sampler a member of that club ? 

Mr. Thomas. Subsequently he was a member. 

Mr. Tavenner. Did you confer with Tom Sampler prior to his 
coming into the club regarding his proposed membership? 

Mr. Thomas. I did. We had a series of discussions on it and, if I 
am permitted, I would like to go into those circumstances around 
that particular case. 

I met Tom Sampler, I believe it was, the 8th of January at the union 
hall for the first time to my knowledge. 

Mr. Tavenner. Union hall of what union ? 

Mr. Thomas. Of local union 74, the union that I am presently the 
president of, and we did not discuss anything about communism then 
or anything else. He had been a part of this rank and file committee 
that was set up in the union to clean out the racketeers, and so forth 
and so on, while I was in the Army. I did not know him before I met 
him in January of 1946. It went on ; we were very close friends and we 
would talk about different things and he joined the Socialist Party. 
I do not know what his reasons for joining the Socialist Party were, 
but he joined the Socialist Party sometime, I believe, in 1946 and he 
told me about it. I had literature and letters and so forth, around my 
house and he used to come over to my house and he would read this ma- 
terial and also read my mail and different things and he thought that 
we had some kind of a secret organization or something that he want- 
ed to get into, so he asked me about it, and the discussion went on for 
some time between the two of us of whether or not he was going to be- 
come a Communist or not. I suspected his attitude as not being what I 
thought a person who wanted to be a Communist should be, so I told 
him to go and talk to Bill Taylor. I believe this was in 1947. 

Mr. Tavenner. Is Bill Taylor the same person as William C. Tay- 
lor? 

Mr. Thomas. William C. Taylor. At that time he was chairman of 
the Communist Partv of the District of Columbia. 



COMMUNISM IN THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA 3193 

He went and talked to William Taylor and I think he had a couple 
of conferences with him and I was with him on one of those occasions 
and I told him to see Taylor for the purpose of letting Taylor straight- 
en him out on some things that he did not understand. He came back 
with the membership card of the Communist Party from Taylor. I do 
not remember whether I signed his card or not. I do not remember 
whether I signed it, but I do know that I sent him back with this card 
to Bill Taylor to tell him to turn it over to Bill Taylor, and those are 
the circumstances around that — Sampler coming into the Communist 
Party. 

Mr. Tavenner. What year was it that that occurred ? 

Mr. Thomas. This was in 1947, to the best of my knowledge. 

Mr. Tavenner. When you organized this new group of the Com- 
munist Party, you were then a member of the local union of which 
you are now the president? 

Mr. Thomas. That is right. 

Mr. Tavenner. Did you hold any office in the union at that time, 
in 1946? 

Mr. Thomas. I was elected as vice president to fill an unexpired 
term of one of the officers who had been killed in an accident. 

Mr. Tavenner. Were you a Communist at the time you were elected 
to that position of vice president ? 

Mr. Thomas. I was 

Mr. Tavenner. But at the time you became a Communist or re- 
affiliated with the Communist Party, you were not then an officer of 
that union? 

Mr. Thomas. No. 

Mr. Tavenner. Was Sampler an officer of the union at the time he 
united with your group of the Communist Party or was he a member 
of the union ? 

Mr. Thomas. He was a member of the union. 

Mr. Tavenner. But not an officer at the time he joined your Com- 
munist group? 

Mr. Thomas. I do not believe he was. 

Mr. Tavenner. You spoke of William Gray. Is that the same per- 
son as William McKinley Gray ? 

Mr. Thomas. No. This is William Gray. 

Mr. Tavenner. William Gray. Was William Gray a member of 
your union at the time that he came into your cell of the Communist 
Party? 

Mr. Thomas. Yes; he was. 

Mr. Tavenner. Did he hold any official position at that time or 
was he merely a rank and file member ? 

Mr. Thomas. He was not an officer. 

Mr. Tavenner. He was not an officer? 

Mr. Thomas. No, he was not an officer. 

Mr. Tavenner. Have you named any other persons who became 
member of that group with you in 1946? You have mentioned the 
names, I believe, of several who later became affiliated with your 
group ? 

Mr. Thomas. Yes. 

Mr. Tavenner. Will you give their names again — any of them that 
I have not just mentioned? 



3194 COMMUNISM IN THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA 

Mr. Thomas. Suppose I give the names of all of them that were in 
the group, as far as I can remember, from 1946 up until it disbanded. 
How would that be? 

Mr. Tavenner. That would be all right, 

Mr. Thomas. There was Henry Thomas, William Gray, Gladys 
Thomas, Thomas G. Sampler, Norris Hammond, Ernest Chambers, 
McKinley Gray, Leroy Coad. 

Mr. Tavenner. What was the name of the last one ? 

Mr. Thomas. Leroy Coad. 

Mr. Tavenner. C-o-a-d? 

Mr. Thomas. C-o-a-d. 

Mr. Tavenner. Leroy Coad? 

Mr. Thomas. Yes. 

Mr. Tavenner. All right. 

Mr. Thomas. And Thomas Waller. 

Mr. Tavenner. Are there any others now ? 

Mr. Thomas. I cannot think of them. 

Mr. Tavenner. Do you know Roy Wood ? 

Mr. Thomas. Yes, I know Roy Wood. 

Mr. Tavenner. Was he a member? 

Mr. Thomas. He was attached to it. He was attached to that club. 

Mr. Tavenner. How many of these persons were members of your 
local union ? 

Mr. Thomas. All of the men that I called except Roy Wood. 

Mr. Tavenner. Was Robert Paul also a member of your group of 
the Communist Party ? 

Mr. Thomas. No. I do not believe Robert Paul was -even in town 
then. 

Mr. Tavenner. Were any of these persons whose names you have 
just given us, those who were members of your cell of the Communist 
Party, officials of your union at the time they joined the party, or did 
some of them become officials after they joined the Communist Party ? 

Mr. Thomas. To the best of my knowledge, all of them became 
officials after they joined the Communist Party. 

Mr. Tavenner. Can you give the committee any reason for that? 

Mr. Thomas. I will do the best I can. This club was set up for the 
primary purpose of recruiting members from the union into the Com- 
munist Party, and if a person came into the Communist Party who had 
any qualifications for holding office, of course these people were en- 
couraged to run for office and to seek to win. 

Mr. Tavenner. Encouraged by whom? 

Mr. Thomas. Encouraged by the Communist Party, by the Com- 
munist Party leadership, whoever it happened to be. During that 
period of time I think there were three or four people who were in 
leadership in Washington. 

Mr. Tavenner. And how successful were the efforts of the Com- 
munist Party to have the members of this cell elected into official posi- 
tions in your union ? 

Mr. Thomas. Sir, I think that is self-evident, if any organization 
wanted to have its policies adopted, and so on, in another organiza- 
tion, it would infiltrate that organization and seek to keep posts and 
positions of influence. 

Mr. Walter. How many officials were there in the union ? 



COMMUNISM IN THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA 3195 

Mr. Thomas. You mean belonging to the Communist Party ? 

Mr. Walter. No, in all. 

Mr. Thomas. Sir, as near as I can get it, there were 17 positions 
open. 

Mr. Walter. How many of those were filled by Communists? 

Mr. Thomas. I can name them off to you. Maybe then we can get 
some place. Myself, Sampler 

Mr. Tavenner. Will you give the position that each occupied ? 

Mr. Thomas. Oh, yes. Henry Thomas, president. Ernest Cham- 
bers, vice president. Thomas G. Sampler, secretary-treasurer. 

Mr. Tavenner. They were the key posts, were they not ? 

Mr. Thomas. That is right. 

Mr. Tavenner. All right. 

Mr. Thomas. Norris Hammond, sergeant at arms. 

(Hon. John McSweeney entered hearing room.) 

Mr. Thomas. William Gray, business agent. 

Those are the Communists who were in leadership at that time. 

Mr. Tavenner. That means that all the members of your cell be- 
came officers of prominence in your union with the exception of Leroy 
Coad and Waller ? 

Mr. Thomas. McKinley Gray, I left him out. He was a member 
of the executive board for one term, but I did not consider myself a 
Communist when he was elected. 

Mr. Tavenner. Then that means there were only two members of 
your cell who were not officials at one time or another of this particular 
union other than Roy Wood, who was not a member of your union ? 

Mr. Thomas. Yes. 

Mr. Tavenner. You mentioned your wife, Gladys, as being a mem- 
ber of this same cell. Did she have any position with the union? 

Mr. Thomas. She was bookkeeper there for a while. 

Mr. Tavenner. Will you tell the committee just how this cell of 
the Communist Party functioned in connection with the official posi- 
tion of the members in the union? I do not know if I made that 
question plain. 

Mr. Thomas. I think I understand what you mean. 

Mr. Tavenner. All right. 

Mr. Thomas. I will start off by saying this, that not knowing just 
what we were into, we could only think in terms of the interests of the 
membership and the things we could do to help them, and so forth, 
and so on, but when we made a decision in that club to do something, 
we would fight and organize the members to fight for our position. 
When we were officers, of course, we would get our heads together and 
decide what we wanted to do and we just about would do it in practi- 
cally every case. Where there were two people, if Sampler and I de- 
cided to do something in that union, it was done, and that was the way 
we operated. The other people just naturally fell in line. It was only 
when we disagreed that the other people did not know which side to 
fall on. 

Mr. Tavenner. Did you have regular meetings of this cell of the 
Communist Party ? 

Mr. Thomas. We had regular meetings about 4 or 5 months after 
we were elected the first time in 1948, and we would make decisions 
in those meetings, but unless Sampler or myself pushed it, nothing 



3196 COMMUNISM IN THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA 

was really done about it. We were the people who decided what party- 
line would be followed in that union and which one would not be fol- 
lowed in that union, the two of us together. 

Mr. Tavenner. What was the membership of the local union ? 

Mr. Thomas. The total membership? 

Mr. Tavenner. Of 74. 

Mr. Thomas. At that time the membership was about 1,500. 

Mr. Tavenner. Did the rank and file of the membership know that 
you, as its president, were a member of the Communist Party at the 
time of the election ? 

Mr. Thomas. No. 

Mr. Tavenner. Or that Chambers, the vice president, was a mem- 
ber of the Communist Party ? 

Mr. Thomas. They did not know that any of them were members of 
the Communist Party with the exception of maybe a few people around 
there who knew. 

Mr. Tavenner. Was any effort made to keep that information se- 
cret from the rank and file of the membership ? 

Mr. Thomas. We tried every trick in the book to keep it away 
from them. 

Mr. Tavenner. In determining what the party line should be, that 
is, the Communist Party line, were you consulted by persons superior 
to you in the Communist Party ? 

Mr. Thomas. Yes, we had discussions with the leaders of the Com- 
munist Party both in the District of Columbia and on the state-wide 
scale. 

Mr. Tavenner. Tell the committee about those occasions, how 
they came about and how it was done. 

Mr. Thomas. I think I can make it much clearer by citing some 
examples. 

If there was going to be a convention or conference in some part 
of the country, word would come down from the national headquarters 
of the Communist Party to get as many unions and other organizations 
as possible to send delegates and representatives. This information 
was transferred to us either at the city committee meeting or if I was 
not at the city committee meeting they would be brought to me by the 
responsible officer in charge of the Communist Party or someone that 
he would send to me with this information. Basing our arguments 
on the justification for the conference in the union, we were successful 
in having the union to elect delegates to various conferences that had 
been called over a period of 2 or 3 years. 

I do not know whether I made myself clear or not. 

Mr. Tavenner. Yes ; I think you have. 

Mr. Thomas. But that is the way it worked. 

Mr. Tavenner. In other words, you imparted to the rank and file 
of the membership the same views and party lines that had been 
handed down to you from your superiors in the Communist Party. 

Mr. Thomas. That is right. 

Mr. Tavenner. And how long did that continue ? 

Mr. Thomas. That continued on an organized scale until the first 
part of 1949 or I would say the last part of 1948. Then a new system, 
of course, was worked out. 

Mr. Tavenner. Tell us about the new system. 



COMMUNISM IX THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA 3197 

Mr. Thomas. This club had disintegrated during this time and we 
were not attending meetings so there was no way for us to hear a report 
of this type concentrated, so arrangements were made to meet people 
at places, have people come down to the hall at times, and I guess the 
way it was arranged, it was arranged in individual meetings. Some- 
times they would seek me out, and I was getting tired of it at this 
time. Of course I was kind of getting tired of being seen in the com- 
pany with these people and I stopped seeking them out and they 
started seeking me out after a certain period, but it would always get 
this information coming from the top and let it come right on down 
to the bottom and it would end up in the rank and file. This is the 
way it was. Individuals would come to me and tell me what they 
wanted or tell Sampler what to do, and Sampler and I would get 
together and Ave would influence the executive board to our way of 
thinking and the executive board would recommend it to the member- 
ship and it would go over. That was very simple. 

Mr. Tavexxer. Who were those individuals who imparted the 
party line to you and to Sampler? 

Mr. Thomas. Philip Frankfeld, the chairman of the Maryland 
Communist Party. 

Mr. Tavexxer. Philip Frankfeld; is that correct? F-r-a-n-k-f-e-1-d? 

Mr. Thomas. I believe that is the way you spell his name. 

Mr. Tavexxer. What position did he hold in the Communist Party? 

Mr. Thomas. Chairman of the Maryland-District of Columbia 
Communist Party. 

Mr. Tavexxer. You mean the head of the district comprised of 
Maryland and the District of Columbia? 

Mr. Thomas. That is correct, and he would see me and William 
C. Taylor would see me and talk to me or talk to Sampler and me 
together or talk to Sampler and then Sampler would tell me what 
was said. It was very seldom they would talk to any of the lesser 
officers or any of the other people there unless it was to bring a 
message to us. I would say that the rest of the people were messen- 
gers for Sampler and I more or less. They would tell us what to do 
and we would tell them what to do and they would go ahead and do it. 
That is just the way it worked out. 

Mr. Tavexxer. You. referred to Roy Wood as being one of the 
members of your Communist branch or cell but that he was not a 
member of your union. I believe you said he was attached to your 
branch. 

Mr. Thomas. He was assigned to it, and I wanted to go into that, 
too, because I think it is very important. 

When lie was assigned, he came over here to take over William C. 
Taylor's position. William C. Taylor was leaving for California, 
I believe, at that time, and as soon as he came in the door and the 
word was spoken that he was to be assigned to that club, then my 
wife and Bill Taylor got into a big fight. I do not think we even 
had a meeting because she objected strenuously to his coming in. 
She will have to tell you the reasons. We could not meet at my house 
any more after that. We had to find some other place to meet. 

Mr. Tavenner. What other places did you meet than your house 
from 1946 on? 

Mr. Thomas. We met at Thomas Sampler's house. We met at 
Ernest Chambers' house. We met one time in Thomas Waller's apart- 

76461— 50— pt. 2 3 



3198 COMMUNISM IN THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA 

ment at the Dunbar Hotel. Then I think we ran out of places to 
meet and we met in an automobile one night because it was a little 
too cold to go to a park. 

Mr. Tavenner. Did you ever meet in the union hall ? 

Mr. Thomas. We attempted to meet there once. I remember we 
were not too successful in meeting there because there were too many 
people coming in and out of the place. We attempted to meet there 
one time and I think we got about halfway through our meeting 
and realized we could not meet there. 

Mr. Tavenner. Continuing with your description of Roy Wood, 
what position was it that he held in the Communist Party after 
William C. Taylor left for the west coast ? 

Mr. Thomas. If my memory serves me right, he was elected chair- 
man of the Communist Party. 

Mr. Tavenner. Is that for the city of Washington ? 

Mr. Thomas. Yes. 

Mr. Tavenner. Do you know who occupies that position now ? 

Mr. Thomas. No ; I do not. I guess he does. The last I read about 
it in the paper, he was the chairman. 

Mr. Tavenner. At these Communist Party meetings which you 
have described, did you have Communist Party literature for distri- 
bution to the members? 

Mr. Thomas. Yes, we did. 

Mr. Tavenner. How was that handled? 

Mr. Thomas. I guess what you might call in the Army the Table of 
Organization, we were supposed to have had a director who would 
contact the secretary of the Communist Party and obtain this litera- 
ture and be responsible to the club, but I remember I handled most of 
it and there were two or three other people handling it. It was a very 
worrisome job and nobodv wanted it because there was a lot of trouble 
to it and you had to keep track of money. I handled it for a while 
myself. 

Mr. Tavenner. Who collected the dues? 

Mr. Thomas. The dues were collected through the secretary which 
was my wife for quite a while, and after this fight took place between 
my wife and William C. Taylor, and over several matters, she quit. 
She decided to quit and we had to find somebody else, so we elected 
Norris Hammond, but he never really served in that capacity. He 
was not able to fill that job and I also had to do that, too, and the 
whole thing finally ended up on my shoulders. 

Mr. Tavenner. What type meetings did you hold besides those you 
have already described? 

Mr. Thomas. You mean the club? 

Mr. Tavenner. Yes. 

Mr. Thomas. The regular club meetings. I might not follow what 
you want. 

Mr. Tavenner. Did you have guest lecturers there at any time? 

Mr. Thomas. Oh, yes. Some of the leading officials of the Commu- 
nist Party of the city would come down and lecture to us and lead dis- 
cussions. 

Mr. Tavenner. Tell us who some of those people were. 

Mr. Thomas. I was just trying to remember one. I was trying to 
think of him the other day. I have not thought of the name, unfnr- 



COMMUNISM IN THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA 3199 

tunately, yet, but I know the leaders of the Communist Party came 
down. Bill Taylor led several discussions. I cannot recall exactly 
who it was. 

Mr. Tavenner. Do you remember a person by the name of James 
Branca ? 

Mr. Thomas. Oh, yes. Yes ; I remember him. 

Mr. Tavenner. James Pasquale Branca? 

Mr. Thomas. Yes ; I remember him. 

Mr. Tavenner. Did he attend your branch meeting at any time? 

Mr. Thomas. Let me answer that this way, so that I can be on safe 
ground. I am quite certain that he did but it kind of escapes me right 
now. 

Mr. Tavenner. Do you know whether or not he is a member of the 
Communist Party? 

Mr. Thomas. Yes, he is a member of the Communist Party. He 
was. I don't know what he is now. 

Mr. Tavenner. Have you ever attended a lecture given by him? 

Mr. Thomas. I have heard him speak many times. Just a plain lec- 
ture, I do not know exactly what you mean. 

Mr. Tavenner. I will not draw the distinction between a speech and 
a lecture. 

Do you know Ray Pinkson ? 

Mr. Thomas. Yes, I know him. 

Mr. Tavenner. Did you ever attend a lecture or were you present 
at a speech made by him ? 

Mr. Thomas. I am quite certain also that he was one of the people 
who lectured to my club. 

Mr. Tavenner. Do you know whether or not he was a member of the 
Communist Party ? 

Mr. Thomas. He would not have been lecturing to my club if he had 
not been. I hate to put it that rudely but 

Mr. Tavenner. How was he employed, do you know ? 

Mr. Thomas. He seemed to have quite a bit of money. I think he 
was an electrician by trade. He was working for some electrical 
company. 

Mr. Tavenner. Do you know the name of the electrical company 
with which he was connected or associated? 

Do not guess about it if you do not know. 

Mr. Thomas. There were three of them that he used to work for, 
see, so I would not want to call the wrong one. 

Mr. Tavenner. Were you acquainted with a person by the name of 
Casey or Clarence Gurewitz ? 

Mr. Thomas. I knew him. 

Mr. Tavenner. Do you know which is his correct name ? 

Mr. Thomas. I think it is Clarence. He uses both of them. 

Mr. Tavenner. Was he, to your knowledge, a member of the Com- 
munist Party ? 

Mr. Thomas. Oh, yes, and incidentally I would like to say that I 
believe that this gentleman was the Gilbert that was referred to later 
on a while back. I think he is the same one. 
Mr. Tavenner. Have you been acquainted with William S. Johnson ? 

Mr. Thomas. I have. 



3200 COMMUNISM IX THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA 

Mr. Tavenner. Was he a member of the Communist Party, to your 
knowledge ? 

Mr. Thomas. Yes, he was. 

Mr. Tavenner. When did you first become acquainted with him ? 
(Hon. Morgan M. Moulder left hearing room.) 

Mr. Thomas. I cannot remember whether it was before I went into 
the Army or after I came out. 

Mr. Tavenner. Do you know where he lived? 

Mr. Thomas. He lived on Twenty-fourth Street, the 500 block, sir. 
Mr. Tavenner. You referred a few minutes ago to a Mary Stalcup 
as being the person that you saw immediately upon your return from 
the service. Do you know what positions she has held in the Com- 
munist Party ? 

Mr. Thomas. She was the treasurer and the person that handled 
all the money and was in charge pretty much of all the literature, 
and so on. I know all the money went through her, all that I ever 
turned in. 

Mr. Tavenner. When the dues were collected, what disposition was 
made of them? 

Mr. Thomas. They were turned over to her. 
Mr. Tavenner. To whom? 
Mr. Thomas. To Mary Stalcup. 

Mr. Tavenner. Do you know what disposition she made of the 
money ? 

Mr. Thomas. She was supposed to put it in the bank. I think they 
had a bank account at that time. 

Mr. Tavenner. Do you know where that bank accouiit was held, in 
what bank? 

Mr. Thomas. American — the bank on the corner of Ninth and F, 
on the southwest corner. 

Mr. Tavenner. Do you know the name under which the account 
was handled? 

Mr. Thomas. I do not know. I think it was handled under the 
name of the Communist Party itself. 

Mr. Tavenner. I asked you a question a little while ago about a 
man by the name of Robert Paul. Did you say he was not a member 
of your club in the beginning ? 
Mr. Thomas. No, he was not. 
Mr. Tavenner. Did he become a member later? 
Mr. Thomas. I do not remember him ever becoming a member of 
the club as such. 

Mr. Tavenner. Was he a member of the Communist Party? 
Mr. Thomas. Yes, he was. 

Mr. Tavenner. Do you know to what club he did belong or what 
branch or cell ? 

Mr. Thomas. I would be afraid to say as to that. I really do not 
know. 

Mr. Tavenner. How do you know, then, that he was a member of 
the party? 

Mr. Thomas. As often as he was around the office and we used to 
meet in the city committee meetings, and, well, I know that. I mean 
there is no doubt about that. I know he was a member of the Com- 
munist Party. 



COMMUNISM IN THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA 3201 

Mr. Tavenner. When you say you met with him at the city com- 
mittee meetings, you mean the city committee of the Communist 
Party? 

Mr. Thomas. Yes, that is right. 

Mr. Tavenner. Was that meeting open to persons other than mem- 
bers of the Communist Party? 

Mr. Thomas. No. You may have been something else but you cer- 
tainly had a card or you were known as a Communist before you got 
in there. 

Mr. Tavenner. Was he a member of the Communist Party at the 
time he obtained employment with your union ? 

Mr. Thomas. That is a question, sir, that I would like to explain, 
if you do not mind. 

I knew Bob Paul before he left Washington before the war, before 
I went into the Army. He was a member then of the Young Com- 
munist League, and I think he went out West for his health and stayed 
out there for a while and came back in the year 1948. 

x\fter I was elected president, I saw him for the first time and he 
did not have a job and he had a wife and two children to support and 
he had not been in town very long. I knew he had been a member of 
the Communist Party but at that particular time I had never met with 
him as a member of the Communist Party when I proposed his name 
to the executive board for the job of bookkeeper. 

Mr. Tavenner. Was he later expelled from the union ? 

Mr. Thomas. No. 

Mr. Tavenner. Was he discharged from his job as bookkeeper? 

Mr, Thomas. J will put it this way : I asked him, in fact, I told him 
to quit. I told him to quit. 

(Hon. Francis E. Walter left hearing room.) 

Mr. Tavenner. Do you recall whether a resolution was offered be- 
fore the union to ask for the resignation of Kobert Paul as book- 
keeper? 

Mr. Thomas. I do not remember any such resolution. 

Mr. Tavenner. Do you know whether his discharge as bookkeeper 
was advocated by Sampler ? 

Mr. Thomas. At the time of his discharge, no. There was one time 
Sampler advocated his discharge. 

Mr. Tavenner. That was before he actually resigned ? 

Mr. Thomas. That is right. 

This is exactly what happened, and I want it clearly understood. 
Sampler advocated Paul's resignation. I fought against it. Later on 
the business agents, William Gray, S. M. Leake, and I believe William 
Shields was in on this one — they were all demanding to me that Paul 
resign or ^et out of there. They did not want him around any more, 
and I went to Paul and I told Paul to resign from the union because 
he was causing too much confusion among the officers and the mem- 
bers, and at this time I would like to say at the time that Sampler 
advocated firing Paul — he had made up with Paul at this time and 
he was still meeting with Paul and discussing things with Paul, and 
Sampler came to the executive board meeting and recommended that 
Paul be given an indefinite leave of absence because he had to go away 
for his health or something. These are the words coming out of 
Sampler's mouth. Paul was subsequently released and Chambers was 
brought into the office to replace Paul. 



3202 COMMUNISM IN THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA 

Mr. Tavenner. What was the origin of the trouble regarding Robert 
Paul? 

Mr. Thomas. I do not know what differences Sampler had with 
Paul. My office is on one side of the building and the two of them 
worked in the other office. 

Mr. Tavenner. Mr. Leake, who was a business agent, likewise was 
dissatisfied with Robert Paul, was he not? 

Mr. Thomas. Yes. He did not like it because Paul was too close to 
Sampler and Brother Leake came to me and told me that he felt that 
Paul should get out of there because he and Sampler were trying to 
take the union over. Whether that was true or not I do not know, but 
I do know that Sampler and Paul were pretty thick, and one of the 
reasons that Leake and Sampler got into an argument one time was 
over this question of Paul. 

Mr. Taveeqster. When the argument with regard to the resignation 
of Robert Paul reached its hottest point, was someone from Baltimore 
called in to try to settle the whole proposition? 

Mr. Thomas. Yes. 

Mr. Tavenner. Who was that? 

Mr. Thomas. Frankfeld came in. Philip Frankfeld came in. 

Mr. Tavenner. Frankfeld, the head of the Communist Party for 
the district comprised of Maryland and the District of Columbia? 

Mr. Thomas. That is right. 

I would like to make another statement right now to this effect, that 
at this time there were two fights going on. There was a fight going 
on between Sampler and I over a different matter than this Paul matter 
altogether and Paul happened to be an incidental thing in this. 

Sampler wanted Paul fired for reasons of his own and I do not 
believe that they were political reasons. They were other reasons, 
personal reasons, or something. I think Paul was discovering certain 
shortages, and so forth, that were existing in the books at that time, 
and Sampler wanted to get rid of him by that method. But there were 
two reasons for Franfeld coming there. One was to get Sampler and 
me together and stop the fighting between the two of us and to see 
to it that Paul stayed there if it was possible for him to stay there. 

This is the line of discussion that took place, and I am trying to be as 
frank as I can about the whole matter. 

Mr. Tavenner. Who asked Frankfeld to come to Washington to 
have this meeting? 

Mr. Thomas. I was told that he was coming to discuss these matters 
that were cropping up about Bob Paul and I did not disagree with it 
and Sampler did not disagree with it, so when he came in we talked 
about it. 

Mr. Tavenner. And then did you and Sampler do what Frankfeld 
directed or suggested? 

Mr. Thomas. Yes, sir ; we did it. 

Mr. Tavenner. And what w r as that? 

Mr. Thomas. Number one, we kept Paul and we got together on a 
program that Frankfeld had submitted to both of us to see what we 
could do in the union about it. That was calling a conference on the 
unemployment situation in Washington. One, I was supposed to 
send out a call to it and some other meeting was being arranged 
around that time that w r e discussed. I do not remember what it was. 



COMMUNISM IN THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA 3203 

Mr. Tavenner. What was the approximate date when Frankfeld 
came and met with you and Sampler and Eobert Paul \ 

Mr. Thomas. I believe it was the last part of February or it was 
in February or March. I cannot remember now just which month 
it was. It was in the wintertime, I remember that. 

Mr. Tavenner. Of what year ? 

Mr. Thomas. Of this year. 

Mr. Tavenner. Of 11)50? 

Mr. Thomas. Of 1950. 

Mr. Tavenner. I was asking about the names of various people who 
were identified with the Communist Party and I would like to con- 
tinue that. 

Were you acquainted with Shirley Taylor ? 

Mr. Thomas. I was. 

Mr. Tavenner. Did yon ever attend a Communist Party meeting 
with her? 

Mr. Thomas. I am sure I did but just where I cannot remember 
right off. 

Mr. Tavenner. Was she the wife of William C. Taylor? 

Mr. Thomas. That is right. 

Mr. Tavenner. After your return from the Army and after you 
became active, as you have described, in this new cell, did you at- 
tend any committee meetings of the city council or the city commit- 
tee of the Communist Party in Washington ? 

Mr. Thomas. I did, but it so happened that the meeting of the city 
committee of the Communist Party fell on the same night of my 
union meeting, so that was a choice between my union meeting and 
the city committee, and as a result I did not attend too many city com- 
mittee meetings, but I did attend quite a few. 

Mr. Tavenner. Who was the chairman of these meetings usually? 

Mr. Thomas. Elizabeth Searle at that time was the chairman. 

Mr. Tavenner. Did you ever have occasion to attend a district com- 
mittee meeting? 

Air. Thomas. I did. 

Mr. Tavenner. Composed of the district of Maryland and the Dis- 
trict of Columbia ? 

Mr. Thomas. I did. 

]\Ir. Tavenner. Will you tell us about that ? 

Mr. Thomas. It is a little hazy. Those lectures were pretty long 
and a report would usually take up an hour, an hour and a half, and 
sometimes 2 hours, and by the time you would get to the discussion 
periods you were so worn out that there was not too much discussion 
that you could do. I cannot tell you specifically right offhand what 
was discussed at each one of them because I did not take any mental 
notes at that time. 

Mr. Tavenner. Do you recall who attended any of the district 
committee meetings with you in Baltimore ? 

Mr. Thomas. Oh, at that time, Elizabeth Searle, Mary Stalcup, 
Johnson — William S. Johnson — and just who the other people are, 
I would have to refresh my memory on it. 

Mr. Tavenner. Do you recall the names of any persons from Balti- 
more who were present at those district meetings or any of them? 

Mr. Thomas. At that time, or at subsequent dates ? 

Mr. Tavenner. At any time. 



3204 COMMUNISM IN THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA 

Mr. Thomas. Al Lannon, State chairman then. 

Mr. Tavexxkr. L-a-n-n-o-n? 

Mr. Thomas. Yes. I was not too familiar with the people from 
Baltimore at that time, but I know Al Lannon because he was before 
I left for the Army, he came in to take somebody's place who went 
to the Army from Baltimore. 

Mr. Tavenner. See if you can recall the names of any others. 

Mi\ Thomas. I am afraid 1 am not too familiar with those people 
from Baltimore, the names of the people from Baltimore. 

Mr. Tavenxer. Let me ask you if you remember Dr. Albert Blum- 
berg ? 

Mr. Thomas. Oh, yes, I remember him. 

Mr. Tavexxer. Dr. Albert B-1-u-m-b-e-r-g. 

Mr. Thomas. Yes, I remember him. 

Mr. Tavexxer. In what way do you remember him ? 

Mr. Thomas. He used to be secretary of the Communist Party of 
Maryland and the District of Columbia. 

Mr. Tavexxer. Was he in attendance at any of these meetings which 
you say you attended? 

Mi*. Thomas. Yes, he was, but he did not attend all of those meetings 
because I think his job took him out of the State quite a bit. I do not 
know exactly what job he held. 

Mr. Tavexxer. Do you know by whom he was employed? 

Mr. Thomas. He was employed by the Communist Party. 

Mr. Tavexxer. You mean the trips he took were in conjunction 
with his work in the Communist Party ? 

Mr. Thomas. I would say so. He was a lecturer or .something. I 
do not know exactly what his job was. 

Mr. Tavexxer. Do you remember the names of any of the persons 
who gave lectures at those meetings in Maryland? 

Mr. Thomas. I started telling you. I might start telling you the 
wrong people, but most of the national committee came down indi- 
vidually, of course, and talked occasionally. 

Mr. Tavexxer. Was Steve Nelson one of them or not, do you 
recall ? 

Mr. Thomas. Steve Nelson was down in 1948, I believe it was, and 
Steve Nelson was down with— — no, that was Albertson down with 
Gannett. I do not remember when Steve Nelson was down. 

Mr. Tavexxer. Do you recall that Steve Nelson came down to the 
district and gave a lecture or not? 

Mr. Thomas. Right off I would be afraid to say. If my mind was 
refreshed a little bit more I could 

Mr. Harrisox. The subcommittee will take a 5-minute recess at this 
point. 

(A short recess was taken.) 

Mr. Harrisox. The committee will adjourn until 10 o'clock tomor- 
row morning. 

(Thereupon, at 3 : 30 p. m., Wednesday, December 6, 1950, the hear- 
ing was adjourned until Thursday, December 7, 1950, at 10 a. m. On 
December 7, the hearing was postponed until December 11, 1950.) 



HEARINGS REGARDING COMMUNISM IN THE DISTRICT 
OF COLUMBIA— PART 2 



monday, december 11, 1950 

United States House of Representatives, 

s 1 bc( >m mittee of the 
Committee on Un-American Activities, 

Washington, D. C. 

PUBLIC HEARING 

A subcommittee of the Committee on Un-American Activities met, 
pursuant to adjournment, at 10:20 a. m., in room 226, Old House 
Office Building-, Hon. Francis E. Walter presiding. 

Committee members present: Representatives Francis E. Walter, 
Burr P. Harrison, John McSweeney (arriving as noted), Harold H. 
Wide (arriving as noted), and Bernard W. Kearney. 

Staff' members present : Frank S. Tavenner. Jr., counsel ; Courtney 
E. Owens, and James A. Andrews, investigators; John W. Carring- 
ton, clerk ; and A. S. Poore, editor. 

Mr. Walter. The meeting will come to order. The witness has 
been sworn. Proceed, Mr. Tavenner. 

TESTIMONY OF HENRY THOMAS— Resumed 

Mr. Tavenner. Mr. Thomas, are you familiar with the Negro com- 
mission of the State Communist Party, that is, its organizational make- 
up and its purposes? 

