We are searching data for your request:
Upon completion, a link will appear to access the found materials.
Lee Pressman, the son of Harry and Clara Pressman, was born in New York City on 1st July, 1906. Pressman obtained degrees from Cornell University and Harvard Law School (1926-29), where he came under the influence of Felix Frankfurter.
As Alger Hiss, a fellow student at Harvard, pointed out: "Felix Frankfurter was far and away the most colorful and controversial member of the faculty.... He was always conspicuous, despite his small stature, as he moved about the campus. This was because as he bounced along - short, dynamic, articulate - he was invariably surrounded by a cluster of students. Frankfurter was always teaching, in class and out. His didactic style was challenging, even confrontational. He invited discussion and he reveled in sharp exchanges. These continued after class had ended. But Frankfurter was not popular with the majority of his students or his fellow faculty members. In both cases the reasons, I believe, were the same. Frankfurter was cocky, abrasive, and outspoken. His style was simply not theirs. In addition, Frankfurter was the leader of the liberal wing of the faculty. Most of his older colleagues were politically conservative, as were most of the students." (1)
According to Joseph P. Lash, the author of Dealers and Dreamers (1988) Felix Frankfurter told Pressman and another student, Nathan Witt, "get into the show and help remake the world". (2) Pressman's first job was with the law firm, Chadbourne, Strachfield & Levy. He also worked, pro bono, at night and on weekends, with Hiss at the International Juridical Association (IJA). Hiss described the IJA as an "editorial group specializing in putting out notes on labor causes." (3)
Lee Pressman supported Franklin D. Roosevelt in the 1932 Presidential Election. In March, 1933, President Franklin D. Roosevelt appointed Henry A. Wallace as Secretary of State for Agriculture in March, 1933. Felix Frankfurter suggested that Jerome Frank would be a useful addition to the department. According to William E. Leuchtenburg, the author of The FDR Years (1995), Frank had confided to Frankfurter: "I know you know Roosevelt very well. I want to get out of this Wall Street racket... This crisis seems to be the equivalent of a war and I'd like to join up for the duration." (4) As a result, Wallace appointed Frank as general council to the Agricultural Adjustment Act. Pressman was employed as Frank's assistant.
Alger Hiss, Pressman's close friend, later commented: "In the AAA, these included my colleagues Lee Pressman, Francis Shea, John Abt, Telford Taylor, Nathan Witt, and Margaret Bennett. At all events, throngs of ebullient, cocky, extroverted newcomers were conspicuous in Washington's public places.... As conservative opposition to the New Deal developed in later months, we young lawyers became a conspicuous target for Roosevelt's opponents.... We were the shock troops of the new administration. Hardworking, idealistic, high-spirited, talented, the young recruits did put a stamp on the New Deal that was in keeping with the very name of the regime of which they were so prominent a part." (5)
Frank, like Pressman, held left-wing views. As a result they clashed with George N. Peek, who was the head of the AAA. John C. Culver and John C. Hyde, the authors of American Dreamer: A Life of Henry A. Wallace (2001) have argued that Peek never liked Frank and wanted to appoint his own general council: "Crusty and dogmatic, Peek still seethed with resentment over Wallace's appointment as secretary, a position he coveted... Frank was liberal, brash, and Jewish. Peek loathed everything about him. In addition, Frank surrounded himself with idealistic left-wing lawyers... whom Peek also despised." (6) Peek later wrote that the "place was crawling with... fanatic-like... socialists and internationalists."
Harold Ware, the son of Ella Reeve Bloor, was a member of the Communist Party of the United States of America (CPUSA) and a consultant to the Agricultural Adjustment Administration (AAA). Ware established a "discussion group" that included Lee Pressman, Alger Hiss, Nathaniel Weyl, Laurence Duggan, Harry Dexter White, Abraham George Silverman, John Abt, Nathan Witt, Marion Bachrach, Julian Wadleigh, Henry H. Collins and Victor Perlo. Ware was working very close with Joszef Peter, the "head of the underground section of the American Communist Party." It was claimed that Peter's design for the group of government agencies, to "influence policy at several levels" as their careers progressed". Weyl later recalled that every member of the Ware Group was also a member of the CPUSA: "No outsider or fellow traveller was ever admitted... I found the secrecy uncomfortable and disquieting." (7)
Whittaker Chambers was a key figure in the Ware Group. He later argued: "I do not know how many of those young men and women were already Communists when Ware met them and how many joined the Communist Party because of him. His influence over them was personal and powerful.... But, by 1934, the Ware Group had developed into a tightly organized underground, managed by a directory of seven men. In time it included a number of secret sub-cells whose total membership I can only estimate probably about seventy-five Communists. Sometimes they were visited officially by J. Peters who lectured them on Communist organization and Leninist theory and advised them on general policy and specific problems. For several of them were so placed in the New Deal agencies (notably Alger Hiss, Nathan Witt, John Abt and Lee Pressman) that they were in a position to influence policy at several levels." (8)
Susan Jacoby, the author of Alger Hiss and the Battle for History (2009), has pointed out: "Hiss's Washington journey from the AAA, one of the most innovative agencies established at the outset of the New Deal, to the State Department, a bastion of traditionalism in spite of its New Deal component, could have been nothing more than the rising trajectory of a committed careerist. But it was also a trajectory well suited to the aims of Soviet espionage agents in the United States, who hoped to penetrate the more traditional government agencies, like the State, War, and Treasury Departments, with young New Dealers sympathetic to the Soviet Union (whether or not they were actually members of the Party). Chambers, among others, would testify that the eventual penetration of the government was the ultimate aim of a group initially overseen in Washington by Hal Ware, a Communist and the son of Mother Bloor... When members did succeed in moving up the government ladder, they were supposed to separate from the Ware organization, which was well known for its Marxist participants. Chambers was dispatched from New York by underground Party superiors to supervise and coordinate the transmission of information and to ride herd on underground Communists - Hiss among them - with government jobs." (9)
Lee Pressman, Jerome Frank and Alger Hiss, decided to draw up legislation that would protect sharecroppers from their landlords. They were aware that Chester R. Davis, the head of the Agricultural Adjustment Act (AAA), did not support this move. They therefore persuaded Victor Christgau, his second in command to send out details of the change in the name of Henry A. Wallace. Davis was furious when he discovered what had happened. He later recalled: "The new interpretations completely reversed the basis on which cotton contracts had been administered through the first year. If the contract had been so construed, and if the Department of Agriculture had enforced it, Henry Wallace would have been forced out of the Cabinet within a month. The effects would have been revolutionary."
Davis insisted that Frank and Pressman should be dismissed. Wallace was unable to protect them: "I had no doubt that Frank and Hiss were animated by the highest motives, but their lack of agricultural background exposed them to the danger of going to absurd lengths... I was convinced that from a legal point of view they had nothing to stand on and that they allowed their social preconceptions to lead them to something which was not only indefensible from a practical, agricultural point of view, but also bad law."
Chester R. Davis told Frank: "I've had a chance to watch you and I think you are an outright revolutionary, whether you realize it or not". Wallace wrote in his diary: "I indicated that I believed Frank and Hiss had been loyal to me at all times, but it was necessary to clear up an administrative situation and that I agreed with Davis". According to Sidney Baldwin, the author of Poverty and Politics: The Rise and Decline of the Farm Security Administration (1968), Wallace greeted Frank with tears in his eyes: "Jerome, you've been the best fighter I've had for my ideas, but I've had to fire you... The farm people are just too strong." (10)
Wallace sacked Pressman and Jerome Frank but Alger Hiss survived the purge because at the time he had been seconded to the Munitions Investigating Committee that had been established by Gerald P. Nye. In 1935 Pressman was appointed general counsel in the Works Progress Administration by Harry L. Hopkins. Later that year Rexford Tugwell appointed him general counsel of the Resettlement Administration.
