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Full text of "Hearings regarding Steve Nelson (including foreword) Hearings"

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HEARINGS REGARDING STEVE NELSON 

(Including Foreword) 



HEARINGS 

BEFORE THE 

COMMITTEE ON UN- AMERICAN ACTIVITIES 
HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES 

EIGHTY-FIRST CONGRESS 

FIRST SESSION 



JUNE 8. 1949 



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




UNITED STATES 

GOVERNMENT PRINTING OFFICE 

WASHINGTON : 1949 



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PUBLIC 



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U. S. SUPERINTENnENT OF DOCUMENrS 

AUG 27 1949 



COMMITTEE ON UN-AMERICAN ACTIVITIES 
United States House of Representatives 

JOHN S. WOOD, Georgia, Chairman 
FRANCIS E. WALTER, Pennsylvania J. PARNELL THOMAS, New Jersey 

BURR P. HARRISON, Virginia RICHARD M. NIXON, California 

JOHN McSWEENEY, Ohio FRANCIS CASE, South Dakota 

MORGAN M. MOULDER, Missouri HAROLD H. VELDE, Illinois 

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



TABLE OF CONTENTS 



Page 

Foreword v-ix 

Testimony of Steve Nelson 129 

Appendix 154 

Reproductions of Nelson exhibits 1, 9, 10, 15, and 16 follow appendix. 

in 



FOREWORD 

June 8, 1949. 



Mr. MOULDER. Mr. Nelson, in the event of war between the 
United States and Russia, to which country would you owe your 
allegiance and loyalty in such a conflict? 

Mr. NELSON. I refuse to answer that question.^ 



Steve Nelson, with aliases of Louis Evans, Joseph Fleischinger, and 
"Hugo," was born Steve Alesarosh on January 1, 1903, at Chaglich, 
Yugoslavia. Steve Nelson entered the United States on eTune 12, 
1920, accompanied by his mother and two sisters. He gained admis- 
sion to the United States as a citizen of this country under the name of 
Joseph Fleischinger, that being the name of his mother's brother-in- 
law. Nelson's mother and two sisters also gained admission at that 
time by falsely representing themselves as the wife and children of 
Joseph Fleischinger. The name of Nelson's mother and the names of 
her three children were all included on the United States passport 
issued to said Joseph Fleischinger.^ 

On June 22, 1922, a warrant of arrest in deportation proceedings was- 
issued charging that the subject, his mother, and two sisters had 
entered the United States without proper passports; that they had 
entered by false and misleading statements; and that they were per- 
sons likely to become public charges at the time of their entry. 

A hearing was held under the authority of the warrant of arrest in 
Philadelphia on October 17, 1922, as a result of which the examining 
immigration inspector recommended that the aliens be afforded the 
opportunity to legalize their residence in the United States. It 
should be noted that during the hearing the United States Govern- 
ment recommended that Steve Nelson, his two sisters, and his mother 
be afforded a haven in the United States, even though they illegally 
entered the country. During the hearing, it was brought out that 
Steve Nelson, his two sisters, and his mother had taken advantage of 
opportunities in this country; that Steve Nelson, as well as his sisters, 
were attending school, and that the entire family had gained employ- 
ment. In the recommendation of the immigration inspector it was 
stated that after examination of the aliens it was decided that the 
subject individuals were taking advantage of the opportunities 
offered by this country and undoubtedly would become substantial 
citizens. On October 30, 1922, the Board of Keview entered an order 

• See p. 153. Mr. Nelson's refusal to answer the question is based on his answers to previous questions in 
the testimony wherein he refused to answer questions on the grounds that it might incriminate or degrade 
him. 

» See p. 136, exhibit 1. 

V 



VI FOREWORD 

that the warrant of arrest be canceled on payment of head tax if the 
Department of State would waive passport requirements. On 
November 14, 1922, the Secretary of State waived the passport and 
visa requirements in behalf of the subject, his mother, Maria, and his 
two sisters. Thereafter, on November 27, 1922, the aliens were 
examined by surgeons of the United States Public Health Service and 
passed; head tax was collected; and the entry of the subject, his 
mother, and his two sisters was legalized. 

Steve Nelson was admitted to citizenship in the United States 
District Court, Eastern District of Michigan, Detroit, Mich., on 
November 26, 1928, and was issued certificate of naturahzation, No. 
2834850. 

In evaluating Steve Nelson's entry in the United States and the 
Government's position in legalizing said entry, the United States 
afforded a haven for a refugee whose political ideologies in subsequent 
years dedicated themselves to tbe violent overthrow of the United 
States Government by force. It is not definitely known when Steve 
Nelson joined the Communist Partj^. However, in an article in the 
Daily Worker, November 10, 1937, under the byline of Joseph North, 
dispatched from Valencia, Spain, North stated that while interviewing 
participants fighting for the International Brigade, he obtained the 
following information from Steve Nelson: 

The working people of the Soviet Union were passing through a bitter period 
and Steve joined the Friends of Soviet Russia. On the first anniversary of 
Lenin's death [1925], he joined the Communist Party at the memorial in Phil- 
adelphia. ^ 

This alleged statement by Steve Nelson is noteworthy because, as 
previously stated, he was granted citizenship on November 26, 1928. 
If the truth of the article written by Joseph North which appeared 
in the Daily Worker could be established, it is apparent that Steve 
Nelson was a member of the CommuTiist Party prior to gaining his 
citizenship and therefore perjured himself when he obtamed his na- 
turahzation papers. 

In 1931, Steve Nelson's importance to the Communist movement 
was recognized in Moscow and he was called there to attend the Lenin 
Institute. On August 1, 1931, he filed a passport application with the 
Department of State in which he requested permission to visit Ger- 
many to study building construction. He falsified his passport by 
stating that he was born in Rankin, Pa., on December 25, 1903. This 
criminal offense was never prosecuted due to the fact that it was not 
discovered until the statute of limitations had run.'^ There is further 
evidence with respect to Mr. Nelson's attendance at the school in 
Moscow. Mr. William Nowell testified before this committee on 
November 30, 1939, and he stated that while he was a member of the 
Communist Party he attended the Lenin Institute in Moscow and that 
Steve Nelson was in attendance at this school under the name of Louis 
Evans. Mr. Nowell stated in his testimony that Nelson's prominence 
in the Communist Party was conspicuous because of his frequent con- 
tact with the OGPU (Russian secret police) in Moscow. Additional 
evidence of Nelson's visit to Russia has been developed by this com- 
mittee which indicates that in July 1933 Nelson filed with the American 
consul in Austria a 2-year renewal of his passport, stating that he had 

3 See p. 137, exhibit 2. 
< See p. 142, exhibit 9. 



FOREWORD VII 

resided in Russia from September 1931 to May 1933 and had resided 
in Germany, Switzerland, and Austria from May 25, 1933. Nelson, 
when questioned by this committee regarding his attendance at the 
Lenin School, refused to answer on the ground of self-incrimination. 

Official mtelligence reports in possession of this committee reflect 
that Nelson was in China for 3 months in 1933, working for the 
Comintern in Shanghai, and that a coworker of his was Arthur Ewert, 
a well-known Comintern agent, who was subsequently sentenced to 
imprisonment in Brazil for his part in the Communist revolution in 
1935. The exact date of the subject's return to the United States 
from China and the European countries mentioned above is unlmown, 
but in 1934 he contributed an article to the Party Organizer, official 
organ of the central committee of the Communist Party, U.S.A. 

During the Spanish Civil War, Nelson received considerable 
publicity in the Communist press because of the fact he had risen to 
the rank of lieutenant colonel in the International Brigade of the 
Loyalist Ai-my. Nelson returned to the United States in the latter 
part of 1937 from Spain and became active in the afl^airs of the Veterans 
of the Abraham Lincoln Brigade and the American League for Peace 
and Democracy, both notorious Communist organizations. 

Since 1938 Steve Nelson has been a national figure in the Com- 
munist Party, as well as a leading functionary in the Moscow-con- 
trolled Communist underground. 

With reference to Nelson's participation in the Abraham Lincoln 
Brigade, Nelson applied for a passport on February 13, 1937, and 
the passport was issued on February 23. This passport was issued 
to Nelson under the name of Joseph Fleischinger.^ It is noted on 
the application form that the name Fleischinger was misspelled in 
two places by the applicant. This criminal violation likewise escaped 
the attention of the authorities until the statute of limitations had 
expned. When questions were propounded to Nelson regarding 
this false passport, he again followed the current Communist Party 
line by declining to answer questions and placed hinself under the 
sanctuary of the fifth amendment to the Constitution. 

Steve Nelson was so important to the Communist movement and 
had gained such favor with his superiors that in 1940 he was assigned 
as organizer for the party in the bay area at the port of San Francisco, 
Calif. He was also given an underground assignment to gather 
information regarding the development of the atomic bomb. This 
assignment was facilitated by Steve Nelson's having met a woman in 
Spain who had gone to Spain in 1937 to meet her husband, also a 
volunteer in the International Brigade. Upon arrival in Spain, this 
woman was informed that her husband had been killed, and she was 
befriended by Steve Nelson. This woman, upon her return to the 
United States, moved to Berkeley, Calif., where she became acquainted 
with and married one of the leading physicists engaged in the develop- 
ment of the atomic bomb. 

The Communist Party and the Soviet Government were aware of 
Steve Nelson's acquaintance with the physicist and attempted to use 
this as a medium of infiltration of the radiation laboratory at the 
University of California, which was working on the development of 
the atomic bomb. An investigation of the aforementioned scientist 
disclosed that neither he nor his wife engaged in any subversive activi- 

« See p. 146, exhibit 10. 



Vni FOREWORD 

ties and that their loyalty has never been questioned by the Govern- 
ment. Nelson later reported that neither the physicist nor his wife 
were sympathetic to communism. 

Under the guidance of Steve Nelson, infiltration of the radiation 
laboratory actually began in other ways. A cell was developed within 
the laboratory, consisting of five or six young physicists. The exist- 
ence of the cell has been established in sworn testimony before this 
committee. According to a sworn statement by a witness, Giovanni 
Rossi Lomanitz was the principal Communist Party organizer. The 
records of this committee also reflect that David Bohm, presently a 
professor of physics at Princeton University, was also a member of this 
cell. Upon two occasions, both Giovanni Rossi Lomanitz and David 
Bohm declined to answer questions regarding their respective member- 
ships in this cell upon the grounds that to do so might tend to incrimi- 
nate them. 

Other alleged members of this cell at the Radiation Laboratory are 
under investigation by this committee and such evidence of member- 
ship will be forthcoming in future hearings of this committee. 

