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USSR News 1. Putin orders new security measures as Russia marks Soviet victory in WWII 2. Putin: US exit from INF Treaty puts Europe at risk of new arms race 3. Russia and Ukraine reach historic deal to restore trade ties 4. Putin: Russia will respond to US withdrawal from nuclear arms treaty 5. Putin: Russia will not deploy intermediate-range nuclear missiles in Europe 6. Putin: Russia will cooperate with US on arms control and non-proliferation 7. Putin: Russia and US must cooperate on nuclear security 8. Putin: Russia to help implement START III arms reduction treaty 9. Putin: Russia, US must work together to resolve nuclear arms crisis 10. Putin: Russia will not deploy intermediate-range nuclear missiles in Europe Articles 1. The Soviet Union’s Lasting Legacy: How the USSR Influenced Today’s World 2. How the Soviet Union Changed History 3. The Impact of the Soviet Union on the World 4. The Role of the Soviet Union in the Cold War 5. The Soviet Union’s Role in the End of the Cold War 6

The Fallout | US House of Representatives: History, Art & Archives

In 2015, House curators carefully unpacked water purification tablets, surgical soap, gauze pads, and a toothache remedy from Medical Kit C. The large cardboard box and the basic medical supplies it contained are artifacts of Cold War–era Washington, when the threat of nuclear attack hung over the country, and officials stockpiled emergency food, water, and medicine across the Capitol complex.On the EdgeFallout shelters outfitted with government-issued medical kits grew prevalent in the United States, eventually even in the Capitol, in the 1960s. Following a strained meeting in 1961 between President John F. Kennedy and Soviet leader Nikita Khrushchev about Berlin, the German city on the dividing line between democracy and communism, the President warned that combat with the Soviet Union might be necessary. Soon after, the Soviet Union erected the Berlin Wall, and both sides tested nuclear weapons.A year later, Kennedy learned that the Soviet Union was constructing nuclear missile sites in Cuba, dangerously close to the United States. The President surrounded the island with naval ships, preventing supplies from entering Cuba. He demanded that Khrushchev remove the nuclear weapons and destroy the sites. Khrushchev and Kennedy ultimately came to an agreement—but for nearly two weeks during what became known as the Cuban Missile Crisis, a nuclear attack on the United States seemed frighteningly possible.Take ShelterThe Office of Civil Defense launched a program to protect Americans, encouraging them to prepare fallout shelters in the basements of homes, schools, apartment buildings, and churches. At the time, people believed that if a nuclear bomb hit, they could gather in a shelter and wait a week or two until it was safer to go outside. The federal government planned to provide water containers, food rations, and sanitation, radiological, and medical kits for public fallout shelters.But during an Armed Services subcommittee hearing about the fallout shelter program in 1963, less than a year after the Cuban Missile Crisis, Members of Congress confronted a lack of preparedness around the Capitol. Michigan Representative Charles Chamberlain questioned Chet Holifield, a Representative from California and former chair of the Joint Committee on Atomic Energy.“Do you know where you could find any emergency food under the Capitol dome or in this building [the Cannon House Office Building]?” Chamberlain asked.Holifield responded that he knew there was food in the cafeteria.“No; I mean emergency rations—” Chamberlain pressed.“No,” admitted Holifield.“If we are going to be down in the tunnel or under the street or wherever we are to go to; do you know where you can get a bandaid except from the attending physician?”Holifield replied, “There are no adequate facilities in the Capitol of the United States or in Washington to take care of the legislature and the executive branch of our Government in toto.”A few weeks later, the Architect of the Capitol, working with the Department of Defense, began designating and stocking shelters around the Capitol, Senate and House Office Buildings, and even in the tunnels between buildings.Kitted OutFallout shelters around the Capitol, House, and Senate were intended to protect around 36,000 people, including Representatives, staff members, visitors, and neighbors. Just as residents stocked their basements with canned goods and supplies in case of nuclear emergency, officials stored food rations, water, and medical kits in Capitol Hill shelters, but on a much larger scale. “Stacked in the Old Subway Tunnel and basement beneath the Capitol, for example,” wrote historian David F. Krugler, “were 259 cases of carbohydrate supplement (in lemon or cherry flavor) and 1,393 cases of biscuits (actually 75 calorie wafers made from bulgur wheat).”On the Capitol campus, each medical kit supplied by the Office of Civil Defense could serve 300 to 325 people—and there were many boxes. “Numerous medical problems are expected to develop during shelter occupancy,” explained the Department of Defense. Including rubbing alcohol, sodium bicarbonate, penicillin, a thermometer, and sedative phenobarbital tablets (marked “WARNING—May be habit forming”), the supplies in the kit were intended to help with problems like cuts, stress, and digestive issues.UnboxingAs years passed without a nuclear war, the Capitol’s fallout shelter supplies remained unused. Around the country, medical kits and food rations were forgotten or put to other purposes. Relief agencies sent the medical supplies to other countries. By the 1980s, the medicine degraded, and the food rations were considered “unfit for humans,” the Los Angeles Times stated. Farmers fed the dry, powdery Nabisco and Sunshine biscuits to pigs and sheep.In November 2009, Senate historians discovered 40 Office of Civil Defense medical kits in the attic of the Dirksen Senate Office Building. One box was transferred to the House Collection. The kit serves as a reminder of Cold War life around the Capitol and the cloud of anxiety that hovered, for a time, over Washington.Sources: Hearings before the House Committee on Armed Services, Subcommittee No. 3, Civil Defense–Fallout Shelter Program, 88th Cong., 1st sess. (1963); Department of Defense, Annual Report of the Office of Civil Defense for Fiscal Year 1962 (Washington, DC: Government Printing Office, 1962); ABC Premium News [Sydney], 10 June 2017; Baltimore Sun, 24 October 1962; Chicago Tribune, 25 February 1981; Los Angeles Times, 29 November 1982; New York Times, 20 February 1995; Washington Post, 23 December 2001; David F. Krugler, This Is Only a Test: How Washington D.C. Prepared for Nuclear War (New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2006); The Cold War in Berlin, John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum, accessed 9 April 2020, https://www.jfklibrary.org/learn/about-jfk/jfk-in-history/the-cold-war-in-berlin; and Cuban Missile Crisis, John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum, accessed 9 April 2020, https://www.jfklibrary.org/learn/about-jfk/jfk-in-history/cuban-missile-crisis.