Mr. Thomas. I was on that commission for a while, and the things 
that we talked about were dealing with the union activities of Com- 
munists who were in unions, and it was mostly plans. 

Mr. Tavenner. That was a section of the Communist Party? 

Mr. Thomas. That is right. 

Mr. Tavfnxer. When were you on that commission? 

Mr. Thomas. I can't remember. It was not too long after I came 
out of the Army. I know, but the dates, I can't remember that. 

Mr. Tavenner. Was that a district commission, city commission, 
or what ■ On what level was that commission ? 

Mr. Thomas. I think we had two. We had one on the State-wide 
level and one on a city-wide level. 

Mr. Tavenner. When you speak of State-wide, do you refer to the 
district composed of the State of Maryland and the District of 
Columbia? 

Mr. Thomas. That is right. 

Mr. Tavenner. Who were other persons on that commission with 
you? 

3205 



3206 COMMUNISM IN THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA 

Mr. Thomas. Offhand I can remember four people, There was 
Meyers. . 

Mr. Tavenxer. Can you give his full name? If yon are uncertain 
of his first name, can yon identify him by some further descriptive 
information? 

Mr. Thomas. Well, he was a former president of one of the unions 
in the district, and he is a very heavy man, and I understand has a 
very excellent record in the Army. He went in the Army and came 
outabout 1946, I believe. I didn't know him personally, so to speak, 
but I did know he was at one time the head of one of the unions. 

Mr. Tavenner. Can you identify the union ? 

Mr. Thomas. It was a union in Cumberland. 

Mr. Tavenner. Cumberland? 

Mr. Thomas. Cumberland, Md. ; one of the unions up there. It 
has been a long time. 

Mr. Tavenner. Do you know any others? You said there were 
four, I believe. 

Mr. Thomas. To my knowledge there were four. There was 
Meyers ; William S. Johnson was there for a while ; and the woman 
that died; and myself. I know we were there. 

Mr. Tavenner. Was the person to whom you referred as having 
died Elsie Smith ? 

Mr. Thomas. That is right. 

Mr. Tavenner. Do you know anything about the present occupa- 
tion or whereabouts atthis time of the person by the name of Meyers 
that you referred to. 

Mr. Thomas. I haven't seen Meyers in over 18 months until the 
other day. I saw him in here. 

Mr. Tavenner. He was here in this hearing room when you testi- 
fied before? 

Mr. Thomas. That is right. 

Mr. Tavenner. Do you know about where he was sitting in this 
room ? 

Mr. Thomas. When I saw him he was standing near the door. 

Mr. Tavenner. Describe a little more fully the functioning of this 
commission ? 

Mr. Thomas. Our job was to outline plans of how to increase the 
membership of the Communist Party in the various trade-union organ- 
izations; to work up preliminary programs that would be suggested 
to the people who were working in these organizations, to be carried 
out to the best of their ability ; and anything that would happen in 
the unions that the people who happened to be working in the unions 
couldn't settle, this commission's job was to try to figure out ways and 
means of settling these things for the people working in the unions, 
to solve their problems. That is the best of my knowledge right now 
of what that commission did. 

Mr. Tavenner. Do you recall attending a meeting of the Negro 
commission of the State Communist Party at Baltimore in January 
1946, at which you made a report? 

Mr. Thomas. I made a report at quite a few of those meetings. If 
you got it down there, I guess I did. I couldn't tell you what I said, 
though. 

Mr. Tavenner. Do you recall making a report regarding veterans' 
affairs, on a veterans' meeting which von had attended in New York ? 



COMMUNISM IN THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA 3207 

Mr. Thomas. Since you mention that, I guess I did. 

Mr. Tavenner. What was this meeting in New York which you 
attended ? 

Mr. Thomas. I attended a series of meetings up there. Incidentally, 
I would like to say I didn't go to New York for the purpose of attend- 
ing these meetings. After I got up there I heard they were taking 
place and I went, and I happened to be the only person from the 
district that was there. At that time William Taylor had not been 
assigned to this district, I went to New York to see some friends, 
actual^, and I bumped into Taylor, and he took me to these meet- 
ings. One meeting was held in the center of the Communist Party ; 
I remember that. Another meeting, a semireception, was given at the 
Theresa Hotel, and I was there. 

Mr. Tavenner. What was the character of these meetings? 

Mr. Thomas. It was preliminary stages, trying to establish a vet- 
erans' organization, to the best of my knowledge. It was carried from 
the Theresa Hotel to the YMCA, and a committee was established there. 
I think my name was on the call that went out. Everybody who was 
there, their name went on the call that went out, calling for a con- 
vention that was held some place. I didn't go, I know. It was in 
Chicago or Detroit or some place, I don't remember where. When I 
came back here I imagine I made a report, I don't remember now. 

Mr. Tavenner. You say the purpose of this New York meeting was 
to establish a veterans' organization? 

Mr. Thomas. Yes. The preliminary plans were laid out. 

Mr. Tavenner. What kind of veterans' organization ? 

Mr. Thomas. A veterans' organization that would mainly include 
Negroes, but anybody could join if they wanted to. It was just to get 
the veterans in an organization that were not in the other bona fide 
veterans organizations. 

Mr. Tavenner. To what extent, if any, were members of the Com- 
munist Party involved in the establishment of that organization? 

Mr. Thomas. Well, since they initiated the whole thing, I think I 
can say that they were right in on it, but after they elected the leaders 
of the national organization, I couldn't see any Communists on top. 
I didn't see any on top. I remember three people who were on top, 
and I didn't know any of these people, and none of these people, except 
one, was at these meetings in New York, and that was at the Theresa 
Hotel meeting, and that was George Murphy, and if George Murphy 
is a Communist, I don't know it. Kenneth Kennedy was elected presi- 
dent of this United Negro and Allied Veterans of America, and Win- 
ston Edwards was elected treasurer, I believe. These people, to the 
best of my knowledge, I could not say they were Communists. 

Mr. Tavenner. You say the movement was initiated by the Com- 
munist Party ? 

Mr. Thomas. It was. 

Mr. Tavenner. Tell us more about that, 

Mr. Thomas. All I know is that there was a meeting called of 
Communist veterans in New York. I don't know if it was called 
Nation-wide or just for the people living in New York, but a dis- 
cussion took place. I was late getting in for the discussion. Then 
there was going to be a meeting that evening at the Theresa Hotel, 
and we went there and had dinner, and there were quite a few min- 



3208 COMMUNISM IN THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA 

isters there and prominent people in Harlem, and there were long 
discussions, and so on, that took place, and it was agreed that these 
people would be the initial sponsors. 

The next evening — I believe it was the next evening: it was one 
evening — there was a very large meeting at the YMCA. It was on 
One Hundred and Twenty-sixth or One Hundred and Thirty-sixth 
Street. I don't remember the address of the YMCA now. That is 
easy to locate. There were quite a number of people there. To the 
best of my knowledge there was quite a bit of disagreement at that 
meeting. I know that, because there was something I disagreed 
with, and I spoke on that. It wasn't on the program, though; it 
was on what the name would be and where it would be set up, and 
so on. It is not too clear to me what happened. 

Mr. Tavenner. What name was adopted, do you recall ? 

Mr. Thomas. To my knowledge no name was adopted in New York. 
The name was adopted at that convention, wherever it was held, in 
Detroit or Chicago. 

Mr. Tavenner. What name was finally adopted I 

Mr. Thomas. United Negro and Allied Veterans of America. 

Mr. Walter. Who were the officers of that organization ? 

Mr. Thomas. Winston Edwards; George Murphy was the adju- 
tant, I believe; and one fellow I never have seen in my life, Kenneth 
Kennedy. They were the three top officers of the organization. 

Mr. Walter. Do you remember any other members of the 
organization ? 

Mr. Thomas. I would be afraid to call the names of anybody else. 
That was a pretty good while ago. The names of tlve officers were 
published, so that they would be very easy to get, 

Mr. Walter. Are they known to you to be Communists ? 

Mr. Thomas. Some of them are. 

(Hon. John McSweeney and Hon. Harold H. Velde enter hear- 
ing room.) 

Mr. Walter. Which ones ? 

Mr. Thomas. I don't know which ones are in it now. 

Mr. Tavenner. Do you recall whether this was the same organiza- 
tion which met at Turner's Arena in May 1947 and was addressed 
by William Z. Foster and Eugene Dennis ? 

Mr. Thomas. That is not the same meeting. 

Mr. Tavenner. That is not the same group ? 

Mr. Thomas. No. That was the Communist Veterans Encamp- 
ment, I believe it was called. 

Mr. Tavenner. I desire now to ask you about additional persons 
who may have been known to you to be active in the Communist Party. 
Did you know an individual by the name of Al Lannon ? 

Mr. Thomas. Yes. I knew him before I went in the Army. 

Mr. Tavenner. What position did he hold, if any, in the Communist 
Party? 

Mr. Thomas. When I went in the Army he was secretary of the 
Maryland-District of Columbia Communist Party. 

Mr. Tavenner. Of the district organization ? 

Mr. Thomas. That is right. 

Mr. Tavenner. Do you know how long he remained in that 
position ? 



COMMUNISM m THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA 3209 

Mr. Thomas. I don't remember offhand: a year or so, I think. 
Somebody, I believe, went in the Army and he took his place. 

Mr. Tavexxer. Were you acquainted with Gertrude Evans? 

Mr. Thomas. Yes. 

Mr. Tavexxer. What position, if any, did she hold in the Commu- 
nist Party? 

Mr. Thomas. I don't remember her holding any position. 

Mr. Tavexxer. Was she on any committee of any character? 

Mr. Thomas. She was on the Trade Union Commission for a while, 
but her contributions were nil and I think she dropped out herself. 

Mr. Tavexxer. When you speak of the Trade Union Commission, 
describe that organization further. Was it a branch of the Communist 
Party or not ? 

Mr. Thomas. It was part of the Communist Party. It consisted of 
the most active people in the unions in the Communist Party. 

Mr. Tavexxer. Did you become acquainted with a person by the 
name of Pettis Perry ? 

Mr. Thomas. I did. 

Mr. Tavexxer. Tell us what you know about that individual. 

Mr. Thomas. I can't tell you too much except that I met with him 
on several occasions. He is a person that you probably couldn't get 
mad at if you met him. He is a very congenial type of person. If he 
is shrewd, I could never detect any shrewdness on his part. He was in 
charge of minorities, I believe, for the national committee of the 
Communist Party, and I used to see him and talk to him about the 
problems of the Xegro people, and so forth. 

Mr. Tavexxer. Do you recall whether he addressed any group of the 
Communist Party in the District of Columbia ? 

Air. Thomas. I remember him addressing a group, but I don't know 
what he was talking about. Very frankly, I don't remember what he 
said. I would like to say something right along here. I attended 
thousands of meetings during the time I was in the Communist Party, 
and one meeting just doesn't stand out like a sore thumb unless some- 
thing happened at that meeting to me, and it is hard for me to get my 
thoughts together when we speak of just one meeting. 

Mr. Tavexxer. Do you know in what city he lived? 

Mr. Thomas. The last time I knew anything about him, or saw him, 
he was living in Xew York City. 

Mr. Tavexxer. You have testified about attending a Communist 
Party school prior to your going into the service. Did you have 
occasion to attend a school after you came back from the Army? 

Mr. Thomas. I did. 

Mr. Tavexxer. Tell the committee how it occurred that you at- 
tended this second school. 

Mr. Thomas. Well, I didn't have any idea that there was a school 
being planned at that time, and I didn't have enough money to take 
off for 6 weeks and go to school anyway, but when the proposition was 
put to me that I had been chosen by the leaders of the District Com- 
munist Party and the Communist Party in the city of Washington to 
go to attend that school, I had to first discuss with them the question 
of leaving my family and so on without any means of eating and 
sleeping and so on. It was u sacrifice to go on my part. When I agreed 
to go they agreed to pay my expenses up there and back and said that 
I would be maintained while I was up there. 



3210 COMMUNISM IN THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA 

I can't remember whether we had to fill blanks out before we left 
here or after we got up there. I know we had to fill some blanks out. 
I don't remember what was on the blanks now. 

I stayed up there until my father-in-law died, and I had to come 
back to Washington. That was about 2^2 weeks after I got there. I 
stayed here about a week and a half and then went back. It was 
pretty close to Christmas. 

Mr. Tavenner. Who consulted you about attending this school, and 
who recommended you for it? 

Mr. Thomas. Elizabeth Searle, to the best of my knowledge, and I 
think William C. Taylor was here at that time and he recommended 
that I go. 

Mr. Tavenner. YVTiat positions did they hold at that time, if you 
know ? 

Mr. Thomas. I believe Taylor was chairman and Elizabeth Searle 
was secretary. 

Mr. Tavenner. Of the Communist Party ? 

Mr. Thomas. Of the Communist Party of the District of Columbia. 

Mr. Tavenner. Where was this school held ? 

Mr. Thomas. Outside of New York City, up in the Adirondacks 
near Beacon, N. Y. 

Mr. Tavenner. How many people were in attendance at this school ? 

Mr. Thomas. That would be hard to say, but I would put it around 
25 or 30. 

Mr. Tavenner. From what section of the country did they come? 

Mr. Thomas. As far west as Nebraska, and throughout the east 
coast. 

Mr. Tavenner. Do you recall who was the head of the school % 

Mr. Thomas. A fellow by the name of Hy Gordon. 

Mr. Tavenner. Hy Gordon, H-y G-o-r-d-o-n? 

Mr. Thomas. H-y G-o-r-d-o-n. He used to be the district organizer 
for the State of Massachusetts. 

Mr. Tavenner. Later on in your testimony I will want to ask you 
the names of the different instructors in that school as we come to the 
subjects that were taught there. 

Can you give us the names of any of those who were in attendance 
at that school and what their prominence, if any, became in the 
Communist Party after that ? 

Mr. Thomas. I remember one fellow who was very prominent, Abe 
Lewis. He died. He was from Cleveland. 

Irving Goff. He became State secretary of the Louisiana Com- 
munist Party. 

Jack — I don't remember his last name. He was organizer for 
three Western States, including Nebraska, I believe. I don't remem- 
ber his last name. Names slip my mind. I can't remember those 
names now. 

Mr. Tavenner. What was the purpose of this school ? 

Mr. Thomas. To me the school was a refresher course, from the way 
I understood it, because I had already been in a similar school in 1941 ; 
but for most of them it was to enlighten them on the theory and 
teachings of the scholars of scientific socialism, is the way it was put, 
Marx, Engels, Lenin, Stalin, and so on. The writings of these men 
were to be gone into very thoroughly. 



COMMUNISM IN THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA 3211 

Mr. Tavenner. Do you recall whether or not any of those attend- 
ing had held positions in the Government service, military, or other- 
wise ? 

Mr. Thomas. We had quite a few veterans there, as I remember, 
because we used to get together and shoot the breeze about things we 
used to do overseas. There was one fellow who could tell us us more 
because he was a captain in the OSS and his stories were very inter- 
esting because he was behind enemy lines most of the time. 
Mr. Tavenner. Do you remember what his name was ? 
Mr. Thomas. Irving Goff. 
Mr. Tavenner. Will you spell his last name? 
Mr. Thomas. I think 'it is G-o-f-f. 

Mr. Tavenner. You referred a moment ago to a person by the name 
of Jack as having been chairman of the Communist Party in Nebraska. 
Was that Jack Lucid, L-u-c-i-d '. 

Mr. Thomas. I believe it was. I believe that is the way he pro- 
nounced his name. 

Mr. Tavenner. Were there women at that school I 
Mr. Thomas. There were quite a few women there. 
Mr. Tavenner. Can you give the names of any of them who at- 
tended ? 

Mr. Thomas. Their first names are on that notebook. I wrote the 
first names on that notebook over there. 

Mr. Tavenner. What is that book to which you refer? 
Mr. Thomas. That is my notebook. That is the book that I kept my 
notes in. 

Mr. Tavenner. Did you turn that book over at the request of the 
investigators of the committee, just as it was when they asked you 
for it? 
Mr. Thomas. I did. 

Mr. Tavenner. I desire to introduce that notebook in evidence for 
identification, not as an exhibit, but for identification onfy, and rather 
than introduce it as one exhibit, I have marked all the contents and 
assigned a separate exhibit number to them for purposes of identifica- 
tion, from l\ T o. 1 to No. 73, inclusive. 

(The notebook above referred to, containing documents marked 
"Thomas Exhibits 1 to 73," inclusive, is filed in connection with this 
hearing, marked for identification only.) 

Mr. Tavenner. Will you look over that book and refresh your rec- 
ollection and tell us the names of any persons who were in attend- 
ance as students at that school? 

Mr. Thomas. This refreshes my memory. Judy. Judy was in 
charge of the Communist Party in St. Louis, Mo. I don't know 
whether she is still there or not. I don't know what happened to her 
since 1946. I haven't seen or heard of her since then. 

Rena. I can't remember her last name. She was from New York 
and I believe she works in the National Office of the Communist 
Party. She did. I don't know if she does now or not. I haven't 
seen or heard of her since. 

Ruth was married to an organizer in one of the States. I don't 
remember his name or her last name now. I know there was some 
trouble about her, and she was getting sick of it all, and they didn't 
like her because she was wearing something that made somebody else 



3212 COMMUNISM IN THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA 

envious. I don't know what happened to her. I haven't seen her 
since either. 

There was one girl, Geraldine, from Chicago; and another one, Lee, 
from Boston, Mass. 

But these people, I cant remember their last names. I have their 
names here and it refreshes my memory, but I can't remember their 
last names. T didn't put them down. I just happened to jot those 
first names down when I first went there. That is all I can remember 
so far of the girls. 

Mr. Tavenner. I hand you Exhibit No. 1 and I refer you to page 7. 
What is that Exhibit No. 1? 

Mr. Thomas. It is an outline on "The State." I believe this is a 
lecture by Lenin at Sverdlov University. 

Mr. Tavenner. And that is a copy of the outline of Lenin's lecture 
on'TheStaie"? 

Mr. Thomas. I want to make sure about it. It just says here, "A 
lecture delivered at the Sverdlov University." It doesn't say by whom, 
but I think it is by Lenin, and I will accept that as being by Lenin. 

Mr. Tavenner. You will note at the end of it, in parentheses, it says, 
"From Lenin's Selected Works, volume XI." Do you see that ? 

Mr. Thomas. Yes. 

Mr. Tavenner. Referring again to page 7, in the middle of the 
page, I call your attention to this statement : 

The state is a machine for the oppression of one class by another, a machine 
for keeping in subjugation to one class other subordinated classes. There are 
various forms of this machine. In the slave-owning state we had a monarchy, 
an aristocratic republic or even a democratic republic. In fact the forms of 
government varied extremely, but their essence was always thesame. 

Was this theory of the nature of the state applied to the Government 
of the United States in the course of your teachings there? 

Mr. Thomas. I wouldn't like to answer that question yes or no. 
I would like to explain my understanding of how this was taught. I 
didn't read too much of this thing. I got mine mostly from discus- 
sions in the class. The working class in this country, along with 
aliens, Negro people, foreign-born, and so forth, were oppressed by 
the ruling classes of the country. They never failed to mention Wall 
Street as the ruling class. Wall Street was the dominating factor in 
running the Government, from what I understood, and they were the 
oppressors of all the other classes, and all the other classes were sub- 
jected to their whims and desires and so on. This is what we were 
taught, that there is a dictatorship of the capitalist class, and what 
we were working for was a dictatorship of the proletariat. This 
is a little deep for a fifth grade scholar ; I want to make that plain. 

Mr. Walter. I am sure it wasn't too deep for you. 

Mr. Tavenner. I ask you to look at page 11. Near the middle of the 
page appears this language: 

* * * you say that your state is free, whereas in reality, as long as there 
is private property, your state, even if it is a democratic republic, is nothing 
but a machine used by the capitalists to suppress the workers, and the freer 
the state, the more clearly is this expressed. Examples of this are Switzerland 
in Europe and the United States in the Americas. 

Was that taught you also at this school ? 

Mr. Thomas. Yes. I remember discussing this whole outline. It 
was brought out that in the United States you have more democracy 



COMMUNISM IX THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA 3213 

than you have in most other democratic states — so-called democratic 
states is the way it was put — but at the same time, as time goes on 
tighter and tighter controls will be put over the lives of the people. 
This is what was taught there. 

Mr. Tavenner. I hand you exhibit 3. 

Mr. Walter. Before you go into that, may I ask a question? 

Mr. Tavenner. Yes. 

Mr. Walter. But despite that fact, their ultimate goal was a dicta- 
torship of the proletariat? 

Mr. Thomas. That is right. 

Mr. Tavenner. I hand you a sheet from a notebook, marked exhibit 
3, and ask you whether you prepared it, or what it is ? 

Mr. Thomas. This was prepared in a group. We had a group of 
three people. I was reporter for this. Three people would sit down 
and answer the questions submitted to the class, and each group was 
to take a certain question, and I believe this is one of the questions my 
group had. 

Mr. Tavenner. It is an argument in favor of a one-party system, 
is it not ? 

Mr. Thomas. From the top of the page I can see that is what it is. 
I would like the opportunity of reading this over and refreshing my 
mind, but from the top of the page I see that is absolutely correct. 

Mr. Tavenner. Would you read it into the record, please? 

Mr. Thomas (reading) : 

Why is the existence of one party in the Soviet Union the guaranty for the 
greatest flourishing democracy? 

Democracy flourishes under the one-party system in the Soviet Union because 
that party is loved, respected, and has the confidence of the people it represents 
(namely, the workers and peasants). No two parties or a half dozen parties 
could represent the working class under socialism because it means splitting the 
working class into two or three parts, and as a result it could not carry through 
the job of building socialism. Therefore, the worker finds it unnecessary to have 
more than one party. 

Political parties represent class and class interest, and sin^e there are only 
two classes in the Soviet Union, workers and peasants, and both are striving for 
a better world and moving in the same direction, to have more than one party the 
goal of the Soviet Union would never be reached. 

Under socialism there can be only one party, and that party must be armed 
with Marxism, and the only party armed with that science is the Communist 
Party, and is the only party capable of leading the masses to socialism. 

The Communist Party is the only guaranty for democracy in the Soviet Union 
because it is based on democracy itself. Under the Communist Party, complete 
freedom of the working class is granted because it is part of that class, and once 
it ceases to champion democracy, it ceases to be a Marxist party. 

It is the only party that has no other interest than the interest of the working 
class. No other party can say this. If any other party sincerely fights for 
socialism, it and the Communist Party will merge and become one. 

There can be no two Marxist parties. If one party is a party of Marxism, the 
other one will end up a counterrevolutionary party. 

Mr. Tavenner. Does that represent the teachings that you were 
given at that school ? 

Mr. Thomas. I can't remember. That paper is not marked. If that 
paper was marked, I believe that would represent the thought of the 
teacher. Whether it represented the thought of the teacher or not, 
1 can't tell, because it is not marked by the teacher, but it was accepted 
by the rest of the class. I don' want to say anything wrong, and I don't 

76461— 50— pt. 2 4 



3214 COMMUNISM IN THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA 

want to say this is the teaching of the teacher, because these three 
students got together and made this thing up. 

Mr. Tavenner. As a result of the teachings you were exposed to 
there, this thing was prepared ? 

Mr. Thomas. Yes. It was prepared by the students. I think there 
were several papers on that thing, and there was a pretty hot argu- 
ment between our group and the other groups that prepared those 
things. 

Mr. Tavenner. I hand you exhibit 8, which is marked "Lesson IV — 
The State," and at the end I see a bibliography of materia] to be used 
as reading material. Will you read that into the record, please. 

Mr. Thomas (reading) : 

Lenin, State and Revolution, chapters I, II, III (sec. 3 and 5) and chapter V. 
Lenin, Left Wing Communism, chapter VII. 
Communist Maniiesto, last two pages of chapter II. 
Stalin, Foundations of Leninism, chapter IV. 
Stalin, From Socialism to Communism, pages 49-57. 

Dimitrov, Working Class Unity — Bulwark Against Fascism, chapter I. 
Lenin, State and Revolution, chapters IV and VI (sec. 2) . 
Stalin, The October Revolution and Tactics, chapter II (in Leninism) 
Engels, Origin of the Family, chapter 9, especially pages 205-217 (139-1-17, old 
edition). 

Mr. Tavenner. Were you given Communist Party literature ? 

Mr. Thomas. We were. 

Mr. Tavenner. We have asked you to turn over to the investigators 
the Communist Party literature and pamphlets and books which you 
have. Will you examine these and state whether you turned them 
over to us ? 

Mr. Thomas. These are the books turned over to you. 

Mr. Tavenner. When and how did you acquire this material ? 

Mr. Thomas. Some of those books were given to us in the class, and 
some were mailed to me at home. I picked up some at the Communist 
Party office, and people brought some around and just left them with 
me. I just accumulated a lot of that stuff. 

Mr. Tavenner. Mr. Chairman, I believe I will just read the names 
and titles into the record. 

Mr. Walter. Yes. That will be sufficient identification. 

Mr. Tavenner. The following are the books which you have just 
handed me: 

Manifesto of the Communist Party, by Karl Marx and F. Engels. 
State and Revolution, by V. I. Lenin. 
On the Eve of October, by V. I. Lenin. 
Mastering Bolshevism, by Joseph Stalin. 
Espionage, by S. Uranov. 
Negro Liberation, by James S. Allen. 
Foundations of Leninism, by Joseph Stalin. 

Marxist Study Courses, lessons 4 and 5, course of political economy. 
The Rise of Socialism in the Soviet Union, report by D. Z. Manuilsky. 
The Ultimate Aim. 

Working Class Unity — Bulwark Against Fascism, by Dimitroff. 
Tito's Plot Against Europe — The Story of the Rajk Conspiracy in Hungary, by 
Derek Kartun. 

I notice that this is 



Mr. Thomas. I think that carries this year's date on it. 
Mr. Tavenner. Yes, it is copyrighted in 1950 by International Pub- 
lishers, Inc. What were the circumstances under which you acquired 

this? 



COMMUNISM EN THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA 3215 

Mi*. Thomas. That book came to me either through the mail or 
somebody left it in my office. I don't remember now how it got to me, 
but I remember reading, part of that book. I wouldn't want to say- 
exactly how that book came to me, but I think Paul gave me that 
book or it came to me through the mail. 

Mr. Walter. Were all these books published by International 
Publishers ? 

Mr. Thomas. I don't know, sir. I think you could examine them 
and see. 

Mr. Tavexxer. Political Economy, by A. Leontiev. is the last of the 
books. What were the circumstances under which you acquired it '. 

Mr. Thomas. I think I bought that book. We studied that same 
book in a class, but I think I bought that book after I came back. It 
is published by International Publishers, I believe. 

Mr. Tavexxer. I hand you exhibit 11. bearing date November 29, 
1046, in which various names appear. Will you state what the sig- 
nificance of those names is \ 

Mr. Thomas. There is no significance to that, no significance at all. 
I was sitting down doodling and put those names down there. If you 
will notice, they are all leaders of the Communist Party in this country 
or other country. It was just a question of doodling. I was thinking 
about all those people and just happened to put their names down. 

Mr. Tavexxer. I have noticed memoranda in the notebook relating 
to Browder and to Lovestone. In what way were those names brought 
to the attention of the students in the course of the lectures ? 

Mr. Thomas. I think just before we got into the question of what 
was termed Trotskyism, this subject was taught, variation, or devia- 
tion, from teachings of the Communist Party. Lovestone and Brow- 
der traveled the same route. As I understand, Browder wanted 
the Communist Party in the United States exclusively a United States 
party. He wanted it formed along the same line as the rest of the 
political parties in the country, and there was a big fight over this 
thing, and his theories were termed Browderism, and we had to tear 
his theories to pieces and prove that he was wrong. That is how that 
discussion took place. 

Mr. Tavexxer. So lectures were given which had the purpose of 
demonstrating that Browder was wrong ? 

Mr. Thomas. Yes, that is right. 

Mr. Tavexxer. And as to Lovestone, what was the situation ? 

Mr. Thomas. Lovestone was a little different from Browder in 
that Lovestone — of course I didn't know anything about Lovestone, 
never heard of him before in my life; but it was brought out that 
Lovestone differed from Browder in that he wanted to be a bigger 
shot than he was. I think it was a personal thing with Lovestone 
more than anything else but he had some theories that they didn't 
like. That is the way I figured it out. It was a pretty good while 

Mr. Tavexxer. I want you to refer to exhibit 24, in which some 
names appear and a group number, and I ask you what the signifi- 
cance of that is, if any ? 

Mr. Thomas. That may have been one of the groups I was in, or 
somebody's group. George N. ; Joe 

Mr. Tavexxer. Will that serve to refresh your recollection as to 
to the names of any of the persons attending the school ? 



3216 COMMUNISM IN THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA 

Mr. Thomas. Yes. Joe Kuzma. I don't know where he was from. 

Boyd : I don't know if that is his first or last name. 

Sanders : I thought it was Sentner, but I see now it was Sanders. 
I thought it was Sentner I remembered from St. Lonis, but it was not. 

Mr. Tavenner. Yon say you know a man by the name of Sentner 
from St. Louis? 

Mr. Thomas. I thought it was Sentner, but it was Sanders. 

Mr. Tavenner. There are still two other names. 

Mr. Thomas. Thomas and Roberts. Thomas is me. Roberts was 
a woman. 

Mr. Tavenner. Can you identify Roberts by any further descrip- 
tive information? 

Mr. Thomas. She was a very charming woman. I know that. 
That is about all I know about her. She was a brilliant woman in 
the estimation of the people who were there. They gave her a very 
high rating. 

(Hon. John McSweeney left hearing room.) 

Mr. Thomas. I would like to say that the names might not mean 
very much, because they may not be the right names. I know I used 
my name. 

Mr. Tavenner. Was it the practice at this school for the students 
to use assumed names or their own names ? 

Mr. Thomas. They may have used their own names, but they usu- 
ally used just their first names or just their last names, and a lot of 
people, I imagine, used assumed names. But I would like to state 
right now I have never used an assumed name as long as I was in the 
Communist Party, and I never will use an assumed name, 

Mr. Tavenner. On exhibit 41, at the top of the page, appears the 
name Steve Nelson, with a statement after it, ''Nat. question." Will 
you explain the significance of that ? 

Mi-. Thomas. He was speaking on the national question. 

Mr. Tavenner. In other words, Steve Nelson was one of the lectur- 
ers at that school? 

Mr. Thomas. He was. 

Mr. Tavenner. How frequently did he lecture? 

Mr. Thomas. He may have been there twice, but I know he was 
there that day. He lectured to two classes that day, one in the morn- 
ing and one in the afternoon or at night. He gave us all these statis- 
tics about different types of national groups in the country and how 
they were decimated or increased. That is what he discussed. 

Mr. Harrison. In this connection, may I ask a question, Mr. 
Counsel ? 

Mr. Tavenner. Yes, sir. 

Mr. Harrison. I have before me a book you introduced, Negro 
Liberation, by James S. Allen. Do you remember that book? 

Mr. Thomas. I do ; I do. 

Mr. Harrison. That apparently has a plan for the establishment 
of a Negro nation in the area outlined on that map. Will you look at 
that ? 

Mr. Thomas. I will give you the information I have gained about 
this thing here if you want it. 

Mr. Harrison. Yes, I would like to have it. 

Mr. Thomas. This is what is known as the Black Belt, extending 
from the tip of the Eastern Shore of Maryland to Texas. That is 



COMMUNISM IX THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA 3217 

where you have a continuous majority of Negroes living, -this black 
line, cutting through these counties and whole States. You have a 
majority of Negroes in those places, and the dark places around there 
are called border areas, where you have an equal number of Negroes 
or a minority of Negroes living. 

I would like to say this thing was debated in New York in 10-16. It 
was a public thing, almost. It was written up in Political Affairs, and 
a lot of people had articles on it. 

I think a lot of people dropped out of the Communist Party because 
of this theory. The theory was that the policy of the Communist 
Party should be that the Negroes should have self-determination in 
whatever section of the country they are in the majority, and that in- 
cludes this area, the Black Belt; they should govern that area there. 

Mr. Harrison. As a Soviet nation? 

Mr. Thomas. They didn't say that, but they knew they couldn't do 
it unless they had socialism. They said they could never have self- 
determination under the present Government of the United States, 
and only under socialism could they have this, but that is what they 
were going to fight for. This thing caused a lot of disagreement among 
the Negroes themselves. I didn't understand it. I accepted the word 
of the leaders. 

Mr. Harrison. The black area would be the area that would make 
up that Soviet nation; is that correct? 

Mr. Thomas. It is. It would make up a nation within a nation. 

Mr. Harrison. A nation within a nation. What did the Communist 
plan call for them to do with the striped areas? I notice they put my 
congressional district in the striped area. 

Mr. Thomas. This is the border area here, and I don't think any 
plans were ever made for this, because there was not a continuous 
majority of Negroes in that area. I would like to say since this thing 
was gotten up there has been a migration of Negroes from the Black 
Belt to the striped belt and farther north, and today I believe only in a 
very few places do you have a majority of Negroes. 

Mr. Harrison. They decided to put my congressional district in the 
new nation. I notice they left Texas out completely. 

Mr. Thomas. Texas is in the striped part, 

Mr. Harrison. Then my district and Texas are together. 

Mr. Velde. What was the general subject matter of Steve Nelson's 
teachings the two times he appeared at that school as a teacher ? 

Mr. Thomas. From my notes here — and that is about all I can speak 
from, although I remember very well the day he delivered the lecture 
on the national question — he was speaking in terms of the different 
minorities, and I have some figures here : Jews, 500,000 ; Polish, 60.000 ; 
Italians, 600,000; Germans; Mexicans: and so on. He was speaking 
of the minorities in this country. To the best of my knowledge that is 
all he spoke on. 

Mr. Velde. As I understood you a while ago, you said you had 
attended thousands of Communist Party meetings and were unable to 
remember the thought of each one. Did you attend as many as a 
thousand Communist Party meetings? 

Mr. Thomas. If you never lived the life of a Communist. I don't 
guess you can understand that. Every night you go to a meeting. 
Whether it is a Communist Party meeting or not, I don't know. I 
don't know how I ever made it. I was a laborer. I was working 8 



3218 COMMUNISM IN THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA 

hours a day, and I worked hard, and I went out at night to these 
meetings because I had a firm conviction it was for my benefit. 

