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Full text of "Testimony of Rev. James H. Robinson. Hearing, Eighty-eighth Congress, second session. May 5, 1964"



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ii 



HARVARD COLLEGE 
LIBRARY 




GIFT OF THE 

GOVERNMENT 
OF THE UNITED STATES 



^■s^. vA/l. -J, 



TESTIMONY OF REV. JAMES H. ROBINSON 



HEARING 

BEFORE THE 

COMMITTEE ON UN-AMERICAN ACTIVITIES 
HOUSE OE REPRESENTATIVES 

EIGHTY-EIGHTH CONGRESS 

SECOND SESSION 



MAY 5, 1964 
INCLUDING INDEX 



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



HARVARD COLLEGE LtBRARY 

DEPOSITED BY THE 
INITEO STATES GOVERNMENT 

)AN 11 1965 




U.S. GOVERNMENT PRINTING OFF[CE 
38-962 WASHINGTON : 1964 



COMMITTEE ON UN-AMERICAN ACTIVITIES 

United States House of Representatives 

EDWIN B. WILLIS, Louisiana, Chairman 

WILLIAM M. TUCK, Virginia AUGUST E. JOHANSEN, Michigan 

JOE R. POOL, Texas DONALD C. BRUCE, Indiana 

KICHARD H. ICHORD, Missouri HENRY C. SCHADEBERG, Wisconsin 

GEORGE F. SENNER, Jr., Arizona JOHN M. ASHBROOK, Oliio 

Francis J. McNamara, Director 

Frank S. Tavennee, Jr., General Counsel 

Alfred M. Nittle, Counsel 

William Hitz, Counsel vHA9H4 • V;'ljjr.r» (i>4^ 

II 



CONTENTS 



Page 

Preface 1925 

I\Iay 5, 1964: Testimony of — 

James H. Robinson 1930 

Index i 

in 



Public Law 601, 79th Congress 

The legislation under which the House Committee on Un-American 
Activities operates is Public Law 601, 79th Congress [1946] ; 60 Stat. 
812, which provides : 

Be it enacted dy the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States 
of America in Congress assembled, * * * 

PART 2— RULES OF THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES 

Rule X 

SEC. 121, STANDING COMMITTEES 
* 4: * * * • * 

17. Committee on Un-American Activities, to consist of nine Members. 

Rule XI 

POWERS AND DUTIES OF COMMITTEES 
******* 

(q) (1) Committee on Un-American Activities. 

(A) Un-American activities. 

(2) The Committee on Un-American Activities, as a wliole or by subcommit- 
tee, is authorized to make from time to time investigations of (i) the extent, 
character, and objects of un-American propaganda activities in the United States, 
(ii) the diffusion within the United States of subversive and un-American propa- 
ganda that is instigated from foreign countries or of a domestic origin and attacks 
the principle of the form of government as guaranteed by our Constitution, and 
(iii) all other questions in relation thereto that would aid Congress in any neces- 
sary remedial legislation. 

The Committee on Un-American Activities shall report to the House (or to the 
Clerk of the House if the House is not in session) the results of any such investi- 
gation, together with such recommendations as it deems advisable. 

For the purpose of any such investigation, the Committee on Un-American 
Activities, or any subcommittee thereof, is authorized to sit and act at such 
times and places within the United States, whether or not the House is sitting, 
has recessed, or has adjourned, to hold such hearings, to require the attendance 
of such witnesses and the production of such books, papers, and documents, and 
to take such testimony, as it deems necessary. Subpenas may be issued under 
the signature of the cliairman of the committee or any subcommittee, or by any 
member designated by any such chairman, and may be served by any person 
designated by any such chairman or member. 



Rule XII 

LEGISLATIVE OVERSIGHT BY STANDING COMMITTEES 

Sec 136. To assist the Congress in appraising the administration of the laws 
and in developing such amendments or related legislation as it may deem neces- 
sary, each standing committee of the Senate and the House of Representatives 
shall exercise continuous watchfulness of the execution by the administrative 
agencies concerned of any laws, the subject matter of which is within the jurisdic- 
tion of such committee ; and. for that pui*pose, shall study all pertinent reports 
and data submitted to the Congress by the agencies in the executive branch of 
the Government. 

IV 



RULES ADOPTED BY THE S8TH CONGRESS 

House Resolution 5, January 9, 1963 
* * * * * ^ 

RtJLE X 
STANDING COMMITTEES 

1. There shall be elected by the House, at the commencement of each Congress, 

(r) Committee on Un-American Activities, to consist of nine Members. 
******* 

Rule XI 

POWERS AND DUTIES OF COMMITTEES 
******* 

18. Committee on Un-American Activities. 

(a) Un-American activities. 

(b) The Committee on Un-American Activities, as a whole or by subcommittee, 
is authorized to make from time to time investigations of (1) the extent, char- 
acter, and objects of uu-American propaganda activities in the United States, 
(2) the diffusion within the United States of subversive and un-American prop- 
aganda that is instigated from foreign countries or of a domestic origin and 
attacks the principle of the form of government as guaranteed by our Constitu- 
tion, and (3) all other questions in relation thereto that would aid Congress 
in any necessary remedial legislation. 

The Committee on Un-American Activities shall report to the House (or to the 
Clerk of the House if the House is not in session) the results of any such investi- 
gation, together with such recommendations as it deems advisable. 

For the purpose of any such Investigation, the Committee on Un-American 
Activities, or any subcommittee thereof, is authorized to sit and act at such times 
and places within the United States, whether or not the House is sitting, has 
recessed, or has adjourned, to hold such hearings, to require the attendance 
of such witnesses and the production of such books, papers, and documents, and 
to take such testimony, as it deems necessary. Subpenas may be issued under 
the signature of the chairman of the committee or any subcommittee, or by any 
member designated by any such chairman, and may be served by any person 
designated by any such chairman or member. 

******* 

27. To assist the House in appraising the administration of the laws and in 
developing such amendments or related legislation as it may deem necessary, 
each standing committee of the House shall exercise continuous watchfulness 
of the execution by the administrative agencies concerned of any laws, the subject 
matter of which is within the jurisdiction of such committee ; and, for that 
purpose, shall study all pertinent reports and data submitted to the House by 
the agencies in the executive branch of the Government. 

V 



PREFACE 

Rev. James H. Robinson, pastor emeritus of the Presbyterian 
Church of the Master, New York City, is director of Operation 
Crossroads Africa, Inc., 150 Fifth Avenue, New York, N.Y. This 
privately financed organization, which was conceived by Mr. Robin- 
son, operates a student exchange program between the United States 
and Africa. Its purpose is to build friendship and understanding 
between this country and African nations. It does this by enlisting 
the service of U.S. college students, of all races and creeds, who spend 
their summers in Africa as members of volunteer teams, living among 
the people, helping them build schools, teaching, coaching them in 
various sports, and working with them on numerous other projects 
designed to improve their living conditions. 

U.S. college students who volunteer for this project are given orien- 
tation training, including instruction on communism and Communist 
tactics, prior to thek overseas service. 

Mr. Robinson is also a member of the National Advisory Council of 
the Peace Corps. 

Because he has been associated in the past with organizations cited 
as Communist, questions have been raised concerning his Peace Corps 
position, and he has also encountered some problems m connection 
with his Operation Crossroads Africa program. 

In a letter addressed to the former chairman of this committee, 
requesting an opportunity to appear before the committee to testify 
concerning his past ties with cited Communist and Communist-front 
organizations and also his present position on communism, Mr. 
Robinson wrote: 

Because of continuing difficulties which interfere with the 
service I render to this country, I should like the opportunity 
of an interview or a hearing in the hopes that the Committee 
will help clear up the records. * * * 

The committee first contacted Mr. Robinson to arrange his appear- 
ance in June 1963. Because of the pressure of other committee busi- 
ness and also because of Mr. Robinson's commitments which involved 
trips abroad, a mutually convenient date for his appearance could not 
be found until almost a year later. 

In his appearance before the committee on May 5, 1964, Mr. 
Robinson was asked questions concerning all officially cited or Com- 
munist-tinged groups with which, according to public accounts, he had 
at any time been affiliated. He answered all questions without 
resorting to constitutional privilege. 

]Mr. Robinson testified that he was not and had never been a mem- 
ber of the Communist Party. He also stated that in the past he had 
believed in supporting and working with Communists when they were 
ostensibly working for things in which he believed — peace, civil 
rights, and similar goals. He also testified, however, that his position 

1925 



1926 TESTIMONY OF REV. JAMES H. ROBESTSON 

on this subject had changed during the post-World War II years and 
that he no longer held this view. 

After explaining how he had become associated with several Com- 
munist or Communist-front organizations in the late thirties and early- 
forties, Mr. Robinson was asked if his basic position or attitude at that 
time was that he would support an activity in which Communists 
were involved if he felt it served a cause he was interested in. He 
replied : 

I did in those days. I would not do it now. With age 
and experience, you learn a good many other things. But in 
those things, when I had just come to the Church of the 
Master and was involved in a great many things in the 
Harlem community, I did not make the same distinctions 
that I would now. 

At another point in his testunony, Mr. Robinson was asked whether, 
as advertised, he had been a speaker at a Forum for Victory sponsored 
by a Communist Party club in New York City in 1943. He said he 
did not definitely recall the event, but that he might have addressed 
the forum and — 

if I spoke, and I may have spoken, it would have been 
because I was working strongly then with a great many Jewish 
groups against anti-semitism. I would have spoken only for 
that reason and under those circumstances. 



iTwould say that at that time I believed if I could utilize 
the Communist Party for things that I believed in, although 
I knew it was a hazardous pm-suit to try to do so, that I 
should try to do that. 

Mr. Robinson gave several examples of anti-Communist activities 
he had undertaken in recent years. In 1941, he had organized the 
African Academy of Art and Research in New York City, which was 
designed to serve as a hospitality center for African students studying 
in the United States. In the post-World War II years, when he 
learned that the Council on African Affairs,^ which he described as 
"a decided front organization," was attempting to involve African 
students in the United States in Communist activities, he utilized the 
African Academy of Art and Research to offset the operations of the 
Council on African Affairs. 

He also referred to the fact that he had written a pamphlet Love oj 
This Land at the request of Donald Stone, former Director of the 
Mutual Security Agency. This pamphlet, published in 1956, pointed 
out the progress that had been made in the United States in the area 
of race relations. It was designed to assist U.S. Government personnel 
serving overseas, particularly those working in Asia, in replying to 
criticisms about racial matters in the United States made by Com- 
munists and others. 



1 The Council on African Affairs was cited as Communist and subversive by Attorney General Tom 
Clark in 1947 and 1948. 



TESTIMONY OF REV. JAMES. H. ROBINSON 1927 

Describing the training given voluntary vi^orkers in his Operations 
Crossroads Africa project, Mr. Robinson testified: 

We give great attention to this whole area in Crossroads 
when our people meet at Douglas College for Women at Rut- 
gers for 7 days for their final preparation. We indicate what 
types of groups in the various countries of Africa might be 
leftwing or Communist and how they can answer them ef- 
fectively and how they are going to avoid being pushed into 
a corner. 



We spend the whole day with the kind of problems they 
were going to face, what they should be reading, set up some 
potential situations that they might face, and help them to 
work out some of the answers, because they are going to be 
challenged all along the line, and especially by the leftwing 
students or the Communists. 

This is going to be more of a problem in the years to come, 
because the great wave of African students who have gone to 
[East] Germany or Moscow or Peking or Poland is just 
now this summer beginning to come back in any significant 
numbers. In 4 to 5 years that wave will reach its peak. 

So we are trying to prepare our young people and our lead- 
ers, too, in what they can do to win an audience and get 
people to go along with them and see their view rather than 
just winning a battle. 

Referring to leaders of the civil rights movement in the United 
States who believe (as he does) that people can "logically" be civilly 
disobedient at times, Mr. Robinson stated: 

* * * it is the obligation of the person who takes this stand 
to purge out of their ranks the kind of people who do not take 
it for the same good reasons of conscience and who try to use 
it to another advantage or infiltrate the movement for Com- 
munist ends. 

This is their responsibility to do this. They cannot hide 
under the fact that our cause is so good and our situation is so 
desperate that we will accept anybody on a brotherhood front 
movement to come in and help us. 

That will include Malcolm X, the Communists, and a good 
rnany other people with whom I would not agree under these 
circumstances. So I think the best thing to do is to prepare 
the minds of young people about what communism is and 
help them to face it. 

When asked to state approximately when it was that his position 
on supporting or cooperating with Communists or Communist fronts 
had changed, Mr. Robinson replied: 

I think my position on these matters began to change in 
the middle 1940's toward the end of the war and were solidi- 
fied, I would say, by 1949-1950, when I took a whole new 
position which I referred to previously. After I took that 



38-962 — 64- 



1928 TESTmiONY OF REV. JAMES H. ROBINSON 

trip abroad for the Presbyterian Church in 1951 and 1952 to 
see who was winning the minds of young people and learned 
a good many more things outside of this country that I had 
not learned while I was in it — although I had learned a good 
many things about communism in this country — I think my 
change was completed. 

At a subsequent point in his testimony, Mr. Ichord asked Mr. 
Robinson the following question: 

You stated in your testimony that back when you were as- 
sociated with Mr. Robeson and Ben Davis and others in 
several causes, that at that time you were of the mind that 
you would join with a Communist or anyone who was work- 
ing for the objectives that you had in mind, and then later 
on you changed your mind. I would like for you to elaborate 
somewhat upon that. 

Mr. Robinson replied: 

WeU, I came to the place where you have to recognize, 
first of all, that you might do your cause and yourself more 
harm, if you joined with people who are better organized 
than you are, and better disciplined in a group than you have, 
and their great asset is tight discipline. 

They know where they are going and what they want to do. 
They can play it easy or soft. They can sit in a meeting that 
everyone leaves, as long as there is a quorum, and they will 
get the votes. I saw this happen many times at first without 
knowing what was happening. I learned, but some people 
never did learn. 

I do not think it would be to my advantage, for example, 
in Operation Crossroads Africa to let a Black Muslim come 
into Operation Crossroads Africa. I must admit one got in 
from the University of California at Berkeley, but we put 
him on a plane from Africa, when we found out about it, and 
sent him home. 

I would say the same thing about Communists. I would 
not let Communists in either. Now, would I let them 
cooperate with us on anything? No, I would not take that 
old position of cooperating any more. I would not get in- 
volved with people with ulterior motives who really end up 
trying to use you to make capital for their ends. 

Additional testimony by Mr. Robinson will be found in part 2 of 
the committee's hearings on the Freedom Academy bills. 



TESTIMONY OF REV. JAMES H. ROBINSON 



TUESDAY, MAY 5, 1964 

United States House of Representatives, 

Subcommittee of the 
Committee on Un-American Activities, 

Washington, D.C. 

EXECUTIVE session ^ 

A subcommittee of the Committee on Un-American Activities met, 
pursuant to call, at 10:10 a.m., in Room 226, Cannon House Office 
Building, Washington, D.C, Hon. William M. Tuck (chairman of the 
subcommittee) presiding. 

( Subcommittee members : Representatives William M. Tuck, of Vir- 
ginia ; Richard H. Ichord, of Missouri ; and Henry C. Schadeberg, of 
Wisconsin.) 

Subcommittee members present : Representatives Tuck, Ichord, and 
Schadeberg. 

Staff members present: Francis J. McNamara, director, and Donald 
T. Appell, chief investigator. 

Mr. Tuck. The subcommittee will come to order. 

Do I hear a motion that the witness be heard in executive session ? 

Mr. Ichord. I move that he be heard in executive session. 

Mr. Schadeberg. I second the motion. 

Mr. Tuck. Those in favor, "aye." Opposed, "no." 

The "ayes" have it. 

It has been moved and voted unanimously that the committee will 
hear this witness in executive session. 

I will now read an order from the chairman of the committee estab- 
lishing the subcommittee : 

April 30, 1964. 
To : Francis J. McNamara, 
Director, Committee on JJn-American Activities. 

Rev. James H. Robinson having requested the privilege of appearing as a 
witness before the Committee, I, pursuant to the policy and Rules of this Commit- 
tee, hereby appoint a subcommittee of the Committee on Un-American Activities, 
consisting of Hon. William M. Tuck as Chairman, and Hon. Richard 
Ichord and Hon. Henry C. Schadeberg as Associate Members, to receive his 
testimony in "Washington, D.C, commencing on or about Tuesday, May 5, 1964, 
and/or at such other times thereafter and places as said subcommittee shall 
determine. 

Please make this action a matter of Committee record. 

If any member indicates his inability to serve, please notify me. 
Given under my hand this 30th day of April, 1964. 

/s/ Edwin E. Willis. 
Edwin E. Willis, 
Chairman, Committee on Tin-American Activities. 

1 Released by the committee and ordered to be printed. 

1929 



1930 TESTIMONY OF REV. JAMES H. ROBINSON 

Now, I believe we are ready to proceed with the identification of the 
witness and counsel. 

(At this point the witness and his comisel entered the hearing room.) 

Mr. Tuck. Will you stand and raise your right hand ? 

Do you solemnly swear that the testimony you are about to give will 
be the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth, so help you 
God? 

Mr. Robinson. I so swear. 

Mr. McNamara. Mr. Chairman, I believe the record should reflect 
that Dr. Robinson is appearing before the subcommittee this morning 
as a result of an inquiry sent to him approximately a year ago. At that 
time, the committee extended to him the opportunity to comment on 
certain material contained in the committee's files. This was done 
because he had previously been in touch with the committee, requesting 
an opportunity to testify on this matter. Dr. Robinson extended his 
appreciation to the committee in reply to this letter. Mr. Appell, our 
chief investigator, subsequently got in touch with him to discuss this. 
It was only because of his own commitments, a busy schedule, as well as 
the committee's, that this hearing has not been held earlier. This was 
the first date we could find that was convenient to both parties. 

Mr. Tuck. All right, proceed. 

TESTIMONY OF REV. JAMES H. ROBINSON, ACCOMPANIED BY 

COUNSEL, WILFRED MAIS 

Mr. McNamara. Dr. Robinson, Would you, for the sake of the rec- 
ord, give the committee some information on your background, the date 
and place of your birth, education, and your major employments. 