“Which Side Are You On?” | US House of Representatives: History, Art & Archives

On July 14, 1955, John F. Pickett, a deputy U.S. Marshal for the Southern District of New York, traveled to Beacon, New York, along the Hudson River, 60 miles north of Manhattan. The town had been founded in the early eighteenth century and later grew into a bustling commercial port. During the American Revolution, lookouts lit bonfires atop the surrounding hills to signal the approach of British troops—beacons, for which the town was later named. In the summer of 1955, Pickett made his way north in the shadow of those same hills to deliver a far different message to a resident of Beacon. Pickett’s destination was a 17-acre farm overlooking the Hudson River owned by the well-known folk singer Pete Seeger. In the 1940s and early 1950s, Seeger had been a popular musician, both on his own and with his band, The Weavers. But in 1952, a New York actor turned government informant told federal investigators under oath that Seeger and many of his bandmates were members of the Communist Party who subscribed to a collective political ideology at stark odds with America’s professed free-market individualism.It was a devastating accusation. At the time, the United States was increasingly concerned with the spread of communism around the world. As the two largest Allied nations during World War II, America and the Soviet Union had led the fight against fascism and the Axis states. After the war, the two countries emerged as global industrial powers and international rivals. The capitalist system of America and the communist society of Soviet Union stood opposed to one another, and for many in the United States this schism created a pervasive existential threat. The Communist Revolution in China further exacerbated these fears. By the 1950s, the zero-sum Cold War for global supremacy caused lawmakers on Capitol Hill to focus extensively on foreign policy and military preparedness. Some in Congress, meanwhile, took additional action and looked inward to identify security threats at home.Pickett had brought with him a subpoena addressed to Seeger from Francis E. Walter of Pennsylvania, the chairman of the House Un-American Activities Committee (HUAC). “Are you Pete Seeger?” Pickett asked after pulling onto the musician’s property. He handed Seeger an envelope with a legal notice. “Pursuant to lawful authority, you are hereby commanded to be and appear before the Committee on Un-American Activities of the House of Representatives of the United States, or a duly appointed subcommittee thereof, on August 18, 1955, at 10 o’clock a.m., at their committee room, 1703 United States Courthouse, Foley Square, New York City, N.Y., then and there to testify touching matters of inquiry committed to said committee.” For years, HUAC had used its subpoena powers—the ability to compel witnesses to testify—to investigate whether Communists worked in the federal government, organized labor, and the entertainment industry. Civil servants, movie stars, playwrights, musicians, and teachers were called before the committee in the years after World War II. Many were blacklisted and lost their jobs as a result, the mere whisper of communism marking them as untrustworthy and unemployable. Although Seeger had yet to testify in front of HUAC, the claim that he once belonged to the Communist Party was enough to excommunicate him from polite society and prevent him from performing.During the Cold War, opposing Goliaths—America and the Soviet Union, capitalism and communism, and, for many, good and evil—engaged in a world historical battle to set the terms for the future. During the summer of 1955, however, a related struggle—one that was more David and Goliath—unfolded amid questions of personal loyalty and government overreach: Seeger and HUAC, a citizen and his legislature.“Wasn't That A Time”The House Un-American Activities Committee had been in New York for a few days by the time Seeger testified. It was “warm and humid” on August 18, as the fourth and final round of hearings opened downtown—perfect weather if the committee wanted to make Seeger sweat. Three members of HUAC sat across from Seeger and his lawyer Paul Ross: Francis Walter, the committee’s chairman, and Edwin Willis of Louisiana, both Democrats, and Republican Gordon Scherer of Ohio. HUAC’s chief counsel, Frank Tavenner Jr., “a large, slow-talking man” known as a methodical and “vigorous prosecutor,” led the committee’s questioning. Tavenner started by inquiring into Seeger’s occupation. “Well, I have worked at many things, and my main profession is a student of American folklore, and I make my living as a banjo picker, sort of damning in some people’s opinion,” Seeger replied. Seeger had served as an Army entertainer during World War II and Tavenner probed his military service. Tavenner then asked about his music career, before finally moving to an advertisement for a performance Seeger gave in New York in 1947. The ad was only 12 words long, but it had appeared in the Daily Worker, what Tavenner called the “official organ” of the Communist Party: “Tonight—Bronx, hear Peter Seeger and his guitar, at Allerton Section housewarming.” Tavenner continued: “May I ask you whether or not the Allerton Section was a section of the Communist Party?” This was a familiar line of questioning. The committee had asked about old gigs when it questioned other musicians, as well. Seeger knew where this was headed and refused to go along. “I am not going to answer any questions as to my association, my philosophical or religious beliefs or my political beliefs, or how I voted in any election or any of these private affairs,” Seeger said, his yellow tie cinched tight to the top button of his plaid shirt. “I think these are very improper questions for any American to be asked, especially under such compulsion as this.” “The Quiz Show”Since the First Federal Congress (1789–1791), the House has used its investigatory prerogatives to look into issues that in some way affected, or could affect, the legislative process: tariff rates, railroad stock sales, poisoned food and drugs, environmental degradation. After years exploring claims of radicalism in federal New Deal programs with a special committee, the House established the House Un-American Activities Committee as a standing committee in 1945. Three years later, during a blockbuster HUAC hearing on Capitol Hill, Whittaker Chambers, a former Communist Party member, accused Alger Hiss, a senior State Department official, of spying for the Soviet Union as part of a larger espionage operation; Hiss was later convicted of perjury. Partly because of HUAC’s mission—but also on the heels of Senate investigations led by Wisconsin Republican Joseph McCarthy into Communist influence in the military and the federal government—Congress responded with legislation.In August 1954, a year before Seeger testified, President Dwight D. Eisenhower signed into law the Communist Control Act which, among other things, outlawed membership in the Communist Party. The scope of HUAC’s jurisdiction gave the committee astonishing reach, but its legislative powers were no different than any other House committee. Like other committees, HUAC had the ability to subpoena witnesses for both closed and public hearings and, if need be, hold them in contempt. Since 1857 a witness’s refusal to answer “pertinent” questions during a congressional investigation had been a criminal offense. And in the late 1920s, the Supreme Court upheld Congress’s right to call private citizens to testify and reaffirmed Congress’s broad investigative powers. But it was also the case that by the 1950s, investigatory committees on Capitol Hill had accrued “nearly unlimited power,” according to one legal scholar writing a decade later, “so long as the committees showed at least nominal deference to the principle of legislative purpose.” In 1955, the same year Seeger appeared before HUAC, Telford