Mr. Velde. I was curious to know whether you had actually at- 
tended that many meetings. 

Mr. Thomas. I was a busy bee. 

Mr. Velde. I was wondering also if, when they taught you the dic- 
tatorship of the proletariat or one-party government, whether that 
caused any discussion by the students attending these classes? 

Mr. Thomas. Occasionally students would ask questions about these 
things, because I think it is confusing to live in a country where you 
have a large number of parties — I think we have six or seven parties 
in this country — then you are going to have one party that is going to 
be everything. There was certainly a certain amount of discussion 
on the thing. But when one of the instructors gets up and says, "The 
one-party system is the only system that can bring socialism," that 
means period. You just don't talk about it. 

Mr. Velde. Did any of the students argue about it? 

Mr. Thomas. You don't argue with people in the national com- 
mittee. You just don't argue with people in the national committee. 
You may debate in convention with them, but once they tell a student 
such and such is the case, that is the case. 

Mr. Velde. What would happen if a student would get up and pro- 
claim the advantages of the two-party or more than two-party system? 

Mr. Thomas. They would try to straighten him out, and if they 
couldn't straighten him out he would find himself ostracized, like I 
am today. 

Mr. Tavenner. I will ask you to look at the reverse side of exhibit 
43, and sak if it doesn't indicate that Steve Nelson lectured on another 
date, November 20, 1946? 

Mr. Thomas. What was the other date ? 

Mr. Tavenner. I don't think there was any date. 

Mr. Thomas. I believe it was all part of the same thing. That may 
have been a continuation of that class. I think it was on the same day, 
because it deals with the same question, the national question. 

Mr. Tavenner. I will ask you to look at exhibit 51 and state whether 
or not your notes on that occasion indicate who the lecturer was and 
what the subject was? 

Mr. Thomas. Harry Haywood on the national question. 

Mr. Tavenner. And what do you mean by the national question? 

Mr. Thomas. That means discussing the minorities in the country 
and their problems. This particular thing dealt with the Negro 
people in particular — this lecture. That was Harry Haywood. 

Mr. Tavenner. Will you describe Harry Haywood? 

Mr. Thomas. He used to be an organizer for the Communist Party 
years ago, and now he is a writer, to the best of my knowledge. The 
last time I saw him he was writing a book on the national question. 

Mr. Tavenner. I will ask you to look at exhibit 52 and state whether 
or not the notes that you took at that time were from a lecture given at 
school, or how they were prepared ? 

Mr. Thomas. This was an analysis of the discussion of the Negro 
and the Black Belt. These are some of the things that the various 
teachers of communism handed down through the years, to the best 
of my knowledge. I haven't gone over this, but it seems that is what 



COMMUNISM IN THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA 3219 

it was. It was an analysis based on Marx's approach to the Negro 
question in the United States. 

Mr. Tavenner. I will read the first paragraph of your notes : 

A Marxist in America has established the fact that the Negro people in the 
Black Belt of the South constitute a nation. From the scientific approach we 
find that among them they have all the requisites of a nation. 

I would like to ask you a little further about that subject of the estab- 
lishment of a nation within a nation, which was mentioned to you by 
Judge Harrison a few minutes ago. Were you taught, in the course 
of any of these lectures, that there should ultimately be a separate 
nation under the Soviet Republic in the Black Belt in this country? 

Mr. Thomas. I will try to put it the same way I put it to Judge Har- 
rison. We discussed the possibility of creating a state in the Black 
Belt, but after a pretty thorough "discussion, in the last analysis it 
was brought out that it would be impossible to create a state under the 
present capitalistic system. There would have to be socialism, and 
there would have to be — not an autonomous state, but I believe they 
called it a state within a state that had all the rights and privileges 
of any other state, possibly with the exception of making its own for- 
eign policy, and that could not be done under the present system, 
but the aim was to establish a state within a state. 

I remember asking questions of how you were going to get to the 
seacoast ; suppose you had a war and were surrounded on three sides. 
It seemed impractical to some people, but to other people it seemed 
to be a very practical thing. 

I think we should all live in one state and everybody share the same 
thing everybody else shares. That is my thought. I went along with 
the proposition because I was taught that way. 

Mr. Harrison. It was a Communist Party doctrine that this state 
should be created? 

Mr. Thomas. That is right ; that they should determine what they 
wanted to do. 

Mr. Tavenner. I see here on one page, under date December 9. the 
name of Comrade Chaplin, C-h-a-p-1-i-n. What is the significance 
of that ? 

Mr. Thomas. I don't believe I ever met him before. This was on the 
Far East. This was discussing China and Japan; all cf Asia. 

Mr. Tavenner. Who is the individual referred to as Comrade 
Chaplin ? 

Mr. Thomas. I don't know. I never met him before or since. I 
don't know who he is. 

Mr. Tavenner. Did he give the lecture on that occasion \ 

Mr. Thomas. He did ; I believe. 

Mr. Tavenner. Then I see the name Betty Gannett, and the state- 
ment "party clubs." Will you explain the significance of that ? 

Mr. Thomas. Her lecture was on how to run party clubs, what their 
functions were, how they were to act, the organizational set-up of the 
clubs themselves. I don't think she went into too much politics. It 
was how to technically keep a party club going. 

Mr. Tavenner. Can 3 T ou tell the committee the details of that lecture 
to any extent? 

Mr. Thomas. Do I have any notes there ? 



3220 COMMUNISM IN THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA 

Mr. Tavenner. No. It is a blank page. On the reverse side of 
the page there are a few notes that may refresh your recollection 
[handing- document to the witness]. 

Mr. Thomas. Oh ! I think, Hist, the shop club was the basic form of 
organization. That is your club in industry and wherever people are 
working, a large or small group of people. That is the basic form of 
club. 

The secondary basis is the industrial form, where you have people 
from different walks of life in the club. The only thing that pulls 
them together is that they are in the Communist Party. But in a 
shop club they work in the same industry and discuss the things that 
affect them every day. 

After each election in a club there should be a conference in the 
club to straighten out any kinks that came out during the election, 
because sometimes there are fights in these elections about who is 
going to be elected. 

She went into the thing about an hour, and I think I went to sleep. 

During the time I was up there I had two teeth extracted. I had 
an impacted wisdom tooth extracted, and a lot of these things were 
going on when I was having trouble with my teeth, and I had a hot 
towel to my teeth a lot of the time and didn't pay too much attention 
to some of the things discussed. 

Mr. Tavenner. I see on the following page the name Margaret 
Crow. Is there any significance to that name? 

Mr. Thomas. I think she came up to lecture one of the classes. 

Mr. Tavenner. The name Johnnie Gates appears on the next page. 
Is there any significance to that name? 

Mr. Thomas. He lectured about veterans. He was in the Army. He 
was a member of the Young Communist League before he went in the 
Army, and when he came out I think he was editor of the Daily 
Worker. 

Mr. Tavenner. Exhibit 60, at the top of the page, states: Lenin, 
''What's to be Done," and under that the name Foster. What is the 
significance of that? 

Mr. Thomas. Foster gave us one lecture, to my knowledge, on his 
history, mostly. 

Mr. Tavenner. On exihibit 61 I see the name George Siskin. Who 
was he? 

Mr. Thomas. He was one of the economics professors there. Lie 
taught political economy and Marx's capital. 

Mr. Tavenner. Did he deliver more than one lecture? 

Mr. Thomas. I believe he did. It takes time to discuss Marx's capi- 
tal and political economy. 

Mr. Tavenner. Exhibit 63 has the name Nat Ross. Who was he ? 

Mr. Thomas. He was organizer for the Communist Party in Caro- 
lina, or state chairman. 

Mr. Tavenner. Did he deliver lectures at this school ? 

Mr. Thomas. One. 

M r . Tavenner. Exhibit 64 has at the top the name of Jack Stachel, 
Wednesday morning, December 18. Did Jack Stachel deliver lectures 
at this school? 

Mr. Thomas. lie did. 

Mr. Tavenner. Did he deliver the lecture on which your notes were 
taken on that particular day? 



COMMUNISM IN THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA 3221 

Mr. Thomas. I believe he did. It was quite long, I remember. 

Mr. Tavexxer. On exhibit 65 I see the name Madge 

Mr. Thomas. That is wage struggle. We had a discussion of 
that. 

Mr. Tavexxer. Do you know who delivered that lecture' \ 

Mr. Thomas. No: I don't. 

Mr. Tavexxer. On exhibit 67 there is a name, apparently Sam 
Sillen. Will you identify him ? 

Mr. Thomas. That was the first time I had ever seem him, and the 
last time. He used to work for the Daily "Worker. 

Mr. Tavexxer. Did he deliver lectures ? 

Mr. Thomas. He delivered one. 

Mr. Tavexxer. Exhibit 68 contains several pages of notes. Can 
you state how those notes were prepared, whether they were pre- 
pared from some lecture given? 

Mr. Thomas. They were prepared mainly from lectures. At that 
time there wasa fight going on within the CIO over this question 
of communism, I believe, and that is the time they had a compromise 
resolution introduced in the CIO. Nothing was being done in the 
AFL, and we were to test our understanding of the line of the Com- 
munist Party in drawing up statements as to what the tactical line 
of the Communist Party should be in AFL and CIO. I don't 
believe that was ever submitted. Some of that was submitted, but 
it was submitted in a typewritten form. If you notice, some of that 
is scratched out and we had to draw it up again and it was sub- 
mitted to the school. 

Mr. Tavexner. Under the guidance of the instructors ? 

Mr. Thomas. Yes. 

Mr. Tavenxer. This is entitled, "The Application of Our Tactical 
Line in the AFL." 

Mr. Thomas. Yes. 

Mr. Tavexxer. And it was decided to set forth and express the 
purposes of the Communist Party and its tactical objectives within 
the American Federation of Labor ; is that correct ? 

Mr. Thomas. That is correct, 

Mr. Tavexxer. The first paragraph has lines drawn through it, 
but the language of it is as follows : 

The tactical line of the party in the AFL today is force the top leadership 
in AFL to unite with all labor to become the main center to fight reaction of 
the capitalist class. 

The next paragraph reads, and is not stricken out : 

Applying our Marxist science to past history of AFL, we find that after 1936 
we almost completely neglected our work there, and when we did work in AFL 
it was generally incorrect, and our slogan became "All-out aid to CIO." Nobody 
can doubt we did a good job in building the CIO. Our comrades in many cases 
just hibernated in the American Federation of Labor. 

Mr. Thomas. That is my language. That was me writing that. 
I remember I had to make a draft on that thing, and I was writing 
that. 

Mr. Tavexxer. Was this draft prepared as the result of discussions 
and lectures which were given at this school? 

Mr. Thomas. That is right. 

Mr. Tavexxer. And it represented what you considered at that time 
to be the decisions and the correct way of thinking of the Communist 
Party? 



3222 COMMUNISM IN THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA 

Mr. Thomas. That is right, but I think I made a few mistakes in 
that, and that is why it had to be changed around. But that was 
my own thinking at the time. 

Mr. Tavenner. The next paragraph has lines drawn through it, but 
I shall read it : 

We must take the American Federation of Labor seriously because it represents 
the largest bloc of organized workers in America today, and the leadership in the 
American Federation of Labor in many cases are just as reactionary as some of 
the capitalists themselves ; but this is so because in many instances these leaders 
are in unions which Lenin characterized as the aristocracy of labor, but that we 
can see that these groups are slowly being pushed down and down with the rest 
of the working class. This is indicated by the struggle of the railroad workers, 
who, although they are not in the American Federation of Labor, represent a trend 
in that strata. 

Then appears this paragraph which is not marked out : 

Today, when the cost of living up and the policy of the top leadership is dema- 
goguery in relation to the economic demand as to workers, our tactics at this time 
should force a wedge between the most reactionary section of the leadership and 
isolate them from their membership. 

I will repeat : 

* * * our tactics at this time should force a wedge between the most reac- 
tionary section of the leadership and isolate them from their membership. 

Was that part of the tactical line of the Communist Party within 
the American Federation of Labor? 

Mr. Thomas. I will say yes to that. I think that was one of the 
paragraphs not touched and not debated on too much in the school. 
I think that was accepted by everybody there. 

I want to say I am tired of this double-talk. I have to deal with the 
leaders of the American Federation of Labor. I am sick and tired of 
living a double life of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, and this is a good 
illustration of what it means. 

Mr. Walter. Don't all Communists have to live double lives ? 

Mr. Thomas. If they are all an example of me, I would say yes. 
I am sick and tired of it. I think some parts of their program, fight- 
ing for civil rights, are all right, but when you have to live two lives — ■ 
I want to be a friend to a man ; I don't want to be his friend and enemy 
at the same time, and that is what this thing means. I learned that 
as an officer in the union, and I am glad I learned that story. 

Mr. Tavenner. That is followed by this in your notes : 

To accomplish this task for our party, we cannot rely on old methods of work 
within the American Federation of Labor. Our tactics today must be to fight 
for the economic demand of mankind and not start out by criticizing the leader- 
ship, which will only antagonize the membership and all of the energy of our 
comrades will be wasted. 

The erroneous conclusion of some comrades in the American Federation of 
Labor work was that the first thing when going into American Federation of 
Labor unions was to oppose the leadership. Our new tactical line has changed 
this to a method of fighting for the needs of the membership first, and in the 
process of fighting for these needs it will pose a problem for the leadership. 
It will either force them to expose themselves or straighten up and fly right. 

Is that your language ? 

Mr. Thomas. That is mine. 

Mr. Tavenner. But is that what you were taught in connection 
with the tactical line to be followed in the American Federation of 
Labor ? 



COMMUNISM EN THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA 3223 

Mr. Thomas. I will have to say yes to that question. These are my 
thoughts here, and we had to retype this stuff, and I don't know what 
was in the final analysis, but nobody criticized that line. 

( Hon. Harold H. Velde left the hearing room.) 

Mr. Tavenner (continuing reading) : 

The most important step in relation to trade-unions was our party's decision 
to concentrate on 10 of the most outstanding and decisive international unions 
of the American Federation of Labor. Without a policy of concentration and 
direction. * * * 

I am not certain I am reading that correctly. Will you read it? 
Mr. Thomas (reading) : 

The most important set-up in relation to trade-unions was our party in its 
decision to concentrate on 10 of the most outstanding and decisive international 
unions in the AFL. Without a policy of concentration and direction we can 
never hope to raise the understanding of the workers and lead them into the 
struggle. 

Mr. Tavenner (reading) : 

During the drive of our party * * *. 

Will you read that ? 
Mr. Thomas (reading) : 

During the drive of our party we must at all times remember to bring to the 
workers scientific Marxism and prepare them for the coming class struggle. 

Mr. Tavenner. By "class struggle" were you referring to the dic- 
tatorship of the proletariat? 

Mr. Thomas. Yes ; that will be the ultimate result. The dictator- 
ship of the proletariat will come after the working class has over- 
thrown the bourgeoisie. 

(Hon. Burr P. Harrison left the hearing room.) 

Mr. Tavenner. I see in exhibit 69, at the top of the page, the name 
Max Weiss. 

Mr. Thomas. Max Weiss was a lecturer there. 

Mr. Tavenner. Was he a member of the Communist Party? 

Mr. Thomas. He was at that time. He was on the national com- 
mittee. 

Mr. Tavenner. Can you recall the names of any other instructors 
whose names have not already been mentioned by you ? There was one 
name I saw there that I did not call you attention to, Selsen. 

Mr. Thomas. Selsen? 

Mr. Tavenner. S-e-1-s-e-n. Do you recall him ? Do you know who 
he was ? 

Mr. Thomas. Maybe I got him twisted with Sillen. He lectured 
to the best of my memory on — I can't remember. I thought it was on 
dialectic materialism. We had a young fellow there who was pretty 
good on that subject, and it must have been him. 

(Hon. Burr P. Harrison returns to hearing room.) 

Mr. Tavenner. Did you know an individual by the name of J. 
Peters? 

Mr. Thomas. I heard a lot about him, but I never saw him. I don't 
know anybody that actually knows him. 

Mr. Tavenner. Then he was not a lecturer there ? 

Mr. Thomas. Not that I know of. He may have been there under 
a different name. 



3224 COMMUNISM IN THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA 

Mr. Tavenner. Were you acquainted with an individual by the name 
of William Weinstone? 

Mr. Thomas. Yes, Weinstone or Weinstock lectured there. 

Mr. Tavenner. Are you uncertain as to whether it was Weinstone 
or Weinstock? 

Mr. Thomas. Yes, I am. 

Mr. Tavenner. Can you identify the individual as to what position 
he held and where he was from ? 

Mr. Thomas. Weinstock I believe was at one time an official of the 
painters' union in New York, and he was defeated and went to work 
for the Communist Party. If there is another individual, I can't 
piece him together. 

Mr. Tavenner. Which one appeared as a lecturer? 

Mr. Thomas. I don't remember if it was Weinstone or Weinstock.. 

Mr. Walter. I believe this is a good place to break off. The com- 
mittee will stand in recess until 2 o'clock. 

(Thereupon, at 12: 15 p. m.. a recess was taken until 2 p. m. of the 
same day.) 

AFTER RECESS 

(The hearing w T as resumed at 2 p. m.. Hon. Francis E. Walter pre- 
siding.) 

Mr, Walter. The committee will be in order. 
Proceed, Mr. Tavenner. 

TESTIMONY OF HENRY THOMAS— Resumed 

Mr. Tavenner. Mr. Thomas, do you recall about when it was that 
you returned from this Communist Party school at Beacon, N. Y. ? 

Mr. Thomas. Not the exact date, but it was pretty close to Christ- 
mas. 

Mr. Tavenner. Of what year? 

Mr. Thomas. 1946. 

Mr. Tavenner. Were you a delegate from the Communist Party of 
Washington, D. C, to the eastern regional conference of the Commu- 
nist Party held at Webster Hall in New York City ? 

Mr. Thomas. I was. 

Mr. Tavenner. It was held in October 1947? 

Mr. Thomas. I can't remember the date, or the year either, but it 
was back there sometime, not too long after I came out of the Army. 

Mr. Tavenner. What was the purpose of that conference? 

Mr. Thomas. This was to serve in the place of a national conven- 
tion. They may have had one on the west coast too. I don't know 
whether they did or not. This was to serve in the place of the con- 
vention that was not held that year. 

Mr. Tavenner. Can you recall the names of any individuals who 
were present at this conference? 

Mr. Thomas. Practically all the known Communists were there 
from all over the country, and I think I have named most of the na- 
tional leaders of the Communist Party. There were three people 
from Washington, I think. There w T as myself, and Taylor 

Mr. Tavenner. What Taylor? 



COMMUNISM IX THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA 3225 

Mr. Thomas. William ('. Taylor; and I am not sure whether Eli- 
zabeth Searle was there or Mary Stalcup; I can't remember which 
one it was. 

Mr. Tavexxer. Did you attend a Communist Party district board 
meeting in Washington, I). C, on March 26, 1948, at which Betty 
Gannett was the principal speaker? 

Mr. Thomas. Yes ; I was there. 

Mr. Tavexxer. Is she the same person who lectured in the school 
which you had attended in 1946 ? 

Mr. Thomas. She is the same person. 

Mr. Tavexxer. Is she a member of the Communist Party \ 

Mr. Thomas. Very definitely. 

Mr. Tavexxer. Do you recall attending a district convention of the 
Communist Party which was held at Finn Hall in Baltimore in July 
1948 ? 

Mr. Thomas. I do. 

Mr. Tavex t xer. Do you recall whether or not it was at this meet- 
ing that you were elected a member of the district committee ? 

Mr. Thomas. I think at this meeting I was reelected. 

Mr. Tavexxer. Reelected I 

Mr. Thomas. I think I was reelected to the district committee, but 
at this meeting they had a district committee and a board. They had 
a board set up above with about five people, but I can't remember all 
of the people who were elected to that board. 

Mr. Tavexxer. Can you recall the names of any of them ? 

Mr. Thomas. Philip Frankfeld; William Taylor, Meyers; Elsie 
Smith : and I can't remember the last person right now. 

Mr. Tavexxer. Are vou acquainted with a person named Sy 
Bakst, B-a-k-s-t? 

Mr. Thomas. Yes; I knew him. 

Mr. Tavexx t er. Do you know whether or not he was affiliated with 
the Communist Party in any manner \ 

Mr. Thomas. Well, 'he was at one time, but he had a fight and 
I think he got out of it. The last I heard of him he was out. This 
was about 3 or 4 years ago, I guess. 

Mr. Tavexner. Three or 4 years ago ? 

Mr. Thomas. I believe it was. It was a long time ago. I know 
there was a big fight around him. 

Mr. Tavexxer. Do you know whether he held any position in the 
Communist Party in the District of Columbia? 

Mr. Thomas. I don't remember right off. I used to see him a 
lot, I know that. 

Mr. Tavenxer. Are you acquainted with an individual named 
Morris Chansky, C-h-a-n-s-k-y? 

Mr. Thomas. That isn't Martin Chancey, is it ? 

Mr. Tavexxer. I don't know. 

Mr. Thomas. What did he do ? 

Mr. Tavexxer. You can't recall him ? 

Mr. Thomas. I wouldn't want to say. 

Mr. Tavexxer. If you are uncertain, I don't want you to say. 

Are you acquainted with a person named Travis Hedrick ? 

Mr. Thomas. If I do, that name slips my mind too. I don't recall 
him. 



3226 COMMUNISM IN THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA 

Mr. Tavenner. Are you acquainted with a person named Frank 
Nassis, N-a-s-s-i-s? 

Mr. Thomas. I would like to say I may know him, but I may know 
him only as Frank. A lot of these people I only knew by their 
first name. 

Mr. Tavenner. Are you acquainted with a person named Sally 
Peake? 

Mr. Thomas. Yes ; I know her. 

Mr. Tavenner. Was she affiliated with the Communist Party? 

Mr. Thomas. Yes; when I was in there she was affiliated with 
the Communist Party. 

Mr. Tavenner. Do you know what position, if any, in the Com- 
munist Party, she held in the District of Columbia ? 

Mr. Thomas. I think she was on what they called the Negro Com- 
mission at one time. 

Mr. Tavenner. Are you acquainted with a person named Gertrude 
Rinis, R-i-n-i-s? 

Mr. Thomas. I knew her before I went into the Army. The last 
time I heard from her she was sick. I haven't seen her, to the best of 
my memory, since I came out of the Army. I understand she has a 
bad heart and has been sick. 

Mr. Tavenner. Do you know whether or not she was affiliated with 
the Communist Party prior to the time you went into the service? 

Mr. Thomas. I used to meet her in meetings, public or semipublic 
meetings, of the Communist Party. I guess she was a Communist. 
She was around and she knew practically everybody I knew. I just 
have to assume that she was. 

Mr. Kearney. Do you know definitely whether she was or was not ? 

Mr. Thomas. The only way you can really know definitely is when 
you are in the same club together, or serve on the same committee, and 
so forth. 

Mr. Kearney. You said you had seen her at public or semipublic 
meetings of the Communist Party. Were you ever present with her 
in a closed Communist Party meeting ? 

Mr. Thomas. I don't know. 

Mr. Kearney. Then you don't know definitely whether she was a 
Communist or not? 

Mr. Thomas. I will have to put it that way. I might have been in a 
meeting with her and I didn't recognize her. 

Mr. Kearney. My idea, Mr. Thomas, is not to have anyone accused 
of being a Communist unless you can definitely state for the record 
that he was, to your definite knowledge. 

Mr. Thomas. I wouldn't want to accuse anybody wrongly. She 
may have been a sympathizer and just came around. There were a lot 
of people like that. 

Mr. Tavenner. Were you acquainted with Irving Studenberg, 
S-t-u-d-e-n-b-e-r-g ? 

Mr. Thomas. I don't remember that name. 

Mr. Tavenner. Are you acquainted with a person by the name of 
Bill Tymous, T-y-m-o-u-s? 

Mr. Thomas. I knew him before I went into the service. 

Mr. Tavenner. Do vou know what his affiliation was, if anything, 
with the Communist Party? 



COMMUNISM IN THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA 3227 

Mr. Thomas. He was a member of the Young Communist League, 
but I don't know whether he realized what lie was doing or not. I 
don't know how deep his mind went into the thing, or anything of the 
sort. He was a member at one time, but he didn't last very long. I 
went into the service right after that. 

Mr. Tavexxer. Did you know a person by the name of Diana Farn- 
ham Fiske? 

Mr. Thomas. That is the wife of the correspondent for the Daily 
Worker. 

Mr. Tavexxer. Where does she live ? 

Mr. Thomas. I don't know. I don't know where either one of them 
lives. I think they live in Washington. I know he writes out of 
Washington. 

Mr. Tavexxer. Have you ever been in a closed Communist Party 
meeting with her? 

Mr. Thomas. She was at that convention, I believe, in 1947 or 1948, 
whenever it was, with him. To the best of my memory right now, 
that is the only Communist Party meeting she has been in with me, 
except a State committee meeting at one time. She may have been. 
But I know she was at that convention with him. He was covering 
that convention for the paper. 

Mr. Tavexxer. Did you ever attend a Communist Party meeting 
with her husband ? 

Mr. Thomas. Yes. I was in a State committee meeting with him. 

Mr. Tavexxer. Where was that? 

Mr. Thomas. That was in Baltimore. The date, place, and time, 
I can't remember, but I know he was there. It wasn't long after I 
came out of the service. 

Mr. Tavexxer. What kind of meeting was it ? 

Mr. Thomas. It was a closed Communist Party meeting. 

Mr. Walter. By that you mean nobody was permitted to attend 
except members of the Communist Party ? 

Mr. Thomas. That is right. 

Mr. Tavexxer. This morning you gave me various pieces of Com- 
munist Party literature and pamphlets. Was Communist Party liter- 
ature distributed at the union hall of the union of which you were the 
president ? 

Mr. Thomas. Yes ; it was. Occasionally certain types of literature 
were distributed to the members sitting around waiting for jobs and 
so on, and this is one of the things that caused considerable discussion 
and confusion there. I remember the three business agents of the 
union at that time came to me and asked me if I couldn't do something 
about it, and that is one of the things that precipitated a good deal 
of discussion between myself and Robert Paul, who was distributing 
this literature, and Sampler, who was at that time secretary-treasurer. 

Mr. Tavexxer. Are you acquainted with an organization known as 
the Harlem Trade Union Council ? 

Mr. Thomas. Yes; I am. 

Mr. Tavexxer. Tell us what you know about that organization. 

Mr. Thomas. The Harlem Trade Union Council as such, there is not 
too much I can tell you about it. I know it is set up in New York. 
Ferdinand Smith is the chairman, and they are supposed to be working 
on problems facing the Negro people in Harlem. That is about all 



3228 COMMUNISM IN THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA 

1 know about the Harlem Trade Union Council as such, except that 
it was one of the sponsors of a conference in Chicago. 

Mr. Kearney. Did Ferdinand Smith have anything to do with the 
Maritime Union ? 

Mr. Thomas. He was secretary of the Maritime Union. 

Mr. Tavenner. Is that Ferdinand C. Smith? 

Mr. Thomas. I believe it is. 

Mr. Tavenner. I hand you a letter signed F. C. Smith, over the 
typewritten name Ferdinand C. Smith, on the letterhead of the Harlem 
Trade Union Council, and I will ask you where you obtained that 
letter ? 

Mr. Thomas. This letter — there is no date on it that I can see — this 
letter is the result of a conference held in Chicago June 10 and 11. I 
was at that conference in Chicago, but I wasn't there when they 
selected the officers to carry on. Since they had no central place for 
getting out correspondence and answering mail and so on, I believe — 
I have not been told this, but I believe — they used the facilities of the 
Harlem Trade Union Council to carry on until this committee that 
they elected this month would establish a national headquarters some- 
place. The intention was not to leave the headquarters of this confer- 
ence in New York, but to transfer it to some other city, and they used 
the facilities of the Harlem Trade Union Council to get the necessary 
mail and so forth out until this national committee that was elected 
would meet and set up a permanent office in some other city, and that 
city was not named at the time of the conference. 

Mr. Tavenner. What was the purpose of the organization to which 
you refer, and what was its name ? 

Mr. Thomas. It was a pretty long name. I think it is in there. 
National Trade Union Conference for Negro Rights: That was the 
name of the conference. The name of the organization growing out of 
the conference, I don't remember what it is. I don't think it had been 
named at that time. 

Mr. Tavenner. Were you named as one of the officers of the con- 
tinuations committee of that organization ? 

Mr. Thomas. I was, but I would like to state that I didn't know 
I was going to be named. I had to leave early because I was driving 
back from Chicago, and I was not there when that list was read at the 
meeting. At that time I would not have protested, because I figured 
it would make me a national figure, and I was ambitious, too, and it 
didn't matter. They recommended me because I was from one of the 
large unions. 

Mr. Tavenner. What was Ferdinand C. Smith's affiliation, if any, 
with the Communist Party ? 

Mr. Thomas. I guess he was a Communist. I couldn't say definitely, 
because I never met with him in a Communist meeting; and that is the 
kind of answer you want, isn't it ? 

Mr. Tavenner. We want the truth. 

Mr. Thomas. I never met with that man in a Communist Party 
meeting to my knowledge, but he worked right along with them; he 
worked right along with everybody. 

Mr. Tavenner. Is he the same Ferdinand C. Smith who is now 
subject to deportation proceedings? 

Mr. Thomas. He is the same Smith. 



COMMUNISM IN THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA 3229 

Mr. Tavenner. This letter does not bear a date, as you indicated, 
but it refers to the holding of this conference on June 10 and 11. 
What year was that conference ? 

Mr. Thomas. That was this year. 

Mr. Tavenner. 1950 ? 

Mr. Thomas. 1950. 

Mr. Tavenner. Was Ferdinand C. Smith connected at that time 
with the Harlem Trade Union Council? 

Mr. Thomas. He was an officer there. I am trying to remember 
whether he was secretary or chairman; I don't remember which. 

Mr. Tavenner. Did you sign a Taft-Hartley affidavit ? 

Mr. Thomas. I did. 

Mr. Tavenner. Tell the committee the circumstances under which 
you signed it. 

Mr. Thomas. We were approaching negotiations with the contrac- 
tors, and we expected this thing to happen. When I say "we" I am 
speaking mainly of Thomas G. Sampler and myself, because we were 
the principal people involved. 

We discussed this thing. We discussed it with various people and 
we discussed it among ourselves. It reached a point where the con- 
tractors asked us to clear ourselves with the National Labor Relations 
Board, and there was no alternative, and we had discussions about 
this thing then. Discussions were flying thick and thin. 

Sampler and I decided to sign these affidavits and quit the Com- 
munist Party, quit attending any meetings of the Communist Party ; 
and we did. After we signed these affidavits I don't remember at- 
tending any Communist Party meetings, but I know prior to that 
we did meet with various Comunist Party leaders to get their opinion 
on this thing. 

And I would like to say here now, this thing worked on my mind 
for a long time. There had to be a choice between getting down as 
president and Sampler getting down as secretary-treaurer, or, break- 
ing organically with the Communist Party and going ahead and sign- 
ing that affidavit and trying to do what we could for the membership 
down there. 

I will make this categoric statement, that Sampler and I at that 
time were good friends, and I think we both signed that affidavit in 
good faith as far as it went in relation to attending meetings, paying 
dues to the Communist Party, contributing to the Communist Party, 
and paying assesments and so forth and so on. None of that occurred 
after we signed that affidavit. 

But I think after you have been in the Communist Party for a 
period of time and you are not mad with anybody, and your eyes 
haven't been opened, you are bound to try to the best of your abilitv 
to follow the Communist policy in many respects. This is something 
I will say today that I regret that I did. That is what I meant this 
morning about doing a lot of double talk. You say one thing and 
you mean about 15 others. 

We realized we had to avoid the charge of perjury, and we were 
very scrupulous in not meeting after we signed that affidavit. But 
a few days before we signed that affidavit, we did meet with Com- 
munists. 

76461— 50— pt. 2 5 



3230 COMMUNISM IN THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA 

In the final analysis it was us who had to decide, because it was 
us who were put over the griddle. We were very bullheaded. I 
had discussions with Philip Frankfeld; I had talks with William C. 
Taylor ; I had talks with others of the lesser leaders in Washington, 
and most of the time they would not make a categoric statement, 
"Go ahead and sign it, period." They would say, "You are needed 
in that union down there. Make your own decision. But if I were 
you I would sign it." 

I think the proof of the pudding is in the eating. Sampler and I 
continued to engage in fighting for civil rights, and cooperating with 
certain organizations in town, including the Civil Rights Congress 
and others. We thought these people were right at that time, and 
we thought there was no harm in doing that. But I find out today 
we are in a position that we would not be in if we at that time had 
broken clean. 

Mr. Kearney. Do I understand you to say that in your talks with 
the Communist leaders here in Washington or elsewhere, while you 
were a member of the Communist Party, they advised you to go ahead 
and sign the non-Communist oath, even while you were a member 
of the Communist Party ? 

Mr. Thomas. I think technically you can say that is right. We 
had not had a meeting of our club for a few weeks or months before 
this took place, because we knew that was coming up, but they did 
advise us to go ahead and sign the affidavit, 

Mr. Kearney. While you were a member of the Communist Party ? 

Mr. Thomas. I guess you would have to put it that way, because I 
had not broken off all ties. 

Mr. Kearney. You were a member of the Communist Party at that 
time, weren't you? 

Mr. Thomas. I had not paid dues for a while. I was a Communist, 
I guess, in my heart; but I was not attending club meetings. 

Mr. Kearney. You still considered yourself a member of the Com- 
munist Party ? 

Mr. Thomas. That is right. 

Mr. Tavenner. As a part of the plan for the signing of the affidavit, 
did you adopt a device of writing a letter indicating that you were 
formally resigning from the party ? 

Mr. Thomas. We did. I wrote a letter of resignation; Sampler 
wrote a letter of resignation ; and I don't know if somebody else wrote 
a letter of resignation or not. 

Mr. Tavenner. Is this a copy of the letter of resignation that you 
wrote ? 

Mr. Thomas. That is a duplicate copy. 

Mr. Tavenner. I desire to introduce that letter in evidence, and ask 
that it be marked "Thomas Exhibit X." 

