A Book that Never Was: Pauling’s “Fighting for Peace and Freedom”

peace-freedom

Pauling’s proposed chapter outline of “Fighting for Peace and Freedom,” October 31, 1960.

In 1960 Linus Pauling faced a severe test when he was called before two hearings held by the Senate Internal Security Subcommittee (SISS) and asked to provide a detailed account of the circulation of the United Nations bomb test petition that he and his wife, Ava Helen, sponsored in 1957 and 1958.  The SISS subcommittee was similar in its purview to the more widely known House Un-American Activities Committee (HUAC), which had supported similar efforts in the past.

The Paulings’ petition started out in the United States as an “Appeal by American Scientists to the Government and Peoples of the World,” but as publicity grew, it found an international audience as well.  The petition was submitted to the UN during the heart of the Cold War, and Pauling was called before SISS two years later because some committee members believed the petition to be in alignment with potential communist objectives, mostly because the document did not align with strategies being pursued by the United States military at the time.

Pauling was subpoenaed in June 1960 and, once seated before the committee, was asked to provide the names of all individuals who helped to circulate the bomb test petition across the globe. Pauling refused this request, believing that those who had provided their support to the petitioning effort should not be exposed to the same types of investigations that he was presently facing. Pauling was subpoenaed again in October of that year, and although he was threatened with contempt of Congress, once again he did not reveal the names of his colleagues. By this point, much of the mainstream media was beginning to lean in Pauling’s direction, and the SISS ultimately decided to back off its demands. And so it was that, after a very tense summer, Pauling wound up avoiding legal consequences.


"Dr. Pauling Refuses Senators' Demand for Names of A-Ban Group", The Philadelphia Inquirer, June 22, 1960.

Though he had managed to sidestep legal jeopardy, the SISS experience was an especially bitter one for Pauling. After the first hearing, Pauling was so angry that he briefly considered running for president, seeing no other viable corrective to what he viewed to be an absence of leadership in his country. While this idea quickly passed, Pauling was still moved to action, and during his participation in the second SISS hearing, he made a decision to write a book about his experiences in Congress.  He would title it, Fighting for Peace and Freedom.

Pauling believed that his proposed book would be of interest to a wide readership and would also be a contribution to the public good. He detailed these sentiments in a book proposal that he addressed to August Frugé, director of the University of California Press, on October 4, 1960.  In it, he wrote

I have formed the opinion that people are interested enough in it to be willing to read a book about it, and I plan to begin writing this book.  The book will contain some background material about nuclear war, nuclear tests, the bomb-test petition, and the efforts that I have been making about these matters, and also it will contain an account of my hearing and of legal action in relation to the Internal Security Subcommittee.

Pauling also pointed out that there was precedence for a book of this sort. Specifically, he wanted to model his narrative after Philip Wittenberg’s 1957 publication, The Lamont Case: History of a Congressional Investigation, Corliss Lamont and the McCarthy Hearings, which chronicled Lamont’s appearance before Senator Joseph McCarthy’s Senate Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations.

cl-photo.jpg

Corliss Lamont

Lamont was an American philosopher and advocate of left-wing and civil liberties causes who frequently clashed with political figures and the CIA during his long life. He was called to testify at McCarthy’s infamous hearings in 1953, during which he denied ever being a Communist, but refused to get into specifics, citing the legal protections provided by the Fifth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.  The legal proceedings that arose from his hearing dragged on for two more years and, though Lamont was never formally identified as a communist, he continued to butt heads with the government for several years following.

Using Wittenberg’s book as his model, Pauling proposed that Fighting for Peace and Freedom consist of twelve chapters that would describe the case, present legal documents and a complete transcript of the two hearings, and also include several contextual chapters relating to the whole affair. Pauling felt that it would be useful for readers to have easy access to all this information and, indeed, that it should be made readily available to the public.

The twelve chapter titles that Pauling put forward were as follows:

  1. The Life of a Scientist
  2. The Bomb-Test Petition
  3. The Senate Internal Security Subcommittee
  4. My First Hearing—Morning Session
  5. My First Hearing—Afternoon Session
  6. I Go to Court
  7. News Accounts, Editorials, and Advertisements
  8. My Second Hearing—Morning Session
  9. My Second Hearing—Afternoon Session
  10. Senator Dodd’s Crusade
  11. Misuse of Power by Congressional Committees
  12. Peace, Freedom, and Morality

In its proposed form, the book would be lengthy – Pauling put the estimate at about 440 pages, of which roughly 80 would be appendices.  However, he believed he could potentially trim the project down by 10% if need be, without loss of coherence in his argument.  Despite the length of the text and his unrelenting schedule, Pauling hoped to have the manuscript ready to go as soon as possible and aimed to have copy ready to be set in type by December 13, 1960.

Pauling also took pains to point out that Fighting for Peace and Freedom was not going to be a scholarly study; rather, it would be written in an intimate and personal manner.  Furthermore, as Pauling explained to the University of California Press’ Los Angeles editor, Robert Y. Zachary, the writing would be “restrained, and perhaps even to make use occasionally of understatements.” Zachary and August Frugé, director of the press, were both interested in the project and looked forward to reading the manuscript once Pauling had it completed.

As it turned out, California was not the only press that was interested in pursuing Pauling’s newest book. Pauling also approached Cornell, a university press with a known predilection for printing works that dealt with issues concerning civil rights.  Cornell, which had also published Pauling’s monumental Nature of the Chemical Bond beginning in 1939, was also interested in reading the manuscript when it was ready.

Despite these favorable responses and his own initial vigor in pursuing the project, Pauling never completed the manuscript; indeed, there is no indication that he ever even started it. There is no obvious indication as to what happened, although it would seem likely that the very cluttered nature of his calendar halted any momentum in its tracks. Pauling’s letter to Zachary was mailed on November 2, 1960 and proposed a December 13 deadline.  During that span of less than one and a half months, Pauling made trips to Ohio, New York, New Jersey, Kansas, Colorado, Missouri, Washington, British Columbia, and Illinois.