Taylor, a lawyer who had prosecuted Nazi war criminals at Nuremberg, published a study showing just how expansive Congress’s powers of investigation had grown. It was important for lawmakers to conduct oversight into issues like corruption or wastefulness, Taylor wrote. “But with the increasing participation of investigating committees in matters of loyalty and subversion,” he continued, “their activities have raised new and much more searching issues.” Did these investigations contribute to the legislative process, Taylor wondered, or did they signal the rise of aggressive and questionable quasi-judicial powers? “Lonesome Traveler” HUAC’s chairman in the 84th Congress (1955–1957) was Francis Walter, a ferocious Cold Warrior and a powerful Pennsylvania Democrat. Walter had been one of the chief architects of the Immigration and Nationality Act of 1952 which, among other things, empowered the government to deny entry to people it suspected of being Communists. He wielded broad influence over patronage on the Hill and was dean of the Pennsylvania delegation. Alongside his seat on HUAC, Walter was also the ranking Democrat on the Judiciary Committee and chairman of its immigration subcommittee. Walter was nevertheless ambivalent about HUAC’s status as a standing committee, admitting in 1954 that he preferred to disband the committee and transfer its jurisdiction to Judiciary. And yet, as HUAC’s chair, Walter quickly began a new round of investigations. Following what he called “many months of exploratory” research, Walter announced hearings into the performing arts industry in New York in August 1955. The committee subpoenaed nearly 30 entertainers—“actors, actresses, writers and producers”—as well as Seeger, and Seeger’s good friend and former bandmate Lee Hayes. HUAC had gone to New York in 1955 on more than just a hunch. “There’s a reason that the New York folk scene was viewed with suspicion by anti-Communists in the 1950s and 1960s,” the journalist David A. Graham wrote. “Many of them were Communists.” And on one point HUAC had good information: Seeger had, in fact, supported the Communist Party. In college, he had joined the Young Communist League at Harvard and backed the party for a little while as a professional musician. By 1950, however, Seeger had broken with the Communist Party and later admitted that the Soviet leader Joseph Stalin had been “a supremely cruel misleader.” When Seeger finally appeared under oath before HUAC in August 1955, Tavenner at one point reminded Seeger that if he performed under the auspices of the Communist Party he was required to tell the committee. “If you were acting for the Communist Party at these functions, we want to know it. We want to determine just what the Communist Party plan was.” After first questioning Seeger about his 1947 show in the Bronx, Tavenner mentioned an advertisement for an event a year later sponsored by the Essex County Communist Party in New Jersey where Seeger was listed as the “entertainment.” When Tavenner asked if Seeger performed at the gathering in Newark, Seeger demurred.“You see, sir,” Seeger replied, “I feel—.” Chairman Walter cut him off. “What is your answer?” “I will tell you what my answer is,” Seeger said, conferring with his lawyer. “I feel that in my whole life I have never done anything of any conspiratorial nature and I resent very much and very deeply the implication of being called before this committee that in some way because my opinions may be different from yours, or yours, Mr. Willis; or yours, Mr. Scherer; that I am any less of an American than anybody else. I love my country very deeply, sir.” Seeger had complied with the subpoena and appeared before the committee, but he made it clear that he would not cooperate. “I simply feel it is improper for this committee to ask such questions.” Unmoved, Tavenner asked again if Seeger had performed at Communist Party functions. “I have sung for Americans of every political persuasion,” he said, “and I am proud that I never refuse to sing to an audience, no matter what religion or color of their skin, or situation of life. I have sung in hobo jungles, and I have sung for the Rockefellers, and I am proud that I have never refused to sing for anybody.” Seeger reminded Walter that the chairman’s own constituents in the eastern Pennsylvania hills would likely take his side against the committee. “I know many beautiful songs from your home county, Carbon, and Monroe, and I hitchhiked through there and stayed in the homes of miners,” Seeger said. Tavenner tried to circle back to his original question, but Seeger had told the committee all he was going to say. After more questions which Seeger declined to answer, the committee dismissed him at 12:40 that afternoon.“So Long It's Been Good to Know You”Of the nearly two dozen witnesses the committee interviewed in New York, only one confirmed that he had what the Associated Press called “a Communist past.” But for Chairman Walter, the hearings had served their intended purpose. “I am sure the people of this community now have a picture of how innocent people are enlisted into the Communist conspiracy,” he said after the proceedings. HUAC may have left New York, but it was not done with Seeger. The fallout from Seeger’s testimony cast a long and troublesome shadow over the musician. Seeger had gone into the hearing planning to be combative. Prior to his testimony, Seeger had told his lawyer “I want to get up there and attack these guys for what they are, the worst of America.” Seeger’s stand had consequences, however. Most other witnesses called before HUAC that August appealed to the Fifth Amendment, providing them the legal means to refuse giving potentially incriminating evidence. Seeger did not do that. During the hearing Seeger instead repeatedly told the committee that he believed its questions were improper and violated his rights to free speech and free association, regardless of his political beliefs. It was a big risk. Seeger’s First Amendment defense lacked the protections afforded by the Fifth Amendment. Back in Washington, Walter and the committee prepared to use a rare but powerful tool against witnesses like Seeger they deemed uncooperative, and which came with serious consequences. Almost a year after receiving his summons to testify, Seeger received another notice from HUAC: the House had found him in contempt of Congress. Sources: Congressional Record, House, 84th Cong., 2nd sess. (25 July 1956): 14512; Hearings before the House Committee on Un-American Activities, Investigation of Communist Activities, New York Area—Part VII (Entertainment), 84th Cong., 1st sess. (1955); Baltimore Sun, 19 August 1955; Chicago Daily Tribune, 31 March 1954; New York Times, 8 April 1954, 1 August 1955, 18 August 1955, 19 August 1955, 22 October 1964, 28 January 2014; Washington Post, 15 August 1955, 22 October 1964; David A. Graham, “Pete Seeger’s All-American Communism,” 29 January 2014, The Atlantic, https://www.theatlantic.com/politics/archive/2014/01/pete-seegers-all-american-communism/283444/; Donald A. Ritchie, “McCarthyism in Congress: Investigating Communism,” in The American Congress: The Building of Democracy, Julian E. Zelizer, ed. (New York: Houghton Mifflin Company, 2004); David King Dunaway, How Can I Keep From Singing? The Ballad of Pete Seeger (1981; repr., New York: Vallard Books, 2008); Allan M. Winkler, ‘To Everything There Is A Season’: Pete Seeger and the Power of Song (New York: Oxford University Press, 2009); Robert B. McKay, “Congressional Investigations and the Supreme Court,” California Law Review vol. 52, no. 2 (May 1963): 267–295; Telford Taylor, Grand Inquest: The Story of Congressional Investigations (New York: Simon & Schuster, 1955); Automobile Blue Book, 1921, New York and Adjacent Canada, vol. 1 (New York: The Automobile Blue Book Co., 1921); “Beacon History,” Beacon Historical Society, access 13 August 2020, https://beaconhistorical.org/bhs---beacon-history.html

