The Congressional Record on
Investigation of Communist Activities in the New York City Area
Hearing Before The
Committee on Un-American Activities
House of Representatives, 83rd Congress, First Session
July 7 and 8, and July 13 and 14, 1953
As presented in
Chapter 2: "COLLABORATORS WITH COMMUNISM"
added for emphasis
Testimony was given at this hearing under oath by various witnesses.
The hearing was in executive, or closed, session, and the testimony was
not at first made available to the public. But when some of the leaders
of The National Council and The World Council of Churches began to
attack the Congressional committee and emphatically declared that
communism had not penetrated the ranks of the clergy, the committee
decided to release the entire testimony to the American public and let
it judge for itself.
We turn to
and read the testimony of Mr. Manning Johnson, formerly a top member of
the Communist Party. The questions are asked by Robert Kunzig, chief counsel
for the committee.
has appeared in so many of these various organizations and groups. It
seems as if there is almost an interlacing tie-up of one to the other
and, not in any one particular religious sect or denomination, but
through various sects and
denominations. Have you any
comment to make on this situation?
Mr. KUNZIG: Mr. Johnson, before we leave this point I note that the
Mr. JOHNSON: Yes, I have. Dr. Harry F. Ward, for many years, has
been the chief architect for Communist infiltration and subversion in
the religious field.
Mr. CLARDY (Rep. KIT CLARDY, Mich..): That, you think, explains why we
find his name turning up practically in all the Communist-front or
Mr. JOHNSON: Absolutely correct. [pages 109-110]
branch of the conspiracy to turn China
over to the Communists. They not
only gave assistance to the Communists in China but they also
carried on effective propaganda in the
United States to influence public opinion
for their point of view. Later in my testimony I will show how the
Methodist Federation for Social Action was tied into the Communist
Mr. KUNZIG: Do you attach any special significance to Dr. Ward's
lectures in China?
Mr. GITLOW: I only presented Ward's lectures delivered in China in
1925 because they were discussed at length in Moscow and at the
Comintern. The Comintern leaders were of the opinion that clergymen,
with Dr. Ward's point of vie, using the cloak of religion, could render
service of inestimable value to the Communist cause in China and to
Soviet interests. Besides, the missions and church institutions of China
could be used, in the opinion of the Comintern, to cover up Communist
espionage activity in China. Clergymen, who served in various capacities
in China, and who deliberately followed the Communist Party line or who
were duped into following it, formed an important
The lectures which Dr. Ward made in China
date back to 1925, beginning just after he had been to Moscow.
Preparation for the fall of China to the
Communists was being made in the early 1920’s,
when the Kremlin’s Colonial School for training leaders in the take-over of
other countries was functioning fully, although China was not won by the
Communists until late 1949.
The Communist program is a long-range one.
It may take many years to implement its tactics and strategy, but its
objectives never change. This
clergyman, Dr. Harry F. Ward, not only had a powerful influence in the
American churches, through The Federal Council of Churches, softening up his
own country with Communist propaganda, but he went overseas to help to
prepare China, with its 500 million
souls, for eventual capture by communism. Men in the pulpit will not tell
their people these things, and the people do not even know that testimony
upon them is available.
We continue the testimony from pages 2084
and 2085 of the record.
Mr. KUNZIG: What kind of an
organization was the Methodist Federation for Social Action, and how did
it differ from a Communist-front organization?
Mr. GITL0W: The Methodist Federation
for Social Action, originally called the Methodist Federation for Social
Service, was first organized by a
group of Socialist, Marxist clergymen of the Methodist church headed by
Dr. Harry F. Ward. Dr. Ward was the organizer, for almost a lifetime its
secretary and actual leader. He at
all times set its ideological and political pattern. Its
objective was to transform the Methodist
Church and Christianity into an instrument for the achievement of
socialism. It was established in
1907, 12 years before the organization of the Communist Party in the
United States in 1919.
The outbreak of the Bolshevik
Revolution in Russia in November 1917 had a tremendous effect upon the
Socialist ministers of this organization and especially upon Dr. Ward.
When the Communist Party was organized in 1919, Dr. Ward was already a
convinced Communist with a few insignificant minor reservations. By 1920
he was already, though not yet a member of the Communist Party,
cooperating and collaborating with the Communist Party.
This collaboration of Dr. Ward with
the Communist Party was reflected in the expressions and activities of
the Methodist Federation for Social Action. The inner hard core of the
Methodist Federation consisted, up to the time Jack R. McMichael, a
member and leader of the Young Communist League, was elected its
executive secretary, after Dr. Ward had relinquished his post, of a
Communist cell headed by Ward, which functioned under the direction of
the Communist Party.