Amidst this heavy press of work, one might suppose that, just as with his aborted interest in pursuing the presidency, Pauling’s zest for writing the book started to flag, and by the end of the year, the story of Pauling’s appearance before the SISS had increasingly become old news.  As such, it remains for us today to continue wondering exactly how he would have characterized his Congressional hearings in the larger fight for peace and freedom.

 

Out of Ashes, the Phoenix Rose

Linus Pauling Jr., October 14, 2011.

Linus Pauling Jr., October 14, 2011.

[Coda to our history of the Linus Pauling Institute of Science and Medicine]

Linus Pauling Science Center grand opening Keynote Address, by Linus Pauling Jr., MD. October 14, 2011.

This is a very personal account of the background that has miraculously led to this wonderful, beautiful and exciting building, I title it: OUT OF ASHES THE PHOENIX ROSE.

It was back in the spring of 1991, just over 20 years ago now, that I sat down to talk with my father at his Big Sur ranch on the rugged California coast. For many years, in fact since my mother died a decade earlier, my wife and I had made a pilgrimage to the ranch to be with my father and celebrate our three birthdays, which fortuitously fell within a two-week period.

I had been on the Board since the Palo Alto Linus Pauling Institute of Science and Medicine’s inception in 1973, so at our 1991 meeting I knew the situation had become desperate. My father, who for all his earlier life had been full of remarkable energy and ambition, now at 90 had lost that energy and was making mistakes in judgment. He was ill with the cancer that would kill him three years later.

LPISM was failing: half a million dollars of debt, laboratory research had vanished for lack of incentive and direction, donor income was being diverted to non-nutritional investigations, there were no research grants and morale was in the basement.

As his oldest son, I could not just stand by and watch this great man’s efforts of the past quarter century go down the drain, along with his reputation. If the Institute failed, all the naysayers would crow and describe him as a senile crackpot in spite of his astonishing lifetime achievements. Additionally, the thousands of donors over the years and the makers of future bequests would feel betrayed. It was obvious he needed help. As his son, I felt it was necessary to provide that help and it felt good to me to try.

lp-jr2

So we had to talk. Early in my life I realized that my father was a very special person with talents I could never hope to emulate. That was emphasized by this story which I enjoy telling. When I was about 15, my father was writing an introductory chemistry textbook for Caltech freshmen, the best and brightest college freshmen, the cream of the crop. At the end of each chapter were questions. He asked me to read a chapter and answer the questions. I tried, valiantly, but I did not understand the text and could not answer a single question. When my mother heard about this, she hurried down to the Pasadena City Hall to have my name officially changed from Linus Carl Pauling to Linus Carl Pauling Jr. so no one could possibly mistake me for him.

At least I had sense enough to follow a very different track from my father, one that eventually gave me skills that now could be used to help him as my thanks to him for bringing me into the world.

It was now or never, so I boldly waded in. He and I discussed the future, starting with the past. I talked about his amazing life with his multiple triumphs in so many and so very diverse arenas.

His fame was world-wide, originating with the scientific community. I pointed out that he was arguably the first, and certainly the most successful, bridge-builder between chemistry, mathematics, physics, medicine and biology, linking these disciplines to create what is now the most popular science of all, molecular biology. One result of his creativity, hard work and dedication to science, as you all know, was the Nobel Prize for Chemistry.

It was during this time period that his interest in nutrition originated, spurred by his own life-threatening kidney disease. Thanks to a rigid diet prescribed by Stanford Medical School nephrologist Dr. Thomas Addis at a time long before renal dialysis, and carefully supervised by my mother, my father not only survived a usually fatal disease but recovered completely.

lp-jr3

After World War II, prompted by my politically-liberal mother whom he certainly loved deeply and wanted to please, he embarked on a spectacularly successful two decades of humanitarian effort, educating the governments of the world and, necessarily, their peoples, about the evils of war and the dangers associated with unrestricted exposure to radiation, especially that produced by the hundreds of nuclear bomb tests being conducted. He suffered vilification by many from all parts of the world. He was hounded by the FBI and the United States government.

His crowning moment of glory, at least in my estimation, was his indomitable courage in confronting those nasty witch hunters, the United States Senate Internal Security Subcommittee, when facing imprisonment when he refused to disclose the names of his ban-the-bomb United Nations petition assistants. He knew that these conscientious people, most of them scientists, would be less able than he was to defend themselves from accusations and loss of employment. The Subcommittee, when faced by my father’s public popularity, courage, remarkable memory and command of facts, then backed off, their collective tail between their legs. His world-wide influence was so extensive and the result so positive that he was eventually awarded the Nobel Peace Prize.

So what was next for him? His old interest in nutrition as a factor in health and well-being resurfaced. Starting with vitamin C, he promoted nutrient research and encountered resistance from university, medical and government bureaucracies. He turned to the public, writing article after article and giving hundreds of talks, with the result of an explosion in popular food supplement usage. But research remained a fundamental necessity, so the private nonprofit Linus Pauling Institute of Science and Medicine was founded in 1973 and initially showed promise.

By the time of our talk in 1991, LPISM’s outlook was dismal.

At age 90, my father was tired and dispirited. Being fully occupied with his own illness, he was unwilling to devote energy to coping with his Institute’s problems. I said to him that I could not in good conscience stand by and see his eponymous Institute go down in ignominious defeat. With his incredibly illustrious past, I felt strongly that he deserved more than that. And maybe, just maybe, I could do something about it.

We decided, together, that if the Institute, and also his reputation, were to survive, the best course of action was for the Institute to affiliate with a reputable university. That would ensure the rigorous scientific attitude and protocol necessary to legitimize micronutrient research in the future. And, most important of all, we had to be ethically responsible to the thousands of past, present and future donors who believed in my father and supported the Institute. We could not let them down.