Edition for Educators—The Final Frontier | US House of Representatives: History, Art & Archives

Outer space has long captured the popular imagination, fascinating people of all ages and backgrounds, including Members of Congress. For generations, the cosmos seemed beyond humanity’s reach. But in 1957 the Soviet Union launched the satellite Sputnik, and four months later the United States launched the Explorer 1 satellite. Suddenly, the unimaginable became possible. The consequences raised by Sputnik and Explorer 1 made space a new frontier in the ongoing Cold War between the United States and the Soviet Union. Each nation poured billions of dollars into research and development to gain an edge in what came to be called the “space race.” In the United States, this led to the creation of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) in 1958 and a new committee in the House of Representatives to support it.The presidential administrations of John F. Kennedy, Lyndon B. Johnson, and Richard Nixon aggressively pursued milestones in space exploration. Astronaut Alan Shephard became the first American in space in 1961, and John Glenn (a future U.S. Senator from Ohio) became the first American to orbit the Earth in 1962—remarkable accomplishments despite the fact that in each case the Soviet Union had gotten there first. The United States finally overtook the Soviets when the Apollo 8 spacecraft circled the Moon in 1968; on Christmas Eve that year the astronauts sent back the now-iconic image of the Earth with the barren surface of the Moon in the foreground.Seven months later, on July 20, 1969, Americans from all walks of life gathered around television sets to witness a truly remarkable event. Broadcast live to half a billion people, Commander Neil Armstrong stepped down from the lunar lander onto the surface of the Moon at 10:56 p.m. EDT and uttered his iconic phrase, “That’s one small step for man, one giant leap for mankind.”Featured HighlightsThe Committee on Science and Astronautics On July 21, 1958, House Resolution 580 authorized the establishment of the Committee on Science and Astronautics. Five months into the “space race” with the Soviet Union, the new committee boasted noteworthy bipartisan leadership. Future Speaker of the House John McCormack of Massachusetts chaired the panel and former Speaker Joseph Martin of Massachusetts served as ranking member.The First Major NASA Appropriation for the “Moonshot Program” On May 6, 1965, the House voted in favor of a $5.18 billion authorization for the National Aeronautics and Space Administration. “If any fault is to be found hereafter with the progress of our space program,” Claude Pepper of Florida remarked during debate over the continuation of funding for NASA’s quest to land on the Moon, “I do not want it to be on my hands at least and more importantly, I do not want it to be on the hands of this House of Representatives.”A Congressional Delegation Witnesses the Apollo 11 Spacecraft Launch On July 16, 1969, more than 250 Members of Congress traveled to Cape Kennedy, Florida, to watch the Apollo 11 spacecraft launch to the Moon. As a token of gratitude for supporting the Apollo 11 project, the names of some Members had been etched into a small disc that the astronauts would leave on the Moon.The Apollo 11 Crew Members Appear Before a Joint Meeting of Congress On September 16, 1969, Speaker John McCormack of Massachusetts introduced the Apollo 11 crew members—Neil Armstrong, Edwin “Buzz” Aldrin, and Michael Collins—before a Joint Meeting of Congress. The moment marked the culmination of a determined American effort to best the Soviet Union in the “space race” that had begun in 1957. “We are honoring today three men who represent the best in America and whose coordinated skill, fantastic daring, and visionary drive have made history that constitutes a turning point of paramount importance in the journey of mankind,” Speaker McCormack proclaimed.Featured Oral HistoriesPatricia “Tish” Speed SchwartzTish Schwartz joined the staff of the House Science and Astronautics Committee in 1969 at the height of the space race. Schwartz had originally intended to find work in a Member’s office but quickly took to the very different atmosphere of a House committee. In the first video below, she talks about the thrill of working for the committee responsible for overseeing the space program.Working on the committee with jurisdiction over NASA led to unique opportunities. Soon after being hired, she was selected to witness a space launch at Cape Kennedy, today known as Cape Canaveral. Schwartz shares the excitement she felt at being invited to view liftoff as a new employee.Featured PeopleGeorge P. Miller of CaliforniaGeorge P. Miller served 28 years (1945–1973) as a Representative from San Francisco, California, and in the final 12 years of his career he chaired the House Science and Astronautics Committee, which oversaw the funding and research of the spaceflight program. Introducing a resolution to honor the men and women of the Apollo Project a few days after the lunar landing, Miller declared, “Those of us who are privileged to be alive today will pass this on to our children and our grandchildren, and they in turn will brag about the fact that we were here.”Spark Matsunaga of Hawaii Space exploration didn’t stop at the Moon. Spark Matsunaga combined his love of outer space with his commitment to world peace in his pursuit of manned spaceflights to Mars and the creation of an international space station. The latter became a reality in 1998, when the United States, Canada, Europe, Japan, and Russia combined resources. Writing in 1982 in support of a mission to Mars, he said, “Space—the last and most expansive frontier—will be what we make it.”Featured Objects from the House CollectionA First in the Rayburn Building The Science and Astronautics Committee had the honor of being the first committee to meet in the new Rayburn House Office Building on January 26, 1965, only weeks after it opened. The new committee spaces in the Rayburn Building adopted a more modern style, with straight, tiered daises more appropriate for television coverage. One Member commented, “It’s a little like sitting on the Supreme Court.”Gemini 5 Astronauts Address Congress On September 14, 1965, the House welcomed Gemini 5 astronauts L. Gordon Cooper and Charles Conrad Jr. back to Earth after an eight-day orbital flight. The trip, at that point the longest-manned space flight in history, was designed to gauge the feasibility of making a trip to the Moon. Cooper opined on the grandeur of space, saying that it "made a man feel small and insignificant," while Conrad concluded that he was "ready to fly again."Don Fuqua Committee Portrait Science Committee Chairman Don Fuqua of Florida had a longstanding interest in the U.S. space program and NASA’s facilities in his home state. Appropriately, space related events are prominent across his unusual portrait. The entire left side of the painting is dominated by imagery of the Moon, including the 1969 lunar landing.Featured RecordsNASA Appropriations Bill In 1959 House Resolution 7007 authorized an appropriation of $480,550,000 to the recently created National Aeronautics and Space Administration. This matched the exact amount requested by the fledgling institution and showed that funding for space exploration had moved to the top of Congress’s list of priorities in the wake of the Soviet launch of Sputnik in 1957.John F. Kennedy’s Message to Congress In May 1961, only months after delivering his annual address, President John F. Kennedy returned to Congress to announce his administration’s goal of sending a man to the Moon by the end of the decade. In asking Congress to commit the funds to NASA, he said, “For while we cannot guarantee that we shall one day be first, we can guarantee that any failure to make this effort will make us last.”Featured BlogsOut of the Blue: UFOs and the Freedom of Information Act The existence of UFOs may seem like the exclusive domain of science fiction, but in 1966, as Representative John Moss of California laid the groundwork for legislation that eventually became the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA), he didn’t discriminate in his pursuit to open as much government information as possible to the public.Bridging the Divide During the second half of the twentieth century, the world watched as the United States and the Soviet Union clashed in a Cold War struggle that had many fronts: military, economic, cultural, and ideological. By the mid-1980s, a chilly relationship began to thaw as leaders in both countries engaged in renewed dialogue. Recognizing an opportune moment, Congresswoman Claudine Schneider of Rhode Island and a few of her House colleagues hoped to bridge the divide between the two nations by using new satellite technology to open communication between Moscow and Washington.This is part of a series of blog posts for educators highlighting the resources available on History, Art & Archives of the U.S. House of Representatives. For lesson plans, fact sheets, glossaries, and other materials for the classroom, see the website's Education section.

