Q Is this because you need corroborative evidence and this is not always possible to attain, or is it because the laws at present are not clear concerning the unlawfulness of Communist activities?
A We have had frequent cases in the past where we have developed the full facts, but, due to the passage of time, the fleeing of witnesses from the United States, and other matters beyond our control, the development of corroborative evidence is physically impossible. As to the adequacy of existing laws, this is a matter not within the province of the FBI.
Q Have you suggested from time to time to Congress any principles that might be embodied in legislation concerning Communists?
A The FBI is not a policy-making organization and the advocacy of specific legislation is not within the scope of its authority. The FBI, however, has furnished, from time to time, its observations to the Attorney General on ways to strengthen its activities.
Q Does the FBI have adequate means for the detection of Communists who are foreign agents or saboteurs?
A The Communists, foreign agents and saboteurs operate behind a smoke screen of stealth and deception. There must be a starting point in every investigation. The FBI has the means of detection if it receives sufficient information on which to predicate an investigation.
Every One a Potential Spy
Q Is the FBI interested in knowing of the detection of any Communists, or is it interested only in those who are connected with espionage rings or possible sabotage?
A The FBI is primarily interested in those members of the Communist Party who might be engaged in espionage, sabotage, or who constitute a potential threat to the internal security of the United States. Increasingly, however, with the development of the outward manifestations of a revolutionary movement in the Communist Party, the FBI is interested in knowing the identity of all Communists in the United States, as any Communist, properly qualified, might be recruited into espionage. He may today be circulating peace petitions or selling Communist literature. Tomorrow he may be sabotaging American industry or serving as an espionage courier. We are interested in identifying, therefore, every member of this international conspiracy in our midst, because every Communist is a potential saboteur and espionage agent.
Q Would you, for instance, have an actual list of 55,000 Communists, or is this an estimate?
A When the figure of 55,000 Communists in the United States was made public, there was considerable speculation in party circles as to the accuracy of the figures. Later, when detailed tabulations by States were made public, the Communists in various districts manifested great concern as to where we obtained our figures.
Q Are there many Communists who have confessed and turned in valuable evidence to the FBI?
A An individual who has seen the error of his ways and has been converted from the ensnaring tentacles of Communism can be as reliable as any other type of witness. many former members of the Communist Party have been of invaluable assistance in our investigations.
Q What motivates these Communists to confess their relationships with espionage, etc.?
A What motivates one person might be minor factor for another individual. Many influences affect these individuals, causing them to seek the truth. However, from an over-all point of view, one factor emerges crystal clear: These individuals have realized that Communism was a falsehood and a perversion of the truth.
Q Do you believe there are many people who formerly were Communists and who now have changed their views?
A Many individuals associated with the Communist movement—even some of those in high places—have become disillusioned with this godless conspiracy and have renounced their allegiance. They have tasted of Communism and found the taste bitter and repugnant. Many of these men and women hoped, through joining the Communist Party, to work for a "bright new world," for peace and improved democracy. But these hopes became shattered—for some quickly; for others more slowly.