In 1936 Pressman went into private law practice in New York City. Soon afterwards John L. Lewis made him chief counsel for the Congress of Industrial Organizations (CIO). (11) He also worked for Harry Bridges, who was elected president of the International Longshoremen's and Warehousemen's Union (ILWU) in 1937. Lewis appointed Bridges as the West Coast Director for the CIO. However, over the next few years Pressman was busy providing legal arguments showing why that Bridges should not be deported. (12)
In August 1939, Isaac Don Levine arranged for Chambers to meet Adolf Berle, one of the top aides to President Franklin D. Roosevelt. After dinner Chambers told Berle about government officials spying for the Soviet Union: "Around midnight, we went into the house. What we said there is not in question because Berle took it in the form of penciled notes. Just inside the front door, he sat at a little desk or table with a telephone on it and while I talked he wrote, abbreviating swiftly as he went along. These notes did not cover the entire conversation on the lawn. They were what we recapitulated quickly at a late hour after a good many drinks. I assumed that they were an exploratory skeleton on which further conversations and investigation would be based." (13)
According to Isaac Don Levine the list of "espionage agents" included Lee Pressman, Alger Hiss, Donald Hiss, Laurence Duggan, Lauchlin Currie, Marion Bachrach, Harry Dexter White, John Abt, Nathan Witt, Julian Wadleigh, Noel Field and Frank Coe. Chambers also named Joszef Peter, as being "responsible for the Washington sector" and "after 1929 the "head of the underground section" of the Communist Party of the United States.
Chambers later claimed that Berle reacted to the news with the comment: "We may be in this war within forty-eight hours and we cannot go into it without clean services." John V. Fleming, has argued in The Anti-Communist Manifestos: Four Books that Shaped the Cold War (2009) Chambers had "confessed to Berle the existence of a Communist cell - he did not yet identify it as an espionage team - in Washington." (14) Berle, who was in effect the president's Director of Homeland Security, raised the issue with President Franklin D. Roosevelt, "who profanely dismissed it as nonsense."
On 3rd August, 1948, Whittaker Chambers appeared before the House of Un-American Activities Committee. He testified that he had been "a member of the Communist Party and a paid functionary of that party" but left after the signing of the Nazi-Soviet Pact in August 1939. He explained how the Ware Group's "original purpose" was "not primarily espionage," but "the Communist infiltration of the American government." Chambers claimed his network of spies included Lee Pressman, Alger Hiss, Harry Dexter White, Lauchlin Currie, Abraham George Silverman, John Abt, Nathan Witt, Henry H. Collins and Donald Hiss. Silverman, Collins, Abt, Pressman and Witt all used the Fifth Amendment defence and refused to answer any questions put by the HUAC. (15) Pressman dismissed Chambers as "the stale and lurid mouthings of a Republican exhibitionist." (16)
In 1948 Pressman was fired from his job as CIO counsel, as a result of a factional struggle with Walter Reuther. He now became a close advisor to Henry A. Wallace, and his running-mate, Glen H. Taylor, in the 1948 Presidential Election. (17) The programme of Wallace and Taylor included new civil rights legislation that would give equal opportunities for black Americans in voting, employment and education, repeal of the Taft-Hartley Bill and increased spending on welfare, education, and public works. Their foreign policy program was based on opposition to the Truman Doctrine and the Marshall Plan.
Harry S. Truman and his running mate, Alben W. Barkley, polled more than 24 million popular votes and 303 electoral votes. His Republican Party opponents, Thomas Dewey and Earl Warren, won 22 million popular votes and 189 electoral votes. Storm Thurmond ran third, with 1,169,032 popular and 39 electoral votes. Wallace was last with 1,157,063 votes. Nationally he got only 2.38 per cent of the total vote. Only one supporter, Vito Marcantonio, won his seat in Congress. Pressman was defeated in the 14th District of New York.
In 1950 Lee Pressman resigned from the American Labor Party and the following year gave evidence to the House of Un-American Activities Committee. This time he admitted he had been a member of the Harold Ware Group and that three other secret members of the Communist Party of the United States of America (Nathan Witt, John Abt and Charles Kramer) had been involved in the group. Whittaker Chambers pointed out: "By 1951, he (Lee Pressman) was prepared to concede that he had been a Communist, that the Ware Group had existed, that he had been a member of it. He named three other members whom I had named. He could not remember four other members whom I had also named, and he insisted that he had never known me in Washington." (18)
The authors of The Secret World of American Communism (1995) have argued that Pressman had not told the complete truth in his testimony: "He (Pressman) admitted that he had been a Communist in the 1930s, had belonged to the Ware Group, and had met with Peters. however, Pressman depicted the group as an innocuous study club of government employees who met to discuss Marxism... A good deal more than the abstract discussion of Marxism, as Lee Pressman would have it, was at stake in their activities. Both the CPUSA and the Comintern expected secret Communists to influence government policy in accord with a secret agenda, and the modes of influence apparently included information to Communist supervisors, thereby jeopardizing the integrity of the governmental process." (19)
The release of KGB documents shows that Pressman was never a Soviet spy but was very much part of the support network for people like Alger Hiss, Laurence Duggan, Harry Dexter White, Abraham George Silverman and Julian Wadleigh, who did steal documents. "He (Lee Pressman) had never been the classic 'spy' who stole documents. Neither his work in domestically oriented New Deal agencies in the early 1930s nor his later role as a labor lawyer gave him access to information of Soviet interest. Instead, he functioned as part of the KGB espionage support network, assisting and facilitating its officers and agents. He gambled that there would not be anyone to contradict his evasions and that government investigators would not be able to charge him with perjury. He won his bet." (20)
Lee Pressman died in November 1969.
Among the Young Turks, Abe Fortas at first served along with me in the AAA during his summer vacation as a law student in 1933. He went on to become an assistant secretary of the interior. Much later, his New Deal friendship with Lyndon Johnson resulted in his becoming a justice of the Supreme Court.
Fortas was no doubt one of the few who began their working lives as New Dealers, but there were others. My brother Donald joined the Solicitor's staff of the Department of Labor when he finished his year as Justice Holmes's secretary. But most of us had had at least several years of seasoning behind us. In the AAA, these included my colleagues Lee Pressman, Francis Shea, John Abt, Telford Taylor, Nathan Witt, and Margaret Bennett. At all events, throngs of ebullient, cocky, extroverted newcomers were conspicuous in Washington's public places. Our youthful tendency to flock together increased our visibility. George Peek, one of the two original co-Administrators of the AAA, employed a different metaphor. He referred to a "plague of young lawyers" who had descended on his agency.
As conservative opposition to the New Deal developed in later months, we young lawyers became a conspicuous target for Roosevelt's opponents. After Hearst reversed his earlier support for the administration, his press referred to us as the "Happy Hot Dogs," because so many of us had been recommended by Felix Frankfurter. We were well aware that the epithet was a demagogic appeal to anti-Semitism, the printable version of the sally in some businessmen's clubs, "the Jew Deal." We took this and other attacks lightly. Roosevelt was a popular hero on a scale not seen since Jackson's day, and his measures of reform and relief won widespread support no matter who helped in drafting or administering them.
We were the shock troops of the new administration. Hardworking, idealistic, high-spirited, talented, the young recruits did put a stamp on the New Deal that was in keeping with the very name of the regime of which they were so prominent a part.
The Doctor had been assigned to it by Molotov himself. It had resulted from the fact that Stalin had personally inspected the Soviet munitions industry and discovered, to his wrath, that there was no automatic shell-loading machinery. Shells were still being loaded by hand by women. (I no longer believe this part of the story, which I now take to be The Doctor's way of misleading me about the real destination of the shell-loading machinery - Republican Spain.)
The Doctor was in the United States to purchase such machinery. It was not a simple deal. The Soviet Government wanted not only the machines at less than list price. It wanted a mass of technical information along with its order. Would I undertake the task? I explained to The Doctor that that was out of the question.
Then, said Dr. Rosenbliett, I must put him in touch with the smartest Communist lawyer I knew, preferably one who had some experience with patent work. I proposed Lee Pressman. He not only seemed to me the smartest Communist lawyer I know, but he had once told me that he had done some patent work for the Rust brothers, not on their cotton picker, but on some minor patents.
A few days later, I introduced Lee Pressman to Dr. Rosenbliett. The meeting took the form of a late breakfast at Sacher's restaurant on Madison Avenue near 42nd Street, in New York. I soon left Pressman and The Doctor together. I met Lee at least once afterwards. He told me that Dr. Rosenbliett had connected him with a Russian named "Mark." Later on, J. Peters told me that Pressman and Mark in the course of an airplane flight to Mexico City, in connection with arms purchases for Republican Spain, had been forced down near Brownsville, Texas. Mark had been worried that newsmen or security agents might pry into the passenger list.
