THURSDAY, APRIL 23, 1953
UNITED STATES SENATE,
SUBCOMMITTEE TO INVESTIGATE THE ADMINISTRATION
OF THE INTERNAL SECURITY ACT AND OTHER INTERNAL
SECURITY LAWS OF THE COMMITTEE ON THE JUDICIARY,
Washington, D. C
The subcommittee met, at 11 a. m., pursuant to
call, in the Old Supreme Court room, the Capitol, Hon. William E.
Jenner (chairman of the subcommittee) presiding.
Present : Senators Jenner, Hendrickson,
Welker, Smith, and Johnson.
Present also : Robert Morris, subcommittee
counsel, and Benjamin Mandel, research director.
The CHAIRMAN. The committee will come to order.
Will the witness stand and raise his right
hand to be sworn? Do you solemnly swear that the testimony you will
give this committee will be the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but
the truth, so help you God?
Mr. NOVIKOFF. I do so swear.
TESTIMONY OF ALEX
BENJAMIN NOVIKOFF, BURLINGTON, VT.
The CHAIRMAN. You may be seated.
Doctor, state your full name for the record.
Mr. NOVIKOFF. Alex Benjamin Novikoff.
Mr. MORRIS. Will you spell that?
Mr. NOVIKOFF. N-o-v-i-k-o-f-f.
The CHAIRMAN. Where do you reside,
Mr. NOVIKOFF. Burlington, Vt.
The CHAIRMAN. What is your business or
Mr. NOVIKOFF. I am professor of experimental
pathology and an associate professor of biochemistry at the University
of Vermont College of Medicine.
May I ask that all pictures be taken now and
The CHAIRMAN. That is the committee rule; yes.
When testifying there will be no pictures taken.
Mr. MORRIS. You may proceed with the
questioning of the witness.
Mr. NOVIKOFF. Will you give me a moment,
please, to overcome the effect of the flash?
The CHAIRMAN. Surely. You tell us when you are
Mr. NOVIKOFF. I am ready.
Mr. MORRIS. Are you a member of the faculty of
the University of Vermont?
Mr. NOVIKOFF. I am, sir.
Mr. MORRIS. Mr. Chairman, the purpose in
calling this witness here today was because we had received. evidence
in executive session that he had been a member of the Communist Party
while he was a teacher in New York City in the late thirties and the
early forties, and we have brought, Mr. Novikoff here in executive
session approximately a month ago to ask him about that evidence.
Senator Welker had an extended conversation
with him after the executive session and wanted to give Mr. Novikoff
every opportunity to realize the significance of his testimony when he
came here today.
Mr. Novikoff, were you a member of the
Communist Party while you were a member of the faculty at Brooklyn
Mr. NOVIKOFF. In answering this question I
must indicate the objective effect that this and similar questions
which I know will be asked can have, irrespective of the sincerity of
the committee's motives. My being called down to Washington for this
second time after having answered this question and similar ones fully
Senator WELKER. Mr. Chairman, may I interrupt
at this point?
The CHAIRMAN. Senator Welker.
Senator WELKER. I think that the
statement made by the witness about being called to Washington the
second time is a terrible injustice to this committee and, in
particular, to the Senator from Idaho. It was understood and agreed
between the witness and the Senator from Idaho, with the consent of the
chairman of this committee, that he would be given the right to go home
and think this matter over for 3 weeks, and you agreed with me that you
would think the matter over for 3 weeks and voluntarily come before
this committee without expense to the committee or to the Government.
Am I correct on that? You were in no sense called here the second
time. You voluntarily agreed to come here today; am I correct?
Mr. NOVIKOFF. I meant no injustice to you,
Senator Welker; as I have told you personally and in writing, I have
the highest regard for you as a person and for the time and effort that
you have put into my case.
The CHAIRMAN. Dr. Novikoff, this committee has
tried to grant not only to you but to other witnesses every courtesy.
We are after facts; we are after the truth. We thought by granting you
this courtesy that Senator Welker spoke of which I approved of that you
would come back here and tell us the truth. You agreed to come back on
a voluntary basis. We gave you time to think it over.
Yon speak to us of creating a hardship on
yourself. Doctor, if there is a hardship. in this case you have created
it and not this committee.
Mr. NOVIKOFF. May I say then to remove the
insinuation which Senator Welker saw in the statement which I did riot
intend, I assure you, let me say that asking me to repeat my testimony
in public can serve only these purposes as I see it.
First, I think it will jeopardize the great
humanitarian task in which I am engaged and which is of such obvious
importance to the Nation and to the world.
The CHAIRMAN. But, Doctor, if you had come in
here and told us in executive session the whole truth and nothing but
the truth, you would not be here this morning. We do not want a
dissertation this morning on how great a man you are.
Mr. NOVIKOFF. May I finish?
The CHAIRMAN. I do not care to hear any
prepared statement from this witness. We have given every consideration
in the world to this witness.
Mr: MORRIS. I submit that as late as 1946 this
man was a teacher in a Communist training school in New York.
