Pearson on List

U.S. Probe Eyes More Canadians Pearson on List


Star Staff Correspondent

[ Pearson on the SISS suspect list ]

Pearson on the SISS suspect list, Unknown, 1957-04-05

Washington, April 5 — Hon. Lester B. Pearson may be next on the list of persons the U.S. senate internal security subcommittee can do without.

Developments here yesterday in the wake of the suicide of E. H. Norman, Canadian ambassador to Egypt, have made it clear that, far from having a sobering effect, Dr. Norman’s death has provided the men in control on the subcommittee with the new lease on political life which they needed.

For the first time since the McCarthy era, they are back in the headlines of the U.S. press. While most of Washington gasped in horror at the report from Cairo that Dr. Norman had killed himself because of their persecution, they quickly seized the initiative to exploit the impression that if he committed suicide, it was because he was guilty.

The subcommittee, Judge Robert Morris said, would continue its investigations because “it is our duty to do so.” Asked who was going to be the subcommittee’s “next victim,” he grinned and made no comment.

Judge Morris—he took a job on the New York city municipal court after McCarthyism became unpopular in 1955—is counsel for the subcommittee, which consists of nine senators. Most of the members never attend meetings of the subcommittee which exist as a vehicle for Sen. William Jenner, Republican of Indiana, and Sen. James Eastland, Democrat of Mississippi, who can fairly be said to be the two least respected members of the U.S. senate.

Judge Issues Statement

It was in the names of these two senators that Judge Morris yesterday issued the following statement:

“The senate internal security subcommittee, during recent months, has been hearing testimony about Communist activity in the United States which may have an important bearing on our internal security. In the course of this testimony, evidence has been received indicating that certain foreign nationals have engaged in such Communist activity in the United States. We would not be living up to our obligations of presenting a record to the U.S. senate if we deleted references to foreign nationals in connection with these investigations of communism in the United States.

“If foreign nationals enter the United States and join Communists here and participate with American Communists in the subversion of our institutions, these facts should be known to the senate. Furthermore, if they do not have any diplomatic immunity they are subject to our process like any other person in the United States.

“That is the practice of the subcommittee and we shall continue this practice because it is our duty to do so.”


Actually, the only “evidence” against Dr. Norman was put into the record by Morris himself and was simply a rehash of charges made by one Dr. Karl August Wittfogel, a self-styled reformed Communist, in 1951. These charges, principally that Dr. Norman was a member of a Marxist study group at Columbia university in 1938, were rejected after investigation by the Canadian government in 1951.

The other “foreign national” involved in recent hearings of the subcommittee was Shigeto Tsuru, a Japanese professor who is currently lecturing at Harvard university. The Japanese government has protested to the U.S. over the manner in which his case has been handled.

Mr. Dulles Regrets

Meanwhile the U.S. government officially acknowledged the death of Dr. Norman in a 28-word message from Secretary of State Dulles to Mr. Pearson delivered in Ottawa yesterday by the U.S. ambassador, Livingston Merchant.

“I wish to express my regret and extend my sincere condolences over the death in Cairo this morning of the Hon. Herbert Norman, the Canadian ambassador to Egypt,” Mr. Dulles said. Some reports said his message was addressed to “Dear Mike.”

Although it is not customary to take note of the deaths of diplomats of other countries, Canadian officials here found little satisfaction in Mr. Dulles’ gesture. The state department still has not replied to Canada’s formal protest on March 18 concerning publication of ‘Judge Morris’ charges against Dr. Norman.

A spokesman for the department said he had no idea when this reply would be forthcoming or whether the United States now considered the matter closed. The department has asked the subcommittee not to publish testimony in which the names of foreign nationals are mentioned, but the subcommittee has refused.

Pearson Was Named

The Jenner-Morris attack on Dr. Norman in 1951 was in many respects a prelude to an attack on Mr. Pearson. Soon after the Wittfogel charges in 1951 the subcommittee heard testimony in closed session from Elizabeth Bentley, a free-lance journalist in Washington and New York during the war who served as a courier for a Communist espionage ring. Her disclosures kept the McCarthyites in business for several years after the FBI had exhausted her information.

Miss Bentley identified Dr. Norman and Mr. Pearson—and a third Canadian official whose name has never appeared publicly—as sources of information for her spy ring. Her testimony has never been made public but a good deal of it has been leaked to friendly segments of the U.S. press.


Source: No author, "Pearson on List," Toronto Daily Star, April 5, 1957

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