I had just retired from 35 years of the practice of psychiatry, so I had the time and energy to devote to other endeavors. After discussion with my wife, I decided to offer to take over management of the Institute. I had to have my wife’s agreement, because I was planning to spend considerable time in Palo Alto, a long way from my home in Honolulu.

lp-jr4

To his credit and with an audible sigh of relief, my father agreed. We discussed affiliation possibilities, Stanford and Caltech among them. He seemed, however, to favor Oregon State University, his undergraduate alma mater, to which he had already committed his scientific papers. If you haven’t already, you should check out the Pauling Papers at the OSU Valley Library Special Collections website. You will be impressed.

During the next years, I became President and Chairman of the Board of LPISM. We reorganized radically and survived many trials and tribulations. My essential second in command Steve Lawson and I visited many universities.

OSU, thanks to then President John Byrne, Development Director John Evey and Dean of Research Dick Scanlan, was our clear and undisputed choice.

And what a great choice it was! Here now, before us, 15 years later, is the Linus Pauling Science Center, dedicated to highest-quality research in scientific areas that would surely be of interest to my father. I’m sure, if he were here, he would have tears of joy in his eyes just as I do.

I want to thank OSU President Ed Ray, Dean Sherman Bloomer, LPI Director Balz Frei, architect Joe Collins, the many others in the system who have participated in making this possible, all the donors and the people of the great state of Oregon. I specifically thank the key major donors, Tammy Valley and Pat Reser, for allowing Linus Pauling’s name to be on this beautiful building. That is a very unusual act of generosity.

It will be a great future. Thank you all with my whole heart.

The National Review Lawsuit

bio6.008.407

[Part 1 of 2]

January 2013 marks the fifty year anniversary of the beginning of Linus Pauling’s libel lawsuit against National Review, an ideologically conservative opinion magazine that, at the time, maintained a circulation of about 100,000 copies. Pauling filed suit for damages of $500,000 for one editorial and damages of $500,000 for a second editorial. He pursued this lawsuit for five years in hopes of attaining recompense for statements made about him that he felt to be defamatory.  The suit proved to be lengthy, bitter and expensive, and its conclusion brought with it the close of a tumultuous period in Pauling’ s life defined in part by a great deal of litigation.


By 1960 Linus Pauling had become a controversial political figure. His importance in the international peace movement was cemented in 1957 when he wrote the “Appeal by American Scientists to the Governments and Peoples of the World,” a petition against nuclear bomb testing worldwide. Pauling, along with more than 13,000 other scientists throughout the world, signed this petition in an effort to curb the deleterious health effects that nuclear bomb tests were causing to humans. This effort resulted in Pauling’s receipt of the Nobel Peace Prize in 1963.

Despite its success on the international level, the bomb test petition was controversial at home due to the conservative political climate of the time and the strong anti-communist sentiment prevailing during the Cold War. Pauling wished to collaborate with all citizens throughout the world on the petition, regardless of their governmental or economic system, a position that many saw as a potential threat to U.S. security. Indeed, in the eyes of some, opposition to nuclear bomb testing was equated with being a communist.

The FBI began to monitor Pauling in 1950, when he became a contract employee of the US Navy. As Pauling involved himself more closely with the peace movement, the FBI likewise began to monitor his activities more stringently. The Senate Internal Subcommittee also began to keep tabs on his peace work and ultimately subpoenaed Pauling in June 1960 to address his campaign against nuclear bomb testing, an activity that the committee suspected might be inspired by communist inclinations.

The investigation infuriated Pauling, as he had never identified himself in that way and believed peace work to be vital to the prevention of nuclear war. Once the proceedings began, he risked a contempt of Congress citation and subsequent incarceration for refusing to release the names of the individuals who had submitted multiple signatures for the petition. He believed that divulging those names could be “used for reprisals against these believers in the democratic process,” and he refused to subject them to the same sort of harassment that he was facing.

Pauling believed in the right to petition as a fundamental component of a working democracy and did not want the system to be curtailed “by representatives of defense industries who benefit financially from the cold war.” He took his stand and the risk ultimately paid off – the SISS committee backed down and contempt charges were not issued.

Despite Pauling’s dismissal by the committee, many articles continued to be published in newspapers and magazines around the country that decried Pauling as a communist supporter and criticized his refusal to release the names of the people who had help to collect signatures for the bomb test petition.

bio6.007.810

One of those articles, titled “Treason à la Mode,” was published by National Review on December 31st, 1960. In it, author James Burnham wrote

Linus Pauling is still at large and unindicted for his contemptuous refusal to give the Internal Security Subcommittee the facts about how thousands of names of scientists – including several thousand from Communist nations – were collected for his petition against H-bombs. While Pauling propagandizes for policies which corrode American morale and promote the interests of the Communist enterprise he continues to enjoy wide popular esteem, security in his professorial post at Caltech and large audiences on the university circuit….The point is not whether these men are conscious traitors, which in all, or almost all, cases they are not. But the Communists are traitors. These men, by their acts, have condoned the Communist enterprise and advanced its interests. Our society, by condoning the actions of these men, condones also the enterprise.

A year and a half later, National Review published a second article critical of Pauling, this one an editorial titled “The Collaborators,” which went to print on July 17, 1962.

Professor Linus Pauling of the California Institute of Technology, once more acting as megaphone for Soviet policy by touting the World Peace Conference that the Communists have called for this summer in Moscow, just as year after year since time immemorial he has given his name, energy, voice and pen to one after another Soviet-serving enterprise.

Pauling, unlike many Americans at the time, did not see the Soviet Union purely as an enemy and was not afraid of communism or its perceived consequences. On the contrary, he believed that the best way to ensure world peace and to promote the advancement of science was to form mutually beneficial partnerships between communities. Pauling maintained a cordial relationship with many Russians and traveled to the USSR six times, mainly to talk about science, but also to promote an end to nuclear bomb testing. His inviting stance towards the Soviet Union was seen by some Americans as pro-communist and anti-American, but Pauling never identified as a communist and was a strong believer in democracy.