The CHAIRMAN. You will answer the questions
Mr: NOVIKOFF. May I have 3 minutes?
The CHAIRMAN. No; you will not have 3 minutes;
you will answer the questions. If you have any prepared statements, you
will submit them to the committee, and we will see if they are proper
and then we will submit them for the record.
Mr. NOVIKOFF. I would like to present the
setting in which I answer this question, sir. It will take me 3 minutes.
The CHAIRMAN. Will you repeat the question,
Mr. MORRIS. Were you a member of the Communist
Party while you were teaching in New York City ?
The CHAIRMAN. You can answer without a speech.
Mr. NOVIKOFF. In answering this question, sir,
I must beg you to put it in a setting which will save us plenty of time
later. I wrote this out this morning because I am trying to avoid words
which can be misinterpreted. If you give me 3 minutes
The CHAIRMAN. The question does not lend
itself to a long answer. Were you a Communist? If you were, you can say
you were; if you were not, you can say you were not. If you want to
invoke your privilege of the fifth amendment, you can do so.
Mr: NOVIKOFF. I want to try to indicate the
reasons for the answer I am about to give, sir.
The CHAIRMAN. All right; go ahead.
Mr. NOVIKOFF. Thank you, sir.
I can say that asking me to repeat the testimony that I gave in
executive session in public session now can serve first to jeopardize
the work that I have already described.
The CHAIRMAN. It does not need to be
jeopardized. I want to interrupt you again, that your work did not need
to be jeopardized if you would come before this committee and tell the
Mr. NOVIKOFF. I understand your position in
the matter, Senator Jenner. I am trying to state my own.
The CHAIRMAN. Proceed.
Mr. NOVIKOFF. The work in which I am engaged,
as I said, is of importance to the Nation and to the world. It is work
which is trying to help find the cause and thereby the cure for cancer.
The CHAIRMAN. Doctor, let me also interrupt
you there. A Communist conspiracy operating in this country with the
intent to overthrow this country by force and violence is also of
importance to the world.
Mr. NOVIKOFF. I grant that, sir.
The CHAIRMAN. All right. You may proceed.
Mr. NOVIKOFF. The second effect it may have is
to embarrass the university with which I am proud to be associated and
for which I have given every ounce of my energy for almost 5 years.
Third, the effect is to distract my time and
attention from the work in the laboratory. The committee knows from my
previous testimony that I have had no connection whatever with any
investigation by the committee at any time during the 5 years I have
been at the University of Vermont.
Mr. MORRIS. I wish, Mr. Novikoff, you would
not talk about what knowledge the committee has at this time. It is
entirely a voluntary statement and without foundation in fact.
Mr. NOVIKOFF . I have devoted every bit of my
time to cancer research, often made at the expense of my family,
including for more than 2 years a desperately sick child.
The CHAIRMAN. Did you ever devote any of your
time to the Communist Party ?
Mr. NOVIKOFF. May I finish?
The CHAIRMAN. All right.
Mr. NOVIKOFF. This cancer work is, I believe,
on the verge of important findings. Recognition of the work we have
done came last week at the scientific and cancer research convention in
Chicago. I had arranged a symposium on certain cell structures in which
may be locked many of the secrets of life, normal and cancer.
The editor of one of the leading cancer
journals of the country wrote me of this conference that the symposium
on the structure and the mitochondria was superb:
It will be recorded as a great historical
event in the field of histology. Its Importance will be more and more
realized as other investigations study the things said here.
You are to be commended for your obviously
careful planning and skill in organizing such an impressive history of
Many similar letters have come to me. In
addition, I was appointed to serve as one of its members for the next 3
years. This nomination was approved by the society. Also I was
appointed by the council as the chairman of 'the entire program for
next year's convention.
I do not wish to appear immodest; I am simply
trying to indicate to the committee that I am in a position to make a
significant contribution to his very important area of cancer research.
This committee is assuming, in my opinion, a grave responsibility by
endangering the continuation of this work by insisting that I answer
these questions which I have already answered in private or executive
The CHAIRMAN. Doctor, we want to congratulate
you upon your fine work in cancer research.
Mr. NOVIKOFF. Thank you.
The CHAIRMAN. And we would like to be able to
congratulate you upon your being a fine citizen as being an American.
Senator JOHNSTON. Mr. Chairman, I have
listened to this statement. We are all interested in cancer work, every
one of us. But I would like to ask the witness this question, What does
that have to do with whether or not he is a Communist?
Mr. NOVIKOFF. I am not a Communist, if you are
asking me that, sir.
Senator JOHNSTON. Were you a Communist when
you were in New York teaching?
Mr. NOVIKOFF. The reason that this has to do
with the problem, I have tried to indicate because I have said to the
committee and to Senator Welker privately everything that I could to
indicate that I have had no connections whatever with any of the things
that Communists are engaged in or considered to be engaged in for the 5
years that I have been doing this cancer work.