Mr. Robinson. I was bom in Knoxville, Tenn., in 1907. The family 
moved to Cleveland in 1917. I went to elementary school in Youngs- 
town and Cleveland, Ohio, and high school. I went to Lincoln Univer- 
sity where I graduated in 1935, then to Union Theological Seminary 
where I graduated in 1938. Before I graduated I was ordained by the 
Presbytery of Cleveland as a minister and began a church and a com- 
munity center in the Harlem community [New York City] the same 
year. 

At the same time, I did some work for the NAACP developing their 
youth program and then stayed at that church as its pastor 231/^ years 
until the 15th of October 1962, when I left it because, prior to that time 
I had begun — in 1951 and 1952 — an 8-month trip in Asia for the 
Presbyterian Church to do several things. One, to see who was having 
the biggest influence on the minds of students and, secondly, to lay the 
foundation for a program called Spend Y^our Junior Year Abroad 
in an Asian or Middle East University. 

And during that time I did some voluntary things for our Ambas- 
sador in India at that time and the consul general at Hong Kong 
and the American occupation people in Germany, since I was on this 
trip at the time of the first so-called Neo-German Youth Conference 
in Berlin. 

In 1954, 1 started Operation Crossroads Africa, which I give my full 
time to now — the reasons for that I can give later, if the committee 
cares to hear that — which began for the purpose of taking students at 



TESTIMONY OF REV. JAJVIES. H. ROBINSON 1931 

the grassroots level to do work in Africa. That has been going on 
and increasing and I give my full time to that now. 

Mr. McNamar^v. Have you held, or do you hold, any posts with 
the United States Government or a Government agency ? 

Mr. KoBiNSON. I serve on the Advisory Committee of the State 
Department for Africa and am Vice Chairman — I am not quite sure 
what I am now — to the Advisory Council to the Peace Corps. But 
now that President Johnson is no longer the Chairman of the Coun- 
cil, I suppose, except in fact of name I am no longer Vice Chair- 
man, we have not had any meetings, but I still serve on that com- 
mittee. 

Mr. McNamara. Doctor, I neglected to have you identify your 
counsel before. Would you do that please. 

Mr. Robinson. Yes. I have asked a friend. Attorney Wilfred Mais, 
who has been in many similar local hearings as a result of this record, 
with me, through the years, to come along with me. He is an attorney 
in New York and was chairman of the board of directors of the Mom- 
ingside Community Center, which I neglected to say, I also founded. 
It works with about 4,000 underprivileged children simultaneously 
with tlie church but who were not church members. We ran a camp 
in Winchester, New Hampshire. He was chairman of the board of 
the Morningside Community which I directed for a number of years. 
He served on that board for a number of years. 

I am no longer associated with the church, except as pastor emeritus, 
and the rule says when a minister is too old or infirm to shepherd 
the flock he may retire with or without salary. They did not give 
me any salary as pastor emeritus. 

Mr. McNamara. Doctor, would you give more details about Oper- 
ation Crossroads Africa, what the organization has done, is doing 
today, and its major purpose. 

Mr. Robinson. Yes. After I set up the Junior Year Abroad Pro- 
gram, or helped to set it up, by doing the ground work for it in Asia, 
groups of students from the University of California in Los Angeles ; 
Oklahoma A&M, at Stillwater; and Syracuse, began projects of tak- 
ing students out to Asia. 

Then I went to Africa in 1954 for the first time on money supplied 
from a Jewish family. Life magazine, and from Preshyterian Life 
magazine to explore the possibility of involving groups of young 
people from the United States when they are still in college, at the 
grassroots level, for three major purposes : 

First, to try to build a good unage of the United States in Africa 
and to relate to African students who are going into leadership posi- 
tions. 

Secondly, to have each of these students when they come back, to 
become interested in working in Africa. We did not care whether it 
was for missions or State Department or USIS or AID or whether 
it was in education or business, but we felt if you got a group of tough- 
minded young people and involved them at the gi-assroots level for a 
summer under very difficult conditions — and we say it is neither a 
tourist joyride nor an African safari — that they will do great good for 
America. Each student has to raise part of his own money — as much 
as he can. They have to read 20 books in a semester, write a term 



1932 TESTIMONY OF REV. JAIVIES H. ROBINSON 

paper, be prepared to live simply in the rainy season, not in a big city, 
and to give a good witness for what we believe. 

We hoped they would go into African studies later on. That has 
paid off. Of those who have gone, 30 percent are back in Africa. The 
Peace Corps has a telegram waiting for every leader when he returns 
to the United States asking them if they would not like to work for 
them in Africa. Seventeen are in various positions with State, 
through ICA or AID or various other services of the U.S. Government. 
Some are in education in the universities and colleges and some are 
working for the African governments. This smnmer we will be at 
work in 21 countries, of East, West, and Central Africa. 

Now we do this by utilizing the work-camp technique of going 
into a village, building a little school, a maternity clinic, a road, a 
well, or doing youth- and-sports projects, with hundreds of young 
people developing a physical education program. Sometimes we have 
taken teachers who have experience in teachmg here to help upgrade 
the teachers of Africa. Eighty percent of the teachers of Africa have 
less than an eighth grade education. But they are good people and if 
the people who teach them will have the patience to work with them — 
not Ph. D.'s from the universities and colleges, because they do not 
talk the same language as African teachers who have not gone to 
school — but if you get a good primary or high school teacher from 
Washington, Philadelphia, and New York, and you get four or five 
hundred of their teachers who have not gone very far, you can do 
amazing things with them. We do not get very far unless we do a 
great deal with 80 percent of the people who carry 90 percent of the 
load, unless we help to upgrade them. 

Mr. ScHADEBERG. What would you consider to be the difference in 
the Peace Corps work and the Operation Crossroads Africa? 

Mr. EoBiNSON. The essential differences are that the Peace Corps is 
long-term and we are short-term. We take students who are still 
in college, mainly, although we do take some teachers, doctors, and 
nurses for more professional purposes as we are asked in East Nigeria, 
by the Minister of Health. But most of those we are taking this 
summer are your young people. They will do most of the things 
that the Peace Corps does except most Peace Corps people are out of 
school and ours are not. Our idea is to utilize the students to show 
our belief in the people overseas to teach what self-help is, and how 
we can help them by sharing with them and then prepare these stu- 
dents with a knowledge of Africa and a desire to go into African stud- 
ies permanently and be useful in many other ways. 

These are the chief differences. We are kind of a feeder for Peace 
Corps. If you do not mind my saying it, sometimes I say that they 
ought to give us some money for building a reservoir for them, or 
to help us, because we are entirely non-Government and voluntary 
and so many Crossroaders go into the Peace Corps. 

We think also that voluntary organizations have another dimen- 
sion in this whole democratic framework we are trying to get across, 
as an idea to the people. And equally important, in some aspects, is 
this idea as a non-Govemment-aided project. Because when they can 
see students like boys from Georgetown washing cars to raise money 
to send five students, and girls &om Wellesley baby-sitting to help 



TESTIMONY OF REV. JAMES. H. ROBINSON 1933 

their colleagues go to Africa ; that means more than saying we have 
a big gi-ant to send our people out to Africa. 

Mr. Tuck. Are members of your organization paid? 

Mr. Robinson. It costs about $1,700 per person. We give every- 
body we accept $700 right off, except where the family can afford 
to pay the whole thing and wants to. We ask the students to try to 
get $1,000 for the privilege of being involved in this as an identifica- 
tion and an indication of their interest. But we have to give scholar- 
ships anywhere from $300 to $500, but everybody has to pay some- 
thing. They raise the money. They go to the Rotary Club or the 
Kiwanis or a women's group in the church or to the synagogue and 
they get help and assistance that way. 

Mr. ScHADEBERG. Is there anything you can do in Crossroads that 
you cannot do in the Peace Corps ? 

Mr. Robinson. We can move in many areas with a great deal less 
suspicion than the Peace Corps. For example, when I was in Guinea, 
and we were having great difficulty, we got Crossroads in 2 years 
before the Peace Corps could get in. 

In 1962, I had a long talk with President Toure and his cabinet — 
July 1962, after which he asked me to wait outside. He said, "I am 
going to cable the President and Sargent Shriver about bringing the 
Peace Corps in and I hope you will do the same." 

I had to leave and go to Accra and from the Embassy in Accra I 
cabled Sargent Shriver. I told them I had had this conference and 
would be willing t,o go back, if I could be of service. So now Peace 
Corps is in. For example, we are going to be in Mali this year. 
They have not let us in for 3 years. They really thought we were 
not a bona fide non-Government organization and that we had Gov- 
ernment support by the back door and were trying to fool them. 
They have asked us to bring a basketball team and four experienced 
coaches in youth and sports, in boxing, wrestling, field and track. We 
will, therefore, be working with about 3,000 young people whom the 
ministry of youth, sports and culture will get together. We selected 
good athletes, but we also select people who can, in the evenings when 
you are sitting down talking with people, also make a good witness 
for the kind of thing we want to get across as far as ideas are con- 
cerned as well. The only difficulty with this problem is we had to go 
out and ask special people to come. Wlien you do that, you cannot 
say, "You get $1,000 of it" because they say, "You really want me to 
go and do this, don't you?" They say, "I don't have any money and 
I have not got time to raise money." 

A lot of people say, "Why send a basketball team ?" Sports are the 
big thing— especially if you send young people who make the big- 
gest impact on African youth who are going to have the greatest in- 
fluence in Africa. 

Mr. McNamara. Dr. Robinson, could you express briefly what your 
work with the Peace Corps has involved? Wliat have you done in 
your role as a member of the Advisory Council ? 

Mr. Robinson. One summer when I was in Africa, I did a sounding 
for them. First, what are the attitudes of European expatriates about 
the Peace Corps. Second, what is the attitude, as far as I could get 
it, of business people from other countries, mainly Europeans? 
Thirdly, what is the attitude of people in power? Fourth, to see as 



1934 TEiSTIMONY OF REV. JAMES H. ROBINSON 

many of the people in the opposition movements as I could and to 
do a confidential report about them, which I did one summer and sent 
it back, I found it did not turn out to be confidential, however, be- 
cause it got back to a lot of people in Africa after I had written 
it up. 

Then I helped in advising on the selection of certain personnel for 
certain areas. Some I have approved enthusiastically. Some I have 
said, I think it would be a mistake to take, especially if I knew them 
well from Crossroads experiences. So I have had some advisory 
capacity in this and I have worked on how to get more Negro person- 
nel for the Peace Corps, which is, of course, a problem. However, 
I have not been limited, mainly, to that. 

Mr. McNamara. Do you receive any compensation from the U.S. 
Government for vour services ? 

Mr. Robinson. No, no compensation. 

Mr. McNamara. Dr. Robinson, it is the committee's belief that to 
best serve the purpose of the request you have made we should ask 
you in considerable detail about some of your past activities that 
have been brought up. Some of the organizations with which you 
have been affiliated have been officially cited as Communist and others 
have not, but in the committee's view, all of the organizations I will 
mention, in one way or the otlier, were influenced by Communists. We 
would like to ask you about these activities, how you became associated 
with them, and so forth, and give you an opportunity to explain your 
situation. 

I think that perhaps the first question we should ask of you is: 
Have you ever been a member of the Commimist Party ? 

Mr. Robinson. I have never been a member of the Communist 
Party. 

Mr. McNamara. The United Youth Committee Against Lynching 
was cited as a Communist front by this committee in 1944. The 
Daily Workers of February 10 and 11, 1938, both on page 5, featured 
articles which told of a mass rally which would be held at the con- 
clusion of an anti-ljTich parade in the Harlem section of New York 
on February 11, 1938. These articles revealed that this rally and 
these parades were under the auspices of the United Youth Committee 
Against Lynching and that, participating in the function, were the 
Young Communist League, the Communist Party, the Workers Alli- 
ance, the International Workers Order, and the Transport Workers 
Union — all of which have been cited as Communist organizations ^ — 
and also some non-Communist groups. 

I was wondering if you recall this incident? It was quite a few 
years back, of course. But if you do recall it, could you tell the com- 
mittee how it was you became involved in this. These two Daily 
Worker items I mentioned, by the way, mentioned the fact that you 
were a speaker at the mass rally at the conclusion of this parade. 

Mr. Robinson. I am not quite sure that I remember whether I spoke 
at the parade, but I do remember helping to sponsor that meeting. 
I think at the time, if I did not speak, I would have spoken, if there 
was not something that stood in the way of some other obligation and 
responsibility. I am not sure I did, but I would have, I think, if I had 

^TWU leaders opposed the election of Communists to office In the union and defeated 
the Communist slate. 



TESTIMONY OF REV. JAMES. H. ROBINSON 1935 

been there. My concern was, at the time, in 1938 — I was also the di- 
rector of the youth activities for the NAACP on a part-time basis be- 
fore I got out of theological seminary and all through my first year 
and a half as founder of the Church of the Master, which I began the 
first Sunday in May of 11)38. 

I would have gone primarily because of my desire to stand against 
lynching and at that time possibly nobody else except the NAACP was 
doing that. I made it clear that I was not a Commmiist, even though 
I did participate in things like this. 

Mr. McNamai^v. To the best of your recollection, did you know at 
that time that these Communist groups were participating in the pa- 
rade and rally i 

Mr. Robinson. At that time I did not know they were Communist- 
controlled organizations. 

Mr. McNamara. Would that apply to the Communist Party and 
the Young Communist League ? 

Mr. Robinson. That would not apply to the Communist Party and 
the Young Communist League. 

Mr. McNamara. It is true that these other organizations were not 
cited, or that there was no official finding that they were Communist, 
until later years, but I was just wondering what your basic position 
or attitude was. Was it that you would support an activity m which 
Communists were involved if you felt it served a cause you were in- 
terested in ? Would that be it ? 

Mr. Robinson. I did in those days. I would not do it now. With 
age and experience, you learn a good many other things. But m those 
things, when I had just come to the Church of the Master and was 
involved in a great many things in the Harlem conunmiity, I did not 
make the same distinctions that I would now. 

Mr. McNamara. One of the Daily Worker items identified you as 
president, at the time, and the other as director, of the United Youth 
Neighborhood Center. Wliich was correct ? 

Mr. Robinson. Neither was correct. It was the Morningside Com- 
munity Center which I founded and of which I was the director. They 
might have confused it with tlie West Harlem Council of Social 
Agencies which was one of 13 divisions of welfare comicils in New 
York. I was a chairman at that time. 

Mr. McNamara. The next items concern the Emergency Peace 
Mobilization Committee, which was cited by the Attorney General as 
Communist in 1942 and by this committee in 1944. The background 
of this group was that from 1935 — with the launching of the United 
Front Against Fascism at the Comintern meeting in Moscow — until 
1939, when Stalin signed a pact with Hitler, the Communist line was 
to do everything to oppose Hitler. As soon as the pact was signed 
in 1939, the Commimist Party flipped completely and various organi- 
zations were set up with the idea of agitating and propagandizing 
to keep the United States out of the war in Europe. They opposed 
the draft, opposed defense preparations, opposed aid to England, 
France, and other nations which were opposing Nazi Germany. 

The Emergency Peace Mobilization was one of these organizations. 
The letterhead of the Emergency Peace Mobilization Committee of 
Greater New York, dated July 15, 1940, lists Rev. James H. Robinson 

38-962—64 3 



1936 TESTIMONY OF REV. JAMES H. ROBINSON 

as a sponsor of the group. Do you recall, Dr. Robinson, your asso- 
ciation with this group and how it came about ? 

Mr. Robinson. It came about, I think, because at that time, or just 
before that time, when I was a student at Union Seminary, Dr. Harry 
F. Ward was involved in many of these peace groups. I trusted him 
as a teacher, number 1. I knew that he was a liberal and I did a good 
many things, along with some other students, and joined some com- 
mittees, such as that one, to which I lent my name but never did much 
work for because I was founding the church, the community center, 
and a co-op store at the same time. 

As I recollect, my interest in that and the League Against War and 
Fascism was first gained through Dr. Harry F. Ward. 

Mr. McNamara. To the best of your recollection, it was he who did 
interest you in this and did influence you to serve as a sponsor of the 
organization ? 

Mr. Robinson. That is right. 

Mr. McNamara. The next item concerns the Committee To Defend 
America by Keeping Out of War, an organization cited as Commu- 
nist by this committee in 1944 and also serving the purpose of the 
party line during the Stalin-Hitler pact. A letterhead of this com- 
mittee, dated August 10, 1940, lists as one of its sponsors the Rev. 
James Robinson, president of the Youth Section, NAACP. Do you 
recall being a sponsor of the Committee To Defend America By Keep- 
ing Out Of War? 

Mr. Robinson. I do. 

Mr. McNamara. Do you recall how it was you became involved with 
this group ? 

Mr, Robinson. I think I got involved because of work in the 
NAACP youth groups. We were associated with a good many other 
youth groups at the time and we were getting involved in many of 
these problems, which were political problems as well as inter-racial 
problems and problems about the community. 

Mr. McNamara. This committee staged an "Emergency Peace Mo- 
bilization" at the Chicago Stadium from August 31 to September 2, 
1940. That was over the Labor Day weekend and the Daily Worker 
of August 13, 1940, lists a number of "outstanding" leaders who had 
endorsed the Chicago mobilization and who are actively serving on 
the Committee To Defend America by Keeping Out of War. Listed 
here is the Rev. James Robinson as one of these pereons. 

Do you recall whether, as a sponsor of the Committee To Defend 
America by Keeping Out of War, you received a request to give your 
particular endorsement to the committee's mobilization, which was 
called the Emergency Peace Mobilization ? 

Mr. Robinson. I remember that vaguely. I do not know whether 
I received such a request or not. I do remember that this meeting was 
going to be held. I did not attend it. I was not an active member 
of the committee. I am sure I never went to one single meeting, except 
somewhere where I was going to be speaking for a church, college, or 
group. 

Mr. McNamara, Another major front set up by the party during 
the period of the Stalin-Hitler pact was the American Peace Mobiliza- 
tion, which was cited by the Attorney General in 1942, by this com- 
mittee the same year, and also by the Senate Internal Security Sub- 



TESTIMONY OF REV. JAMES. H. ROBINSON 1937 

committee many years later, in 1956. The American Peace Mobiliza- 
tion was actually launched at the Emergency Peace Mobilization 
which I luive just mentioned as being held in Chicago. 