I also saw Dr. Rosenbliett once or twice again. He was pleased with Pressman. But The Doctor was not destined to spend much time at his daughter's grave. One morning I met him at his hotel to find him gray and shaken. Something, he said, had happened. It was this.
His instructions for his American mission had expressly stated that Dr. Rosenbliett was to have no contact with former friends in the United States. Despite that, The Doctor had paid a visit to someone he knew (I suspect, his wife's sister, the wife of the Trotskyist leader, James Cannon). As he left the apartment house after his call, The Doctor found a loiterer in the lower hall. He recognized the man as a G.P.U. agent whom he knew. The man recognized him. The next morning Dr. Rosenbliett received a cable from Moscow curtly ordering him to return to Russia at once - to be purged, I thought, and so, from the haggard look on his face, did he. But I know that Dr. Rosenbliett is very much alive.
Lee Pressman's recollection of these matters differs materially from mine. Testifying under oath before the House Committee on Un-American Activities, in 1951, he denied that he had ever known Dr. But, then in 1948, Lee had greeted my first testimony about his Communist membership in the Ware Group as "the stale and lurid mouthings of a Republican exhibitionist."
By 1951, he was prepared to concede that he had been a Communist, that the Ware Group had existed, that he had been a member of it. He could not remember four other members whom I had also named, and he insisted that he had never known me in Washington. He had seen me, he testified, only once. That was when he said I had brought into his New York once for legal advice a man named Eckhart, for whom he subsequently did some business. Pressman's files on the subject were no longer extant and his recollection had dimmed. He placed the year of my visit with Eckhart as 1936. I had placed Pressman's meeting with Dr. Rosenbliett and me in 1937.
(1) Alger Hiss, Recollections of a Life (1988) page 10
(2) Joseph P. Lash, Dealers and Dreamers (1988) page 218
(3) Christina Shelton, Alger Hiss: Why he Chose Treason (2012) page 38
(4) William E. Leuchtenburg, The FDR Years (1995) page 63
(5) Alger Hiss, Recollections of a Life (1988) page 67
(6) John C. Hyde, American Dreamer: A Life of Henry A. Wallace (2001) page 56
(7) Nathaniel Weyl, interview with US News & World Report (9th January, 1953)
(8) Whittaker Chambers, Witness (1952) page 343
(9) Susan Jacoby, Alger Hiss and the Battle for History (2009) pages 79-80
(10) Sidney Baldwin, Poverty and Politics: The Rise and Decline of the Farm Security Administration (1968)
(11) Christina Shelton, Alger Hiss: Why he Chose Treason (2012) page 74
(12) Time Magazine (16th February, 1948)
(13) Whittaker Chambers, Witness (1952) page 464
(14) John V. Fleming, The Anti-Communist Manifestos: Four Books that Shaped the Cold War (2009) page 320
(15) Whittaker Chambers, Witness (1952) page 436
(16) Harvey Klehr, John Earl Haynes and Fridrikh Igorevich Firsov, The Secret World of American Communism (1995) page 99
(17) Christina Shelton, Alger Hiss: Why he Chose Treason (2012) page 74
(18) Whittaker Chambers, Witness (1952) page 434-447
(19) Harvey Klehr, John Earl Haynes and Fridrikh Igorevich Firsov, The Secret World of American Communism (1995) pages 99 and 118
(20) John Earl Haynes, Harvey Klehr, and Alexander Vassiliev, Spies: The Rise and Fall of the KGB in America (2009) page 428.
Lee Pressman - History
Excerpts from Lee Pressman‘s testimony (II)
The following are extensive excerpts from Lee Pressman’s testimony before the House Un-American Activities Committee on August 28, 1950. Conducting the questioning are John S. Wood (chairman) committee members John McSweeney, Richard M. Nixon, Morgan M. Moulder and Francis Case Francis E. Walter, Burr P. Harrison and staff counsel Frank S. Tavenner.
Mr. TAVENNER. Will you state your full name?
Mr. PRESSMAN. My name is Lee Pressman.
Mr. TAVENNER. Mr. Pressman, the record of Proceedings of this committee shows that you appeared before it on August 20, 1948, and at that time you refused, on constitutional grounds, to answer certain questions relating to your alleged affiliation with the Communist Party. The Committee on Un-American Activities has learned, through the public press, that when you recently resigned from the American Labor Party, you issued a statement to the effect that you were doing so because of the Communist control of that organization. The committee has consistently endeavored to give an opportunity to witnesses who have appeared before it to repudiate their Communist affiliations or associations. A full disclosure of your knowledge of Communist Party activities would perform a great public service, especially at this time, when acts of military aggression are being committed by the forces of international communism. It would also be evidence that the break with your alleged Communist association has been full and complete, and that your action was taken in good faith.
The committee will not be satisfied with a mere perfunctory repudiation of the Communist Party, nor, it is suggested, will the American public. The committee desires to know if you are willing to cooperate with it, in its effort to expose Communist activities, by answering such questions as will be propounded to you with regard to Communist activities during the course of this hearing.
Mr. PRESSMAN. Mr. Chairman, I ask at this time for the opportunity of making a brief statement to the committee.
Mr. WOOD. Mr. Pressman, you will be accorded the privilege of making whatever statement you desire, but you have just been asked a direct question, and we would like to have a direct answer to that question.
Mr. PRESSMAN. May I suggest the question was rather lengthy.
Mr. WOOD. The latter part was direct.
Mr. PRESSMAN. I believe my statement, which will be very brief, will answer the question, as well as indicate precisely what my position will be before the committee today.
Mr. WOOD. Then will you be prepared to answer questions asked you?
Mr. PRESSMAN. That is correct.
Mr. PRESSMAN. I understand, Mr. Chairman, there is a desire that I further clarify the position which I took in my recent letter resigning from the American Labor Party. This I desire to do, as well as take this opportunity to expose many distortions which have been circulated regarding my past activities. There has been considerable speculation regarding my past activities. I propose at this moment to set forth a few very simple facts.
In the early 1930s, Mr. Chairman, as you may well recall, as well as other members of this committee, there was a very severe Depression in our country. The future looked black for my generation just emerging from school. At the same time, the growing spectre of Nazism in Germany presented to my mind an equally grave threat.
In my desire to see the destruction of Hitlerism and an improvement in economic conditions here at home, I joined a Communist group in Washington, D. C., about 1934. My participation in such group extended for about a year, to the best of my recollection. I recall that about the latter part of 1935 – the precise date I cannot recall, but it is a matter of public record – I left the Government service and left Washington to reenter the private practice of law in New York City. And at that time I discontinued any further participation in the group from that date until the present.
Now, Mr. Chairman, I state the following at this time:
There were three other persons in that group in addition to myself. They were all at the time with me in the Department of Agriculture. They have all been named before this committee by others.
I state to you that I am prepared, as I will indicate, to answer any and all questions regarding my activities in the past up to the present, and possibly project my viewpoint into the future. It would be offensive to me, as it would be to practically all people, to have to name individuals with whom I have associated in the past.
What I have stated to you would indicate that I offer no additional information that this committee does not already have. However, that is a decision which this committee will have to make, in propounding its questions to me and the directives you issue to me.
Bear in mind, sir, there may be others like myself who, out of deep convictions, will change their beliefs. If this committee assumes the position that those who do change their convictions and beliefs, as I have, must also be compelled to take what I submit would be an offensive – offensive to one’s own personal self – position, that might well be discouraging to other people to do what I have done. But, I repeat, that is a decision which this committee will have to make.
Now, I believe it of interest to comment that I have no knowledge regarding the political beliefs or affiliations of Alger Hiss. And when I say I have no knowledge, I am not endeavoring to quibble with this committee. I appear here, as I necessarily must, as a lawyer. I am a lawyer. When one asks me for knowledge, knowledge to my mind is based on fact, and I have no facts. And bear in mind, sir, that as an attorney, to be asked to comment on a case now pending in court is a very unusual experience for an attorney, because anything I say undoubtedly may have an impact one way or another on that case, and for that reason I am trying to be very, very precise. I do know, I can state as a matter of knowledge, that for the period of my participation in that group, which is the only basis on which I can say I have knowledge, Alger Hiss was not a member of the group.