By the time the National Review published its second article in 1962, Pauling had already successfully sued the Bellingham [Washington] Herald for a defamatory letter to the editor published on December 4th, 1960. This case was settled for $16,000 and a retraction was printed by the paper. At the time, Pauling also had three other court cases in motion: complaints against Hearst Publishing Co. and King Features Syndicate for $1 million, the St. Louis Globe-Democrat for $300,000 and the New York Daily News for $500,000.

Excerpt from a list of reasons why Pauling’s “College Chemistry” was dropped from the curricula of various academic programs, 1954.

Pauling worried that the deluge of articles attacking his reputation and labeling him a communist would decrease sales of his textbooks and negatively affect his position at Caltech. He later testified that libelous statements had cost him a raise from Caltech in 1962 and had resulted in his being treated coldly by the Caltech president and others on campus. He also testified that his book income had gone down slightly and that he had suffered a loss of self-confidence.

Determined to restore his good name, Pauling contacted the lawyer whom he had enlisted for the Hearst Corporation lawsuit, Michael Levi Matar, about the National Review articles. Matar replied that these articles had libeled Pauling “as a Communist and moral nihilist… [and there is] little doubt in your case that malice by these defendants would not be too difficult to establish.” The duo decided to sue the National Review for $1 million.

Informants, Committees and Travel

Excerpt from a testimony by Louis Budenz, annotations by Linus Pauling.

[Part 6 of 7]

Over the course of their thirty years of keeping tabs on him, the Federal Bureau of Investigation utilized a wide variety of tactics to monitor Linus Pauling and his activities. They kept track of his travel, saved references made to Pauling in the media, charted his participation in various groups and documented his appearances before different committees and government bodies. Perhaps one of their most intrusive methods however, was their use of informants and incriminating information provided by those who claimed to know him well.

Pauling’s friends and neighbors were questioned throughout the FBI’s long investigation, as were his colleagues and superiors at Caltech. Nearly every filed interview suggests that Pauling’s associates held a favorable opinion of his loyalty.  And even though these FBI activities contributed to an atmosphere of suspicion, Pauling appears to have been surrounded by individuals who truly cared for his well-being. At least one of Pauling’s personal secretaries fit this description, in so much as she served as an impediment to the FBI’s information-gathering schemes, as revealed, in part, by a 1961 Bureau memo:

Pauling teaches no classes at CIT and is engaged in research work only… [substantial redaction] positive in his own mind that no one could approach Dr. Pauling’s secretary about him, without she advising Dr. Pauling forthwith. [redacted] that Pauling’s office and its effects are kept under lock and key at all times.

[redacted] unable to furnish the name of anyone with whom Dr. Pauling discusses his future plans, other than his secretary, as noted above…Efforts will continue to develop a reliable source concerning the travel plans of Pauling, and the Bureau will be advised in this regard.

While Pauling’s long history with the FBI is wrought with both peculiar observations and fastidious documentation of his political activities, the most influential and frequently referenced item in his case file undoubtedly is the 1950 accusation made against him by Louis Budenz.

A former Communist Party member and managing director of the Daily Worker, Budenz became an informant for the FBI in the late 1940s. In a book that he wrote as a staff-member at Fordham University, Budenz claimed to know the identity of 400 concealed communists in prominent professional positions across the United States. Budenz advised FBI personnel that Linus Pauling was one of the 400, lending substantial weight to the loyalty investigation which had been administered to him in 1948. In regard to Pauling, Budenz provided FBI agents with the following testimony:

Although I did not meet Professor Pauling personally, he was officially mentioned as a Communist in connection with the formation of the Independent Citizens’ Committee for the Arts, Sciences and Professions at the time that he was active in cooperating in its formation, which was in late 1943 or early 1944. Dr. Pauling had been referred to me before that as a Communist in official reports from Milton Howard, who was assigned to cooperate in infiltration of the scientists, and also in official reports from V.J Jerome and Eugene Dennis. Up until 1945 Jack Stachel officially stated to me that Dr. Pauling was an active Communist. He has been a member of many fronts and also cooperated in raising money on several occasions.


Pauling’s file is likewise filled with comprehensive documentation of his appearances before several government boards and committees. An FBI agent was in attendance at the 1950 California State Senate Committee on Education hearings where Pauling was questioned about his refusal to sign a loyalty oath – five pages of notes outline the agent’s perception of the proceedings and Pauling’s testimony. While the overview of Pauling’s appearance before the Committee on Education is unusually detailed, it is generally evenhanded, taking care to note Pauling’s personal perspective without adding much in the way of inflammatory comment:

Pauling stated that all Communists should not be in the same category. He stated that he did not believe that there was any danger of Communist infiltration into the educational system. He said that even though he knew he put himself in jeopardy, he refused to answer the question as to whether or not he was ever a member of the Communist Party… He reiterated that when the United States suppresses liberal thought it was suppressing a part of the total thought.

Pauling’s files also contain a great number of testimonies from hearings and legal proceedings, particularly in the form of transcripts from several of Pauling’s court cases. Notes regarding particular difficulties that he experienced with other official entities are frequently presented, as is extensive documentation of his travel arrangements.

While it is now possible for scholars to reconstruct Pauling’s travel schedule by using a combination of the public record as well as the receipts, tickets and bills that he kept in his own personal records, the FBI maintained its own considerable documentation of Pauling’s travel – both domestic and abroad – in exacting and even disturbing detail. That noted, much of the FBI material concerning Pauling’s travel is redacted, making it difficult to discern the full level of infiltration into his personal arrangements. The information that remains visible usually takes the form of a report sent to the FBI Director, with a statement akin to:  “Will follow and report the return of Dr. and Mrs. Pauling from foreign travel on or about 1/15/64.”


The cover sheet to Section 8 of Paulings FBI file - annotations by Linus Pauling.

