Communist Exploitation of Radiation “Fall-Out” (1957)


A stunning FBI document, replete with coverletter by Director J. Edgar Hoover to Gen. Robert Cutler (Special Assistant to the President for National Security Affairs, 1953-55 and 1957-58), Communist Exploitation of Radiation “Fall-Out”  Controversy (June 12, 1957) lists nineteen scientists who held membership in the World Federation of Scientific Workers, and suspected of being a  Communist “front group” by the FBI (Introduction, p.1).

Among the well-known scientists listed in the once confidential document are past AAAS president George Wells Beadle, physicist Edward Condon (who had an encounter with HUAC  in 1948 as director of the National Bureau of Standards), chemist Linus Pauling, and  astronomer Harlow Shapley. Perhaps the most surprising inclusion in the FBI’s document (to me at least) is none other than information scientist Warren Weaver (also served as president of the AAAS in 1954), who authored with Claude Shannon, the groundbreaking classic The Mathematical Theory of Communication (University of Illinois Press, 1949).

The FBI’s “methodology” in determining if the scientists were “subversives” and “exploiting” information on radiation hazards and atomic fallout were scans of The Daily Worker press releases and the New York Times Index, which then were “correlated” with information on the scientists held by the FBI (p.2).

Read Communist Exploitation. Note the redaction within the entries.