Now, those two statements of mine are based on knowledge, which embraces facts within my possession. I do not believe that this committee would want me to hazard conjectural surmise. That is not my function. You want from me, I assume, facts and nothing but facts.
Now, there has been a great deal of unfortunate distortion, regarding my name, as it arose in the course of previous testimony before this committee by a man named Chambers. I desire to call attention to the fact that on a previous appearance by me before this committee, at which I believe Congressman Nixon was the chairman of the subcommittee, we were then in executive session, but it was a matter of record, there was a colloquy between Mr. Stripling, the counsel of the committee, and myself. At page 1,023 of the record of proceedings of August 18, 1948, there appears this colloquy, and I take this opportunity to repeat this, because up to [this] date, even though I have brought this colloquy to the attention of many representatives of the press, no one has seen fit to date to print it until this morning. The colloquy is as follows. Mr. Pressman asked this question I now quote: “Has there been any charge” –
Mr. WOOD. You say “Mr. Pressman” asked that question?
Mr. PRESSMAN. That is myself. I asked the question:
Has there been any charge made by any witness, that has appeared before this committee, that I have participated in any espionage activity while an employee of the Federal Government or thereafter?
Mr. Stripling answered as follows, I now quote: “No, there has not been.” End of quote.
And I point out that that colloquy occurred after Mr. Chambers had testified and had mentioned my name in the course of his testimony.
To continue on my background, I will be very brief, Mr. Chairman.
In 1936 I was appointed general counsel of the CIO. Actually, I might say, being more specific, I was named in June 1936 as general counsel for the Steelworkers Organizing Committee. The CIO did not actually begin to function until 1937. At that time I was in the private practice of law in New York City, and continued [as] such until about 1938, to the best of my recollection, when I returned to Washington, D.C., acting as full-time attorney for the CIO and the Steelworkers Organizing Committee, which by that time might well have become the United Steelworkers of America. In 1948 I resigned, for reasons which I then publicly stated.
What I will say might be an aside and quite irrelevant, but I believe quite important, because, contrary to the facts which will be developed in the course of this proceeding, I hope, there has been the wildest kind of distortion regarding my activities and my views in the past.
For example, completely contrary to fact, statements now appear in the press that I was forced to resign from the CIO because of my views. Actually, that action taken then was of my own accord. Contrary to what many newspaper reporters may say, I can prove my assertion, because at that time I was given a letter by the president of the CIO, expressing his appreciation for the contribution which I had made to the CIO while I had been employed in the capacity of general counsel of that organization. And even more important, after my resignation, I was requested by the CIO and Mr. Murray to appear in their behalf as their counsel in connection with their indictments under the infamous Taft-Hartley Act.
I say those two facts certainly attest to the correctness of my assertion that when I resigned it was a matter of my own accord, for the reasons which I stated then publicly. All I can say is that my contribution to organized labor from the year 1938 until 1948, when I acted for the CIO, is a matter of public record on which I do not at this moment intend to comment.
Now, I think it would be in order, Mr. Chairman, for me again to make one or two brief observations regarding present conditions which have had a bearing on the position which I have taken.
A grave crisis confronts our nation and all humanity today. The warfare raging in Korea threatens to unleash a world conflict which would destroy our civilization. All my life I have opposed aggression. I therefore denounce the fighting initiated by the North Korean forces in South Korea. The Communist Party and its forces in the labor movement, as they have expressed themselves publicly, are the supporters and apologists for an aggressive war. I vigorously oppose this position. I desire to support the United Nations and my country. It is my fervent hope that the United Nations can devise immediate steps which can bring about a quick end to the present bloodshed and assure world peace.
The onrushing frightful conflict between ideological forces today threatens our destruction. We find the resurgence of Nazism, assisted by the release of die-hard Nazis who were convicted of the most horrible crimes. We are confronted by the driving aggressive Communist attack. Our survival must be based upon the people’s understanding of the true meaning and worth of American democracy and their determination to fight for its preservation and full enjoyment.
Each individual, Mr. Chairman, must constantly peer into his own conscience to evaluate his convictions upon which to base his faith and creed. The position that I have taken today was not taken hurriedly. It was taken after careful and due consideration and deliberation. The position I have assumed today, Mr. Chairman, stems from very profound convictions. There may be questions in people’s minds regarding the position I have taken. I can only say that I state, as a matter of fact, that the position I have assumed stems from a profound sincerity on my part.
I deeply appreciate that within our democratic way of life, when past beliefs prove false, when a human being finds that he has made mistakes, there is the opportunity for change and to contribute in whatever way possible toward the dignity and well-being of man and the preservation of peace for all humanity.
Those are my observations, which express my knowledge of my activities of the past and my present viewpoint. If you have questions of me, Mr. Chairman, I shall endeavor the best I can to answer the questions.
Mr. WOOD. Before members of the committee are given an opportunity to ask questions, Mr. Counsel, do you have questions to ask?
Mr. TAVENNER. Yes, sir. Mr. Pressman, what is your present address?
Mr. PRESSMAN. 225 Broadway, New York City
Mr. TAVENNER. That is your residential address?
Mr. PRESSMAN. My office address.
Mr. TAVENNER. What is your residential address?
Mr. PRESSMAN. Is there need for that, Mr. Chairman, to be in the record?
Mr. TAVENNER. You have furnished the committee with a statement of your employment since 1936 when you were appointed as general counsel for the CIO, but will you go back and give us a statement of your record of employment prior to that time, both in and out of Government?
Mr. PRESSMAN. I graduated from Harvard Law School in June 1929. I believe it was September 1929 when I was employed at a law firm in New York City. My recollection is that I was with the law firm from 1929 until sometime the latter part of 1932 or early part of 1933, when I became a partner in another law firm.
Sometime in the spring of 1933, I was called down to Washington by Mr. Jerome Frank, who was then general counsel of the Agricultural Adjustment Administration, and asked whether I would accept employment with the Administration as an assistant general counsel.
At this point, Mr. Chairman, I would like to take the opportunity, as I will through the course of these proceedings, to lay low, I hope once and for all, many distortions of truth. It has been asserted time and again by some people that I was responsible, for example, for getting Alger Hiss a job in Triple A. I state as a fact, and the public records will bear me out, that when I came to Washington to become employed in the Triple A, at that time Alger Hiss was already working with Jerome Frank as his assistant in the Triple A. I had nothing whatsoever – and when I say nothing whatsoever I mean precisely that – nothing whatsoever to do with the employment of Alger Hiss in the Triple A.
Mr. PRESSMAN. I was asked to join [the Communist Party] by a man named Harold Ware. For the reasons which I have already indicated, I assented, and I joined with the group which had, in addition to myself, three other persons, all of whom at that time were in the Department of Agriculture.
Mr. WOOD. Are any of them in the Department of Agriculture now?
Mr. PRESSMAN. No, Mr. Chairman, and the three who were then in the Department of Agriculture have been named before this committee time and time again.
Mr. TAVENNER. At the time that you were recruited into the party by Ware, were you assigned to any branch or section or cell of the Communist Party?
Mr. PRESSMAN. I was assigned merely to this specific group.
Mr. TAVENNER. What was the name of this group?
Mr. PRESSMAN. We had no name. We were just a group of individuals.
Mr. TAVENNER. You say there were only four members of that group?
Mr. PRESSMAN. During the period of my participation, there were only four members of the group.
Mr. CASE. You said Harold Ware recruited you into the Communist Party. Was he an employee of the Department of Agriculture?
Mr. CASE. Was he a member of the group?
Mr. PRESSMAN. We did not consider him a member of the group.
Mr. CASE. But you know he was a Communist?
Mr. PRESSMAN. I assume so. He recruited me into the party.
Mr. WOOD. Any further questions, Mr. Nixon?
Mr. NIXON. …. Just so there will be absolute clarity of the record, as I understand, the records of this committee show that the three members of the group, who were in the Department of Agriculture, were John Abt, Nathan Witt, and Henry Collins?