The Search for Common Ground | US House of Representatives: History, Art & Archives

In the span of five months during the winter and spring of 1962 two major entrenched powers faced off in an obstinate battle of wills. This wasn’t a traditional war, but more of a smoldering, protracted conflict between long-time rivals with competing interests. Territory was contested. Stakes escalated. Worldviews were challenged. Catastrophe beckoned. And all the while, the ability of the federal government to function hung in the balance.The belligerents in this cold war were not the United States and the Soviet Union, but were instead two octogenarian legislators—both committee chairmen with a combined 89 years of congressional experience. At issue wasn’t the clash of capitalism and communism, but rather the clash between the House and Senate to control the appropriations process. The theater of battle wasn’t Eastern Europe or Asia or Cuba, but the U.S. Capitol—the House in command of the building’s southern wing and the Senate in control of the north.As House Appropriations Committee chairman Clarence Cannon of Missouri, 83, and Senate Appropriations Committee chairman Carl Hayden of Arizona, 84, engaged in a tug-of-war over seemingly insignificant procedural steps—where to hold conference committees on spending bills and who to lead them—fundamental tensions between the two legislative chambers became public. An unattributed quotation that circulated among House Democrats for decades as “folk wisdom” neatly encapsulated the often contentious working relationship between the House and Senate. “The House Republicans are not the enemy. They are the opposition. The enemy is the Senate.”The episode also underscored the human side of lawmaking—how personalities, friendships, and animosities often weigh heavily on the legislative process. So much so that in this case, the dispute between two cranky but traditionally friendly Democrats threatened the annual transition from one fiscal year to the next, a turnover that usually went as smoothly as clockwork.Constitution and ConferencesTwo constitutional provisions provided the kindling for this fight.To start, each individual bill that goes to the President for review must be passed in identical form by the House and Senate—same bill number, same bill text. When major differences occur, both chambers appoint managers to resolve the issues in bicameral meetings called conferences. If, for instance, a House bill calls for $10 million and the Senate bill calls for $20 million, it would be up to the conferees to find a compromise amount that a majority of the conference could agree on. That new bill would then need to be passed by both the House and Senate before being sent to the White House.Secondly, the Constitution states that legislation “for raising Revenue shall originate in the House.” Although it says nothing about which chamber has the prerogative to spend federal money, the House had traditionally initiated appropriations bills as a matter of course, and the Senate almost always deferred to the House. But as Hayden reasoned, appropriations bills did not raise revenue, which he believed gave the Senate equal standing to author spending measures.Over the years, these two guidelines had given rise to a series of customs that by 1962 created festering resentments in both the House and the Senate. It irked the cantankerous Cannon, who was known to resort to fisticuffs in committee, that the Senate traditionally hosted all conference committees on appropriations bills, and that a Senator usually presided over these meetings. For the courtly Hayden, who was backed by the much more militant Richard Russell of Georgia, the fact that the House originated all spending bills seemed like an arbitrary requirement based on an expansive interpretation of Constitution.In addition to these irritations, Cannon believed that on a policy level the Senate was too generous toward requests for funding from the many departments, currying favor with executive agencies by acting as a “court of appeals” for federal expenditures. If the House denied a request, agency officials knew to go to the Senate where the odds of securing more money improved.“That Will Be Never”At the beginning of January 1962, Cannon began chipping away at the Senate’s exclusive conference perks when the House Appropriations Committee approved his resolution calling for all subsequent conference committees to rotate between the House and Senate sides of the Capitol. The proximity of the conference meetings to the Senate chamber had real legislative consequences, he said, and put House Members at a disadvantage. “When the bells rang for a quorum call, the Senators ran out the door, slipped into the elevator, answered to their names, and came back,” Cannon complained. “But we were two blocks away from the House and sometimes we couldn’t get back in time to answer to our names. It took us so long that we would have to cancel the conference altogether.” It didn’t help that Cannon suffered from emphysema and had to be driven to and from the Senate.Hayden presented the House committee’s resolution to the Senate Appropriations Committee in early February. Following the lead of Russell, the committee decided to counter with the request that half of all appropriations bills originate in the Senate.While those issues sat unresolved, the conference committee to fund the Treasury Department and the Post Office met on the Senate side of the Capitol. As the conference ended, the head of the House delegation offered to host the next meeting on his side of the Capitol. When the Senate delegation head stated that that would be fine only when the Senate could begin introducing appropriations bills, the House leader replied, “That will be never.” With the impasse, appropriations bills waiting to be resolved in conference began piling up.Prior to the Budget and Impoundment Control Act of 1974, federal fiscal years ended every July 1 and in 1962 several executive agencies and judicial courts had almost run out of money by mid-June. When Cannon introduced a supplemental appropriation to cover the operating expenses for another few weeks, Hayden offered a compromise. He proposed that the conference on Cannon’s supplemental bill be held in the Old Supreme Court Chamber (now the Old Senate Chamber) just steps away from the Rotunda, but still technically located on the Senate side of the Capitol. Cannon reluctantly agreed.When the two committee delegations finally met, Hayden proposed that all subsequent conferences for appropriations bills be held in the Old Supreme Court Chamber. Cannon countered with a proposal to alternate the right to preside over the conference, finally giving the House more control. Hayden then asked that the Senate be allowed to introduce half of the appropriations bills. At that, Cannon lost his temper and the detente ended. “We’re right back where we started,” Hayden told waiting reporters.Conference CompromiseA few days later Cannon offered a truce. He agreed to set the meeting location in the Old Supreme Court Chamber, and again asked for a rotating system for conference chairmen. But even this peace offering blew up when the Senate doubled the cost of the House’s emergency supplemental bill. A furious Cannon pointed out that over the previous 10 years the Senate had added a total of $32 billion to House spending bills, a cost equivalent to the rise in the national debt. At the last minute both chambers passed a continuing resolution to fund all government agencies through the July 4th recess.As the continuing resolution neared its expiration, it was Hayden’s turn to offer an olive branch. This time, instead of sending the two ornery chairmen to the table, each committee designated a team of negotiators. Their talks led to a multi-part solution: 1) for the remainder of the session the House would initiate all appropriations bills; 2) presiding officers in conference would be determined by seniority; 3) conferences would be held as close as possible to the center of the Capitol; and 4) a new joint committee would study conference procedures and make recommendations to improve the process. On July 18, both Appropriations Committees agreed to the terms. Two days later the House and Senate held the first conference on federal spending since April in the Old Supreme Court Chamber. The presiding officer was determined by the flip of a coin.As any desire to revisit the brinksmanship of the previous months faded, the exasperated Senate Majority Leader, Mike Mansfield, went to Cannon and Hayden with a long-term fix. As part of the renovation extending the East Front of the Capitol, architects included a last-minute addition of a conference room that spanned the midway point of the building—half on the House side and half on the Senate side—providing a perfectly neutral territory in which to negotiate federal spending levels.That room was removed in the early 2000s in order to clear the way for the Capitol Visitor Center. But in the early 1960s it became perhaps the most indispensable space on Capitol Hill.Sources: Baltimore Sun, 19 June 1962; New York Times, 17 June 1962, 23 June 1962, 25 June 1962, 12 July 1962, 13 July 1962, 15 July 1962; Washington Post, 24 April 1962, 22 June 1962, 12 February 2009; Elizabeth Rybicki, “Resolving Legislative Differences in Congress: Conference Committees and Amendments Between the Houses,” 3 August 2015, Report 98-696, Congressional Research Service; “Senate-House Feud Stalls Appropriations,” CQ Almanac, 1962, 18th ed. (Washington, DC: Congressional Quarterly, 1963): ch. 4, 143–146; Ross K. Baker, House and Senate, 3rd ed. (New York: W.W. Norton, 2001); Richard F. Fenno Jr., The Power of the Purse: Appropriations Politics in Congress (Boston, MA: Little, Brown, 1966); Stephen Horn, Unused Power: The Work of the Senate Committee on Appropriations (Washington, DC: Brookings Institution, 1970); Jeffrey L. Pressman, House v. Senate: Conflict in the Appropriations Process (New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 1966).Follow @USHouseHistory