The Special Committee on Un-American Activities obtained the 
minutes of a meeting of the Executive Board of the New York Coun- 
cil of the American Peace Mobilization held on October 19, 1940. On 
page three of tlie meeting minutes, we find a notation that the Rev. 
James Robinson was nominated to the Executive Board of the New 
York Comicil of the American Peace Mobilization. 

Were you aware of the fact that you had been so nominated within 
this organization and, if you do recall it and were aware of it, would 
you give the committee some information concerning this development. 

Mr. Robinson. I do not recall being nominated. I know one thing. 
I never served and never went to a single meeting. I do not recall 
even getting an invitation to a meeting. This might have been like 
a good many things in which names were asked and used. I would 
be much more careful about letting my name be used now than in 
those days, although this is not the question you are asking. 

Mr. McNamara. Again, relative to the American Peace Mobiliza- 
tion, I have here a mimeographed letter attacking the Lend-Lease 
bill. It is a letter of the National Religious Committee of the Ameri- 
can Peace Mobilization and it lists the Rev. James Robinson as a mem- 
ber of the Religious Committee of the American Peace Mobilization. 

Do you recall being approached to serve on the Religious Commit- 
tee of the American Peace Mobilization, and if so, by whom? 

Mr. Robinson. I do not exactly recall who would have asked me to 
do that. It could have been any one of a number of people. Again, 
it would have been to lend my name more than anything else to it. 
I was actively engaged in as much opportunity as I could find against 
war and for peace, which I freely admit to. I do not recall who that 
would have been. It could have been any number of one of the other 
clergymen whose names and whose opinion and status I respected 
and who, I think, took the same position I did. 

Mr. McNamara. Do you recall whether or not Dr. Ward was also 
active in the American Peace Mobilization ? 

Mr. Robinson. Dr. Ward was active in almost every single one of 
the peace-proposed groups. 

Mr. McNamara. During this period there were some other groups 
opposing America's entry into war, for example, the America First 
Committee. I wonder if you ever thought of lending your support 
to that group, as opposed to the American Peace Mobilization ? 

Mr. Robinson. They never asked me for one thing. I suppose I 
would have, for that same reason, loaned my name to it, although I 
did not agree with some of their other principles. I did a great many 
things if it was against lynching or for the betterment of the commu- 
nity, loaned my name to groups at that time whose whole purposes I 
did not agree with. 

Mr. McNamara. Were you at all aware. Dr. Robinson, at the time, 
that the American Peace Mobilization was either Communist-con- 
trolled or influenced by Communists ? 

Mr. Robinson. I was not aware it was Communist-controlled. I 
did not know, in the beginning in most of these things, how many 
people in them were Communists. I found out later that there were 



1938 TESTIMONY OF REV. JAMES H. ROBINSON 

some Communists in it. I did not always resign from a committee, 
even though they were using my name, even when I found there were 
Communists in it, because I felt I should keep abreast of what they 
were thinking and it was a way to express my point of view. 

Mr. McNamara. Did you find, when you were associated with some 
of these groups you had in mind when you made this last statement, 
that you could make statements of opposing points of view and have 
any influence on the organization — in the sense of undercutting their 
subservience to the Communist Party line ? 

Mr. Robinson. I did not convert anybody. Of that I am sure. On 
the other hand, sometimes I utilized the opportunity on a platform to 
make a position clear to people coming to a public meeting, but they 
never published this like they published all the other things. 

Mr. McNamara. Do you recall whether or not George Murphy, who 
was with the NAACP in New York in the 1930's and 1940's and whom 
you may have known, at any time influenced you to affiliate yourself 
with some of these organizations ? 

Mr. Robinson. George Murphy was my superior in the NAACP. 
He was on the national staff at that time, and I worked with him 
closely on a good many things. It was not for a couple of years that 
I began to have some suspicion of George Murphy myself, later on. 
But he was my superior in the NAACP. 

Mr. McNamara. It was not until 1950, actually, that he was iden- 
tified as a member of the party before this committee, but he has been 
so identified and we were wondering if he did influence you in any way 
for that reason. 

Mr. Tuck. After you learned of the purposes of these various 
groups, have you at any time since then publicly repudiated them or 
disassociated yourself from them in any way ? 

Mr, Robinson. Yes, on a number of occasions, which, unfortunately, 
do not get into the record. For example, one that has not come up yet 
is that group. Council on African Affairs, and I went out and orga- 
nized — once I knew what they were doing — the African Academy of 
Art. and Research in which Mr. Bundy participated. I got Governor 
Ball of Connecticut, and Mrs. Roosevelt, and others, to put up a house 
by City College [New York City] to begin doing constructive things 
with African students, because most of them were being involved 
through the Council of African Affairs, which was a decided front 
organization. I spoke about that many times, and it took a long time 
to get anybody to listen in New York to give us the money to do the 
opposite in the African Academy of Art and Research. 

We opened a house on 144th Street to involve as many African 
students as we could in another whole concept. 

Mr. McNamara. Dr. Robinson, the Daily Worker of May 27, 1941, 
on pages one and five, featured a public statement which condemned the 
defense program of the United States and the war effort for restricting 
Negro rights and also the democratic liberties of the entire people. 
These articles listed as signers of this statement — and this was issued 
just a few weeks prior to Hitler's attack on Russia — the Rev. James 
H. Robinson of the Church of the Master. Do you recall who so- 
licited your signature or your endorsement of this statement? 

Mr. Robinson. I do not recall who solicited my endorsement. I 
recall the statement and my interest was specifically in terms of Ne- 



TESTIMONY OF REV. JAMES. H. ROBINSON 1939 

groes in the war effort that I thought they should have been given a 
greater opportunity, for example, and that was my basic interest. 

Mr. iMcNAMAR.\, Could you tell me whether or not you were sup- 
plied in advance with the text of this statement before it was released ? 

Mr. Robinson. I would have to admit categorically in those days I 
was not always very wise and often I did not see these statements. 

Mr. McNamara. Do you recall whether or not, m this particular 
case, you did see this statement ? 

Mr. Robinson. I do not really believe I did. 

Mr. ]\IcNamara. The initiating group behind this statement in- 
cluded Ferdinand C. Smith, Doxey A. Wilkerson, and Paul Robeson, 
a 11 of whom have since been identified as members of the Communist 
Party. I was wondering if you knew any of these men and recalled 
whether or not they might have apj)roached you to sign this statement ? 

Mr. Robinson. It could have been Ferdinand C. Smith, because I 
was involved in a nmnber of other community problems with him. 
He, at the time, was a member of the board of the West Council As- 
sociations, of which I was chainnan, and working in. Doxey Wilker- 
son, I knew who he was. I was surprised later on to fhid some of the 
involvements and accusations made against hhn. Wasn't he at How- 
ard University ? 

Mr. Mais. Yes. 

]\Ir. McNamara. Did you know Ferdinand C. Smith to be a Com- 
mmiist at any time w^hile you had these contacts with him ? 

Mr. Robinson. I did not know him to be a Commmiist. I was not 
surprised when he had to leave the countiy, because I thought I could 
see some trends in that direction later on. But in the beginning I 
did not know him to be a Commmiist nor did I suspect him to be a 
Communist m the beginning when I first knew him. 

Mr. McNamara. Dr. Robinson, on June 21, 1941, Hitler attacked 
the Soviet Union, thus ending the Stalin-Hitler pact and also bring- 
ing about a reversal in Communist Party policy. It shifted then 
from peace and avoidance of war to just the opposite, all-out U.S. 
participation, aid to the allies, and so on, and shortly after that the 
Daily Worker^ of September 28, 1941, featured a message sent to a 
meeting of anti-Nazi youth held in Moscow, pledging to the Soviet 
youth "our fullest support in their struggles to destroy Hitler." The 
Daily Worker item listed the Rev. James Robinson, Church of the 
Master, as one of the signers of this message. I was wondering if you 
recalled signing the message ? 

Mr. Robinson. I believe I signed that message. 
Mr. McNamara. Would you have any comjnent to make on it? 
Do you recall who approached you to sign it ? This message, appar- 
ently, was not sponsored or organized under any particular group, 
as far as the article indicated. 

Mr. Robinson. I do not recall who would have asked me to do 
this. I do not recall the facts of who it would have been. 

Mr. McNamara. Could you tell the committee how it is that just 
a few months prior to this time, and during the year or two prior 
to this time — in various activities of the Emergency Peace Mobiliza- 
tion, the American Peace Mobilization — you were opposing the idea 
of becoming involved in the war against Hitler but were now takmg 



1940 TESTIMONY OF REV. JAMES H. ROBINSON 

the position that there should be intense, shall \ve say, anti-Nazi 
activity. "We must go all out in opposition to Nazi Germany." 

Mr. Robinson. In my work with a lot of groups like the Hadassah 
and the United Jewish Women, I always had a strong anti-Hitler 
attitude. This change comes to me in the terms of more realization 
of where you stand in a very real world of force and of struggle and 
of power and evil, that you have to stand up against it and take 
another position. 

That was the beginning which coincides with their change and this 
may have helped it some, I am quite honest to say. But it is where 
you have to stand. You can be for peace, but you have to be con- 
structively for peace and sometimes that means you have to purchase 
it sometimes with your own life. 

Mr. McNamara. To some extent it would be Hitler's attack on the 
Soviet Union that woke you up to this view ?^ 

Mr. Robinson. I would not say it was Hitler's attack on the Soviet 
Union by itself, alone, that woke me up to it. I had all these prob- 
lems in my own mind that I struggled with during this period. I 
wanted to be a pacifist, but could never bring myself to really be a 
pacifist. I wanted to, but I could not. I would like to do it now, 
but I cannot. 

Mr. Tuck. We will take a short recess. 

(Short recess.) 

Mr. Tuck. You may proceed now. 

Mr. McNamara. Dr. Robinson, in the Neio York Herald-Tribune^ 
issue of October 27, 1942, page 13, there was published a petition 
sponsored by Kenneth Leslie, the editor of the Protestant. This 
petition stated that in response to the request of "our sorely pressed" 
Russian allies for a new Western front, the signers were calling upon — 

anti-Fascist nations to make open and outright and immediate war upon all 
Fascist nations and to attack at once all these points of power whose "neutrality" 
is the mere option by the Axis to be taken up at its convenience. 

The name of the Rev. James H. Robinson of New York appears as one 
of the signers. 

Do you recall giving your endorsement to this petition, or signing 
the petition? 

Mr. Robinson. I do. 

Mr. McNamara. And the circumstances surrounding it? 

Mr. Robinson. I knew Kenneth Leslie. That was an Episcopal 
magazine, I think, if my recollection is correct. I knew him and a 
good many other ministers with whom I was associated at that time, 
and he would have asked me to sign that statement, I am sure. 

Mr. McNamara. The Protestant ^ magazine, formerly known as 
Protestant Digest^ was cited as a Communist-front publication by 
this committee in 1944 and by the Internal Security Subconmiittee of 
the Senate in 1956. I was wondering if, at the time you gave your 
endorsement to this petition, you actually had given much thought to 
the gist of its message. For example, its call for a new Western front, 
and so forth. At this point, the United States military leaders were op- 
posed to this idea. We were not ready for it. Russia was pushing for it 

1 Kenneth Leslie's magazine, the Protestant, had no official status with the Episcopal 
Church or any other Protestant denomination. 



TESTIMONY OF REV. JAMES. H. ROBINSON 1941 

very hard. Did Mr. Leslie, perhaps, speak to you on this matter, and 
convince you that this was necessary as a step in winning the war? 

JNIr. Robinson. I woukl say that in those years I was not as alert 
to military necessities as I would be now. He did not convince me 
on this. I do not think he talked to me very long about it, as a matter 
of fact. 

JNIr. McNamara. Do you recall if you actually saw this petition be- 
fore it was published, or whether he contacted you and asked you to 
give your signature, your endorsement, and described to you, perhaps, 
in a general way, what the petition would allegedly contain or say ? 

Mr. Robinson. If I had read all of these petitions, sometimes I 
would not have signed them. Most of the time they did not bring in 
the petition. They asked you, on a matter of friendship and associa- 
tion basis, would you be willing to go along and they gave you the 
basic ideas which they thought you would be in agreement with. 

Mr. McNamara. Would you say then. Dr. Robinson, that in giv- 
mg your assent to having your name appear on a considerable number 
of these documents you were actually misled to some extent by the 
people who approached you ? 

Mr. Robinson. I have no doubt about that. 

Mr. McNamara. The next item concerns the American Labor Party, 
which was cited as Communist by this committee in 1944 and the Sen- 
ate Internal Security Subcommittee in 1956. 

By the end of 1942, of course, the Communists who, a year before or 
a little more, had violently opposed it, were demanding a second front. 
The Daily Worker of April 11, 1943, reported that the New York 
County Committee of the American Labor Party had announced 
plans for a series of meetings to demand the opening of a second 
front. This article listed you as a proposed speaker for the first of 
these meetings, which was to be held on April 15 of that year, 1942. 
The Daily Worker of April 15, the date of that meeting, also reported 
that you were a speaker, or were to be a speaker, that day. Do you 
recall this incident? Do you recall whether or not you did speak at 
this affair? 

Mr. Robinson. I am not sure about that one. 

Mr. McNamara. Were you aware at the time that the American 
Labor Party was considered to be under Communist control ? 

Mr. Robinson. In the beginning, I was not aware of that. 

Mr. McNamara. Could you tell the committee approximately when 
you became aware of it, or began to suspect Communist control of the 
American Labor Party ? 

Mr. Robinson. "Wliat was that date again of this one? 

Mr. McNamara. This was April 15, 1942. 

Mr. Robinson. I cannot honestly recall when I became aware of the 
Communist infiltration in that party. To be p( rfectly honest about 
it, I cannot recall when I did become aware of this. 

Mr. McNamara. As I recall, you stated that you were imcertain 
about this meeting, whether you actually spoke at it or not. 

Mr. Robinson. I do not think I spoke at the meeting. 

Mr. McNamara. Do you recall being approached to speak at the 
meeting, and if so, who approached you ? 



1942 TESTIMONY OF REV. JAMES H. ROBINSON 

Mr. Robinson. I do not know who would have approached me but I 
got approached on many occasions to speak at meetings most of which 
I did not and sometimes could not do. 

Mr. McNamara. Dr. Robinson, in 1943, the Soviet Union executed 
Polish Socialist trade union leaders, Victor Alter and Henryk Erlich. 
There were widespread protests against this action, particularly 
among labor circles throughout the world, and a New York City rally 
was held to protest it and to condemn it. The Daily Worker of March 
80, 1943, and of April 1, 1943, both reported that 50 New York civic 
leaders had endorsed a statement upholding the action of the Soviet 
Union in executing these two men and condemning other citizens in 
New York who had called a rally to protest what many people felt 
was actually a cold-blooded murder. 

In both these issues of the Daily Worker the name of the Rev. 
James H. Robinson was listed as one of the signers of the statement. 
Do you recall the incident and whether or not you gave your name as 
endorsing this statement? 

Mr. Robinson. In this case, I am positive I did not give my name 
in endorsing this statement. 

Mr. McNamara. To the best of your recollection, you were never 
approached to do so — or would you say that you refused and your 
name was used without your permission? 

Mr. Robinson. If they approached me in a case like this, I would 
have refused. I do not recall whether I was asked to do this or not. 
As a matter of fact, I am unfamiliar with these two names. 

Mr. IciioRD. May I ask, since you were doing a considerable amount 
of speaking, did you usually require an honorarium for most of your 
speaking? 

Mr. Robinson. No, for most of my speaking I never received an 
honorarium and to this day I do not have a fee for speaking anywhere. 

Mr. IcHORD. Go ahead, Mr. McNamara. 

Mr. McNamar.\. Dr. Robinson, the Citizens' Committee of the Up- 
per West Side — that is the upper west side of New York City — was 
cited as Communist by the Attorney General in 1947. The Daily 
Worker of July 4, 1943, published a statement signed by many people. 
This statement protested what it called anti- Soviet propaganda. It 
condemned the "scandalous, irresponsible attacks on the motion picture 
'Mission to Moscow' " and it claimed that this anti-Soviet propa- 
ganda — which, it implied, was prevalent in the United States — was 
delaying the opening of a second front in Europe and prolonging the 
war. The Daily Worker listed the Rev. James H. Robinson as one of 
the signers of this statement. 

Do you recall this incident and, if so, who solicited your support of 
this statement? 

Mr. Robinson. I do not recall the incident. I do know that the 
Citizens' Committee of the Upper West Side, in which I was involved, 
was made up of a number of people at that time from Union Seminary, 
Columbia, and a few from the Jewish Seminary, Columbia Univer- 
sity and other local organizations. 

Later on, I became aware that the same names kept on oppearing 
in a good many of these organizations and groups. I do not know 
who it would have been who recruited me. I used the word "recruit" 
in another way, not that I was recruited for the party. It would have 



TESTIMONY OF REV. JAMES. H. ROBINSON 1943 

been some of the people that live on the hill where I still live. If it 
was anyone at all, it might have been a professor from Colmnbia, Dr. 
Gene Weltlish or one of the other people up there at Columbia. 

Mr, McNamara. I was just wondermg — I'm skimming these names 
to see, if Dr. Weltfish was a signer. I do not see her name here. Do 
you recall this statement or not 'i 

Mr. KoBiNSON. I do not recall that particular statement. I know 
that on a number of occasions I protested, but it did not do any good, 
to both the People's Voice at that time and also the Daily Worker that 
my name was often used without my consent, 

Mr, McNamara. Has it ever come to your attention, Dr. Robmson, 
that any of the people that you have mentioned knowing — I am think- 
ing of Ferdinand Smith and others — who were subsequently identi- 
fied as Communist Party members, that some of them might have 
used your name or given your name to some cause without your specific 
permission '\ 

Mr. Robinson. It came to my attention sometimes but not in con- 
nection with particular people who might have used my name. I 
would assume it would come from somebody I was associated with, 
perhaps Ferdinand C. Smith with whom I once worked on some com- 
mittees. And I have no doubt that later on they did do that. 

Mr, McNamara, But as far as you know, however, there is no case 
in which someone did use your name in some Communist-front organi- 
zation without your permission, that is? 

Mr, Robinson, I know of cases where my name was used where I 
did not sign something or where they said I went to speak and I did 
not go to speak. But who did it, I do not know. 