Mr. PRESSMAN. Henry Collins, to my knowledge, was never an employee of the Department of Agriculture.
Mr. NIXON. Then for that reason you should answer the question.
Mr. PRESSMAN. Your records are wrong.
Mr. NIXON. You yourself said you wanted to clear up distortions about yourself, and I assume other individuals, in the files of this committee. Apparently the files of the committee are wrong in respect to Mr. Collins. Obviously Mr. Abt and Mr. Witt are two of the members of the group. I think you should name the other one. Nathan Witt and John Abt are two. That I am sure of myself. I think Mr. Pressman should clear up who is the third one.
Mr. WOOD. You say the record of this committee, if it includes Collins, is wrong?
Mr. PRESSMAN. I think your own record will show that Mr. Collins was an employee of the National Recovery Administration and not of the Triple A.
Mr. WOOD. I will ask you to name the other employee of the Department of Agriculture who was a member of the group.
Mr. PRESSMAN. The third person among the individuals who have been named as members of this group, who was an employee of the Department of Agriculture when I was in 1934, was Charles Kramer.
Mr. PRESSMAN. Kramer, K-r-a-m-e-r. He was employed by the Department of Agriculture at the time I was.
Mr. WOOD. Any further questions on that point?
Mr. CASE. You say Henry Collins at that time was an employee of another branch of the Government?
Mr. PRESSMAN. Are you stating a fact or asking me a question?
Mr. CASE. I am asking you that question.
Mr. PRESSMAN. I take that from your own record.
Mr. PRESSMAN. I knew him socially.
Mr. WOOD. Did you know him as a member of the Communist Party?
Mr. PRESSMAN. I did not. He was not a member of my group.
Mr. MOULDER. What was the function of or reason for having your group of four?
Mr. PRESSMAN. I think it is advisable to explain that situation, because, again, there has been what I consider to be considerable misunderstanding. Bear with me, I am talking now solely of the period during which I was a member of that group. During that period, what we did was receive literature of a Communist nature, daily newspaper, monthly magazines, books, and things of that nature, Communist literature we would read the literature and discuss problems covered by the literature.
Mr. MOULDER. Did you have regular meetings?
Mr. PRESSMAN. We would meet once a month or twice a month, as the occasion developed, where we would be reading the literature and discussing these problems.
Mr. MOULDER. Would the four of the group be the only ones present?
Mr. PRESSMAN. Those four were usually the only ones present.
Mr. WOOD. You say usually. Were there others present at any time, and if so, who?
Mr. PRESSMAN. This literature, which I have described, would be brought down to Washington and delivered to one of the group.
Mr. PRESSMAN. It was not delivered to me during that period. It was delivered to one of the others in the group.
Mr. WOOD. You knew who delivered it?
Mr. PRESSMAN. I just knew that it was an individual. Let me make clear what my position is. My recollection by way of names of people is that on one or two occasions at the most, to my knowledge – let me start again. Harold Ware was the person who stands out distinctly in my memory as the person who delivered the literature to the group, by delivering it to one of the group. I forget the precise date but sometime during that period he was killed in an automobile accident. That date is fairly close to the date that I left Washington. Between the day of his death and the time I left Washington, when I disconnected myself from the group, that literature came down, and I have a hazy recollection – and I cannot state this as an affirmative fact – that one person, on one such occasion, who may have brought the literature down and may have sat in with the group was this man named Peters.
Mr. WOOD. Do you know his first name?
Mr. PRESSMAN. No. I just knew him as a man named Peters.
Mr. TAVENNER. Is that a photograph of the man whom you knew as Peters?
Mr. PRESSMAN. That is correct.
Mr. NIXON. When did you first meet Peters?
Mr. PRESSMAN. My recollection is that it was once, and possibly twice. I would say definitely once. I can’t remember the second occasion.
Mr. NIXON. You say once and possibly twice?
Mr. PRESSMAN. That is correct, which followed the death of Harold Ware.
Mr. NIXON. As I understand your testimony, you met Peters definitely on one occasion?
Mr. PRESSMAN. That is correct.
Mr. NIXON. And possibly on two occasions?
Mr. PRESSMAN. That is correct.
Mr. NIXON. Where did you meet him?
Mr. PRESSMAN. I do not remember. I recall I met him with the group.
Mr. NIXON. Have you ever met Peters since you broke with the Communist Party?
Mr. PRESSMAN. In later years I may have met him socially, because as I recall his wife was secretary for some union, and I may have seen him on social occasions, but I had no organizational relationship with him.
Mr. TAVENNER. Where were those meetings held?
Mr. PRESSMAN. Usually at our respective homes sometimes at someplace other than our respective homes maybe once or twice elsewhere. The incident would not stand out in my recollection particularly.
Mr. TAVENNER. To whom did you pay your Communist Party dues?
Mr. PRESSMAN. Usually the person who came and delivered our literature would accept our dues.
Mr. TAVENNER. Did you pay dues only twice during that year?
Mr. PRESSMAN. No. Harold Ware would come down more frequently, obviously.
Mr. TAVENNER. Then who were the persons to whom you paid your Communist Party dues?
Mr. PRESSMAN. I have just stated, Harold Ware, and Peters on the occasion he came down.
Mr. TAVENNER. Where there any others?
Mr. TAVENNER. Who were the officials of this group or cell to which you belonged?
Mr. PRESSMAN. We had no officials. It was just a group.
Mr. TAVENNER. Was there not a leader of that group, or someone in charge?
Mr. PRESSMAN. There was absolutely no leader. We were a group. However, it may make a much more colorful story for me to talk about leaders, but giving you facts, this is precisely what occurred we were a group. If there was a task to perform, one individual would be assigned to that task, such as receiving literature. If there were dues to be collected, an individual would be assigned to the task of collecting dues. It would be left to the discretion of an individual to call the next meeting and arrange whether it would be at my home or at the home of another member. That is the way it worked out during the period I was in the group.
Mr. TAVENNER. You spoke of assignments being given to various ones to do certain jobs. Who made the assignments?
Mr. PRESSMAN. I observe the note of surprise, in the voice of counsel, regarding the functioning of this group, and I take it that appears because of a highly different type of discussion of the operation of the group that may have been furnished here by Mr. Chambers, for example.
I make two points: First, Mr. Chambers, nowhere in the entire record, to my knowledge – I may be wrong about this I haven’t studied the record as carefully as possibly counsel for the committee has done – to my knowledge Mr. Chambers does not once state that he attended the meetings and met me at any meeting of the group. There was always the inference he knew of us as a group, but not that he met me at the meetings.
Secondly, to show you how inaccuracies can develop, on page 576 of the record of the proceedings of this committee, you will find an exchange between Mr. Chambers and Mr. Hebert. Mr. Chambers I quote first:
After I had been in Washington a while it was very clear that some of the members of these groups were going places in the Government.
Mr. Chambers: I would think about 1936. One of them clearly was Alger Hiss, and it was believed that Henry Collins also might go farther. Also was Lee Pressman.
And there is some more comment, and he says they decided to separate some of these people, and so on.
Now, get that. In 1936, as a matter of public record, Lee Pressman was in the City of New York. Chambers has me going high in Government places, and Lee Pressman is in the City of New York, having left Washington and the Government service a year before.
Mr. WOOD. Let us not labor the point, Mr. Pressman. I think your answer was responsive to the question. Any further questions?
Mr. NIXON. What about Donald Hiss?
Mr. PRESSMAN. He was not a member of my group. I have absolutely no information as to his political affiliation.
Mr. NIXON. I think this morning you testified concerning some portion of the testimony of Whittaker Chambers. Do you know Whittaker Chambers?
Mr. PRESSMAN. I am very glad you asked that question, Mr. Nixon, because I would like to answer that very much. I have absolutely no recollection – and I have searched my memory to the best of my ability – of having met Whittaker Chambers in Washington in connection with my participation with the group. I have searched the record to find out whether or not Mr. Whittaker Chambers states anywhere that he met me in connection with that group, and I have not found any such reference. I did find a reference in the record that Mr. Whittaker Chambers – a man of apparently profound knowledge, who could remember in detail occurrences of many years ago – put me in Washington in the Federal Government in 1936 when I was, as a matter of record, in New York City. I do have a recollection of one instance which involves a meeting with Whittaker Chambers, and it is this: If I speak heatedly, Mr. Nixon, it is not in connection with responding to your question.