Mr. Walter. So ordered. 

(The letter above referred to, marked "Thomas Exhibit X," is as 
follows:) 

February 15, 1949. 
Mr. Roy Wood. 

District of Columbia secretary, Communist Party, 

Washington, D. C. 
Dear Sir: I am in receipt of your notification that I am delinquent in the pay- 
ment of my dues. I had hoped that this delinquency would indicate to you that 



COMMUNISM IN THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA 3231 

I was no longer interested in retaining my membership. Since this was not clear 
to you, I am hereby informing you that I am resigning, effective the first of the 
year, 1949. 

Hoping this makes it clear that I am severing all relationships with you and 
your organization, I am, 
Yours truly, 

Henry Thomas. 

Mr. Tavexxer. What is the date of that letter ? 

Mr. Thomas. February 15, 1949. 

Mr. Tavexxer. When did you sign the affidavit ? 

Mr. Thomas. April 26. 

Mr. Tavexxer. When was the letter actually written ? 

Mr. Thomas. Around the 20th of April. 

Mr. Tavexxer. In other words, the letter was back-dated from about 
the 20th of April to the 15th of February. 

Mr. Thomas. That is right. That is one of the ingenious schemes 
that Sampler and I cooked up. 

Mr. Walter. Did somebody advise you to do that ? 

Mr. Thomas. I can't say somebody advised me to do that. I can't 
remember Frankfeld advising me to do that. I remember Sampler 
and I discussing it and we decided we had better backdate the letter. 

Mr. Tavexxer. When was it you had your last conversation with 
Frankfeld before signing the affidavit ? 

Mr. Thomas. I don't remember. It was in April, but I don't re- 
member the exact date. 

Mr. Tavexxer. Can you tell the committee about how long before 
you signed the affidavit it was ? 

Mr. Thomas. It was within 10 days. 

Mr. Tavexxer. Who were the other members of the Communist 
Party with whom you discussed your plan about signing the affidavit ? 

Mr. Thomas. We discussed it with W. S. Johnson. 

Mr. Tavexxer. And he held what position in the Communist 
Party at that time? 

Mr. Thomas. He didn't hold a position in the Communist Party 
then, to the best of my knowklege. I would like to say this : Johnson 
was one of those people that when any trouble came up between 
Sampler and myself we would go to him and discuss it ; and he was 
one of the first people that we discussed this with. 

Mr. Tavexxer. Did you continue to be active in the affairs of the 
Communist Party after the signing of the affidavit? 

Mr. Thomas. Not as such. I thought then that I had a little more 
freedom to swing the way I wanted to swing, but sometimes people 
would come to me for advice, or to attempt to give me advice. I have 
never turned anybody around who wanted to talk to me; I never 
have. 

Mr. Tavexxer. What was the full extent of the advice given by 
Frankfeld regarding your personal attitude and activity in the Com- 
munist Party after signing the Taft-Hartley affidavit ? 

Mr. Thomas. To be absolutely frank with you, this is what took 
place between us over that question. Frankfeld said this : 

Remember, you are not a member of the Communist Party now as such, but 
dont forget the teachings and the training and the advice that the Communist 
Party has given you all down through the years. Capitalism — 



3232 COMMUNISM IN THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA 

this is as near as I can remember the conversation — 

is still the main enemy of the working class, and you have to remember that 
the Communist Party is still the vanguard of the working class. 

This is not in quotes. I want that understood. I am trying to get 
as near his words as I can. It is hard to remember 2 years ago. I 
can't put it in his exact language, but the way he said it, it meant that 
we were to carry on certain activities within the union that could be 
carried on without our being in the Communist Party. That is what 
it meant. 

Mr. Kearney. In other words, whether you were members of the 
Communist Party or not, you were still to follow the Communist 
Party line? 

Mr. Thomas. That is right. 

Mr. Tavenner. Will you tell us what Communist Party meetings 
you attended after signing the Taft-Hartley affidavit? 

Mr. Thomas. Well, I didn't attend any meetings as such. Fre- 
quently — not frequently but infrequently, I would say — some mem- 
bers of the Communist Party would meet me, and sometimes they 
would call me on the outside to see them. 

In the last few days my mind has been refreshed to four meetings — 
five meetings — that took place. I had really forgotten. They were 
not meetings as such. They were meetings of the individuals, more or 
less. 

No. 1, Frankfeld came into my office sometime in September. 
Frankfeld came into my office sometime in February. 
Mr. Tavenner. What years ? 

Mr. Thomas. 1949 and 1950. And he came into my office just 
before our elections last June. 

A fellow T named Pettis Perry came to town. He sent word to me 
that he wanted to see me at the Dunbar Hotel. I went to see what 
he wanted. I don't know what he wanted. 

And there was another time Pettis Perry asked me to meet him 
on Florida Avenue at a residence. 

At these places I was present. Sometimes it was only myself; 
sometimes there were several other people present; but all the time 
I was trying to pull away as much as I possibly could, but it seemed 
impossible to get out from all the entanglements I was in. 

Those are the meetings I remember now 7 . There may have been 
some more, but I don't remember them. 

Mr. Tavenner. What were you told to do by members of the Com- 
munist Party after you had signed the Taft-Hartley affidavit ? 

Mr. Thomas. No. 1, we were told to get as many delegates to the 
conference in Chicago as possible. 

Mr. Tavenner. What do you mean, "as many delegates" ? 
Mr. Thomas. Delegates from our union. 
Mr. Tavenner. To what meeting ? 

Mr. Thomas. To this conference we were discussing a short while 
ago that was held in Chicago — National Trade Union Rights — you 
know what I mean. 
Mr. Tavenner. Yes. 

Mr. Thomas. That was one. Another time we discussed calling 
a conference here in Washington, an unemployment conference. 
That was the first of the year. That was never called. 



COMMUNISM IN THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA 3233 

I can't remember what the others were right off, but those were 
two of the things that I know were discussed. 

Mr. Tavexxer. What directions have been given you by Frank- 
f eld since you signed the Taft-Hartley affidavit ? 

Mr. Thomas. "Well, I remember discussing those two things with 
him, and he told me, in the presence of Sampler, about these dele- 
gates, about this unemployment conference, and about some other 
things. It was not about meetings, but about doing certain things 
in the union. I know most of these things were dropped; they 
were not carried out. 

Air. Tavexxer. Do you recall an occasion in your union when 
a resolution was offered in support of the United Nations in the con- 
flict in Korea '? 

Mr. Thomas. I remember that. 

Mr. Tavenner. Tell the committee what occurred at that time. 

Mr. Thomas. The resolution was introduced by the financial sec- 
retary-treasurer. I don't remember the contents, but it backed up 
the United Nations forces in Korea. 

When this resolution hit the board, I was surprised that it came in 
the form that it did, and it set me back, but I thought that I was doing 
what most of the people that I thought were my friends wanted me 
to do, to fight against this resolution. 

I had two reasons to fight against this resolution. I think you can 
call them stupid reasons. 

First, I wasn't particularly interested whether the union went on 
record for that resolution or not. 

And, secondly, I thought maybe when it got out on the floor I could 
kill it there. I didn't have a chance to kill it in the executive board. 

I thought I was. and I was, following the teachings I have had all 
through the years, to oppose anything that was American, I will say; 
anything backed by the Government was supposed to be opposed. 

Mr. Tavexxer. You say "supposed to be opposed." Explain that. 

Mr. Thomas. After many, many years of being in the Communist 
Party, you learn to be against things. That is something that dis- 
turbed me over a long period of time. I am tired of being against. 
I want to be for something sometimes. You are trained to be against 
things, especially coming from the other side, so to speak, not neces- 
sarily from the Government, but coming from other than the Commu- 
nist side. You are supposed to be against it; it isn't supposed to be 
right ; and instinctively I opposed that resolution. 

Mr. Tavexxer. In other words, you considered that you should op- 
pose that resolution because to do so would be in keeping with the 
Communist Party line or its teachings ? 

Mr. Thomas. I guess my instinct must have told me, because really 
nobody had told me to oppose it. The resolution came as a complete 
surprise to me. 

Mr. Tavexxer. Who was it that offered the resolution? 

Mr. Thomas. Thomas G. Sampler. 

Mr. Tavexxer. You have spoken several times in the course of your 
testimonv regarding revolutionary training. What did you mean by 
that? 

Mr. Thomas. The Communist Party is considered the revolutionary 
party in the world today, or in any other day since its existence. Any 



3234 COMMUNISM IN THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA 

person who is a member of the Communist Party considers himself a 
revolutionary, whether he knows it or not. He is a revolutionary. 
He fights for the primary purpose of establishing what is termed 
"scientific socialism" in this country or any other country he may go 
to or any country he may live in. 

A revolutionary movement is just what its name implies, for a new 
system. What that system will be, I don't think the Communists know 
themselves. I think that a lot of people feel this way, that maybe they 
had better hold on to what they got and not try another system. A lot 
of question has come up about that. This revolutionary thing is always 
a constant thing in the Communist Party. 

Mr. Tavenner. Will you tell the committee what motivated you in 
answering questions before this committee and making your break 
with the Communist Party ? 

Mr. Thom\s. I have searched my conscience, I have talked with 
many people, and the one person that I talked to that determined 
my course of action — I want you to know this; I want the Commu- 
nists to know it, and I want everybody to know it who thinks I have 
been a stool pigeon — was my mother. 

I have always held my mother in the highest regard. I have neg- 
lected her in the last 8 or 9 years. I have not gone to her as I should 
have gone to her. I have not cared for her as I should have cared 
for her. But I think she still loves me today as much as the day I 
was born. She told me that. She was the motivating force. If I 
had not strayed from her 10 or 12 years ago, it is the thing that could 
have changed my life. 

I would like to say that I had quite a few things to say when I 
finished my testimony today, but they all seem to go away. 

I would like to say that when you are hungry and a man offers you 
something to eat, not only will you follow that man because you get 
more to eat, but you are thankful to him, and I was thankful to the 
Communist Party for taking me off the street and giving me a hot 
meal, and I appreciated that and tried to do the best I could. 

When I was a Communist, I tried to be a good Communist, the same 
as I try to be a good anything else. I don't think anybody can 
say anything about my work as president of that union. I have tried 
to be a good president. I have tried to be good at everything I have 
done. 

For the record I would like to say this : I went to the fifth grade in 
school. The Communists taught me quite a bit of what I know now ; 
some I picked up myself. If I had had the opportunity to go to school 
maybe I wouldn't be sitting here today. I don't know what would 
have happened to me if I had graduated from school. I am sure 
I wouldn't be here. I probably would not have become a Commu- 
nist. I probably would still be in Alabama. Maybe I would have 
owned property. Maybe I would have been a farmer. I can't say 
what I would have been, but I know what I am now. I am a free 
man. 

I feel that there is no turning back. I cannot go to the Communists 
for help. I don't know where I will go for help. I don't even know 
whether I will keep my job. I don't know where I will get my next 
job. 

I did that not to protect myself — I want that understood — but I 
wanted to go back home to my mother, and I wanted my mother to 



COMMUNISM IN THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA 3235 

say, "My son has come back to me." My mother is old. She is 65 
years old. I love her. I always loved her, I guess, but my training — 
I was so busy I neglected my mother. From now on I promise to love 
her again; and I feel from the bottom of my heart I have done a 
service. 

The second determining factor is when I discovered there are two 
Communist Parties in the United States. There is the one I was in. 
I believed what I was doing was for the benefit of mankind. When 
I discovered an organization of the Communist Party had engaged 
in espionage, sabotage, spying, and so forth, this I couldn't stomach. 

I told my wife 5 years ago that if I ever discovered the Communist 
Party was engaged in spying, and it was proven to me, I was through 
with it. I tell you right now that I am finished. I don't think they 
will ever want anything more to do with me. I don't want anything 
more to do with them. 

I spent 3 years in the Armj' and did not complain, and if I have 
to go some place else I won't complain either. My destiny rests in 
the hands of God. 

Mr. Walter. The committee, and I might say the country, is in- 
debted to you for the straightforward manner in which you have 
pointed out how innocent people can, through high-sounding move- 
ments, become duped into becoming part of an international con- 
spiracy. It took courage to do what you have done, and you are to be 
congratulated on proving here you are a good American. 

Mr. Thomas. Thank you. 

Mr. Walter. The committee stands adjourned until 10 o'clock to- 
morrow morning. 

(Thereupon, at 3 p. m. on Monday, December 11, 1950, an adjourn- 
ment was taken until Tuesday, December 12, 1950, at 10 a. m.) 



HEARINGS REGARDING COMMUNISM IN THE DISTRICT 
OF COLUMBIA— PART 2 



TUESDAY, DECEMBER 12, 1950 

United States House of Representatives, 

Subcommittee of the 
Committee on Un-American Activities, 

Washington, D. G. 

PUBLIC HEARING 

A subcommittee of the Committee on Un-American Activities met, 
pursuant to adjournment, at 10 : 30 a. m., in room 226, Old House Office 
Building, Hon. Francis E. Walter presiding. 

Committee members present: Representatives Francis E. Walter, 
Burr P. Harrison, John McSweeney, Harold H. Velde (arriving as 
noted) , and Bernard W. Kearney. 

Staff members present : Frank S. Tavenner, Jr., counsel ; Courtney 
E. Owens and James A. Andrews, investigators ; John W. Carrington, 
clerk ; and A. S. Poore, editor. 

Mr. Walter. The committee will come to order. 

Are you ready, Mr. Tavenner ? 

Mr. Tavenner. Yes, sir. 

Mr. Walter. Will you raise your right hand, please. You 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. Sampler. Yes, sir ; I do. 

TESTIMONY 0E THOMAS G. SAMPLER 

Mr. Tavenner. Will you state your full name, please ? 

Mr. Sampler. Thomas G. Sampler. 

Mr. Tavenner. Where do you presently reside? 

Mr. Sampler. 1661 Gales Street NE. 

Mr. Tavenner. When and where were you born ? 

Mr. Sampler. White Plains, Ala., May 24, 1919. 

Mr. Tavenner. How long have you lived in the city of Wash- 
ington ? 

Mr. Sampler. I have lived here since February 1937. 

Mr. Tavenner. Are you presently employed ? 

Mr. Sampler. Yes, sir. 

Mr. Tavenner. By whom? 

Mr. Sampler. I am secretary-treasurer of the Building Laborers' 
Local 74, affiliated with the International Hodcarriers, Building and 
Common Laborers Union of America. 

3237 



3238 COMMUNISM IN THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA 

Mr. Tavenner. How long have you occupied that position ? 

Mr. Sampler. Since September 1, 1948. 

Mr. Tavenner. Have you held any other positions in that local? 

Mr. Sampler. Yes, sir. I was president of local 74 from June 1947 
until June 1948. I was also delegate to different affiliated bodies. 

Mr. Tavenner. Do you mean prior to that time, or during the time 
that you were an official ? 

Mr. Sampler. Prior to that time I think I was a delegate to the 
Washington Central Labor Union. I am not positive. 

Mr. Tavenner. I will ask you to speak a little louder. You state 
that prior to that time you were a delegate to what ? 

Mr. Sampler. To the Washington Central Labor Union; as well 
as delegate to various conventions that were held by the international, 
as well as State conventions. 

Mr. Tavenner. You have been very active, then, in the work of 
your union ? 

Mr. Sampler. Yes, sir. 

Mr. Tavenner. Will you state briefly what your past record of 
employment has been, other than what you have just mentioned? 

Mr. Sampler. Well, I was a farmer in Virginia from the time I 
was 10 years old until the time I was 17, or until 1937, rather; and 
I worked as a houseman for a while; and I was in a CCC camp for 
a couple of years. 

Mr. Tavenner. Were you in the military service ? 

Mr. Sampler. Yes, sir. 

Mr. Tavenner. When did you enter the military service? 

Mr. Sampler. I went into the armed services in June of 1944 and 
I was discharged in December 1945 or the first part of January 1946. 

Mr. Tavenner. Where did you serve while in the armed services? 

Mr. Sampler. In Mississippi, where I got my basic training; proc- 
essing center in Nebraska; and in Pratt, Kans. I was in the Air 
Force. 

Mr. Tavenner. Was your entire service in this country? 

Mr. Sampler. Within the United States ; yes, sir. 

Mr. Tavenner. Have you at any time been a member of the Com- 
munist Party? 

Mr. Sampler. I have, sir. 

Mr. Tavenner. When did you become a member ? 

Mr. Sampler. I joined in May 1947. 

Mr. Tavenner. Will you tell the committee the circumstances 
under which you became a member of the Communist Party ? 

Mr. Sampler. Well, we were involved in wage negotiations in the 
union, and I was chairman of the negotiating committee. I made a 
statement that wasn't what it should have been, so I was removed as 
chairman of the committee. 

There were people within the union who I suspicioned of being, you 
know, Communists, who immediately flocked to my defense, and so 
on, and taken this whole question of removing me from the com- 
mittee and turned it against the officers who were in, and it built 
me up pretty good. 

One of these persons was Henry Thomas. Another was William 
Gray. Prior to that time I had been in contact — I had never joined 
the Socialist Party, but I had been in contact with a Mr. Gauseman, 



COMMUNISM IN THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA 3239 

who was head of the Socialist Party. I talked to him about it, and 
he couldn't give me any advice. 

Mr. Tavenner. Will you spell his name ? 

Mr. Sampler. G-a-u-s-e-m-a-n, William C. He couldn't give me 
any advice on what to do. I talked to several other people, and they 
couldn't give me any advice. Then I talked to Thomas, and he was 
able to give me advice on just what position to take and everything, 
so it led on from there until I got closer and closer to Thomas, and 
he was instructing me on this part of the union activity and that part 
of the union activity. 

So finally he and I worked on several jobs together. I would get 
a job and he would ask me if I could get him on, and I did. Then we 
developed a friendship. 

Thomas met me one day in front of the Union Hall at 525 New 
Jersey Avenue NW., and that is where I discussed with him about join- 
ing the Communist Party. We got a taxicab and went to his home at 
1368 Canal Street SW., Washington, D. C, and there is where I signed 
my application for membership in the Communist Party. 

Thomas showed me his membership card in the Communist Party 
in his home, upstairs in the telephone stand. He showed me his mem- 
bership card in the Communist Party and in the Young Communist 
League, and he made the statement he always would be a Communist 
and follow the doctrines of Marxism and Leninism. He got me 
interested in discussions on Marxism and Leninism during the process 
of our working together on these jobs. He also made the statement 
that I didn't have anything to fear, because joining the Communist 
Party was legal, and therefore it wasn't illegal to be a Communist, 
and I didn't have anything to fear. So I joined. 

Mr. Tavenner. That was about what month of the year ? 

Mr. Sampler. About May. 

Mr. Tavenner. Of what year ? 

Mr. Sampler. 1947. 

Mr. Tavenner. When did you get your Communist Party card ? 

Mr. Sampler. It was later on, at a meeting, and it was issued to me 
by Henry Thomas. 

Mr. Walter. Where was this meeting held ? 

Mr. Sampler. In Thomas' home. 

Mr. Walter. Do you remember who attended that meeting? 

Mr. Sampler. Henry Thomas ; Taylor, who I learned later on was 
William C. Taylor ; and a fellow by the name of Al or Ray was at this 
meeting. 

Mr. Walter. Nobody else attended the meeting ? 

Mr. Sampler. I can't recall anyone else. I can only remember those 
people at that meeting. 

Mr. Walter. And they were all Communists ? 

Mr. Sampler. Yes, sir. They introduced themselves as being Com- 
munists and gave me some literature to read and so on. 

Mr. Tavenner. After you became a member of the Communist 
Party, were you assigned to any particular group or cell of the party ? 

Mr. Sampler. Yes, sir. 

Mr. Tavenner. What was the name of that group ? 

Mr. Sampler. The Douglas Club. 



3240 COMMUNISM IN THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA 

Mr. Tavenner. Is that the same group of which Thomas was a 
member ? 

Mr. Sampler. Yes. 

Mr. Tavenner. Can you give us the names of the officers of that 
group? 

Mr. Sampler. Henry Thomas was president; his wife was secre- 
tary-treasurer. 

Mr. Tavenner. What was her name? 

Mr. Sampler. Mrs. Gladys R. Thomas. 

Mr. Tavenner. You have stated the names of several people who 
attended the first meeting that you attended. Or maybe I should ask 
you, who were present at the first meeting of this Douglas Club that 
you attended? 

Mr. Sampler. At the first meeting those I can remember that were 
present were William C. Taylor ; this fellow Al ; myself ; and Thomas. 
We met in Thomas' living room, 1368 Canal Street. 

Mr. Tavenner. Will you give me the names of all persons who 
from that time on became members of that group ? 

Mr. Sampler. You mean that attended later meetings ? 

Mr. Tavenner. Yes. I mean who attended later meetings and were 
members of the Communist Party. 

Mr. Sampler. Ernest Chambers; Norris Hammond 

Mr. Tavenner. What is the first name ? 

Mr. Sampler. Norris. 

Mr. Tavenner. Norris Hammond? 

Mr. Sampler. That is right. 

Mr. Tavenner. All right. Who else? 

Mr. Sampler. William Gray. 

Mr. Tavenner. William Gray? 

Mr. Sampler. Yes. Thomas Waller. 

Mr. Tavenner. Thomas Waller? 

Mr. Sampler. Yes. McKinley Gray became a member later on. 

Mr. Tavenner. McKinley Gray? 

Mr. Sampler. That is right. Henry Thomas ; Gladys Thomas ; Nor- 
ris Hammond ; myself ; and for a while this fellow Al or Ray, which- 
ever one his name was, attended these meetings, then he dropped out. 

Mr. Tavenner. Can you give us further identifying information 
regarding this man Al ? 

Mr. Sampler. He is tall. He asked me one time to become a mem- 
ber of the trustee board of the Washington Book Shop. 

Mr. Tavenner. Was he a member of the Washington Book Shop? 

Mr. Sampler. I don't know. He said he was a member of the 
trustee board, that he was on the trustee board. 

Mr. Tavenner. Do you know what work he did or where he waa 
employed ? 

Mr. Sampler. I think he was an electrician. 

Mr. Tavenner. Tell us about the circumstances of his invitingyou 
to be a member of the board of trustees of the Washington Book 
Shop. 

Mr. Sampler. He just brought it out of clear air. It was at the 
end of a club meeting. He said, "Tom, why don't you come on and 
join the book shop." and he said, "You will have a chance to work 
your way up to the board of trustees." I think later on I did sub- 



COMMUNISM IN THE I/ISTRICT OF COLUMBIA 3241 

scribe for membership, but I never attended a meeting. He said I 
could get my books cheap, and a whole lot of things. 

Mr. Tavenner. Do you remember the name of the person to whom 
vou addressed your application for membership in the Washington 
BookShop? 

Mr. Sampler. No, I don't. 

Mr. Tavenner. Can you recall the names of any other persons who 
were either members of the Douglas Club of the Communist Party or 
who attended its meetings? 

Mr. Sampler. Yes. William C. Taylor came to some meetings. 
Shirley, who was William C. Taylor's wife, came to some. Phil 
Frankfeld. 

Mr. Tavenner. Who was Phil Frankfeld? 

Mr. Sampler. He was chairman of the Maryland-District of Co- 
lumbia Communist Party. And various other people would come in 
and give lectures. I can't recall their names. Someone was there one 
night who had something to do with literature, but I can't recall his 
name. 

(Hon. John MeSweeney left hearing room.) 

Mr. Tavenner. Did you become acquainted with a man by the name 
of Branca '. 

Mr. Sampler. I have met Branca in Communist Party meetings, 
but not meetings of the Douglas Club, that I can recall. 

Mr. Tavenner. Were vou acquainted with a man by the name of 
Roy Wood? 

Mr. Sampler. Yes. He came into the Douglas Club later on. He 
came into the Douglas Club after Robert Paul came into the union 
as bookkeeper. When Roy Wood came into the Douglas Club, I believe 
he became chairman or was sent here to be chairman of the Communist 
Party of the District of Columbia. 

Mr. Walter. What was the total membership of the Douglas Club ? 

Mr. Sampler. Approximately 9 or 10, I believe. Then the club 
split. 

Mr. Tavenner. Before we come to that, let us see if we can identify 
further names. I think you have identified Norris Hammond as one 
of the members of that club ? 

Mr. Sampler. Yes. 

Mr. Tavenner. How many of the members of this club held offices 
at one time or another in your local union ? 

Mr. Sampler. Five, the best that I can recall. 

Mr. Tavenner. Will you give their names ? 

Mr. Sampler. Henry Thomas, Thomas Sampler, William Gray, 
Norris Hammond, Ernest Chambers, and McKinley Gray were on the 
executive board for a while. 

Mr. Walter. At these Communist Party meetings, were plans made 
to get control of the union? 

Mr. Sampler. Yes, sir. You see, our club meetings were held after 
each union meeting, then what each person didn't do well, Thomas 
would criticize him, so-called criticism, after the meeting. Then we 
would contact each other by phone or personal contact between meet- 
ings as to what was coming up at the next meeting of the union. 

Mr. Walter. Always having in mind the ultimate objective of 
controlling the union ? 



3242 COMMUNISM IN THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA 

Mr. Sampler. Of controlling the union. 

Mr. Harrison. That is done through the little cells. For instance, 
when the Douglas Club gained its objective you broke it up; isn't that 
right? 

Mr. Sampler. That is right. I would say that the ultimate objec- 
tive was to see that Thomas controlled the union. They tried to 
teach us that a good Communist doesn't run for office, but looking 
over it now you can see that even when I was president, I didn't run 
for reelection, and the orders not to run came from William Taylor 
and other members of the trade-union commission. 

Mr. Tavennee. Trade-union commission of the Communist Party? 

Mr. Sampler. Yes. I can see it clearly now. They didn't care if 
Chambers or I ever became officers, just so they got this one well- 
trained Communist into leadership in that union. 

Mr. Tavenner. And that was who ? 

Mr. Sampler. Henry Thomas. 

Mr. Tavenner. What means were used by this Communist Party 
cell to maintain a Communist as president of the union? How did 
they go about it? What organizational work was done, if any, to 
assure his election as president of the union? I mean, were plans 
made in your Communist Party cell as to how you would bring about 
the election of Thomas as president ? 

Mr. Sampler. Well, yes. You see, we were pretty popular among 
the members, especially myself as president, and so on. So at a trade- 
union commission meeting at William S. Johnson's house, that is where 
the first decision was made for me to step down as president and run 
for secretary-treasurer against a very strong individual who I knew 
it was almost impossible to beat. I agreed because I had been in a 
terrible fight over the Taft-Hartley affidavit while I was president. 
I can't remember what month it was that I approached Thomas about 
signing the affidavit. I was president, but everybody looked to Thomas 
as the leader of the union. We were down in the basement and I told 
him I felt we should go on and sign these things, and that is when 
Thomas made the statement to me that if I signed I would be expelled 
from the Communist Party, and if I wanted to use my stubbornness 
he would see that I was exposed as being a Communist president. 
That is the type of conversations that went on between Thomas and 
me while I was president. 

Mr. Tavenner. I understood you to say you got directions from 
the trade-union commission of the Communist Party that you were to 
step down as president ? 

Mr. Sampler. That is right. 

Mr. Tavenner. And run for a lesser office ? 

Mr. Sampler. That is right. 

Mr. Tavenner. Who were the members of that trade-union commis- 
sion that made that decision ? 

Mr. Sampler. That made the decision ? 

Mr. Tavenner. Yes, that made the decision that you should step 
down. 

Mr. Sampler. Present at that meeting ? 

Mr. Tavenner. Yes. 

Mr. Sampler. Myself, William C. Taylor, William S. Johnson, 
Henry Thomas were present at that meeting. However, that is not 
all the people on the trade-union commission. 



COMMUNISM IN THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA 3243 

Mr. Tavenner. Who were the other members of the trade-union 
commission ? 

Mr. Sampler. Gertrude Evans ; and there was a Rose on there for 
a while, I didn't know her last name; Henry Thomas; William S. 
Johnson; William C. Taylor used to come to the meetings; Sally 
Peake ; and Lem Belton. 

Mr. Tavenner. Those persons having membership in this commis- 
sion were necessarily members of the Communist Party, were they not? 

Mr. Sampler. We talked about what the Communist Party line 
should be in the unions and what was going on in the unions? 

Mr. Tavenner. So that the Communist Party line was handed down 
to the officers of the union through this trade-union commission of 
the Communist Party ? 

Mr. Sampler. That is right. 

Mr. Tavenner. You spoke of a person by the name of Rose as 
being a member of that trade-union commission. 

Mr. Sampler. That is right. 

Mr. Tavenner. Can you give us some further identifying informa- 
tion regarding her, as to what she did, where she lived, or anything 
else that would enable us to identify her ? 

Mr. Sampler. I don't know where she lived or what she did. I 
have run into her on several citizens' committees since that time. 

Mr. Tavenner. Can you recall what those citizens' committees 
were? 

Mr. Sampler. One was a citizens' committee for Paul Robeson, 
which later on turned into being the citizens' committee for the Negro 
committee rally ; then I think they changed it again. 

Mr. Tavenner. Can you give any other information regarding her ? 

Mr. Sampler. I have seen her on several picket lines. In fact, when 
you would go to these picket lines, when somebody would ask you to 
help out, you would always see the same old faces. 

Mr. Tavenner. Can you definitely identify this person's presence at 
any picket line? 

Mr. Sampler. Yes, I can. 

Mr. Tavenner. What picket line? 

Mr. Sampler. One time they were picketing the White House and 
she was on that picket line. 

Mr. Tavenner. When was that ? 

Mr. Sampler. I think it was in 1949. 

Mr. Tavenner. Did you say 1949 ? 

Mr. Sampler. That is right. And she was very active in the 
Progressive Party, too. 

Mr. Tavenner. Did she hold any position in the Progressive Party, 
as far as you know ? 

Mr. Sampler. I don't recall. She and Gertrude Evans were very 
close together on these committees, Progressive Party, and so on. 

Mr. Tavenner. Can you describe her physical appearance? 

Mr. Sampler. She was a heavy weight. She was a white woman. 
She weighed about 150 or 160 pounds, I believe. 

Mr. Tavenner. You spoke of a person being a member of the 
Douglas Club by the name of Al or Ray 

Mr. Sampler. Yes. 

Mr. Tavenner. Who was an electrician and who was a member of 
the Washington Book Shop. I hand you a list of the members of the 



3244 COMMUNISM IN THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA 

board of directors of the Washington Book Shop as of July 9, 1948, 
and I will ask you to look at that list and see whether you can identify 
the name of the person to whom you referred as Al or Ray from that 
list? 

Mr. Sampler. I believe this is the fellow here, Raymond Israel 
Pinkson. T am quite sure that this was the man. I used to call him 
Al quite a few times, and he used to correct me and tell what his name 
was, and my recollection is that his name was Ray. He was bald- 
headed. He had very little hair on his head, I remember that. 

Mr. Tavenner. Where were your Communist Party meetings held 
while you were a member of the Douglas Club ? 

Mr. Sampler. Thomas' home, 1368 Canal Street; at my home, 1661 
Gales Street NE. ; at Ernest Chambers' home, 406 N Street NW. ; and 
I think one or two meetings at Thomas Waller's room or suite at the 
Dunbar Hotel. 

Mr. Tavenner. How often did you have those meetings? 
Mr. Sampler. About twice a month, unless something came up in 
between them, then Thomas would call a special meeting. 

Mr. Tavenner. Was this club, known as the Douglas Club of the 
Communist Party, able to control the policies of the union? 
Mr. Sampler. To a great extent. 

Mr. Tavenner. Did the rank and file membership of the union know 
that these officers who were members of the Douglas Club were actu- 
ally members of the Communist Party ? 

Mr. Sampler. No. Looking back over it, as far as being the Com- 
munist in local 74, I, Sampler, was always pictured as being the big 
Communist, you see. That is the way the membership would see it. 
Actually, it was Thomas' direction and advice that caused the winning- 
out of the party line within the union. 

Mr. Tavenner. Were efforts made by the members of the club to 
conceal from the membership of the union the fact that a particular 
line was the Communist Party line, or that what was being done was 
being done at the direction of the Communist Party? 

Mr. Sampler. We were asked to conceal it because in certain com- 
panies if you reveal you are a Communist you wouldn't be able to get 
a position, and so on. 

Mr. Tavenner. You made reference a while ago to the fact that your 
organization, the Frederic Douglas Club, was split up. Will you tell 
the committee what you meant by that ? 

Mr. Sampler. This was after Roy Wood came in, and some of the 
members of the club thought, "Here is another Communist going to 
take a job in the union," since it was brought up that Robert Paul 
was one and was working in the union office. Before I ran for secre- 
tary-treasurer he was working there. We thought the mere fact Roy 
W T ood had been put in our club meant he was going to take a job in 
the union. That caused a fight. Then, we were told for security rea- 
sons, the club was split into two groups. Thomas named me in charge 
of one section, and himself in charge of another. We were told to 
hold meetings, and I would collect the dues and turn them over to- 
Thomas and the rest of the members. But our wing, our group, didn't 
hold any meetings whatsoever, as such, of the Douglas Club. 
Mr. Tavenner. Who were those assigned to your group ? 
Mr. Sampler. The persons we felt were disloyal to the party, who 
were Ernest Chambers, McKinley Gray, and Thomas Waller. 



COMMUNISM IN THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA 3245 

Mr. Tavenner. You stated that the reason for splitting the organi- 
zation that was given to you was to promote security ? 

Mr. Sampler. That is right. 

Mr. Tavenner. What explanation was given of that to you? 

Mr. Sampler. That the Government was making a drive against the 
Communist Party, and that they wouldn't have any more membership 
lists, wouldn't issue any more dues books, or anything. 

Mr. Tavenner. When did this split occur ? 

Mr. Sampler. In 1948. 

Mr. Tavenner. How long did you remain a member of the Commu- 
nist Party ? 

Mr. Sampler. For approximately 2 years. 

Mr. Tavenner. Will you state to the committee the circumstances 
under which your membership was terminated ? 

Mr. Sampler. Well, I saw a telegram from the Master Builders 
Association, signed by Bill Nelson, chairman of the negotiating com- 
mittee, that they would not meet with local 74 until all local unions 
complied with the non-Communist oath of the Taft-Hartley law. 
I saw that telegram and I took it up with Thomas. I left the telegram 
on Thomas' desk. I told him I wasn't going to fight any more to hold 
off signing that affidavit. 