Mr. McNamara. Doctor, the American Committee To Save Refugees 
was cited as a Communist front by this committee in 1944. A num- 
ber of similar committees were set up by the Communists in this 
comitry during this period, as Hitler advanced, of course, and overran 
France and other countries. There were many, many refugees who 
had to be taken care of and saved. This was obviously a humani- 
tarian cause. The party, though, was primarily concerned with sav- 
ing Communists. It was for this reason that it set up organizations 
such as the American Committee To Save Refugees. It was the pur- 
pose of these groups to raise funds and to bring about legislation and 
so forth that would enable these people to come to the United States. I 
have here a number of letterheads and items, literature, of the Ameri- 
can Committee To Save Refugees which list Rev. James H. Robinson 
as a member of the executive board of the organization. 

Do you recall serving in that capacity with the American Committee 
To Save Refugees ? 

Mr, Robinson. I was interested, at that time, in a great many 
refugees. I also served with Rabbi Stephen S. Wise on another 
committee at the same time, and Mrs. William S. Korn. We were 
concerned about rescue work for Jewish refugees. 

Mr. McNamara. Do you recall which committee that was? 

Mr. Robinson. I do not have the name of the committee, but 
Rabbi Wise had established a committee and set up a program and a 
house down by his synagogue on East 63d Street to receive many of 
these people and to give support to them. I was concerned about all 

38-962—64 4 



1944 TESTIMONY OF REV. JAMES H. ROBINSON 

refugees. I was not just concerned about refugees from Communist 
countries. 

Mr. McNamara. At the time you were associated with the organi- 
zation, did you have any knowledge or belief that it was a Communist 
front organization set up to serve the Communist cause ? 

Mr. EoBiNSON. No, I did not. 

Mr. McNamara. And you do not recall, in this case, specifically who 
requested you to participate in this group ? 

Mr. Robinson. I went over this with Mr. Appell, who was kind 
enough to give me copies of it. We circled the names of the people 
I would have known and was associated with on these committees who 
might have gotten in touch with me. I would like to look at it and 
see — if I could look at the list of the names of the people. 

Mr. McNamara. I have the list in the exhibits here which I will 
hand to you so you can inspect them. 

Mr. Robinson. I have seen most of them. The main thing is the 
list. This is the list here, isn't it ? 

Mr. McNamara. Yes. 

Mr. Robinson. I will just run down this. There was Rabbi Alper, 
Rufus Clement, who was president of Atlanta University; Kenneth 
Leslie, of course Bishop Francis McConnell, William Nielson, Charles 
Weber, who had been on the faculty at Union Seminary when I was 
there. Those would have been the people I knew and the people who 
probably I would have talked with. 

Mr. McNamara. Doctor, during the period of your association with 
the American Committee To Save Refugees was it the policy of that 
committee to submit to members of the executive board copies of all 
statements that the committee released prior to their release? 

Mr. Robinson. It is my impression that this was not the case usually 
and that very few meetings were ever held. 

Mr. McNamailv. I asked that because I see here one public state- 
ment issued by the committee in which it says : 

We must speak out all the more firmly now, because of the involvement of the 
Soviet Union in the war. 

Do you recall ever having seen that statement before ? 

Mr. Robinson. Before I signed it ? 

Mr. McNamara. Before now. Or do you recall ever having seen 
the statement ? It does not indicate that you signed it, just that it was 
a statement of the committee. 

Mr. Robinson. In connection with these reports, of activities of 
associations, I have seen previous to this time, I do not know whether 
that was one of those that I voluntarily answered and notarized and 
sent to the State Department and the Un-American Activities Com- 
mittee sometime previously or not. 

Mr. McNamara. Doctor, the next question concerns the American 
Committee for Democracy and Intellectual Freedom, cited as a Com- 
munist front by this committee in 1942. In 1939 a committee of the 
New York State Legislature known as the Rapp-Coudert committee, 
initiated hearings to determine the extent of Communist and subver- 
sive activities in the public educational institutions of the city of New 
York. The Daily 'Worker of April 10, 1940, page five, reported that a 
citizens rally to answer the attack on public education, would be held 
April 13, under the auspices of the American Committee for Democ- 



TESTIMONY OF REV. JAMES. H. ROBINSON 1945 

racy and Intellectual Freedom. The item also mentioned the fact 
that a group of sponsors of this rally had signed a communication to 
the mayor of New York Cit};, condemning his action in removing 
from the budget an appropriation for a City College professorship for 
Bertrand Eussell. It lists the Kev. James H. Robinson as one of the 
signers. In addition, a printed announcement of the citizens' rally 
lists the Rev. James H. Robinson as a sponsor of the meeting. This 
meeting was held in Carnegie Hall, April 13, 1940. Do you recall 
signing the statement just mentioned and sponsoring the meeting of 
that date ? 

Mr. Robinson. I recall signing that statement and sponsoring the 
meeting. 

Mr. McNamara. Do you recall who approached you to give your 
support to these activities ? 

Mr. Robinson. I do not recall who that was. 

Mr. McNamara. Would you recall, approximately, the approach 
they made to you, how they couched their appeal? Did they tell you 
that academic freedom was being destroyed by this committee, or 
public education was being weakened, or what was the approach ? 

Mr. Robinson. On my own initiative I kept up with that commit- 
tee. There were some things I was opposed to about their methods 
and procedures, that I thought were detrimental, especially in our 
own community where if somebody made a stand on some things con- 
trary to their point of view, they always assumed, illogically at the 
beginning, that he was a Communist or a Communist-front sym- 
pathizer. I was opposed to some actions of the committee and the 
way it was working in New York and especially in relationship to my 
own community. 

Mr. McNamara. Are you aware of any instances in which this 
Rapp-Coudert committee unjustly attacked any teachers or employees 
of the New York City Board of Education as Communists, or if the 
New York City Board of Education unjustly fired anyone as a Com- 
munist as a result of the hearings ? 

Mr. Robinson. I knew that some people that I knew and trusted 
in the Harlem community who were called before the committee and 
who had a liberal position and who had joined a lot of things, as I had, 
and whom they assumed were Communists. I do not think they were 
given a fair hearing. I did not think they had on their staff people 
who could assess the whole Negro community and how you get involved 
in a good many of these things when noDody is fighting for those 
causes. 

Mr. McNamara. Do you know whether any of these persons you 
have_ reference to were actually identified as members of the Com- 
munist Party, by witnesses before the committee? 

Mr. Robinson. No, the people I had in mind, and who I was con- 
cerned about, were people I was convinced were not Communists and 
were never cited as such. 

Mr. McNamara. Were they cited by the committee, that you know, 
and did they suffer any penalties such as dismissal ? 

Mr. Robinson. They did not suffer the penalties of dismissal, but 
th^ suffered a great deal in many other occasions, as I myself have 
suffered, because many people have assumed since I did some of these 



1946 TESTIMONY OF REV. JAMES H. ROBINSON 

things, I was a Communist or a fellow traveler, neither of which I 
have been. 

Mr. McNamara. Do you think it unfair, Doctor — I am trying to 
get an objective view ot this whole situation — for a committee, shall 
we say, or for private citizens, to become somewhat suspicious of an 
individual when the public record indicates he has been associated 
with Communist causes ? 

Mr. Robinson. I think it is logical that people looking at a long 
document of involvement could arrive at that conclusion. My own 
hope woud be that they would be willing to assay the facts and find 
out the reasons why, and then look at the outside of the record which 
is what bothers me sometimes. 

Mr. McNamara. That is one of the problems we face with com- 
munism. If a man has a long record of supporting Boy Scout fimc- 
tions, we can conclude pretty logically and certainly that he is an en- 
dorser and supporter of the Boy Scouts. Only with Communist fronts 
it is a different matter because, by their very definition, they have what 
Communists call "innocents" in them, people they have duped into sup- 
porting the organization. By the same token, however, they also have 
Communists in them. This is one of the difficulties we have faced in 
this country for 20 or 30 years or more — finding out who is who or who 
is which. Congressional committees face it. State legislative subcom- 
mittees, and security agencies. 

Mr. Robinson. I submit this is a difficult problem. 

(At this point Mr. Tuck left the hearing room.) 

Mr. IciioRD. Proceed, Mr. McNamara. 

Mr. McNamara. Dr. Robinson, the New York Conference for In- 
alienable Riglits was cited as Communist by this committee in 1944. 
It was one of the groups active in New York during the period of the 
Rapp-Coudert investigations, which opposed that investigation. The 
Daily Worker of November 11, 1940, page five, reported that: 

A conference against the attempt to curb educational facilities in New York 
State and to limit the civil rights of teachers by the Rapp-Coudert Investigating 
Committee will be held * * •. 

It listed a number of individuals who reportedly had agreed to 
sponsor the meeting, and it lists the Rev. James H. Robinson as one 
of them. This conference was held in the Hotel Pennsylvania in New 
York City on November 19, 1940, under the sponsorship of The New 
York Conference for Inalienable Rights. 

Do you recall this event and whether or not you did support the 
meeting? 

Mr. Robinson. I think I supported the meeting but I do not believe 
I was there. 

Mr. McNamara. The letterhead of the New York Conference for 
Inalienable Rights, dated November 25, 1941, about a year later, lists 
the Rev. James H. Robinson as a member of its State Advisoi-y Coun- 
cil. To the best of your recollection, did you sen^e on the State Ad- 
visory Council of the New York Conference for Inalienable Rights? 

Mr. Robinson. I did not. I never went to a single meeting, if they 
had any meetings. 

Mr. McNamara. Do you recall who solicited your support, for the 
conference held at the Hotel Pennsylvania on November 19, which we 
have just mentioned ? 



TESTIMONY OF REV. JAMES. H. ROBINSON 1947 

Mr. KoBiNsoN. Do you have a list there, again ? 

1 hate to take the coimiiittee's time to do this. 

Mr. McNamara. There are quite a few names and the Daily Worker 
also lists a considerable number of names. 

Mr. KoBiNSON. It might have been Jack McMichael, who was chair- 
man of the American Youth Congress, whom I knew, or William 
Pickens, with whom I was working at the time on the staff of the 
NAACP, or Dr. Guy Emery Shipler, or Norman Sibley, whom I knew 
very well at the University Heights Presbyterian Church, or Jolin 
Paul Jones, or Dr. Harry F. Ward. 

Mr. McNamara. Dr. Robinson, another group which protested the 
hearings of the Rapp-Coudert committee was the National Federa- 
tion for Constitutional Liberties, cited by the Attorney General in 
1942, by this committee in 1942, and the Senate Internal Security 
Subcommittee in 1957. This organization held a conference to protest 
the Rapp-Coudert committee at the Hotel Pennsylvania on July 27, 
1942. This gathering was called a Conference to Protect our Free 
Public Schools from Coudertism and Defeatism. And the flyer or 
piece of literature distributed announcing this event, the call to the 
conference, actually bears the caption "For Victory Over Fascism In 
Our Schools." It contains the name of the Rev. James H. Robinson as 
sponsor of the conference. Do you recall sponsoring this conference ? 

Mr. Robinson. I believe I do recall sponsoring that conference. 

Mr. McNamara. Again, do you recall who solicited your support 
for it? 

Mr. Robinson. I do not recall who it was, but when you look down 
these names you see a list of a good many other people whom I suppose 
were in the same position I was, and who had concerns for causes, but 
not concern for who was sponsoring the cause and what ultimate aims 
they might have. 

Mr. McNamara. Could you tell us this, Doctor. At the time you 
were lending your support to those organizations, opposing the Rapp- 
Coudert hearings, were you domg so because you were opposed to the 
elimination of Communists from teaching positions, or from the edu- 
cational system in New York City? Basically, the purpose of the 
Rapp-Coudert committee was to eliminate the Communists who had 
infiltrated the New York City school system. I was wondering if your 
support of these various groups was based on your belief that Commu- 
nists should be permitted to teach and you were, therefore, opposed 
to the basic concept of this hearing, this investigation ? 

Mr. Robinson. No, I was not against it, if I can say this right, be- 
cause they wanted to get Communists out of it. That would not have 
been my position. I was for keeping the Communists out in the open 
and not disbarring them, because I always thought it was better deal- 
ing with them in the open than having to deal with them behind. This 
was always my position, but I did not take this position, because I 
wanted to see Communists put out of the system. I did this, because I 
did not like some of the ways the committee was working but I was 
not then nor ever have been in favor of protecting Communists or 
promoting communism. 

Mr. McNamara. The American Youth Congress was cited by this 
committee in 1939, by the Attorney General in 1942. This organiza- 
tion was active in the late 1930's and early 1940's. It originally was a 



1948 TESTIMONY OF REV. JAMES H. ROBINSON 

broad youth organization which was comprised of both Communists 
and non-Commmiist groups. Eventually, the Communists did suc- 
ceed in taking it over completely. In July 1940, the American 
Youth Congress held its sixth annual meeting in Wisconsin. The 
theme of this meeting was a protest against American aid to Eng- 
land and France. This was the time of the Hitler-Stalin pact. The 
report of the conference, a copy of which I have here, identifies James 
Robinson as one of the organization's representatives-at-large. Do 
you recall holding that position with the American Youth Congress 
at the time ? 

Mr. Robinson. No, I never had any such position as that. 

Mr. McNamara. Were you in any way affiliated with the Amer- 
ican Youth Congress — a member, or an officer, or an official ? 

Mr. Robinson. I represented the youth department of the NAACP 
in relationship to that group in association with a number of organ- 
izations at the time who were associated with the overall American 
Youth Congress. 

Mr. McNamara. Do you recall whether or not you participated in 
that sixth annual meeting in Wisconsin ? 

Mr. Robinson. No, I did not. 

Mr. McNamara. The Daily Worker of October 28, 1940, pages one 
and two, reported that a number of youth leaders throughout the coun- 
try had issued a statement expressing concern about the legal right 
of minority parties, including the Communist Party, to a place on the 
ballot. It lists the Rev. James Robinson as a signer of this state- 
ment. I notice that the statement was issued by Jack McMichael who 
was then chairman of the American Youth Congress. You previously 
indicated that you were acquainted with Mr., now Rev. McMichael. 
Do you recall signing this statement ? 

Mr. Robinson. I recall signing that statement. Jack McMichael — 
I first knew him down at the King Mountain Field Conference of the 
Student Christian Movement at the North Carolina meeting, where 
the Presbyterian Church in the United States had its summer con- 
ference headquarters at Montreat. He was head of the Southern 
movement of the Student Christian Movement. Later on he became 
involved in this and went on to other things. 

Mr. McNamara. Do you recall whether you were shown the text 
of this statement before it was issued ? I ask that because I see here, 
reading from this statement : 

In the State of New York today, a campaign of terrorism and brutal intimi- 
dation is being conducted against individuals who have signed nominating peti- 
tions for the Communist Party. 

As an old-time New Yorker, and actually living in the city as of 
that date, October 28, 1940, I do not recall any such activity. I was 
just wondering if you were aware of the fact, when you signed the 
statement, that it contained such an accusation and whether or not 
you might have had knowledge of such a campaign of terrorism ? 

Mr. Robinson. There certainly was no campaign of terrorism. I 
would not have signed that statement, if I had read the whole thing. 
My interest, mainly, as I indicated before, was keeping them out in 
the open, a position which developed even more fully later on. 

Mr. McNamara. Dr. Robinson, the American Student Union was 
cited as a Communist front by this committee in 1939. The Daily 



TESTIMONY OF REV. JAMES. H. ROBINSON 1949 

Worker of October 9, 1940, reported that on the following day there 
would be peace demonstrations on 10 New York City campuses and 
that these meetings were timed to coincide with nationwide peace 
demonstrations sponsored on 110 other campuses by the American 
Student Union. These demonstrations were sponsored as part of its 
national student "Walk-Out on War." The Daily Worker, the issue 
which I have just mentioned, reported that Rev. James Robinson 
would speak at one of these rallies, the one held at Brooklyn College 
(evening school) . Do you recall whether or not you actually did speak 
at that rally ? 

Mr. Robinson. I am sure I did not speak at that rally. I did speak 
at another rally on the campus of Colimibia. 

Mr. McNamara. On this date, the same date? Do you know if it 
was part of this "Walk-Out on War" demonstration ? 

Mr. Robinson. That was in the fall, wasn't it? No, I spoke at 
Columbia at a rally against war in the spring of that year. 

Mr. McNamara. Do you recall who requested you to make this 
speech ? 

Mr. Robinson. I do not recall the individual at the time. I wish 
my memory served me a good deal more at this period in detail about 
people. 

Mr. McNamara. Do you, today, have any recollection or knowledge 
or suspicion, at that time, that the American Student Union might 
have been under Communist control or infiltrated by Communists 
and influenced by them ? 

Mr. Robinson. At the time I did not have that feeling. 

Mr. McNamara. The Daily Worker of March 5, 1941, page two, pub- 
lished a statement protesting the United States Government's attitude 
toward the Communist Party and the fact that it had been ruled off 
the ballot in 15 States in recent elections. That issue of The Worker 
listed the Rev. James H. Robinson as one of the signers of this state- 
ment. Will you tell the committee whether or not you do recall sign- 
ing it? 

Mr. Robinson. I believe I did sign that statement. 

Mr. McNamara. Do you recall who solicited your signature, or any 
of the circumstances surrounding your signing ? 

Mr. Robinson. Well, this was a position that I had at the time and 
I was opposed to having it ruled illegal; not that I was for it, a 
position which I have developed in many other areas. I would like 
to state at the end of these documents, more fully, my position and I 
have used it in other connections later on. I do not recall who asked 
me to do this. 

Mr. McNamara. To the best of your recollection. Doctor — I am not 
sure of the developments that took place in each one of these 15 
States — do you recall any particulars and specifically on what grounds 
the party was ruled ofi' the ballot, whether it was on the grounds that 
it did not meet the qualifications established by the various States for 
political parties, or what it might have been ? 

Mr. Robinson. The details? I honestly cannot say that I know 
about the States as to why it was ruled off the ballot. 

Mr. McNamara. The Citizens' Committee To Free Earl Browder, 
was cited as Communist by the Attorney General of the United States 
in 1942 and this committee in 1944. That committee, of course, was 



1950 TESTIMONY OF REV. JAMES H. ROBINSON 

set up to try to win a pardon or the release of Earl Browder from the 
Atlanta Penitentiary where he was serving a prison sentence for 
fraudulent use of passports. He was, at that time, general secretary 
of the Communist Party. The People^s Voice, issue of March 21, 
1942, featured a full-page advertisement of the Citizens' Committee To 
Free Earl Browder. It lists the Rev. James H. Robinson as one of 
these who had signed a petition for Earl Browder 's release. 