Mr. NIXON. Mr. Pressman, you need not apologize. Just go ahead.
Mr. PRESSMAN. Sometime in 1936, two gentlemen appeared in my private law office in New York City. One of them I have recognized since, by virtue of pictures that have appeared in the public print, as Whittaker Chambers. He did not appear at that time by that name and, for the life of me, I have been trying to find out what was the name he appeared by, and I can’t remember, nor can I find any record.
He came in with another individual. Whittaker Chambers, by whatever name he appeared at that time, stated that he knew of me through mutual friends, without identifying them, and was bringing to me this second person as a potential client.
Mr. NIXON. You had no difficulty recognizing Mr. Chambers from his picture?
Mr. PRESSMAN. He looked quite different from when I saw him, but I recognized him.
Mr. NIXON. You did not have to see his teeth?
Mr. PRESSMAN. Is that necessary, Mr. Nixon, with me as a witness?
Mr. PRESSMAN. The second individual, this person who wanted to be my client, showed me credentials that he was a representative of the Spanish Republican Government – this was in 1936 – who wanted to go to Mexico to purchase materials for the Spanish Republican Government. The request was whether I would accompany such individual, as an attorney, to Mexico in that endeavor. I said I would go as an attorney with him to Mexico, to see what could be done. I went, not with Whittaker Chambers, but with this other individual, to Mexico as his attorney. Our expedition, by the way, was unsuccessful, and we returned. I have not seen Whittaker Chambers since the day that he appeared in my office at that time.
Mr. NIXON. How long was he in your office?
Mr. PRESSMAN. Maybe a half hour or an hour.
Mr. NIXON. That is the only time in your life you ever saw him?
Mr. PRESSMAN. That is correct.
Mr. NIXON. You had no difficulty recognizing him from his picture?
Mr. PRESSMAN. I recognized him from the pictures. Whether I had difficulty, I don’t know.
Mr. NIXON. You are sure it is the same man?
Mr. PRESSMAN. As sure as I can be in these days.
Mr. NIXON. Who was the other individual?
Mr. NIXON. What is his first name?
Mr. PRESSMAN. I believe his initial was J.
Mr. NIXON. Have you seen him since?
Mr. PRESSMAN. No or maybe one time.
Mr. NIXON. Have you heard from him since?
Mr. NIXON. What did you call Mr. Chambers?
Mr. PRESSMAN. When he was in my office? I can’t remember what name he gave when he came. The reason I recall Mr. Eckhart, he appears in my records as a client.
Mr. NIXON. At the time Mr. Whittaker Chambers came in your office with Mr. Eckhart, you made a notation of him as a client?
Mr. NIXON. Your secretary made no notation of who appeared with Mr. Eckhart?
Mr. NIXON. What was your fee?
Mr. PRESSMAN. Is that necessary?
Mr. HARRISON. You were paid a fee?
Mr. NIXON. I thought it might serve to refresh your recollection.
Mr. PRESSMAN. Refresh your recollection? It was a reasonable fee.
Mr. NIXON. Who paid the fee?
Mr. NIXON. When did you learn Mr. Whittaker Chambers was the man who brought him to your office?
Mr. PRESSMAN. When his picture started appearing in the public press.
Mr. NIXON. Did you take that information to public authorities?
Mr. PRESSMAN. Somebody appeared from the FBI in 1948.
Mr. NIXON. What did you tell them?
Mr. PRESSMAN. The same answer I gave this committee at that time.
Mr. NIXON. Refused to answer the question?
Mr. PRESSMAN. That is correct.
Mr. NIXON. Has the FBI questioned you since August 10 of this year?
Mr. PRESSMAN. Mr. Nixon, I said this morning that the answer was no. I am of the opinion, if I may say –
Mr. NIXON. Let me ask you another question, and then you may express your opinion.
Mr. NIXON. Has anybody attempted to determine whether you would give information to the FBI before you appeared before this committee?
Mr. PRESSMAN. I have had a lot of inquiries from newspaper reporters.
Mr. NIXON. Only newspaper reporters?
Mr. NIXON. No official or unofficial inquiry from the FBI?
Mr. PRESSMAN. I do think that is an avenue or arena which could best be left with the FBI.
Mr. PRESSMAN. That is my answer.
Mr. NIXON. In other words, you don’t want to answer the question?
Mr. PRESSMAN. My position has been that after issuing my statement, I was not going to say anything to anybody until I had appeared before this committee, since you had subpoenaed me.
Mr. NIXON. Your position has been, you would not appear before the FBI until you had appeared before this committee?
Mr. PRESSMAN. That is correct. This was my appearance that was called for by the subpoena.
Mr. NIXON. As I understand your testimony, this was a complete ideological and organizational break that you made on August 10, but as far as information is concerned, you are limiting the giving of information to the extent that this committee questions you about?
Mr. PRESSMAN. That is not what I said. I said, after I issued my public statement, I read in the public press that a member of this committee had announced that I was going to be subpoenaed, and following that announcement I made up my mind I would make no public statement to anybody until after I had appeared before this committee.
Mr. NIXON. Do you recall discussing with Mr. Chambers, the man who came into your office, on this occasion or previous to that time, your contemplated plans to go with the CIO?
Mr. PRESSMAN. Absolutely not.
Mr. NIXON. Do you recall an occasion when Mr. Chambers visited you in your apartment across from the Zoo on Connecticut Avenue?
Mr. PRESSMAN. He was never in my apartment in the city of Washington, and he couldn’t tell the color of my furniture, either.
Mr. NIXON. It is very possible that he might not, because Mr. Chambers might have been there in the summertime.
Mr. PRESSMAN. At that time I only had one set of furniture, summer or winter.
Mr. NIXON. And the furniture is usually covered when you go away in the summer?
Mr. PRESSMAN. Not on the salary I was making at that time. I have absolutely no recollection of ever having met this man known as Chambers, up until the day he walked in my office in New York City.
Mr. NIXON. On this occasion I speak of, which was in the summer, your wife and family were out of the city.
Mr. PRESSMAN. What year was this?
Mr. NIXON. In the year that you took your position with the CIO.
Mr. PRESSMAN. In Washington or New York?
Mr. NIXON. I am talking about Washington.
Mr. PRESSMAN. That shows how Whittaker Chambers is incorrect, if he made that statement. I was not in Washington at that time.
Mr. NIXON. I recognize that. I said at a time when you were considering leaving the Government service, prior to your taking your position with the CIO.
Mr. PRESSMAN. I am glad you put the question that way, because here are the facts: This indicates how, if Whittaker Chambers made any such assertion, he is lying, because when I left Washington to go back into private practice, the CIO was not even organized. It was not until the convention of the AFL in 1935, when the AFL kicked out those six or seven unions, and Mr. Lewis happened to punch Mr. Hutchinson in the nose, thereafter Mr. Lewis and six other men met and formed the CIO and it wasn’t until months later that Mr. Lewis asked me if I would go to Pittsburgh to be counsel for the Steel Workers Organizing Committee.
Mr. NIXON. And you deny any meeting with Whittaker Chambers in your home in 1935?
Mr. NIXON. You deny meeting Whittaker Chambers during the period you were living in Washington, D.C.?
Mr. PRESSMAN. I have absolutely no recollection, and I have canvassed my recollection to the best of my ability.
Mr. NIXON. You never met him in the company of J. Peters?
Mr. PRESSMAN. That is correct.
Mr. NIXON. You never met him in the home of Henry Collins?
Mr. PRESSMAN. That is correct. While I was in that group, Mr. Chambers did not appear before that group.
Mr. NIXON. Going back to this incident in your office, can you give us the date of that incident?
Mr. PRESSMAN. Sometime in the middle of 1936.
Mr. NIXON. Do you have a notation to that effect in your file?
Mr. PRESSMAN. No, I do not have the files.
Mr. NIXON. Where are the files?
Mr. PRESSMAN. The partnership I was with was dissolved years ago.
Mr. NIXON. And you have no files at all?
