The question was carefully phrased. Had Alger Hiss or his wife ever turned over any Government documents to Whittaker Chambers? In a hushed room in New York's federal courthouse, Alger Hiss, onetime State Department official, listened to the question. Outside, a wet snow was falling on the city. Hiss, the man with the impeccable background, answered: "Never . . ."

Would Hiss say that he had never seen Chambers, the self-confessed ex-Communist espionage agent, after Jan. 1, 1937? Replied Hiss: "Yes, I think I can definitely say that."

"Having Taken an Oath." He...

Want the full story?

Subscribe Now


Get TIME the way you want it

  • One Week Digital Pass — $4.99
  • Monthly Pay-As-You-Go DIGITAL ACCESS$2.99
  • One Year ALL ACCESSJust $30!   Best Deal!
    Print Magazine + Digital Edition + Subscriber-only Content on

Learn more about the benefits of being a TIME subscriber

If you are already a subscriber sign up — registration is free!