In 1942 Steve Nelson gained another promotion within the 
Communist Party when he was assigned as county organizer at 
Alameda, Calif. This assignment placed the atomic-bomb project 
under the direct jurisdiction of Steve Nelson for the Communist Party. 
According to the official files of the Government, while Nelson was 
under surveillance, he visited the home of Vassili Zubilin, a former 
secretary of the Soviet Embassy in Washington, D. C, who was then 
in Oakland, Calif. Zubilin's cover name in the Communist Party 
was "Cooper." During this meeting. Nelson complained to Zubilin 
about the inefficiency of two individuals working for the apparatus. 
These persons have been identified by the committee and theu' names 
are beiiig presently withheld from the public. Because of Mr. Nelson's 
complaint to Zubilin, these individuals were transferred from Alameda 
County — one to Detroit, Mich., and the other to Los Angeles, Cahf. 

The amount or value of the information gained by Steve Nelson 
regarding the development of the atomic bomb is not known. How- 
ever, due to the alertness of the officials of the Manhattan Engineering 
District and the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Steve Nelson's at- 
tempt to gather information was stopped. Physicists at the radiation 
laboratory who belonged to the Communist Party were removed from 
their positions under one pretext or another. 

Steve Nelson's participation in the Communist conspiracy regarding 
the atomic bomb has been previously exposed in a report issued by 
this committee on September 28, 1948, entitled "Report on Soviet 
Espionage Activities in Connection With the Atom Bomb." Since 
this report is predicated on the activities of Steve Nelson, excerpts 
from our report of September 28, 1948, are included herewith: 

* * * Late one night in March of 1943, scientist X, who was a scientist at 
the University of California, went to the home of Steve Nelson, having earlier in 
the evening made arrangements with Steve Nelson's wife to meet Nelson there. 
Nelson was not then at home but came in at about 1 :30 in the morning. After- 
Nelson had greeted scientist X, the latter stated that he had some information 
that he thought Nelson could use. He read to Nelson a complicated formula, 
which Nelson copied down. Scientist X gave as his reason for asking Nelson to- 
copy it down that the formula was in the handwriting of some other person, and 
that he, scientist X, had to return the formula to the University of California. 



FOREWORD IX 

Radiation Laboratories in the morning. The radiation laboratories were en- 
gaged in vital work in the development of the atomic bomb. 

Several days later Nelson contacted the Soviet consulate in San Francisco and 
arranged to meet Peter Ivanov, the Soviet vice consul, at some place where they 
could not be observed. Ivanov suggested that he and Nelson meet at the "usual 
place." 

As a result of the surveillance that was being kept on Nelson, the meeting be- 
tween Nelson and Ivanov was found to take place in the middle of an open park 
on the St. Francis Hospital grounds in San Francisco. At this meeting Nelson 
transferred something to Ivanov. If the matter transferred included the formula 
that scientist X had given Nelson several days previous — and the inference is 
irresistible that it did — it was a formula of importance in the development of the 
atom bomb. 

A few days after this meeting between Nelson and Ivanov on the St. Francis 
Hospital grounds, the third secretary of the Russian Embassy in Washington, a 
man by the name of Zubilin, came to the Soviet consulate in San Francisco. 
Shortly after Zubilin's arrival, he made an appointment to meet Steve Nelson in 
Steve "Nelson's home. At this meeting Zubilin paid Steve Nelson 10 bills of un- 
known denominations. 

The individual alleged by former intelligence officers and Government intelli- 
gence reports to be scientist X appeared before the committee in secret session 
and denied that he had ever known Steve Nelson or Steve Nelson's wife, and 
further denied that he had ever had any meeting with Nelson or anyone else such 
as described above, or that he had ever given to any unauthorized person any 
formula or other classified information. This in direct conflict with the testimony 
of two Federal agents who were assigned to the investigation. 

When Nelson testified before the committee in September 1948, he refused to 
answer ail pertinent questions on the ground that his answers would tend to in- 
criminate him. It is significant, in this connection, that when asked if he had 
ever been in the Soviet consulate in New York City, he answered "No"; but when 
he was asked if he had ever ridden in an automobile of the Soviet consulate in New 
York City in the period 1938 to 1948, he refused to answer on the ground that his 
answer might incriminate him. He also refused to answer on the same ground 
when asked if he was acquainted with Vassili Zubilin of the Soviet Embassy in the 
United States * * * 



920S0— 49- 



flEAEINGS KEGAEDINGl STEVE NELSON 



WEDNESDAY, JUNE 8, 1949 

United States House of Representatives, 

Subcommittee of the Committee on 

Un-American Activities, 

Washington, D. C. 

A subcommittee of the Committee on Un-American Activities met 
pursuant to call at 11:25 a. m. in room 226, Old House Office Building, 
Hon. John McSweeney presiding. 

Committee members present: Representatives John McSweeney 
(presiding), Burr P. Harrison, Richard M. Nixon, and Francis Case. 

Staff members present: Frank S. Tavenner, Jr., counsel; Louis J. 
Russell, senior investigator; William A. Wheeler, investigator; and 
A. S. Poore, editor. 

Mr. McSweeney. The chairman has designated me to preside over 
the subcommittee's hearing this morning. 

Let the record show that this is a subcommittee appointed by the 
chairman, constituted of Mr. Harrison, Mr. Nixon, Mr. Case, and 
John McSweeney, who has been designated to preside. 

Mr. Tavenner, will you proceed. 

Mr. Tavenner. I would like to call as the first witness Mr. Steve. 
Nelson. 

Mr. McSweeney. Will you rise and raise your right hand. You 
solemnly swear to tell the committee the whole truth and nothing but 
the truth, so help you God? 

Mr. Nelson. I do. 

Mr. Bloch. May I note my appearance for the record? I am 
representing Mr. Nelson as his counsel. 

Mr. Tavenner. Will you state your name and address? 

Mr. Block. Emanuel H. Bloch, 270 Broadway, New York City. 

SWORN TESTIMONY OF STEVE NELSON, ACCOMPANIED BY HIS 
COUNSEL, EMANUEL H. BLOCH 

Mr. Tavenner. Mr. Nelson, will you state your full name? 

Mr. Nelson. Steve Nelson. 

Mr. Tavenner. When and where were you born? 

Mr. Nelson. I was born in Yugoslavia. 

Mr. Tavenner. What date? 

Mr. Nelson. December 26, 1903. 

Mr. Tavenner. What is your present address? 

Mr. Nelson. Harmarville, Pa. 

Mr. Tavenner. Wliat was your father's name? 

Mr. Nelson. Michael. 

Mr. Tavenner. Where was he born? 

129 



130 HEARINGS REGARDING STEVE NELSON 

Mr. Nelson. The same place. 

Mr. Tavener. Is he now Uving? 

Mr. Nelson. No. 

Mr. Tavenner. Did he come to the United States? 

Mr. Nelson. No. 

Mr. Tavenner. What is your mother's name? 

Mr. Nelson. Mary. 

Mr. Tavenner. Is she Uving? 

Mr. Nelson. Yes. 

Mr. Tavenner. Is Steve Nelson your only name, or did you for- 
merly go by a different name? 

Mr. Nelson. My name is loiown to the committee. It is Mesarosh, 
M-e-s-a-r-o-s-h. Steve is the first name. 

Mr. Tavenner. Do you have brothers and sisters? 

Mr. Nelson. I do have two sisters. 

Mr. Tavenner. Wliat are their names? 

(Witness confers with his counsel.) 

Mr. Nelson. Mr. Chairman, I am going to avail myself of my 
constitutional right of not answering that on the grounds of the fifth 
amendment, which, as you know, provides that I need not incriminate 
myself here. 

Mr. McSweeney. And it is your interpretation that giving your 
sisters' names comes within the protection afforded you under that 
amendment? 

Mr. Nelson. Yes. 

Mr. Tavenner. Is Josef Fleischinger your uncle? 

Mr. Nelson. I will take the same stand on that question, Mr. 
Chairman. I refuse to answer that on the ground it may tend to 
incriminate me. 

Mr. Tavenner. Let me ask you this question: In what manner 
could the acknowledgement that Josef Fleischinger is your uncle tend 
to incrimmate you? 

Mr. Bloch. I don't know what my rights are here. I know they 
are severely limited ; they have been in the past. I don't know if the 
committee would like to hear an objection in any legal form. If 
I am allowed to record the objections, I would like to state for the 
record that the question itself calls for the divulgence of information 
that might be incriminatory in character. Therefore, the question 
is improper and I object to it. 

Mr. Tavenner. In reply to counsel, I desire to state that if there 
is any indication from evidence that is presented to this committee 
that such should be the case, he would be within his rights in claiming 
immunity. 

Mr. Bloch. Furnishing you evidence, or a scintilla of evidence, to 
indicate the basis of the witness' refusal to answer on the ground it 
might tend to incriminate him would, in and of itself, destroy the 
privilege, because it might furnish a link, or a clue, or evidence itself, 
that might reveal information of an incriminatory character. 

Mr. Tavenner. In the absence of or refusal of the witness to give 
any evidence to this committee wherein the divulgence of that infor- 
mation might be incriminatmg, I think he should be compelled to 
answer the question. 

Mr. Block. I wonder if the committee would give me a moment 
to discuss with the witness his constitutional rights and clarify in 
my own mind something? 



HEARINGS REGARDING STEVE NELSON 131 

Mr. McSwEENEY. Yes. 

(Witness confers with his counsel.) 

Mr. Block. If the committee pleases, the witness would like to 
clarify his refusal by a sketchy summary statement which will suggest, 
at any rate, to the committee his basis for refusing to answer without 
destroying the privilege. 

Mr. McSwEENEY. Mr. Nelson, proceed. 

Mr. Nelson. In the first place, I understand the fifth amendment 
to mean that you have no right to press me to interpret or to give you 
my reasons for not answering the question. Secondly, this com- 
mittee knows that I am a Communist, and if I should admit that I 
know certain people, those people would be subject to persecution, 
and I will not cooperate with the committee on that score. 

Mr, Nixon. Mr. Chairman 

Mr. Nelson. And of course because it would incriminate me. 

Mr. Nixon. Mr. Chairman, the reasons the witness has given do 
not bear on the matter of self-incrimination. The fact that it is 
going to embarrass somebody else who happens to be a relative cer- 
tainly does not bear on the question of self-incrimination. I think 
the understanding should be reached at the present time that if the 
witness is using self-incrimination simply to show his contempt for 
the committee, that the committee should take proper action. 

Mr. Bloch. The witness did not confine his refusal to the fact it 
may involve other people in persecutions, as he termed it, but he also 
assigned the reason that he himself would be incriminated. I think 
the record bears that out very clearly. He might have many reasons 
for refusing to answer, but I submit that if one of those reasons in- 
volves his right against self-incrimination, his refusal should be upheld. 

Mr. Harrison. Might I ask what counsel suggests? 