The FBI files also contain transcripts and commentary from Pauling’s 1951 appearance before the Industrial Employment Review Board, as well as his testimony before the Hennings Sub-committee on Constitutional Rights. Unsurprisingly, the files likewise contain substantial content related to Pauling’s two 1960 appearances before the Senate Internal Security Subcommittee (SISS). Extensive documentation demonstrates that members of the SISS maintained regular contact with FBI agents throughout the case that they built around Pauling, and updates were regularly fed to the Bureau.  The updates were especially frequent in Spring 1958, when Chief Counsel Jules Sourwine and other staff members were determining whether or not Pauling would make a satisfactory target for the committee’s next investigation:

Jay [sic] Sourwine, while discussing other matters, stated that there has been considerable activity on the part of Dr. Linus Pauling to stop atomic bomb tests, etc. He stated they have considerable front material on Pauling and he was wondering if Pauling might not be a fertile subject for inquiry by the Internal Security Subcommittee. He stated that he would appreciate any advice we might give him along this line feeling that Pauling might have some definite Party connections. Sourwine is not asking for information concerning Pauling but simply our opinion as to whether he might be a good subject to call before the Subcommittee.

RECOMMENDATION:

It is suggested that the Domestic Intelligence Division give this matter consideration.

FBI data in hand, the committee was ready to move against Pauling as early as 1958, but unforeseen political concerns, which are also documented in Pauling’s case file, delayed the confrontation. After nearly a year-and-a-half (during which time the committee focused on harassing and hastening the dissolution of SANE, a series of local but interconnected anti-bomb groups) Pauling was finally subpoenaed by SISS and questioned about his nuclear test ban petition. Pauling cooperated with the committee to some extent, but refused to provide information about those who had helped him collect petition signatures. Consequently, Pauling was commanded to appear at a second hearing before SISS later that year.

During the break that preceded his second appearance before their Committee, while Pauling was away on a pre-planned trip to Europe, SISS staff members were busy preparing material to use against him. In their ensuing efforts to weaken Pauling’s alternatives and strengthen their own general case, SISS staff members maintained contact and kept consultation with the FBI:

Mr. Sourwine stated he is attempting to convince the committee that a hearing should be held in New York City prior to 9-15-60 for the purpose of calling to such hearing several persons favorable to Pauling who could be expected to plead the Fifth Amendment. It is Sourwine’s view that with this testimony on the record, the committee’s position against Pauling would be stronger on 9-15-60 when he reappears.

Mr. Sourwine said he would keep us advised.

The final hearing with SISS ended well for Pauling. However the SISS case file, hearing transcript and a substantial amount of arguably relevant material was sequestered in Pauling’s FBI case file for future use. The information, pitched in a negative light, frequently resurfaced in Bureau reports throughout the following decade.

Aftermath of the October SISS Hearing

Excerpted from The (ACLU) Open Forum, November 1960.

[Part 3 of 3]

The [SISS] hearings shade imperceptibly from the incompetent and absurd to the nasty and sinister; there is some temptation to say that they are simply ludicrous – objectionable, perhaps, as a waste of taxpayers’ money and congressional time, but not on grounds more closely related to liberty.
-Harry Kalven, Jr., 1960.

By most indicators, Linus Pauling seemed to have won his battle with Senator Thomas Dodd and the Senate Internal Security Subcommittee. Though he had been forced to endure long hours of questioning and testimony, he was, in the end, not punished for withholding the names and correspondence of those associates who assisted him in the circulation of the 1958 United Nations Bomb Test Petition. Not only had he maintained his principled position, he had also avoided a contempt citation, a messy follow-up in the courts and, above all, jail time.

Though most were happy to see a conclusive end to Pauling’s ordeal, many were perplexed by the docile nature of the affair’s conclusion.  Writing in the New York Times, Anthony Lewis echoed the impressions of many in noting that

The purported epic struggle between Dr. Linus Pauling and the Senate Internal Security subcommittee has ended not with a bang but a whimper. What was supposed to be a showdown hearing this week came to no showdown at all. Dr. Pauling was excused without any orders to produce the documents he had refused to produce.

While the hearing failed to fulfill the expectations of many, they were still subject to their own scandal and intrigue. In particular, Dodd’s partially read opening statement became a major point of contention in the hearing’s aftermath. Having initially objected, Pauling and his counsel, in the midst of the hearing, had allowed Dodd to insert his full written opening statement into the official record without reading it aloud. And as it happened, the opening statement that appeared in the record was very much at odds with the one that had been partially read aloud to Pauling and those present at the hearing.  A close analysis suggests that Dodd seems both to have read early parts of the statement selectively and to have strategically stopped reading the opening statement just before blanket accusations of communist influence could be uttered in public.

The modified opening statement transformed the purported purpose of Pauling’s hearing after the fact. Though Pauling was eventually given an opportunity to insert his objections into the official record – he was afforded space for paragraphs no greater in length than those which were being commented on – Dodd’s full statement was made available to press elements outside of the courtroom during the first part of the hearing. Not only was Pauling charged with communist affiliation in the unabridged statement, but Dodd’s tone, reasonable if stern at the trial, took a turn towards the austere.  One extract reads

This committee has a continuing and longstanding interest in all phases of Communist propaganda, because as a part of our legislative duties we must constantly ask ourselves the question: What Communist propaganda activities are being engaged in, or are having an impact upon the internal security of this country, which can be countered either wholly or in part, by legislation? The Communists are constantly developing new techniques and revising old ones. We cannot, at any time, assume that legislation already on the books is giving our country the greatest possible protection from the Communist conspiracy. We must be constantly on the alert to uncover as much as we can of Communist activities and Communist techniques, and then apply ourselves to determine whether what we have found justifies recommendations to the Senate for proposed new legislation.

While Dodd’s complete opening statement was possibly the most outlandish addition to the hearing’s official record, other controversial items were inserted following (and possibly resulting from) Pauling’s vehement post-hearing objections.

Though most of the appendices following the official testimonies for the October hearing are mundane replications of court documents, petition signatures and pre-hearing correspondence, a special final report was included in the last few pages of the full official record.  Compiled following the hearing, the report takes all aspects of recorded testimony into consideration and provides its own final analysis. Given that certain section titles of this report are titled “Dr. Pauling’s role in the international Communist ‘peace’ offensive,” and “The Communists come to the defense of Dr. Pauling,” one can correctly assume that the tenor of the document was hostile toward Pauling’s positions. The conclusion of the report seems to synthesize the final opinion of Dodd and his associates – an opinion reached after months of sour and drawn-out dealings with the famed chemist.

