following is a memorandum written by Raymond Murphy, the Chief
Security Officer of the State Department, recounting his interview
of Whittaker Chambers.
March 20, 1945, Westminster, Md.
person talking was the liaison man for the Communist Party
of the United States with most of the persons listed below
and he spoke from personal knowledge not hearsay. At the time
he described the official line of the Communist Party as antiAdministration,
pretty violent, and the antithesis of the Popular Front days
of post1935. It is true that this second phase blended
in with the first period during which these persons continued
seems that in 1934 with the establishment of the Agricultural
Adjustment Administration and the introduction of much reform
legislation in Washington, the Communist Party decided its
influence could be felt more strongly by enlisting the active
support of underground workers not openly identified with
the Party and never previously affiliated with the Party but
whose background and training would make them possible prospects
as affiliates under the guise of advancing reform legislation.
The Hungarian, party name J. Peters, was selected by the Central
Committee to supervise the work from New York. His Washington
representative and contact man was the informant and he personally
met and discussed many times various problems with the persons
listed below except those specifically named as coming under
another person's jurisdiction. The persons listed below are
said to have disclosed much confidential matter and to have
arranged among themselves a program committing this government
to a policy in keeping with the desires of the Communist Party.
opportunity presented itself for the formation of an underground
group with the appointment to a leading position in the Agricultural
Adjustment Administration of one Harold Ware. Ware had worked
for years in Agricultural collectivization projects in Russia.
He was a son of Ella Reeves Bloor, veteran American Communist
by one of her numerous marriages. On being assigned to this
agency Ware found a group of very promising, ambitious young
men with advanced social and political ideas. Among them were
Lee Pressman, Alger Hiss, Henry Collins and Charles Kramer
(Krivitzky). They all joined the Communist Party and became
leaders of cells. No cell had over ten members. This was the
nucleus of the communist underground organization in Washington.
The purpose was for each member to advance as high as possible
in the government to shape legislation favorable to the program
of the Communist Party.
top leaders of the underground were:
Alger Hiss. In the order of their importance.
were various underground headquarters in Washington at the
time. Among these were a violin studio near Dupont Circle
run by Helen Ware, another place was a school on the outskirts
of Washington run by Alice Mendham.
informant dealt with these people from 1934 to the end of
1937 when he broke with the Party and attempted to persuade
various of these contacts to break. He remembers several conversations
with Alger Hiss in the early part of 1935 during which Hiss
was adamant against the plan of breaking with the Party. He
described Hiss as a person with a charming personality, absolutely
sincere in his convictions and motivated by the idea that
he was on the right track.
informant traced the jobs of these men until the end of 1937
and in each job they worked together with each other and with
the Party. Later adherents to the Party included Donald Hiss,
Henry Collins and a man named Post in the State Department.
a special category were Noel Field and Laurence Duggan of
the State Department. Field was described as a member at large
of the Party. Duggan was not. Neither was connected with the
underground, and in fact the underground had orders to refrain
from contacting them. The special liaison of Field and Duggan
was one Hetta Gumperts. She is now in the personnel department
of the Todd Shipbuilding Corporation and is married to Paul
Massing, a former member of the German Communist Party described
by General Krivitzky in his book. Massing is a penologist
for the State of Pennsylvania and they have a farm near Quakertown,
Penna. He is also known as Karl Billinger. Hetta Gumperts
is a Viennese Jewish girl. When Field went to the League of
Nations in 1936, he left Duggan in her special care. Gumperts
is a Communist International agent. It is understood that
Field and Duggan disclosed any information she wanted to know.
White of the Treasury was described as a member at large but
rather timid. He put on as assistants in the Treasury Glaser
a member of the underground group and an Adler or Odler another
party member. The two Coe brothers, also party members, were
also put on by White.
Kaplan, head of the National Research Project, was a party
member as was the other head and his sister Rose Weinstein.
Pressman was not only a Party member. He was directed by the
Party to accept the offer of John L. Lewis in 1936 to become
General Counsel of the C.I.O. Pressman is said to have run
arms to Spain during the Civil War via Mexico and to have
worked with Geral [sic] Mark Moren in that project. Moren
was involved in the Rubens Robinson passport case in 1938.
Witt of the Labor Board was a Party member and also underground.
Harold Ware was killed in an auto accident near Baltimore
about l935, John Abt succeeded him as leader of the underground
in Washington. Abt not only succeeded him in the job, he married
Ware's widow Jessica Smith. Abt today is associated as
counsel of the CIOPAC with Sidney Hillman and was a
delegate to the recent Trade Union Conference in London.
Nelson ran a low-grade but important Communist group in the
government. More of a trade union group but its members had
access to government files which would be made available to
the Party. Hiss was a member of this group.
to the Coram Nobis and Chambers' Break with the Party