Mr. Tavenner. I would like the witness to comply with what I 
conceive the law to be in such matters, that if he has any reasons or 
can give this committee any information that could lead this com- 
mittee to believe that his reply would be of an incriminatory nature, 
then he should not be required to answer the question; otherwise, he 
should be required to answer. And I want him to have every oppor- 
tunity to present to this committee some information that would 
permit this committee to come to some conclusion, because I deem it 
to be the right and privilege of this committee to determine whether 
or not the question should be answered. 

Mr. Case. Mr, Chairman 

Mr. Bloch. If the committee pleases 

Mr. McSwEENEY. Mr. Case. 

Mr. Case. Did the witness complete his statement? He started 
to say for the further reason that it would tend to incriminate him- 
self. Did that complete your statement? 

Mr. Nelson. Yes. 

Mr. Block. If I might be heard for 2 seconds on this question, and 
I think it is a question of law more than anything else, the courts, 
have held repeatedly- — and this is within the last few years, and if 
you care for the citations I can give them to you — ^that when an 
avowed Communist is questioned about his associations, affiliations, 
and activities in connection with his Communist beliefs, he has the 
absolute right to rely upon the fifth amendment, because the Govern- 
ment — incidentally, particularly this committee — has made claims 



132 HEARINGS REGARDING STEVE NELSON 

about the Communist movement, charging them with engaging in 
activities of a criminal character. 

I don't have to enumerate for you the various statutes under which 
it has claimed that certain members of the Communist Party have 
committed crimes against the United States. It is apparent we have 
a crime by conspiracy, and when you ask a Communist if he knows 
somebody or has seen somebody or engaged in any activity with 
somebody, it might tend to put him in the legal noose, I might say, for 
prosecution by the United States. 

The admission of a relationship may be very damaging. The 
witness, within the recesses of his mind, knows what has happened 
in the past, and I don't believe anybody, under our Constitution, 
has a right to inquire into those thoughts of his which refresh his 
recollection as to certain incidents of the past, as to whether he has 
or has not been engaged in conduct that might be conceived as 
improper. 

I might say this: I don't want to waive any rights as to the bona 
fideness of the question or as to the materiality. I don't know what 
this committee is after from this witness. 

Mr. McSwEENEY. You have a right to consult with your client 
any time during the questioning, and advise your client. 

Mr. Bloch. Thank you. 

Mr. Harrison. What is counsel's recommendation as to proceeding 
at this time? 

Mr. Tavenner. I would suggest at this time that if there is no 
evidence satisfactory to the committee which would indicate anything 
of an incriminatory character in the answer, that the witness should 
be required to answer the question. 

Mr. Harrison. I move the witness be directed to answer the 
question. 

Mr. Nixon. I second the motion. 

Mr. McSwEENEY. All those in favor of the motion as made and 
seconded will signify by saying "Aye"; those opposed, "No." 

(The motion was unanimously carried.) 

Mr. McSwEENEY. It is the consensus of the committee that you 
be directed to answer the question. 

Mr. Tavenner. Will the reporter read the question? 

(The pending question was read by the reporter, as follows:) 

Is Josef Fleischinger your uncle? 

(Witness confers with his counsel.) 

Mr. Nelson. Josef Fleischinger was my uncle. He is dead. 

Mr. Tavenner. Did he come to the United States? 

Mr. Nelson. Yes. 

Mr. Tavenner. When did he die? 

Mr. Nelson. In the last year. 

Mr. Tavenner. Mr. Nelson, did he have a son, Josef Fleischinger, 
Jr., a cousin of yours? 

(Witness confers with his counsel.) 

Mr. Nelson. I refuse to answer that on the grounds that it will 
tend to incriminate me. 

Mr. Tavenner. Let me repeat the question. I am not certain 
that it was understood. Is Josef Fleischinger, Jr., a cousin of yours? 

Mr. Nelson. I gave you that answer and I stand on those grounds. 

Mr. Harrison. You mean you have answered the question? 



HEARINGS REGARDING STEVE NELSON 133 

Mr. Nelson. Yes. I said I refused to answer on the grounds it 
may tend to incriminate me. 

Mr. Harrison. Is that your full statement? 

Mr. Nelson. That is my full statement. 

Mr. Harrison. Mr. Chairman, I move that the witness be in- 
structed to answer the question. 

Mr. McSwEENEY. You acknowledged your relation to one person. 
We are asking your relation to another. 

(Witness confers with his counsel.) 

Mr. Nelson. I understand the implications of what you are driving 
at, and I take the position that this committee is trying to compel me 
to testify against myself, and I refuse to do so on the grounds that the 
Constitution protects me. 

Mr. Case. Mr. Chairman, is he contending that he would be testify- 
ing against himself, or tending to incriminate himself, if he answers a 
question of fact as to whether a certain person is his cousin? 

Mr. Block. May I answer that? 

Mr. McSweeney. You can't testify. 

Mr. Block. I don't want to testify. I want to argue it as a proposi- 
tion of law, that is all. 

Mr. McSweeney. You can consult with your client. 

Mr. Case. I would like to ask this question of Mr. Nelson: Do you 
know a person by the name of Josef Fleischinger, Jr.? 

Mr. Nelson. I have answered that question, sir, the way 1 think 
it ought to be answered. 

Mr. Case. You haven't answered that question. 

Mr. Nelson. That is the same question. 

Mr. Harrison. I understand you refuse to answer the question? 

Mr. Nelson. I refuse to answer it on the grounds it may tend to 
incriminate me. 

Mr. Harrison. And that is the full answer you desire to make? 

Mr. Nelson. Yes. 

Mr, Block. I assume that goes to both questions. The questions 
are interrelated. 

Mr. Harrison. Mr. Chairman, I move the witness be directed to 
answer. 

Mr. Nixon. I second the motion. 

Mr. McSweeney. All those in favor of the motion as made and 
seconded will signify by saying "Aye"; those opposed, "No." 

(The motion was unanimously carried.) 

Mr. McSweeney. So ordered. The committee directs you to 
answer the question. 

(Witness confers with his counsel.) 

Mr. Nelson. Mr. Chairman, I refuse to answer that question 
upon the further grounds that because of the fact I am a well-known 
Communist it may tend to cause harm to this person that you are 
bringing forward here, and I refuse to do that, as well as the fact 
it is going to do harm to me. This committee is trying to do some- 
thing it has no right to do. 

Mr. Harrison. You have no right to assume that. 

Mr. Block. Will you pardon me for 1 second while I confer with 
the witness? 

Mr. McSweeney. Yes. 

(Conference between the witness and his counsel.) 



134 HEARINGS REGARDING STEVE NELSON 

Mr. Nixon. While counsel is conferring with the witness, I want 
to make a statement for the record again that the witness' conten- 
tion that the testimony he would give might be harmful to his relatives 
or to him, has no standing before this committee, as the witness and 
his counsel both well know. 

Mr. Nelson. Mr. Chairman, I have made two points already of 
the reasons I am refusing to answer. The additional reason is that 
if I would answer your question whether I had relations with this 
person it would definitely tend to incriminate me, and therefore I 
refuse to do so. 

Mr. McSwEENEY. Counsel, proceed with your questioning. 

Mr. Tavenner. Wlien did you arrive in the United States, Mr. 
Nelson? 

Mr. Nelson. 1920. 

Mr. Tavenner. On board the steamship Argentine? 

Mr. Nelson. I don't recall the name offhand. 

Mr. Tavenner. From what port did you sail to the United States? 

(Witness confers with his counsel.) 

Mr. Nelson. It was from the Port of Trieste. 

Mr. Tavenner. I hand you a photostatic copy of a passport. 
Will you identify that as the passport under which you traveled? 

(Witness confers with his counsel.) 

Mr. Nelson. I would say it looks like the one. 

Mr. Tavenner. Will you examine the fourth page, the photograph 
that appears there, and identify the persons appearing on that photo- 
graph? 

(Witness confers with his counsel.) 

Mr. Nelson. I refuse to answer that question. 

Mr. Tavenner. Is that a photograph of you, the only man in the 
picture? 

Mr. Nelson. I refuse to answer that question. 

Mr. Tavenner. The picture of the two girls, are they the pictm-es 
of your two sisters? 

Mr. Nelson. I refuse to answer that question. 

Mr. Tavenner. And the picture of the older person is of your 
mother? 

Mr. Nelson. I refuse to answer that question. 

Mr. Case, Did the witness refuse to identify the photograph of 
himself? 

Mr. Bloch. Let it be noted for the record that the photograph 
which allegedly or which seems to represent a male is not an isolated 
photograph, but is a group photograph. 

Mr. Case. The photograph constitutes an essential part of the 
passport. If the witness has identified this as a photostat of the 
passport under which he traveled, and if the alleged photograph ap- 
pearing thereon is not of himself, that might tend to incriminate him 
as traveling under an improper passport. 

Mr. Nixon. Is that your purpose? 

Mr. Nelson. That is not my purpose. 

Mr. Nixon. Is it your photograph? 

Mr. Nelson. The facts about my travel to this country are known 
and are in the record. Wlien I applied for my citizenship I gave the 
facts as they are and I have nothing to hide. 



HEARINGS REGARDING STEVE NELSON 135 

Mr. Case. Mr. Chairman, I think as to the question of whether or 
not this is his own photograph, he should want to answer that ques- 
tion. The only way he can incriminate himself by denying it is his 
photograph 

Mr. Harrison. Would invalidate the passport. 

Mr. Bloch. There is an additional reason he may refuse to answer. 
If this photograph of the witness — assuming it is his photograph; I 
don't know if it is — were isolated, I could understand the burden of 
your argument; but here is a photograph which is a group photograph. 
By admitting that photograph there is an implied admission that he 
is connected with the other persons in that group photograph. 

Mr. Case. I might say that traveling with a passport that carries a 
purported picture which is not in fact the picture of the holder of the 
passport would be a prima facie cause of incrimination, whereas 
identifying a photograph is not a prima facie case. I think he should 
answer the question of whether it is a photograph of himself. 

Mr. McSwEENEY. Docs the witness care to answer that? 

(Witness confers with his counsel.) 

Mr. Nelson. Yes; that is my picture. 

Mr. Nixon. Mr. Chairman, I think the Chair should instruct this 
witness that he is to answer the questions, and to consider his answers 
before simply giving the refusals to answer without any basis. The 
time of the committee is being wasted by the contemptuous attitude 
of the witness. 

Mr. Bloch. I would like to respond to that. I don't want to 
leave that unchallenged. The truth is that his answers may tend to 
incriminate him, and I am the one who advised him I thought his 
reasoning was far-fetched, and that is the reason he changed his 
answer. He is a layman, after all. He is not a lawyer. I am trying 
to assist this witness as well as assisting the United States Govern- 
ment, and I don't think we should be frustrated. 

Mr, McSwEENEY. Will counsel proceed, and we expect the witness 
to respond promptly. 

Mr. Tavenner. As a matter of fact, you entered the United States 
illegally under this passport, did you not? 

Mr. Nelson. I refuse to answer that. 

Mr. Tavenner. On what ground? 