The subcommittee believes that study should be given to the possibility of legislation which will make it more difficult for the Communists, and those who collaborate with the Communists, to abuse the right of petition by utilizing it for their own subversive ends…. The subcommittee therefore recommends that hearings be held for the purpose of examining various legislative possibilities in this area.


 

Pauling seems not to have yielded any unnecessary ground throughout the hearings, but it is difficult to declare a clear winner in the wake of the conflict. On one hand, Pauling was not forced to comply with the committee’s request to hand over his letters of transmittal, but the committee, in turn, was never forced to acknowledge or admit that its questioning was improper. Likewise, by choosing to not pursue contempt proceedings, the committee was able to avoid a very dangerous constitutional showdown, but was still able to hint at the full extent of its wrath to any future would-be challengers.

Pauling freely discussed his fight with the SISS following the hearings – and strongly considered writing a book about it – frequently framing the experience as an attempt to suppress his constitutional rights.  At a speech delivered one month after his hearing to the Colorado Chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union, Pauling provided an indication of the feelings of injustice that lingered within him.

I believe that Senator Dodd has the right to advocate that a change in our government’s policy be made, but that it is a misuse of his powers as Vice-Chairman of the International Security Subcommittee of the U.S. Senate to harass me and to attempt to suppress me in the exercise of my right as an American citizen to work for international agreements for cessation of nuclear tests and ultimately for universal and total disarmament, with the best possible system of control and inspection.  Let us demand that Congress abolish this committee, which is a disgrace to the Congress of the United States, to the nation itself, and to the American people.

Clearly Pauling felt that he had been subjected to unjust and unfair conduct, and saw that no substantive recourse was being made available to redress it. For some months, his work and speeches following the October hearing were heavy both with mention of Dodd and attempts to help his audience “understand the evil way in which this subcommittee is misusing its powers and subverting the constitution.”

By several accounts, Pauling took the proceedings very personally. And as a consequence, the resentment that he harbored was not slaked simply by public condemnation of Dodd and the subcommittee.

During the year after his hearing, Pauling launched five libel suits against several newspapers and organizations that published what he considered to be defamatory statements. Following a dispute with founder Norman Cousins, Pauling also discontinued his association with the Committee for a Sane Nuclear Policy, and was even on the verge of suing the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, a magazine that had been nurtured by Einstein’s Emergency Committee of Atomic Scientists. His participation in the Pugwash conferences also ended for a time (despite his unwavering defense of them during the hearing), because organizers continued to invite individuals that Pauling no longer viewed favorably.

In the final analysis then, after months of bitter altercation, Senator Dodd and his committee had managed a feat that few others had accomplished – the unsettling of Pauling’s nerve. While at first blush it appeared that he had ended his experience with the SISS as a hero of the peace community, Pauling’s characteristic pride and resolute constitution did not make it through unharmed.

The October SISS Hearing

[Part 2 of 3]

Until Supreme Court of United States decides Pauling v. Eastland, Dodd and others pending before it, Dr. Pauling will not appear before your subcommittee and bring with him the documents ordered. Respectfully request that committee postpone hearing date until October 26 on assumption court will act on pending petition for writ of certiorari either October 17 or October 24. Your attention is called to fact that McClellan committee took similar action when similar case was pending in U.S. Supreme Court.

– A. L. Wirin, Telegram to Senator Thomas J. Dodd, October 10, 1960.

The telegram excerpted above was sent from Linus Pauling’s counsel to Senator Dodd’s office the afternoon before Pauling’s hearing was set to take place.  And, as might be expected, it was not well received.

Indeed, the action was apparently so insulting that Senator Dodd felt compelled to address the matter during his opening statement at Pauling’s hearing, which did in fact take place the following morning. According to Dodd, the move was a “deliberately contemptuous challenge to the authority of the Senate of the United States.” The telegram, as Dodd disdainfully related, was followed several hours later by a press conference where Pauling declared that he would not appear at the hearing as scheduled.

Similar complaints comprised a substantial portion of the senator’s opening statement, the sum of which was a general reprimand of Pauling and his counsel. The scolding, like much of the affair, seemed in tone and language to be directed not at Pauling and Wirin, but rather at the wider audience of the day’s events. In this vein, Dodd related in carefully scripted detail his reaction to Pauling and Wirin’s last ditch effort to delay the hearing. According to Dodd, he subpoena that Pauling received at his hotel the night before had resulted directly from this turn of events.

And so began Linus Pauling’s hearing, as scheduled at 10:35 AM, in the New Senate Office building on Tuesday, October 11, 1960. Present on the Senate Internal Security Subcommittee was Senator and chairman Thomas J. Dodd, chief counsel Jules G. Sourwine, director of research Benjamin Mandel and chief investigator Frank Schroeder. Other senators that had been present for Pauling’s June hearings were noticeably absent, and a recitation of Nebraska Senator Roman Hruska’s telegram, which apologized for his absence, was the first order of business for the day. From there, addressing the various media elements present, Dodd ordered that there was to be no recording of the proceedings and that only a two-minute time window for photos would be allowed.

After voicing his frustration with Pauling for the events immediately leading up to the hearing, Dodd made sure to clarify once again that Pauling was not on trial. According to Dodd, the purpose of the occasion was simply to “secure information, on the record, under oath, which will be helpful to the Congress in the discharge of its legislative duties.” Those present were meant to understand that the hearing was necessary for proper legislation.  Dodd also took pains to address perceptions by some that the dispute with Pauling had somehow jeopardized the right to petition, sharing his opinion that the subcommittee had violated no rule of law. Imbued in the atmosphere of the day, however, was the threat of a contempt of Congress charge, an offense that could lead to imprisonment should Pauling fail to comply with each of the subcommittee’s requests.