Mr. KUNZIG: What were the connections
between the Methodist Federation for Social Action and the two
Communist-front organizations you mentioned that played such an
important role in the Communist infiltration of religion?
Mr. GITLOW: In the first place the
Methodist Federation for Social Action was affiliated with and
collaborated more closely with the American League Against War
and Fascism, and the American League for Peace and Democracy, and the
American Youth Congress. 115-118
Mr. KUNZIG: Did Dr. Ward use
his position as chairman of the American League Against War and Fascism
to aid the Communist conspiracy for the infiltration of the churches?
Mr. GITLOW: He did.
Mr. GITLOW: ...To detail the extent of
the Communist infiltration of the Methodist Church -- the people
who served the Communists in the church consciously and those who were
its stooges -- would take several hundred pages of testimony. ...
Mr. GITLOW: The principal individuals
involved in the Communist conspiracy to subvert the Methodist Church
for Communist purposes are: Dr. Harry F. Ward, Rev. Jack R. McMichael,
Rev. Charles C. Webber, Rev. Aslo J. Smith, Dr. Willard Uphaus, Margaret
Forsyth, Rev. Lee H. Ball.
Mr. KUNZIG: What organization, in your
opinion, played a most important part in the Communist infiltration of
Mr. GITLOW: In my opinion the
Methodist Federation for Social Action.
First, it set the pattern for
setting up similar organizations in the other Protestant denominations.
It, in fact, assumed the
leadership of the so-called social action movement in the Christian
churches, and greatly influenced
their ideas and the programs they adopted and their activities. It
maintained the closest relations with all of them and often collaborated
In addition, the Methodist Federation
for Social Action officially affiliated with some of the most important
Communist-front organizations. Those with which the Methodist Federation
for Social Action did not officially affiliate, the organization usually
endorsed, sponsored or supported through its Social Questions Bulletin
or through the recognized leaders of the federation.
We turn to page 2170, for further
testimony from Mr. Manning Johnson. Mr. Kunzig is asking Mr. Johnson about
the methods which the Communist
leaders in the United States used to win over church people.
Mr. JOHNSON: I would first like to
read to you what William Z. Foster
has to say on this matter:
must ever be keen to cultivate the democratic spirit of mutual
tolerance among the religious sects and the people's mass
organization. A still greater lesson for us to learn,
however, is how to work freely with religious strata for the
accomplishment of democratic mass
at the same time carrying on
our basic Marxist-Leninist educational work.
serious mistake of the American left
wing during many years, and
one it would not have made had it understood Marx and Lenin, has
been its attempt arbitrarily
to wave aside religious sentiments among the masses.
[concerned Christians and conservatives]
have already known how to take advantage of this
shortsighted sectarian error by instigating the religious masses
against the left wing.
"In recent years, however, the
Communist Party, with its
policy of ‘the outstretched hand,’
has done much to overcome the harmful left-wing narrowness of former
years and to develop a more
healthy cooperation with the religious masses
of the people in building [a] democratic front.” ...
Mr. KUNZIG: Was
deceit a major policy
of Communist propaganda and activity? -
Mr. JOHNSON: Yes, it was. They made
fine gestures and honeyed words to
the church people which could be
well likened unto the song of the fabled sea nymphs luring millions to
moral decay, spiritual death, and spiritual slavery. An illustration of
this treachery, I might point out, is smiling, sneaky Earl Browder, for
example, who was vice chairman of the American League Against War and
Fascism, greeting and praising
ministers and other church workers participating with him in the
united-front, antiwar activities, while secretly harboring in his heart
only contempt for them and
for the religion they
Now in order to train others in the
use of such deceit, he wrote, and I quote from What Is Communism?,
1936: "We take pains not to offend any religious belief. We don't want
to close the minds of religious people to what we have to tell them
about capitalism, because of some remark or action offensive to their
region. We can well say that the cessation of ineffective, rude, and
vulgar attacks on religion is a positive improvement in our work."
Pages 2201 and 2202:
Mr. JOHNSON: The Methodist Federation
for Social Service or the Methodist Federation for Social Action, headed
by the Rev. Harry F. Ward, whom I have already identified as a Party
member, was invaluable to the Communist Party in its united-front
organizations campaign. It was invaluable because
through it the Party was able to get contacts with thousands of
ministers all over the country.
...quite a few ministers, for example,
participated in the united front known as the American League Against
War and Fascism, and later called the American League for Peace and
Democracy, in which many ministers
were involved. In fact, they were
so deeply involved through Harry F. Ward that they became the spokesmen
-- the advocates, the builders, and the leaders of this most important
Communist front that engaged in
everything from simple
assault on a government to espionage,
sabotage and the overthrow of the
Government of the United States.
