In response to:
Was Alger Hiss Framed? from the April 1, 1976 issue
To the Editors:
Your issue of April 1, 1976 contained an article by Allen Weinstein entitled “Was Alger Hiss Framed?” In the article Professor Weinstein stated that he had concluded that Alger Hiss had in fact been guilty of perjury as charged in 1948.
Professor Weinstein reported that he had reached this conclusion based in part on FBI documents that have recently come to light through a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit in which he is the plaintiff. This suit was filed by the American Civil Liberties Union in order to bring to light all available information from the FBI’s files concerning the controversial prosecution of Mr. Hiss twenty-eight years ago.
The ACLU wishes to make it clear that our interest in the Weinstein suit is in using the Freedom of Information Act to lift the shroud of secrecy which has for so long covered the FBI’s files on this and other historical cases. Professor Weinstein’s conclusions about the files which have so far been disclosed are, of course, his own and not the ACLU’s. We are now pressing for release of all the FBI’s Hiss material so that the public record on the case will be complete.
John H.F. Shattuck
National Staff Counsel
American Civil Liberties Union
New York City
Allen Weinstein replies:
John Shattuck is a fine lawyer who deserves most of the credit for work that led to release of the FBI files in the Hiss case. He and his colleagues at the American Civil Liberties Union have been unstinting on behalf of my lawsuit. The ACLU has not argued any position concerning the guilt or innocence of Alger Hiss, and Shattuck is right to point out that the ACLU is not responsible for what I write on the case.
We continue to demand a precise accounting of every page the FBI has withheld from its files. Under court order, the FBI provided us early in May with a detailed description of many of the documents withheld. This will serve as the basis for future action on my part to secure release of all remaining bureau records that can shed any light on the Hiss-Chambers case.
I regret that in my May 27 response to critics, the name of the defense expert Harry E. Cassidy was incorrectly spelled Cassady.