Los Angeles Times, October 12, 1960

After reading a part of his drafted opening statement, Dodd suggested that he not finish, but instead insert the full opening statement into the official record following the testimony. After a few objections and some discussion, Pauling and Wirin accepted the action and the proceedings were allowed to continue.

Chief counsel Jules Sourwine then introduced a number of pleadings which were ordered into the appendix of the official record. Afterward, Dodd and Pauling discussed turning over the bound signatures from the United Nations bomb test petition for photostatic copying, and agreed to have them added to the hearing record.

Once these details had been cleared up, Dodd finally came to the question that everyone had been waiting for: Had Pauling brought with him all letters of transmittal?  Would he provide the subcommittee with the names of those who had helped him to compiled the petition?

After a series of comments, wherein Pauling requested assurance that he would have a chance to clarify his decision and respond to the remarks of Dodd’s opening statement, he answered Dodd’s long awaited question.

I have not brought with me the documents, namely, ‘the letters of transmittal by which or in connection with which  such signatures were transported to you or received by you,’ for the reasons that I presented in detail at my hearing on the 21st of June, when I was asked if I would tell the subcommittee who had gathered the signatures, and how many signatures each person had gathered. And I replied that I would not do this because I was unwilling to subject people who are innocent of any wrongdoing to the reprisals of this subcommittee, that my conscience would not permit me to sacrifice these innocent people, some of whom had been without doubt led into this activity by their respect for me, in order to protect myself.

Pauling had reacted with defiance, despite the common perception that doing so could lead to his imprisonment. The brave response brought to an end months of suspenseful speculation.  And after a brief pause, Dodd simply replied… “very well.”

For much of the remainder of the hearing – which extended into the afternoon past a lunch break – chief counsel Sourwine took control of the proceedings. In so doing, Sourwine meticulously questioned Pauling about his association with thirty-four organizations and twenty-five individuals that had come under the suspicion of the subcommittee. Pauling replied to most inquiries with characteristic wit and humor, and Dodd was often forced to gavel down the frequent bouts of laughter that resulted from Pauling’s answers. Though the hearing was by most measurements stern and rather grim, one gains the impression that Pauling was enjoying himself at least a little bit during his testimony, perhaps relieved that Dodd had blinked on the issue of Congressional contempt.

Sourwine’s interrogation continued until the very last minutes of the hearing. The final line of questioning was directed at Pauling’s involvement with the Pugwash conferences, which like most individuals and organizations mentioned during the proceedings, was accused of acting as a tool of propaganda and suffering from undue communist influence. Pauling was given a chance to address these final suggestions before the hearing was ended, quite suddenly, after Sourwine stated that he had no more questions for the witness. After roughly six and a half hours, Linus Pauling was officially excused from his subpoena and the subcommittee was adjourned.


 

The merit of the October hearing is brought greatly into question by a simple comparison of the purported purpose and final results. By most measures, the subcommittee failed to produce any new or relevant information for its own use during its questioning of Pauling. Instead, the hearing seems to have been used to let the press and others know what the subcommittee found out about Pauling contacts and associations during months spent dredging through his past. It likewise appears that Dodd understood well before the trial that public sentiment and media exposure would not allow him to charge Pauling with contempt. But Dodd was loath to let Pauling escape unscathed, and as a result the hearing proceeded as scheduled.

So Pauling stood up to the committee, refused to release information he felt in appropriate, and escaped a contempt charge.  But what of other damages to his reputation in the public sphere? According to Harry Kalven, Jr., a law professor from the University of Chicago who researched aspects of the case extensively, the results of the day, in regard to Pauling’s alleged communist affiliation, were not so damaging as might have been supposed.

What emerges then as ‘his long record of service to Communist causes’ is that he favors repeal of the Smith and McCarran Acts; that he has doubts about the justice in the Rosenberg and Sobell cases; that he did not like the deportation of Hans Eisler or David Hyun, a Korean about whom he makes a particularly effective statement; that he favored abolition of the Attorney General’s list; that he protested the treatment of the Hollywood Ten before the House Un-American Activities Committee in 1948; that he opposed the contempt citations against defense counsel in the Communist trials and the proceedings against the Jefferson School under the McCarran Act; that he thought the Hollywood Committee on Arts, Sciences, and Professions in which he, along with Mrs. Roosevelt, was active around 1948 was a useful idea; and that he has a deep concern about world peace which leads him to participate in many movements for it.

In other words, the red-baiters had precious little to add to their dossier.  From Pauling’s perspective, after months of planning, stress and legal maneuvering, the hearing went about as well as could have been imagined.

Editorial cartoon by Bill Mauldin, St. Louis Globe-Dispatch, October 11, 1960.

Prelude to the October SISS Hearing

[Ed. Note: October 11, 2010 marked the fiftieth anniversary of Linus Pauling’s final appearance before the Senate Internal Security Subcommittee.  This is post 1 of 3 recounting Pauling’s autumn SISS ordeal.  A five-part series examining Pauling’s June 1960 subcommittee appearances is available here.]

In June 1960 Linus Pauling was ordered to appear before the Senate Internal Security Subcommittee (SISS) at the behest of then committee chairman, Senator Thomas J. Dodd. The hearing, which revolved primarily around the circulation of an international petition to the United Nations against nuclear testing, ended in a refusal by Pauling to answer several committee questions.

Pauling was ordered to appear again before the committee six weeks later on August 9th, and to bring with him a copy of all petition signatures. Pauling was also directed to bring all petition correspondence, as well as any documentation from respondents that had returned more than one signature. This second hearing was eventually moved to October, giving Pauling and his defense attorney, A. L. Wirin, time to review Pauling’s options and plan for their case. The extra time also gave Pauling a chance to fulfill obligations that he had assumed before his unanticipated summons.

Pauling departed for Europe with his wife Ava Helen shortly after his first engagement with the SISS. Though he was forced to shorten his trip because of complications associated with the upcoming hearing, he still managed to spend three weeks in England and Switzerland. The trip overseas promised a mix of recreation, professional visits and diplomatic endeavor, but a significant motivation for the journey was to attend the Tercentenary Celebration of the Royal Society.