Bridging the Divide | US House of Representatives: History, Art & Archives

During the second half of the 20th century, the world watched as the United States and the Soviet Union clashed in a Cold War struggle that had many fronts: military, economic, cultural, and ideological. Periods of relative calm were often shattered by spikes in belligerent rhetoric and thinly veiled threats of nuclear strikes. For more than 40 years, the mutual distrust between the two superpowers tested the limits of diplomacy in an age of massive retaliation. But by the mid-1980s, that chilly relationship began to thaw as leaders in both countries engaged in renewed dialogue. Recognizing an opportune moment, Congresswoman Claudine Schneider of Rhode Island and a few of her House colleagues hoped to bridge the divide between the two nations by using new technology to open communication between Moscow and Washington.Elected in 1980, Schneider, the first and only woman to represent Rhode Island in Congress, surprised many experts with her entrée to politics. As a Republican in a historically Democratic state and a young woman with little political background, Schneider appealed to the voters of her district with an independent streak and willingness to take on local and national issues. Schneider viewed herself as a “problem solver” and tackled global questions from her seat in Congress. Concerned with the threat of nuclear holocaust, Schneider pondered ways that she and her congressional colleagues could improve relations between America and the Soviet Union. “I started waking up in the middle of the night thinking, ‘Oh my God. Here I am in this position of power. What am I supposed to do to help prevent war?’ ” she recalled. “And that is what gave birth to Congressbridge.”An Unlikely PartnershipThe House has traditionally taken a supporting role to the Senate on foreign policy issues—the Senate, after all, has the constitutional power to confirm international treaties. But Schneider teamed up with another House Member, Representative George Brown of California, a colleague on the Science and Technology Committee, to develop a landmark series of televised conversations between American and Soviet lawmakers called Congressbridge.A key, somewhat unlikely, partnership emerged between Schneider and Brown. Schneider was a moderate Republican from the East Coast, and had worked as a television producer and talk show host before coming to Congress. Brown was almost 30 years older, a liberal Democrat born and raised in California, who had a well-respected passion for science. As a Member of Congress, he popularized a new technology called “spacebridge” which opened satellite links between countries to facilitate communication. Schneider and Brown, encouraged by the Soviet willingness to pull back the Iron Curtain, felt the time was right to put the technology to use so they built support in and out of Congress for the innovative project.“For too long, technology has been used to heighten confrontation between the United States and the U.S.S.R.,” Schneider reminded her colleagues on the House Floor. “For too long, we have seen each other only as rivals, barbarians, and warmongers. Decisionmakers and their constituents in both nations know little of each other. The time is right for new ways of thinking. If there is, in fact, movement in the Soviet Union toward reform and openness, let us take this opportunity to initiate new ways of addressing mutual problems.”Although the House did not authorize funds for Congressbridge, a bipartisan steering committee formed in 1986—co-chaired by Schneider and Brown—to hash out the details of the long-distance discussion. The House invited the Supreme Soviet of the Soviet Union, the main legislative body of the communist nation, to participate. Speaker Thomas P. (Tip) O’Neill of Massachusetts backed the “historical interchange” and personally reached out to his Soviet counterpart to encourage him to participate. “I hope we can work together through the benefit of this technology to further understanding between our governments,” O’Neill remarked. The Russian lawmakers accepted the invitation and Congressbridge quickly evolved from a creative idea to an unprecedented technological experiment.Cultural ExchangeIn December 1986, a group of Members hosted a Soviet delegation to discuss the parameters and logistics of Congressbridge. A few months later in April 1987, Schneider and Brown traveled to the USSR to finalize the agreement for the exchange and to prepare for a series of live televised programs. Congressbridge seemed to inspire people across America: in California, for instance, students exchanged letters with Soviet children, and in Rhode Island pupils participated in an essay contest, “What I would tell the Soviets about the U.S. Constitution.”On April 25, 1987, the first broadcast, “Getting to Know You,” took place between American and Soviet lawmakers. Planned as a “closed circuit warm-up,” American networks did not air the transmission. The segment cautiously tested the waters steering away from controversial topics, and instead focused on comparing the two governments and sharing ideas on how to improve communication between the two nations. “I came on this show thinking we were going to find a cure for insomnia,” Representative Eugene Clay Shaw of Florida joked. At the conclusion of the production, though, Shaw and the other participants reflected on its usefulness and the value of doing another segment.Bolstered by the enthusiasm for Congressbridge in both Washington and Moscow, the momentum to produce a second show strengthened. Schneider used her television contacts to reach out to the major broadcasting networks with the idea of airing a live, unedited version of Congressbridge. After viewing the introductory test show, ABC decided to broadcast three more installments. Promoting the series as “Capital to Capital,” ABC selected Peter Jennings as the American moderator.The three episodes focused on topics ranging from international security to human rights. In each program, a small group of Representatives and Senators answered questions and conversed with their Soviet counterparts. Interested Members not featured as panelists gathered in the audience. The House hosted the exchanges—two of which took place in the Public Works and Transportation Committee room and the other in the Ways and Means Committee room. Representative Claude Pepper of Florida, one of the Representatives who starred in the U.S.-Soviet discussion on mutual security, praised Congressbridge for its effectiveness. “We need much more of that kind of thing building bridges of understanding between two great nations and strengthening the ties for peace,” Pepper said. Representative Les Aspin of Wisconsin echoed that praise. “I was honored to be part of the first show in the ‘Capital to Capital’ series,” remarked Aspin, who would later serve as Secretary of Defense. “To borrow the words of another . . . ‘It was a great step for mankind.’”Of course, simply airing Congressbridge meant overcoming a number of challenges and obstacles. Though satellites had been available for more than two decades, they were nevertheless unreliable and often unpredictable during live international broadcasts. Additionally, cultural barriers threatened to cause friction. An example frequently cited in the press was the tendency of American legislators to interrupt and speak over each other. Acceptable in American politics, this dialogue wasn’t common in the Soviet Union. Moreover, even though network producers touted Congressbridge as a free exchange of ideas, concerns surfaced that the participants—especially the Soviet representatives—would ignore the ground rules and read prepared statements. “If this could somehow come off as if we were all sitting around somebody’s kitchen table,” Peter Jennings mused before his first broadcast, “I would be really thrilled.”The live forums also offered tantalizing possibilities. As the first recorded public dialogue between Members of Congress and the Supreme Soviet, the American and Soviet people had access to a rare, impromptu exchange of ideas and information. Representative Brown noted that Congressbridge could help challenge long-held assumptions about the U.S. reinforced by Soviet propaganda. “Their leadership has continued to portray the United States as some kind of an ogre dominated by Wall Street capitalists,” Brown observed. “If we can begin to ease that image, if they can see that we are real people, that we have some desire to understand their system, that may help to accelerate the process of change over there.”During the Cold War, the summitry in which American Presidents and their Soviet counterparts engaged often dominated the media’s coverage of the Cold War. Congressbridge offered another form of dialogue on Russo-American relations, one featuring the legislative voices of the United States and the USSR. Meant to thaw the superpowers’ icy relations, the bold experiment had fostered communication and eased mutual suspicions.Sources: Los Angeles Times, 22 September 1987; USA Today, 22 September 1987; New York Times, 12 April 1987, 29 November 1987; Washington Post, 28 December 1986; Sun Sentinel (Ft. Lauderdale, FL), 26 April 1987; Congressional Record, 100th Cong., 1st sess. (9 April 1987): 8573; Hon. Claudine Schneider, “A Congressbridge to Understanding: An Experiment in Televised Dialogues Between U.S. and Soviet Legislators,” Government Publications Review 15 (1988): 301–321.Follow @USHouseHistory