Mr. PRESSMAN. That is correct. The reason I can place it in 1936, I know when I returned from my trip to Mexico coincided with an incident in Wheeling, Ohio, when two men were shot, and I believe killed, by some strikebreakers – Did I say Wheeling, Ohio? I mean Portsmouth, Ohio. I had to go to Portsmouth, and I date it from that time. It was sometime in 1936.
Mr. PRESSMAN. No. It was after June. It was between June and the fall.
Mr. NIXON. The Spanish Civil War didn’t break out until the summer of 1936, so that would date it, wouldn’t it?
Mr. PRESSMAN. Is that when it started? I say between June and the fall of 1936.
Mr. NIXON. And the purpose of this trip was to obtain arms for the Spanish Republican Government?
Mr. NIXON. What else did Whittaker Chambers say?
Mr. PRESSMAN. Nothing other than the introduction.
Mr. NIXON. He introduced himself to you?
Mr. PRESSMAN. Only as knowing me through mutual friends, that mutual friends said I was practicing law in New York. And at that time, having only been in business a few months, I wasn’t making too many inquiries. I wanted a client if it was a good client.
Mr. NIXON. Do you know Dr. Philip Rosenbleitt?
Mr. PRESSMAN. Absolutely not. I do not know the name or know the man. I saw the name in the press. Pegler mentioned him.
Mr. NIXON. Have you heard of his returning to the United States?
Mr. PRESSMAN. No. Not knowing him in the first place, I wouldn’t know anything about his return.
Mr. NIXON. I thought you said you had read about it in the press.
Mr. PRESSMAN. I have read in a Pegler story something about Chambers saying I had something to do with some dentist.
Mr. NIXON. Do you know Colonel Ivan Lamb?
Mr. PRESSMAN. Absolutely not.
Mr. NIXON. You never heard of him?
Mr. PRESSMAN. What is his last name, again?
Mr. PRESSMAN. I don’t know him.
Mr. NIXON. You didn’t meet him in New York City in 1936?
Mr. PRESSMAN. I never met the man.
Mr. NIXON. You never met him in company with Whittaker Chambers?
Mr. PRESSMAN. That is correct.
Mr. NIXON. Have you ever used the name “Cole Phillips”?
Mr. NIXON. You never used it?
Mr. NIXON. When you were in the party, did you use any name other than your own?
Mr. NIXON. Did any other member of your group?
Mr. PRESSMAN. I don’t believe so. We used our own names during the period I was there.
Mr. NIXON. Have you ever gotten a government position for Charles Kramer, or assisted in getting him a government position?
Mr. PRESSMAN. My understanding is he was a friend of Nathan Witt. I don’t recall getting him a position.
Mr. NIXON. After that time did you ever recommend him for a position?
Mr. PRESSMAN. Not that I recall. I never had occasion to recommend people for jobs in the Federal government. I can’t deny if, over the past 15 years, somebody called me about an individual, I might have said something, but I have no recollection of helping him or anybody else get a job in the Federal government.
Mr. NIXON. When you went to Mexico, did you go by plane?
Mr. PRESSMAN. That is right. My name is on the roster of the airline company, and so is Mr. Eckhart’s. There is nothing secret about that.
I would like to comment on that, because several years later – and this is indicative of the kind of misstatements of fact that have been made about me – years later some columnist prints a story that my trip to Mexico was connected with some oil deal down in Mexico. That columnist got that story from an individual around Washington, whose name I do not care to mention at this time, who is a drunken paranoiac who has on his mind Lee Pressman. That columnist did not inquire of me about the facts. After the column appeared, I called the columnist and asked, “For God’s sake, how can you say I was connected with an oil deal?” I gave him the facts. “Oh,” he said, “you were down there laying the groundwork for an affair two or three years later.” Go ahead and meet that kind of individual.
Mr. NIXON. That individual is not Whittaker Chambers?
Mr. PRESSMAN. No but I wonder if that columnist is here now. I was hoping he was.
Mr. NIXON. You don’t mean the columnist?
Mr. NIXON. You don’t know any columnist who is a drunken paranoiac?
Mr. PRESSMAN. Are you asking that as a question?
Mr. NIXON. That is all at this time.
Mr. TAVENNER. Was this trip in 1945 your only trip to the Soviet Union?
Mr. PRESSMAN. The only trip I have made abroad, except for my trip to Mexico. By the way, I did make a trip to Bermuda on my honeymoon.
Mr. TAVENNER. We are not asking about that.
Mr. NIXON. In regard to that trip to Mexico, do you know a man by the name of Mark Moran?
Mr. PRESSMAN. What is that name?
Mr. NIXON. Mark Moran, or Gerald Mark Moran?
Mr. PRESSMAN. No absolutely not.
Mr. NIXON. In that connection, I think it might be well at this point to put in the record here the version of the meeting – I assume it was the one Mr. Pressman referred to – that Mr. Chambers gave in December 1948. There are differences of names and places I might point out, however, in that connection, before I read this, that it does not involve espionage.
Mr. PRESSMAN. May I ask the date of that incident Chambers describes?
Mr. NIXON. It will appear as I read it.
Mr. PRESSMAN. I want to call attention to another incident, where in 1936 he put me in Washington.
Mr. STRIPLING. Did you ever hear of a man named Gerald Mark Moran?
Mr. CHAMBERS. Yes. I heard of him under the name of Mark Moran. I assume that is the same name. Shall I tell you about the circumstances under which I heard of him?
Mr. CHAMBERS. Dr. Rosenbleitt had gone to Russia sometime in 1935, I imagine, and he reappeared in New York sometime in 1937 or 1938, and made contact with me and told me that he had come on a special mission, that Stalin had recently had a close look at the munitions industry in Russia and had discovered to his horror that there was no automatic shell-loading machinery, that shells were still being loaded by hand by women, and he wanted to buy shell-loading machinery in the United States, but he didn’t want to buy them at the going price, and he wanted all kinds of blueprints and specifications thrown in. Dr. Rosenbleitt asked me to give him, for this work and other work, the smartest Communist lawyer whom I knew, and also a man who would have access in the course of his normal business to patents of all kinds. Well, I started thinking about the problem, and the man who had both those qualifications turned out to be the general counsel of the CIO, Mr. Lee Pressman. He was a very smart lawyer, and he was doing some kind of special work for the Rust Bros., who had invented the cotton picker, and who was dealing with other patents. So, I introduced Dr. Rosenbleitt to Lee Pressman at Sacher’s Restaurant in New York City, a restaurant on Madison Avenue between Forty-second and Forty-first streets, which was much favored by Dr. Rosenbleitt. He then took Pressman away. I don’t believe I saw Pressman again. But either from Rosenbleitt or Peters or someone, I learned that Rosenbleitt had connected Pressman directly with Mark Moran, with whom he continued to work, and I was told made trips around this country on munitions-buying excursions, and also in Mexico. I was told by J. Peters specifically, I remember that, at one point, their airplane was forced down on one side or the other of the border, and that Moran was very much perturbed because he was afraid they would be watched and caught. I think Mr. Pressman has already gone into this incident.
Mr. PRESSMAN. No, I haven’t. I would like to comment. Will I be given that opportunity?
Mr. NIXON. Certainly. Your recollection of such an incident involved Mr. Eckhart?
Mr. PRESSMAN. My recollection is of no such incident.
Mr. NIXON. But your recollection of your meeting with Mr. Chambers involved Mr. Eckhart?
Mr. PRESSMAN. That is correct, on this specific incident, of accompanying Mr. Eckhart to Mexico, and that was between June and the fall of 1936. And my name and Mr. Eckhart’s appear on the roster of the airline. If you would go to the airline, instead of these other sources, you could find the facts.
Mr. WALTER. What airline was it?
Mr. PRESSMAN. I believe American Airline.
Mr. WALTER. Was your plane forced down?
Mr. HARRISON. Until you gave that information, we had no airline to check with.
Mr. PRESSMAN. We changed at Fort Worth. We took a chartered plane to Laredo, Pan American, to Mexico City, and direct from Mexico City to New York. That was between June and the fall of 1936.
Mr. NIXON. When did you last see J. Peters?