Do you recall whether or not you did sign such a petition ? 

Mr. Robinson. I think I would have signed that on the basis that 
it was the feeling at that time, at least, this is what I was led to believe, 
that Browder could be used by the United States in the prosecution 
of the war effort. 

Mr. McNamara. Could you tell where, when, or how, you gained 
that impression, or who gave you that impression ? 

Mr. Robinson. It could have come from any number of people in 
those days. It might have been from — members of this connection at 
the time, I hate to use names, because I do not know. 

Mr. ScHADEBEKG. It could have come from some literature. I am a 
clergyman so I know that it might have come across the desk either in 
a professional magazine, or even a church magazine. 

Mr. Robinson. It could have come from that and even from a num- 
ber of groups having the peace idea. Some of those people I knew 
and was in contact with for some time. 

Mr. McNamara. Did it ever occur to you as being rather strange 
that some people you might have been acquainted with during the pe- 
riod of the Stalin-Hitler pact and who were violently pro-peace and 
against U.S. participation in the war — did it ever occur to you to be 
strange that, immediately after the break in the pact occasioned by 
Hitler's attack on Stalin, these people just switched to the opposite 
position. They became violently pro-war; they could not do enough 
to promote the war effort, and so forth. 

Mr. Robinson. That began to dawn on me, I would say, 3 or 4 or 5 
months after this switch came, when I began to think out a good many 
things for myself. Yes, I did begin to wonder about this. 

Mr. McNamara. Doctor, do you recall any other cases during World 
War II in which someone had been imprisoned for a conviction under 
a criminal statute and concerning whom you felt he could help the war 
effort if he were released — and therefore you might have signed a 
petition for his release? 

Mr. Robinson. I can think of no one else, no. 

Mr. McNamara. The National Federation for Constitutional 
Liberties was cited as Communist by the Attorney General in 1942, 
by this committee in 1942, by the Senate Internal Security Subcom- 
mittee in 1957. In January 1943, at the start of the 78th Congress, a 
message was submitted to the House of Representatives sponsored by 
the National Federation for Constitutional Liberties, urging that the 
Committee on Un-American Activities be abolished as a step toward 
U.S. victory in World War II. This petition, a facsimile of which I 
have in my hand, lists the Rev. James H. Robinson, Church of the 
Master, New York, New York, as one of the signers. Do you recall 
signing this petition ? 

Mr. Robinson. Mr. Dies was head of the committee then, wasn't he? 

Mr. McNamara. That is right. 



TESTIMONY OF REV. JAMES. H. ROBINSON 1951 

Mr. Robinson. I remember sig-ning this. This is a damaging admis- 
sion, but I have to admit it. I signed it. 

Mr. JNIcNamailv. Do you recall who approached you to sign this 
petition, or any of the circumstances surrounding the development? 

Mr. Robinson. Well, I had had a great deal of discussion about Mr. 
Dies and the committee over the whole period of its formation and 
development with a good many people that I talked with. I think this 
one I did on my own without anybody influencing me or suggesting 
that I do it. 

Mr. McNajiara. In other words, you heard of this petition perhaps 
being circulated by the National Federation for Constitutional 
Liberties ? 

Mr. Robinson. They probably sent it to me knowing my feeling 
about a number of things. 

Mr. McNamara. May I ask if, at the time, you had any suspicion or 
belief that the National Federation for Constitutional Liberties was 
a Communist-front organization? 

Mr. Robinson. I honestly cannot answer that categorically. I 
would not want to say that I did or did not, when I am not sure. 

Mr. McNamara. Dr. Robinson, the Daily Worker of January 13, 
1943, page three, mentions a meeting at which Benjamin J. Davis, Jr., 
New York County Chairman of the Communist Party, w^ould review a 
recently published book written by Earl Browder, the leader of the 
United States Communist Party. This meeting was to be held on 
January 15, 1943, in New York City, and it reports that the Rev. 
James H. Robinson would serve as chairman of this meeting. Do you 
recall whether or not you did serve as chairman of that meeting? 

Mr. Robinson. I did not serve as chairman of that meeting. 

Mr. McNamara. Do you have any recollection of having been asked 
to do so ? 

Mr. Robinson, I think at that time Ben Davis was a city council- 
man, was he not ? 

Mr. McNamara. That is right. 

Mr. Robinson. And I had supported his candidacy because nobody 
else w^as nominating Negroes at that time. He probably could have 
asked me about this, but I did not and would not want to be associated 
in that way at the time, and I did not accept, if I were asked. 

Mr. McNamara. You say then, that you do not recall it specifically, 
but if you had been asked it might have been by Davis — or do you 
recall definitely being asked and refusing ? 

Mr. Robinson. I do not recall being asked and refusing. But that 
is not a meeting that I would have chaired. 

Mr. McNamara. The National Negro Congress, Dr. Robinson, was 
cited as a Communist-front organization by the Attorney General in 
1942, by this committee in 1939, and by the Subversive Activities Con- 
trol Board in 1957. 

The Daily Worker of March 15, 1943, page three, reported that the 
National Negro Congress had called a protest meeting which was to 
be held the following Thursday night at the Church of the Master, of 
which I believe you were then pastor. The purpose of the meeting 
was to demand the immediate release of George A. Burrows, who had 
been charged with attempted rape and whom Governor Dewey of New 



1952 TESTIMONY OF REV. JAMES H, ROBINSON 

York liad extradited to Mississippi. Do you recall this meeting being 
hel d at the Church of the Master ? 

Mr. EoBiNSON. I recall that incident. I think I recall that meeting 
being held at the Church of the Master. 

Mr. McNamara. The Daily Worker of March 20, 1943, page three, 
reported that you spoke at the "Save George Burrows Rally" held at 
the Church of the Master. Do you recall whether or not you did speak 
at the rally? 

Mr. Robinson. If they were there in my church and I was there, I 
spoke. 

Mr. McNamara. Do you recall the incidents surrounding the meet- 
ing, that is, who approached you and requested that the meeting be 
held in your church? I presume it would be someone from the Na- 
tional Negro Congress. 

Mr. Robinson. I knew a lot of people in that Congress which was 
headed by John Davis at the time. 

I forget his middle initial. John P. Davis, I think it was, who 
headed it up at that time. And I would have been asked by them, 
because I had taken a position already from stories in the newspapers, 
mainly, the Ar)isterdam Netos, I suppose. I do not loiow when Peo- 
pWs Voice went out of business, but I stated I thought the Governor 
had made a mistake in extraditing this man and I made that per- 
fectly clearly understood in my own position. 

Mr. ]\IcNamaha. Were you aware, or did you suspect at the time, 
that the National Negro Congress was Communist-controlled ? 

Mr. Robinson. In the beginning, I did not suspect that it was. I 
thought it was another bona fide organization going out to fight for 
the rights of Negroes and full citizenship. Later on, I would say 
about 1944 or 1945, I came to know a great deal more about the Na- 
tional Negro Congress and entered into active opposition with the 
NAACP to them. 

Mr. McNamara. Are you acquainted with A. Philip Randolph? 

Mr. Robinson. Yes. 

Mr. McNamara. Certain material appeared in the Congressional 
Record of September 24, 1942, concerning the National Negro Con- 
gress and A. Philip Randolph. I was just wondering if you were 
aware of this? It states that Mr. Randolph, president of the Na- 
tional Negro Congress since its inception in 1936, refused to rim again 
in April 1940 "on the ground that it [the National Negro Congress] 
was deliberately packed with Communists and Congress of Indus- 
trial Organization members who were either Communists or sym- 
patliizers with Communists". 

I was wondering if you were familiar with the fact that A. Philip 
Randolph had taken this action as early as 1940 after serving as presi- 
dent of the Congress for 4 years ? 

Mr. Robinson. No, I was not aware of that. 

Mr. McNamara. The DaHy Worker of March 17, 1943, page tliree, 
reported that the 11th Assembly District Club of the Communist Party 
called an "action mass meeting" for that da,y to protest "high prices, 
high rents, and Negro job discrimination." The Daily Worker also 
listed certain persons who were sponsors and endorsers of this meet- 
ing, including the Rev. James H. Robinson. Do you care to make 
any comment on this report? Do you remember that meeting? 



TESTIMONY OF REV. JAMES. H. ROBINSON 1953 

Mr. EoBiNSON. I do not remember the meeting, but I was active in 
the -whole business of extremely high prices in the Harlem community 
and, among other things, started a co-op store and a credit union to 
combat it on my own through the church. I would have been involved 
in something like this, I think, knowing full well they were Com- 
munists at that point to get up and state a position that I thought I 
wanted to get across. 

Mr, ]\IcNamara. Were you then a resident of the 11th Assembly 
District; do you recall? 

Mr. Robinson. Where is it ? 

Mr. JMcNamara. The mass meeting was at All Souls Church at the 
corner of 114th Street and St. Nicholas Avenue. Among the speakers 
were Benjamm Davis, along with a number of other people. Do 
you recall ever having been approached by anyone whom j^ou knew to 
be associated with the 11th Assembly District Club of the Communist 
Party to support any of its f mictions? 

Mr. IvOBiNSON. I do not think they would have sent anyone to me, as 
I look back on it, now, anybody from the Communist Party who I 
would suspect to be a Communist to ask me to do anything. 

Mr. McNajiara. Do you happen to recall who any of the officers of 
that 11th Assembly District Club might have been at that time? 

Mr. Robinson. I do not. 

Mr. McNamara. I have here. Dr. Robinson, a flyer distributed by the 
9tli Assembly District Club of the Communist Party advertising 
"Forums for Victory" andthis flyer specifically mentions a symposium 
held on Thursday, April 22, 1943. It says here Rev. James H. Robin- 
son, Church of the Master, and two others — Minna Harkavy, famous 
sculptress, and Isadore Begmi, War Activities Director, New York 
State Committee, Communist Party — would speak at the symposium. 
This was held at the Hotel Newton, Broadway and 94th Street, at 
8:30 p.m. 

Do you recall this afi^air and whether or not you did, as advertised in 
this item, speak at it ? 

Mr. Robinson. To the best of my memory, I did not. 

Mr. McNamara. Do you recall ever being approached by the 9th 
Assembly District Club of the Communist Party to speak at any of 
its Forums for Victory ? 

Mr. Robinson. I do not recall it. I have no doubt they would have 
asked me. 

Mr. McNamara. Doctor, do you have a copy of the excerpt from the 
hearing of this committee on May 3, 1955 ? 

Mr. Robinson. Yes. I haA^e. 

Mr. McNamara. This is a hearing at which Mildred Blauvelt, a 
New York City police undercover agent in the party, testified. Blau- 
velt Exhibit No. 1 is a notice she had received about this series of four 
Forums for Victory, which also listed you. Rev. James Robinson, as 
one of the speakers on April 22. You liave had a chance to review this 
exhibit, but to the best of your knowledge — if I recall your testimony 
correctly — you do not remember that you were actually billed as a 
speaker or actually spoke on that occasion ? 

Mr. Robinson. I do not recall, but let me answer it this way: "Wlio 
is Isadore Begun ? The name is unfamiliar to me. And if I spoke, and 
I may have spoken, it would have been because I was working strongly 



1954 TESTIMONY OF REV. JAMES H. ROBINSON 

then with a great many Jewish groups against anti-semitism. I would 
have spoken only for that reason and under those circumstances. 

Mr. McNamara. You mean that you may, then, actually have spoken 
at that affair ? 

Mr, KoBiNSON. On the 22nd, yes, of April. 

Mr. McNamara. And at that period then, I gather, you believed 
that cooperation with the Communist Party, to the extent of appearing 
at its affairs, was, shall we say, a proper thing ? 

Mr. Robinson. What was the date again, of this, 1943 ? 

Mr. McNamara. This is April 22, 1943. 

Mr. Robinson. I would say that at that time I believed if I could 
utilize the Communist Party for things that I believed in, although I 
knew it was a hazardous pursuit to try to do so, that I should try to 
do that. 

Mr. McNamara. Have you since found out that the Communists 
have used anti-semitism, or the elimination of anti-semitism and the 
elimination of prejudice or discrimination of all kinds, including dis- 
crimination against Negroes, more as a tool to aid their own purposes, 
than as a sincere position they are taking ? 

Mr. Robinson. Yes, I found out a lot of things about the methods 
of the Communist Party in utilizing these things, and I have written 
extensively about them, especially a chapter on communism in a book 
called Totnorrow Is Today which was published in 1954. 

Mr. McNamara, Dr. Robinson, in 1943, Benjamin J- Davis was the 
Communist Party candidate for the New York City Council. The 
Daily Worker of October 5, 1943, page four, recorded that the Rev. 
James H. Robinson was chairman of the Ministers Committee to Elect 
Benjamin J. Davis. Would you care to make any comment or explana- 
tion about this item? To the best of your recollection, were you 
chairman of the Ministers Committee to Elect Benjamin J. Davis? 

Mr. Robinson. I was. 

Mr. McNamara. Could you tell me on whose suggestion or initiative 
you assumed that position ? 

Mr. Robinson. Probably Ben Davis asked me himself, 

Mr. McNamara. Did you participate in, shall we say, a founding 
meeting of this committee? Do you know how it was organized? 

Mr. Robinson. No, I do not know how it was organized- Possibly 
after it was organized, I, with a group of other ministers, agreed, 
after I was approached, to be chairman of the committee to try to 
get a Negro elected to the City Council. I do not recall at the time 
whether Mr. Powell was running at that point or not. I think not, in 
1943, and I wanted to see some Negro become involved in the govern- 
ment of the city of New York and neither the Democratic nor the 
Republican Party would nominate anybody. And so I supported him. 

Mr. McNamara. Do you recall whether or not an organization meet- 
ing of this group was called and whether or not at that meeting you 
were elected chairman — or were you just named by Ben Davis? 

Mr. Robinson. Actually, I was asked to be chairman. I was not 
elected chairman, and I was probably asked by Davis if I would be 
the chairman of this committee, as in former years I was asked by 
a number of people if I would be chairman of several committees for 
office in New York, like Earl Brown when he ran for City Council 
and some others, some of whom I acceded to and some I did not. 



TESTIMONY OF REV. JAMES. H. ROBINSON 1955 

Mr. McNamar.\. I gather, Doctor, from some of the statements you 
have made in this testimony that were Ben Davis to run today you 
would not accept if you were asked to be chairman of his committee, 
is that correct? 

Mr. Robinson. I would bo chairman of the committee on the other 
side, if I had the chance. 

Mr. McNamara. Would you state approximately when your posi- 
tion on this matter changed ? 

Mr. Robinson- I think my position on these matters began to change 
in the middle 1940-s toward the end of the war and were solidified, I 
would say, by 1949-1950, when I took a whole new position which I 
referred to previously. After I took that trip abroad for the Presby- 
terian Church in 1951 and 1952 to see who was winning the minds of 
young people and learned a good many more things outside of this 
country that I had not learned while I was in it — although I had 
learned a good many things about communism in this country — I think 
my change was completed. 

Mr. McNamara. Doctor, I believe you stated you were acquainted 
with Ferdinand C. Smith, is that correct ? 

Mr. Robinson. Yes. 

Mr. McNamara. Do you recall a testimonial dinner in honor of 
Ferdinand C. Smith held in New York City at the Hotel Commodore 
on September 20, 1944, which, according to the program, you 
sponsored ? 

Mr. Robinson. I remember that. 

Mr. McNamara. Do you have any knowledge of who organized this 
dinner in honor of Ferdinand C. Smith ? 

Mr. Robinson. I do not recall at the moment. 

Mr- McNamara. Do you recall, by any chance, who approached you 
and asked you to support the dinner ? 

Mr. Robinson. That, I do not recall. It could have been Ferdinand 
Smith himself, on the basis that I knew him, I worked with him in 
1938, 1939, 1940, and 1941, as I indicated on a number of community 
projects, welfare and social committees in the Harlem community. 

Mr. McNamara. Do you recall whether or not you attended the 
dinner ? 

Mr. Robinson. I am pretty sure I did not attend the dinner. 

Mr. McNamara. I believe you testified earlier that you were not 
surprised when Smith was removed from his post in the National 
Maritime Union for Communist activities and was subsequently de- 
ported — or am I thinking of someone else ? 

Mr. Robinson. He was asked to leave the country and went to the 
West Indies. I made that statement a moment ago. 

Mr. McNamara. Dr. Robinson, in 1943, the Communist Party aban- 
doned its Young Communist League and formed in its stead an orga- 
nization called the American Youth for Democracy. This organiza- 
tion absorbed both the Young Communist League members and also, 
to a great extent, the American Youth Congress people. On Octo- 
ber 16, 1944, on the occasion of the first anniversary of the American 
Youth for Democracy a "Salute to Young America" dinner was held. 
The American Youth for Democracy, by the way, was cited by this 
committee in 1944, the Attorney General in 1947, and the Senate In- 
ternal Security Subcommittee in 1956. The program for this dinner. 



1956 TESTIMONY OF REV. JAAIES H. ROBINSON 

which I have mentioned, lists the Rev. James H. Robinson as one of the 
sponsors of it. 

Do you recall sponsoring that dinner? It was held at the Hotel 
Commodore on October 16, 1944 ? 

Mr. Robinson. I am not very familiar with that in my recollection. 
T likely could have been one of the sponsors of it. 

Mr. McNamara. But you have no clear or concise recollection, is 
that correct ? 

Mr. Robinson. No, as to whether I participated in the meeting and 
the dinner or not. 

Mr. McNamara. Can you tell us whether or not you were aware of 
the American Youth for Democracy's existence at the time and the 
role it was playing as the successor to the Young Communist League? 

Mr. Robinson. I do not think I would have been aware of that. 

Mr. McNamara. The following year, on December 12, 1945, on the 
occasion of the second anniversary' of the American Youth for De- 
mocracy a dinner entitled "Welcome Home, Joe" was held by the 
organizat ion. According to the printed program, Rev. James Robin- 
son was a sponsor of this dinner. Do you recall that? It was held 
at the Hotel Roosevelt in New York City. 

Mr. Robinson. I do not think I was a sponsor of that dinner. We 
looked at that. By this time I had begun to be aware of it. Looking 
at that document, 1 would have to say that I might have let my name 
be used, I think. 