Mr. Nelson. Because it may tend to incriminate me. 

Mr. Tavenner. The offense, if one existed, is barred by the 
statute of limitations, this having occurred in 1920; and the fifth 
amendment does not, in my judgment, afford immunity where you 
cannot be prosecuted because of the alleged offense being barred by 
the statute of limitations; so I again ask you to answer the question. 

(T\'itness confers with his counsel.) 

Mr. Nelson. What is the question again? 

Mr. Tavenner. Read the question. 

The question referred to was read, as follows: 

As a matter of fact, you entered the United States illegally under this passport, 
did you not? 

Mr. Nelson. Mr. Chairman, I don't admit that I came into the 
United States illegally. 

Mr. McSweeney. You admit this to be your passport? 
Mr, Nelson. That is right. 



136 HEARINGS REGARDING STEVE NELSON 

Mr. Tavenneh. There appears on the last page of this passport 
the following certification: 

American Legation, 

Belgrade, April 15, 1920. 
I hereby certify that Mr. Josef Fleischinger, the holder of this passport, is ac- 
companied by his wife Mary and minor children, Josef, Elsie, and Mary. 

Did you not enter the United States posing as Josef Fleischinger 
under this passport? 

(Witness confers with his counsel.) 

Mr. Nelson. I didn't fill that thing out. At the time I was 16 
years old or so, and I can't say. Therefore I refuse to answer the 
question. It might tend to incriminate me if I answered I came in 
illegally, or perhaps if you put the interpretation on it that I prepared 
the thing. 

Mr. Tavenner. You were arrested for deportation, were you not, 
because of illegal entry? 

Mr. Nelson. That is right. 

Mr. Tavenner. Wlien was that? 

Mr. Nelson. I can't recall. I think it was in 1921. 

Mr. Tavenner. Was that about June 22, 1922, you thmk? 

Mr. Nelson. I can't be sure about that date. 

Mr. Tavenner. Was a hearing afforded you on October 17, 1922, 
in Philadelphia, as a result of wliich you were afforded an opportunity 
to legalize your residence in this country? 

Mr. Nelson. That is right, but I am not sure about the date. 

]\Ir. Tavenner. And is it not also true that on the 14th of Novem- 
ber 1922, the Secretary of State waived the passport requirements 
on behalf ol yourself, your mother Mary, and your two sisters? 

Mr. Nelson. I don't know what the technical or legal procedure 
was, but my understanding was that the case was dropped, and that 
ended the matter so far as I know. 

Mr. Tavenner. I desire to offer this passport in evidence and 
have it marked "Nelson Exhibit 1." 

Mr. McSweeney. Without objection it is admitted.^ 

Mr. Tavenner. Are you a citizen of the United States? 

Mr. Nelson. Yes. 

Mr. Tavenner. When and where were you naturalized? 

Mr. Nelson. Detroit, Mich., 1928, I believe it was, or 1927, at 
the end of the year. 

Mr. Tavenner. W^as Mr. Antonio Gerlach one of your witnesses 
in your naturalization proceedings? 

(Witness confers with his counsel.) 

Mr. Nelson. I believe he was. 

Air. Harrison. Let the record show that the chairman of the 
subcommittee (Mr. McSweeney) had to leave and I will preside. 

Mr. Tavenner. I hand you a photostic copy of a portion of the 
issue of November 10, 1937, of the Daily Worker. The Daily Worker 
is an official publication of the Communist Party, is it not? 

(Witness confers with his counsel.) 

Mr. Nelson. It is not an official organ of .the Communist Party 
now. 

Mr. Tavenner. In 1937 it was an official pubfication of that 
party, was it not? 

6 See appendix, p. 154,Nelson exhibit 1. 



HEARINGS REGARDING STEVE NELSON 137 

Mr. Nelson. I believe it was then. 

Mr. Tavenner. I hand you this article, entitled "Steve Nelson 
an Exemplary Political Commissar in the International Brigade," by 
Joseph North, and ask you to examine it. 

(Witness examines document and confers with his counsel.) 

Mr. Nelson. I didn't have a chance to read it carefully. It appears 
to be an article from the Daily Worker, but I. can't say that all the 
facts are correct, because the story was cabled from Valencia, Spain. 
At that time I was in a hospital wounded, and I don't recall reading the 
story, that is, the article, as it appeared in the Daily Worker, because 
I wasn't here at the time. 

Mr. Tavenner. You knew Joseph North in Spain, did you not? 

Mr. Nelson. Yes, I met him. He was a correspondent for the 
Dail}^ Worker. 

Mr. Tavenner. This article describes your activity to some extent 
in the International Brigade? 

Mr. Nelson. Yes, I gather that from glancing at it. 

Mr. Tavenner. In the course of this article it is stated: 

The working people of the Soviet Union were passing through a bitter period 
and Steve joined the Friends of Soviet Russia. On the first anniversary of Lenin's 
death, he joined the C. P. at the memorial meeting in Philadelphia. 

Is that correct? 

Mr. Nelson. That is what the story says, but the facts are not so. 

Mr. Tavenner. Didn't you tell Mr. North that when he prepared 
this article? 

Mr. Nelson. How do I know what I told him 12 years ago? 

Mr. Tavenner. Do you or do you not? 

Mr. Nelson. Would you remember details like that 12 years ago? 

Mr. Harrison. Answer the question. 

Mr. Nelson. I don't know. 

Mr. Harrison. You do not know whether you did or not? 

Mr. Nelson. That is right. 

Mr. Tavenner. Is it not a fact that you did join the Communist 
Party in Philadelphia on the anniversary of Lenin's death? 

Mr. Nelson. That is not true. Let me point out to you, which is 
what I wanted to say, Mister — I don't know who you. are, by the way. 

Mr. Tavenner. That doesn't make any difference. 

Mr. Nelson. I think I should know. What I wanted to point out 
was that the Communist Party of the United States was organized 
later as a Communist Party and not, as far as I recall, was it organized 
in 1924. It was the Workers Party. 

Mr. Tavenner. I desire to offer in evidence the publication re- 
ferred to, and have it marked "Nelson exhibit 2." 

Mr. Harrison. It is admitted.^ 

Mr. Tavenner. You did join the Communist Party, however, did 
you not? 

Mr. Nelson. It is a wxll-know^n fact I am a member of the Com- 
munist Party. I must have joined it. 

Mr. Tavenner. You must have joined it. All right. 

Mr. Harrison. I ask the witness to respond directly to the ques- 
tions propounded, "Yes" or "No." I am not undertaking to limit his 
answers, but I do think it would save time if he answered more directly 
the questions asked by counsel. 

' See Appendix, p. 154, Nelson exihbit 2. 



138 HEARINGS REGARDING STEVE NELSON 

Mr. Tavenner. I hand you a photostatic copy of a portion of the 
October 27, 1934, issue of the Daily Worker, in which appears an arti- 
cle, "Old Parties Push Fake Job Slogans in Penn Elections," by Steve 
Nelson. I ask if that was a contribution to the Daily Worker made 
by you? 

(Witness examined document and confers with his counsel.) 
Mr. Nelson. Mr. Chairman, I think the line of questions of the 
committee are pretty clear to me by now. It is clearly an attempt 
to build up a line of questions which will tend to incriminate me as 
an active Communist, and incriminate other people, and I reserve 
the right not to answer that. 

Mr. Harrison. Does that complete the witness' statement in 
explanation of his refusal to answer the question? 
(Witness confers with his counsel.) 
Mr. Nelson. Yes, it does. 

Mr. Harrison. The committee will direct the witness to answer the 
question. 

(No response.) 

Mr. Harrison. Let the record show that the witness refused to 
answer. 

Mr. Tavenner. I don't know if the witness made reply to your 
question. 

Mr. Harrison. The witness made no further reply when directed 
to answer. 

Mr. Block. If the committee pleases, in asking the committee to 
reconsider its ruling I would like to point out that membership in the 
Communist Party, with knowledge of its policies and program, con- 
stitutes a criminal offense under the Smith Act of 1940, and the 
answer to this particular inquiry would tend to show that this witness 
was a Communist who was active, who wrote for official publications 
of the Communist Party, and would therefore directly involve him in 
the imputation that he is active in the Communist Party and knows 
full well its policies and program. That is an elaboration of the 
assertion of the witness that he is relying upon his rights under the 
Constitution, particularly the right of protection against self- 
incrimination. 

Mr. Tavenner. I offer this publication in evidence and ask it be 
marked "Nelson exhibit 3." 

Mr. Harrison. It will be admitted.* 

I understand there is no disposition on the part of the committee 
to change its conclusion that this is a proper question for the witness 
to answer. 

Mr. Bloch. I think Eepresentative Nixon is fully familiar with this 
law, and as one who has specific knowledge of the Smith Act, there is 
no question or controversy in what I have stated to the committee in 
support of the witness' insistence that he be afforded his protection 
under the fifth amendment. 

Mr. Nixon. I might say that the reason I think the chairman was 
justified m directing that the witness answer the question is that Mr. 
Nelson has already, in his testimony, stated that he is an open and 
avowed Communist. 

Mr. Block. Being an open and avowed Communist does not come 
within the purview of the Smith Act. Being a Communist who i? 

• See Appendix, p. I,'i4, Nelson exhibit 3. 



HEARINGS REGARDING STEVE NELSON 139 

active and who has Imowledge of the poHcies and programs of the 
Communist Party is, according to the Govoniment's interpretation 
as indicated b}^ the indictment against the 11 Communist leaders in 
New York, subject to the penahies of the Smith Act. 

Mr. Nixon. I think the record of Mr. Nelson's statement on that 
will indicate he went further as to the kind of a Communist he w'as, 
but in any event, in view of his membership in the party, and in view 
of Mr. Nelson's admission that that membership and his activities are 
well Ivtiown, I don't see how answering the question would incriminate 
him. 

Mr. Block. I would like to press the objection and call attention 
to the history of this committee, with reference to accusations made 
against the predecessor of this committee, that they were invading 
constitutional rights. It was said in the press that this committee 
was going to be scrupulous in protecting the constitutional rights of 
w^itnesses, and I therefore suggest to the committee that it be ex- 
tremely deliberate in its judgments when it is beginnuig to ask ques- 
tions which might tread on the constitutional rights of persons who 
appear before it, under subpena or otherwise. 

Mr. Harrison. The committee will adjourn until 2 o'clock. 

(Thereupon, at 12:10 p. m., an adjournment was taken until 
2 p. m. of the same day.) 

AFTERNOON SESSION 

The committee met, pursuant to adjournment, at 2 p. m., in room 
226, Old House Office Building, Hon. John S. Wood (chairman), 
presiding. 

Committee members present : Kepresentatives John S. Wood, Burr 
P. Harrison, John McSweeney, Morgan M. Moulder, Richard M. 
Nixon, and Francis Case. 

