The documents in this collection were accumulated over several years as I attempted to understand the background of Horace Schmahl, who replaced the person Hiss’s lawyers had hired as their chief investigator a few weeks before Chambers ceased his decade-long denial that Hiss was a spy and turned over the spy documents traceable to Hiss’s typewriter. I began by assembling every document I could locate from public sources which illuminated Schmahl’s activities up through the time Hiss went to prison (March 23, 1951). Although confusing at first, a careful reading of these documents revealed that Schmahl had trained with and then worked for the Army’s Counter Intelligence Corps, where he served as an elite special agent on the home front. Such “spy-catchers” (their term) investigated civilians suspected of conveying classified information about Army weapons to foreign powers even if the civilians were not employed by the Army, a violation of the delimitation agreement with the FBI. I therefore began to accumulate documents which illuminated the training these agents received and the counterintelligence practices of the period. These practices (meticulous forgeries to support the cover stories of agents behind enemy lines, the opening and re-sealing of envelopes during surreptitious entries in ways that defied detection, etc.) seemed to coincide with what the forensic experts — with no knowledge of such counterintelligence practices — had discovered empirically when closely examining the trial evidence against Hiss in preparation for the motion for a new trial. The document collection should be of interest to students of the Hiss case, since most know little about counterintelligence techniques of that era, and to students of counterintelligence, since most know little about the Hiss case. Most of the documents were obtained under FOIA from NARA (civilian and military branches in College Park and St. Louis), FBI headquarters in DC and its offices in NYC and NJ, INS, and the Carlisle Army Barracks. There are also excerpts from assorted books, newspaper and magazine articles and internet sites. I also corresponded with a lawyer from the Debevoise law firm, with an archivist at Fort Huachuca, and with several agents of the Counter Intelligence Corps during the 1940’s.

Professor Stephen Salant

University of Michigan, Department of Economics