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Then following that, I was in the practice of law until June of 1946 when I was appointed counsel to the Senate Committee on Campaign Expenditures by Senator Ed Johnson, Democrat of Colorado, on motion of Senator Bridges, Republican from New Hampshire, and sent to Montana to make an investigation of the Montana primary.
Then, I was appointed as assistant general counsel and chief investigator of the House Special Committee To Investigate Campaign Expenditures and we finished with the work of that committee on January 3, 1947.
Senator RUSSELL. When did you sever your connection with the Senate committee?
Mr. BARKER. I believe it was July 20 or 21, 1946.
Senator RUSSELL. Was that because you had concluded your work? Mr. BARKER. Sir?
Senator RUSSELL. Was that because you had concluded your work? Mr. BARKER. We concluded the investigation of the Montana primary.
Senator RUSSELL. One job?
Mr. BARKER. One job; I had made arrangements to go on the House committee before that.
The CHAIRMAN. Mr. Barker, during your employment with the Dies Committee, and sometime during 1940, did you make an investigation of certain Communistic activities in connection with the TVA? Mr. BARKER. Yes, sir.
The CHAIRMAN. That investigation was made on behalf of and as a representative of the Dies committee; was it not?
Mr. BARKER. Yes, sir.
The CHAIRMAN. I think perhaps Senator McKellar has been through this matter with you before, and I think if he will develop such testimony along that line, perhaps we can ask some questions à little later. Senator MCKELLAR. I will be very glad to do that.
In the first place, I want to ask you if you are a Communist?
Senator MCKELLAR. There are not many Communists in Tennessee or in the eastern part of Tennessee?
Mr. BARKER. No, sir; I am not a Communist; I am a Republican. Senator BRICKER. What was that last statement?
Mr. BARKER. I am a Republican, and I want to say that there have been a lot of phony Republicans going around here since November, and I brought photostatic copies of my absentee ballots that I voted in 1936, 1940, and 1946, and I voted for the Presidential candidates, Willkie and McNary, and Dewey and Bricker.
In 1940 I marked my ballot for United States Senator for Kenneth McKellar.
Senator CONNALLY. Mr. Chairman, has the witness been put under oath?
Senator McKELLAR. I do not believe he has.
The CHAIRMAN. He was put under oath.
Senator RUSSELL. When did you take those photostats, Mr. Barker? Mr. BARKER. At the time I marked the ballots.
Senator RUSSELL. When was the first time you exhibited or displayed them since November 5, 1946?
Mr. BARKER. As soon as a lot of these phony Republicans began coming around Capitol Hill I went home and got my papers.
The CHAIRMAN. My personal viewpoint is that I approve of your party politics, but I think we should perhaps get on with the matter in hand.
Senator MCKELLAR. Yes, sir.
Mr. Barker, I believe the district that you come from is probably the strongest Republican district in our State?
Mr. BARKER. It is the strongest in the United States, Senator. We never had anything from that State except a Republican in Congress. Senator MCKELLAR. Is that true? I did not know that.
Mr. BARKER. Yes, sir.
Senator MCKELLAR. Were you employed first to make an investigation, or private investigation for the committee, and then later a public investigation?
Mr. BARKER. Well, there was some preliminary investigations made, and it has a very important bearing on the TVA investigation. Senator MCKELLAR. All right; proceed.
Mr. BARKER. On April 7, 1940, Martin Dies, of Texas, who was chairman of the Dies committee, which was composed of Mr. Starnes, Jack Dempsey, Joe Casey, Jerry Voorhis, Parnell Thomas, and Mason. The last two were Republicans. Five Democrats and two Republicans.
Mr. Dies called me over to his office and in room 1121 of the New House Office Building, and stated that he wanted me to go to Birmingham, Ala., and serve subpenas on Wirt A. Taylor, Paul Crouch, and Rob F. Hall.
The parties that I just named were well-known Communists operating in district 17 of the Communist Party with headquarters in Birmingham, Ala., and I left Washington the next day at about 10 o'clock on the Eastern Air Lines for Birmingham by way of Atlanta. There was a terrible storm that day and the weather was so rough that the first time that plane landed in Charlotte, N. C., I got off. Everybody was sick on the plane except me and the pilot. I believe even the copilot was sick, and the steward and all the passengers were sick, so I got off the plane and went into the town of Charlotte and spent the night with Mr. and Mrs. C. H. Edmiston.