Mr. MORRIS. Dr. Novikoff, since you have been
in Vermont, since you have been teaching in the University of Vermont,
you have been in touch with people whom you knew to be Communists; have
Mr. NOVIKOFF. You are asking me whom I knew to
Mr. MORRIS. Yes.
Mr. NOVIKOFF. You are now asking me the same
Mr. MORRIS. Did you know Melba Phillips to be
Mr. NOVIKOFF. Did I know her to be a
Communist? You are asking me the same
Mr. MORRIS. Did you know Melba Phillips to be
Mr. NOVIKOFF. You don't give me a chance to
Mr. MORRIS. I wish you would answer the
Mr. NOVIKOFF You asked me about four questions
since I tried to answer your first.
The CHAIRMAN. Doctor, let us get the record
Read the question, Mr. Reporter.
(The question was read by the reporter as
Mr. MORRIS. Did you know Melba Phillips to be
Mr. MORRIS. Melba Phillips, Mr. Chairman, was
a professor at Brooklyn College about whom we had evidence that she was
a member of the Communist Party, and she was called before this
committee and asked about her membership in the Communist Party, and
she invoked her privilege against incrimination. We have had evidence
in our records that this man has in fact seen Melba Phillips since he
has been in the University of Vermont.
I think our evidence shows that he knew Melba
Phillips to be a Communist certainly while he was a fellow teacher of
Mr. NOVIKOFF. I am not a lawyer, sir; I have
no lawyer with me. To me this seems to be, if I may use the word, a
tricky question related to the first question, which I should like to
I have not at any time for the 5 years I have
been at the University of Vermont been connected with the Communist
Party or any activities which are said to be engaged in by Communists.
The CHAIRMAN. Were you ever a member of the
Mr. NOVIKOFF. I wish to state that for the
reasons I have indicated, because I do not want to embarrass the
university, primarily, I have gone as far as discussing what I have
done for the last 5 years. Prior to that time, I am sorry, particularly
for Senator Welker, for whom I have the highest regard, that I must
take the same position which I took in executive session.
The CHAIRMAN. What position is that, Doctor?
Mr. NOVIKOFF. I must decline to answer this
question. I am now referring to the first question put by Mr. Morris
and any questions relating to it under the privileges granted to me by
the. Constitution of our country, particularly the fifth amendment,
which states that a citizen need not be compelled to bear witness
Mr. MORRIS. Did you tell the president of your
university that you had never been a Communist, the president of
Mr. NOVIKOFF. I did not, sir.
Mr. MORRIS. Is it your testimony under oath
today that you never represented to the president of your university
that any allegation that you were a. Communist was false?
Mr. NOVIKOFF. The word "represented" I do not
Mr. MORRIS: Have you ever told or indicated in
any way I to the president of-the University of Vermont that you have
never been a Communist? I would like to have an unqualified answer to
Mr. NOVIKOFF. I have never stated to the
president of the University of Vermont whether I: had or had not been a
Mr. MORRIS. Did you deny that you had been a
Mr. NOVIKOFF. I have just given the answer to
that, Mr. Morris.
Mr. MORRIS. Who was the counsel to the
Mr. NOVIKOFF. The counsel of the university is
Mr. MORRIS. Who is the president?
Mr. NOVIKOFF.. Dr. Carl Borgman.
Mr: MORRIS. Did you ever tell Mr. Lisman that
you had never been a Communist?
Mr. NOVIKOFF. I never told Mr. Lisman
that. I understand that he got that impression from something
which I said in a conference which I and the president and he had. I am
sorry that he got that impression; I have tried very clearly—why don't
you let me finish? I mean, if you want to–
The CHAIRMAN. Go right ahead.
Mr. NOVIKOFF. I wish he were like the Senator,
The CHAIRMAN. Go right
Mr. NOVIKOFF. It is hard enough under these
circumstances to say what one wants to say, and to be badgered this
way–you may smile, sir. If you were in this seat, sir, you would not be
Mr. MORRIS. Mr. Chairman, when this witness
was first called before this committee we called the university out of
courtesy to the university to let them know that he was being called
down here. Mr. Lisman told me that he had discussed the matter with the
president of the university and that we would have no trouble because
this man would be a cooperative witness. I said, "Do you mean he is
going to admit that he had been a Communist?" He said, "Well, this man
has never been a Communist; he has told us so. He has given us every
assurance that he has never been connected with the Communist
organization in any way.”
That is Mr. Lisman’'s conversation to me, and
I submit that if there is any doubt we can call him down here and ask
Mr. NOVIKOFF. I must indicate, Senator,
that we have gone through all of this in my previous meeting, and I
regret deeply for Mr. Lisman’s sake and for the university that his
name was brought into this picture. I said to Mr. Morris, I said to
Senator Welker, and I don't know who else was present–
Mr. M0RRIS. Senator Hendrickson.