So I went, on the advice of one of the union's attorneys, Mr. Howard 
Jenkins, to the office of the Civil Rights Congress, 930 F Street NW., 
Washington, D. C, and asked Tom Buchanan if I could withdraw 
my membership from the Civil Rights Congress. He told me I could 
not do it. 

Mr. Tavenner. That you could not withdraw from the Civil Rights 
Congress ? 

Mr. Sampler. That is right. Word got around and Thomas heard 
about it. He said he had attended a city committee meeting and had 
gotten the instructions on what to do, and that I was a bonehead for 
going out and trying to clear my record without consulting him. He 
said he had the instruction on what to do as far as the non-Com- 
munist affidavit was concerned, and he told me if I had acted like a 
Communist should act and come to the leader, I would be able to sign, 
and so on. 

He said, "I will tell you what you ought to do. You can hand in a 
resignation, if you want to. I think somebody will get in touch with 
3'ou. As far as I am concerned, it is up to you." 

So they did get in touch with me. 

Mr. Tavenner. Who got in touch with you ? 

Mr. Sampler. Roy Wood and William S. Johnson came to my house 
and said they represented the city committee of the Communist Party, 
and asked about my actions and why did I do it. 
Mr. Tavenner. Why did you do what? 

Mr. Sampler. Why did I put this move on to sign the affidavit. 
They said my actions were not the actions of a Communist, and that 
left me open for so-called criticism in the Communist Party. They 
said I could no longer consider myself as being a member of the Com- 
munist Party. 

They asked me wouldn't I go ahead and offer my resignation then. 
I told them I would think it over. Roy Wood said, "Well, if you want 
to get in touch with us you can.'' 

76461 — 50 — pt. 2 6 



3246 COMMUNISM IN THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA 

So I decided to get in touch with Johnson. I met William S. John- 
son in the 100 block of Massachusetts Avenue NW. in his car. That 
is when I made the decision to get out of the Communist Party and 
sign the affidavit. William Johnson told me Thomas had the instruc- 
tions. 

I went to the union office and I immediately fixed up my resignation. 

By the way, I would like to say on this that Thomas intended to 
make Chambers the goat on this tiling. He and I went into the back 
room and talked it over, and he said, "You are going to hand in your 
resignation; is that right?" 

I said, "Yes, I am." And I said, "What about Chambers' and the 
rest of the fellows that hold office?" 

He said, "I don't know. Somebody has got to take the rap. Is it 
going to be you ?" 

So I went to Chambers and told him to write out his resignation 
from the party and we would turn it in. I turned over my resignation 
from the Communist Party to Henry Thomas in the union office. 

Mr. Tavenner. To whom was that resignation addressed? 

Mr. Sampler. To Koy Wood, who was then secretary. 

Mr. Tavenner. Secretary of the Communist Party for the District 
of Columbia ? 

Mr. Sampler. Then he was secretary. 

Mr. Tavenner. Do you know what position he now holds? 

Mr. Sampler. I believe he is chairman. I see where he wrote a 
letter to several of the papers. 

Mr. Tavenner. Do you recall the date of your resignation ? 

Mr. Sampler. Well, it was discussed about back-dating these let- 
ters of resignation, but the actual resignation was written in April — 
the last part of April 1949. 

Mr. Tavenner. And what was the date which was placed on the 
letters of resignation, if you remember ? 

Mr. Sampler. I can't recall what the date was on my letter, but there 
was a discussion between Thomas and myself about back-dating these 
letters. I remember that in my resignation I expressed my sincere 
belief, and so on, because I had had a lot of differences with them on a 
lot of things. 

Mr. Tavenner. How was your resignation delivered, do you know ? 

Mr. Sampler. It was given to Thomas in person. 

Mr. Tavenner. Did you have any conference with a person by the 
name of Eobert Paul regarding the signing of the Taft-Hartley affi- 
davit or your resignation ? 

Mr. Sampler. Yes. Paul had discussed some parts of it. He had 
studied law, and he said that this was being done according to the legal 
part of it. He was around in the office there. He was from one to the 
other, from me to Thomas, to Chambers, to everybody in the office, and 
into everything. 

Mr. Tavenner. Do you know of any efforts on the part of the Com- 
munist Party to control your actions or your conduct after the sign- 
ing of the Taft-Hartley affidavit? 

Mr. Sampler. Yes; yes; several times. First Paul would go over 
into Thomas' office and they would talk over things. Most of my good 
friends in the union would come in and talk to me, and a lot of them 
were anti-Communists. Paul would overhear the conversation and 



COMMUNISM IN THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA 3247 

lie would <ro in and take it up with Thomas, then a week or so later 
Phil Frankfeld would come in and try to straighten things out. 

I remember an incident that arose concerning the signing. Paul 
and I used to disagree on a lot of things. I told him to stop distribut- 
ing party literature and so on. He was always talking in my ear and 
trying to influence me to do this or that, and when he couldn't, he 
would go to Thomas, and Thomas would try to straighten us out on 
many things so far as the party line was concerned. 

We had an organizer named Shields, an anti-Communist. Shields, 
McKinley Gray, Chambers, and James Devore influenced me in 
putting the skids under Paul. 

Mr. Tavenner. What was the attitude of the rank and file of the 
union toward Robert Paul distributing and spreading Communist 
material in the union hall ? 

Mr. Sampler. A lot of them were against it, and a lot of them were 
just interested in getting jobs. 

Mr. Tavenner. But complaints were made about his doing that? 

Mr. Sampler. Yes; that is right — distributing Communist litera- 
ture and material. And every petition that would come out, he would 
have it there for you to sign. 

Mr. Tavenner. What instructions came down from Communist 
Party headquarters as to how to deal with this question of Robert 
Paul? 

Mr. Sampler. The only thing I know of as coming from the Com- 
munist Party headquarters was that Phil Frankfeld came in. I told 
Paul one day, "Paul, they are after you and you have to go." That 
was one morning about 10 o'clock. The next morning Phil Frankfeld, 
Robert Paul, Roy Wood, and myself were present in Thomas' office 
in the front part of the building. 

Mr. Tavenner. So you had at that meeting the heads of the party 
both from Maryland and the District of Columbia ? 

Mr. Sampler. Yes. Frankfeld made the statement that it was 
unthinkable to throw Paul out among the unemployed, and at that 
meeting Thomas got me to agree to let Paul stay there until he had a 
chance to find himself another job. And Frankfeld made the state- 
ment that Thomas had called him in to help straighten this thing out. 

Mr. Tavenner. Do you recall an occasion when a resolution sup- 
porting the United Nations in the Korean situation was presented 
to your local union ? 

Mr. Sampler. That is correct. 

Mr. Tavenner. I believe you presented that resolution ? 

Mr. Sampler. That is right. I have a copy of that resolution. Do 
you want to see it [handing paper to Mr. Tavenner] ? 

Mr. Tavenner. I will read the resolution into the record : 

Whereas the American Federation of Labor has pledged support to our Govern- 
ment and the United Nations in fighting to restore peace in Korea ; and 

"Whereas the American Federation of Labor has pledged all-out support of 
organized labor in helping our Government to defeat the forces of communism 
at home and abroad ; and 

Whereas we cannot ignore the heroic part the United States troops are playing 
to defeat the Communists in the Korean War : So therefore be it 

Resolved, That Local No. 74 go on record as supporting William Green, presi- 
dent of the American Federation of Labor, and pledge our whole support to our 
Government in the present Korean crisis ; and be it further 

Resolved. That we pray to God for a decisive victory in Korea for the United 
Nations and for a lasting peace. 



3248 COMMUNISM IX THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA 

Mr. Sampler. In fact, I expect, sir, to go back to the membership 
of that local and get this resolution adopted. I would like to say this, 
that in my opinion it is stupid for anyone within the territory of the 
United States to be advocating something in favor of Russia or the 
Communists over there in Europe or Asia or wherever they are, when 
if a Communist plane comes over and drops a bomb, on that bomb it 
wouldn't be labeled that it was intended only to hit Republicans or 
capitalists and so forth and so on. In fact, the very stupid fools 
advocating that policy would be blown to bits. In my opinion this is 
common sense. 

Mr. Tavenner. Were 3 T ou successful in getting that resolution acted 
upon by your local ? 

Mr. Sampler. It was introduced in the executive board of the union v 
and Thomas opposed the resolution. The rest of the board — and I 
might say most of them were veterans of World War II — were in favor 
of the resolution. The vote would be G to 1. 

Thomas became very bitter. He jumped up and said that Truman 
had no business interfering in the Korean people's fight ; that he should 
let those people take care of their own business. This happened on 
August 16, 1950. He went on with a whole lot of things. 

Mr. Tavenner. As a result of the tactics that were used, you did 
not get it voted on by the rank and file membership ? 

Mr. Sampler. Thomas would do everything he could to keep those 
board meeting minutes from being read. I hate to reveal this, but it 
has to come out. 

Mr. Tavenner. I am not asking you to testify regarding any of the 
internal affairs of the union. This committee is not interested except 
insofar as it relates to Communist activities. 

Mr. Sampler. Communist tactics were used. There is a backlog of 
board minutes since June, since the election. 

Mr. Tavenner. During the time you were a member of the Commu- 
nist Party, did you have occasion to attend any meetings of the city 
committee of the Communist Party ? 

Mr. Sampler. Yes, sir; I did. 

( Hon. Harold H. Velde entered hearing room. ) 

Mr. Sampler (continuing). I attended two or three city committee 
meetings with Thomas. I attended one meeting in the 1600 block of 
R Street. Thomas told me where it was going to be held. It was in 
Casey's apartment. 

Mr. Tavenner. Will you spell that name? 

Mr. Sampler. C-a-s-e-y. And one meeting was held in the same 
apartment upstairs on the fourth or fifth floor. 

Mr. Tavenner. Will you identify Casey further ? 

Mr. Sampler. He was mixed up in a strike in Virginia once, 

Mr. Tavenner. Do you know his first name ? 

Mr. Sampler. I think it is Clarence. 

Mr. Tavenner. Do you recall what organization he was a member 
of ? You say he was in a strike over in Virginia, What union was on 
strike ? 

Mr. Sampler. That was in 1947. It was the Building Service Union, 
local 82. 

Mr. Tavenner. And he was present at some of these city committee 

meetings ? 



COMMUNISM IN THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA 3249 

Mr. Sampler. Some of these city committee meetings ; yes. 

Mr. Tavenner. Did you know his wife ? 

Mr. Sampler. Her name was Helen. She had dark hair. That is 
about all I know of her. 

Mr. Tavenner. Do you know what her name was before her mar- 
riage ? 

Mr. Sampler. No ; I don't. 

Mr. Tavenner. Did she attend any of these city committee meet- 
ings? 

Mr. Sampler. Yes ; she was in on some of them. 

Mr. Tavenner. Will you give us the names of any other persons 
you remember who were present ? 

Mr. Sampler. Gertrude Evans was present at one; Casey and his 
wife; Henry Thomas; William C. Taylor; Shirley, who was William 
C. Taylor's wife ; some fellow by the name of Tom Hurney. 

Mr .Tavenner. H-u-r-n-e-y? 

Mr. Sampler. Yes. I am quite certain it was in his apartment 
that the meeting was held upstairs in the 1600 block of R Street. 

(Hon. Bernard W. Kearney left hearing room.) 

Mr. Tavenner. Do you recall any other persons? Do you recall 
whether or not anyone from the Montgomery Club attended those 
meetings ? 

Mr. Sampler. Yes. I think she was the wife of Rob Hall, who is 
the correspondent for the Daily Worker. She attended some of those 
meetings. 

Mr. Tavenner. What was her name ; do you know ? 

Mr. Sampler. I don't recall her name. 

Mr. Tavenner. Do you remember the names of any of the clubs 
or cells of the Communist Party of which these various individuals 
were representatives ? 

Mr. Sampler. No ; I can't recall. 

Mr. Tavenner. Did you at any time meet with members of the 
Communist Party in other clubs or cells of the Communist Party ? 

Mr. Sampler. I did not attend meetings in any other cells. I at- 
tended classes at 4402 Georgia Avenue. 

Mr. Tavenner. Did you attend any State board meetings? By 
that I mean meetings of the district comprised of the State of Mary- 
land and the District of Columbia. 

Mr. Sampler. I attended three or four State board meetings along 
with Thomas. 

Mr. Tavenner. Where were these meetings held ? 

Mr. Sampler. In Baltimore, Md. 

Mr. Tavenner. Can you give us the names of persons that you 
met at those meetings, or who attended those meetings? 

Mr. Sampler. Phil Frankfeld; his wife was present at one; Rob 
Hall, correspondent for the Daily Worker; Mel Fiske, who later be- 
came correspondent; at that time he was an organizer at Cumber- 
land, Md. 

Mr. Tavenner. Organizer for what ? 

Mr. Sampler. At the Celanese Corp. I remember him making a 
report on it. 

Mr. Tavenner. You said that he went up there to do organizational 
work. What type of organizational work did you have reference to? 



3250 COMMUNISM IN THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA 

Mr. Sampler. He made a long report on it, and there was dis- 
cussion about recruiting people up there into the Communist Party, 
as well as carrying on Communist Party activities in the plant up 
there. 

Mr. Tavenner. By that I understand you to say he was doing 
organizational work for the Communist Party at the Celanese plant? 

Mr. Sampler. That is right. 

Mr. Tavenner. Were there others ? 

Mr. Sampler. There was Elsie Smith, who died later on ; William 
S. Johnson; and present at one of those meetings was a woman by 
the name of Alice Stapleton. 

Mr. Tavenner. Alice Stapleton ? 

Mr. Sampler. That is right. She was present at one of those 
meetings. 

Mr. Tavenner. Can you identify her further? 

Mr. Sampler. I heard at one time that she worked in one of the 
Embassies in the District of Columbia. I don't know which one. 

Mr. Tavenner. Do you know in what capacity she worked there? 

Mr. Sampler. No ; I don't. 

Mr. Tavenner. Did this person go with you ? 

Mr. Sampler. In the car? 

Mr. Tavenner. In the car to the meeting in Baltimore ? 

Mr. Sampler. That is right. We went with William S. Johnson in 
his car. 

Mr. Tavenner. I hand you a photograph and ask you if you can 
identify the person whose picture appears there ? 

Mr. Sampler. That is right. That is Alice Stapleton. She has 
gray hair, very streaked hair. 

Mr. Tavenner. I offer that photograph in evidence and ask that 
it be marked "Sampler Exhibit No. 1." 

Mr. Walter. Let it be marked and received. 

(The photograph above referred to, marked "Sampler Exhibit No. 
1," is filed herewith.) 

Mr. Tavenner. How many meetings did you attend of the State 
board at Baltimore ? 

Mr. Sampler. Three or four. I attended one meeting, I think it 
was called under the auspices of the State board, where John William- 
son, national labor secretary of the Communist Party, spoke. Frank- 
feld spoke first, and then Williamson, and I asked Thomas or Frank- 
feld, were all of these people leaders in unions? The question was 
over the passage of the Taft-Hartley Act. Some of the discussion 
centered on the affidavits. Williamson pointed out that this Taft- 
Hartley law was a reactionary piece of legislation, and so on. That 
was one meeting. 

There was another fellow present at some of these State meetings 
by the name of Fox. He worked in the furniture union, I believe. 

Mr. Tavenner. Do you remember his first name ? 

Mr. Sampler. No ; I don't. He had dark hair, tall, heavy-set. 

Mr. Tavenner. Are there any others you can identify ? 

Mr. Sampler. No. 

Mr. Tavenner. Are there other persons whose names you do not 
know, but as to whom you have some identifying information? 

Mr. Sampler. I think I could. At one time this State board was 
pretty large, and then they cut it down to 9 or 11 at a convention that 



COMMUNISM IN THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA 3251 

was held, I believe, in 1947 or 1948. I think it was in the fall of the 
year, and they cut down the membership of the State board. At one 
meeting I attended in Baltimore there were about 20 people there. 
Most of the time there were between 15 and 20 people present. 

Mr. Tavenner. Do you recall whether there was anyone at the meet- 
ings from Johns Hopkins University? 

Mr. Sampler. Yes ; there was a Professor Blumberg and his wife, 
Dorothy Blumberg. I remember a fight centering around his wife at 
a convention when one of the brothers proposed to ask her to leave the 
hall because he knew she was spying for the Communist Party. This 
was a union convention she was asked to leave. She was present along 
with Professor Blumberg. They used to criticize him because he 
talked real slow, like he was lecturing people all the time. 

Mr. Tavenner. What meetings are you referring to now ? 

Mr. Sampler. State committee. That is what Thomas said they 
were. 

Mr. Tavenner. Did you know a person by the name of Winston 
Edwards ? 

Mr. Sampler. I did. 

Mr. Tavenner. Did he attend any of those meetings, so far as you 
know? 

Mr. Sampler. No ; I never knew Winston Edwards to be a member 
of the Communist Party. 

Mr. Tavenner. You referred a few minutes ago to the holding of 
study classes in the District of Columbia. Will you tell the com- 
mittee about that ? 

Mr. Sampler. There was a class held at 4402, and Thomas selected 
me as the person to go and attend this class. It was on the national 
question as written by Joe Stalin. Thomas told me that I was picked 
out to be trained for leadership, and that I should go to this class and 
learn something new. 

This was on the national question, and they put it like this, that 
Negroes were a national minority and therefore they were a nation 
within a nation. That was the first part of the class. I attended three 
or four sessions. That they were a nation within a nation, and all the 
way from Delaware down to Florida and the tip of the Gulf of Mexico 
to Texas constituted the Black Belt, and that could be considered as 
a nation within a nation. 

They tried to teach they were a nation within a nation according 
to the teachings of Stalin, and they had the same culture, same com- 
mon background, lived in the same territory, did the same kind of 
work, contributed to the same kind of economy, and therefore they 
were a nation within a nation according to Joe Stalin. 

The question was raised that this would be done when the Commu- 
nists would take over. Mind you, down below they tell all the little 
fellows to break down segregation, and at the top they were teaching 
the leaders that when they took over they would segregate the Negroes 
away from the other citizens of the United States. So I differed, 
and they called me stupid and everything else. I argued with the 
person conducting the class, and Chet Kurrier jumped up in my 
defense. He said I hadn't been around long enough and therefore 
didn't understand the mumbo-jumbo and that sort of thing. 

Mr. Tavenner. Did you understand it was the Soviet plan and the 
Communist plan that when the Soviet Union took over in this country 
a separate nation of colored people would be formed? 



3252 COMMUNISM IN THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA 

Mr. Sampler. That is exactly what they tried to form. Thomas 
attended the latter part of one session of the class and tried to clarify 
certain things, and he spent quite a bit of time "straightening me out," 
as he called it, on the Negro question. 

Mr. Walter. In other words, the party line was to oppose segre- 
gation, and at the same time advocate the establishment of a segre- 
gated community ? 

Mr. Sampler. After the overthrowing they would set it up on a 
large scale. When you would pin them down on those things they 
could always create a reason for doing it, for doing anything. 

Mr. Tavenner. You stated this meeting was held at 4402. What 
street was that ? 

Mr. Sampler. Georgia Avenue NW. 

Mr. Tavenner. Do you know the names of any other persons who 
attended this class ? 

Mr. Sampler. Charles "Top" Payne; Chet Kurrier; Lois, diet's 
wife. She was mixed up on it too. They spent some time on her, 
and me, they just gave me up. 

Mr. Tavenner. Anyone else? 

Mr. Sampler. Nonnie Lautman, she was then. I think she has a 
different name now. She was present at some of those classes. 

Mr. Tavenner. Was Nonnie Lautman known to you to be a mem- 
ber of the Communist Party ? 

Mr. Sampler. I had attended Communist Party meetings with her 
around November of 1948. 

Mr. Tavenner. Any others that you can recall ? 

Mr. Sampler. William S. Johnson would come in and help clarify 
things. 

One fellow who I learned lives in Atlanta, Ga., now, Henry Morse, 
and his wife attended some of these classes. 

Mr. Tavenner. How many attended them in all, do you think? 

Mr. Sampler. Approximately 18 or 20. It would vary from time 
to time. 

Mr. Tavenner. How many of these classes did you attend ? 

Mr. Sampler. About three sessions. They were held in 1 week. 

Mr. Tavenner. Did you attend any other study groups in addi- 
tion to that one? 

Mr. Sampler. Yes. I attended several classes on the party's line. 
When things weren't too clear they would give me some literature to 
read. 

Mr. Tavenner. In your earlier testimony reference was made to 
Pasquale Leonard James Branca. 

Mr. Sampler. That is right. 

Mr. Tavenner. How did you become acquainted with him? 

Mr. Sampler. The first meeting I attended outside of the Douglas 
Club was at Branca's house. 

Mr. Tavenner. What kind of a meeting was it ? 

Mr. Sampler. It was a Communist meeting, but whether it was un- 
der a committee or a commission, I don't know. 

Mr. Tavenner. Did he hold any position in the Communist Party 
in the District of Columbia at that time, to your knowledge? 

Mr. Sampler. Not that I know of. 

Mr. Tavenner. This address, 4402 Georgia Avenue, is it a private 
home or an apartment building, or what is it? 



COMMUNISM IN THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA 3253 

Mr. Sampler. It is the Jewish Community Center, I believe that is 
the name. 

Mr. Tavenner. You made reference earlier in your testimony to the 
Civil Rights Congress. Are you a member of that organization in the 
District of Columbia \ 

Mr. Sampler. Yes; I had joined the Civil Rights Congress. 

Mr. Ta venner. Tell us the circumstances under which you became 
a member, if you recall. 

Mr. Sampler. I have even forgotten who I turned my membership 
over to. 

Mr. Tavenner. Were you advised by anyone to join? 

Mr. Sampler. Yes. I had heard it discussed in city committee meet- 
ings and in club meetings, to get all the Communists they could in the 
Civil Rights Congress. That phrase was used by a woman. 

Mr. Tavenner. Do you know her name ? 

Mr. Sampler. No, I don't, I joined. It cost $1. 

Mr. Tavenner. Did you solicit the membership of any other per- 
sons in that organization ? 

Mr. Sampler. Yes ; I have asked people to join. 

Mr. Tavenner. Were they members of the Communist Party ? 

Mr. Sampler. I remember soliciting approximately four or five 
people for membership in the Civil Rights Congress. 

Mr. Tavenner. Wliat members of the Civil Rights Congress were 
known to you to be members of the Communist Party ? 

Mr. Sampler. Tom Buchanan was present at one of those city 
committee meetings, too. In fact, that is the only Communist meet- 
ing I have ever been in with Tom Buchanan. 

Mr. Tavenner. What kind of meeting was that ? 

Mr. Sampler. A meeting of the city committee of the Communist 
Party. When I met Tom Buchanan he was introduced to me by 
William C. Taylor, who told me, "Here is a man who gave up his job 
with one of the newspapers here. (I believe it was the Star.) He 
told his boss he was a Communist, and they fired him." He said r 
"If we had a guy that brave in the party, the party would give him 
a job." I was only at one Communist meeting with Tom Buchanan, 
and that was a meeting of the city committee. 

Mr. Tavenner. You say he was a member of the Civil Rights 
Congress ? 

Mr. Sampler. He was executive secretary of the Civil Rights 
Congress. 

Mr. Tavenner. Do you have any knowledge of your own as to how 
he became executive secretary of that organization ? 

Mr. Sampler. No ; I don't. 

Mr. Tavenner. Can you give the names of others known to you 
to be members of the Communist Party who were members of the 
Civil Rights Congress? 

Mr. Sampler. No, I can't recall offhand. 

Mr. Tavenner. As a member of the Communist Party, were you 
active in any other organizations ? 

Mr. Sampler. Yes. I was active in the Progressive Party. 

Mr. Tavenner. What part did your Communist Party affiliation 
have in your taking part in the Progressive Party work ? 

Mr. Sampler. We were also instructed back in 1948 to get as- 
many people from within the party as possible to build the Pro- 



3254 COMMUNISM m THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA 

gressive Party, because that was the only party for Negroes and 
labor, and so forth. And I did. I got several people to join the 
Progressive Party, and I met people in the Progressive Party. You 
see, there was a fight going on in the Progressive Party all the time 
between the Communists and the Liberals. There was a fight going 
on over policy between the Communist forces and the Liberal forces. 
I was elected to the city committee of the Communist Party, and 
Thomas said I had been chosen to be on the executive board of the 
Progressive Party. 

Mr. Tavenner. Were there other persons known to you to be Com- 
munists who held positions of importance in the Progressive Party? 

Mr. Sampler. Yes, Gertrude Evans. 

Before the union election this year I didn't rejoin, and that caused 
a big scare why I didn't rejoin the Progressive Party. I knew Ger- 
trude Evans and Sally Peake to be active in the Progressive Party. 

Mr. Tavenner. Can you name others who are known to you to be 
members of the Communist Party and who are active in the Pro- 
gressive Party? 

Mr. Sampler. William S. Johnson; Henry Thomas; myself; and 
there were others in there who followed the Communist Party line 
that I had never met as Communists. Some names I may be able to 
recall that I did meet with. 

Mr. Tavenner. To what extent was the matter of Communist Party 
policy discussed among the Communists separately and then with the 
members of the Progressive Party ? 

Mr. Sampler. I couldn't say that exactly. We would discuss what 
name to put down, but Thomas would always tell me I was on this or 
that committee. In the Douglas Club we were told to get as many 
people as we could to join the Progressive Party, but the policy and 
big contacts was Thomas' job. 

Mr. Tavenner. Are you familiar with a group known as the Negro 
Commission of the Communist Party ? 

Mr. Sampler. No; I am not, other than what I read in the Daily 
Worker about Pettis Perry being national secretary, I believe, of the 
Negro Commission, and Thomas introduced him as that in his office, 
but as to the work of it, I don't know about that. 

Mr. Tavenner. Were you personally acquainted with Pettis Perry ? 

Mr. Sampler. Yes. I met him several times, on several occasions. 

Mr. Tavenner. What was his connection with Communist Party 
matters in the District at that time ? 

Mr. Sampler. He preached the Negro side, and joining hands with 
the white allies in order to carry out the Communist Party line. 

Mr. Tavenner. What other Communist Party activities did you 
engage in outside of your work in your labor union? 

Mr. Sampler. There isn't any that I can recall other than the 
Progressive Party and the Civil Rights Congress. 

Mr. Tavenner. Was there any other work of any kind that you did 
or were asked to do as a result of your Communist Party membership ? 

Mr. Sampler. None that I can recall offhand. There were a lot of 
citizens' committees formed on different things, and Thomas would 
always ask me to be his representative on these committees, and I felt 
that a lot of these things were being spearheaded by the Communists. 
I went to a lot of meetings. 



COMMUNISM IX THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA 3255 

Mr. Tavenner. Can you give us more information about the matters 
you refer to ? 

Mr. Sampler. Yes. At one of those meetings I had an awful fight 
with people on the committee who were not Communists over the 
policy that was to be carried out. One was the Negro freedom rally 
that was held here. 

Mr. Tavenner. Tell us about that. 

Mr. Sampler. There were a lot of differences going on between my- 
self and Winston Edwards, and they put me in charge of one of the 
committees. My committee didn't function right. There were cer- 
tain ones in the group who were not Communists who wanted me to 
become chairman of the rally. It boiled down to this: I was con- 
vinced in Thomas' office that I should assist him in providing protec- 
tion for Robeson when he came here. 

Mr. Tavenner. Paul Robeson ? 

Mr. Sampler. That is right. Well, I was the guy that did the 
work, and when it came time to show up in public, while Thomas and 
I were supposed to be Robeson's bodyguards, I was the bodyguard 
and Thomas was out in the audience, which would picture me as the 
top Communist. Looking back, I can see how they very cleverly used 
me. 

There were other citizens' committees formed. There was one com- 
mittee that I suggested they organize to fight a fare increase. They 
could not get their line on that, so they let the committee die out. 

Mr. Tavenner. You spoke of Paul Robeson being here for a meet- 
ing. What were the circumstances under which he was brought here ? 
Who sponsored his being brought here ? 

Mr. Sampler. It was just a citizens' committee that sponsored it. 
It was our union and local 471, the cafeteria local, and local 209 I 
think had representatives, and the Civil Rights Congress had a rep- 
resentative there ; the Progressive Party, and a lot of people. I think 
one home society group had a representative. 

Mr. Tavenner. Are you familiar with the so-called Stockholm 
Peace Petition? 

Mr. Sampler. Not as such, but I think I did sign a petition that 
was given to me by one of the members of the union by the name of 
Tom Brooks. It was a petition about the United Nations doing some- 
thing about the atomic bomb. But I did not sign it knowing that it 
was the Stockholm Peace Petition. 

Mr. Tavenner. Was that petition circulated in your union? 

Mr. Sampler. Relating to the atomic bomb ? It was. 

Mr. Tavenner. Who circulated it? 

Mr. Sampler. Tom Brooks. And I was told that after Paul was 
fired he was down on the concrete circulating petitions. 

Mr. Tavenner. Are you now a member of the Communist Party? 

Mr. Sampler. No, sir. 

Mr. Tavenner. When do you consider that your affiliations with the 
Communist Party terminated? 

Mr. Sampler. At the time that I signed the affidavit ; prior to that, 
actually. And I would like to say this, that being surrounded with 
Communists and being opposed to them, it took quite some time in 
the union to organize in order to expose them to the membership and 



3256 COMMUNISM IN THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA 

to expose their program and to fight against their program. It took 
quite some time to do that. 

Mr. Tavenner. You were consulted by an investigator of this com- 
mittee some months ago, were you not? 

Mr. Sampler. Yes, and I have talked with agents from the Federal 
Bureau of Investigation, too, relative to what was going on and every- 
thing, in fact, the full story, just as it was. 

Mr. Tavenner. Have you any other information that you think 
might be of value to this committee that you have not divulged ? 

Mr. Sampler. Information? 

Mr. Tavenner. Yes, anything else regarding your Communist 
Party activities or your knowledge of Communist Party activities 
which you think the committee would be interested to hear. Is there 
anything else you have not told us that you think might be of interest 
to the committee? 

Mr. Sampler. I might say this : When I was Paul Robeson's body- 
guard I had a chance to observe him very closely, and I could see that 
the Communists were trying to picture Paul Robeson as the true leader 
of the Negro people. They would try to picture in the minds of the 
Negroes that leaders like Walter White of the NAACP, LeRoy Wil- 
kins, and the secretary of the Urban League, Granger, I believe, did 
not represent the Negro people as such, and they would try to say 
Paul Robeson was the leader of the Negro people and that the so-called 
leaders were traitors to their people, and that kind of stuff. 

At close view I had a chance to attend a press conference where the 
reporter questioned Robeson at great length. Paul Robeson was using 
Russia as an example, and he said that over in Russia a maid who 
works for an engineer can go to school at night when she finishes work. 
The reporter said, "Well, Mr. Robeson, in the United States a maid 
can do the same thing." The reporter went to great lengths to show 
that classes really existed in Russia, and Robeson was forced to admit 
it, and I was able to see through this thing that had been built up by 
the Communists. 

Mr. Tavenner. I have no further questions. 

Mr. Walter. You are discharged, with the thanks of the committee. 

Mr. Sampler. And I would like to say, too, that I hope this is only 
the beginning. I am sorry to see this session of Congress so near an 
end, but I hope in the Eighty-second Congress things will be organized 
quick and fast in order to do something to stop the infiltration of Com- 
munists into democratic institutions, because I know from experience 
that their method is to tear down these institutions, and I think some- 
thing should be done real soon. 

Mr. W t alter. Thank you very much. The committee will recess 
until 2 o'clock. 

(Thereupon, at 12 : 20 p. m., a recess was taken until 2 p. m. of the 
same day. ) 

afternoon session 

(The hearing was resumed at 2 p. m., Hon. Francis E. Walter 
presiding.) 

Mr. Walter. The committee will come to order. 
Mr. Tavenner, call your first witness. 
Mr. Tavenner. William Gray. 



COMMUNISM IX THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA 3257 

Mr. Walter. You 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. Gray. I do. 

Mr. Walter. Sit down. 

TESTIMONY OF WILLIAM GRAY 

Mr. Tavenner. Your name is William Gray I 

Mr. Gray. That is right. 

Mr. TavenneR. When and where were you born ? 

Mr. Gray. Charlotte, N. C, January 1, 1896. 

Mr. Tavenner. Where do you presently reside ? 

Mr. Gray. 1208 Quincy Street NW., Washington, D. C. 

Mr. Tavenner. What is your present occupation ? 

Mr. Gray. Business agent for Building Laborers' Local 74. 

Mr. Tavenner. How long have you been business agent ? 

Mr. Gray. Since June 1947. 

Mr. Tavenner. Did you hold any position in that union prior to 
June 1947? 

Mr. Gray. One year as business agent from 1944 to 1945. 

Mr. Tavenner. You were business agent in the year 1944-45 ? 

Mr. Gray. June 1944 to June 1945. 

Mr. Tavenner. From June 1944 to June 1945 ? 

Mr. Gray. That is right. 

Mr. Tavenner. Were you defeated for that office in June 1945 and 
then reelected to it in 1947? 

Mr. Gray. That is right. 

Mr. Tavenner. Are you now or have you ever been a member of 
the Communist Party ? 

Mr. Gray. I have. 

Mr. Tavenner. Are you now a member ? 

Mr. Gray. No, not now. 

Mr. Tavenner. When did you become a member of the Communist 
Party? 

Mr. Gray. Well, to tell you frankly, it is kind of hard to say. I 
used to go around with a lot of fellows and was accused of being one, 
but I wasn't carrying any book or anything like that. Sometimes I 
would attend meetings with them and sympathize and things like that. 
When the Douglas Club was organized in 1945 I started my book. 

Mr. Tavenner. When the Douglas Club was organized ? 

Mr. Gray. Yes. 

Mr. Tavenner. Who recruited you into the Communist Party, do 
you remember? 

Mr. Gray. No. I don't think anybody did. We just got together 
and I just came in there. Who recruited me, I couldn't say to save 
my life. 

Mr. Tavenner. Do you recall whether you held office at that time in 
your local union, or whether it was during the period you did not hold 
office? 

