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Summons from the U.S. House of Representatives Un-American Activities Committee (HUAC) to Alger Hiss, August 17, 1948

In 1948 Whittaker Chambers, a self-confessed former member of the Communist Party, appeared before HUAC and accused Alger Hiss, a former high-ranking State Department official, of being a Soviet spy. HUAC sent this summons to Hiss to respond to the charges. HUAC’s investigation eventually resulted in Hiss's conviction for perjury in connection with the allegation of spying, although Hiss maintained his innocence.

Records of the U.S. House of Representatives, National Archives and Records Administration

Summons from the U.S. House of Representatives Un-American Activities Committee (HUAC) to Alger Hiss

The House Un-American Activities Committee

Both world wars raised concerns in Congress about subversive threats to the nation. As tensions rose between the United States and the Soviet Union following World War II, the House Un-American Activities Committee (HUAC) conducted prominent hearings to investigate allegations that communists disloyal to the United States had infiltrated the government, the entertainment industry, and other organizations. While critics complained that HUAC’s investigations trampled on citizens’ rights, supporters believed the committee’s actions were justified, given threats to national security at the time.

I am not and never have been a member of the Communist Party.

Alger Hiss, Statement to the House Un-American Activities Committee, August 5, 1948