Mr. McNamara. Did you, by any chance, know the Reverend Wil- 
liam Howard Melish who was listed as one of the co-chairmen of the 
dinner? 

Mr. Robinson. Yes, I knew him. 

Mr. jMcNamailv. And you have indicated you knew Rev. Jack R. 
McMichael, another co-chairman? 

Mr. Robinson. Yes. 

Mr. McNamara. Do you recall whether or not they might have 
approached you. or do you think it is a possibility, if you have no 
recollection of this dinner, that they might have used your name 
without your permission ? 

Could you state an opinion on that matter ? 

_Mr. RoRTNSON. I do not know if they used my name without per- 
mission, but if I was asked at all it would have been more likely by Jack 
McMichael. I did not have that kind of relationship with William 
Howard Melish. I saw him at a number of meetings, religious af- 
fairs, and Protestant council meetings, but that is all. 

Mr. IcHORD. Mr. McNamara, before you go on to another exhibit, 
it is now 12 :17 and the chairman has a meeting at 12 :30. I would 
suggest a recess now and resume at 2 :00 o'clock^ 

The Chair will declare the meeting in recess until 2 :00 o'clock. 

(Whereupon, at 12:17 p.m. Tuesday, May 15, 1964, the subcommit- 
tee recessed to reconvene at 2 :00 p.m., the same day.) 

AFTERNOON SESSION, TUESDAY, MAY 15, 1964 

(The subcommittee reconvened at 2 :00 p.m.,Hon. William M. Tuck, 
chairman of tlip snlicommittee, ])residino-). 

Mr. Tuck. The subcommittee will come to order. Proceed. 



TESTIMONY OF REV. JAIVIES. H. ROBINSON 1957 

TESTIMONY OF REV. DR. JAMES H. ROBINSON— Resumed 

Mr. McNamaka. Dr. Eobinson, the Daily Worker of August 14, 
1949, named the Rev. James H. Robinson as a signer of a Communist 
Party nominating petition for Benjamin J. Davis, Jr., who was then 
running for the office of City Councihnan for the City of New York 
on the Communist Party ticket. 

Could you tell me whether or not this Daily Worker report is 
accurate ? 

Mr. Robinson. I believe that is accurate. 

Mr. McNamara. I have here a co^y of the petition in question and 
I was wondering if you would be good enough to look at it and tell 
us whether or not that is your signature. 

Mr. Robinson. I did and that is my signature. 
I looked at it this morning with Mr. Appell, before we came in, 
and identified that as my signature. 

Mr. McNamara. Would you care to make any comment on your 
signing of this petition ? 

Mr. Robinson. I can say that I had the same position that I had 
before. I almost would like to be able to talk off the record on this 
point, although I know I cannot ask it. But at that point there was 
another man coming up to run for Congress in that district — run for 
City Council I mean — who also Avanted to rmi at the same time and 
M'ho I was opposed to. I thought the least difficult of the choices 
for all of us concerned would be Ben Davis, even though he was 
known to be a Communist. 

Mr. McNamara. I was just trying to recall. This was August 
1949. It is my recollection that the top leaders of the Communist 
Party had been indicted under the Smith Act for conspiring to teach 
and advocate the overthrow of the United States Government. This 
was in 1948, 1 believe, and the trial started in 1949. So I believe Mr. 
Davis was under indictment at that time. Do you recall whether 
that was so? 

jMr. Robinson. I think he was. 

Mr. McNamara. And you still felt that he rated your support and 
vote in the election, I gather ? 

Mr. Robinson. I think he did. I think under wiser judgment now 
I would have said, "I will not stand to help either one of them." 

Mr. McNamara. Dr. Robinson, in the summer of 1949, the Com- 
munist Party staged another one of a series of concerts held in Peeks- 
kill, New York, the purpose being to raise funds for the Civil Rights 
Congress which has been cited as the Communist Party's legal defense 
agency. 

The 1949 concert featured Paul Robeson and, in the course of the 
concert, there was rioting, violence. Large numbers of State Troop- 
ers and police were called in to quell it. There was a grand jury 
investigation and so forth. Now, the Daily Worker of October 14, 
1949, on page two, stated that Paul Robeson, who was then chairman 
of the Council on African Affairs, had, in the name of his organization, 
sent a letter to President Truman demanding that the Peekskill riots 
be made the subject of Federal investigation and prosecution. The 
Daily Worker of that date also reported that Rev. James H. Robin- 
son was one of the signers of that letter. 



1958 TESTIMONY OF REV. JAMES H. ROBINSON 

Do you recall giving your assent or signature for this letter? The 
Council, by the way, was cited by the Attorney General in 1947 and 
by the Senate Internal Security Subcommittee in 1956. 

Mr. Robinson. I recall that. 

Mr. McNamara. Could you make any observations on the action ? 

Mr. EoBiNSON. Well, I was concerned about what I thought was 
some injustice and the way that situation was handled in Peekskill 
and I was expressing my opinion, then, even though through this medi- 
um, about my opposition to it and trying to help find the means to 
getting something done positively about the Peekskill situation. 

Mr. McNamara. Could you tell us what you felt was wrong, or 
what the injustice was, in this situation ? 

Mr. Robinson. I think there were a lot of people, as I can recall that 
situation at that time, about which there was a good deal of discussion 
in our neighborhood and our community about the unfortunate events 
that took place there, that there was a good deal of injustice done to 
many of the people in that area who had some legitimate grievance. 
To be sure, the Communist Party used some of this to their own 
ends, but there were a good many people that I thought desei-ved our 
support. 

Mr. McNamara. Were these the people in Peekskill ? I am wonder- 
ing who were the people injured or subjected to injustice in some 
form — whether you can recall specifically who they were. 

Mr. Robinson. I cannot remember whether they came to the concert 
or were the people from the community. My impression was that 
many of the people were from the community, and some of the people 
who came were unjustly treated. 

Mr. McNamara. Do you recall if, at the time you signed this letter, 
you were aware that there was a grand jury investigation underway 
to determine the cause and responsibility for the riot? 

Mr. Robinson. I do not recall that. 

Mr. McNamara. Do you recall the results of that grand jury in- 
vestigation ? 

Mr. Robinson. I do not. 

Mr. McNamara. Actually, the conclusion was that these riots were 
Communist-inspired and instigated. I might also point out for the 
record, I believe, that the magazine Commentary^ which is a publica- 
tion of the American Jewish Committee, featured a very lengthy 
article on the riot, a scholarly work, which drew the same conclusion. 

Doctor, who, if you recall, solicited your signature for this letter. 
Do you remember that ? 

Mr. Robinson. No, I do not remember who did. 

Mr. McNamara. Do you recall who it might have been who gave 
you these accounts of the injustice and so forth done to the Peekskill 
people in the Peekskill area, or to some of those who went up to the 
concert from New York City ? 

Mr. Robinson. Well, my information on that would have come, 
generally, from our own Amsterdam Neivs, maybe the PeopWs Voice, 
at that time, and from a good deal of discussion I had with a number 
of people. There was a pretty general support in the whole of the 
Harlem commimity on this. 

Mr. McNamara. My next question. Doctor, concerns an organiza- 
tion which has not been officially cited as Communist. However I 



TESTIMONl" OF REV. JAMES. H. ROBINSON 1959 

■would point out that the sponsors of the organization who have been 
identified as Communist Party members include Hugh Bryson, Shirley 
Graham, Albert E. Kalm, John Howard Lawson, George Murphy, 
Paul Robeson, and Ferdinand E. Smith. Moreover, Dr. W. E. B. 
DuBois, the chairman of this group, the African Aid Committee, 
openly joined the Communist Party in 1961 and for many years prior 
thereto was extremely active in Communist causes — so much so that 
in 1948 or 1949, as I recall, he lost his position as research director 
fortheNAACP. 

But this African Aid Committee was formed in May of 1949, ac- 
cording to its literature, and I have here a number of letterheads and 
so on, which list the Reverend James H. Robinson of New York City 
as a sponsor of the committee. 

Do you recollect your sponsorship and, if so, do you recall who it was 
who requested it ? 

Mr. Robinson. What is the name of the organization again ? 

Mr. McNamara. It is the African Aid Committee, located at 23 W. 
26th Street, which, as I recall, was the home of Frederick Vanderbilt 
Field and was used as the headquarters of quite a few fronts. 

Mr. Robinson. I remember signing that. That was in relationship 
to doing something for laborers and people, for the freedom movement, 
I believe, in Nigeria, certainly in Africa. 

Mr. McNamara. When you agreed to serve as a sponsor of the or- 
ganization, were you aware of the number of persons identified as 
Communist Party members, under oath, who were associated with it? 

Mr. Robinson. Some of them I knew. I did not know that Shirley 
Graham was at that time, for example, with whom I had a close 
association, because she also worked for a while in the NAACP. 

Mr. McNamara. Doctor, some years back, in the late 1940's, a dis- 
pute arose in Brooklyn, New York, involving the Church of the Holy 
Trinity. It centered around the Rev. John Howard Melish and his 
son, the Rev. William Howard Melish, and was based on the Com- 
munist-front activities of the Rev. William Howard Melish, the son, 
his leadership of the National Council of American-Soviet Friendship, 
and public statements by Louis Budenz that he knew him as a Com- 
munist. A prolonged dispute followed. The vestry voted to oust 
the Rev. John Howard Melish as pastor, because he continued to sup- 
port his son's activities. 

And then his son was voted pastor in his place. Bishop DeWolfe 
then appointed a substitute pastor and Rev. William Howard Melish 
refused to vacate the church. A very difficult situation was created 
and eventually it ended up in the courts, the Supreme Court of the 
United States. 

On January 11, 1951, a motion was filed on behalf of 2,576 clergy- 
men petitioning the Supreme Court for leave to file amici curiae, a 
brief, in the case. Your name was listed among the clergymen on 
whose behalf this motion was presented. Do you recall that event. 
Doctor? 

Mr. Robinson. I do. 

Mr. McNamara. Do you recall who solicited your support for this 
brief? 

Mr. Robinson. It must have been some of those clergymen who 
signed it. My position at the time was that this was badly handled. 



1960 TESTIMONY OF REV. JAMES H. ROBINSON 

although it is certainly not my business to decide how Anglicans handle 
their problems internally, by the Anglicans, nor is it their problem 
how we solve our problems in the Presbyterian Church, internally. 

I felt that was an injustice. I realize now that was not a very 
good position to take. 

Mr. McNamara. Eventually, as this dispute ended up, the Supreme 
Court left standing a lower oourt decision upholding the bishop and, 
after 12 years of padlocking and court battles and so forth, the Prot- 
estant Episcopal Diocese of Long Island — because of Rev. Melish's 
defiance — finally had to just close down the church and declare the 
parish extinct. 

Doctor, what was your reaction at the time to Rev. Melish's activities, 
his leadership in the National Council of American-Soviet Friendship, 
and other Communist-front activities, and also the public identifica- 
tion of him as a Communist ? 

Did you feel that despite this, he should be supported? 

Mr. Robinson. That is a hard question to answer. I don't think, 
in the sense that I was not aware at the time that he had been identified 
and established as a Communist, that I would not have supported his 
religious right, but in light of more knowledge I would say I would 
take a wholly different position today. 

Mr. McNamara. On January 14, 1953, the Daily Worker reported 
that 1,500 leading Protestant clergymen had joined in sending a letter 
to President Truman asking him to save the lives of Ethel and Julius 
Rosenberg, who had been convicted of espionage against the United 
States on behalf of the Soviet Union, and who were sentenced to death 
and actually executed on June 19, 1953. 

The Daily Worker of that date listed Rev. James H. Robinson as 
one of the signers of this letter. 

Mr. Robinson. I signed the letter. I remember that I signed that. 
My only purpose was that while it was right to convict them, I thought 
the same purpose could be, in accordance with my position against 
killing people because of crimes, achieved by keeping them in jail 
for life. Of course, I thought they were not innocent and I thought 
they committed a heinous or greatly offensive crime. 

Mr. McNamara. Do you recall. Dr. Robinson, who approached you 
to sign this letter? 

Mr. Robinson. Do you have a list there ? 

Mr. McNamara. This lists a number of people, not vei-y many, who 
did sign the letter. 

Mr. Robinson. I know most of these people here who were distin- 
guished clergymen, like Robert H. Nicholas, professor emeritus of 
Union Seminary, and Paul Scherer of Holy Trinity Lutheran, who 
was also there at the time and many others with whom I was intimately 
acquainted. 

I could not say which of these people I discussed it with. I am 
sure that I talked with all of them at one time or another. 

Mr. McNamara. Doctor, the Daily Worker of January 13, 1953. 
page 8, reported that the National Committee To Defend Negro Leader 
ship, at a ceremony held the previous Sunday, had made its first an- 
nual citations of Negro men and women who had "fought for democ- 
racy and peace in the face of attack," and the article stated that among 
those honored was Dr. James A. Robinson, identified as a churchman 



TESTIMONY OF REV. JAMES. H. ROBINSON 1961 

whose passport was recently demanded by the State Department. 
Was this Dr. James A. Robinson you, was that an incorrect middle- 
initial, or what happened ? 

Mr. RoniNsox. The middle initial is incorrect. When it refers to 
one who the State Department asked for his passport, that refers 
to me which I should like to say, after 3 months, I got to keep. But 
I did not receive a citation. They have never given me a citation. I 
do not have it. 

Mr. IMcNamara. This article does not name you as one of the per- 
sons who showed up to receive the award or to accept the scroll. 
And while the National Committee To Defend Negro Leadership has 
not been cited as Communist by any Federal agency, we bring this up 
only because among those honored by the group on the occasion were 
known and identified Communist Party leaders such as Ben Davis, 
Pettis Perry, Henry Winston, Benjamin Carruthers, and Coleman 
Young, Paul Robeson, and Dr. W. E. B. DuBois. And one of the 
speakers was Dr. Herbert Aptheker, generally recognized, I believe, 
as one of the leading theoreticians of the Communist Party in this 
country, and the editor of Political Affairs. 

Do you recall receiving any communication from the group in- 
forming you that the award had been voted to you ? 

Mr. Robinson. I know something, or I recall knowing something 
about this, but deciding in my own mind that I did not want the 
award, what I did about it — whether I wrote them or told somebody 
at the time that this is not the kind of an award I could accept in that 
company, I do not know. I know I did not go to any meetings where 
an award was given. At that point I would not have wanted to go. 
At that time, I knew where Aptheker, Davis, and Winston stood. 

Mr. McNamara. The organization I am about to mention now, Doc- 
tor, has not been officially cited as Communist. The committee does 
not take the position that it is, and I am bringing it up now only be- 
cause of our understanding that you would like to make a statement on 
all of your activities that might be controversial or might involve in- 
stitutions or organizations accused as leftist and so forth. I have in 
mind the Highlander Center in Knoxville, Tennessee. The letter of the 
Center, which is a successor to the Highlander Folk School of Mont- 
eagle, Tennessee, is dated December 12, 1962, and lists you as a sponsor 
of the Center. 

Would you tell us what your understanding is of the nature of the 
Center ? 

Mr. Robinson. First of all, I helped them in a good many ways in 
the raising of funds for the Highlander Folk School, and I think there 
was a chap there by the name of Myles Horton, the director of it. My 
understanding was that the name was changed when either the local 
community or the State of Tennessee tried to keep them from going on 
with their work, and this new organization came about as an effort 
to keep it alive. 

This was during the time and shortly before the first of Martin 
Luther King's boycotts in Alabama where a number of people even 
before and afterwards came to get some courses in adult e<iucation and 
in political activities in terms of how to better the conditions of 
Negroes. 



1962 TESTIMONY OF REV. JAMES H. ROBINSON 

Mr. McNamara. Apparently the Folk School which preceded it be- 
came controversial and subject to a certain amount of criticism because, 
although those who rmi the Center have never been identified as mem- 
bers of the Communist Party, some pretty well-known Communists — 
including some top ranking officials of the party — have gone down to 
the school, taken part in some of its functions, attended some of its 
classes, and so forth. 

And I think you can understand why this would make the school 
controversial — the support these people have given to it and the fact 
that this support has not appeared to have been rejected. 

I have one item here from the New York Times of September 14, 
1958, page 16, which I would like to bring to your attention. The 
article reports an interview held with you following your tour of Afri- 
can countries in 1958. The caption of the article reads as follows : 

"Reds, Not Nasser, Feared in Africa," and this article makes it quite 
clear that you stated in this interview that communism was the greater 
threat to the newly independent and emerging nations of Africa. 
Would you care to elucidate on some of the comments you made at the 
time, following your African trip ? 

Mr. Robinson. I made a whole lot of comments at the time. Some 
of them were highly critical of the State Department's personnel in 
Africa, which I felt was not very good, not very wise. We had no 
policy. I made many speeches on that. 

We were developing no personnel and we needed to have a wholly 
new massive arrangement on how we were going to help these African 
countries meet their opportunity, how skillfully we were going to 
stand against communism in this area, and how intelligently we were 
going to do it. 

I wrote considerably about that and that became the basis, of course, 
of the development, Operation Crossroads Africa. Although we do 
not state this explicitly, our job is to fight communism; our job is to 
help people create that kmd of a democratic structure that would 
help them to combat it. 

Mr. IMcNamara. "Communist infiltration was seen by Rev. Robin- 
son as the greater potential threat." It says that is a greater threat 
than the activities of President Nasser. Do you think that the experi- 
ence you had with Communists in the United States and their decep- 
tive operations as evidenced by the record here, probably helped you 
in spotting what was going on in Africa ? That is, as far as the activi- 
ties directed by Moscow were concerned? 

Mr. Robinson. I think the experiences I had here gave me a lot of 
insight into methods, techniques and strategy which stood me, first, 
in good stead when I was asked to go out to Asia on this project, and 
then, secondly, when I got involved in the whole Africa situation. 

I have written extensively about it in chapter three of that little book, 
Tomorrow Is Today. I stated that we lost a great opportunity to 
know a lot about communism in the United States and how it worked, 
because we Americans were so ignorant about how Negroes as a whole 
rejected communism, beginning in 1932 when the first efforts of Com- 
munists were made to win them and get their allegiance, and in 1932 
when they took something like 24 to Moscow to do a film. 



TESTIMONY OF REV. JAMES. H. ROBINSON 1963 

All of them rejected communism and came back on their own money. 
We could have learned a great deal if we had paid more attention 
to their efforts. 

