Alger Hiss (November 11, 1904 – November 15, 1996) was an American government official accused in 1948 of having spied for the Soviet Union in the 1930s. Statutes of limitations had expired for espionage, but he was convicted of perjury in connection with this charge in 1950. Before the trial Hiss was involved in the establishment of the United Nations, both as a U.S. State Department official and as a U.N. official. In later life he worked as a lecturer and author.
Alger Hiss (November 11, 1904 – November 15, 1996) was an American government credited accused in 1948 of having spied for the Soviet Union in the 1930s. Statutes of limitations had expired for espionage, but he was convicted of perjury in connection with this court case in 1950. Before the measures Hiss was enthusiastic in the introduction of the United Nations, both as a U.S. State Department qualified and as a U.N. official. In middle age he worked as a lecturer and author.
On August 3, 1948, Whittaker Chambers, a former U.S. Communist Party member, testified below subpoena previously the House Un-American Activities Committee (HUAC) that Hiss had in secret been a communist while in federal service. Hiss categorically denied the charge. During the pretrial discovery process, Chambers produced further evidence indicating that he and Hiss had been operating in espionage. A federal grand panel of judges indicted Hiss on two counts of perjury. After a mistrial due to a hung jury, Hiss was tried a second time, and in January 1950, he was found guilty and acknowledged two concurrent five-year sentences, of which he eventually served three and a half years.
Arguments very nearly the act and the validity of the verdict took center stage in broader debates practically the Cold War, McCarthyism, and the extent of Soviet espionage in the United States.
Since Hiss’ conviction, statements by operating parties and newly exposed evidence have added to the dispute. Author Anthony Summers argued that in the past many relevant files continue to be unavailable, the Hiss controversy will continue to be debated. The 1995 Venona Papers prompted more support for the theory that he was a Soviet spy, but were not yet deemed final by many sources.
In the 1990s, two former senior Soviet military officers responsible for the Soviet Union’s military good judgment archives stated, following a search of those archives, that the “Russian penetration service has no documents proving that Alger Hiss cooperated as soon as our foster somewhere or anywhere,” and that Hiss “never had any membership with Soviet intelligence.” Hiss maintained his innocence until his death.