The next day I continued my trip to Atlanta on Eastern Air Lines and then I transferred to the Delta Air Lines and went over to Birmingham. I got there about 4 o'clock in the afternoon.
Mr. Chairman, may I remove my coat? I have a temperature and I do not feel comfortable. I am not feeling too well.
The CHAIRMAN. You may.
Senator MCKELLAR. Proceed, sir.
Mr. BARKER. Upon arriving at Birmingham, the first place I went to was the headquarters of the Birmingham Police Department and went upstairs on the elevator and walked into the office. It was either the office of Chief Trion or C. L. Hollums, who is chief of the detectives of the Birmingham Police Department..
Now, as I walked into the place, Mr. Chairman, there was a couple of men standing in the hall and when I walked in one of these men grabbed up a chair and set it across the door and sat down in the chair and put his feet against the side of the wall so I could not get out of the office.
I said to the lieutenant at the desk: "Are those newspapermen? If they are I do not want anything to do with them."
He said: "What is your name and who do you want to see?"
Then I showed him my credentials.
He said: "You are from the Dies committee"?
I said: "Yes."
When I said that the gentleman who had put the chair across the door came over and introduced himself and said: "I am Detective Ollie Osborne. I thought you were Rob Hall. We have a subpena for Rob Hall and we have been hunting for Rob Hall."
He then introduced the deputy United States marshal named Arthur M. Ellis.
Ellis said: "Yes; we have a subpena for Hall and Crouch and Wirt Taylor."
I was somewhat surprised at that, and I said: "Where did you get those subpenas? I have them here in my pocket."
He said: "We got them by air mail from either Mr. Dies or Mr. Stripling.'
I believe he said: "They came yesterday afternoon."
He said: "We have not been able to find either Rob Hall or Crouch or Taylor, but," he said, "when we went over to the Communist Party headquarters looking for these men we found a fellow over there by the name of Frantz, who claims he is a lawyer from Knoxville, Tenn., and he refused to give us any information as to where these Communists were."
The detective spoke up and said: "I arrested him. He is in jail." I believe he said he held him for investigation. And I asked him where the jail was and they said they had a brand new jail that the WPA had just built, and they took me down there and brought out this Frantz. His name was Lorenze Brown Frantz. He came out in pajamas and he said: "I am not a Communist and I am a lawyer and I want to get out of jail."
He asked this detective how long he was going to hold him and the detective replied that he had sent Frantz' fingerprints to the Federal Bureau of Investigation and as soon as he got clearance from them why he would release him from jail.
Then we came away from the jail and went up to the office of the United States marshal. The United States marshal at that time was Raymond Thomason and he showed me the subpenas that he had for these Communists and I made out an additional subpena for this Lorenze Brown Frantz who was in jail, but I instructed the United States marshal not to serve the subpena on Frantz until after he had been released from jail.
We carried subpenas in blank with us all the time. As I recall I put those instructions in writing.
Before I made out the subpena for Frantz this officer, Detective Ollie Osborne, informed me that when he searched Frantz after arresting him, he found on Frantz' person such mail addressed to Rob F. Hall, district secretary of the Communist Party, district 17, in Birmingham, Ala., and that he also found on him the keys to that office, occupied by the Communist Party in Birmingham. I asked him where it was and he said it was room 235 in the Clark Building.
He said: "I am, incident to the arrest that I made, going over there to look around the Communist Party headquarters and would you like to go along?"
I said: "Sure."
We went over to the Communist Party headquarters and when he get out the key ring that he found on Frantz and unlocked the door the first thing that caught my attention when we entered the place was, I believe, two steel filing cabinets and I noticed those immediately because that indicated they had some records there and, of course, the Dies committee was very much interested in all records that they could get on the Communist Party.
The Communist Party is an underground organization, a conspiracy, and we were out to get information against them wherever we could get it and by all means that we could get it.
I asked him if he had a key to those files and he said: "Sure"; so we opened up the files and started going through them.
There was a lot of literature and printed matter in the cabinets in addition to such correspondence. There was a report in the files that I was particularly interested in; it was in the form of a letter to Earl Browder, the former general secretary of the Communist Party, United States of America, from Paul Crouch and Rob F. Hall. It was a joint letter from them several pages long. It was a report of their attendance at the organization meeting of the Southern Conference for Human Welfare held in Birmingham, and I believe the date was November 22-23, 1938, when it was organized, and it was a long rambling report, and I selected that as one of the items to take along with me.