Mr: NOVIKOFF. I don’t know if` he was
there at the moment; he was out of the room. I said then
what I have to say now, and I deeply regret, and in fact I am chagrined
by the action of the counsel in bringing Mr. Lisman's name into the
picture. It does him an injustice. I cannot say why Mr.Lisman got
that impression, apparently from what Mr. Morris was told by Mr. Lisman
he got that impression.
I was careful not to affirm or deny anything
connected with my membership in the Communist Party at the time I
discussed this. I explained to him that at the present time, and this,
by the way, was within a day or maybe the very day the subpena was
served some 3 or 4 weeks ago. I explained that at the moment my initial
impulse was to
use the one privilege granted to a witness under my circumstances, the
fifth amendment, and speak of nothing relating to these problems.
This was the position I. took, Mr. Morris. I
discussed with him some of the activities I had been engaged in at
Brooklyn College. From what I said they may have gained certain
impressions, but I was extremely careful, sir, not to state whether I
had or had not been, whether I was or was not.
Finally, after some deliberation and during a
second conversation with my president, I decided to compromise with
what I considered at that time to be my principles solely for the sake
of lessening the embarrassment to the University of Vermont, which is
right now in the process of asking for money from the State
legislature, and only for that reason did I suggest that I might be
willing not to use the privilege of the fifth amendment for the time
that I had been associated with that University.
The CHAIRMAN. Doctor, that is why we called
you into executive session. We hoped that you would not invoke. We
hoped that you would tell us the whole story. We hoped that you would
help this committee rather than hinder its work.
Mr. NOVIKOFF. I assure you, sir; that I
appreciate your having called me. I assure you further that I regret
deeply that Mr. Lisman gave the wrong impression to the committee. It
was not my intention that he be given that impression. It was not my
intention that he communicate the impression that he had to the
The CHAIRMAN. Doctor, you can remove all
impressions both pro, and con by testifying to the truth and the whole
Mr. NOVIKOFF. Sir, I didn't want to bring this
up either in the session. I have gone over this. I don't know whether
it is proper to reveal what came up in executive session, but you are
bringing up all these matters. I indicated clearly then, I indicated to
Senator Welker in a private letter, that people differ psychologically.
Some are able. to talk and names names; some are not.
Unfortunately in some ways I belong to the
second category. I cannot be an informer, and this is what I was asked
to do, to show that I was really telling the truth when I said I no
longer had—when I said I had no connections whatever with the Communist
Party and had had none for any time during the time I was at the
University of Vermont.
The CHAIRMAN. In other words, Doctor, you are
not willing to help this committee in its task. Our task is primarily
this: To show that there is a Communist conspiracy directed from Moscow
to infiltrate the educational system of this country, to affect the
lives of the youth of this Nation, and yet you as a professor and an
outstanding cancer-research scientist will not help this committee
break this insidious conspiracy that is gnawing at the very vitals of
Mr. NOVIKOFF. I would help this committee in
every way I am able short of doing–
The CHAIRMAN. Then all we ask you to do is to
Mr. NOVIKOFF. Short of doing the one thing
that was asked of me. This was put to me that way, "You name names, and
we will know you are telling the truth.” That I cannot do.
The CHAIRMAN. Will you proceed with the
questioning of the witness?
Doctor, I admonish you to try to answer.
Mr. MORRIS. Dr. Novikoff, have you knowledge
that Melba Phillips has been a member of the Communist Party ?
Mr. NOVIKOFF. As I said before, I am not a
lawyer, and I don't understand what is behind the words
Mr. MORRIS. Dr. Novikoff; did you attend
Communist meetings with Melba Phillips?
Mr. NOVIKOFF. I have indicated to you—I
remember what you asked, and I want to make this clear. The counsel is
referring again to something which occurred in private or executive
The CHAIRMAN. Of course he is, because that is
why we had the private or executive session, so that you might come in
here and protect your career and tell the committee the truth. We even
gave you an extension of 3 weeks to go back and think it over. We know
what happened in executive session.
Mr. NOVIKOFF. Maybe you have read the session.
The counsel, I am sure, and Senator Welker, who has participated in
this, knows what else happened in the session, which it is clear he has
omitted from his presentation. I was asked whether I had ever seen
since the time I was at the University of Vermont people from
I said that of course I had; I had been there
many times on visits. Then I was asked to name the people whom I had
seen. I objected, sir, as I would like now to object to naming anybody
because it seems to me that innocent people would be brought into
public record simply because of my words. That I did not want to do. I
was pressed on this by the subcommittee in executive session, and I
finally began to mention some people whom I had seen from Brooklyn
College on my visits.
I was interrupted by the counsel, as I recall
it, and asked whether I had seen Melba Phillips, and I said "Yes." Then
he said, "Where had you seen Melba Phillips?" The insinuation of his
remarks before was that I had seen her at Communist meetings. I had
clearly indicated before that that I had never been at Communist
For these 5 years I had had no connection
whatever in relation to Communist meetings. So it was clear from my
previous testimony that I could not have possibly seen Melba Phillips.