Mr. Gray. In 1946 or 1947, 1 wasn't holding an office then. 

Mr. Tavenner. Did I understand that at the time you joined the 
Douglas Club you were not an officer of the union ? 

Mr. Gray. No. 



3258 COMMUNISM IX THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA 

Mr. Tavenner. You were not? 

Mr. Gray. No. 

Mr. Tavenner. Then it must have been between June 1945 and the 
time you were elected to office again in 1947 ? 

Mr. Gray. Yes. I think it was the first of 1946, after the war 
was over. 

Mr. Tavenner. After the war, in 1946 ? 

Mr. Gray. 1946 or 1947. 

Mr. Tavenner. When you became a member of the Douglas Club ? 

Mr. Gray. Yes. I don't know when it was set up, but when it 
was set up. 

Mr. Tavenner. Who were the members of that club when it was 
first started? 

Mr. Gray. When it was first started it was small. There was Henry 
Thomas ; myself ; Ernest Chambers ; and Gladys Thomas. That is all 
1 can recall at that time. 

Mr. Tavenner. Will you give us the names of other persons who 
became members at a later time ? 

Mr. Gray. Norris Hammond ; Thomas Waller. 

Mr. Tavenner. What was the first name ? 

Mr. Gray. Norris Hammond. Thomas Waller; McKinley Gray; 
Leroy Coad. 

Mr. Tavenner. How do you spell the last name ? 

Mr. Gray. C-o-a-d. 

Mr. Tavenner. How long was it after you joined the Douglas Club 
before you were elected to office as business agent in your union? 

Mr. Gray. I was elected business agent in June of 1947, the first 
part of June, about the 3d or 7th or 10th; it varies each year. 

Mr. Tavenner. Did you consider that your membership in the 
Communist Party had anything to do with your election as business 
agent ? 

Mr. Gray. I do not, because I do know some of them that were in 
there were fighting against my getting elected. I think I got elected 
on my own worth. When I was shop steward and business agent be- 
fore I always got out and worked for the members in the field, and 
when you do that they will remember you when election time comes 
around. 

Mr. Tavenner. What other members of the Douglas Club were 
elected to office in the union at the same time that you were? 

Mr. Gray. I can't recall. Henry Thomas wasn't elected at that 
time. I think Sampler was elected president that year. 

Mr. Tavenner. The time you were elected as business agent was not 
the time that Thomas was elected president ? 

Mr. Gray. No. Sampler was elected president the same year that 
I was elected business agent, in 1947, if I am not mistaken. I think 
that is correct. 

Mr. Tavenner. To whom did you pay your Communist Party dues ? 

Mr. Gray. Sometimes I would pay to Mrs. Thomas ; and sometimes 
somebody else would come collect it; and sometimes I didn't pay it 
at all. 

Mr. Tavenner. Did you ever attend any Communist Party meetings 
in other groups than the Douglas Club ? 

Mr. Gray. No. 



COMMUNISM IN THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA 3259 

Mr. Tavenner. You did not ? 

Mr. Gray. No. I went to one mass meeting. I wouldn't call it a 
Communist meeting. I don't know what it was. It was up on Geor- 
gia Avenue, several years ago. I don't remember who was the speaker, 
it was some guy from Africa or the West Indies, I believe. 

Mr. Tavenner. Did you attend any Communist Party meetings in 
Baltimore ? 

Mr. Gray. About three or four. 

Mr. Tavenner. What kind of meetings were they \ 

Mr. Gray. Well, I think I was over there twice at conventions. 

Mr. Tavenner. When you say conventions, conventions of what? 

Mr. Gray. Of the party. 

Mr. Tavenner. Of the Communist Party ? 

Mr. Gray. Yes. 

Mr. Tavenner. What were the other meetings that you attended 
besides those two? 

Mr. Gray. I think the State committee meetings; I took some 
fellows over there two or three times. 

Mr. Tavenner. Whom did you take over there? 

Mr. Gray. Al Underwood, Jimmy Branca, and William Johnson. 

Mr. Tavenner. Were you acquainted with Elizabeth Searle ? 

Mr. Gray. Yes. 

Mr. Tavenner. What position, if any, did she have in the Commu- 
nist Party ? 

Mr. Gray. Secretary, I think she was, here in the District. 

Mr. Tavenner. She was secretary in the District organization. 

Mr. Gray. Yes. 

Mr. Tavenner. Were you acquainted with a person by the name of 
Mary Stalcup? 

Mr. Gray. Yes. 

Mr. Tavenner. What position did she have in the Communist Party, 
if any? 

Mr. Gray. She was head of literature or something. I know she 
worked in the office. She was collecting money. 

Mr. Tavenner. Can you give us the names of any other persons 
who attended your Douglas Club meetings who were known to you 
to be members of the Communist Party ? 

Mr. Gray. William Taylor. 

Mr. Tavenner. Is that William C. Taylor? 

Mr. Gray. Yes. I don't think William Johnson ever attended our 
meetings. If he did, I can't recall. I didn't attend all the meetings, 
anyway, and I wouldn't know who was there. Ray Pinkson. I al- 
ways called him Ray. He was assigned to that club for a while. 

Mr. Tavenner. Ray Pinkson ? 

Mr. Gray. Yes. I never did know his last name until I heard you 
discuss Pinkson, or something like that. 

Mr. Tavenner. Was his name Raymond, do you know ? 

Mr. Gray. The only thing I ever called him was Ray. 

Mr. Tavenner. Ray Pinkson? 

Mr. Gray. Something like that. 

Mr. Tavenner. Do you know what his occupation was ? 

Mr. Gray. All I know, he was an electrician. 

Mr. Tavenner. Do you know if he was a member of any other or- 
ganization or branch of the Communist Party? 



3260 COMMUNISM IN THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA 

Mr. Gray. No. All I know is he was supposed to be a Communist 
and was in our branch. 

Mr. Tayenner. See if you can recall the names of any others who 
attended your meetings. 

Mr. Gray. Not many attended the meetings. Sometimes a fellow 
would come up with a lecture and jack us up on our dues, something 
like that. 

Mr. Tavenner. Do you know a person by the name of Roy Wood ? 

Mr. Gray. I do. 

Mr. Tavenner. What affiliation did he have, if any, with your or- 
ganization ? 

Mr. Gray. Roy was assigned to our unit, I don't know if it was 
1948 or early 1949. The first night he came there the meeting was 
broken up, and I quit. I don't know if it was early 1918 or 1949. I 
just quit. I haven't attended any other meetings. 

Mr. Tavenner. Where were the meetings held? 

Mr. Gray. At 1368 Canal Street; at 406 N Street, Ernest Chambers'. 

Mr. Tavenner. Whose home was the first address you gave? 

Mr. Gray. Henry Thomas'. 

Mr. Tavenner. Who were the officers of the Douglas Club ? 

Mr. Gray. Henry Thomas. 

Mr. Tavenner. What office did he hold ? 

Mr. Gray. Chairman. 

Mr. Tavenner. Who was the secretary-treasurer? 

Mr. Gray. That club there, it looked like they never could keep a 
secretaiy. Mrs. Thomas was secretary for a while, and then somebody 
else was elected, and then sometimes nobody collected dues. There was 
always confusion about that. 

Mr. Tavenner. When was it that you say you left the Communist 
Party? 

Mr. Gray. I don't know if it was the last of 1948 or the first of 1949, 
but I do know I attended one meeting after Roy Wood was sent here 
from Baltimore. I don't remember if it was the last of 1948 or the 
first of 1949. 

Mr. Tavenner. What was your reason for quitting ? 

Mr. Gray. Just dissatisfied. 

Mr. Tavenner. Have you had any connection with the Communist 
Party since that date? 

M'r. Gray. No. I don't aim to. That is why I quit. 

Mr. Tavenner. I have no further questions, Mr. Chairman. 

Mr. Walter. You are excused. 

Mr. Tavenner. Norris Hammond. 

Mr. Walter. Will you raise you r right hand, please, Mr. Hammond. 
You 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. Hammond. I do. 

Mr. Walter. Sit down. 

TESTIMONY OF NORRIS HAMMOND 

Mr. Tavenner. Your name is Norris Hammond ? 

Mr. Hammond. Yes, sir. 

Mr. Tavenner. What is your present address? 

Mr. Hammond. 849 Howard Road SE., apartment 2. 



COMMUNISM IN THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA 3261 

Mr. Tavenner. When and where were you born ? 

Mr. Hammond. Westmoreland County, Va., 1911, January 2. 

M'r. Tavenner. How are you now employed ? 

Mr. Hammond. Construction, doing construction work for Tuck- 
man-Rinis. 

Mr. Tavenner. Tuckman & Rinis? 

Mr. Hammond. Yes. 

Mr. Tavenner. Are you now or have you ever been a member of 
the Communist Party? 

Mr. Hammond. I was before this Taft-Hartley affidavit came out, 
sometime before that came out. 

Mr. Tavenner. Tell us how you became a member of the Communist 
Party. 

Mr. Hammond. Henry Thomas recruited me in, whatever that 
meant. I was just in there. I didn't know what it was all about. I 
just joined a club as far as I was concerned. 

Mr. Tavenner. Were you a member of any union at the time you 
became a member of the Communist Party ? 

Mr. Hammond. Local 74. 

Mr. Tavenner. Did you hold any position in your union at the 
time you joined the Communist Party? 

Mr. Hammond. I think not. When I — say that again? 

Mr. Tavenner. I will change the question. When did you become 
a member of the Communist Party, in what year ? 

Mr. Hammond. 1947 or 1946. 

Mr. Tavenner. At the time you joined the Communist Party did 
you hold any position, any office, in your local union? 

Mr. Hammond. So far as I can remember, no. 

Mr. Tavenner. Were you later elected or appointed to an office? 

Mr. Hammond. I was elected. 

Mr. Tavenner. What was that office ? 

Mr. Hammond. Sergeant at arms. 

Mr. Tavenner. When were you so elected ? 

Mr. Hammond. It must have been 1947, because in June of this year 
it will make 3 years I have served in that office. 

Mr. Tavenner. Did you go in office at the same time Henry Thomas 
went into office? 

Mr. Hammond. I think I did ; yes, sir. 

Mr. Tavenner. What branch of the Communist Party did you 
affiliate with when you became a member? 

Mr. Hammond. The Douglas Club. 

Mr. Tavenner. Who were the members of that branch ? 

Mr. Hammond. William Gray; Henry Thomas; McKinley Gray; 
Thomas Waller; and Mose Mannigan, I believe. 

Mr. Tavenner. What was that last name ? 

Mr. Hammond. Mose Mannigan. I don't know where he lives or 
anything. 

M,r. Tavenner. Did you attend branch meetings of any other 
branch besides the one that you were a member of ? 

Mr. Hammond. I attended one meeting in Baltimore. 

Mr. Tavenner. What kind of a meeting was that ? 

Mr. Hammond. I don't know. All I know, I just went over there. 
Somebody said, "Let's go to Baltimore to a meeting." I got in a car 

76461— 50— pt. 2 7 



3262 COMMUNISM IN THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA 

and Avent. Whether it was a convention, or just what it was, I honestly 
don't know. 

Mr. Tavenner. Was it a meeting of the Communist Party or a 
union meeting? 

Mr. Hammond. It was a Communist Party meeting. 

Mr. Tavenner. Who went with you ? 

Mr. Hammond. Some people went, I didn't know, but I was travel- 
ing with William Gray. The other people that were in the car with 
us, I didn't know them to start with. 

Mr. Tavenner. Are you acquainted with Roy H. Wood ? 

Mi*. Hammond. I am not acquainted with him. I have heard the 
man's name and I have seen him, but I wouldn't know him now if 
I was to see him. I have met the man someplace. 

Mr. Tavenner. Are you acquainted with James Branca? 

Mr. Hammond. Never seen him. I have heard of him, but never 
seen him. 

Mr. Tavenner. Are you acquainted with Robert Paul ? 

Mr. Hammond. Yes, sir. He used to work down at the hall. 

Mr. Tavenner. Have you ever been in a Communist Party meeting 
with him ? 

Mr. Hammond. As near as I can remember, I don't think I have. 
Wait a minute. I am not sure of that. 

Mr. Tavenner. Where were the Communist Party meetings held 
which you attended, that is, the meetings of the Douglas Club? 

Mr. Hammond. We met at Canal Street, 1368; and on X Street 
sometimes. 

Mr. Tavenner. Whose home was that on N Street? . 

Mr. Hammond. I think that was Chambers', 406 or 604. 

Mr. Tavenner. And whose home was the first address you men- 
tioned ? 

Mr. Hammond. Henry Thomas'. 

Mr. Tavenner. Do you recall meeting at any other places? 

Mr. Hammond. I think we met at Sampler's once. I think we did. 

Mr. Tavenner. Tell the committee how you happened to get out 
of the Communist Party. 

Mr. Hammond. It was just like I said. After I became sergeant at 
arms up at the local, in fact, before this Taft-Hartley affidavit came 
up, the club broke up months, it seems like to me, before that, and 
everybody got scattered, and I forgot about it. 

Mr. Tavenner. Did you sign the Taft-Hartley affidavit? 

Mr. Hammond. I did. 

Mr. Tavenner. Do you recall when it was ? 

Mr. Hammond. Whenever it was the Labor Relations Board re- 
quested that all officers of local unions had to sign. 

Mr. Tavenner. Did anyone advise or direct you to sign it? 

Mr. Hammond. It was talked over. I don't know if it was at a 
meeting or what, but I know it was told to me that everybody had 
to sign this affidavit, so we all met at the hall and signed it. 

Mr. Tavenner. Did you hand in any resignation to the Communist 
Party in writing before you signed it ? 

Mr. Hammond. I never knew anything about resigning. 

As far as I was concerned, it was an ordinary club I joined, so when 
the club broke up I thought that was all. Nobody told me about re- 
signing. 



COMMUNISM IN THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA 3263 

Mr. Tavenner. In other words, you didn't take any active part 
in this Communist club? 

Mr. Hammond. I didn't know what it was all about. 

Mr. Tavenner. No further questions. 

Mr. "Walter. You are excused. Thank you. 

Mr. Tavenner. Roy Wood. 

Mr. Forer (Joseph). Mr. Walter, I wish to enter an objection to 
the absence of a quorum. 

Mr. Walter. Let the record disclose that the question of a quorum 
not being present is raised. I might state that the chairman of the 
committee has designated me as a subcommittee of one to conduct the 
hearing this afternoon. 

Mr. Forer. Let the record show we are proceeding under protest, 
and that the only member of the committee present is Mr. Walter. 

Mr. Walter. Will you raise your right hand, Mr. Wood. You 
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. Wood. I do. 

TESTIMONY OF ROY H. WOOD, ACCOMPANIED BY HIS COUNSEL, 

JOSEPH POSER 

Mr. Tavenner. What is your full name ? 

Mr. Wood. Roy H. Wood. 

Mr. Tavenner. When and where were you born ? 

Mr. Wood. I was born in Caldwell, Idaho, November 13, 1914. 

Mr. Tavenner. What is your present occupation ? 

Mr. Wood. I refuse to answer that question on the grounds that it 
may tend to incriminate me. 

Mr. Tavenner, I have a statement here which I would like to read 
before the committee and have placed in the record. 

Mr. Walter. We will defer it until after the committee counsel has 
asked such questions as he sees fit to ask. 

Mr. Wood. If you please, Mr. Thomas made a statement to the com- 
mittee yesterday, and I would like the same privilege. 

Mr. Walter. You will have the privilege after you have testified. 
Mr. Thomas was given the privilege after he had cooperated in giving 
the committee information on the machinations of the Communist 
Party in the District of Columbia. 

Mr. Wood. Am I to understand I will be given the privilege of 
reading the statement at the close of my testimony? 

Mr. Tavenner. Will you give the committee a brief statement of 
your record of employment ? 

Mr. Wood. That would we impossible without weeks of research. 
I have worked at any number of jobs since the time I came out of 
school, including cooking, service in the merchant marine, piano play- 
ing, work in a steel mill, work in a construction company. The list of 
jobs would be too long. I would have to sit down and do research and 
write employers, and it would be impossible for me at this point to 
give a complete record of employment. 

Mr. Walter. Suppose you give it to the best of your recollection. 

Mr. Wood. Even to the best of my recollection I wouldn't like to 
keep you here all day. 



3264 COMMUNISM IN THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA 

Mr. Walter. That is all right. I haven't another thing to do. 

Mr. Wood. When I came out of school I washed dishes in a 
restaurant. 

Mr. Tavenner. When was that ? 

Mr. Wood. I don't remember just what year. 

Mr. Tavenner. You don't remember when you finished school? 

Mr. Wood. Sometime in the 1930's; sometime, I think, between 1935 
and 1910, but I don't know any closer than that. 

Mr. Tavenner. Where did you finish school ? 

Mr. Wood. I had two years at the College of Idaho, at Caldwell, 
Idaho. 

Mr. Tavenner. What was the last year you attended that college? 

Mr. Wood. I am not sure of that. It could have been 1934 or 1935. 

Mr. Tavenner. It was either 1934 or 1935 ? 

Mr. Woods. I wouldn't definitely state so. It would be about that 
time, but I couldn't say so without having the records in front of me. 

Mr. Walter. Certainly if this witness doesn't remember the last 
year he was in school, I don't know that any of his testimony would 
be of much value to the committee. 

Mr. Tavenner. I would like to make the same observation. 

Mr. Wood. I would like to object 

Mr. Walter. You are not objecting, you see. You are merely 
asked to answer questions. 

Mr. Tavenner. Proceed to tell us what you did when you left col- 
lege sometime between 1934 and 1940. 

Mr. Wood. Well, I washed dishes in a restaurant. 

Mr. Tavenner. Where? 

Mr. Wood. That was at the Table Rock Cafe, at Boise, Idaho. 

Mr. Tavenner. How soon after you left college ? 

Mr. Wood. I think in the same year that I left college. 

Mr. Tavenner. All right. 

Mr. Wood. I worked for the Works Progress Administration. 

Mr. Tavenner. Where? 

Mr. Wood. I worked on a construction project building a canal 
from Barber, Idaho, to somewhere near Boise, Idaho. 

I worked on another project digging trenches for an airport being 
built at Boise, Idaho. 

Mr. Tavenner. That was also a WPA project? 

Mr. Wood. That is correct. 

Mr. Tavenner. In what year ? 

Mr. Wood. I don't remember what year. 

I worked on a contract that was not WPA for the Phillips Construc- 
tion Co., which was resurfacing a dam, Arrow Rock Dam, about 30 
miles from Boise. 

I worked in a carnival-type amusement park where you throw a ball 
to win a kewpie doll. 

I worked for farmers pitching hay. I worked with stock for the 
same farmers. 

I was in the CCC working on reforestation. 

I worked for the forestry department pulling up ribes, that spread 
white-pine-blister rust. 

Mr. Tavenner. Where was that done ? 

Mr. Wood. Near the town of Coolin, Idaho. 



COMMUNISM IN THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA 3265 

Mr. Tavenner. When was that work performed ? 
Mr. Wood. I don't remember what year. I worked on so many jobs. 
It was in the summertime. You can't work in the forest in the winter. 
Mr. Tavenner. Can you give us some idea what year it was ? 
Mr. Wood. I think it was above 1937 or 1938 or 1939. 
I also worked fighting forest tires about that time, also in the forest 
around Payette, Idaho. 

I worked picking potatoes. I worked picking peas on a piecework 
basis. 

I came to Baltimore about 1939. I worked for the Federal Govern- 
ment, Federal Security Agency, in Baltimore. 

Mr. Tavenner. When did that work begin? 

Mr. Wood. That work began sometime late in 1939. I worked there 
about 3 years. 

Mr. Tavenner. What branch of the office did you work in ? 

Mr. W t ood. I worked all over the place. I worked in eight different 
parts of the files there. 

Mr. Tavenner. Wlio was your employer? 

Mr. Wood. Federal Security Agency. 

Mr. Tavenner. I meant to say your supervisor. 

Mr. Wood. I don't remember the names of any of my supervisors 
at the present time. 

Mr. Tavenner. Through whom did you obtain your appointment 
to that position ? 

Mr. Wood. Through the Civil Service Commission. I took a civil- 
service examination like everyone else who goes to work there, and 
obtained my appointment by telegram saying I had passed a certain 
examination and was appointed. 

Mr. Tavenner. Who were the persons you gave as reference in 
obtaining an appointment ? 

Mr. Wood. That is something I couldn't possibly remember. 

Mr. Tavenner. Proceed. 

Mr. Wood. Well, since that time I have also worked for a bakery 
called the Ideal Baking Co. in Baltimore. 

Mr. Tavenner. W"as that immediately after you completed your 
work with the Government ? 

Mr. Wood. No ; it was not. 

Mr. Tavenner. Tell us again, you began your employment in Balti- 
more in 1939, did you say ? 

Mr. Wood. I think it was sometime in 1939. I wouldn't be sure. 

Mr. Tavenner. And what was the position that you had? 

Mr. Wood. I was a file clerk. 

Mr. Tavenner. In what department? 

Mr. Wood. Federal Security Agency, Social Security Board. 

Mr. Tavenner. And you retained that how long? 

Mr. Wood. I think about 3 years, although I am not certain. 

Mr. Tavenner. What was the reason for the termination of your 
service with the Federal Security Agency ? 

Mr. Wood. I resigned. 

Mr. Tavenner. For what purpose? 

Mr. Wood. I refuse to answer that question on the grounds it may 
tend to incriminate me. 

Mr. Tavenner. Was your resignation asked for? 

Mr. Wood. No ; it was not. 



3266 COMMUNISM IN THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA 

Mr. Tavenner. Were you advised to resign ? 

Mr. Wood. I was not. 

Mr. Tavenner. It was purely a voluntary resignation on your part? 

Mr. Wood. That is true. 

Mr. Walter. Somewhere about 1942? 

Mr. Tavenner. Yes. 

Mr. Wood. I suppose I worked there about 3 years ; I don't know. 

Mr. Tavenner. Then what position did you take upon your resig- 
nation from the Federal Security Agency ? _ 

Mr. Wood., I refuse to answer that question on the grounds it may 
tend to incriminate me. 

Mr. Tavenner. Where were you living at the time you resigned 
from the Federal Security Agency? 

Mr. Wood. I was living in the 2200 block of Calvert Street in 
Baltimore, but I don't remember the exact address. 

Mr. Tavenner. How long did you continue to live there? 

Mr. Wood. I don't remember. I moved from there to Pratt Street 
in East Baltimore. 

Mr. Tavenner. How long did you live on Pratt Street? 

Mr. Wood. I don't know, except I know I moved about the same 
time I entered the United States merchant marine. 

Mr. Tavenner. And when did you join the merchant marine? 

Mr. Wood. I don't know exactly what year. It was probably either 
1943 or 1944. 

Mr. Tavenner. What positions did you hold between the time you 
resigned from the Federal Security Agency and the time you entered 
the merchant marine ? 

Mr. Wood. I refuse to answer that question on the grounds it may 
tend to incriminate me. 

Mr. Tavenner. How long were you in the merchant marine? 

Mr. Wood. I was in the merchant marine until, I think it was Au- 
gust of 1945. 

Mr. Tavenner. Where did you serve while in the merchant marine? 

Mr. Wood. Well, I sailed on a number of different ships. We went 
as far as Egypt at one time. Naples, Italy ; Kouen, France ; Barrow 
Dock in England. 

We were in Naples Christmas Day when there was an air raid. We 
were in a convoy off the coast of Egypt when there was a submarine 
attack and a tanker went up in flames. 

I received decorations for being in combat and for having served 
in the European theater and North Atlantic theater in that war. 

Mr. Tavenner. What decorations did you receive? 

Mr. Wood. North Atlantic ribbon ; Mediterranean ribbon ; and rib- 
bon for having served in combat, in this air raid in Naples and in the 
submarine attack on the convoy off the coast of Egypt. 

Mr. Tavenner. They were the same ribbons received by all other 
men who served in the same units with you ? 

Mr. Wood. Those who were in combat on the same ship I was on 
received the same ribbon ; yes, indeed. 

Mr. Tavenner. What were the names of the ships on which you 
sailed, as far as you can remember? 

Mr. Wood. That would be very difficult to remember. One was 
Pachaug Victory. And I remember one was Swift Arrow, which was 
a tanker. I don't recall any others. 



COMMUNISM IN THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA 3267 

Mr. Tavenner. You returned in 1945? 

Mr. Wood. That is right. 

Mr. Tavenner. Did you return to the city of Baltimore? 

Mr. Wood. I did. 

Mr. Tavenner. How were you employed from that time on ? 

Mr. Wood. I went to work in a restaurant in East Baltimore called 
Mother Miller's Cafe. I was cook there about 6 weeks. I was fired 
there because I refused to serve tainted food and I objected to work- 
ing in a place like that. 

I went to work in a steel mill at Sparrows Point, as a laborer, and 
I was taught end-welding. 

Mr. Tavenner. When did you go to work on that job ? 

Mr. Wood. I don't remember the month, but I think it was Septem- 
ber or October 1945. 

Mr. Tavenner. How long did you continue your employment there ? 

Mr. Wood. I don't know the exact date, but I worked there 2 to 3 
years ; I think about 2 years. 

Mr. Tavenner. That would bring you up to what date, 1947 or 
1948? 

Mr. Wood. Approximately, yes ; about 1947. I think. 

Mr. Tavenner. Do you recall in what month during 1947 you 
terminated your employment ? 

Mr. Wood. No, I don't. 

Mr. Tavenner. What was your next employment ? 

Mr. Wood. I worked for the Standard Sanitary Corp. It is now 
called the American Radiator & Standard Sanitary Corp., on Hola- 
bird Avenue in Baltimore. They make sinks, bathtubs, and so forth, 
in that plant. 

Mr. Tavenner. How long did you work there ? 

Mr. Wood. About 2 months. 

Mr. Tavenner. What was your next employment ? 

Mr. Wood. I refuse to answer that question on the grounds it may 
tend to incriminate me. 

Mr. Tavenner. Can you fix the date when your employment with 
the American Radiator & Standard Sanitary Corp. terminated ? 

Mr. Wood. No, I cannot. I think it must have been in 1947, or 
maybe it was later. 

Mr. Tavenner. Were you living in Baltimore at that time ? 

Mr. Wood. I was. 

Mr. Tavenner. How long did you continue to live in Baltimore? 

Mr. Wood. I don't remember. I lived in Baltimore for a short time 
after that, before I moved to Washington. 

Mr. Tavenner. When did you move to Washington ? 

Mr. Wood. I don't know the exact month that I moved to Washing- 
ton. I didn't expect this type of questions, after hearing the questions 
the last few days, and I didn't come prepared to answer those ques- 
tions. 

Mr. Tavenner. What employment have you had since you moved 
to Washington? 

Mr. Wood. I refuse to answer that question on the grounds it may 
tend to incriminate me. 

Mr. Tavenner. I hand you a photostatic copy of a page of the 
Times-Herald, Washington, D. C, Saturday, July 15, 1950, entitled 



3268 COMMUNISM IN THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA 

"Peace Petition Under Direction of D. C. Commie," written by Wil- 
liam Kloepfer, Jr. I will just ask you to glance at that. 

In the course of this article appears the following language : 

Wood is 36 * * * and lives in the 1500 block Wisconsin Avenue NW. He 
was elected Communist chairman for the District at a convention 2 years ago. 
His salary, he explained, is paid by party dues and contributions. 

Is that statement correct ? 

Mr. Wood. I refuse to answer that question on the grounds it may 
tend to incriminate me. 

Mr. Tavenner. I desire to offer the photostatic copy of news article 
in evidence, and ask that it be marked "Wood Exhibit No. 1." 

Mr. Walter. Let it be marked and received. 

(The photostat above referred to, marked "Wood Exhibit No. 1," is 
filed herewith.) 

Mr. Tavenner. I hand you now a photostatic copy of a portion of 
a page from the Washington Post of March 19, 1919, and point out 
to you a letter under the column "Letters to the E'ditor," purporting 
to be signed by Roy H. Wood, secretary, Communist Party, District 
of Columbia, and I will ask you if you wrote that letter? 

Mr. Wood. I refuse to answer that question on the grounds that it 
may tend to incriminate me. 

Mr. Tavenner. I offer that page in evidence and ask that it be 
marked "Wood Exhibit No. 2." 

Mr. Walter. It will be received. 

(The photostat above referred to, marked "Wood Exhibit No. 2," is 
filed herewith.) 

Mr. Walter. I should like to ask a question relating to the first 
exhibit, which states : 

He [Roy H. Wood] arrived at Communist Party headquarters, 527 Ninth 
Street NW., yesterday morning carrying an armload of blank petitions. 

Then there is a quote : 

"I don't know who else is circulating the petitions," he said. "We're just one 
of the organizations supporting this drive to outlaw the atom bomb." 

Did you make that statement ? 

Mr. Wood. I refuse to answer that question on the grounds it may 
tend to incriminate me, but I would like to say here today in front 
of this committee that I fully endorse that statement; that whoever 
made that statement, I endorse it 100 percent. I think the wanton 
desecration and horrible murder that has come from the atom bomb 
already is decidedly bad, and an international agreement to outlaw the 
atom bomb should be reached immediately. 

Mr. Walter. I agree with you entirely, and a great opportunity has 
been given the Commies to cooperate in that worth-while effort. 

Mr. Tavenner. Did you engage in circulating the peace petitions 
referred to in that article ? 

Mr. Wood. I did. 

Mr. Tavenner. Did you do so as a member of the Communist Party ? 

Mr. Wood. I refuse to answer that question on the grounds it may 
tend to incriminate me. 

Mr. Tavenner. Were you present during the testimony of Henry 
Thomas ? 

Mr. Wood. I was. 



COMMUNISM IN THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA 3269 

Mr. Tavenner. Were you present during the testimony of Thomas 
Sampler ? 

Mr. Wood. I was. 

Mr. Tavenner. Were you present during the testimony of Norris 
Hammond ? 

Mr. Wood. I was. 

Mr. Tavenner. Each of those three persons identified you as a 
member of the Douglas Club of the Communist Party of the District 
of Columbia and as having been in attendance at its meetings. Are 
those statements true ? 

Mr. Wood. I refuse to answer that question on the grounds it may 
tend to incriminate me. Further, I should like to raise certain objec- 
tions to this committee bringing stool pigeons here 

Mr. Walter. Never mind. You have been very, very smart, and we 
have tolerated you, but there is a limit. 

Mr. Tavenner. Were you secretary of the city organization of the 
Communist Party during 1948 or 1949 ? 

Mr. Wood. I refuse to answer that question on the grounds it may 
tend to incriminate me. 

Mr. Tavenner. Where are you now living? 

Mr. Wood. I live at 1517 Wisconsin Avenue Is W., Washington, D. C. 

Mr. Tavenner. How long have you lived there ? 

Mr. Wood. I have lived there since I came to Washington about 
two and a half years ago. I don't know the exact date. 

Mr Tavenner. I have no further questions, Mr. Chairman. 

Mr. Walter. That is all. 

Mr. Wood. I would like to read ray statement. 

Mr. Walter. You can leave it. 

Mr. Wood. No. You promised me, sir, I could read it, 

Mr. Walter. I changed my mind, and I don't propose to let you 
read it, The only fortunate part of your testimony here today is that 
some of the unwitting tools have seen where their contributions are 
going and who is being supported by the hard-earned money they 
contribute to the Communist Party. 

Mr. Wood. You have just given an expression of opinion. I should 
like to read my statement. 

Mr. Walter. I have changed my mind about that. 

Mr. Tavenner. It will be made part of the record. 

(The statement above referred to is as follows :) 

Statement by Roy Wood 

It is no accident that at this particular moment, I was ordered to appear this 
morning before your committee. It is no accident at all that your committee has 
selected this moment to reopen its hearings on so-called subversive activities in 
the Nation's capital. Tour decision to do so is part of the drive toward war. 
You are attempting to exploit the war crisis and to deepen the elements of 
hysteria which prevail by reopening the hearing. 

The purpose of the committee's hearing is to engage in a fury of Red baiting 
against all persons who fight for peace, because we firmly believe that the 
Korean War can be ended by getting our Government to declare a cease-fire 
order to our troops and to call upon the Korean-Chinese commanders to do the 
same. We believe that all issues of dispute can be settled on the basis of peace- 
ful negotiations between our Government and tbe Governments of Northern 
Korea and People's China. The position of your committee is to try to stampede 
our country and people into total atomic war, not only with the 450,000,000 
Chinese people, but likewise with the Soviet Union. 



3270 COMMUNISM IN THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA 

Your committee is dragging more red herrings across the front pages of our 
newspapers in order to cover up the real attack which is being directed against 
:i big local union of Negro and white workers, members of the American Federa- 
tion of Labor. In the guise of a Red hunt, your committee is engaging in a 
political lynching bee of respected Negro labor leaders in Washington, D. C. 

Instead of trying to end the shameful blot of segregation and Jim Crow in 
the Nation's Capital, your committee is out to crucify those Negro and white 
progressive leaders who seek to establish elementary democracy in Washing- 
ton. AVe have no surplus of democracy in Washington to be able to export it to 
Korea or anywhere else. 

I charge that this House Committee on Un-American Activities is un-Amer- 
ican in character and pro-Fascist in its attitude, methods, and practices. Your 
committee is attempting — 

1. To try to use me and others in order to compile a blacklist of progressive 
Negro and white people in Washington, to intimidate them, and cut them off 
from making a livelihood or obtaining employment in this city; or, 

2. Failing to force honest men and women to turn stool pigeons, to prepare 
a new batch of political victims who will then be cited for contempt and thrown 
into jail by your committee. 

My ancestors fought in 1776 to establish this Republic with its Constitution 
and Bill of Rights for the people; my great-grandfather took a most active part 
in the abolitionist movement in our country to end the vile, inhuman system 
of chattel slavery. The actions of this committee are a shameful disgrace to all 
who have gloriously fought for American freedom. 

Mr. Walter. Call your next witness. 

Mr. Tavenner. Ernest Chambers. 

Mr. Walter. You 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. Chambers. I do. 

Mr. Walter. Sit down. 

TESTIMONY OF ERNEST L. CHAMBERS 

Mr. Tavenner. Your name is Ernest L. Chambers? 

Mr. Chambers. Correct. 

Mr. Tavenner. Where do you live ? 