Mr. McNamara. On the basis of your experience, what recommen- 
dations would you make today along those very lines ? What can we 
learn ? What basic principles do you think we can operate on in com- 
bating Communist attempts to win Negroes to their position on vari- 
ous matters, or to recruit them into the Communist movement? 

Mr. Robinson. Can I broaden it a little bit ? 

Mr. McNamara. Surely. 

Mr. Robinson. My position is this : First of all, I think that every 
student j'outh conference, whether it is YMCA, or one of the church 
groups, ought to involve in their summer study programs two things : 
First, it ought to have some nonpolitical people to come and talk about 
the responsibility of citizens in a democratic society. This is a won- 
derful opportunity. 

There will be over 100,000 potential youth leaders in the United 
States all across the country, Westminster Foundations, Newman 
Clubs and a multitude of groups in summer conferences. They will 
have a lot of fun, songs — folk songs, dances, and a lot of religion, but 
they will have nothing about labor, nothing about politics and gov- 
ernment, nothing about the world we live in, and what are the forces 
struggling for the minds of people. 

I think in every conference there ought to be somebody who is 
an expert., who knows communism and its strate^, to work at the 
undergraduate level in these conferences. There is a wonderful op- 
portunity to make them aware of the problem, to educate them on 
how best to meet it and overcome it. 

Now in our preparations for the people who go with us on Cross- 
roads, one of the essential things they must do is they have to read 
Bas Kapital. We send them some other literature on Communist 
strategy and techniques. They are going to face some of these people 
and they are going to have to face them not in heat and anger, but with 
intelligence. 

They are going to be better prepared to deal with these, if they have 
done their homework. 

Secondly, I think every time there is a Communist youth confer- 
ence we ought to find a way of preparing, training, and sending some 
people. This is a statement I made that got me in trouble when we 
took away the passports of the 41 American youths who went to 
Moscow and Peking some years back. 

I wasn't against taking the passports. What I was against and 
what disturbed me was this was the end of it. Every 2 years there 
is going to be such a conference. It seems to me that we ought to 
prepare 100 people and find ways of getting them in to work for us 
from within. 

It seems to me that we ought to prepare people and send them to 
work from the inside. I came to this conclusion, because when I first 
went on that trip abroad for the Presbyterians, I was asked by James 
Flint of the American Occupation Office (Religion Section) in Berlin, 
to go into Eastern Germany in August of 1951, trading on the fact 



1964 TESTIMON^^ OF REV. JAMES H. ROBESTSON 

that I had been mistaken by a lot of young people as Paul Robeson, 
my name Robinson sounded similar. If they had asked me to sing, 
they would have known I was not. 

I went up to the Polish border 4 days. I found thousands of young 
people who were not any more Communist than I was. And I said 
to myself, ""VVliat a tragedy." 

I said, "We do not have people here among these thousand of 
young people who give our point of view from within," and the reason 
I came to that conclusion was that I had a meeting along with a 
young fellow who carried a Communist Party card, a German from 
East Germany, from the Student Christian Movement. 

His name I never used, for a time, because it would have been bad 
to isolate him and to have identified him to the "Volks police." We 
met with 400 young people in the basement of St. Marion's Church 
until four o'clock in the morning. Two days later, 25 young peo])le 
who were in that group came over to Jim Flint into West Germany, 
defected and decided to leave. Some of them had gotten to the 
conference there because somebody had paid their way. 

It was the first time they had a chance to go somewhere. It seemed 
to me if you prepared and trained a corps of young people skillfully 
and put them in a place where they could do some good on the other 
side, since they are going to have that conference, and since some 
yoimg Americans, misguided or not, are going to go, it is our duty to 
make all the capital we can. 

Now in terms of the present struggle, as far as civil rights are 
concerned, I have just finished a chapter for a new book, which is going 
to be published by the United Church of Christ in the fall, called 
For a Time of Promise and Anxiety^ on this whole situation, in which 
I point out that there are good reasons, sometimes, why people can 
logically be civilly disobedient. 

But it is the obligation of the person who takes this stand to purge 
out of their ranks the kind of people who do not take it for the same 
good reasons of conscience and who try to use it to another advantage 
or infiltrate the movement for Communist ends. 

This is their responsibility to do this. They cannot hide under 
the fact that our cause is so good and our situation is so desperate 
that we will accept anybody on a brotherhood front movement to 
come in and help us. 

That will include Malcolm X, the Communists, and a good many 
other people with whom I would not agree under these circumstances. 
So I think the best thing to do is to prepare the minds of young 
people about what communism is and help them to face it. 

If it had not been for the experience I had had when I went out to 
Asia and the Middle East in 1951 and in 1952 on the Presbyterian 
program, I would have not been, I could not have been effective at all, 
because I could not have understood in Northern Italy, or in Eastern 
Berlin, or among the Communists whom I have met in a great many 
places in Asia and especially in India, I could not have understood 
a great many things about Communist theory, strategy and methods 
and have been effective. 

Mr. McNamara. Doctor, I have here some excerpts from your book. 
Tomorrow Is Today ^ and you have, as you have indicated, a little 



TESTIMONY OF REV. JAMES. H. ROBINSON 1965 

section on the subject of communism in this book. I could not help 
noticing this sentence : 

To understand the enemy you must study his ideas, methods, and techniques. 
You have to know where he is and what his intentions are in order to anticipate 
his next move and finally defeat him. 

This struck me for the simple reason that I happen to know that 
this is a major theme in speeches the chairman of this committee has 
been makmg lately. He has been stressing over and over the idea 
that the beginning of the answer to this problem is the study of com- 
mmiism, that we have to know it thoroughly. 

And I gather from this, and from other sections of this book, that 
you feel there is a great need for this. 

Mr. RoBiNSOisr. I think there is a great need. 

Mr. McNamara. And you would therefore support, for example, 
the courses on communism that have been introduced in various school 
systems of late ? 

Mr. Robinson. Yes, especially depending on who is giving them. 

Mr. McNamara. I agree with you on that. You speak here, too, 
of the confusion that exists in America about the nature of commu- 
nism. I would just like to quote your book and then ask you for your 
ideas as to the best way to end this confusion. Maybe you have other 
ideas — in addition to the concept of basic education on the subject. 
You wrote: 

Our confusion was clearly shown the night Stalin died. Newspapers and radio 
commentators went through mental and emotional gymnastics which excited 
our imaginations with wild ideas of how Communist strategy might change — 
as though a change of strategy implied basic changes in communistic ideology. 

If the Soviet leaders could have listened in they would have been gratified 
to know how uninformed some of us really were. The truth is that Commu- 
nist strategy is directed by members of the Politburo and based on a set of 
inflexible dogmas that do not depend upon the Politburo leaders either for their 
being or for their survival. 

If every member of the Politburo should die tomorrow, the strategy might 
shift, change, and jockey for a new position, but the essential aims of the attempt 
to remake both man and the world would remain constant. 

Apparently this is the basic idea that you felt should be driven home. 
Do you have any suggestions to make in addition to that ? 

Mr. Robinson. I wish we could do some simple things, help people 
to get an understanding and an awareness. We talk with a good deal 
of heat and light about communism. A good many people hate it, but 
they do not know what it is or how it works, and what its ultimate aims 
and hopes are. 

I think if there could be some simple things in which you could do 
this — I do not have the document any more, but when I was in India I 
did some things for Chester Bowles which I sent back through the 
consul pouch from Hong Kong, because I could not work on them 
until I got there, in which I pointed out in two areas what could be 
done to help people relate the United States to the problem of race 
which was a big problem and, secondly, how American personnel going 
out to Asia or to Africa ought to be briefed and prepared in terms of 
what Communist strategy is. 

I thought some simple documents that could be put in the hands of 
everyone going out — I did one of these. I did a little book, as a result 
of that, and Donald Stone, now at the University of Pittsburgh, who 



1966 TESTIMONY OF REV. JAMES H. ROBINSON 

used to be head of the Mutual Security Agency, asked me to do, which 
was called. Love of This Land. This book pointed out what progress 
there had been in race relations, for use of American personnel in 
Government going out to Asia where there was a burning question, 
so they could give some constructive, positive answers. 

Because I did not find many people in 1951 or 1952 who could do 
more than be angry or sensitive, my great strength was I could take 
these questions from thousands of Indian young people who raised 
questions, and I could put them in a constructive backgromid by know- 
ing some of the things that we had done, not saying that we were not 
guilty, that we were perfect, because that is the wrong thing to do. 

You have to make people believe you are honest, first. Then you can 
get them beyond being just negative on things they know about the 
United States. 

But I felt that everybody going abroad ought to be knowledgeable 
about communism, how it works, what the strategies are. For example, 
in India we had some people go out on leadership grants for the 
United States who fell right into all the traps of the Communists, 
which you always face any time you talk to a group of students or 
laborers, because a small group of Communists would be in the meeting 
and they would get the floor before anybody else got it, and pretty 
soon you would be pushed into a corner or on the defensive. 

That is, if you did not know what was happening. It took me some 
time and many defeats, to know what was happening. You had to 
know how to answer them from the dialect of Marx ideology rather 
than getting angry or excited about it, and then move that meeting on 
to some other people there who wanted to get the floor. But you could 
not offend them, because, after all, they belonged to the country even 
though they might be Communists. Aji error of tactic here could lose 
you the whole audience. You have to know how to keep an audience 
and how to bring it to your point of view. 

In Tokyo, Japan, at the university, two Communists got on both 
sides, one on one side of the room and one on the other side of the 
room. By that time I could pretty well tell the Communists by the 
areas of the room from which the applause came. I knew who was 
who and what their methods and techniques were, but nobody had 
helped prepare me for this, and most of the American people in Gov- 
ernment, mission work and business I saw out in Asia at the time had 
not been prepared for this. 

Sometimes an educated and important man like Saunders Redding, 
at the time, of the Hampton College faculty, whom State had sent 
out — came back from India saying, "All the Indian students are Com- 
munists." You would have to separate who is a Communist and who 
acts like a Communist, because it is nice to make someone from the 
United States feel like the rear end of a mule going north. These 
students toyed with him. The main fact is he gave up trying to fight 
the real Communist by oversimplification. 

We give great attention to this whole area in Crossroads when our 
people meet at Douglas College for Women at Rutgers for 7 days for 
their final preparation. We indicate what types of groups in the vari- 
ous countries of Africa might be leftwing or Communist and how 
they can answer them effectively and how they are going to avoid being 
pushed mto a corner. 



TESTIMONl' OF REV. JAMES. H. ROBINSON 1967 

And we do the same thing on race relations for our groups going out. 
Of coui-se, they start a long time before this. We give them material 
to road as soon as our screening conmiittee has selected them, and we 
try to get our selection done by the end of February, or before. Thus, 
they have 4 to 5 months of reading and other preparation. 

That is, so we can put them on a reading course. Then, we have a 
number of conferences. We have one at each of 12 colleges and uni- 
versities, spaced around the Nation, to each of which delegates from 
20 to 30 colleges come. 

We spend the whole day with the kind of problems they were going 
to face, what they should be reading, set up some potential situations 
that they might face, and help them to work out some of the answers, 
because they are going to be challenged all along the line, and espe- 
cially by the leftwing students or the Communists. 

This is going to be more of a problem in the years to come, because 
the great wave of African students who have gone to [East] Germany 
or Moscow or Peking or Poland is just now this summer beginning to 
come back in any significant numbers. In 4 to 5 years that wave 
will reach its peak. 

So we are trying to prepare our young people and our leaders, too, 
in what they can do to win an audience and get people to go along 
with them and see their view rather than just winnmg a battle. 

Mr. McNamara. Doctor, are you aware of the Freedom Academy 
bills which are presently pending before this committee, and on which 
we have held a number of days of hearings and are planning some 
additional hearings? 

Mr. Robinson. I am not familiar with the bill. 

Mr. McNamara. Basically, the Freedom Academy would be the 
kind of institution you have in mind, I believe, when you say that our 
Government personnel who serve overseas, no matter what agency 
they are connected with, and private individuals who are going over- 
seas in the interest of the United States, to fight totalitarianism of one 
kind or another, are in unfortunate positions in that they do not know 
the strategy, tactics, tricks, and so forth of the enemy. 

The Freedom Academy would be set up to teach them these things. 
It will be open to Government officials, private citizens, and also to 
foreign nationals. 

Mr. Robinson. I would be wholeheartedly in favor of something 
like that. 

Mr. McNamara. Earlier in your testimony. Doctor, you did men- 
tion Dr. Harry F. Ward as having been, I believe, one of your teachers 
when you were at Union Theological Seminary, and as a man who did 
approach you back in the late 1930's and ask you to support certain 
organizations, which it later developed were Communist-controlled. 

There has been quite a bit said and even written about Dr. Ward 
and his influence on his students. I was wondering if you could assess 
approximately to what extent he might have influenced you to take 
part in some of the activities that you did after completing your 
studies ? 

Mr. Robinson. I have written a little bit about this in another book 
called. Road Without Turning^ which I certainly hope I can get 6 
months off to do the second half of, someday. It is my life up to 1948. 



1968 TESTIMONY OF REV. JAMES H. ROBINSON 

I would like to do it from 1948 to now, which has been the most pro- 
ductive part. 

In this, I detailed some of the problems I had and hostilities I had 
growing up as a boy in Tennessee and in Youngstown and in the im- 
poverished section of Cleveland, feeling a lack of acceptance on the 
part of white people generally, with the exception of a woman by the 
name of F. Lorraine Miller in Tonowanda, N.Y., whom I did not see 
until 5 years after I had graduated, but who made my education pos- 
sible, which I wanted desperately to get. 

My father took me out of school seven times, because, he said, "You 
are a Negro. You cannot go anywhere." I had to sneak and go to 
high school and to sneak and go to the first year of college in Cleve- 
land, Ohio, where I went to the day school. 

Harry Ward, after Lincoln University, where I finally got with the 
help of F. Lorraine Miller, when I got to Union Seminary, was the 
person who accepted me easier and quicker than anyone else. 

There were some professors who said that Negroes were incapable, 
but we ought to let them in the school because they are going to go 
into the ministry. I remember one professor who gave every Negro a 
"B" whether he earned it or not, because he thought it was charitable. 

I did not like that. I wanted to get what I earned. I would say 
that Reinhold Niebuhr agreed with me also, only his ideas were so 
ethnological I did not know what he was talking about. Harry Ward 
was simple, down to earth, and he accepted me. 

He was then involved in the League Against War and Fascism. I 
remember the first time he asked me to come to a rally in Madison 
Square Garden. I was concerned with peace and a better deal for all 
people. He had a powerful impact on me and a large number of other 
students. 

You have to realize that at that period Union Seminary was going 
through its own revolution in terms of the whole idea of the social 
involvement of the minister. There was a real revolt on the part of 
students against many of the people on the faculty, led by Harry F. 
Ward. 

I would say that he had a powerful impact upon my life for about 
the next 7 or 8 years after that. 

Mr. Tuck. Any other questions ? 

Mr. McNamara. I have no further questions. 

INIr. Tuck. Do you have any other explanation, statements, or in- 
formation you wish to give the committee ? 

Mr. Robinson. I do not have any more information on this whole 
business of Communist activity. The only statement I would like to 
make, if I may, is to say, first of all, I appreciate this committee's giv- 
ing me the hearing. I do not know how the other correspondence got 
lost. I wrote many times, including letters to President Eisenhower, 
to help me get a liearing, because 1 have nothing to hide. 

So I appreciate the committee. 

Mr. Tuck. Thank you. We are glad to have you here. 

Mr. Robinson. Then I would like to admit very frankly that I sup- 
pose with age and other experiences you get some wisdom. When I 
was growing up, I would certainly say that I did not have a lot of 
wisdom. I had a lot of energy and basic concerns about a lot of vital 
problems. 



TESTIMONY OF REV. JAMES. H. ROBINSON 1969 

I have never wanted nor desired to be a Communist. Nobody ever 
asked me explicitly to join the Commimist Party, but I think they 
would have been happy if I had joined the Communist Party. I am 
sure Ben Davis and some others would have been. 

I know some, not a great many, who have joined the party. During 
all this time, though it has no real germane place in this record, when 
1 was doing these things, I also built a camp for underprivileged chil- 
dren in New Hampshire, getting 20,000 students from New England 
colleges to come and work with me on their vacation periods and dur- 
ing their weekends, to be involved in this, and the co-op store. 

I was chairman of the Committee for the Integration of Negro Med- 
ical Personnel in the Voluntary Hospitals of New York, and I served 
during the war years, during 1943 and 1944 through 1945, making a 
lot of lectures to Army personnel in Fort Slocum, Fort Dix and Fort 
Devens and some other places, and lecturing for the Staff and Com- 
mand College of the Air Force down in Montgomery on what we ought 
to be doing and how we should be developing Army personnel to be as 
concerned about some of these problems and especially communism. 
INIost of this was from 1943 on to the present. 

I would like to call to your attention that the best letter I have ever 
received comes from the Superintendent of the West Point Military 
Academy, who sees to it that we get three cadets each year, who get 
permission from the Department of Defense to leave the country to 
go into Operation Crossroads Africa every summer on the basis that 
the Army is going to need personnel in all of these countries as mili- 
tary attaches who do not know just military tactics, but have some 
feeling and knowledge of Africa. 

The Air Force Academy wants to do it, but their problem is they 
start their classes too early, some time the first part of August. We 
tried the Navy, but we did not get them interested in it, at least, at 
this point. 

Finally, one reason I wanted to get a hearing with the committee 
v/as that unfortunately this record, unevaluated, comes up to a lot 
of people, and it stands in the way of what I am trying to do in the 
terms of Operation Crossroads Africa. 

Because, when j^ou go to a big industry or to a big fomidation they 
want to know about a lot of things like this. And if they get an un- 
evaluated record, which I have liad to stand up against at over a 
dozen universities through the years, and at many other places, and 
I have also stayed by until they understood my point of view, then it 
means I cannot do as much work as I would like or get as many people, 
because as a non-Government group we depend on private support to 
carry Crossroads. 

I do not know what you will say or how this will come out, but I just 
wanted you to hear my point of view and see where I have stood and 
what I have done in the service of this country, which is the position 
I took when they asked for my passport. 