Staff members present: Frank S. Tavenner, Jr., counsel; Louis J. 
Russell, senior investigator; William A. Wheeler, investigator; and 
A. S. Poore, editor. 

Mr. Wood. The committee will be in order, please. 

The record will show that Mr. Harrison, Mr. McSweeney, Mr. 
Moulder, Mr. Nixon, Mr. Case, and Mr. Wood are present. 

You may proceed. 

SWORN TESTIMONY OF STEVE NELSON, ACCOMPANIED BY HIS 
COUNSEL, EMANUEL H. BLOCK (Resumed) 

Mr. Tavenner. Mr. Nelson, I hand you a photostatic copy of the 
March 1934 issue of Party Organizer, a publication of the Commmiist 
Party, which carries an article entitled "How the Unemployment 
Councils were Built in Lackawamia. County," by Steve Nelson, in 
which unemployment councils and party units are discussed, and an 
appeal is made to the unemployed, small home owners, and single 
young workers. Will you examine this article and state whether or 
not you made that contribution to that magazine? 

(Witness examines document and confers with his comisel.) 
Mr. Nelson. Mr. Chairman, I refuse to answer that question on the 
grounds that this is interfering with my right mider the fii'st amend- 
ment of the Constitution and on the grounds of the fifth amendment, 



140 HEARINGS REGARDING STEVE NELSON 

along the same line that I explained this morning, that you gentlemen 
know that the Communist Party is under attack, and things are 
ascribed to the Communist Party that are false but this committee 
contends they are correct, and on the grounds of that I cannot answer 
the question. 

Mr. Wood. I imderstand the question asked you is whether you 
contributed that article, a photostatic copy of which was presented to 
you, to the magazine. I fail to see how an answer to that question 
would tend to incriminate you or violate any of your constitutional 
rights. 

Mr. Bloch. Mr. Chairman, you were not here this morning, but 
this question has been argued out as a proposition of law, and in addi- 
tion to the statements made by the witness I was given the permission, 
the privilege, to elaborate. I advise the witness to persist in his 
refusal to answer on the grounds stated. 

Mr. Wood. I still don't see how an answer to that question would 
tend to incriminate him. 

Mr. Tavenner. I desire to introduce the article in evidence and 
have it marked "Nelson Exhibit 4." 

Mr. Wood. Without objection it will be admitted.^ 

Mr. Block. May I direct an inquiry to the chairman? I still don't 
know the limits of my rights. I don't know if you will accord me 
the right to object to the introduction of these exhibits. 

Mr. Wood. It is the right of counsel in this committee, and as far 
as I know in other committees, to confer with his client and advise 
his client. 

Mr. Bloch. I wish to note in the record that any failure on my part 
to object does not necessarily waive any of the rights of the witness, 
in view of the limitations. 

Mr. TavenneR; I hand you a photostatic copy of the September 17, 
1936, issue of the Daily Worker, which carries your picture and refers 
to your candidacy for the legislature of the State of Pennsylvania 
from Wilkes-Barre, and to the political value of the circulation of the 
Sunday Worker, in which you were alleged to have been engaged. 
Will you examine that and state whether or not that is your photo- 
graph? 

(Witness examines document and confers with his counsel.) 

Mr. Nelson. I can't tell whether the photograph is mine or not. 
It appears to be. 

Mr. Tavenner. Were you a candidate for the legislature, as stated 
under the photograph? 

Mr. Nelson. The answer I gave to the other question applies to 
this one in the same way. If you want me to, I will repeat it. 

Mr. Wood. You mean you decline to answer whether you were a 
candidate for the legislature in Pennsylvania in 1936? 

Mr. Nelson. Yes. 

Mr. Wood. On the ground it would tend to incriminate you? 

Mr. Nelson. Yes; first and fifth amendments. 

(Conference between the witness and his client.) 

Mr. Nelson. If it isn't understood, I mean, on the ground that it 
may tend to incriminate me. 

Mr. Tavenner. I desire to offer the paper in evidence and have it 
marked "Nelson exhibit 5." 

9 See appendix, p. 154, Nelson exhibit 4. 



HEARINGS REGARDING STEVE NELSON 141 

Mr. Wood. Without objection, it is admitted.^'' 

Mr. Tavenner. I hand you another issue of the Daily Worker, 
bearing date November 3, 1936, which contains the national list of 
the Communist Party candidates, and under the heading "Luzerne 
County, Seventh Legislative District" appears your name, Steve 
Nelson. Will you examine that and state whether or not you were 
a candidate for office at that time? 

Mr. Nelson. I refuse to answer that question on the grounds I 
have already stated before. 

Mr. Case. Mr. Chaii*man, is it going to be an accepted position 
of this committee that it is going to be incriminating to be a candidate 
for public office in the United States? 

Mr. Nelson. May I comment on that? 

Mr. Wood. In response to the question propounded by a member 
of the committee, I will state to the committee that it should not be 
understood the committee is accepting any such statements or excuses. 

Air. Block. I would like to respond to the Congressman's inquiry. 

Mr. Wood. I think I have responded to it. 

Mr. Block. I cojld add something if you would permit me. 

Mr. Tavenner. I offer the paper in evidence and ask that it be 
marked ''Nelson exhibit 6." 

Mr. Wood. Without objection it will be received. ^^ 

Mr. Tavenner. I now present you a photostatic copy of an issue 
of the Daily Worker of September 14, 1937, and draw your attention 
to an article entitled "Fighter in Spain Honored by Section in Kecruit- 
ing Drive," in the course of which article the following paragraph 
appears: 

Steve Nelson, who for years has been Communist section organizer in the 
antliracite coal region, is in Spain, one of the key men in the Washington-Lincoln 
battalion. But he continues to inspire the recruiting drive for Communists in 
his home battleground which he temporarily handed over to other hands. 

Is that a correct statement? 

(Witness confers with his counsel.) 

Mr. Nelson. Mr. Chairman, my answer is the same as to the 
previous questions. 

Mr. Tavenner. I offer the article in evidence and ask that it be 
marked "Nelson exhibit 7." 

Mr. Wood. Without objection it will be received.'^ 

Mr. Tavenner. I present to you another issue of the Daily Worker, 
bearing date February 24, 1936, in which there appears a letter over 
your name in which it is stated: 

Instead of section organizers just working out "plans," they will now have the 
responsibility of trying to carry out some plans in practice. 

My personal response to the challenge is that I will recruit 25 members by the 
party convention, of which 18 applications have already been sent in, including 
13 miners (5 of them employed, 8 of them oi\ WPA) ; 2 employed textile workers 
and 1 unemployed; 3 professionals. I will make it my business to fulfill my quota 
by the convention. 

The name appears "Steve Nelson" with the letters "SO, Luzerne 
County." 

Did you write that letter to the Daily Worker? 

If See appendix, p. 154, Nelson exhibit 5. 
" See appendix, p. 154, Nelson exhibit 6. 
'2 See appendix, p. 154, Nelson exhibit 7. 



142 HEARINGS REGARDING STEVE NELSON 

Mr. Nelson. I refase to answer that on the same grounds I gave 
before. 

Mr. Tavennek. I call your attention to the letters "SO" appearing 
after your name. Does that indicate section organizer? 

(Witness confers with his counsel.) 

Mr. Nelson. I refuse to answer that. 

Mr. Tavenner. Were you section organizer of the Communist 
Party in that locality at that time? 

Mr. Nelson. I refuse to answer that. 

Mr. Tavenner. I offer in evidence that paper and ask that it be 
marked "Nelson Exhibit 8." 

Air. Wood. Without objection it will be admitted. ^^ 

Mr. Tavenner. I hand you now a photostatic copy of a passport 
application which was obtained by the committee in response to a 
subpena, and will ask you if you can identify it. It is over the name 
of Steve Nelson. 

(Witness confers with his counsel.) 

Mr. Nelson. Mr. Chairman, I refuse to answer that question on 
the same grounds plus the additional reason that this has to do with 
my political activity, and therefore I refuse to answer that question. 

Air. Wood. Exactly what was the question. Air. Tavenner? 

Mr. Tavenner. I asked if he could identify it. 

Mr. AlouLDER. Could it be marked as an exhibit first so that it 
might be referred to as an exhibit? 

Mr. Tavenner. I offer in evidence this photostatic copy of passport 
application and ask that it marked "NelsoN Exhibit 9." 

Mr. Wood. It will be received." 

Mr. Tavenner. And I will ask you, Mr. Witness, to examine 
Nelson exhibit 9 and state whether or not that was a passport 
application made by you on the date indicated thereon? 

Mr. Nelson. Same answer, Mr. Chairman. 

Mr. Wood. It might be pointed out, I believe, Air. Nelson, that at 
the moment the question of whether or not you made that application 
is the one put to you. There are no political implications in that 
question. Do you still decline to answer? 

Mr. Nelson. It is my understanding it does bear on my political 
activity. That is wh}^ I refuse to answer. 

Mr. Wood. Up to this moment there has been no implication of that 
character put forth in connection with that particular question or this 
particular exhibit. The simple question asked you now is: Did you 
yourself make this application, a photostatic copy of which has been 
submitted to you, marked "Nelson Exhibit 9." Do you still desire to 
answer as you did? 

Mr. Nelson. The same answer. 

Mr. Wood. And you decline to answer for that reason? 

Mr. Nelson. Yes. 

Mr. Bloch. May I say that although on the face it may not appear 
there is a political implication, the witness may have in his mind — 
and he is the only one who knows — his conduct and activities in con- 
nection with the alleged making of this passport application, and it is 
not for you or for me to say whether or not this witness has that in 
mind. 

'» See appendix, p. 154, Nelson exhibit 8. 
" See appendix, p. 154, Nelson exhibit 9. 



HEARINGS REGARDING STEVE NELSON 143 

Mr. Wood. Mr. Attorney, you may advise your client what you 
are advising the committee if you so desire. 

Mr. Block. I so advised him. 

Mr. Nixon. I understand the witness says there is an impHcation in 
connection with the Communist International. Is that correct? 

Mr. Block. Don't answer. That is precisely the advice of 

Mr. Wood. Mr. Counsel, you will have to remain seated if you re- 
main in here. 

Mr. Block. I am sorry. I thought I was being courteous. I 
always stand in court. 

Mr. Wood. I will go further and say you will have to remain quiet 
if you stay here. 

Mr. Block. Evidently a precedent was set this morning. I was 
permitted to argue questions of law. If the committee is going to be 
an Indian giver and take it away, you may so state for the record. 

Mr. Wood. Let us get this settled now. You have a perfect right 
to confer with Mr. Nelson, whom I assume you represent? 

Mr. Block. That is correct. 

Mr. Wood. To the fullest extent you desire; and having done so, 
it is up to the witness to answer. The committee does not desire any 
argument. 

Mr. Block. I understand the import of the chairman's ruling. I 
thought, as one lawyer speaking to other lawyers, I might elucidate 
the committee on questions of law. 

