INVESTIGATIONS: The Strange Case of Amerasia

  • Share
  • Read Later

(4 of 4)

Illegal Evidence? But so far as some Congressmen were concerned, it was only the beginning. Michigan's Republican Representative George Dondero demanded an investigation. Early in 1946 a subcommittee of the House Judiciary Committee summoned FBI agents and Justice Department lawyers to hear their stories. Why had Hitchcock made the "deal?" His explanation was that Justice lawyers had suddenly had qualms about the legality of their evidence. They were afraid that the argument might be made that the Government had got on the trail of the stolen documents by illegal means. They were afraid the Government might end up without any convictions. An FBI agent said flatly: "The FBI secured no documents through any means . . . except incident to arrest. They were all legally obtained." Why had Justice lawyers pressed the espionage charge in the first place, knowing from the beginning the nature of the evidence? In a paraphrase of Jaffe's lawyer, Arent, Mclnerney said: "I guess I was just overzealous."

Half Truths & Whole Truths. There was a good chance last week that this might be the only explanation Congress and the public would ever get. Maryland's Senator Millard Tydings, chairman of the subcommittee currently probing the case, appeared to want to be rid of the whole thing. Justice's Mclnerney appeared to be mainly interested in defending the extraordinary performance of the Justice Department. On the Republican side, Congressmen appeared to be more anxious to exploit half truths than to get at whole truths. Wisconsin's Joe McCarthy, largely responsible for the latest furor, had dug the case out again in his effort to discredit the State Department, and that seemed to keep many a solid Republican from joining in the demand for a full investigation.

So the matter stood. Jaffe and his old associates went about their several businesses. Amerasia had folded. Jaffe was passing the time writing a history of Asia. Kate Mitchell was collecting material for a book on the Far East. Andrew Roth, on the staff of the leftist Nation, was at present in The Netherlands. Gayn was freelancing in central Europe. Larsen ran a shoestring agency called the Far East Information Bureau, in Washington. John Service, recently recalled again from Asia and in good standing in the State Department, was being re-examined by the State Department's Loyalty Board.

  1. 1
  2. 2
  3. 3
  4. 4
  5. Next Page