miscellany from Chambers' Witness
Chambers on sin (p. 489): "It is only the sins of the spirit that really appall me. The sins of the flesh affect me chiefly as unseemingly and embarrassing, like the lapes of children..."
Nixon comes in for high and ironic praise by Chambers and others. I knew he was an anti-Communist hero, but was still surprised by the specifics: the "one man on the Committee who asks shrewd questions" (p. 532); Nixon had "one of those direct minds which has an inner ear for the ring of truth" (p. 555); in the face incredible public pressure, the committee's "stand was greatly strengthened by one man, Richard Nixon...made the Hiss case possible" (p. 557).
Some rough, early-in-his-career words about James Reston of the New York Times-- "perhaps the most powerful, influential, and widely-read journalist of his era". It's amazing that he got beyond the slam Chambers lays out casually here. It's too long of a story to cover here, but Reston comes off as a moron, a hack, or a defend-at-all-costs apologist for Hiss -- on the silliest of matters (p. 648, 710-711).
Two Supreme Court Justices, Felix Frankfurter and Stanley Reed, were voluntary character witnesses for Hiss in his perjury trial-- after all the dung hit the oscillating device (p. 741). Dean Atcheson, Secretary of State, said "I will not turn my back on Alger Hiss" after his conviction on perjury charges-- and his implied guilt of espionage.
Robert Cleveland, the younger son of former President Grover Cleveland, was one of Chambers' attorneys as things proceeded (p. 728
Finally, Hiss comes off like OJ Simpson's reference to searching for the real killers (p. 687): As the noose tightened and his story had been skewered, Hiss said in his testimony that "I have not found any evidence yet. I will continue to search for evidence." I wonder if he ever found that evidence?