Mr. Chambers. 406 N Street NW., Washington, D. C. 

Mr. Tavenner. When and where were you born ? 

Mr. Chambers. Washington, D. C, October 27, 1906. 

Mr. Tavenner. How are you employed? 

Mr. Chambers. Laborer. 

Mr. Tavenner. Will you give the committee a brief account of your 
record of employment in the past 4 or 5 years ? 

Mr. Chambers. As far as I can go. I don't recollect from day to 
day. In our type of work you go from contractor to contractor. It 
is not a stable type of work. Out of a year you might work with two 
contractors or with more, or you might stay with the same contractor. 
It depends how well you get along with the personnel. 

Mr. Tavenner. Are you now or have you ever been a member of 
the Communist Party? 

Mr. Chambers. I have. 

Mr. Tavenner. Tell the committee how you were recruited into the 
Communist Party, how you became a member, who took your applica- 
tion, who induced you to become a member of the Communist Party, if 
anyone. 

Mr. Chambers. Well, it goes back to about the second or third month, 
around the second month, of 1943. That would be February 1943. I 



COMMUNISM IN THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA 3271 

was working at that time at Nineteenth and B for Harry H. Thomp- 
son. I was doing some alteration to the armory, building a cafeteria, 
and doing alterations on the cafeteria outside and inside. I was made 
a steward on that job, and I worked with Thomas. They were looking 
for Thomas that day and missed him, and since I was eligible they 
made me the steward. 

From then on Thomas and nryself had conversations, and he invited 
me to the club. They used to have a social club, the Echo Club. I 
would say it was really a clearinghouse for those they were recruiting. 

Mr. Tavenner. You say the Echo Club was a clearinghouse for those 
they were going to recruit into the Communist Party ? 

Mr. Chambers. That is right. We would evaluate them and criti- 
cize them. I suppose the same thing was done on me, too. I did it 
on others. 

Mr. Tavenner. Do you mean you became a member back in 1943? 

Mr. Chambers. Yes. It must have been around the third month, 
because the second month I was made steward. Thomas and myself 
were working together. Around March or April I must have become 
a member. 

Mr. Tavenner. Who brought you into the Communist Party ? 

Mr. Chambers. Thomas. 

Mr. Tavenner. Henry Thomas? 

Mr. Chambers. Yes ; he was my recruiter. 

Mr. Tavenner. At that time I understood you were a member 
of a union ? 

Mr. Chambers. Yes. 

Mr. Tavenner. What union was that? 
• Mr. Chambers. Local 74. I was about 2 years old as a member 
then. 

Mr. Tavenner. Did you hold any position in the union at that time, 
in 1943, when you went into the Communist Party ? 

Mr. Chambers. No ; not at that time. 

Mr. Tavenner. Were you elected to an official position in the union 
after you became a member of the Communist Party ? 

Mr. Chambers. Yes. There was a special election that year. All 
I had to do was vote for myself, though. I was elected trustee in 
1943. When I went in service I was a trustee. That was around April 
of 1943. 

Mr. Tavenner. When you were taken into the Communist Party 
in 1943, were you assigned to anv special group of the Communist 
Party? 

Mr. Chambers. Yes, sir. 

Mr. Tavenner. What was that group ? 

Mr. Chambers. The Douglas Club. 

Mr. Tavenner. It was known as that back in 1943 ? 

Mr. Chambers. That is right. 

Mr. Tavenner. Who were other persons who were members back 
in 1943? 

Mr. Chambers. In 1943? 

Mr. Tavenner. Yes. 

Mr. Chambers. Henry Thomas; Mrs. Gladys Thomas; William 
Gray; Waller, or something like that; and Norris Hammond. How 
many is that, about five, or six ? And myself. Some stragglers would 



3272 COMMUNISM IN THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA 

come in, but I am vague on their names. We always had some visitors. 
It looked like it was a club where if somebody didn't fit in any place 
else, came here looking for a job, they would stick him in our club 
for a while. 

Mr. Tavenner. Did you hold any position in the Communist Party 
yourself, in the club ? 

Mr. Chambers. Never. 

Mr. Tavenner. To whom did you pay dues ? 

Mr. Chambers. To the secretary, Mr. Thomas. 

Mr. Tavenner. Who was president of the club at that time? 

Mr. Chambers. I never heard anyone referred to as president. 
I always heard Thomas referred to as chairman. 

Mr. Tavenner. How long did you continue in the Communist 
Party at that time ? 

Mr. Chambers. Until I went in the service. I went in the service 
January 16 or 23, 1944, active duty. I got my 21 days back in De- 
cember. 

Mr. Tavenner. Where did you serve while in the Army? 

Mr. Chambers. Southwest Pacific. That is, when I went overseas. 

Mr. Tavenner. What was your unit; what branch of the service 
were you in ? 

Mr. Chambers. I served first at my base, antiaircraft. Then I was 
transferred to a fuel gas outfit, dispensary outfit. Then I went over- 
seas with a trucking unit, all Quartermaster except antiaircraft. 

Mr. Tavenner. Did you engage in any Communist activities while 
in service? 

Mr. Chambers. No. I never met anyone I knew. 

Mr. Tavenner. When did you return from service? 

Mr. Chambers. About November 21 or 17, 1945. 

Mr. Tavenner. Did you reunite with the Communist Party ? 

Mr. Chambers. Yes ; somewhere around January of 1946. 

Mr. Tavenner. Tell us the circumstances under which you reaffili- 
ated with the party. 

Mr. Chambers. Well, one day I was downtown just walking around. 
I happened to run into Thomas. We met and started talking, and 
from there we went up to the office. Before I went into service I had 
been accustomed to going on Ninth Street. We went in and chatted. 
This was late in December, I think, in 1945, so it must have been 
around January 1946 that I went back into the local. I think the 
local had been active from that time on, though, because certain mem- 
bers never went in the service. I think the club had been functioning 
all the time I was away, too. 

Mr. Tavenner. Can you give us the names of other persons who 
became members of that club after you reunited with it? 

Mr. Chambers. In the years around 1947 we had only one out- 
standing recruit, and that was Sampler. That was around 1947 — ■ 
an outstanding recruit. We made attempts to recruit another person, 
but he only attended one meeting. That was Leroy Coad. I think he 
only came out of curiosity. I don't think he ever intended to be a 
member. 

Mr. Tavenner. Did you become acquainted with Roy Wood? 

Mr. Chambers. Yes ; I did. 

Mr. Tavenner. What was his affiliation with the Communist Party, 
if you know ? 



COMMUNISM IN THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA 3273 

Mr. Chambers. Well, I always understood he was secretary. 
Mr. Tavenner. Is he the same person who testified just before you? 
Mr. Chambers. That is correct. 

Mr. Tavenner. Did you become acquainted with a person by the 
name of Robert Paul ? 

Mr. Chambers. Sure. Even before I went into service 
Mr. Tavenner. What affiliation did he have, if any, with the Com- 
munist Party? 

Mr. Chambers. The only thing I knew of him was being distribu- 
tor. What his rank was other than that, I don't know. 
Mr. Tavenner. What do you mean by distributor ? 
Mr. Chambers. The literature, books, and what not. He used to 
be up in the office. 

Mr. Tavenner. Was that the subject of complaint by members of 
the union ? 

Mr. Chambers. Yes; that was one of the chief complaints, too much 
Red literature around the hall. Sampler didn't have no control over 
them. It seemed to come down from the other boys. It just kept 
the local in a turmoil. 

Mr. Tavenner. What positions did Sampler have at that time? 
Mr. Chambers. Financial secretary-treasurer. 

Mr. Tavenner. You say he was unable to control — did you mean 
officers ? 

Mr. Chambers. No ; employees and officers, too. 
Mr: Tavenner. What do you mean by that, that he was unable to 
control them ? 

Mr. Chambers. The answer would be that we have to consider what 
the other fellows say from the Communist affiliations. 

Mr. Tavenner. In other words, you were getting directions from 
the Communist Part} 7 and following those directions rather than the 
directions of officials of the union ? 
Mr. Chambers. That is correct. 

Mr. Tavenner. Are you now a member of the Communist Party? 
Mr. Chambers. I am not. 

Mr. Tavenner. Let me go back and ask you another question. Did 
you become acquainted with a person by the name of James Branca? 
Mr. Chambers. That is right. He was secretary years ago before 
he went into service. 

Mr. Tavenner. Secretary of what ? 

Mr. Chambers. Of the Communist Party of District of Columbia. 
After I came out of service I didn't see anything of Branca except 
I think once by accident I met him in the street and I was going his 
way and he took me home. 

Mr. Tavenner. Did you ever attend Communist Party meetings 
with him? 

Mr. Chambers. Secretaries, as I understand, come around to all the 
meetings and clubs. 

Mr. Tavenner. Did he come to meetings that you attended ? 
Mr. Chambers. That is correct; but that was back in 1943. 
Mr. Tavenner. You say you are not now a member of the Commu- 
nist Party ? 

Mr. Chambers. That is correct. 



3274 COMMUNISM IN THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA 

Mr. Tavenner. "When did you break with the Communist Party? 

Mr. Chambers. Around April 1949, when we signed the non-Com- 
munist affidavit. 

Mr. Tavenner. Did you write in a letter of resignation? 

Mr. Chambers. Yes ; I did. 

Mr. Tavenner. To whom did you address that letter ? 

Mr. Chambers/. I addressed the letter to Roy "Wood. I gave it to 
Paul. 

Mr. Tavenner. You gave it to Paul ? 

Mr. Chambers. Yes. Paul was working in the office at that time. 

Mr. Tavenner. What discussions did you have, if any, with mem- 
bers of the Communist Party, as to whether you should sign such an 
affidavit ? 

Mr. Chambers. "Well, it was understood that Thomas and Sampler 
were also members, and Gray ; that was about four officials that had 
to sign non-Communist affidavits to my knowledge. Advice was given 
to sign them. But quite a few things were overlooked. "We were not 
told to list our affiliations on the back. I understood since only one out 
cf three Communists had their affiliations listed, and that was Henry 
Thomas. Sampler and myself didn't have our past affiliations listed. 
We were left in the air on that one. 

Mr. Tavenner. I understood you to say instructions or directions 
w r ere handed down to sign the affidavits ? 

Mr. Chambers. Thomas and Sampler were Communists, and I took 
orders from them. I thought it was a good thing to sign and break 
away, because it says just that. Only one little clause, to list my past 
affiliations on the back, I was ignorant to that part. 

Mr. Tavenner. Have you had any affiliation or connection with the 
Communist Party since that time ? 

Mr. Chambers. I wouldn't say yes or no, but I do think I did deal 
with some fronts, not realizing what I was doing. I was in this 
Robeson affair. I think that was only a front. 

Mr. Tavenner. I have no further questions, Mr. Chairman. 

Mr. "Walter. You are excused. Thank you. 

Mr. Tavenner. I would like to recall Roy Wood if he is still here. 

TESTIMONY OF KOY H. WOOD— Recalled 

Mr. Tavenner. Mr. Wood, I hand you Thomas exhibit X, which is 
a copy of a letter bearing date February 15, 1949, addressed to Mr. 
Roy Wood, D. C secretary, Communist Party, Washington, D. C, in 
which Henry Thomas resigns from the Communist Party. Did you 
receive the original of that letter, and did you receive similar letters 
from Thomas Sampler and from Ernest Chambers? 

Mr. Wood. I refuse to answer that question on the grounds it may 
tend to incriminate me. 

Mr. Tavenner. No further questions. 

Mr. Walter. That is all. 

Mr. Wood. Could I read my statement now, sir? 

Mr. Walter. No. It is a part of the record. It is just the usual 
Commie line. Everybody knows what it is. 

Mr. Tavenner. McKinley Gray. 



COMMUNISM IN THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA 3275 

Mr. Walter. Will you raise your right hand, please. You 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. Gray. I do. 

Mr. Walter. Sit down. 

TESTIMONY OFMcKINLEY GRAY 

Mr. Tavenner. You are McKinley Gray ? 

Mr. Gray. I am. 

Mr. Tavenner. Where do you live ? 

Mr. Gray. 53i/ 2 Hanover Place NW. 

Mr. Tavenner. When and where were you born ? 

Mr. Gray. Chester, S. C. 

Mr. Tavenner. How long have you lived in Washington ? 

Mr. Gray. Eegular since 1941. 

Mr. Tavenner. What is the nature of your employment ? 

Mr. Gray. Construction. 

Mr. Tavenner. Are you now or have you ever been a member of the 
Communist Party ? 

Mr. Gray. I signed my name on some kind of little membership 
card. I didn't take a good look at it. 

Mr. Tavenner. When did this happen ? 

Mr. Gray. I think that was in 1918 or 1949. 

Mr. Tavenner. Where did that occur ; at whose house were you ? 

Mr. Gray. 45 Ivy Street SE. 

Mr. Tavenner. Whose home was that ? 

Mr. Gray. That is where I was living. 

Mr. Tavenner. Who else was there ? 

Mr. Gray. Tom Sampler and myself. I don't know who else was 
in the house downstairs. I had a room there. 

Mr. Tavenner. Was it a Communist Party card ? 

Mr. Gray. I think it was. I know it was, because I saw that on 
it. I think it was that I was to become a member of the Communist 
Party. 

Mr. Tavenner. Did you attend any meetings % 

Mr. Gray. Yes, sir ; I did. 

Mr. Tavenner. Where were those meetings held ? 

Mr. Gray. One was at the Dunbar Hotel. 

Mr. Tavenner. Who was living there? 

Mr. Gray. Thomas Waller. And one at Ernest Chambers' house, 
I think ; and I think I was at a meeting at Sampler's house, but I am 
not sure. I wouldn't say definitely. 

Mr. Tavenner. What was the name of the club or branch you at- 
tended which held these meetings ? 

(Hon. Harold H. Velde entered hearing room.) 

Mr. Gray. Douglas Club. 

Mr. Tavenner. Who was the chairman of that club ? 

Mr. Gray. Mr. Thomas, Henry Thomas, I understood, was the presi- 
dent of it. 

Mr. Tavenner. To whom did you pay your dues? 

Mr. Gray. I didn't pay any dues. I think I gave Sampler $1. I 
didn't pay any dues. 



3276 COMMUNISM IN THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA 

Mr. Tavenner. Were you a member of a local union at the time you 
were a member of the Communist Party ? 

Mr. Gray. I was. 

Mr. Tavenner. What union was' that? 

Mr. Gray. Local 74. 

MY. Tavenner. Did you hold any office in that union? 

Mr. Gray. I did for 1 year. I was elected as a member of the execu- 
tive board just a little while after I signed this card. 

Mr. Tavenner. You got in the Communist Party before you got an 
office in the union, didn't you? 

Mr. Gray. I don't remember. 

Mr. Tavenner. How long did you stay in the Communist Party? 

Mr. Gray. I went to one or two meetings. I think they had two- 
meetings a month. I know I went to two meetings. That is all I 
can remember aping to. It might have been three. I am not sure. 
I was at Sampler's house to a meeting of some kind. A lot of mem- 
bers of the local met there to discuss the problems in the union, so> 
I don't know if it was a Communist meeting or not that night, but 
I would rather say it was than say it wasn't. 

Mr. Tavenner. Did you hand in a resignation, or how did you get 
out of the Communist Party? 

Mr. Gray. I just didn't go. 

Mr. Tavenner. You quit? 

Mr. Gray. Yes. 

Mr. Tavenner. Why did you quit? 

Mr. Gray. I just didn't like it. I didn't like the policies, the dis- 
cussions that went on. 

Mr. Tavenner. No further question. 

Mr. Gray. I mean, I didn't like the idea of some outside organi- 
zation taking interference with the local. 

Mr. Tavenner. You resented some outside sources telling the union 
what to do? 

M'r. Gray. That is' right, 

Mr. Tavenner. And that was done, was it? 

Mr. Gray. Oh, yes, sir ; that was done. 

Mr. Tavenner. Those outside people who were trying to run the- 
union affairs, what group was that? 

Mr. Gray. Well, I would say it was the Communists. That is all 
I can say. In these meetings they would discuss the local affairs, and 
I didn't think that was right, 

Mr. Tavenner. I have no further questions. 

Mr. Walter. You are excused. 

Mr. Tavenner. Robert Paul. 

Mr. Joseph Forer. May the record show the same objection of lack 
of quorum? 

M'r. Walter. Yes. Have you identified yourself for the record? 

M'r. Forer. I believe the young lady [the court reporter] knows me. 

Mr. Tavenner. Yes. You are not a stranger here. 

Mr. Walter. Will you raise your right hand. You swear the testi- 
mony you are about to give shall be the truth, the whole truth, and! 
nothing but the truth, so help you God? 

M'r. Paul. I do. 



COMMUNISM IX THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA 3277 

TESTIMONY OF ROBERT PAUL, ACCOMPANIED BY HIS COUNSEL, 

JOSEPH FORER 

MY. Tavenner. You are Robert Paul? 

Mr. Paul. That is right. 

Mr. Tavenner. Are you represented here by counsel ? 

Mr. Paul. I am. 

Mr. Tavenner. Will counsel identify himself for the record and at 
the same time state whether or not he appeared and was present during; 
the examination of Roy Wood. 

Mr. Forer. Yes. My name is Joseph Forer, 711 Fourteenth Street 
KW., Washington, D. C. I practice in the District, and I was present 
as counsel for Mr. Roy Wood. 

Mr. Paul. Mr. Chairman, before this committee proceeds to ask me 
questions, I would like to get its permission to read a prepared state- 
ment for the record. 

Mr. Walter. At the completion of your testimony we will pass oi\ 
the question of whether or not you can read your statement. It will 
appear in the record. 

Mr. Paul. I trust this committee will grant me the same privilege 
it has granted to others prior to my appearance. 

Mr. Walter. I have ruled on that. Proceed, Mr. Tavenner. 

Mr. Tavenner. Will you state your full name, please? 

Mr. Paul. Robert Paul. 

Mr. Tavenner. What is your present address? 

Mr. Paul. 5315 M Street NE. 

Mr. Tavenner. When and where were you born ? 

Mr. Paul. Cherokee County, Okla., October 31, 1910. 

Mr. Tavenner. Will you state to the committee briefly what your 
educational background has been ? 

Mr. Paul. I went to high school at Booker T. Washington High 
School in Oklahoma; Tuskegee Institute; Howard University; and 
the University of Denver Law School. 

Mr. Tavenner. When did you leave the law school, what year ? 

Mr. Paul. 1911. 

Mr. Tavenner. Will you state to the committee what your record 
of employment has been since that time ? 

Mr. Paul. You mean since 1941 ? 

Mr. Tavenner. Yes. 

Mr. Paul. I worked as a waiter. I worked as an inspector at the 
Kaiser plant in Denver, Colo. ; as a construction worker ; timekeeper ; 
back to waiting on the Seaboard; general work as a waiter; plus 18 
months of bookkeeping at local 71. 

Mr. Tavenner. I show you a clipping from the Daily Worker, the 
issue of December 19, 1912, which bears the date line, Washington, 
December 18, under the heading, "Communists on Radio Forum To- 
day," and reads as follows : 

"A Victory Program for the Nation's Capital" will be the subject of a round- 
table discussion over station WJSV today at 10 : 45 a. m. 

Participating in this discussion will be Martin Chancey, city secretary of the 
District Communist Party; Robert Paul, chairman of its nortbeast branch, and 
Miss Selma Weiss, city secretary of the Young Communist League. 

Do you recall that radio program as having taken place 2 

76461— 50— pt. 2— — 8 



3278 COMMUNISM IN THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA 

Mr. Paul. I refuse to answer that question on the grounds that it 
may tend to incriminate me. 

Mr. Walter. And you take that position because the Paul men- 
tioned in that article is yourself; is that correct? 

Mr. Paul. I refuse to answer that question because it, too, might 
tend to incriminate me. 

Mr. Tavenner. Were you the chairman of the northeast branch ? 

Mr. Paul. I refuse to answer that question on the same grounds as 
given before. 

Mr. Tavenner. Did you hold a position with local 74 ? 

Mr. Paul. As an employee only ; as a bookkeeper. 

Mr. Tavenner. What was that position ? 

Mr. Paul. As bookkeeper and as window clerk. 

May I say a few words, Mr. Chairman? 

I hold that this committee is out to break local 74, and therefore 
I will not give any incriminating evidence on myself or anybody else, 
or anything that would tend to destroy that local. 

Mr. Tavenner. That is merely your surmise. This committee is 
interested only in exposing communism, wherever it is, in your local 
union, in the Government, or elsewhere; and we are asking you to 
cooperate with this committee in giving it information relating to 
communism, not relating to any internal disputes of your local union. 

I will ask if you were not discharged from your position as book- 
keeper because of your distributing Communist Party literature in 
the union hall ? 

Mr. Paul. That statement was made by one of the traitors of the 
Negro people and his own union members. I myself was not fired 
from that union because of that. I resigned. 

Mr. Tavenner. What was the reason ? 

Mr. Paul. I resigned. 

Mr. Tavenner. You resigned instead of being fired ? 

Mr. Paul. Yes. 

Mr. Tavenner. But you were advised to resign, weren't you? 

Mr. Paul. I was not advised to resign. I resigned, period. 

Mr. Tavenner. Was a charge made against you that you were dis- 
tributing Communist Party literature in the hall ? 

Mr. Paul. I refuse to answer because any answer I give may tend 
to incriminate me. 

Mr. Tavenner. Then instead of this committee being interested 
in hurting this union, we are showing by this very testimony that 
the rank and file of that union desire to oust communism from it. 
Isn't that true ? 

Mr. Paul. I refuse to answer that question because any answer I 
may give may tend to incriminate me. 

Mr. Tavenner. How did you obtain your position as bookkeeper 
in the union, through whom? 

Mr. Paul. That has been stated, but I would like to say for the 
record that at the time I was employed by the local executive board 
I was not looking for a job ; I was not unemployed. I was employed 
as a waiter at Boiling Field and making sufficient money to take care 
of my expenses. 

Mr. Tavenner. How long had you known Henry Thomas prior 
to that time ? 



COMMUNISM IN THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA 3279 

Mr. Paul. I wish I had never known him, but I refuse to answer 
that question because it may tend to incriminate me. 

Mr. Tavenner. Did you secure your position as bookkeeper through 
■the influence of Henry Thomas? 

Mr. Paul. He gave you his own answer and I have given you my 
version. 

Mr. Tavenner. Is his statement right or is it wrong? 

Mr. Paul. I corrected his statement, but it is apparent that the ex- 
ecutive board did hire me. That is a matter of record. 

Mr. Tavenner. And you are unwilling to state whether or not it 
was correct that he got you the position with the union ? 

(Witness confers with his counsel.) 

Mr. Paul. Since it is a matter of record that he says he did, I would 
say he did use his influence to get me the position. 

Mr. Tavenner. Were you at that time a member of the Communist 
Party? 

Mr. Paul. I refuse to answer that question on the grounds of self- 
incrimination. 

Mr. Tavenner. I desire to introduce in evidence the excerpt from 
the Daily Worker which I read, and ask that it be marked "Paul Ex- 
hibit 1." 

Mr. Walter. Let it be marked and received. 

(The photostat of clipping above referred to, marked "Paul Ex- 
hibit No. 1," is filed herewith.) 

Mr. Tavenner. I have no further questions. 

Mr. Paul. Now may I read my statement, Mr. Chairman ? 

Mr. Velde. May I ask a question ? 

Mr. Walter. Mr. Velde. 

Mr. Velde. Did you have any military service during the last 
World War? 

Mr. Paul. I did not. 

Mr. Velde. What was your draft status? 

Mr. Paul. 4^F. 

Mr. Velde. Physically disqualified? 

Mr. Paul. That is right. 

Mr. Velde. Are you at the present time a member of the Communist 
Party? 

Mr. Paul. I refuse to answer that question on grounds of self-in- 
crimination. 

Mr. Walter. If you will leave your statement, it will be made a part 
of the record. 

(The statement of Robert Paul above referred to is as follows:) 

Statement by Eobert Paul 

Your calling me before this committee at this time is part of a drive toward 
world atomic war. Taking advantage of this crisis and hysteria, your commit- 
tee is attempting to terrorize and intimidate those who struggle for peace, the 
rights of labor, and especially the rights of the Negro people. The hearings 
are intended to serve no democratic purpose whatsoever, but rather the com- 
mittee is aiming to smash the largest trade union in the District of Columbia. 

While Negroes are dying in Korea under the excuse of exporting democracy, 
which they cannot enjoy in the Nations Capital, this committee hounds Negro 
and white progressives who believe that all men are created equal. The guidance 
of this committee is by men with a Dixiecrat mentality. It is supposed to in- 
vestigate un-Americanism, but its composition itself is un-American, the chair- 



3280 COMMUNISM IN THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA 

man being from the Dixiecrat State of Georgia, where a Negro has no rights 
a white man is bound to respect. 

My record in the struggle for Negro rights is clear. My grandmother, who 
was reared as a slave, instilled within me the spirit of Frederick Douglass, who 
taught that only through struggle could the Negro progress. My grandmother's 
horrible stories of slavery and the struggle of Nat Turner, Sojourner Truth, 
Harriet Tubman, and many others, have given me the inspiration never to give 
up struggling until complete freedom for my people has been obtained. 

This committee is trying to pillory all those Negro and white people who fight 
for the implementation of the Declaration of Independence, the Bill of Rights, 
and the thirteenth, fourteenth, and fifteenth amendments. 

Mr. Walter. The meeting will adjourn to meet at 10 o'clock to- 
morrow morning. 

(Thereupon, at 3:50 p. m., Tuesday, December 12, 1950, an ad- 
journment was taken until Wednesday, December 13, 1950, at 10 a. m.) 



HEARINGS regarding communism in the district 

OF COLUMBIA— PART 2 



WEDNESDAY, DECEMBER 13, 1950 

United States House of Kepresentatives, 

Subcommittee of the 
Committee on Un-American Activities, 

Washington, D. C. 

PUBLIC HEARING 

A subcommittee of the Committee on Un-American Activities met, 
pursuant to adjournment, at 10 : 20 a. m., in room 226, Old House Office 
Building, Hon. Francis E. Walter presiding. 

Committee members present: Representatives Francis E. Walter, 
Burr P. Harrison, John McSweeney (arriving as noted), Morgan M. 
Moulder, and Bernard W. Kearney. 

Staff members present : Frank S. Tavenner, Jr., counsel ; Courtney 
E. Owens and James A. Andrews, investigators; John W. Carring- 
ton, clerk ; and A. S. Poore, editor. 

Mr. Walter. Are you ready, Mr. Tavenner? 

Mr. Tavenner. Yes, sir. Miss Alice Stapleton. 

Mr. Walter. Will you raise your right hand, please, Miss Stapleton. 
You swear the testimony you are about to give shall be the truth, the 
whole truth, and nothing but the truth, so help you God ? 

Miss Stapleton. I so swear. 

TESTIMONY OF ALICE MAEY THEEESA STAPLETON 

Mr. Tavenner. What is your full name, please? 

Miss Stapleton. Alice Mary Theresa Stapleton. 

Mr. Tavenner. Where do you reside ? 

Miss Stapleton. 204 Manhattan Avenue, New York City. 

Mr. Tavenner. When and where were you born ? 

Miss Stapleton. 1911, Muscatine, Iowa. 

Mr. Tavenner. Did you live in the District of Columbia in any re- 
cent period of time ? 

Miss Stapleton. Yes. I lived here over a year ago. 

Mr. Tavenner. Do you still have a mailing address in the District 
of Columbia ? 

Miss Stapleton. No. 

Mr. Tavenner. When did you leave the District of Columbia ? 

Miss Stapleton. About a year and a half ago or so. 

Mr. Tavenner. What is your present occupation ? 

Miss Stapleton. Clerk-typist, secretarial. 

32S1 



3282 COMMUNISM IN THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA 

Mr. Tavenner. Will you please outline for the committee briefly 
your educational background? 

Miss Stapleton. M. A., University of Iowa. Post-graduate work* 
University of Wisconsin. 

Mr. Tavenner. When did you complete your work at the University 
of Wisconsin? 

Miss Stapleton. I left the University of Wisconsin the summer 
after Pearl Harbor to come to work in the war effort. 

Mr. Tavenner. Will you outline for the committee your work 
record ? 

Miss Sta:tleton. I am sorry, I shall not be able to do that because it 
might tend to incriminate me. I have not had the advice of any 
lawyer, or advice of counsel of any kind, and I don't know what would 
tend to incriminate me under the present situation. 

I know that I am a law-abiding citizen and that nobody can prove 
that I have disobeyed the law in any way. However, there are tend- 
encies in the McCarran Act to which the President objected very 
strenuously, and that act will probably be declared unconstitutional,, 
but I am afraid before it is declared unconstitutional there will be quite 
a few victims. 

Then there is such a thing as guilt by association, and a lot of things 
are happening which tend to show that people are incriminated by 
some chance association, or some chance employment, or some chance 
meeting with somebody. That is my impression from reading the 
newspapers. 

Mr. Tavenner. You say you have not had the benefit of counsel, and 
certainly the chairman will advise you that you are entitled to the 
benefit of counsel if you desire, 

Miss Stapleton. I think if in a court I were brought up on a charge 
of disobeying any law, I would have counsel. 

Mr. Harrison. Did you ever work for the Government of the United 
States? 

Miss Stapleton. Certainly. 
Mr. Harrison. In what capacity ? 
Miss Stapleton. Clerk. 
Mr. Harrison. In what agency ? 

Miss Stapleton. I would like also to say that I am not able to 
answer that question because I don't know whether any employment 
of mine may have incriminated me, 

Mr. Walter. Do you believe that working in a certain agency of the 
United States would in anywise involve \ou in a criminal prosecution ? 
Miss Stapleton. Because I don't understand how the situation is 
now. I know that I have never disobeyed any law, and that while 
I was working for the Government of the United States I worked very 
hard in the war effort and put in a great deal of overtime without 
compensation until something was passed giving us compensation. 
Mr. Walter. In what agency ? 

Miss Stapleton. I am not able to answer that. My life has been 

Mr. Walter. If you will answer the questions asked I am sure we 
will get along very well and save a lot of time, and I assure you 
nothing will be asked you that will involve you in any criminal matter. 
I must insist that you answer the question. Where were you employed 
in the Government ? 



COMMUNISM IN THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA 3283 

Miss Stapleton. I am speaking under oath and a record is being 
made, and presumably it can be used in a court case. My record is a 
public record and my life has no secrets in it at all, and I think you 
could consult the proper authorities if you wanted to. 

Mr. Walter. Of course we know you were employed by OWL Isn't 
that correct ? 

Miss Stapleton. I simply must say I cannot answer. 

Mr. Walter. Were you or not employed by OWI ? 

Miss Stapleton. I am not able to answer that question because I 
don't know whether it tends to incriminate me. 

Mr. Walter. There is no intention on the part of anybody on this 
committee to get anybody in trouble. We are performing a duty — a 
distasteful duty, if you will — and we hope we will get cooperation 
from people who can give us information that we feel is necessary. I 
must insist that you answer that question. Were you or were you not 
employed by the OWI? 

Miss Stapleton. I see it like this 

Mr. Walter. Never mind how you see it. You answer the question, 
please. 

Miss Stapleton. I think it might tend to incriminate me because I 
don't know what might tend to incriminate me. I think it might tend 
to incriminate me that I worked for the Government of the United 
States. I don't know. 

Mr. Moulder. When did your employment cease with the Govern- 
ment, or when did you resign or quit working for the Government? 

Miss Stapleton. I am not able to answer that question for the same 
reason I was not able to answer the others. 

Mr. Walter. What prevents you from answering the question of 
when you ceased working for the United States Government ? 

Miss Stapleton. I don't know what would tend to incriminate me. 

Mr. Walter. Take my word that this would not incriminate you 
anywhere. 

Miss Stapleton. Sir, I know your word is probably good, but I am 
in a position where I have to answer questions, and I am answering 
under oath, and I don't want to answer any questions that I don't 
understand the implication of. 

Mr. Walter. To the best of your ability, about when did you leave 
the employ of the United States Government ? 

Miss Stapleton. I can answer it in this way, that those records are 
on file. 

Mr. Walter. I know that, but I want you to tell us about when, to 
the best of your recollection. 

Miss Stapleton. I think I shall have to answer as I did before, that 
I am not able to answer questions of that kind because they might 
tend to incriminate me. 

Mr. Moulder. You mean you refuse to answer for that reason? 
You say you are unable to answer. You are able. 

Miss Stapleton. I feel I am not able. 

Mr. Walter. You are able. You know when you left the employ of 
the Government of the United States, don't you ? 

Miss Stapleton. I am not able to answer questions of that kind 
because I feel that I am not in a position to defend myself properly 
if those questions would tend to be embarrassing. I think if you con- 
sult my records 



3284 COMMUNISM IN THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA 

Mr. Walter. Then the reason you are unwilling to answer the 
question is because you feel it might be embarrassing; is that correct? 

Miss Stapleton. No. 

Mr. Walter. That is what you said. 

Miss Stapleton. That is probably a mistake, because I am not very 
well versed in the proper procedures, but it might tend to incriminate 
me. I don't know. I feel that way about any employment or any 
association or even any acquaintenance that I might have. 

Mr. Walter. We are not asking you about any employment other 
than your employment with the United States Government. 

Mr. Kearney. In other words, you are just not going to answer any 
questions the committee asks you ; is that true ? 

Miss Stapleton. No ; that is net true. 

Mr. Walter. Let us see if that is true. Mr. Tavenner, ask her some 
questions and see if we can get some answers. 

Mr. Moulder. While counsel is conferring, may I ask, where did 
you reside here in Washington? 

Miss Stapleton. I shouldn't like to answer that question either 
because it might tend to incriminate me. I don't know whether it 
will or not, but it possibly could. 

Mr. Moulder. When did you first arrive in Washington? 

Miss Stapleton. I first arrived in Washington the summer after the 
attack on Pearl Harbor. I forgot whether that is 1941 or 1942. I 
believe it was 1942. 

Mr. Moulder. When did you leave Washington? 

Miss Stapleton. Over a year and a half ago. 

Mr. Moulder. Did you have employment at the time you left? 

Miss Stapleton. No; I was unemployed at the time I left. 

Mr. Moulder. How long had you been unemployed ? 