Mr. Case. The committee has counsel of its own. I understood 
counsel was counsel for the witness and not for the committee. 

Mr. Block. I am submitting to the chairman's ruling under pro- 
test, because I believe you are depriving the witness of a constitu- 
tional right he has to have his counsel argue questions of law in his 
behalf. That is the American tradition. 

Mr. Wood. Proceed. 

Mr. Tavenner. Mr. Nelson, this passport application shows that 
the person signing it stated: "I solemnly swear that I was born at 
JElankin, Pa." Were you born at Rankin, Pa.? 

(Witness confers with his counsel.) 

Mr. Nelson. I refuse to answer that. I told you where I was 
born. 

Mr. Nixon. He answered the question. 

Mr. Tavenner. This application further shows that a passport was 
issued August 14, 1931. Did you receive the passport? 

Mr. Nelson. I refuse to answer that question on the same grounds. 

Mr. Tavenner. What do the letters OGPU stand for? 

(Witness confers with his counsel.) 

Mr. Nelsont. I refuse to answer that. You can get that answer 
from somewhere else. 

Mr. Tavenner. Isn't that Russia's secret police? 

Mr. Nelson. I refuse to answer that on the same grounds. 

Mr. Tavenner. Mr. Chairman, I think I should read to the wit- 
ness, to give him an opportunity to either confirm it or explain it or 
deny it, the testimony of Mr. William O. Nowell, given before the 
Committee on Un-American Activities on November 30, 1939, or an 
excerpt from it. 

Mr. Wood. Proceed. 



144 HEARINGS REGARDING STEVE NELSON 

Mr. Tavenner (reading): 

Mr. Whitley. What is your full name, Mr. Nowell? 

Mr. Nowell. William Odel Nowell. 

Mr. Whitley. And where were you born? 

Mr. Nowell. In the State of Georgia. 

Mr. Whitley. When were you born? 

Mr. Nowell. July 11, 1904. 

Mr. Whitley. What is vour present residence, Mr. Nowell? 

Mr. Nowell. Detroit, 1382 Fleming. 

Mr. Whitley. How long have you lived in Detroit? 

Mr. Nowell. About 16 years. 

Mr. Whitley. Were you ever a member of the Communist Party? 

Mr. Nowell. I was. 

Mr. Whitley. When and where did you join the party? 

Mr. Nowell. I joined in Detroit, in 1929, in the summer of 1929. 

******* 

Mr. VooRHis. When did you leave the Communist Partv? 

Mr. Nowell. I left at the end of 1936. 

Mr. VooRHis. At the end of 1936? 

Mr. Nowell. Yes. 

******* 

Mr. Whitley. What national or local party leaders do you know or have you 
worked with, Mr. Nowell? 

Mr. Nowell. I have worked with most of the national leaders — that is, those 
that were leaders since — committee members, and leading Communist function- 
aries locally and nationally for the period 1929 to 1935 or 1936, and I have a list 
here. I have a complete list here of people — it is not exhaustive by any means — 
of people who were in and are still playing a very important part in the leadership 
of the Communist Party in various sections of the country. I also have a prepared 
list here of people that I know to be occupying strategic positions in industries 
and organizations in Detroit and Michigan. 

Mr. Whitley. Will you read that list if it is not too extensive? 

Then, proceeding to read various names, he stated: 

Mr. Nowell. * * * Steve Nelson, who went in the International Univer- 
sity under the name of Louis Evans, is reported to have served in Spain and 
toured the country shortly after in the interests of the Communist Party and the 
Spanish legionnaires, or those people who were sent to Spain to assist the Spanish 
loyalist cause. He was conspicuous because of his connection with the OGPU 
in Moscow. 

Mr. Voorhis. Who is that? 

Mr. Nowell. Steve Nelson. 

Mr. Voorhis. You know by your contact with him that he was connected 
with the OGPU? 

Mr. Nowell. In Moscow. I was present; I was there at the time. 

Do you desire to make any comment on that testimony that was 
given before this committee? 

(Witness confers with his counsel.) 

Mr. Nelson. First of all, that testimony you read there is a piece 
of testimony given to you by a noted labor spy and a rat, and I refuse 
to dignify that as being anything but a bunch of —I refuse to answer 
that question. 

Mr. Tavenner. Let me ask you this: Were you in Moscow? 

Mr. Nelson. I refuse to answer that question. 

Mr. Tavenner. Did you attend the Lenin Institute? 

Mr. Nelson. I refuse to answer that question. 

Mr. Tavenner. Did you leave the United States and go to France, 
and from France to Germany, and from Germany to Russia? 

Mr. Nelson. I refuse to answer that question. 

Mr. Bloch. Just a second. Mr. Chairman, I would like to interject 
at this point, I want the record to note, if it does not note explicitly, 



HEARINGS REGARDING STEVE NELSON 145 

that the witness is refusing to answer, I assume, on the same grounds 
he has ah-eady urged. Otherwise, I think the witness should be 
extended the right to say so specifically. There were four questions 
and the witness responded "1 refuse to answer." I would like the 
record to show he is refusing to answer on the same grounds he has 
asserted in refusing to answer previous questions. If there is any 
doubt in the committee's mind, I want him to be accorded the privilege 
of saying so specifically. 

Mr. Tavenner. I will accord him the privilege. I was probably 
at fault in asking the questions too fast. 

What was the ground of your refusal to answer the last four 
questions? 

Mr. Nelson. On the grounds of the fifth amendment. 

Mr. Tavenner. Did you not appear before the American consul 
at Vienna and request a 2-year renewal of your passport, in which 
you stated you had resided in Russia from September 1931 to May 
1933, and had resided in Germany, Switzerland, and Austria from 
May to July 1943? 

Mr. Nelson. I refuse to answer that question on the same grounds. 

Mr. Nixon. Mr. Counsel, have you left the Nowell allegations? 

Mr. Tavenner. Yes. 

Mr. Nixon. Mr. Nelson, I understood you did not want to dignify 
Mr. No well's testimony on the ground he was a labor spy, and you 
started to say something else. 

Mr. Nelson. That is as far as I want to go. 

Mr. Nixon. You think Mr. Nowell's allegations, because he was a 
labor spy, are so false that you do not wish to answer? 

Mr. Nelson. I refuse to answer. 

Mr.. Nixon. You do not say Mr. Nowell's statements are not true? 

Mr. Nelson. I think my meaning is clear. 

Mr. Nixon. It is not clear at all. 

Mr. Nelson. I refuse to answer the question. 

Mr. Nixon. In one instance you say Mr. Nowell is a person who 
could not be believed, in effect, and in the second instance you refuse 
to answer whether the charges are true or false. Are they false? 

Mr. Nelson. I refuse to answer that question, but you can't hold 
me from having an opinion on what a labor spy is and how I am 
going to treat his testimony. 

Mr. Nixon. But as far as the allegations are concerned, you 
refuse to answer on the ground of self-incrimination? 

Mr. Nelson. That is right. 

Mr. Nixon. You do not say whether they are true or false? 

Mr. Nelson. I refuse to answer that. You can draw your own 
conclusions. 

Mr. Tavenner. I hand you a photostatic copy of a passport 
application, which the committee obtained under a subpena duces 
tecum, over the signature of Joseph Fleischinger. I ask it be marked 
"Nelson Exhibit 10." 

It bears date February 23, 1937. I will ask you to examine it and 
state whether or not you are the Joseph Fleischinger referred to in 
that passport application? 

Mr. Nelson. I refuse to answer that question on the same grounds. 

Mr. Tavenner. Will you look at the signature of Joseph Flei- 
schinger and tell us whether it does not appear to have been mis- 
spelled on two occasions and corrected? 



146 HEARINGS REGARDING STEVE NELSON 

Mr. Nelson. I refuse to answer that on the same grounds. 

Mr. Tavenner. Will you look at the photograph on the side of 
that passport and tell the committee whether or not it is a photograph 
of you? 

Mr. Nelson. I refuse to answer that on the same grounds. 

Mr. Tavenner. I offer in evidence the paper marked "Nelson 
Exhibit 10." 

Mr. Wood. Without objection it will be admitted. ^^ 

Mr. Tavenner. When did you go to Spain? 

Mr. Nelson. I refuse to answer that question; same grounds. 

Mr. Tavenner. Did you receive a legal passport to leave this 
country when you went to Spain to become engaged in the fighting 
there? 

Mr. Nelson. I refuse to answer that question on the same grounds. 

Mr. Tavenner. You told us this morning that you were wounded 
in service. Was that in Spain? 

Mr. Nelson. I refuse to anwer the question on the same grounds. 

Mr. Wood. Will you tell us where, if at all? 

Mr. Nelson. I refuse to answer that question. 

Mr. Tavenner. Do you know Mr. Tomas Babin? 

Mr. Nelson. I refuse to answer that question on the same grounds. 

Mr. Tavenner. Mr. Babin, in his testimony before an executive 
session of this committee on May 27, 1949, made this statement in 
referring to Steve Nelson: "I met him in Spain." Do you have any 
explanation you desire to make about that? 

(Witness confers with his counsel.) 

Mr. Nelson. I refuse to answer that question on the same grounds. 

Mr. Tavenner. I hand you an issue of the Daily People's World 
of October 7, 1948, which carries a photograph, and underneath the 
photograph it says: "Steve Nelson as he appeared in the uniform! of 
Spanish Democracy." Will you look at that and see if you can iden- 
tify that picture? 

Mr. Nelson. I refuse to answer that on the same grounds. 

Mr. Tavenner. I offer that paper in evidence and ask that it be 
marked "Nelson Exhibit 11." 

Mr. Wood. Without objection it will be admitted.^® 

Mr. Tavenner. Mr. Nelson, were you in the State of California 
in March 1941? 

Mr. Nelson. I refuse to answer that question on the same grounds. 

Mr. Tavenner. I hand you an issue of the Daily Worker bearing 
date March 21, 1941, and call your attention to an article the heading 
of which is: "1,500 at Coast meeting demand 'Free Browder'." In 
the course of the article this paragraph appears: 

The outdoor rally was called b.y the San Francisco Communist Party county 
committee. Speakers were Louise Todd on "Why Browder was arrested"; Sam 
Jaye on "War and the attacks on the trade unions"; Steve Nelson, county chair- 
man of the Communist Party of San Francisco; 

and so on. Will you examine that article and state whether or not it 
speaks the truth with reference to you? 

Mr. Nelson. Same answer; same grounds. 

Mr. Tavenner. Were you the county organizer of Alameda 
County, Ca lif., in March 1941? 

15 See appendix, p. ]54. Nelson exhibit 10. 
18 See appendix, p. 154, Nelson exliibit 11. 



HEARINGS REGARDING STEVE NELSON 147 

Mr. Nelson. I refuse to answer that on the same grounds, as well 
as on the ground of the first amendment. This committee has no 
business interfering where a person is acting politically. 