When he asked me where I had seen her, as I recall, I said that now
that you ask me where I had seen her, I am not so sure, I may have seen
her on my visits to Brooklyn College or at the American Association of
Since I am not sure, I can best say that I
think I had seen Melba Phillips, but since I don't remember where, I am
The CHAIRMAN. Doctor, can you answer this
simple question? Did you ever see Melba Phillips at a Communist meeting?
Mr. NOVIKOFF. Everybody, sir, it seems to me
brings this question–
The CHAIRMAN.: It is a very simple question,
Doctor. You are an intelligent man; you have told us how outstanding
you are in cancer research. Certainly you can answer a simple question
as to whether or not you ever saw Melba Phillips at a Communist
Mr. NOVIKOFF. Sir, I have tried to indicate
that I will answer any questions the committee wishes to put to me for
the 5 years that I. have been at the University of Vermont. If you
insist on asking me
questions for time earlier, I will have to invoke the privilege as I
have already indicated, and if this question is put, leaving in the
word. "ever, " it would naturally include the period prior to that when
I went to the University of Vermont, and therefore if you wish to ask
it in that form I would have to invoke the privilege of the fifth
The CHAIRMAN. That is exactly what we want.
Senator WELKER. May I have a question, Mr.
The CHAIRMAN. All right, Senator Welker.
Senator WELKER. Dr. Novikoff, you brought my
name into this matter several times. I hope I will be your friend, and
I hope you will be mine.
Mr. NOVIKOFF. I will be, sir.
Senator WELKER. I conducted the hearings in
the private session on behalf of the chairman of this committee, and I
thought that I treated you with all the courtesy and respect that any
witness has ever received in any quasi or judicial proceeding that I
have ever attended.
Mr. NOVIKOFF. You did, sir.
Senator WELKER. Is it a fact, Doctor, that
after that conversation we had probably a 2-hour conference?
Mr. NOVIKOFF. About an hour.
Senator WELKER. A very personal conference. At
that time you were bothered with your conscience; were you not?
Mr. NOVIKOFF. I was, sir.
Senator WELKER. At that time I offered to call
the president of the University of Vermont and the attorney for the
University of Vermont in your behalf; am I correct, Dr. Novikoff?
Mr. NOVIKOFF. Yes, Sir.
Senator WELKER. I volunteered after our
conversation to give you 2 weeks' time to think over the testimony. You
then asked me for an additional week because you wanted to attend a
meeting in Chicago. Is that correct?
Mr. NOVIKOFF. That is, sir.
Senator WELKER. I informed you, Doctor, that
if you told the truth before the committee in private session that you
could go forth with a clear conscience back to the University of
Vermont, your testimony would remain private, and your reputation in no
way hurt; am I correct in that?
Mr. NOVIKOFF. Yes, sir. But I should make it
clear what telling the truth really meant in concrete terms. You say
telling the truth, but I had been told within the first 5 minutes that
I spoke to Mr. Morris that that meant naming names.
Senator WELKER. Dr. Novikoff, how can this
committee tell whether or not a man has severed his connection with the
Communist Party unless he tells us all the truth? Can you tell me that?
Mr. NOVIKOFF. I have thought of that as you
know because I wished there were a way for you to examine my brain.
There isn't. You have. to take the sincerity of what I am saying; you
have to look into what I have been doing. I have been at the laboratory
day and night. I have been working on the data from the laboratory
every minute of the day. I have been having 7 hours' sleep since this
thing broke. How could I have been anywhere?
Senator WELKER. You certainly know that there
are many members of the Communist Party operating in what we call the
underground sleepers, or floaters? You know that; do you not?
Mr. NOVIKOFF. I haven't heard the
word"sleepers" or "floaters."
Senator.WELKER. You know there are many
members of the Coin-1nunist Party in our country operating underground
without anyone,knowing of their activities? You know that; do you not?
Mr, NOVIKOFF. I have read in the newspapers
that this is the case.
Senator WELKER. Now the only question
propounded to you in private session was whether or not since you had
gone to the University of Vermont, whether or not you had been in
contact with known members of the Communist Party, and you refused to
answer that question upon the grounds of your privilege under the fifth
amendment; is that correct?
Mr. NOVIKOFF. No; not as I recall it. I don't
have the private testimony, and I never saw it. As I recall it, sir,
that question was never put in that form... I have never seen anybody
in a Communist meeting, Brooklyn College people included or anybody
since the time I have been at the University of Vermont.
Senator WELKER. Doctor, may I ask you. this:
Since going to the University of Vermont, have you seen or have you
communicated with any person known to you to be members of the
Mr. NOVIKOFF. Sir, the word "known" to me to
be members of the Communist Party is the very words which gives me
Senator WELKER. It gives you a little
difficulty. Then may I say–
Mr. NOVIKOFF. I will tell you why. Because
"known to me" means that you are trying by this, not you but this
question, by this way, is attempting to, get me to answer a question
which antedates the time I went to the University of Vermont and on
which I have used the privilege granted me by the fifth amendment.