Miss Stapleton. Two or three weeks. I can't answer that exactly, 
because I don't remember. 

Mr. Walter. The last position you had in Washington was with 
the Government? 

Miss Stapleton. No ; it wasn't. 

Mr. Walter. What was the last position you had in Washington? 

Miss Stapleton. I shall have to take the position on that that I am 
unable to answer that question because any occupation I may have 
had might tend to incriminate me. 

Mr. Walter. When you say you are unable, do you use that word 
synonymously with unwilling? 

Mr. Stapleton. No. I mean precisely unable. 

Mr. Tavenner. When did you come to the District of Columbia to 
accept employment ? 

Miss Stapleton. I have already answered that question. I came to 
accept emplo3 T ment the same time I came. If my memory doesn't fail 
me, the date on which I came, or the month, at least — I shouldn't say 
month, but it was the summer time of 1942. 

Mr. Tavenner. Was that the time that you accepted employment 
with the Government? 

Miss Stapleton. Yes. 

Mr. Tavenner. And you remained with the Government how long? 

Miss Stapleton. I really can't answer that, because my memory 
doesn't serve me properly. That would also be in the files. 

Mr. Tavenner. Was it 1 year, 2 years, 3 years ? 



COMMUNISM IN THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA 3285 

Miss Stapleton. Certainly over 2 years, as far as I can recall. I 
think it was over 2 years. 

Mr. Tavenner. What employment did yon take after leaving the 
Government ? 

Miss Stapleton. I shall be unable to answer any questions regard- 
ing my employment, the nature of it, lest it tend to incriminate me. 

Mr. Tavenner. Were you employed by any foreign government? 

Miss Stapleton. I shall be unable to answer that question because 
it might tend to incriminate me. As I said before, my life is an open 
leaf. 

Mr. Kearney. Mr. Chairman, I don't think the committee is inter- 
ested in whether her life is an open book or not. I think she should 
answer the questions or decline to answer. 

Mr. Harrison. I don't see any reason for pursuing this examination 
any further. 

Mr. Walter. I don't think the purpose of this committee is to 
maneuver witnesses into a position where they may be adjudged in 
contempt. 

Mr. Harrison. Nobody has attempted to maneuver the witness into 
that position. If she is in that position she maneuvered herself into 
that position. I don't see any purpose in pursuing the examination 
any further. 

Sir. Tavenner. Were you employed by the United Public Workers 
of America at any time while you were in the District of Columbia ? 

Miss Stapleton. Never. 

Mr. Tavenner. Were you an employee of that organization at any 
time ? 

Miss Stapleton. No, not that I can recall. 

Mr. Tavenner. Were you employed by the United Office and Pro- 
fessional Workers of America ? 

Miss Stapleton. I am not going to be able to answer questions 
regarding my employment because it may tend to incriminate me. 

Mr. Walter. Is that for the reason that your employment has been 
with Communist-front organizations ? 

Miss Stapleton. It is not for any such reason. It is for the 
reason that I do not know what tends to incriminate me. 

Mr. Tavenner. I hand you a photostatic copy of a document known 
as Foreign Official Status Notification, purportedly signed by you, 
and including a photograph of a person purporting to be you. Will 
you examine it and state whether or not that is your signature and 
whether or not that is your photograph ? 

Miss Stapleton. I am sorry, I shall not be able to answer that ques- 
tion lest it may tend to incriminate me. 

Mr. Tavenner. Item 16 of this document is as follows : 

Nature and place or places of occupation or employment during the past 5 
years — 

and the document is dated February 4, 1948 — 

OWI — CAF IV — Code and Cipher Division, Social Security Building, 
Washington. 

Did you work in the Code and Cipher Section of OWI ? 

Miss Stapleton. I shall not be able to answer that question for 
the same reason that I didn't answer the others. 

Mr. Walter. What is that reason ? 



3286 COMMUNISM IN THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA 

Miss Stapleton. Lest it may tend to incriminate me. 

Mr. Tavenner. Were you employed in the Soviet Embassy as an 
English teacher ? 

Miss Stapleton. I shall not be able to answer that question either, 
for the same reason. 

Mr. Tavenner. This item 16 also has the following notation : 
Bulgarian Political Mission (Bulgarian Legation), typist, Washington. 

Were you an employee of the Bulgarian Political Mission ? 

Miss Stapleton. I shall be unable to answer that question for the 
same reason, that it may tend to incriminate me. 

Mr. Tavenner. If I didn't make it clear, this item 16 also con- 
tains the notation : 

Soviet Embassy — English teacher — Washington. 

Testimony has been introduced before this committee by a person 
by the name of Thomas Sampler that you attended a Communist 
Party meeting in Baltimore which he attended. This was in the 
year 1948. Did you attend such a meeting ? 

Miss Stapleton. I don't recall any such meeting. 

Mr. Tavenner. Do you recall going from Washington to Balti- 
more in an automobile in which Thomas Sampler was one of the 
passengers ? 

Miss Stapleton. It looks to me as though that would be a ques- 
tion tending to incriminate me, too. So I don't recall it, but I am 
not going to be able to answer it. 

Mr. Tavenner. Do you know Thomas Sampler? 

Miss Stapleton. I shouldn't like to answer that question either, 
since that might tend to incriminate me. 

Mr. Walter. In other words, you mean that you refuse to answer 
the question because it might incriminate you, in your judgment, to 
admit that you know Thomas Sampler ? 

Miss Stapleton. I don't say I refuse, sir. I say I am unable to. 
I don't know, in this situation present in this country, what might 
tend to incriminate me. As I said before, I am a law-abiding citizen 
as I understand the laws and traditions of the United States of 
America. I have been a consciously good citizen, and not a negligent 
citizen. I am conscious at this moment of the Bill of Rights. I know 
the Bill of Rights is ignored in certain sections of the country, but 
I believe in the Bill of Rights, and I am conscious of it at this very 
moment. 

Mr. Tavenner. My purpose and desire is to ascertain from you 
what 3^011 know of Communist Party activities of the fourth district 
of the Communist Party, consisting of the State of Maryland and 
the District of Columbia. According to the testimony that has been 
introduced here, you attended one of those district meetings in Balti- 
more in 1948 at which Thomas Sampler was also present. Will you 
give us the information you have, if any, regarding the activities 
of the Communist Party in the District of Columbia? 

Miss Stapleton. I should be unable to give any information on 
anything of that kind because I don't know the nature of the inquiry, 
what things Thomas Sampler may have said about me, because some- 
times the word of these people is held up against somebody else's word, 
and if there is such weight in this said Thomas Sampler, if I were 



COMMUNISM IN THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA 3287 

to deny anything that he said, I should probably be on the losing 
end of it, as I have seen things going in the courts in this country; 
and for that reason I feel that I am unable to answer the question 
because of the possibility of self-incrimination. 

Mr. Walter. If I were to inform you that under the law any state- 
ments that you make here, or any testimony that you give, could not 
to used against you in any other proceedings, would you still take 
the same position that you refuse to answer these questions? 

Miss Stapleton. I feel that I should be unable to, because it seems 
to be my recollection that such testimony could be used against one. 
For one thing, there is the press, which is another dimension in the 
picture, you might say. I accept your word on it, but I myself am 
the person who is talking here under oath, and I feel that what one 
says under oath is said under oath, and I shouldn't like to incriminate 
myself in any way. 

Mr. Walter. Because you are under oath 2 

Miss Stapleton. Well, basically because I am under oath, and 
basically because it is a public statement that I am making. 

Mr. Tavenner. I want to read you an extract from the testimony 
in the case of United States versus Judith Coplon, appearing at pages 
5315-5316 of the record of that case. This was part of the testimony 
introduced from the FBI exhibits, and I quote as follows : 

Alice Stapleton, 1701 Twenty-first Street NW., is employed as a secretary in 
the Bulgarian Legation. She was formerly employed as a teacher of English 
at the Soviet Embassy, and according to T-5, an informant of known reliability 
who is acquainted with her affairs, Stapleton in May 1947 assured Boyan 
Athanassov mentioned above that she was a member of the Communist Party, 
U. S. A., underground group, and that she had applied for active membership in 
the Communist Party but had been declined due to the fact that she was active 
in the United Public Workers of America and the United Office and Professional 
Workers of America, CIO. 

Were you acquainted with Boyan Athanassov? 

Miss Stapleton. I should like to decline to answer that, say that 
I am unable to answer that question, lest it may tend to incriminate me. 

Mr. Tavenner. Do you wish to deny or affirm or explain this testi- 
mony that was introduced in the Coplon trial ? In asking that ques- 
tion, we want information regarding the activities of the Communist 
Party in this country, and that is what we are asking you to give. 

Miss Stapleton. I am unable to answer any questions regarding my 
employment, or regarding persons with whom I am acquainted, for 
the same reason that I gave before, that it might tend to incriminate 
me. 

Mr. Tavenner. Were you refused active membership in the Com- 
munist Party? 

Miss Stapleton. I am unable to answer that question for the same 
reason that I gave before, that it might tend to incriminate me, and 
I do not know what questions tend to incriminate me. I do not know 
what connection such questions would be used in, and for that reason 
I am afraid the answers might be incriminating. 

Mr. Tavenner. Have you attended meetings of the National Negro 
Congress ? 

Miss Stapleton. I am unable to answer that question also for the 
reason stated before, that I feel that it might tend to incriminate me, 
and the fifth amendment protects me from that. 



3288 COMMUNISM IN THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA 

Mr. Tavenner. I hand you an issue of the German-American In- 
dependent Publication, the issue of January 1950, and call your 
attention to page 2, where you are listed as one of the signers of greet- 
ings to Communist-controlled Germany, in which there is bracketed 
in the center a statement by Gerhart Eisler, also as one of the signers. 

Miss Stapleton. I certainly have never heard of this publication. 
Well, I should be unable to identify that inasmuch as to do so might 
tend to incriminate me. I don't know the German language very 
well. 

Mr. Tavenner. Did you sign such a greeting ? 

Miss Stapleton. I am unable to answer that for the reason I have 
just given. 

Mr. Walter. What reason is that? 

Miss Stapleton. That it might tend to incriminate me. 

Mr. Tavenner. I desire to offer the publication in evidence, and 
ask that it be marked "Stapleton Exhibit 1." 

Mr. Walter. Let it be marked and received. 

(The publication above referred to, marked ''Stapleton Exhibit 
1," is filed herewith.) 

Mr. Tavenner. And I also desire to offer in evidence the foreign 
official status notification document, and ask that it be marked "Sta- 
pleton Exhibit 2." 

Mr. Walter. Let it be marked and received. 

(The document above referred to, marked "Stapleton Exhibit 2,'* 
is filed herewith.) 

Mr. Walter. Where did you say you were born ? 

Miss Stapleton. Muscatine, Iowa. I don't guess it w.ould tend to 
incriminate me that I was born. 

Mr. Walter. What date? 

Miss Stapleton. March 26, 1911. 

Mr. Walter. I call your attention to the fact that the person whose 
name is mentioned in this document just introduced in evidence as 
Stapleton Exhibit 2 was born at Muscatine, Iowa, on March 26, 
1911. 

Miss Stapleton. What person ? Do you mean me ? 

Mr. Walter. I strongly suspect it was you. There is no doubt in 
my mind. 

Miss Stapleton. I thought perhaps Mr. Sampler or somebody was 
born at the same time. 

Mr. Tavenner. Will you examine the photograph appearing on 
Stapleton exhibit 2 and state whether or not that is your photograph ? 

Miss Stapleton. I have examined it. I shall be unable to do that 
for the same reason that I stated before, that it might tend to incrimi- 
nate me. It seems to be a negative. 

Mr. Tavenner. That is all. 

Mr. Walter. The witness is excused. 

(Witness excused.) 

Mr. Tavenner. Chester L. Kurrier. 

Mr. Walter. Will you raise your right hand. You swear the testi- 
mony you are about to give shall be the truth, the whole truth, and 
nothing but the truth, so help you God ? 

Mr. Kurrier. I so swear. 



COMMUNISM IN THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA 3289 

TESTIMONY OF CHESTER L. KURRIER, ACCOMPANIED BY HIS 
COUNSEL, JOSEPH FORER 

Mr. Tavenner. Will you state your full name, please ? 

Mr. Kurrier. Chester L. Kurrier. 

Mr. Tavenner. When and where were you born ? 

Mr. Kurrier. Holyoke, Mass. 

Mr. Tavenner. Are you represented here by counsel ? 

Mr. Kurrier. Yes, I am. 

Mr. Tavenner. Will counsel please identify himself for the record? 

Mr. Forer. Joseph Forer, 711 Fourteenth Street NW., Wash- 
ington, D. C. 

Mr. Tavenner. What is your present occupation, Mr. Kurrier? 

Mr. Kurrier. I am a printer in Washington. 

Mr. Tavenner. By whom are you employed ? 

Mr. Kurrier. Superior Print Shop. 

Mr. Tavenner. Who is the owner of the Superior Print Shop? 

Mr. Kurrier. As far as I know it is a corporation composed of 
several people. 

Mr. Tavenner. Is Tilla Minowitz one of the principal owners 
of that business? 

Mr. Kurrier. She may be. I am not sure of that. They don't 
tell me their business. I work there. 

Mr. Tavenner. Do you know Tilla Minowitz ? 

Mr. Kurrier. I don't know her personally. 

Mr. Walter. Have you seen her at your place of employment? 

Mr. Kurrier. Yes, I have seen her. She managed the shop in 
1949 and the first part of this year. 

Mr. Tavenner. Have you attended any meetings of any kind with 
her, other than meetings involving the operation of the print shop? 

Mr. Kurrier. May I consult my counsel ? 

Mr. Tavenner. Certainly. 

(Witness confers with his counsel.) 

Mr. Kurrier. I refuse to answer that question on the grounds that 
my answer may tend to incriminate me. 

Mr. Tavenner. We are making inquiry here, Mr. Kurrier, into 
Communist Party activities in the District of Columbia. Have you 
been present at any Communist Party meeting in the District? 

Mr. Kurrier. I refuse to answer that question on the same ground. 

Mr. Tavenner. Are you now or have you ever been a member of 
the Communist Party? 

Mr. Kurrier. I refuse to answer that question on the same grounds. 

Mr. Tavenner. Are you a member of the National Council of Amer- 
ican-Soviet Friendship? 

Mr. Kurrier. I refuse to aswer that question on the same grounds. 

Mr. Tavenner. Have you assisted or aided in any way the activi- 
ties of that organization, the National Council of American-Soviet 
Friendship, in its operations in the District of Columbia? I ask you 
that question for the purpose of determining what you know about its 
operations and who are members of it. 

(Hon. John McSweeney entered hearing room.) 

Mr. Kurrier. That is the same question you asked me before, and 
I refuse to answer it on the same grounds. 



3290 COMMUNISM IN THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA 

Mr. Tavenner. I hand you a photostatic copy of document entitled 
"Congress on American-Soviet Relations," which I believe is the pro- 
gram of a meeting held in New York on December 3, 4, and 5, 1949. 
On the last page, under the heading of "Endorsers," there is found 
your name, Chester L. Kurrier, Washington, D. C. 

Will you examine that and state whether you are the individual 
whose name appears there on the last page, and if so, what means and 
methods were used to obtain your endorsement of that program? 

Mr. Kurrier. It seems to me this question is the same as the pre- 
vious two. I refuse to answer this question on the same grounds as I 
did the others. 

Mr. Walter. Do you know Miss Stapleton, the witness who just 
testified ? 

Mr. Kurrier. I have seen her around. 

Mr. Walter. Do you know her ? 

Mr. Kurrier. I know her. I mean- 

Mr. Walter. Where did you come to know her? 

Mr. Kurrier. I can't exactly remember. I mean, I have met a lot 
of people. I happen to be acquainted with her. 

Mr. Walter. When did you first come to know Miss Stapleton? 

Mr. Kurrier. I can't remember, Mr. Chairman. 

Mr. Walter. Did you meet her at any meetings ? 

Mr. Kurrier. May I consult my counsel? 

(Witness confers with his counsel.) 

Mr. Kurrier. I refuse to answer that question on the same grounds. 

Mr. Walter. I saw you engaged in conversation with her this 
morning as you were sitting out here waiting to be called.- When was 
the last time before this morning that you talked with her? 

Mr. Kurrier. I refuse to answer that question on the same grounds. 

Mr. Walter. Did you talk with her yesterday on the telephone? 

Mr. Kurrier. I refuse to answer that question on the same grounds. 

Mr. Walter. Did you meet her at the airport this morning ? 

Mr. Kurrier. I refuse to answer thato question on the same grounds. 

Mr. Tavenner. I desire to introduce the program of the Congress 
on American-Soviet Relations in evidence, and ask that it be marked 
"Kurrier Exhibit 1." 

Mr. Walter. Let it be marked and received. 

(The document above referred to, marked "Kurrier Exhibit 1," is 
filed herewith.) 

Mr. Tavenner. You were identified by Henry Thomas and Thomas 
Sampler, in testimony before this committee in the past few days, as a 
member of the Communist Party of the District of Columbia. Is 
there any explanation or statement you desire to make regarding that 
identification of you? 

Mr. Kurrier. I refuse to answer that question on the grounds that 
any answer might tend to incriminate me. 

Mr. Tavenner. How long have you been employed at the Superior 
Print Shop? 

Mr. Kurrier. I think from about August 1949 to the present. 

Mr. Tavenner. Prior to that where were you employed ? 

Mr. Kurrier. I worked for a short time at a print shop just off 
First and N Streets NW. I forget the name of that particular com- 
pany. 



COMMUNISM IN THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA 3291 

Mr. Tavenner. How long have you been in the District of Colum- 
bia, have you lived here ? 

Mr. Kurrier. I came here in the fall of 1947, as far as I can 
remember. 

Mr. Tavenner. Are }^ou aquainted with Henry Thomas and Thomas 
Sampler ? 

Mr. Kurrier. You mean have I known them ? 

Mr. Tavenner. Yes. 

Mr. Kurrier. Yes, I have known them. 

Mr. Tavenner. How long have you known Henry Thomas ? 

(Witness confers with his counsel.) 

Mr. Kurrier. As far as I can remember — you are asking about Mr. 
Thomas? 

Mr. Tavenner. Yes ; Henry Thomas. 

Mr. Kurrier. I have known him since about 1948. 

Mr. Tavenner. What were the circumstances under which you 
became acquainted with him ? 

Mr. Kurrier. Well, I just met him. I mean, he is one of my 
acquaintances. 

Mr. Tavenner. Where was it that you met him ? 

Mr. Kurrier. I don't remember right now. I mean, I have known 
a lot of people. 

Mr. Tavenner. Surely 3-011 remember the circumstances under 
which you met him ? 

Mr. Kurrier. No, I can't recall. You mean the first time I met 
him? Do I understand your question correctly? 

Mr. Tavenner. Yes ; that is right. 

Mr. Kurrier. I don't. 

Mr. Tavenner. Did you attend any meetings with him? 

Mr. Kurrier. I refuse to answer that question on the grounds that 
my answer might tend to incriminate me. 

Mr. Tavenner. When you first met him, did you meet him at a 
meeting, or what were the circumstances under which you met him? 

Mr. Kurrier. I refuse to answer that question on the same grounds. 

Mr. Tavenner. How frequently did 3011 see him ? 

Mr. Kurrier. I refuse to answer that question on the same grounds. 

Mr. Tavenner. Were you acquainted with Thomas Sampler? 

Mr. Kurrier. I have known him too. 

Mr. Tavenner. How long have you known him ? 

Mr. Kurrier. About the same time, if I remember correctly. 

Mr. Tavenner. Did you meet him at the same time you met Henry 
Thomas ? 

Mr. Kurrier. I don't think so. I am not sure. 

Mr. Tavenner. What were the circumstances under which you met 
him? 

Mr. Kurrier. Like I said, I have known him as an acquaintance. 

Mr. Tavenner. Did you attend any meetings of any kind at which 
Sampler was present? 

Mr. Kurrier. I refuse to answer that question on the grounds that 
my answer might tend to incriminate me. 

Mr. Tavenner. I have no further questions. 

Mr. Moulder. Were you ever employed by the Federal Government 
in any position ? 



3292 COMMUNISM IN THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA 

Mr. Kukrier. Well, I think so. I was employed by the NYA when 
I was a student, and I was a member of the Armed Forces of the 
United States for 4 years. 

Mr. Moulder. Outside of that, no other Government employment? 

Mr. Kurrier. Not that I remember. 

Mr. Moulder. When were you a student ? 

Mr. Kurrier. I was a student for about 4 years before I entered 
the service in 1941 and 1 year after I was honorably discharged from 
the United States Army. 

Mr. Moulder. Where were you employed by the NYA ? 

Mr. Kurrier. At the University of Massachusetts, which was then 
known as Massachusetts State College. 

Mr. Moulder. What was your work in connection with the NYA ? 

Mr. Kurrier. Well, I did general clerical work. It was part-time 
work to help pay my way through school. I didn't have much money. 

Mr. Moulder. When did you come to Washington ? 

Mr. Kurrier. When ? I came to Washington in 1947, if I remem- 
ber correctly. 

Mr. Moulder. Can you tell the committee what induced you to come 
to Washington? 

Mr. Kurrier. Certainly. It was a matter of bread and butter. I 
was earning $28 a week plus some on-the-job training assistance from 
the Government when I was working as a printer in Amherst, and I 
couldn't support my family on the money I was making, so I came 
to Washington thinking I may find a job that would enable me to 
support my family half way decently. 

Mr. Moulder. You are married? 

Mr. Kurrier. Yes. 

Mr. Moulder. How many in your family? 

Mr. Kurrier. Wife and one son. 

Mr. Moulder. How long were you in the service ? 

Mr. Kurrier. About 4 years. 

Mr. Walter. Any further questions? 

(No response.) 

Mr. Walter. The witness may be excused. 

(Witness excused.) 

Mr. Tavenner. Clarence Gurewitz. 

Mr. Walter. Will you raise your right hand, please, Mr. Gure- 
witz? You 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. Gurewitz. I do. 

TESTIMONY OF CLARENCE DARROW GUREWITZ, ACCOMPANIED 
BY HIS COUNSEL, H. CLIFFORD ALLDER 

Mr. Tavenner. What is your full name, please ? 
Mr. Gurewitz. Clarence Darrow Gurewitz. 
Mr. Tavenner. Are you represented by counsel ? 
Mr. Gurewitz. Yes, sir. 

Mr. Tavenner. Will counsel please identify himself for the record? 
Mr. Allder. H. Clifford Allder. 
Mr. Tavenner. And your address? 

Mr. Allder. Columbian Building, 416 Fifth Street NW., Washing- 
ton, D. C. 



COMMUNISM IN THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA 3293 

Mr. Tavenner. What is your address, Mr. Gurewitz ? 

Mr. Gurewitz. 1112 Quebec Street, Silver Spring, Md. 

Mr. Tavenner. When and where were you born? 

Mr. Gurewitz. Newark, N. J., December 24, 1914. 

Mr. Tavenner. What is your present occupation ? 

Mr. Gurewitz. I am employed bj^ a builder. 

Mr. Tavenner. In the construction business. 

Mr. Gurewitz. Yes. 

Mr. Tavenner. Will you briefly outline to the committee your em- 
ployment record and background? 

Mr. Gurewitz. It is almost impossible. I have had a number of 
jobs. I can tell you some I remember. 

I worked for a medical publishing company for about a year and 
a half, doing research service for this employer, a publisher of medical 
journals. 

I worked in my father's store off and on for many years in George- 
town. 

I have worked as a carpenter's helper in construction work. 

I have played the piano for a living. 

I worked for WPA a couple times. 

I installed television antennas 2 years ago for about a year. 

I worked for the Times-Herald once when I was in high school. 

Mr. Tavenner. Mr. Gurewitz. two witnesses appearing before this 
committee in the past few days, Henry Thomas and Thomas Sampler, 
have identified you as having been affiliated with the Communist 
Party of the District of Columbia. Our purpose in asking you here 
is to obtain from you such information as we can obtain regarding 
the activities of the Communist Party in the District of Columbia. 
Were you affiliated with the Communist Party here? 

Mr. Gurewitz. I refuse to answer on the grounds my answer might 
tend to incriminate me. The Supreme Court has sustained that posi- 
tion just 2 days ago in the Denver case. 

Mr. Walter. Somebody is going to be surprised to find that the cases 
are not the same. 

Mr. Gurewitz. My answer is still the same, sir. 

Mr. Tavenner. Are you acquainted with Henry Thomas? 

Mr. Gurewitz. I think in view of the testimony of the past week my 
answer to that would also tend to incriminate me. I cannot answer 
that, 

Mr. Tavenner. I hand you a photostatic copy of a news article from 
the Washington Post of January 10, 1948, and I ask you to glance at it 
for the purpose of refreshing your recollection. 

Mr. Gurewitz. I remember reading the story. Is that your ques- 
tion ? 

Mr. Tavenner. That is right. This is a report on a trial over in 
Arlington in which you appeared as a witness, I believe, is that 
correct ? 

Mr. Gurewitz. Yes. 

Mr. Tavenner. In the news article you are reported to have been 
asked this question at the trial : 

Did you on June 6, 1946, act as chairman at a meeting of the northwest section 
of the Communist Party of the District at Georgia Avenue and Otis Place NW.? 

704 61— 50 — pt. 2 9 



3294 COMMUNISM IN THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA 

To which you replied that .you had. 

Mr. Gurewitz. I don't recollect the question or the answer, sir. 

Mr. Tavenner. After refreshing your recollection by looking at this 
article, do you now recall that you were asked the question as to 
whether or not you were chairman at a meeting of the northwest 
section of the Communist Party ? 

Mr. Gurewitz. I haven't refreshed my memory. I just glanced at 
the headline. 

(The news article referred to was again handed to the witness.) 

Mr. Gurewitz. I don't remember the question, sir. 

Mr. Tavenner. Is it true or not that you were chairman of the 
northwest section of the Communist Party at any of its meetings? 

Mr. Gurewitz. I refuse to answer that question on the grounds that 
the answer might tend to incriminate me. 

Mr. Tavenner. Then at another place in the article a news reporter 
writes : 

Asked point-blank by Attorney Tbomas whether he had been a Communist 
in June of 1946, Gurewitz replied, "Yes." He denied being a Communist in 
June 1947. 

Mr. Gurewitz. My answer is the same, sir. 

Mr. Tavenner. What is your answer ? 

Mr. Gurewitz. I cannot answer because the answer might tend to 
incriminate me. 

Mr. Tavenner. I desire to introduce this photostat of news article 
in the record, and ask that it be marked "Gurewitz Exhibit 1." 

Mr. Walter. Let it be marked and received. 

(The document above referred to, marked "Gurewitz Exhibit 1," 
is filed herewith. ) 

Mr. Moulder. Since you have revealed that information at the hear- 
ing or trial mentioned by counsel just a short time ago, how would 
your answer today tend to incriminate you, after you have given the 
information in answer to the same question he asked you ? 

(Witness confers with his counsel.) 

Mr. Gurewitz. I didn't answer either affirmatively or negatively 
the question asked by Mr. Tavenner, and therefore I have not accepted 
the accuracy of that story. 

Mr. Moulder. I see. 

Mr. Tavenner. You stated that you did not answer the question one 
way or the other. Let us make certain that you understood my ques- 
tion. Were you asked the question in the trial of this case in 1948 as 
to whether you had been chairman of a meeting in the northwest 
section of the Communist Party? Were you asked that question? 

Mr. Gurewitz. The only answer I can give you is that I know there 
was a trial and that questions were asked. What questions were asked, 
I don't remember. All my friends can tell you I am notorious for my 
poor memory. I know about 3,000 people here, and I meet people 
I went to school with and cannot remember their names. 

Mr. Tavenner. This is not a question of names. Were you asked if 
you acted as chairman at a meeting of the northwest section of the 
Communist Party? 

Mr. Gurewitz. I don't remember that question. 

Mr. Tavenner. If you were asked that question at the trial, and if 
3^ou had answered as reported here that you had been such a chairman, 
would that answer have been true or false? 



COMMUNISM IN THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA 3295 

Mr. Gurewitz. I can't answer that question, on the ground that the 
answer may tend to incriminate me. 

Mr. Tavenner. In other words, you are refusing to answer any ques- 
tion relating to your alleged chairmanship of the northwest section 
of the Communist Party on the grounds your answer might tend to 
incriminate you? 

Mr. Gurewitz. The only questions I refuse to answer are those I 
have specifically refused to answer so far. There may be other ques- 
tions that I will answer. 

Mr. Tavenner. If you were asked the question as to whether or not 
you were a Communist in June 1946 and you replied "Yes" during 
the course of that trial, was that statement true or false? 

Mr. Gurewitz. I shall have to answer that question in the same 
way. 

Mr. Tavenner. In other words, you refuse to answer on the ground 
your answer might tend to incriminate you ? 

Mr. Gurewitz. Self-incrimination ; yes, sir. 

Mr. Tavenner. I now hand you a photostatic copy of what pur- 
ports to be a throw-away sheet issued by the Northwest Club of the 
Communist Party, bearing date 1946, the heading of which is "How to 
prevent corruption in the District," and which advertised an open-air 
meeting. The speakers are listed as Sy Bakst, educational director, 
and Clarence Gurewitz, chairman, and at the bottom it states "Issued 
by the Northwest Club of the Communist Party." 

Will you examine that throw-away sheet and state whether or not 
you acted as chairman at that meeting? 

Mr. Gurewitz. I cannot answer that question on the same grounds, 
that the answer might tend to incriminate me. 

Mr. Tavenner. What was your connection with the issuance of 
that throw-away sheet by the Northwest Club of the Communist 
Party, if any? 

Mr. Gurewitz. I cannot answer for the same reason. 

Mr. Tavenner. I offer that throw-away sheet in evidence and ask 
that it be marked "Gurewitz exhibit 2." 

Mr. Walter. Let it be marked and received. 

(The document above referred to, marked "Gurewitz exhibit 2," is 
filed herewith. ) 

Mr. Moulder. Were you ever employed in any branch of the Fed- 
eral Government? 

Mr. Gurewttz. I believe I was some years ago. 

Mr. Moulder. When was that? 

Mr. Gurewitz. I am sorry I can't recall the exact year. I would say 
about 14 or 15 years ago, something like that. 

Mr. Moulder. In what branch of the Federal Government were 
you employed? 

Mr. Gurewitz. In the Veterans' Administration. I worked there 
a short time. 

Mr. Harrison. What were your duties ? 

Mr. Gurewitz. I was a file clerk in the basement. 

Mr. Tavenner. Did you say what the date was? 

Mr. Gurewitz. I am sorry, I can't remember the year. It was 
roughly 15 years ago. 



3296 COMMUNISM IN THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA 

Mr. Harrison. Is that the only employment yon had with the Gov- 
ernment of the United States? 

Mr. Gurewitz. No. I worked for a week or less at Baltimore for 
the Census Bureau. 

Mr. Harrison. When was that? 

Mr. Gurewitz. That was many years ago. I worked for the WPA, 
as I mentioned before. I guess you would call that Federal 
employment. 

Mr. Harrison. What did you do on the WPA ? 

Mr. Gurewitz. I wrote on the writers' project. 

Mr. Harrison. What did you write? 

Mr. Gurewitz. Pamphlets on historical sights in Washington, and 
bulletins issued by the Park Service. I wrote about half of those issued 
while I was employed there. 

Mr. Waltfr. Who was your employer in the Interior Department? 

Mr. Gurewitz. I was in the' editor's division of the Park Service. 
I don't remember the name of the supervisor. 

Mr. Walter. Who was at the head of the project ? 

Mr. Gurewitz. I am sorry, I cannot remember. All I remember 
is that Ickes was Secretary of the Interior at that time. I think Cam- 
merer was head of the Park Service, if I am not mistaken. Outside 
of that I cannot remember the names of my immediate superiors. 

Mr. Harrison. Do I understand you wrote about half the Park 
Service pamphlets issued? 

Mr. Gurewitz. During that particular year. 

Mr. Harrison. Do you remember what parks you wrote about? 

Mr. Gurewitz. Yes, the one in Hawaii. These were not original 
writing jobs. My job was to take previous pamphlets of 32 pages and 
reduce them to about 16 pages and add new information. Yellow- 
stone Park ; Rocky Mountain ; I have the whole bunch of them at home 
and would be very glad to turn them over. 

Mr. Walter. What years were they published ? 

Mr. Gurewitz. 1939 or 1940. 

Mr. Harrison. Did you write one on the Shenandoah National 
Park? 

Mr. Gurewitz. I don't think so. I think I was working on it, and 
I don't know if my employment terminated then or not. 

Mr. Harrison. You say you wrote various historical pamphlets 
about Washington. Do you remember what they were ? 

Mr. Gurewitz. I remember one on the Bureau of Engraving^ and 
Printing. I went through the building and was shown the activities, 
and I incorporated them into pamphlet form. I think I had one project 
on tunnels in Washington. 

Mr. Harrison. Tunnels? 

Mr. Gurewitz. Yes. 

Mr. Harrison. Underground, you mean? 

Mr. Gurewitz. Yes. None of this was ever published. I don't 
know what happened to the material. All I did was turn it over to 
my employer. 

Mr. Tavenner. Are you also known by the name of Casey ? 

Mr. Gurewitz. Yes, sir. 

Mr. Tavenner. I want to read to you an extract from the testimony 
in the trial of the case of United States versus Judith Coplon, appear- 



COMMUNISM IN THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA 3297 

ing at page 5335 of the record of that case. This was part of the 
testimony introduced from the FBI exhibits. I quote as follows : 

Clarence D. Gurewitz, also known as Casey Gurewitz, according to informant 
T-9, is a very active member of the Communist Party of the District of Columbia 
and has been such for 12 years. 

Do you have any statement you desire to make regarding that tes- 
timony ? 

Mr. Gurewitz. I cannot answer that question on the grounds that 
my answer might incriminate me. 

Mr. Tavenner. What is your wife's name ? 

Mr. Gurewitz. Helen. 

Mr. Tavenner. I have no further questions, Mr. Chairman. 

Mr. Walter. The witness may be excused. 

(Witness excused.) 

Mr. Walter. The meeting now stands adjourned. 

(Thereupon, at 11 : 40 a. m., the hearing was adjourned.) 



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