The Facts of Guilt and Myths of InnocencenAllen Weinstein: Perjury: The Hiss-nChambers Case; Alfred A. Knopf;nNew York.nby Harold C. GordonnXhe Hiss-Chambers case hasnnagged the American conscience fornthirty years. Who lied? Was it WhittakernChambers, when he accused Alger Hissnof transmitting secret documentsnthrough him to the Soviets? Or was itnHiss, when he denied Chambers’ accusations?nA federal jury believed Chambers,nand Hiss was sent to prison forn44 months. But neither he nor hisnpartisans have ever ceased to protest hisninnocence.nNow a new book has appeared thatnshould satisfy any unprejudiced readernthat Hiss was indeed guilty as charged.nWith Perjury: The Hiss-Chambers Case,nhistorian Allen Weinstein has producednthe most complete and dispassionatenaccount of the subject ever to appear innprint.nHis verdict is all the more impressivenbecause he began work in the belief thatnHiss was innocent. Five years of exhaustivenresearch persuaded otherwise. In thatntime, he interviewed scores of survivingnactors in the drama, obtained a courtnorder that released more than 40,000npages of classified FBI files, and wasnallowed access to the files of the Hissndefense attorneys by order of Hiss himself.nIn the end, after sifting through thenmountain of accumulated evidence, henconcluded that Chambers had told thentruth and that Hiss had not. “Alger Hiss,”nhe said in a recent interview, “is a victimnof the facts.”nThe Hissophiles have always insistednthat he was a victim of a frame. Howncould a man like Alger Hiss have betrayednhis country? A graduate of Harvard LawnSchool, law clerk to Chief Justice OlivernMr. Gordon is Director of Special Studiesnof the United States Industrial Councilnin Nashville, Tennessee.nWendell Holmes, and State DepartmentnWunderkind who had accompanied FDRnto Yalta, he was head of the prestigiousnCarnegie Endowment for InternationalnPeace when Chambers, an ex-nCommunist who was then a senior editornat Time magazine, denounced him tonthe House Un-American Activities Committeenin 1948.nAt trial, the prosecution’s case restednon two crucial supports: Chamber’s testimonynthat Hiss had been engaged in espionage,nand copies of State Departmentnfriendship with Hiss. Chambers testifiednthat Alger and PrisciUa Hiss werenmembers of a secret Party cell in Washingtonnwhen he first encountered themnin 1934. From that time, until he brokenwith Communism in 1938, he and hisnwife enjoyed a close personal associationnwith the Hisses. Hiss at first disclaimednany acquaintance with Chambers, butnlater—pressed to explain how a totalnstranger had acquired a wealth of intimatendetail about himself and his family—hen”recollected” having briefly known himn”Alger Hiss is one of the greatest assets the Communist Party could possess. What isnvindication for him.-^ It is the moment when one of the most re.spectahle old ladies (gentlemen)nin Hartford (Conn.) says to another of the most respectable old ladies (gentlemen c ‘Really, Indon’t see how Alger Hiss could brazen it out that way unless he were innocent,’ Multi[)IynHartford by every other American community. For the CP. that is victory. That is all itnneeds. At that moment, confusion is rooted, morale split or sapped, truth poisoned . . . Andnall that Alger has to do for this victory is to persist in his denials.”n—Whittaker (Chambers tonWilliam F. Buckley, Jr., 1954ndocuments that had been typed on thenHiss Woodstock typewriter. Elaboratenhypotheses have been formulated to explainnboth. Chambers, who died in 1961,nhas been written off as a liar or a psychopath,ndriven by twisted motives to destroynan innocent man.nThe documents have been ascribed tonthe work of “sinister forces.” Admittedly,nthey were typed on the Hiss machine,nbut by whom? Hiss had discarded thenWoodstock a decade before he wasnfingered by Chambers. Anyone couldnhave retrieved it and manufactured thenrequisite proofs.nThanks to Dr. Weinstein, we maynfinally lay these speculations to rest. Hisnfindings have served only to underscorenthe credibility of Chambers, and thenincredibility of the various “forgery byntypewriter” theories.nInterviews with retired Soviet operativesnin Budapest and Jerusalem confirmednChambers’ larger story about lifenin the Communist “underground” duringnthe 1930’s. Depositions filed with thenFBI likewise confirmed the story of hisnnnbetween 1935 and 1936 as a free-lancenwriter named “George Crosley.”nThis was a cover-up. What is more,nthe Hiss files show that his attorneysnwere aware of it. Not only did their ownninvestigations corroborate details ofnChambers’ narrative, but defense counselnCharles Cross told Weinstein of a particularlyndamning revelation that neverncame out on the witness stand. In Januarynof 1937—months after Hiss claimed henhad last seen “Crosley”—the Hiss family’snpediatrician made a house call at theirnresidence. She was met at the door by an”very gruff” man who told her, “Younmay not come in!” In 1949, she recognizednthe man as Chambers from a newspapernphotograph.nOther sources verified the Party affiliationnof Alger Hiss and the more seriousncharge of espionage. Among these werenthe 1945 disclosures of Igor Gouzenko,na code clerk who defected from the SovietnEmbassy in Ottawa. The information henbrought with him about spy rings innCanada and the United States caused thenFBI to put Hiss under surveillance, whichn17nChronicles of Culturen