Senator WELKER. I will ask you this, and I
know that you will appreciate–
Mr. NOVIKOFF. I hope you appreciate what I am
trying to say.
Senator WELKER. Have you since going to the
University of Vermont, have you ever communicated with, .ssociated
with, any persons known to you to be a Communist prior to your joining
the University of Vermont faculty?
Mr. NOVIKOFF. This "prior to the University of
Vermont," it seems .to me that this is the. question, this is the very
area, which I have said antedating the time going to the University of
Vermont, which I have used the privilege. If you ask me for. any
specific person, I will be glad to tell you whether I have seen them
since I went to the University of. Vermont.
The CHAIRMAN. When did you sever your
relationship with the Communist Party?
Mr. NOVIKOFF. Sir, it seems to me that this is
the same question that was put earlier in. a different form, and I must
decline to answer this for the grounds previously indicated, or on the
grounds previously indicated.
Senator WELKER. Doctor, you have told this
The CHAIRMAN. Let the record show another
fifth amendment which may tend to incriminate the witness.
Senator WELKER. You have told this committee
in private and now in public that since joining the University of
Vermont faculty you have not been a member of the Communist Party?
Mr. NOVIKOFF. That is correct.
Senator WELKER..Yet you refuse to tell this
committee whether or not since joining that faculty you have been. in
communication or visited with persons known by you to be Communists
prior to your joining the University of Vermont faculty. Am I correct?
Mr. NOVIKOFF. I have tried to answer this
twice, Senator. This is the third time. If you ask me whether I have
seen this or that person since I have been at the University of
Vermont, I will to the best of my ability answer whether I have, where
I have seen them and in what connection. When you couple it as you do,
sir, with a phrase at the end which asks me the very question which I
have already declined to answer concerning the period prior to my going
to the University of Vermont, it seems to me you defeat the very
purpose you are trying to achieve.
The CHAIRMAN. Pardon me, Senator. I would like
to ask this question. Then, Doctor, since you have joined the
University of Vermont, have you see Melba Phillips?
Mr; NOVIKOFF. As I indicated before, I think I
The CHAIRMAN. Where?
Mr. NOVIKOFF. I am not certain. The most
likely place is when I went to Brooklyn College. I see many people.
The CHAIRMAN. Who else was present when you.
Mr. NOVIKOFF. I can't even remember whether I
saw her. When you go to Brooklyn College, as I do, I went through the
corridors, I saw many people; I visited with many people.
The CHAIRMAN. Did you talk to Melba Phillips?
Mr. NOVIKOFF. If I saw her I surely talked to
her. I am not sure; I imagine I did. I have been there a half-dozen
times at least. Every time I am in New York, and if it is at all
possible, I go out to Brooklyn College.
Mr. MORRIS. When have you last seen Dr. Helen
Wendler Dean Markham?
Mr. NOVIKOFF. If you permit me to consult the
calendar, I can tell you precisely.
Mr, MORRIS. Dr. Markham is a member of the
faculty of the Harvard Medical School about whom we have had evidence
that she has been a member of the Communist Party. She appeared before
this subcommittee while we were in Boston, Senator, and when asked
those questions she denied again and again whether or not she was a
member of the Communist Party.
Senator WELKER. She denied?
Mr. MORRIS. I mean invoked the fifth
amendment; I am sorry, Senator.
Mr. NOVIKOFF. Unless I misread the calendar,
it was April 6 on which I. saw Dr; Dean last.
Mr. MORRIS. Dr. Novikoff, where were you born?
Mr. NovIKOFF. May I say where I saw Dr. Dean?
Mr. MORRIS; You may.
Mr. NOVIKOFF. I saw Dr. Dean at the annual
convention of the Histochemical Society at which she gave a paper and
the one to which I have already referred on which I had arranged a
Mr. MORRIS. When did you see her before that,
Mr. NOVIKOFF. She is one of the active people
in histochemistry. When I had seen her?
Mr. MORRIS. Yes.
Mr. NOVIKOFF. At the previous year's meeting.
Mr. MORRIS.. When did you see her prior to
Mr. NOVIKOFF. At the previous year's meeting
of the Histochemical Society. I have seen her 3 times at the 3 meetings.
Mr. MORRIS. You know Dr. Markham?
Mr. NOVIKOFF, Obviously I do from these
Histochemical Society meetings. She is one of the most active people in
the field of histochemistry.
Mr. MORRIS. Dr. Novikoff, where were you born ?
Mr. NOVIKOFF. I was born in Russia.
Mr. MORRIS What year?
Mr. NOVIKOFF. 1913.
Mr. MORRIS. When did you come to the United
Mr. NOVIKOFF. 1913 to my knowledge. I am not
sure, but I think it is 1913.
Mr. MORRIS. When were you naturalized?
Mr. NOVIKOFF. I was naturalized through my
father's—what do they call that ?—derivative citizenship through my
father's naturalization in 1918. I believe it is 1918.
