Chambers' Break with the Communist Party
the Hiss verdict, key evidence has appeared that substantially
alters the facts of the case.
in 1939, Whittaker Chambers repeatedly said in statements
and under oath that he left the Communist Party and went
into hiding in 1937. Then in November, 1948, he changed
the date to April 1938. He did so after turning over to
Alger Hiss's attorneys copies of State Department documents
he said Hiss had given him in April 1938.
conflicting statements about the date of his departure from
the Party were raised by the defense at both trials, but
it was only after Hiss's conviction that the defense uncovered
evidence which indicated that Chambers had left the Party
in 1937. This new evidence was included in Hiss's 1952 motion
for a new trial.
read more about what the Hiss defense learned about the date
of Chambers' break with the Communist Party, read the pertinent
sections of Hiss's 1952
motion for a new trial.
release of FBI documents on the case in the 1970s showed that
the government had information supporting the defense's contention
that Chambers had left the Communist Party in 1937. This new
information was included by Hiss in his 1978 coram nobis petition,
which sought to overturn the guilty verdict because of prosecutorial
misconduct. To read the portion of
Hiss's coram nobis petition on
Chambers' break with the Party, click