THE ADMINISTRATION: The Greenbelt Mystery

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    Helping the Orphans. The year was almost up when the Navy, out of a clear sky, handed Chasanow a set of charges and ordered him removed from duty. In 23 years in the Government, Chasanow had risen to become an $8,360-a-year chart inventory and distribution expert. Among the Navy's charges: ¶Contributing to the United American Spanish Aid Committee, a subversive group. ¶CJ Subscribing to "the Communist newsletter In Fact." ¶ Belonging to the National Lawyers' Guild, cited as a Communist-front organization. ¶Having on his desk the names of two men, one a Communist, the other a National Lawyers' Guild member. Contributing to the Cooperator, which had been "listed as a member" of a sub versive book association. To these charges, Chasanow answered: ^ In 1941 he went to a party, attended by Greenbelt's mayor, where games were played to raise money for "Spanish war orphans." Chasanow's contribution: 50¢. EURJ He had paid 50¢ for a one-year subscription to In Fact twelve years ago: "I thought it sensational, badly written and unreliable." ¶ In 1939 he applied for a job as a Government lawyer. He was advised by the Government lawyer who interviewed him to join the National Lawyers' Guild, which, for $1, he there & then did. He did not get the job, never went to a Guild meeting, made no further payments. ¶ The names on the desk were two of 407 on a telephone list. One was once Chasanow's opposing counsel in a lawsuit. The other, introduced to him by his brother-in-law, "talked like a Communist." When the brother-in-law invited the man to the Chasanow home, "my wife put chairs in the yard and [the man] visited with my brother-in-law while I remained in the house."

    Last October Chasanow's case was heard by a security board. Chasanow had 97 character affidavits supplied by friends and associates, and ranging from admirals to the Greenbelt postman. The board cleared him on all accounts and affirmed in detail his answers to the charges. The board said that there was no evidence that the Cooperator had "leftwing tendencies." It found that Chasanow was "a moderating, constructive and conservative influence" in Greenbelt.

    An Ugly Screen. Thankful for this bill, Chasanow expected to be called to duty. But no call came.

    Then last January, another Greenbelt resident was suspended from his job at the Hydrographic Office. Among the charges: he had associated with famed Architect Frank Lloyd Wright, had criticized the American Legion, and, at a 1943 meeting in Greenbelt. had advocated Bible-burning. He denied that he had ever advocated" Bible-burning, said that all his life he had practiced the Jewish faith and is an official of the Greenbelt synagogue.

    When this case arose, statistics of Hydrographic Office security cases showed a disturbing fact: the office had 13 employees who lived in Greenbelt. Five of them had been suspended as security risks. All the suspended men, but none of the others, were Jewish. (Greenbelt is about 8% Jewish).

    In Greenbelt. where most of the residents are Government workers, the suspensions cast a pall of fear and dismay. A fight over rents appeared to have been projected on a far larger, uglier screen.

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