Mr. MORRIS. What degrees do you hold?
Mr. NOVIKOFF. B. S., M. A., Ph. D.
Mr. MORRIS. Where did you obtain your B. A.
Mr. NOVIKOFF. I said B. S.
Mr. MORRIS. B. S. degree?
Mr. NOVIKOFF, All degrees were obtained at
Mr. MORRIS. I see. In what year did you obtain
your bachelor's degree?
Mr. NOVIKOFF. 1931 probably.
Mr. MORRIS. Were you a member of the Communist
Party at that time?
Mr. NOVIKOFF. I have already indicated that I
must decline to answer all questions prior to the time I went to the
University of Vermont.
The CHAIRMAN. Just a minute. Let the record
show the reason for it, privilege under the fifth amendment?
Mr. NOVIKOFF. Yes; for the reason previously
The CHAIRMAN. All right.
Mr. MORRIS. Were you a member of the Communist
Party when you obtained your master's degree?
Mr. NOVIKOFF. Since this antedates the time I
went to the University of Vermont, as you well know, I must invoke the
same privilege. I should make it clear in doing so that I do not wish
anybody here to assume that I was guilty of the thing that you are
accusing me of. It is my understanding that the fifth amendment
historically, certainly, and even under the present circumstances, is
for the protection of innocent as well as for the guilty.
I want it clearly understood by all present
that by taking this position on these questions I am not saying that I
am guilty of what you are by indirection accusing me of.
Senator JOHNSTON. Did you have to write a
thesis for your master's degree?
Mr. NOVIKOFF. I believe I did, sir. I am not
Senator JOHNSTON. Do you recall what your
master's degree thesis was written on?
Mr. NOVIKOFF. Well, I certainly recall the
work. Whether the thesis was required I do not recall. I can tell you
the thesis of my Ph. D. In the master's I was working, as I remember
it, on the transplantation of various parts of the egg of an amphibian
related to a frog, triturus virdesens, or something like that. I had
been staining various parts of the egg and so forth.
My recollection is that I didn't write a thesis; it didn't materialize
far enough, but I did have to write a thesis for my Ph. D. I can tell
you what that was.
Mr.. MORRIS. What year did you obtain your Ph.
Mr. NOVIKOFF. 1938.
Mr. MORRIS. Were you a member of the Communist
Party at that time?
Mr. NOVIKOFF. This is the same question that I
have previously declined to answer for the reason indicated previously.
Mr. MORRIS. On what faculties have you taught?
Mr. NOVIKOFF. I have taught at Brooklyn
College since 1931 until the time I went to Vermont, which was about 5
years ago, so it would be 1948. Since that time I have taught at the
University of Vermont College of Medicine and I know you asked me this
question before, before you ask me again, if I taught anywhere else,
and I want to say I did teach for a little while two courses in biology
at the Jefferson School in New York.
Mr. MORRIS. When did you teach at the
Jefferson School in New York?
Mr. NOVIKOFF As I told you a few weeks ago,
and I can't change it, probably in the period of 1945 or thereabouts,
some 10 years ago or a little less.
Mr. MORRIS. Do you know that the Jefferson
School has been a Communist training school?
Mr. NOVIKOFF. I have seen it listed as
connected to the Communists, and whatever that Attorney General's list
is, I have seen it listed there in the newspapers. I think after that
time, however, I think.
Senator WELKER. Answer the question. Did you
know that it was a Communist training school?
Mr. NOVIKOFF. I don't know what a Communist
training school is. If it is connected to the Communists, if it is on a
subversive list or the Attorney General's list, then you may interpret
it as a Communist training school, and if it is so, then of course it
would be. I can only tell you that the courses I gave had nothing to do
with communism. I gave courses that were strict objective scientific
courses in introductory biology and in the evolution of living matter.
Senator WELKER. While you were at the
Jefferson School, did you ever attend any Communist meetings with
members of the faculty ?
Mr. NOVIKOFF. This is the same question which
I have already indicated. I must decline, I am sorry, to answer for the
reasons previously given.
Senator WELKER. Doctor, is it your idea that
you might be incriminated by answering a question about your activities
with a political organization that was legal, say, 16 or 15 years ago?
Mr. NOVIKOFF. Well, if I had a lawyer here I
would ask him whether I am correct in my interpretation, but I think
this is the same question that I must decline to answer for the reason
given, that it may tend to
incriminate me and,
therefore, I must use the protection given me by the fifth amendment to
Mr. MORRIS. Mr. Chairman, I submit that this
man gave an evasive, answer on the last question, and I think the
following series of questions will bring it out.
You know as a matter of fact that the director
of the Jefferson School, Howard Selsam, has been a member of the
Communist Party Do you not, Mr. Novikoff?
Mr. NOVIKOFF. This is again a series of
questions that I have indicated ; I don't know how long we will go on
with this, but for as long as you wish. I will say that this is in the
area which I have already indicated I will use the protection given to
me by the fifth amendment of the Constitution and decline to answer.