Mr. Tavenner. I desire to offer that paper in evidence and have it 
marked "Nelson Exhibit 12." 

Mr. Wood. It will be admitted. ^^ 

Mr. Tavenner. I will ask if you were in Oakland, Calif., in Decem- 
ber 1942? 

Mr. Nelson. I refuse to answer that question on the same grounds. 

Mr. Tavenner. I hand you a photostatic copy of Daily People's 
World bearing date December 14, 1942, and call your attention to an 
article entitled: "Spain Vet Does It Again— Hero in Pacific Fighting — 
Bottcher Splits Enemy Force in Buna Drive." I call your particular 
attention to this paragraph contained in the article: 

Bottcher, born in Germany, but a citizen of San Francisco since 1931, served in 
Spain under Lt. CoL Steve Nelson, another American of the International Brigade, 
now in Oakland. 

WiU you examine that and state whether it states the facts; that is, 
the portion that I read to you? 

Mr. Nelson. I refuse to answer that on the same grounds. 

Mr. Tavenner. I offer that paper in evidence and ask it be marked 
"Nelson Exhibit 13." 

Mr. Wood. It will be received. ^^ 

Mr. Tavenner. Were you on the National Committee of the 
Communist Party representing the State of California in the year 1944? 

Mr. Nelson. I refuse to answer that on the same grounds. 

Mr. Tavenner. I hand you an issue of the Daily Worker of May 23, 
1944, and call your attention to an article entitled "Officers of Com- 
munist Political Association," in which it shows that the president is 
Earl Browder, the vice president William Z. Foster, and so on, and the 
national committee members, in addition to the above officers, are, 
among other persons, "Steve Nelson, California." Will you examine 
the paper and state whether or not it states the fact? 

Mr. Nelson. My answer is the same, grounds the same, fifth 
amendment. 

Mr. Tavenner. I desire to offer that paper in evidence and have it 
marked "Nelson Exhibit 14." 

Mr. Wood. Without objection it will be admitted. ^^ 

Mr. Tavenner. I hand you now a photostatic copy of a letter over 
the signature of Earl Browder, general secretary of the Communist 
Party, U. S. A., bearing date November 27, 1939, directed to Rhea 
Whitley, counsel. Committee on Un-American Activities, Washington, 
D. C, furnishing a list of the names of the national committee of the 
Communist Party of the United States and a list of the national 
committee of the Communist Party .elected at the tenth convention, 
from which there appears, on page 3, William Z. Foster, chairman; 
Earl Browder, secretary; and under the heading "Members" among 
others appears the name "Steve Nelson." Is that statement by 
Mr. Browder correct, or is it false, insofar as it refers to you as a 
member of the national committee? 

Mr. Nelson. I refuse to answer the question on the same grounds. 

1' See appendix, p. 154, Nelson exhibit 12. 
18 See appendix, p. 154, Nelson exhibit 13. 
" See appendix, p. 154, Nelson exhibit 14. 



148 HEARINGS REGARDING STEVE NELSON 

Mr. Tavenker. I offer the letter in evidence and ask that it be 
marked "Nelson Exhibit 15." 

Mr. Wood. Without objection it will be admitted. ^° 

Mr. Block. I think you inadvertently designated the date as 
November 27, 1949. It bears date November 27, 1939. 

Mr. Tavenner. I am faii-ly certain I said 1939. If I was in error, 
that fact will appear. 

Mr. Wood. Does the answer remain the same irrespective of what 
counsel stated the date of the letter to be, 1939 or 1949? 

l\Ir. Nelson. I answered the question right, as I wanted to. 

Mr. Wood. Having examined the letter, you now say you decline to 
answer the question? 

Mr. Nelson. That is right. 

Mr. Wood. .A.s to its correctness or incorrectness, so far as it applies 
to you? 

Mr. Nelson. That is right; on the same grounds. 

Mr. Tavenner. Ihand you a photostatic copy of "Proceedings of the 
Constitutional Convention of the Communist Political .Association," 
May 20-22, 1944, giving a list of the National Committee of the Com- 
munist Pohtical .Association, and under the title "Members of the 
National Committee," among other names, appears the name of Steve 
Nelson. Will you examine that document and state whether or not 
it states the fact with reference to you? 

Mr. Nelson. Same answer, same grounds. 

Mr. Tavenner. I desire to offer that document in evidence and 
have it marked "Nelson Exhibit 16." 

Mr. Wood. It will be admitted. ^^ 

Mr. Moulder. Mr. Chairman, may I ask a question? 

Mr. Wood. Yes. Mr. .Moulder. 

Mr. Moulder. .A.re you a member of any pohtical party or organi- 
zation v/hich advocates the overtlu'ow or change of our present form 
of Government by force or violence? 

Mr. Nelson. 1 refuse to answer on the basis of the first amend- 
ment and the other grounds stated. 

Mr. Nixon. Do I understand from your answer that you believe 
under the first amendment a person should have a right to belong to 
an organization that advocates the overthrow of the Government by 
force or violence? 

Mr. Nelson. I do not. 

Mr. Nixon. That was the question. 

Mr. Nelson. That was not the question. The question was asking 
me to state before this committee what my political beliefs were or are, 
and in my opinion this committee has no right to ask me that question 
and I refuse to answer it on constitutional grounds. 

Mr. Nixon. The question as I understood it was whether you 
belonged to an organization that advocated the overthrow of the 
Government by force or violence. That is different from belonging 
to a political organization. Was that the question, Mr. Moulder? 

Mr. Moulder. Yes. 

(Witness confers with his counsel.) 

Mr. Nelson. I don't want to engage in a discussion with the com- 
mittee, but I have given you the answer which I believe is right. 

2" See appendix, p. 154, Nelson exhibit 15. 
" See appendix, p. 154, Nelson exhibit 16. 



HEARINGS REGARDING STEVE NELSON 149 

Mr. Tavenner. I am referring to "Nelson Exliibit 2," which is the 
issue of the Daily Worker of November 10, 1937, about which I asked 
you several questions this morning. I asked you about the article 
written by Air. Joseph North in which it is stated that on the first 
anniversary of i\Ir. Lenin's death, you jomod the Communist Party 
at the memorial meeting in Philadelphia. I believe you told me that 
the Communist Party as such had not been organized as of that date. 
Is that what I understood you to say? 

Mr. Nelson. I refuse to answer that question, and if I gave you a 
different impression, I want it corrected. I refuse to answer on the 
ground it may tend to incriminate me, as well as interfermg in the 
province of my political beliefs. 

Mr. Tavenner. Then you refuse to repeat what you said this 
mornmg? 

Mr. Nelson. That is right. 

Mr. Tavenner. I have presented here evidence, which, if believed, 
indicates you were active in the organization work of the Communist 
Part}^ and that you were active as a functionary of the Communist 
Party in Cahfornia during the years 1941, 1942, and 1943. Now I 
would like to ask you if, during that period of time, 1941 through 1943, 
you were acquainted with the Communist cell alleged to have been in 
existence at the Kadiation Laboratory at Berkeley, Calif.? 

Mr. Bloch. If the chairman please, I would like to strike the first 
part of the question as to form. It presupposes a question of fact that 
has not been proved at all. No such evidence has been adduced. It 
is of no probative value, it is worthless, and it wouldn't be accepted 
in any court in this land or any other land. I am willing the witness 
answer the question provided that preliminary outburst be deleted. 

Mr. Wood. The witness was asked if he was familiar with an alleged 
Communist cell existing at Radiation Laboratory at Berkeley during 
the period 1941 to 1943. What is the witness' answer to that question? 

Mr. Nelson. I refuse to answer that on the same grounds, on 
grounds of the fifth amendment. 

Mr. Tavenner. Did you know Bernadette Doyle in California? 

Mr. Nelson. I refuse to answer that question on the same grounds. 

Mr. Tavenner. Was she your secretary in the organization work 
of the Communist Party in California? 

Mr. Nelson. I refuse to answer that on the same grounds. 

Mr. Tavenner. And did you meet at her home, or at the place 
where she lived, with other persons or any persons advocating Com- 
munist beliefs? 

Mr. Nelson. I refuse to answ^er that question on the same grounds. 

Mr. TavennexI. Did you become acquainted in California with 
Dr. Irving David Fox? 

Mr. Nelson. I refuse to answer that question on the same grounds. 

Mr. Tavenner. Did you become acquainted with Dr. Joseph 
Weinberg? 

Mr. Nelson. I refuse to answer that question on the same grounds. 

Mr. Tavenner. Did Dr. Joseph Weinberg visit your home at 
3720 Grove Street, Oakland, Calif., on March 29, 1943? 

Mv. Nelson. I refuse to answer that question. Even if I had a 
memory for dates I couldn't remember that. 

Air. Tavenner. Did you meet him at any time from the beginning 
of 1941 to the end of 1943 at your home? 



150 HEARINGS REGARDING STEVE NELSON 

Mr. Nelson. I refuse to answer that question on the same grounds. 

Mr. Tavenner. You do recall that your home was at 3720 Grove 
Street, Oakland, Cahf., do you not? 

(Witness confers with his counsel.) 

Mr. Nelson. I refuse to answer that question on the same grounds. 

Mr. Tavenner. Not on the ground that you do not remember? 

Mr. Nelson. You can make your own deductions. 

Mr. Tavenner. I have. Do you know Dr. Giovanni Rossi 
Lonianitz? 

Mr. Nelson. I refuse to answer on the same grounds. 

Mr. Block. Mr. Chairman, this matter has been gone over before, 
before this committee. The very same question was asked. It is 
purely repetitious. I suggest it to the committee for the sake of 
expediency. The witness gave the same answer at that time. 

Mr. Wood, We don't know if he will give the same answer at this 
time. 

Mr. Tavenner. Did you visit the home of Dr. Weinberg on August 
17, 1943, at 2427 Blake Street, Berkeley, Calif.? 

Mr. Nelson. I refuse to answer on the same grounds. 

Mr. Tavenner. What grounds? 

Mr. Nelson. Fifth amendment and the grounds it might tend to 
incriminate me. 

Mr. Tavenner. I thought you were referring again to the fact 
that you might not recollect the time. 

Do you recall, Mr. Nelson, a conference held in New York City at 
Hotel Lincoln on June 23, 1947, which meeting had to do with the 
American Slav Congress and the Croatian Fraternal Union? 

Mr. Nelson. I refuse to answer that question on the same grounds. 

Mr. Tavenner. Did you on that occasion meet Tom Babin? 

Mr. Nelson. I refuse to answer the question on the same grounds. 

Mr. Tavenner. Did you meet Tony Gerlach? 

Mr. Nelson. I refuse to answer the question on the same grounds. 

Mr. Tavenner. Did you rent a hotel room on that date, June 21 — • 
I believe I stated June 23 a few minutes ago, but on June 21 — ^either 
in your name or with another person, at the Hotel Lincoln? 