Edition for Educators—Joint Meetings and Joint Sessions | US House of Representatives: History, Art & Archives

This month's Edition for Educators highlights Joint Meetings and Joint Sessions. The two houses of Congress generally work separately, but on occasion the House of Representatives and the Senate gather together in Joint Meetings and Joint Sessions for moments of historic significance.Featured ExhibitionWhat’s in the House Chamber Learn more about the House Chamber where the President’s State of the Union Address and Joint Sessions and Joint Meeting of the House and Senate are held. The press and the public can witness the process from the galleries or watch the proceedings on television. The grand space in which all this work is carried out was designed in the 19th century—and redesigned over the years—with these needs in mind.Featured Institutional InformationForeign Leaders & Dignitaries Who Have Addressed the U.S. Congress A Joint Meeting is the preferred method for receiving addresses from foreign leaders and dignitaries. Joint Meetings are used for special commemorative events and to receive addresses by domestic dignitaries. To initiate a Joint Meeting, both houses, by resolution or by unanimous consent, declare themselves in recess for a joint gathering in the House Chamber. House Rule IV governs this procedure. Learn more about these Joint Meetings.Featured Objects in the House CollectionAstronaut John Glenn Addresses a Joint Meeting of Congress Astronaut John Glenn addressed a Joint Meeting of Congress just days after becoming the first American to orbit the Earth. The Friendship 7 space capsule circled the globe three times in just under five hours and reached speeds of more than 17,000 miles per hour. Though a huge technical achievement, the trip was also of political importance, helping to secure the United States’ standing in the space race with the Soviet Union. Glenn was later elected to the Senate in 1974.Joint Session Postcard In this 1950 postcard image, Congress gathered to hear President Harry Truman in a House Chamber that was half old and half new. Engineers had just installed a new roof and ceiling and renovated the gallery level. The changes addressed long-standing structural problems and gave the House a chance to update the chamber’s look. When the House gathered for Truman’s next State of the Union Address in 1951, the lower half of the chamber had been renovated as well with deep wood paneling replacing the Victorian décor visible in this postcard.British Prime Minister Winston Churchill Addresses a Joint Meeting of Congress On January 17, 1952, British Prime Minister Winston Churchill addressed a Joint Meeting of Congress for the third time in his career. Telling the assembled Members that “I have come here to ask not for gold but for steel, not for favors but for equipment,” Churchill pledged Britain’s support to the North Atlantic Treaty Organization and vowed to help defend Western Europe against Communist encroachment. Churchill also pleaded with Congress to keep the atomic bomb in the U.S. arsenal until peace was ensured.Featured Blog PostWhite Tie and Tails?—The 1936 Annual Message Tuxedo? Business suit? Dress up or dress sensibly? It’s not the Oscars . . . it was the first evening Annual Message. Learn about the President Franklin Roosevelt’s historic evening Annual Message.Featured Historical HighlightsThe Netherlands' Queen Beatrix's Address to a Joint Meeting of CongressApril 21, 1982 On this date, Queen Beatrix of the Netherlands addressed a Joint Meeting of Congress to celebrate 200 years of unbroken diplomatic relations between the United States and the Netherlands. She focused primarily on the importance of global nuclear disarmament.President George Washington Delivered His First Regular Annual Message to a Joint Session of CongressJanuary 8, 1790 On this date, George Washington delivered his first regular Annual Message to a Joint Session of Congress. Article II, Section 3, Clause 1 of the U.S. Constitution states that the President “shall from time to time give to the Congress Information on the State of the Union, and recommend to their Consideration such measures as he shall judge necessary and expedient.”Featured PeopleSeveral former House Members later addressed a Joint Session as President of the United States, including:John F. Kennedy of Massachusetts addressed four Joint Sessions. Lyndon B. Johnson of Texas addressed eight Joint Sessions. Richard Nixon of California addressed six Joint Sessions. Gerald R. Ford of Michigan addressed seven Joint Sessions. George H. W. Bush of Texas addressed six Joint Sessions.Featured House RecordHistorical Documents: Selma and the 1965 Voting Rights Act Following President Lyndon B. Johnson’s Joint Session address on the Voting Rights Act on March 15, 1965, the House moved swiftly to pass the important legislation. View some of the House Records related to that historic message.This is part of a series of blog posts for educators highlighting the resources available on History, Art & Archives of the U.S. House of Representatives. For lesson plans, fact sheets, glossaries, and other materials for the classroom, see the website's Education section.Follow @USHouseHistory

Breaking the Code: Duncan Lee, HUAC, and the Venona Files | US House of Representatives: History, Art & Archives

