Date: Fri Sep 18 00:27:37 1998

ADL Info Helped HUAC In 1947 "Witch-Hunts"

     REPORTS THAT the Anti-Defamation League (ADL)
furnished information on individuals and organizations to
government agencies is not new. At press time, the MELB
learned that in 1947, Congressional hearings revealed
that the self-styled "civil rights" organization had been
furnishing information to the U.S. Civil Service
Commission on persons either alleged to be "communist,"
or linked, even indirectly, to some one who was. This
information, was in turn, used by the House Un-American
Activities Committee (HUAC) and the FBI.

     The investigation was conducted by a House
Subcommittee on the Expenditures of the Executive
Department on October 3,6 and 7, 1947. Its purpose was
"to make inquiry as to the authority of the Civil Service
Commission to expend federal funds to compile an
'investigators' leads file containing facts, rumor, and
gossip bearing upon the views, opinions, and acts of
individuals who were neither federal employees nor
applicants for positions coming under the jurisdiction of
the Civil Service Commission. Also to learn for what
purpose the 'file' was to be used."

     What the Subcommittee learned, clearly to its
disgust as a reading of the hearings make clear, was that
the Anti- Defamation League was major source of
information which Subcommittee Chair Clare Hoffman
declared to be "all hearsay."

     As an example, Hoffman held up a card, referring to
the National Lawyers Guild, February 20-22, 1937,* which
stated that it came "from the subversive files in the
office of Attorneys Mintzer & Levy, 39 Broadway, room
3305, and the files were made up in cooperation with the
American Jewish Committee and the Anti-Defamation League"
(P. 17).

     According to the Commission President Harry B.
Mitchell, the files contained "the names of persons
connected with some person who may be disloyal,
subversive in some way. And we have the names of a great
many who registered as Communists, who filed a petition,
a nominating petition as a member of the Communist Party"
(P. 10). It also apparently, included the names of some
Senators and Congressmen (sic).

     "You must remember," Mitchell later acknowledged,
"that there is no evidence against the names on the
list." "No," responded Hoffman, "but it furnishes a most
admirable smear list." (P. 17) 

      Subcommittee member, Fred Busbey of Illinois, asked
Commissioner Arthur Flemming how he could "reconcile your
statement before this committee [regarding its
activities] with the order put out by the Civil Service
Commission on November 3, 1943, prohibiting your
investigators from even asking questions about various
Communist-front organizations - whether the man read the
Daily Worker, or whether he was a member of the
Washington Bookshop, or the American League for Peace and
Democracy, or other organizations of that type?"

     Flemming replied that "the Commission became
convinced that the technique being used by some of the
investigators, instead of helping us achieve our
objectives, was deliberately playing into the hands of
the persons against whom the investigations were being
conducted. That type of information could be more
effectively developed in other ways without playing into
[their] hands."(P. 21)

     Busbey, noting the "numerous cards" in the
Commission's files that came from the ADL, asked Flemming
to explain the relationship that existed between anyone
on his staff and the ADL, and another organization, the
Friends of Democracy, whose name was linked to it on the

     Mr. Busbey: Do you have any knowledge as to who in
your organization contacts the Anti-Defamation League and
checks their files, and how often they go to their
offices and check their files for leads for your files?

     Mr. Flemming: I do not know, and I do not have such

     Busbey, obviously frustrated when this line of
questioning produced no results, urged the committee to
"subpena before it the executive head of the
Anti-Defamation League, and that they have Mintzer &
Levy,I subpoenaed, to ascertain what they had to do with
getting that kind of information into this file" (P. 36)
The "advisability" of doing so was immediately questioned
by Subcommittee assistant, Porter Hardy, the chair agreed
and it went no further. 

     The Commissioner was adamant in his refusal to let
the Subcommittee review the files, despite acknowledging
that investigators from other committees, such as HUAC,
and the FBI had been given access. In a letter to
Hoffman, dated December 19, 1947, Commission President
Mitchell reported that of the 487,033 cards (on
individuals) in its New York City office, "6,000 or 7,000
cards" compiled, to some degree, "n cooperation with the
Anti-Defamation League." (P.63)  

     It should be noted that 1947 was the year in which
ten Hollywood writers, producers and directors, who came
to be known as the "Hollywood Ten,"were called before
HUAC and asked whether or not they were "now or had ever
been" members of the Communist Party. All refused to
answer, claiming that their First Amendment rights
protected them from such an inquiry. They were judged to
be in contempt of Congress and sentenced to a year in
federal prison. The House Un-American Activities
Committee, at the time, with whom the ADL made common
bond, was largely made up of Southern racist "Dixicrats"
and ultra-right wing Northern Republicans. 

*This was during the infancy of the first HUAC, which
came to be known by the name of its notorious right-wing
chair, Martin Dies, as the Dies Committee.