I admit I refused to send it. I sent a statement where I was going 
to be every day for 3 months, if they wanted me, because I had used 
my passport to do things for my country in the Philippines with Mag- 
saysay, m Hong Kong with our consul general there, and in Western 
Germany, and out of that experience I was able to do many other 



1970 TESTIMONY OF REV. JAMES H. ROBINSON 

valuable things for the Nation. Anyway, I answered all their ques- 
tions and. notarized my replies under oath, and sent them in. 

Fortunately, after 2 months, they wrote me and said they were satis- 
fied with my answers and so on, and that I could keep my passport ; 
but for the last 12 years I tried to get a hearing. I appreciate your 
having me. I also appreciate your courtes}^. I never believed what 
people always said — and this is not sugarcoating it for you — how harsh 
this committee was. I can understand some of the problems it has 
with witnesses who do not want to answer questions, or who have the 
fifth amendment to liide behind. 

I guess it is not hiding behind. They are entitled to it, I suppose. 
I did not see where I needed to take it at any point. I would just 
like for more people to see and to know, who have a chance to come 
on the record, what I am like, where I stand, what my ideas are, and 
what kind of service I can give to this country in this hour of its great- 
est ideological confrontation, particularly in the African Continent 
which is the great interest I have, and which I think is going to have 
an awful lot to do with our security, because it is the last great bastion 
of mineral resources. 

The population of Africa will double in 25 years, and that will be 
a powerful nmnber to have on anyone's side. 

Mr. Tuck. We thank you. Do you have any questions ? 

Mr. IcHORD. Doctor, I did not catch where you took your doctorate. 

Mr. Robinson. I do not have, sir, an earned doctorate. I have 7 
honorary degrees. 

Mr. IcHORD. Did you take a master's ? 

Mr. Robinson. No. I graduated from Lincoln University and 

Mr. IcHORD. Lincoln University, where? 

Mr. Robinson. Pennsylvania, not Missouri. 

Mr. IcHORD. We have a Lincoln University in Jefferson City. 

Mr. Robinson. I know; I have been out there to speak. 

Mr. IcHORD. I was very interested, Doctor, in your statement that 
no member of the Communist Party had ever solicited you to join 
the Communist Party. This, I thought, was a little remarkable in 
view of the fact that you had associated with them quite freely in 
various causes and on a social basis. 

You state that no one ever asked you to join. Did you ever attend 
a Communist meeting? 

Mr. Robinson. I never attended a Communist meeting of a Com- 
munist Party cell or a Communist meeting per se. I attended the 
meetings where I knew there were Communists for other causes and 
other reasons, where there was something I was involved in, and I was 
invited to, as this record shows here. 

I think one reason they never asked me was because they were never 
quite sure of me as to where I stood. I am sure they would have liked 
to have me join. 

Mr. IcHORD. Certainly you probably had many philosophical argu- 
ments with them. I suppose your being a minister, none of them who 
were atheists would discuss atheism with you. 

Mr. Robinson. No, they were much too clever to do that, because 
what they wanted was the support of ministers on particular things, 
and that would have been an isolation. As I indicated in a chapter 



TESTIMONY' OF REV. JAMES. H. ROBINSON 1971 

of my book Tomorrow Is Today ^ they never took a position against 
the Negro church as such. They talked about religion being pie in the 
sky and all this business, and the stupidity of it, but they never took a 
position, even in the little pamphlet they put out a long time ago. 
Survival in the Blaek Belt, or something like that title, but even 
in this pamphlet they did not take pot shots or a difficult position 
against the Negro clergymen, because I think they recog-nized, first, 
if you are going to get anywhere among Negroes, always you had to 
use him, you had to know him, or you had to have his good will or his 
support, which was the same thing that the NAACP and everybody 
else did, as a matter of fact, that the Negro clergyman, although he 
was an uneducated man, at the same time was the person who had the 
ear of the community much more than anybody else did. 

Mr. IcHORD. You stated in your testimony that back when you were 
associated with Mr. Robeson and Ben Davis and others in several 
causes, that at that time you were of the mind that you would join 
with a Communist or anyone who was working for the objectives that 
you had in mind, and then later on you changed your mind. 

I would like for you to elaborate somewhat upon that. 

Mr. RoBiNSON". Well, I came to the place where you have to recog- 
nize, first of all, that you might do your cause and yourself more 
harm, if you joined with people who are better organized than you 
are, and better disciplined in a group than you have, and their great 
asset is tight discipline. 

They know where they are going and what they want to do. They 
can play it easy or soft. They can sit in a meeting that everyone 
leaves, as long as there is a quorum, and they will get the votes. I 
saw this happen many times at first without knowing what was hap- 
pening. I learned, but some people never did learn. 

I do not think it would be to my advantage, for example, in Opera- 
tion Crossroads Africa to let a Black Muslim come into Operation 
Crossroads Africa. I must admit one got in from the University of 
California at Berkeley, but we put him on a plane from Africa, when 
we found out about it, and sent him home. 

I would say the same thing about Communists. I would not let 
Communists in either. Now, would I let them cooperate with us on 
anything? No, I would not take that old position of cooperating any 
more. I would not get involved with people with ulterior motives 
who really end up trying to use you to make capital for their ends. 

Mr. IcHORD. "VVhat do you think motivates the majority of the 
people's activity in the Communist Party in America, from your own 
observations of those you have come into contact with ? 

Mr. Robinson. This is, of course, not scientific psychology. 

Mr. IcHORD. I imderstand you would have to look at every side, I 
believe. 

Mr. Robinson. I think there are a good many people who do not 
like anybody or anything, who are unhappy, dislocated personalities. 
This ^ives them a feeling of importance and of power when they join 
a dissident movement. I think that this is a very strong thing in the 
minds of a good many people who take the Communist ideological 
position. 



1972 TESTIMONY OF REV. JAMES H. ROBINSON 

Now in Russia or some other place there may be different reasons. 
But I think in tliis country that is so. As I look back on some of 
these people in those days who were on these committees, who were 
against everything and everybody, they were happiest, I feel, when 
everybody else was tearing their hair out, if I can put it that way. 
There are some who take it, of course, because they want to be at the 
top. 

If they can get in control, they will be in the strongest group. That 
is, a strong group that makes all the decisions for eveiybody else. 
And I think this plays a pretty important role in the minds of many 
people who become Communists. 

Mr. IcHORD. Do you feel that a Negro in the Peace Corps working 
in Africa will generally be more effective because of the acceptance 
in Africa ? You inferred that, I thought, from your statement. 

Mr. Robinson. IMay I go into that a little bit ? 

Mr. IcHORD. Yes. 

Mr. Robinson. I feel strongly about that problem. I do not think 
we have felt in the United States the tremendous importance of the 
American Negro in our whole image abroad and their effectiveness 
among our personnel abroad, not just Africa itself. I feel it particu- 
larly in Africa. 

I know, for example, it has to be the right kind of Negro. There 
are Negroes who want to run away from the problem. But ordinarily 
the good, strong, solid, well-selected Negro persons in Crossroads 
Africa get a better start, can go farther and make a greater impact 
for us. If we do not have two or three Negroes in a group of 15 young 
people, we have problems in that countiy. 

Mr. IcHORD. How do those problems arise ? 

Mr. Robinson. Those problems arise, because they say, first of all, 
"Don't you want more Negroes to come ? Who stops them from com- 
ing? Don't they want to come? Do you select young people from 
those schools where Negroes are not admitted ?" 

In other words, they accuse me, if you will, of not wanting Negroes 
to come, because they say this has been a part of your State Depart- 
ment policy for a long time in the lack of the use of Negro Govern- 
ment personnel abroad. The truth of the matter is that we do not 
have enough Negroes because of financial reasons and they think there 
is some ulterior reason. 

What they do not realize is that there are few Negroes who can raise 
$1,000. There are still fewer Negro youths that can do that and get 
back to school since if they go with us, they cannot work that summer. 
That is why we have to raise more money for minority people. 

One thing we have to say to Negroes is, "Your big problem is do not 
let yourself get isolated, because the Africans are going to gravitate 
to you right off. They are going to give you most of the invitations 
and most of the presents. If you get these invitations you say 'Can I 
bring Susie or Joe,' and you share the good fortune of your 
advantage." 

For example, we have to send a Negro to head up our group in 
Mali. It is to the advantage of our whole image, with their sensitivity, 
that we have a French speaking Negro who can head up our group m 
Mali this year. That gives us a long lead. 



TESTIMONY OF REV. JAMES. H. ROBINSON 1973 

So there are some places where this is a very significant thing and 
we can make excellent use of Negroes, Now when we bring people 
here on leadership grants, time after time they call up and they say, 
"We would like to see Harlem" or "We would like to meet some 
Negroes," and it always bothered me that quite often the people in 
charge of them felt that we had to shield them from this. 

We are bringing over 10 African students in conjunction with the 
State Department on a revei'se flow program, who are potential youth 
leaders. We are going to involve them with youth leadership groups 
in this country, in Pennsylvania, out in the Rockies, up in Chicago, 
with young labor leaders, and Jmiior Chamber of Commerce people in 
Pittsburgh and here in Washington with Government leaders. 

We are going to take them to Atlanta. We think they ought to go. 
If we do not take them, they will say, "You are hiding your race 
problem from us." We know there are enough people, Negi'o and 
white, in Atlanta to help them get an objective understanding of it. 

It is better to do this than leave them on a limb and have the left- 
wingers from Iron Curtain countries say, "They did not let you see 
the problem. They have something to hide." And then what they 
will get is an exaggerated side of the problem. 

I think we ought to do a good deal more than that. That is what 
I have been talking to State about yesterday, about how we can do 
this better. 

Mr. IcHORD. I yield to Mr. Schadeberg. 

Mr. Schadeberg. I have no questions. 

Mr. Tuck. We have no further business before the subcommittee? 

Mr. McNamara. There is no further business. 

Mr. Tuck. We thank you very much for your statement. 

The subcommittee will stand adjourned. 

(Whereupon, at 3 :10 p.m. Tuesday, May 5, 1964, the subcommittee 
adjourned, subject to the call of the Chair.) 



INDEX 

INDIVIDUALS 

A 

Page 

Alper 1944 

Alter, Victor 1942 

Aptheker, Herbert 1961 

B 

Ball 1938 

Begun. Isadore 1953 

Blauvelt, Mildred (alias Mildred Brandt; Sylvia Vogel) 1953 

Bowles, Chester 1965 

Browder, Earl (aliases : Dixon ; Ward ; George Morris) 1950, 1951 

Brown, Earl 1954 

Bryson, Hugh 1959 

Budenz. Louis Francis 1959 

Bundy 1938 

Burrows, George A 1951, 1952 

G 

Carruthers, Benjamin 1961 

Clark, Tom 1926 

Clement, Rufus (E.) 1944 

D 

Davis, Benjamin J., Jr 1928, 1951, 1953-1955, 1957, 1961, 1969, 1971 

Davis, John P 1952 

Dewey (Thomas E.) 1951 

DeWolfe 1959 

DuBois, W. E. B 1959,1961 

E 

Eisenhower (Dwight D.) 1968 

Erlich, Henryk 1942 

F 

Field, Frederick Vanderbilt 1959 

Flint, James (Jim) 1963,1964 

G 
Graham, Shirley (Mrs. W. E. B. Du Bois) 1959 

H 

Harkavy, Minna 1953 

Hitler (Adolf) 1935, 1938-1940, 1943, 1950 

Horton, Myles 1961 

J 

Johnson (Lyndon) 1931 

Jones, John Paul 1947 

K 

Kahn, Albert E 1959 

King, Martin Luther 1961 

Kom, Mrs. William S 1943 



ii INDEX 

L Page 

Lawson, John Howard 1959 

Leslie, Kenneth 1940, 1941,1944 

M 

Magsaysay (Ramon) 1969 

Mais, Wilfred 1930 

Malcohn X 1927, 1964 

McConnell, Francis 1944 

McMichael, Jack R. (Richard) 1947,1948,1956 

Melish, John Howard 1959 

Melish, William Howard 1956, 1959, 1960 

Miller, F. Lorraine 1968 

Murphy, George 1938, 1959 

N 

Nasser (Gamal Abdel) 1962 

Nicholas, Robert H 1960 

Niebuhr, Reinhold 1968 

Nielson, WilUam 1944 

P 

Perry, Pettis 1961 

Pickens, William 1947 

PoweU (Adam Clayton) 1954 

R 

Randolph, A. Philip 1952 

Redding, Saunders 1966 

Robesen, Paul 1928, 1939. 1957, 1959, 1961, 1964, 1971 

Robinson, James H 1925-1929, 1930-1973 (testimony) 

Roosevelt, (Anna) Eleanor (Mrs. Franklin Delano Roosevelt) 1938 

Rosenberg, Ethel (Mrs. Julius Rosenberg; nee Greenglass) 1960 

Rosenberg. Julius 1960 

Russell, Bertrand 1945 

S 

Scherer, Paul 1960 

Shipler, Guy Emery 1947 

Shriver, Sargent 1933 

Sibley, Norman 1947 

Smith, Ferdinand C 1939, 1943, 1955, 1959 

Stalin (Josef) 1935,1950, 1965 

Stone, Donald 1926, 1965 

T 

Tour6 (Sekou) 1933 

Truman (Harry S.) 1957,1960 

W 

Ward, Harry F 1936, 1937, 1947, 1967, 1968 

Weber, Charles 1944 

Weltfish. Gene 1943 

Wilkerson. Doxey A 1939 

Winston, Henry 1961 

Wise, Stephen S 1943 

Y 

Young, Coleman 1961 

ORGANIZATIONS 

A 

African Academy of Art and Research 1926, 1938 

African Aid Committee 1959 

All Souls Church (N.Y.) 1953 

America First Committee 1937 



INDEX ill 

Page 

American Committee for Democracy and Intellectual Freedom 1944, 1945 

American Committee To Save Refugees 1943, 1944 

American Jewish Committee 1958 

American Labor Party 1941 

New York State: 

County committee 1941 

American League Against War and Fascism 1936, 19(58 

American Peace Mobilization 1936, 1937, 1939 

American Student Union 1948, 1949 

American Youth Congress 1947, 1948, 1955 

American Youth for Democracy (AYD) 1955, 1956 

Atlanta University (Atlanta, Ga.) 1944 

B 
Brooklyn College (New York) 1949 

C 

Church of the Holy Trinity 1959 

Citizens' Committee of the Upper West Side (New York City) 1942 

Citizens' Committee To Free Earl Browder 1949, 1950 

Civil Rights Congress 1957 

Columbia University (New York, N.Y.) 1949 

Committee for the Integration of Negro Medical Personnel in the Volun- 
tary Hospitals of New York 1969 

Committee To Defend America by Keeping Out of War 1936 

Communist Party of the United States of America : 
States and Territories : 

New York State 1953 

New York City Area : 
Kings County : 
Brooklyn : 

Eleventh Assembly District Club 1952, 1953 

New York County (Manhattan) : 

Ninth Assembly District Club 1953 

Congress of Industrial Organizations (CIO) 1952 

Council on African Affairs 1926, 1938, 1957 

E 
Emergency Peace Mobilization 1935, 1936, 1937, 1939 

F 
Forums for Victory 1926, 1953 

H 

Hadassah 1940 

Highlander Center (Knoxville, Tenn. ; see also Highlander Folk 

School) 1961, 1962 

Highlander Folk School (Monteagle, Tenn.; see also Highlander Cen- 
ter) 1961,1962 

Howard University (Washington, D.C.) 1939 

I 

International Workers Order 1934 

J 

Jewish Theological Seminary (New York City) 1942 

L 
Lincoln University (Lincoln University, Pa.) 1930,1968, 1970 

M 

Maritime Union of America, National 1955 

Ministers Committee to Elect Benjamin J. Davis 1954 

Morningside Community Center 1931, 1935 



Iv INDEX 

N 

Page 

National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) 1930, 

1935, 1936. 1938, 1947, 1948, 1952, 1959, 1971 

National Committee To Defend Negro Leadership 1960, 1961 

National Council of American-Soviet Friendship 1959, 1960 

National Federation for Constitutional Liberties 1947, 1950, 1951 

National Negro Congress 1951, 1952 

New York City Board of Education 1945 

New York Conference for Inalienable Rights 1946 

O 

Operation Crossroads Africa, Inc 1925, 

1927, 1928, 1930-1933, 1962, 1966, 1969, 1971, 1972 

P 

Presbyterian Church 1928, 1948, 1960 

Presbyterian Church of the Master (New York City) 1925, 1926, 

1935, 1938, 1939, 1950-1952 

S 

Student Christian Movement 1948 

Student Christian Movement (East Germany) 1964 

T 

Transport Workers Union of America 1934 

U 

Union Theological Seminary (New York City)__ 1930, 1936, 1942, 1944, 1967, 1968 

United Front Against Fascism 1935 

United Jewish Women 1940 

U.S. Government : 

Army, Department of the : 

Office for Occupied Areas (Religion Section) 1963 

Mutual Security Agency 1926, 1966 

Peace Corps 1932, 1933, 1972 

National Advisory Council 1925, 1931 

State Department 1962 

Subversive Activities Control Board 1951 

United Youth Committee Against Lynching 1934 

United Youth Neighborhood Center 1935 

University Heights Presbyterian Church 1947 

University of California (Berkeley) 1971 

University of Pittsburgh (Pittsburgh, Pa.) 1965 

W 

West Council Associations 1939 

West Harlem Council of Social Agencies 1935 

Workers Alliance. ( See Workers Alliance of America. ) 

Workers Alliance of America 1934 

Y 
Young Communist League, USA 1934,1935,1955,1956 

PUBLICATIONS 

A 
Amsterdam News 1952, 1958 

C 

Capital, Das (Kapital) (book) 1963 

Commentary (publication of the American Jewish Committee) 1958 

D 
Daily Worker 1934, 1936, 1938, 1942, 1943 

F 



INDEX V 

L 

Page 

Life magazine 1931 

Love of Tliis Land (Robinson) 1926,1966 

M 

Mission to Moscow (movie) 1942 

N 

New York Herald-Tribune 1940 

New York Times 1962 

P 

People's Voice 1943, 1950, 1952, 1958 

Political Affairs 1961 

Presbyterian Life magazine 1931 

Protestant (see also Protestant Digest) 1940 

Protestant Digest (see also Protestant) 1940 

R 

Road Without Turning (Robinson) 1967 

S 
Survival in the Black Belt (pamphlet) 1971 

T 
Tomorrow Is Today (Robinson) 1954,1962,1964,1971 



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