Wednesday, April 3, 2019

Due to a special event taking place in the U.S. Capitol on Wednesday, April 3, 2019, areas regularly included in the tour of the Capitol, such as the Rotunda and National Statuary Hall, will not be available for tours until the conclusion of the event at approximately 12:30 p.m. The Capitol Visitor Center will remain open throughout the day, and guide-led opportunities in the Capitol Visitor Center will be available during the event.

Hiss, Chambers, and the Cold War, 1948

In 1948, Americans watched anxiously as a dramatic espionage tale unfolded in the House of Representatives. Whittaker Chambers, a Time editor, confessed to the House Committee on Un-American Activities (HUAC) that he’d been a spy for the Soviet Union. Chambers accused a former State Department official, Alger Hiss, of being among his Communist contacts.

Hiss fiercely denied the charge. Representative Richard Nixon of California, suspecting that Hiss was lying, convinced Chambers to produce microfilm documents from Hiss—documents that Chambers had hidden on his farm in a hollowed-out pumpkin. Hiss sued for libel, but was convicted of perjury in 1950 and sent to prison. The Hiss–Chambers confrontation riveted the nation, triggering widespread espionage fears and spurring further congressional investigations.