Here’s the thing about being a spy: You can’t tell anybody. Especially if you’re a descendant of the Lee family of Virginia, educated at an elite prep school and university, a Rhodes Scholar, a lawyer at a prominent Manhattan law firm, and working in counterintelligence for the United States. Duncan Chaplin Lee was and did all of those things. He was a spy, and he got away with it.On August 10, 1948, Lee had been called to testify before the House Un-American Activities Committee (HUAC) in the imposing grandeur of the Caucus Room after being accused of working with members of the Communist Party. As the committee grilled him on his personal relationships, Lee went on the defensive: “I want to say categorically that I am not and have never been a Communist and that I have never divulged classified information to any unauthorized person.” Lee’s performance after nearly two hours of questions was convincing enough because at 12:05 p.m., as the committee broke for lunch, he simply got up and left. No charges were ever filed against him. Nearly 50 years later, however, records declassified by the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) revealed that Lee had indeed been working as a double agent for the Soviet Union.In July of 1942, Lee joined the Office of Strategic Services (OSS), the World War II–era predecessor of the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), where he worked as an aid to the director of OSS, William Donovan, who was also a partner at Lee’s law firm. His recruitment as a spy probably happened shortly after he joined the OSS. Security in OSS had a poor reputation, and a number of Communist sympathizers and other staff were the sources of leaks to the Soviets. In his private life, he served on the board of the China Aid Council, an organization that funneled aid to groups affiliated with the Chinese Communist Party. Through his participation in this organization, he made connections that eventually developed him as a source.Lee was accused by Elizabeth Bentley, who worked as a courier and assistant for covert operations for a member of the Communist Party of the United States, of passing OSS information to her over a period of more than a year. Bentley turned herself in to the FBI, and her accusations about Lee’s activities became public when she testified before HUAC on July 31, 1948. Lee denied the accusations during his testimony on August 10, claiming he never even knew Bentley’s last name even though they had met many times. At the time, he was never charged with any wrongdoing; seemingly, his impeccable connections and background did not fit the “profile” of a Soviet spy and made it easier for the accusations to be left as just those. Nonetheless, Lee never completely shook their taint (or suspicion), and as the furor over Communists in the United States increased with the Cold War, Lee left the United States in 1953 and lived abroad for the remainder of his life and died in Toronto, Canada, in 1988.The release of the Venona files by the CIA in 1995–1996 eventually confirmed Lee’s status as a Soviet spy. Venona began as a secret program of the U.S. Army’s Signal Intelligence Service (precursor to the National Security Agency) in 1943. The initial mission was to decode Soviet diplomatic communications, but it eventually included espionage activities as well. The Soviet’s code took two years to break, and this only happened when code-breakers discovered that the Soviets had re-used a supposedly unbreakable “one-time pad” code system to transmit messages, exposing the code and allowing some messages to be deciphered. The decrypted cables from Soviet intelligence showed that Duncan Lee, code named Koch, had passed on information about American diplomatic strategy and activities, OSS operations in Europe, and a list of names the OSS suspected of being Soviet spies—confirming virtually all of Bentley’s testimony before HUAC. Although it appears that the U.S. government had collected the intelligence that implicated Lee as a spy at the time of his testimony before HUAC, the connection between Lee and his code name was not identified until 1951, and even then, the source of the corroborating information—the priceless intelligence of the deciphered cables—could not be revealed, and the FBI was unable to build a successful case in court against Lee without them.Sources: “Hearings Regarding Communist Espionage in the U.S. Government,” 80th Congress; John Earl Haynes and Harvey Klehr, Venona: Decoding Soviet Espionage in America (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1999); Venona: Soviet Espionage and the American Response, 1939–1957 (Washington, D.C.: National Security Agency/Central Intelligence Agency, 1996), available at: https://www.cia.gov/library/center-for-the-study-of-intelligence/csi-publications/books-and-monographs/venona-soviet-espionage-and-the-american-response-1939-1957/venona.htm (accessed March 6, 2013); Mark A. Bradley, A Very Principled Boy: The Life of Duncan Lee, Red Spy and Cold Warrior. (New York: Basic Books, 2014).Follow @USHouseHistory

Out of the Blue: UFOs and the Freedom of Information Act | US House of Representatives: History, Art & Archives

The existence of UFOs may seem like the exclusive domain of science fiction, but as Representative John Moss of California laid the groundwork for legislation that eventually became the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) in 1966, he didn’t discriminate in his pursuit to open as much government information as possible to the public.During the 1950s and 1960s, as the House held hearings and debated the scope of Moss’s legislation, the Special Government Information Subcommittee and the Foreign Operations and Government Subcommittee (FOGI) of the Committee on Government Operations, both of which were chaired by Moss, addressed a deceptively simple problem. Every year the federal government produced vast amounts of information. But of that mountain of data, the subcommittee needed to know what the government could (or should) release, as well as what federal officials should (or had) to restrict.The subcommittees fielded thousands of requests from the public, newspapers, and other Members of Congress on every imaginable topic, from Amelia Earhart to ballistic missiles to frozen foods. Of the organizations that contacted the FOGI Subcommittee, two stand out: Flying Saucers International and the National Investigations Committee on Aerial Phenomena. Surprising? Yes, but consider this: In the decade before FOIA became law, the United States and the Soviet Union spent an immense amount of money developing programs to send defense technology and eventually people into outer space. By mid-century, whatever existed beyond Earth’s atmosphere actually seemed within reach, and the idea—the very possibility—that “unidentified flying objects” were zooming around the galaxy captured the public imagination. Many people who believed in UFOs were also convinced the Air Force knew about them too, and that the military had kept their existence secret. Anxious Americans considered this a major problem: What if the Russians somehow got access to extraterrestrial technology and used it against the United States? And didn’t defense personnel need confirmation that UFOs existed and the training to distinguish them from planes and missiles so that accidental war with the Soviet Union might be prevented?Many of the public requests related to UFOs were about a specific report created by the Air Force titled, “Project Blue Book, Report No. 14 (Analysis of Reports of Unidentified Aerial Objects).” The report, written to determine “if ‘flying saucers’ represented technological developments not known to this country,” mainly provided explanations for why purported unidentified flying objects, were not, in fact, unidentified. The Air Force declassified the report in 1955, but many felt the cover up went deeper. One concerned citizen stated, “The government at Washington has evidence of the arrival of the space travelers to the earth, and it is serving no good purpose to refuse to confirm their arrival. The government’s confirmation would allay man’s fears concerning them and permit them to open their minds and hearts and welcome them, that we may profit by the new ideas they are bringing.”UFOs were just one of hundreds of subjects Moss and his subcommittees investigated in all agencies and at all levels. But the Subcommittees never confirmed or denied the existence of UFOs; their purpose was to ensure that the public had the most information available to them.Source: Records on flying saucers from the Special Subcommittee on Government Information, Committee on Government Operations, 86th Congress; Records of the U.S. House of Representatives, Record Group 233; National Archives, Washington, D.C.