Felix Inslerman (I)

Annotated Excerpts from Felix Inslerman’s Senate Testimony


Before the Permanent Subcommitteee on Investigations of


Committee on Government Operations,

United States Senate

February 19, 1954

Joseph R. McCarthy, Chairman

Roy M. Cohn, Counsel

The CHAIRMAN. Mr. Inslerman, I want to thank you very much. I know the course you are following today is difficult, extremely difficult for any man who has been involved in espionage, to come forward and tell the truth frankly. It takes a great deal of intestinal fortitude, a great deal of courage.

I would like to compliment the attorneys in this case for giving their client advice to be helpful to the country instead of hiding behind the Fifth Amendment. I want you to realize that it would be much easier for you just to come in here and invoke the Fifth Amendment. I think what you are doing this morning displays a great deal of courage.


Mr. COHN. And, first of all, it is a fact that you were never a card-carrying member of the Communist Party; is that right?

Mr. INSLERMAN. That is correct.

Mr. COHN. But you were involved in the operations of this Soviet espionage ring, is that correct?

Mr. INSLERMAN. That is correct.


Mr. COHN. Did there ever come a time when Bill [the psuedonym of a Communist Party co-worker] requested that you make a trip to the Soviet Union?


Mr. COHN. Would you tell us about when that was, about what year?

Mr. INSLERMAN. In 1935, approximately a month before I actually sailed.

Mr. COHN. And before you did sail for the Soviet Union, did Bill introduce you to another man whom you came to know as a member of the Soviet apparatus?


Mr. COHN. And by what name did you know this other man?


Mr. COHN. And who do you now believe Bob to be?

Mr. INSLERMAN. Whittaker Chambers.


Mr. COHN. After you had completed those courses, did your Soviet contact ever make any suggestions to you that you leave New York City and go elsewhere?

Mr. INSLERMAN. Yes. The early summer of 1936, a suggestion was made that I move to Baltimore.

Mr. COHN. Did you move to Baltimore?



Mr. COHN. Did Bob, or Whittaker Chambers, ever give you anything when he contacted you in Baltimore?


Mr. COHN. What did he give to you?

Mr. INSLERMAN. Some documents.


Mr. COHN. Do you recall the first occasion on which Chambers, or Bob, delivered to you any documents?

Mr. INSLERMAN. The recollection is dim, but sometime in late 1937, Chambers came to my house with some documents which I photographed.

Chambers had testified that the photographing of documents began much earlier.

Mr. COHN. Did Chambers give you documents to photograph on any occasions besides this once?

Mr. INSLERMAN. Yes. There were, as far as I can recall, five different occasions.

Chambers claimed it had been a weekly process that went on for nearly a year.

Mr. COHN. In other words, you can recall specifically five different occasions on which Chambers gave you these documents to photograph; is that right?


Mr. COHN. Were these documents, from your observation, government documents?


Mr. COHN. Do you recall anything about the content of any of these documents, any of the names you might have seen, whether they were State Department names or material, or things along those lines?

Mr. INSLERMAN. I recall the name of Grew.

Mr. COHN. Ambassador Grew?

Mr. INSLERMAN. Grew; yes. G-r-e-w. And Bullitt.

Mr. COHN. Ambassador Grew and Ambassador Bullitt. You recall specifically those two names on the documents; is that correct?


Mr. COHN. What instructions would Chambers give to you when he delivered these documents to you?

Mr. INSLERMAN. To photograph them, return them, and return the film.

Mr. COHN. By the way, of course, you never knew that Bob’s name was Whittaker Chambers?

Mr. INSLERMAN. I did not.

Mr. COHN. You knew him as Bob – period – just as you had known the other members of the apparatus as Ben and Bill, and so on, and so forth?


Mr. COHN. What instructions did Bob give you concerning these documents when he would give them to you?

Mr. INSLERMAN. Well, I was to photograph them and the following day return the documents back to him, as well as the film.

Mr. COHN. Would Bob place a time limit? Would he give you a time limit within which you had to do this work, on occasion?

Mr. INSLERMAN. They usually had to be returned the following morning.

Mr. COHN. The documents usually had to be returned by the following morning?


This is a significant difference. Chambers specifically claimed that because Hiss secretly took the documents out of his office, they had to be returned that same night.

Mr. COHN. Would you re-deliver these documents to Bob or would he come and pick them up, or what?

Mr. INSLERMAN. I delivered them to Bob.

Mr. COHN. You would deliver them to him. Where would you deliver them to him? Do you recall?

Mr. INSLERMAN. In Washington, except on the first occasion, when he came to my home, he took the documents along with him, himself, at that time, as well as the film.

Mr. COHN. And would you see Bob in both Baltimore and in Washington?