Pauling flew to London on Thursday, July 14, after which he attended a number of lectures and receptions, visited Oxford and went to the Glyndebourne Opera in Sussex. He also gave several talks about his most recent experiences, but spent most of his time discussing international disarmament and world peace.

While in Europe, Pauling visited with ambassadors from Great Britain, the Soviet Union and the United States, including a forty-minute appointment with the United States Ambassador to the United Nations, James J. Wadsworth. According to notes recorded after the meeting, the ambassador was very supportive of Pauling’s work and with his unwillingness to turn over the names of people who had circulated petitions. Wadsworth also shared the opinion that the position framed in Pauling’s petition, when it was written three years earlier, was now official government policy. Wadsworth encouraged Pauling to continue working on the grassroots level, and also reassured him that no one in Washington could stand up against public opinion, a validation of Pauling’s pre-trial tactics to garner public support. The meetings, and the trip in general, seem to have lent Pauling comfort as he made his way back to Pasadena and the upcoming confrontation with Senator Dodd.

 

Notes by Linus Pauling recounting his meeting with Ambassador Wadsworth, July 1960.

 

Press coverage following Pauling’s first trial was largely sympathetic. In the months intervening between the June and October hearings, many more articles were published which mentioned the case generally and provided a neutral presentation of the facts. A majority of the print media content, however, came in the form of letters to the editor, editorials and opinion articles written from all over the country.  While less prevalent, coverage of Pauling’s trials was not limited to the national level, and several news articles about Pauling’s confrontation with the SISS appeared in the international press, primarily in Europe.

The opinion articles written about the matter tended to take one of two positions – either framing Pauling as a supporter and contributor to communist causes, or as the victim of unscrupulous political prejudice. Norman Thomas, writing in the Post War World Council Newsletter, exemplified the first approach.

Dr. Linus C. Pauling has been subpoenaed to testify ‘on Communist participation in, or support of, a propaganda campaign against nuclear testing.’ The subpoena was issued by the Senate Internal Security Subcommittee. This gratuitous intrusion of a Senate committee is not born of any reasonable fear of Communist propaganda but rather of desire to stop any criticism of any resumption of nuclear tests. The committee might more usefully subpoena Dr. Edward Teller to ask him about self-interested corporation and military support of the continuation of testing.

On the other end of the spectrum were the likes of Fulton Lewis, Jr., who is excerpted here from the Washington Report.

Dr. Linus Pauling, Cal Tech professor who is ring leader in the big noise against further atomic tests, now being staged with a congressional committee deserves identification…. The professor’s record shows him to be one of the most prolific Communist front joiners in the business; the suspect petitions he has signed are almost uncountable.

Alongside his general travel engagements and mentions in the press, Pauling also gave a number of speeches and participated in several demonstrations while he awaited his hearing. On July 9, a couple weeks after his first appearance before the SISS, Pauling co-led a peace march with Ava Helen through downtown Los Angeles. When the march had reached its destination, Pauling addressed many of the topics that would characterize his speeches throughout the rest of the summer. He discussed the apocalyptic consequences of a nuclear war, the development of nuclear weapons and the need for international bomb-test agreements, as well as cooperation with the Soviet Union.

Pauling also continued to speak out about the dangers of fallout and the need for total nuclear disarmament. And he attempted to emphasize the relationship between peace and freedom, a topic made even more relevant by the impending circumstances of his battle with the SISS. Though the subject did not tend to overwhelm his general message, he took great care to mention his difficulties with Senator Dodd whenever the chance arose. When speaking of Dodd, the intensity of their association often showed through Pauling’s choice of words. During his speech after the march through downtown LA, Pauling criticized the “madness” and “evil” of Dodd’s pro-nuclear viewpoints.

 

Linus Pauling speaking at a peace march in Westlake Park. Beverly Hills, California. 1960.

 

Once the hearing was postponed to October, Pauling and Wirin attempted, unsuccessfully, to push the proceedings further back, to November. Thwarted in this effort and pressed for time, Pauling worked to address some of the committee’s pending requests. He directed Wirin to send committee counsel Jules Sourwine a list of the names and addresses that he had sent petitions to, as agreed, and took measures to consolidate all signatures contained in the petition for presentation. He furthermore had a book bound with 438 pages of names from U.S. petition signers and assembled all the signatures to be handed over for photostatic copying.

Pauling questioned the committee’s authority to demand signatures from other countries however, and spent some time discussing this aspect of the committee’s expectations with Wirin. He likewise harbored many similar concerns about the legitimacy of the committee’s authority regarding other requests, and began taking substantive legal measures to address them.

Pauling was planning to refuse a part of the committee’s request with finality, and understood well the potential consequences for the crime of contempt. He was determined therefore to resolve the matter before his scheduled appearance in October. He first sought a declaratory judgment from a federal District Court which would state that he need not submit to all of the committee’s demands. After losing the case, he appeared before the Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia which also ruled against him.

Numerous legal examinations following Pauling’s ordeal surmised that the decisions handed down against Pauling in both cases were likely not made because of their legal merit, but rather because the controversy between Pauling and Dodd had not become clear enough to permit adjudication. Pauling eventually appealed to the United States Supreme Court, but his case was pending up to the day of his appearance before the SISS. Though Pauling’s attempt to prevent his full hearing before the SISS was carried out with zeal, it appears that the courts had no desire to intervene in the matter before appropriate measures had been taken by all parties.

After months of maneuvering and preparation, Pauling arrived in Washington, D.C. in October several days before the start of his hearing. At 11 PM on October 10, the night before his scheduled SISS appearance, Pauling was served with a subpoena outside of the Congressional Hotel in Washington, D.C. The subpoena commanded Pauling to bring with him all signatures to the petition, and all letters by which such signatures were transmitted to, or received by him. With Abraham Wirin by his side and a bound list of petition signatures in hand, Pauling made ready the final preparations for his case.

 

Subpoena served to Linus Pauling the night before his October SISS hearing.