On page 2228 of this testimony is a
reproduction of an article in the Daily Worker of Thursday, May 7,
1953. This was received in evidence by the committee as Manning Johnson.
Exhibit No. 21. It reads:
DR. HARRY F. WARD’S
ACHIEVEMENTS RECOUNTED AT DINNER IN HIS HONOR
(By David Platt)
The affair ‘was sponsored
by New World Review, a progressive monthly devoted to circulating the
truth about the Socialist and People’s Democracies abroad. The magazine
brought out several hundred friends and
former students of Dr. Ward,
and some of those who knew him well, like Rev. Jack McMichael, of the
Methodist Federation for Social Action;
Paul Robeson; Frederick Field; and Jessica Smith, editor of New World
Review, told the others of how Dr. Ward’s teachings enriched them
personally and how his tremendous
work for brotherhood, peace, and justice
has influenced the nation as a whole.
“His influence on the churches of this
country is incalculable,” said Rev. McMichael, one of Dr. Ward’s former
students at Union Theological Seminary [funded by the
Mr. JOHNSON: Now, I would also like to quote from a pamphlet entitled
“Socialism—What’s in It for You?” by A. B. Magil, New Century
Publishers (an official publishing house of the Communist Party in the
U.S.A.). A. B. Magil has for years been a national leader of the
Communist Party in the United States.... I quote:
“There are religious people who, far from considering
socialism a menace, see in it the fulfillment of the ethical
principles of their faith. It is this that has attracted to
socialism distinguished clergymen like the Dean of Canterbury, Dr.
Harry F. Ward, Professor emeritus of Christian Ethics at Union
Theological Seminary, and the Reverend Eliot White, formerly of the
Grace Episcopal Church of New York.”
The next quote deals with Harry F. Ward and is taken from a pamphlet
written by Earl Browder in 1936 and called “Democracy or Fascism?”...
This pamphlet is made up from the report of Earl Browder to the ninth
national convention of the Communist Party in 1936. I was present at the
ninth national convention of the Communist Party in New York City held
at Manhattan Center on 34th Street when this report was made. I was a
delegate, and it was at this convention I was elected to membership on
the national committee. In the report Browder mentioned the splendid
work of Dr. Harry F. Ward as one of the finer types of comrades
or Party members. He stated that “It is impossible to speak of the
American League and its work without noting the outstanding contribution
of its tireless and devoted chairman, Dr. Harry F. Ward.” ...
Mr. JOHNSON: ... I continue: “Such selflessness and consistent service
to a progressive cause as Dr. Ward has given will always receive the
unstinted recognition and support of the Communist Party.”
Mr. CLARDY: You have of your own
knowledge placed Dr. Ward in the Party, and you have so testified
repeatedly before us. Now, what you have been giving us is some
documentary confirmation of precisely what you, yourself, have testified
Mr. JOHNSON: That is correct.
Concluding this portion of the testimony
given to the Congressional committee, we turn to
and read the very pertinent summary of testimony given by Mr. Manning
Mr. KUNZIG: At the conclusion of your
testimony here, Mr. Johnson, could you give us a summary of the overall
manner in which the Communists have attempted to infiltrate and poison
the religious organizations of America wherever possible?
Mr. JOHNSON: Once
the tactic of infiltrating religious
organizations was set by the Kremlin,
the actual mechanics of implementing the “new line” was a question of
following the general experiences
of the living church movement in Russia,
where the Communists discovered that the
destruction of religion could proceed
much faster through infiltration of the church by Communist agents
operating within the church itself.
The Communist leadership in the United
States realized that the infiltration tactic in this country would have
to adapt itself to American conditions
and the religious make-up peculiar to this country. In the earliest
stages it was determined that with only small forces available it would
be necessary to concentrate
Communist agents in the seminaries and divinity schools.
The practical conclusion drawn by the Red leaders was that these
institutions would make it possible for
a small Communist minority to influence
the ideology of future clergymen
in the paths most conducive to Communist purposes.
the idea was to divert the emphasis of clerical thinking from the
spiritual to the material and
political—by political, of course, is meant politics based on the
Communist doctrine of conquest of power. Instead of emphasis towards the
spiritual and matters of the soul, the new and heavy emphasis was to
deal with those matters which, in the main,
led toward the
Communist program of “immediate
[or "felt needs"]....
prepare it for final
conquest by Communist forces.
infiltration into seminaries was expedited by the use of considerable
forces the Communists had in educational institutions
which were eligible for hire by divinity organizations.
The plan was to
make the seminaries the neck of a funnel
through which thousands of potential clergymen would issue forth,
carrying with them, in varying degrees, an ideology and slant which
would aid in neutralizing the
anti-Communist character of the church
and also to use the clergy to
spearhead important Communist projects.