Then, I selected some literature. I saw some Communist pamphlets, new ones, and an old one that I did not think the Dies committee had in their files; so I got that.
Then we came across a letter, the letter, as I recall, from Henry C. Hart, Jr., to Rob F. Hall. It was dated in 1939 and was from Knoxville, Tenn., from a post-office box to Rob Hall's post-office box in Birmingham, and it was a two-page written letter signed, "Henry C. Hart, Jr.," I believe, with an abbreviation, "Assistant chairman."
There was a P. S. on the letter which was also written on a typewriter. The signature was made in ink in longhand.
I selected that letter because when I read it I passed it over to Osborne and he read it, and then he made certain remarks to me about certain of the individuals named therein. Of course, I did not know Henry C. Hart at that time and I had never up to that time seen either Wirt Taylor or Paul Crouch or Rob Hall.
The CHAIRMAN. Mr. Barker, have you read the testimony of Mr. Robert Osborne, lieutenant of detectives, Birmingham, Ala., given here on February 12, 1947, in which a letter is read into the record beginning at the bottom of page 956 and ending about two-thirds of the way down on page 959, alleged to be a letter addressed to Mr. Robert F. Hall, Secretary, Communist Party, District No. 17, Post Office Box 1871, Birmingham, Ala., and beginning "Dear Comrade Rob" and ending with what is alleged to be the signature by Henry C. Hart, with a postscript?
Have you read that?
Mr. BARKER. I read that letter, but I did not read the transcript. The CHAIRMAN. I am trying to identify the letter to which you refer without reading the whole letter. The letter has been read before the committee about 10 times and I would like to avoid reading it again. Mr. BARKER. Can I just see that please?
Senator McKELLAR. That letter has not been read 10 times in this record. It is an important letter and this nominee has undertaken by
proof to cast reflections on that letter and as long as that is done I think we ought to hear that letter.
The CHAIRMAN. The committee has heard the letter at least 6 or 8, and I believe 10 times, and I am merely trying to shorten it. I think we can identify the letter by reference without taking 10 minutes to go over that letter.
Senator MCKELLAR. Have all members of the committee heard that letter? If that is so, then it should not be read again. I will be perfectly willing to agree to that.
Who has seen it or heard it read into the record, and who has not? The CHAIRMAN. If this witness has not read the Osborne testimony then he can proceed to identify it any way he can.
Senator MCKELLAR. All right.
Mr. BARKER. I have described the letter, Mr. Chairman, as I recall
The CHAIRMAN. I was merely trying to identify the specific verbiage that is in this record several times, but if you want to identify a specific letter in connection with your testimony, I think that is the proper procedure.
Senator MCKELLAR. Go ahead.
Mr. BARKER. Anyway, Osborne and I gathered up about 45 or 50 pages of material there in the office and went down and got in a police car and I believe he drove me up to a photostat place, but I cannot recall the name of the man that did the work, but he was a crippled man, I am pretty sure he was.
Senator MCMAHON. Did you pay him for it?
Mr. BARKER. Oh, yes.
Senator MCMAHON. Out of your own pocket?
Mr. BARKER. I waited and took receipts.
Senator MCMAHON. Vouchers of what the photostats cost? How much were they?
Mr. BARKER. I would have to consult the vouchers.
Senator MCMAHON. You were not accustomed to making expenditures out of your own funds, were you?
Mr. BARKER. Yes; I have. I spent $250 of my own funds to catch a bunch of crooks in Tennessee and the House and Senate voted me reimbursement and President Roosevelt congratulated me on the work.
Senator MCMAHON. But you put it down in your expenditures? Mr. BARKER. Oh, yes.
Senator MCMAHON. It is most likely that you put in a bill for that photostatic expense?
Mr. BARKER. I will have to check it because as I will testify later you will see there is some question about this matter.
The CHAIRMAN. At this point, if this witness has not read the identifying letter that is referred to, I would appreciate it if he will nail down which letter he is talking about and I would like to have him read the transcript.
I would like for you to read the letter that was read into the record by Senator McKellar beginning at the bottom of page 956 of this record and beginning with "Post Office Box 1604, Knoxville, Tenn." and ending on page 959 about just below the middle of the page at the end of a paragraph denominated "Postscript", and ending with "to the member".
See if that is the letter that you are referring to as the Hart letter.