WHAT: The National Archives and Records Administration will make available certain formerly secret Grand Jury testimony from the Alger Hiss case. The opening of these records-consisting of seven volumes of transcripts of grand jury proceedings from July 1947 through May 1949-- is in response to court orders by the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York, dated May13, and July 14, 1999. (The court ordered that a limited amount of materials be withheld to protect individual privacy. Other documents were withheld because they were irrelevant to the request.) The transcripts consist of approximately 4,000 pages of testimony from a list of witnesses that included Richard Nixon, Alger Hiss, Whittaker Chambers, Harry Dexter White, Congressman Karl E. Mundt, and others.
Selected materials, including testimony by Congressman Richard Nixon, Whittaker Chambers, and Alger Hiss will be distributed to the media free of charge.
WHEN: The materials will be available beginning at 9 A.M. on Tuesday, October 12, 1999.
WHERE: The selected materials may be picked up in Room G-5 of the National Archives Building on Pennsylvania Avenue, between 7th and 9th Streets, NW, Washington, DC or at the National Archives and Records Administration--Northeast Region, 201 Varick Street, New York City, where the original Hiss grand jury records are housed. The entire collection of materials will be open for research at the New York City facility and at the National Archives at College Park, 8601 Adelphi Road, College Park, MD.
Background: In 1948, Alger Hiss, a former high-ranking State Department official, was accused of passing secret information to Whittaker Chambers, a member of the Communist Party. On December 1, 1948, the Grand Jury indicted Mr. Hiss on two counts of perjury: first, for allegedly falsely testifying before the grand jury that he had never provided government documents to Mr. Chambers; second, for allegedly falsely testifying before the grand jury that he had not seen Mr. Chambers after January 1, 1937. When an initial trial on those charges ended with a hung jury, Mr. Hiss was convicted on both counts at a second trial. In addition, a second grand jury continued to investigate espionage activities related to Mr. Hiss until 1950.
For additional PRESS information, please contact the National Archives Public Affairs staff at (301) 837-1700 or by e-mail.