Mr. Nelson. I refuse to answer that question on the same grounds. 

Mr. Tavenner. Do you know Mr. Paul Crouch? 

Mr. Nelson. I refuse to answer that question on the same grounds. 

Mr. Tavenner. I think, Mr. Nelson, I should read to you an excerpt 
from the testimonv of Paul Crouch given before this committee on 
May 6, 1949: 

Mr. Wheeler. * * * You had left Tennessee at that time? 
Mr. Crouch. Yes. I recall Kenneth May had bought a home in Berkeley, 
Calif. 

Incidentally, did you know Kenneth May? 

Mr. Nelson. I refuse to answer that question on the same grounds. 
Mr. Tavenner (continuing to read) : 

and it was at a house-warming party for Kenneth May that I met Professor 
Hiskey. I would set the date, to the best of my memory, as August 1941. I 
talked with Hiskey in the presence of my wife, Kenneth May, and Steve Nelson, 
who was also present. 

Mr. Nelson. I refuse to answer the question on the same grounds. 



HEARINGS REGARDING STEVE NELSON 151 

Mr. Tavenner (continuing to read) : 

Mr. Russell. How well did you know Steve Nelson? 

Mr. Crouch. I knew him many years. I had known him in New York before 
he went to Spain. I do not recall the exact date, but I believe it was between 
1934 and 1936 when I was first introduced to him by Walter Trumbull. I knew 
him after his return from Spain. I met him at various Central Committee meet- 
ings in New York, and when I went to California I found he was San Francisco 
County leader of the Party. 

I was at meetings with him of the District Bureau from May 1941 to January 
1942. I also knew him througl»1942 and 1943 when he was County organizer of 
Alameda County, having succeeded me in that position, as he frequently visited 
my home and tried to get me to return to work as a rank and file member of the 
Communist Party. 

Mr. Nelson. I refuse to answer on the same grounds, and if I may 
comment on the statement by a person who apparently got a job on a 
paper down in Florida operating one of these scab vari-type machines, 
you can about guess what I think of a person that would come in 
that category. I think it is about the lowest thing on earth, a fellow 
that would go out and scab on union members as he does 

Mr. Wood. Just a minute. You are attempting to give an opinion 
of a man when you decline to say whether you laiow him or not. 
Do you know him or not? 

Mr. Nelson. I refuse to answer that question on the same grounds. 
I have read stuff about the guy in the papers. 

Mr. Wood. You were asked whether you know him and whether 
the statements he makes in the abstract of testimony are true or not. 

Mr. Nelson. I said I refused to answer that on the same grounds. 

Mr. Nixon. Just as the witness characterized the testimony of 
Mr. Nowell, he is following the same line of characterizing testimony 
of Mr. Crouch. Although he will not say the testimony is false, he 
proceeds to leave an implication in the record that Mr. Crouch is a 
liar. I would like to ask the witness to back up his charges. 

Mr. Block. There is no such implication in the record. When 
the witness avails himself of his rights under the fifth amendment 
he admits nothing, and as a lawyer, Mr. Nixon, you ought to know 
that. 

Mr. Nixon. I want to tell counsel that as far as the witness's stand 
is concerned, it is apparent he is trying to leave an implication con- 
cerning Mr. Crouch's testimony, and certainly as to his veracity. 

Mr. Block. I think that is his right as an American citizen. I 
hold the same opinion. 

Mr. Nixon. Don't interrupt me. 

Mr. Block. I am sorry if I interrupted you. 

Mr. Nixon. Mr. Nelson has the same forum and the same oppor- 
tunity Mr. Crouch had. If he desires to back up his charges con- 
cerning Mr. Crouch, I think the committee would like to have him 
do so. 

Mr, Nelson. Mr. Chairman, you have my answer. 

Mr. Block. I think the witness is not required to in this forum, 
but a proper forum. 

Mr. Tavenner. That is all I desire to ask the witness. 

Mr. Harrison. Mr. Tavenner, are you satisfied the record shows 
the materiality of the questions you have asked? 

Mr. Tavenner. Yes. 



152 HEARINGS REGARDING STEVE NELSON 

Mr. McSwEENEY. You refused to answer whether you belong to 
any organization that advocates the overthrow of the Government, 
yet you are seeking protection under the fifth amendment; is that 
right? 

Mr. Nelson. The fifth amendment, in substance, guarantees a 
citizen the right not to bear witness against himself, and I can tell 
you the historical reasons for it in our Constitution, There was a 
time when they flogged people, and people made statements against 
themselves, and there was a revolution In this country by the best 
liberal people who insisted there should be an amendment to the 
Constitution guaranteeing to a citizen the right not to bear witness 
against himself. 

Mr. McSwEENEY. You are for the type of government that 
guarantees that protection to the individual? 

Mr. Nelson. I am. 

Mr. Moulder. Do I understand you admit that you are a member 
of the Communist Party? 

Mr. Nelsol<^. I refuse to answer that question, 

Mr. Harrison. He answered it this morning. 

Mr, AlouLDER. And said he was? 

Mr, Harrison. Yes. 

Mr. Moulder. Are you a Communist? 

Mr. Nelson. I refuse to answer that question. I think you are 
invading my constitutional right under the first amendment to belong 
to any party I see fit to join, and I think it is not the business of this 
committee to question any citizen along that line. 

Mr. Moulder. Are you familiar with the policies and program of 
the Communist Party of the United States? 

Mr. Nelson. I refuse to answer that question. 

Mr. Case. Are you a member of a political party today? 

Mr. Nelson. I refuse to answer that question because if I answered 
that you would ask me what party. 

Mr. Case. As I recall the provision of the fifth amendment, it pro- 
tects one against testifying against himself in criminal cases. It 
isn't a matter of just refusing to answer, but incrimination must be 
involved. 

Mr. Bloch. You should take judicial notice of the fact there is an 
indictment and a trial pending in the southern district of New York 
against 11 leaders of the Communist Party, in which they are charged 
with conspiracy, and each and every man is charged with a crime 
under the Smith Act. 

Mr. Wood. Just a moment. 

Mr. Bloch. I think you should take judicial notice of the fact. 

Air. Nelson. The reasons why I cannot answer that question before 
this committee, as my counsel already indicated, there is already an 
assumption in this country, and especially in this body and in some 
other quarters of Congress, that the Communist Party is an organiza- 
tion that should be prosecuted, and it is being prosecuted at the pres- 
ent time, and if I cooperated with you I would incriminate myself or 
other citizens, which I refuse to do. 

Mr. Case. Of course the matter of other citizens is not involved in 
the fifth amendment. 

Mr. Bloch. That is true. It is merelv a matter of ethics. 



HEARINGS REGARDING STEVE NELSON 153 

Mr. Case. Your attitude would practically deny any field for the 
committee to operate in, in the field of subversive activities. I am a 
new member of this committee, but, frankly, after hearing the testi- 
mony today it would appear to mo that the thing you have left in the 
record is an unusually long chapter or chapters or incidents about 
which you do not wish to testify on the ground you might incriminate 
yourself. I never lieard of anybody who had such a long record he 
could not testify to without implying self-incrimination. 

Mr. Bloch. I am as ashamed as you are that these queries should 
be hurled at any American citizen. 

There have been people trapped into admitting crime under an 
inquisitorial proceeding of this kind. 

Mr. Wood. If you are on your feet again I will have you ejected 
from the room. 

Mr. Block. I am through. 

Mr. Nelson. Mr. Chairman, I would like to add this 

Mr. McSwEENEY. Mr. Chairman, when I was designated chairman 
this morning I told counsel he could only advise his client and had no 
right to interpret the law except to his client. 

Mr. Wood. I have been extremely patient about it, but I hope 
counsel will observe the amenities of the committee. 

Mr. Moulder. Mr. Nelson, in the event of war between the United 
States and Russia, to which country would you owe your allegiance 
and loyalty in such conflict? 

Mr. Nelson. I refuse to answer that question, Mr. Chairman. 

Mr. Moulder. Mr. Chairman, I suggest that the witness' testi- 
mony be considered closed. 

At the close of the testimony of Steve Nelson I move the committee 
fuid his conduct in refusing to answer numerous questions by the 
committee be considered and deemed as in contempt of the Congress 
of the United States. Therefore, I move that such actions and pro- 
ceedings be filed and instituted against Steve Nelson as may be neces- 
sary, for contempt of the Congress of the United States. 

Mr. Wood. That will be taken up in executive session. 

Mr. Block. Mr. Chairman, I am asking your permission, purely 
on a legal proposition, to make this query : 

Mr. Wood. When we get through we will be glad to hear you. 

Any further questions? 

Mr. Tavenner. No. 

Mr. Wood. The witness will be excused and the committee will go 
into executive session. 

(Thereupon, at 4 p. m., the open session was concluded.) 



APPENDIX 



(Note. — Exhibits taken in connection with testimony of Steve 
Nelson, June 8, 1949, and filed with the committee are as follows:) 

EXHIBITS 



Nelson Exhibit 1- 
Nelson Exhibit 2- 

Nelson Exhibit 3- 

Nelson Exhibit 4- 

Nelson Exhibit 5- 

Nelson Exhibit 6- 

Nelson Exhibit 7- 

Nelson Exhibit 8- 

Nelson Exhibit 9- 

Nelson Exhibit 10- 

Nelson Exhibit 11- 
Nelson Exhibit 12- 
Nelson Exhibit 13- 
Nelson Exhibit 14- 
Nelson Exhibit 15- 



Nelson Exhibit 16- 



-Photostat of passport issued to Josef Fleischinger, April 1920.^ 

-Photostat of Daily Worker, November 10, 1937 (article by- 
Joseph North). 

-Photostat of Daily Worker, October 27, 1934, page 3 (article 
by Steve Nelson). 

-Photostat of Party Organizer, March 1934 (article by- 
Steve Nelson). 

-Photostat of Daily Worker, September 17, 1936. 

-Photostat of Daily Worker, November 3, 1936. 

-Photostat of Daily Worker, September 14, 1937. 

-Photostat of Daily Worker, February 24, 1936 (letter from 
Steve Nelson). 

-Photostat of passport application of Steve Nelson (passport 
issued August 14, 1931.)i 

-Photostat of passport application — -Joseph Fleischinger, 
February 23, 1937.^ 

-Photostat of Daily People's World, October 7, 1948. 

-Photostat of Daily Worker, March 21, 1941. 

-Photostat of Daily People's World, December 14, 1942. 

-Photostat of Daily Worker, May 23, 1944. 

-Photostat of letter dated November 27, 1939, from Earl 
Browder to Rhea Whitley, counsel, Committee on Un- 
American Activities.^ 

-Photostat of proceedings of the constitutional convention 
of the Communist Political Association, May 20-22, 1944.1 



Reproduced for record. 
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