Mr. MORRIS. And to your knowledge Howard
Selsam, the director of the school, was a member of the Communist
Party; is that not so?
Mr. NOVIKOFF. I must decline to answer this
for the very reason indicated:
Mr. MORRIS. Mr. Chairman, I submit that when I
asked him the question before, the only reason he would have any
knowledge of the fact that the Jefferson School is a Communist school
was that it was listed by the Attorney General. We have evidence in
executive session that this man was in the same unit in the Communist
Party as Howard Selsam.
Have I made an unfair statement there, Doctor
? Were not you and Howard Selsam in the same Communist unit there?
Mr. NOVIKOFF. I have already indicated that
this is the kind of question on which I must decline to answer under
the protection offered me by the Constitution, specifically the fifth
Mr. MORRIS. Then you know that Howard Selsam
was a director of the Jefferson school while you were a teacher at the
Mr. NOVIKOFF. Oh, yes.
Mr. MORRIS. Have you been active in the
American Association of Scientific Workers?
Mr. NOVIKOFF. The word "active" is a hard word
to define. I wouldn't consider myself active.
Mr. MORRIS. Were you a treasurer of the
American Association of Scientific Workers ?
Mr. NOVIKOFF. It grieves me, Mr. Counsel, that
you should ask the same question which I thought had cleared up for you
in executive session.
Mr. MORRIS. Well, I want you, Dr. Novikoff, to
tell us exactly what position you did have in the American Association
of Scientific Workers.
Mr. NOVIKOFF. It grieves me, sir, because I
thought I had clarifies for you a confusion which arose through some
report that you read is the executive session. To my knowledge I was
never an officer of the American Association of Scientific Workers.
Mr. MORRIS. You were never an officer?
Mr. NOVIKOFF. I have just said that, sir.
Mr. MORRIS. Were you a member of the American
Association of Scientific Workers?
Mr. NOVIKOFF. Yes, I was.
Mr. MORRIS. Mr. Mandel,will you identify this
Mr. MANDEL. This is a photostat of the Daily
Worker of January1946, page 5.
Mr. MORRIS. Mr. Chairman, I would like to read
this into the record.
Senator JENNER. Proceed.
Mr. MORRIS (reading) :
Leading figures in the scientific, professional, and
white-collar fields yesterday endorsed labor's fight for higher wages
and blamed the big corporations for the strikes now waging.
Officials of 12 national organizations acting as
individuals sent a statement to is effect to 150 organizations in their
The statement was issued by the National Council of
Scientific, Professional, rt, and White-Collar Organizations.
Signers of the statement include Kirtley Mather,
president of the National Council; Olive Van Horn, secretary, National
Board of the YWCA; Alex Novikoff, Treasurer, American Association of
Then it goes on to list other
names, and I would like this whole ring to go into the record.
The CHAIRMAN. Yes.
(The information referred to is as follows :)
[From the Daily Worker,
New York, Tuesday, January 29, 1946, p. 5]
WHITE COLLAR MEN BACK STRIKES
Leading figures in the scientific,
professional, and white-collar fields yesterday endorsed labor's fight
for higher wages and blamed the big corporations r the strikes now
Officials of 12 national organizations acting
as individuals sent a statement this effect to 150 organizations in
The statement was issued by the National Council of Scientific,
Professional, rt, and White Collar Organizations.
Signers of the statement include Kirtley
Mather, president of the National Council; Olive Van Horn, secretary,
National Board of the YWCA; Alex Novikoff, treasurer, American
Association of Scientific Workers; Donald Dushane, NEA Commission for
the Defense of Democracy Through Education; and Paul oward, American
Library Association; Etnah Bouttee, National Council of Negro Women;
Norma Boyd, National Non-Partisan Council on Public Affairs of Alpha
Kappa Alpha; Antoinette Connon, Social Work Action Committee; Dorothy
Kahn, American Association of Social Workers; Jacob Moscowitz,
Architect; Melber Phillips, Federation of American Scientists; Sadie
Shapiro, director of social service, Hospital for Joint Diseases; and
Dr. Phillip White, Institute of Cancer Research.
The CHAIRMAN. Doctor, does that refresh your
memory as to whether or not you were ever an officer?
Mr. NOVIKOFf. Sir, this is the clipping which
Mr. Morris read into the executive session. I also remember very
clearly the answer I gave. I said that this clipping in no way altered
my statement. It is very interesting that counsel would put the
clipping above my word which he could certainly, you have a research
staff, I would hardly expect you to rely on the Daily Worker for the
authenticity of fact.
I stated that to my knowledge I was never an
officer of that society. If I were, I would be proud to tell you so. It
just so happens that I don't think I was. You trot out this clipping,
which proves nothing. They could easily have associated, confused, my
officership in the Council of Scientific, Professional, Art, and White
Collar Organizations, or whatever it was called.
I was an officer there and probably was
treasurer. I told this to the counsel and committee, and this reporter,
or whoever wrote this,