Prominent speakers on the campus lecture circuit and on radio interview programs currently include the convicted spy perjurer Alger Hiss and the two attractive sons of convicted atomic spies Julius and Ethel Rosenberg. They argue that these trials were the fault of Republican Senator Joseph McCarthy.
The fact is that Alger Hiss and the Rosenbergs were indicted by the Democrats under President Harry Truman. Senator McCarthy made his first anti-Communist speech in 1950, after Alger Hiss was convicted, and McCarthy only became chairman of his Senate investigating committee in 1953, after the Rosen bergs were convicted.
Alger Hiss and the Rosenbergs had the full benefit of that most basic of American liberties: the right to trial by jury. This precious right was written into the body of our Constitution, and then reinsured by the 6th and 7th Amendments. Over the centuries of American experience, the jury system has proved to be the most incorruptible part of our governmental system. It weights the scales of justice emphatically on the side of the accused.
To convict a person of a crime, twelve jurors representing a cross-section of the community must be individually convinced that the defendant is guilty beyond any reasonable doubt. The guilt of Alger Hiss and the Rosenbergs was established to the satisfaction of the Federal juries, the Federal judges who tried the cases, the Federal Courts of ‘Appeal, and even the U.S. Supreme Court.
Among the crucial items of evidence against Alger Hiss were four secret State Department documents copied in Hiss’s his own handwriting plus dozens of other documents typed on/wood- stock typewriter — all delivered to Communist courier Whittaker Chambers for redelivery to the Soviet consulate in New York. Magazine Chambers subsequently became a senior editor of Time; and told about the Hiss spy activities in his book called “Witness.”
The evidence against the Rosenbergs has been brilliantly described by the leading American trial lawyer, Louis Nizer, in his book called “The Implosion Conspiracy.”
Unfortunately, campus editors, campus audiences, and many radio audiences are too young to remember the mountain of evidence presented in these two famous trials. It would be a public service if someone could provide a truth squad to follow around after these current speakers and enlighten their audiences about the facts of why the juries and Federal courts found Alger Hiss and the Rosenbergs guilty beyond any reason able doubt.