noted literary critic and historian who was
drawn into the Hiss case in 1940 when Whittaker
Chambers contacted him about reviewing
books for Time magazine. Cowley recorded
their conversation in his diary, noting among
other things that Chambers said that Francis
B. Sayre, Alger Hiss's boss in the State
Department and Woodrow Wilson's son-in-law,
was connected to the Communist underground.
also noted the horrible condition of Chambers'
teeth (Hiss would later be ridiculed for making
similar comments eight years later) and that
Chambers told him he had left the Communist
Party in 1937. (Click here
to read more about the controversy surrounding
who had in his possession State Department documents
which had been in Sayre's office, would later
say those papers came from Hiss, Sayre's assistant.
In subsequent statements, Chambers did not link
Sayre to the underground.
testified for the defense at both trials and
later said his testimony for the defense significantly
damaged his career. To hear Cowley talk about
his conversation with Chambers, click here.