This policy was successful beyond even Communist expectations.
The combination of Communist
clergymen, clergymen with a pro-Communist ideology, plus thousands of
clergymen who were sold the principle of considering Communist causes as
progressive, within 20 years
furnished the Soviet apparatus
with a machine which was used as a religious cover for the overall
Communist operation ranging from immediate demands to actually
furnishing aid in espionage and outright treason.
The Communists have an advantage in
religious organizations due to the fact that
their forces within religious groups are
well organized as a totalitarian group
which, operating as a highly mobile force,
works unceasingly toward a premeditated
program. This gives this
destructive element a great tactical advantage over all others in the
religious organizations who deal with religion as individuals, operating
ethics on the basis of an individual conscience before God.
In the early 1930’s the Communists
instructed thousands of their members to rejoin their ancestral
religious groups and to operate in
cells designed to take control of churches for Communist purposes.
This method was not only propounded, but was
executed with great success among large
elements of American church life.
Communists operating a double-pronged infiltration, both through
elements of Communist-controlled clergy and Communist-controlled laymen,
managed to pervert and weaken entire strata of religious life in the
Communists in churches and other
religious organizations were instructed to utilize the age-old tradition
of the sanctity of the church as a cover for their own dastardly deeds.
Through Reds in religion, we have a true, living example of the old
saying: “The Devil doth quote the Scripture.” 128
The Communists learned that the
clergymen under their control served as a useful “respectable face” for
most of their front activities. In
this way the name of religion was used to spearhead the odious plots
hatched by the agents of anti-religious Soviet communism.
Communist strategists counted the
effectiveness of their forces not so much on numbers alone, but on the
importance of individuals loyal to
communism in key spots where a small group can influence large numbers
and create havoc by controlling a
sensitive spot. Thus, one professor of divinity, lecturing to future
clergymen, who in turn will preach to thousands of churchgoers, is, in
the long run, more dangerous than 20 Red preachers, singing the praises
of communism from the pulpit.
The same can also be said of a
Communist agent operating an important position in a church publication
which reaches large multitudes of churchgoing public....
It is an axiom in Communist
organization strategy that if an infiltrated body has 1 per cent
Communist Party members and 9 per cent Communist Party sympathizers,
with well-rehearsed plans of action, they can effectively control the
remaining 90 per cent who act and think on an individual basis. In the
large sections of the religious field, due to the ideological poison
which has been filtered in by Communists and pro-Communists through
seminaries, the backlog of sympathizers and mental prisoners of
Socialistic ideology is greater than the 10 percent necessary for
In 1919 the New York State Joint Legislative Committee to Investigate
Seditious Activities within the state was set up. This committee was headed
by state Senator Clayton R. Lusk. It produced a monumental work of four
volumes of over 1000 pages each, giving evidence of the infiltration of
subversive forces within the State of New York. This committee report
was published on April 24, 1920. On the subject of Communist infiltration,
Part One has this to say:
There are two dangerous centers of Revolutionary Socialist
teaching of a university type in ecclesiastical institutions. One is
the Union Theological Seminary of New York [funded
by the Rockefellers], where Christian Ethics are taught by Dr.
Harry F. Ward.... Dr. Ward is the author of The New Social
Order, in which he shows a decided sympathy for Socialist social
forms and is friendly to Bolshevism in Russia. He also wrote
The Labor Movement, which contained addresses delivered before the
Boston School of Theology, when he was professor of social
science at that institution. He expressed in it approval of the
I.W.W. [Industrial Workers of the World]. It is reported in a recent
issue of the National Civic Federation Review that he gave his
endorsement to the new gospel of Bolshevism, which he considers a
spiritual movement replacing the outworn Christianity of the
Russian Orthodox Church. He characterized the cognate I.W.W.
“philosophy” as the most ideal and practical Christian philosophy
since the days of Jesus Christ, and as expressing the ideas of
Christ much more closely than any church of the present day.
The activities of Dr. Ward, as shown in other parts of this report,
are entirely consistent with this point of view. He is chairman of
the American Civil Liberties Union, which champions the I.W.W., and
presided over the I.W.W. meeting of Feb. 9, 1920, held at the Rand
School.... He has also been prominent in numerous pacifist and
radical societies such as the Fellowship of Reconciliation, the
Emergency Peace Conference and People’s Council, the Liberty Defense
Dr. Ward is also connected with the Y.M.C.A., the Y.W.C.A., and the
InterChurch World Movement. 126-131
Edgar C Bundy,
General Chairman of the Church League of America
Collectivism in the churches: A
documented account of the political activities of the Federal, National,
and World Councils of Churches (Wheaton, Illinois: Church League of America, 1957),
page numbers added at the end of each section above.