Legislative Branch

Guide to House Records: Chapter 22: 1947-1968 Communist Aggression

Chapter 22. Records of the Select Committees of the House of Representatives

Table of Contents

Records of the Select Committees of the House of Representatives (1789-1988) from Guide to Federal Records in the National Archives of the United States, 1789-1988

Committee records described in this chapter:

Select Committee on Communist Aggression (1953-54)

Select Committee on:VolumeCongress (dates)
Communist Aggression22 feet83d (1953-54)

  22.181 The House created the Baltic Committee, more formally known as the Select Committee to Investigate the Incorporation of Lithuania, Latvia, and Estonia into the U.S.S.R., on July 27, 1953 (83A-F20.1). Charles J. Kersten of Wisconsin was appointed chairman. In 1954, the committee's name was changed to the Select Committee on Communist Aggression when its investigative authority was broadened by H.Res. 438, 83d Cong., to include matters concerning "the subversion and destruction of free institutions and human liberties in all other areas controlled, directly or indirectly, by world communism."

22.182 The committee held public hearings in the United States, Britain, and Germany, receiving the testimony of over 300 witnesses and approximately 1,500 exhibits. The identity of some of the witnesses was not disclosed, for fear of reprisals against relatives and friends in Communist nations. Other witnesses submitted written statements to the committee upon a pledge of anonymity.

22.183 The committee was assisted by the Department of State, the United States Information Agency, the Committee for a Free Europe (Radio Free Europe), the Foreign Operations Administration, the Legislative Research Service of the Library of Congress, Georgetown University, and various non-governmental religious and ethnic organizations.

22.184 The committee completed its study and investigation on December 31, 1954. Its findings were presented in 27 reports.

22.185 Records of the committee include letters received commenting on the work of the committee, resolutions of ethnic groups commending the committee, and correspondence with Members of Congress and Federal agencies. There are translations of European newspaper articles regarding the committee, investigative memorandums, correspondence and memorandums of the chairman and staff, studies, and informational materials. Records relating to the committee hearings include correspondence, lists of questions for prospective witnesses, forms providing information about potential witnesses, eyewitness statements, exhibits, and stenographic transcripts of executive hearings. Photographs of committee activities and of scenes relating to the committee's subject of inquiry are included. Other records include copies of the committee's published hearings and reports, press releases, vouchers and other financial records, applications for employment, and mailing lists. There are three card indexes prepared by the committee relating to ethnic organizations and committee witnesses.

22.186 Information in the records relates to Communist tactics and strategy. There are records pertaining to the Communist occupation of Lithuania, Latvia, Estonia, Poland, East Germany, the Balkans, and to the communization of the constituent Nations of the Soviet Union, especially the Ukraine. Other records, from the committee's Subcommittee on Latin America, relate to communist aggression in Latin America, especially Guatemala.

22.187 There is a finding aid to the records of the committee.

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Bibliographic note: Web version based on Guide to the Records of the United States House of Representatives at the National Archives, 1789-1989: Bicentennial Edition (Doct. No. 100-245). By Charles E. Schamel, Mary Rephlo, Rodney Ross, David Kepley, Robert W. Coren, and James Gregory Bradsher. Washington, DC: National Archives and Records Administration, 1989.