Mr. PRESSMAN. I really can’t tell you. I know I met him once or twice.
Mr. NIXON. Have you seen him in the past 5 years?
Mr. NIXON. How well did you know J. Peters?
Mr. PRESSMAN. I did not know him.
Mr. NIXON. There were some occasions on which you saw him?
Mr. PRESSMAN. Yes, after I left the group.
Mr. NIXON. You can’t recall when you last saw him?
Mr. PRESSMAN. No. When did he leave the country?
Mr. NIXON. Can you describe Mr. Eckhart?
Mr. PRESSMAN. About as tall as myself, or taller. At that time, in 1936, I was about 30 years of age. I would judge he was in his early fifties. Nothing distinctive in any way I could identify him by.
Mr. NIXON. Was he heavy or slight?
Mr. PRESSMAN. No. Average weight.
Mr. NIXON. No speaking characteristics?
Mr. NIXON. You have never seen him since?
Mr. PRESSMAN. For a week or two after coming back, there was a question of setting up a corporation in New York City to do the task.
Mr. NIXON. You have not heard of him since?
Mr. NIXON. Was he an American citizen?
Mr. PRESSMAN. I don’t know. I never inquired. I went to Mexico with him, but there was no need for a passport. We got a visiting card from the Mexican Embassy, to go to Mexico. I would have thought he was a Spaniard.
Mr. NIXON. Over how long a period did you know him?
Mr. PRESSMAN. For the period I have described, when he came in a week or two before we left for Mexico, and a week or two after we returned. We were in Mexico only a few days.
Mr. NIXON. What did you call him?
Mr. NIXON. You called him “Joe”?
Mr. PRESSMAN. That is right.
Mr. NIXON. You don’t recall any meetings with J. Peters in the last 5 years?
Mr. PRESSMAN. When did he leave the country?
Mr. PRESSMAN. You see the difficulty I have been having about dates.
Mr. NIXON. I think Peters left in 1948.
Mr. PRESSMAN. I think 2 or 3 years prior to that I may have seen him.
Mr. PRESSMAN. That is right.
Mr. NIXON. Never in a business connection?
Mr. PRESSMAN. That is absolutely correct.
Mr. NIXON. Never in a business connection since the time you broke, organizationally speaking, with the party?
Mr. PRESSMAN. That is correct.
Mr. NIXON. Was Peters a Communist?
Mr. PRESSMAN. I assume he was.
Mr. NIXON. You want to be certain, don’t you?
Mr. PRESSMAN. When he came to our group in the capacity he did, I took it for granted he was.
Mr. NIXON. You have never heard that he left the party?
Mr. PRESSMAN. I never heard it.
Mr. PRESSMAN. May I say, jocularly, just as I would never inquire of you if you had left the Republican Party, I didn’t ask if he had left the Communist Party or was still in.
Mr. NIXON. I know that an expression frequently used in Communist circles is that there is no difference between an affiliation with the Communist Party, Republican Party, or Democratic Party. You recognize there is a difference, I assume?
Mr. PRESSMAN. I recognize the basic difference. On that issue, I recall back in the early days of the New Deal, on the occasion when I joined, to be a Democrat at that time, and to participate in the New Deal program under President Roosevelt, was akin to being a Communist in the minds of some people in this country.
Mr. HARRISON. You were both, though.
Mr. PRESSMAN. That is correct.
Mr. NIXON. In the light of your testimony today, it is very possible there were some who were Democrats and also members of the Communist Party.
Mr. WALTER. Mr. Ware, who did the recruiting for the Communist Party, was a member of the Republican Party and President Hoover’s adviser in the Agriculture Department.
Mr. PRESSMAN. He may have been.
Mr. NIXON. In 1935, you were general counsel to two of the most powerful agencies in Government?
Mr. PRESSMAN. I was general counsel of two agencies of the Government. Whether they were powerful, I don’t know.
Mr. NIXON. My point is this, that this line: “What is the difference? You don’t ask if a person is a Democrat or a Republican, so why should you ask if he is a Communist?” I think there is a real difference. I think at the present time certainly an effort is being made in both political parties to be sure they have no connection with the Communist Party. That is a correct statement, is it not, Mr. Walter?
Mr. PRESSMAN. May I, with your permission, Mr. Nixon, go back to that record which you read, that perfectly fantastic story Mr. Chambers told? He has me down as an expert on patents. I have never handled a patent matter in my life. Second, he has me doing business with Rust Brothers on a machine. I don’t know what that machine is. I remember in Triple A some discussion of Rust Brothers inventing a machine that could allegedly pick cotton. That is the only knowledge I have of Rust Brothers or their machine. Third, he has me getting legal work through him in 1937 or 1938. During that period I was full time with the CIO and had no private practice at all. I have already answered the question of the airplane. In 1937 and in 1938 I wasn’t flying on airplanes in connection with the Rust Brothers machine or patent work. Every day of my life is a matter of public record.
PRESSMAN, LEE (1906), U.S. lawyer. He left his law practice to accept a position in Roosevelt's New Deal administration. In 1934, while assistant general counsel in the Agricultural Adjustment Administration, Pressman gravitated within the Communist Party orbit. Although he severed formal affiliation with the party after leaving government service a year later, he did not break ideologically with Stalinism until 1950. In 1937 Pressman became counsel for the Steel Workers Organizing Committee, and soon thereafter general counsel for the CIO. Brilliant and quick-witted, Pressman won the confidence of John L. Lewis, and later, CIO president, Philip Murray. He came to be considered "indispensable" in CIO administrative matters. While holding his position in the CIO, Pressman continued to consult with Communist Party leaders. However, he was actually forced to act more as a check on, rather than agent of, the Stalinist interests in the CIO. Pressman resigned from the CIO in 1948 to back the Progressive Party standard-bearer Henry Wallace's unsuccessful attempt for the presidency. He retired to the practice of law during the Korean War.
M. Kempton, Part of Our Time (1955), 37 U.S. House of Representatives: Committee on Un-American Activities, Hearings Regarding Communism in the United States Government, 81 Congress 2 Session (1950), 2844.
Sources: Encyclopaedia Judaica. © 2008 The Gale Group. All Rights Reserved.
Download our mobile app for on-the-go access to the Jewish Virtual Library
After graduation, he joined the law firm of Chadbourne, Stanchfield & Levy (currently Chadbourne & Parke) in New York City.  (During the Great Depression, founder Thomas Chadbourne asserted that the capitalist system itself was "on trial" and became an early champion of both collective bargaining rights and profit sharing for workers.  ) There, he worked for Jerome Frank (future chair of the SEC). When Jerome left in 1933 to work in FDR's New Deal, Pressman joined a small firm called Liebman, Blumenthal & Levy , to handle Jerome's clients. 
New Deal service 1933–1936
In 1933, Pressman joined the Ware Group at the invitation of Harold Ware, a Communist agricultural journalist in Washington, DC: "I was asked to join by a man named Harold Ware"     (See "Ware Group" sub-section, below)
In July 1933, Pressman received appointment as assistant general counsel of the Agricultural Adjustment Administration (AAA) by Secretary of Agriculture Henry A. Wallace. He reported to Jerome Frank, who was general counsel. The New Dealers saw the AAA as complementing the National Recovery Act (NRA – where fellow Ware Group member and lifelong Hiss friend Henry Collins worked). As they arrived at AA, two camps quickly arose: previously existing officials who favored agribusiness interests and New Deal appointees who sought to protect small farmers (and farm laborers) and consumers as much as agribusiness. Or, as Arthur M. Schlesinger, Jr. summarized the attitude, "There were too many Ivy League men, too many intellectuals, too many radicals, too many Jews." By December 1933, Frank had hired John Abt and Arthur (or Howard) Bachrach (brother of Abt's sister Marion Abt Bachrach) to develop litigation strategies for agricultural reform policies.   
In February 1935, Chester Davis fired many of Frank's cadre, including Pressman, Frank, Gardner Jackson, and two others.  
By April 1935, Pressman had been appointed general counsel in the Works Progress Administration by Harry L. Hopkins.  A joint resolution dated January 21, 1935,  called the Emergency Relief Appropriation Act of 1935, passed in the United States Congress and became law on April 8, 1935.  As a result, on May 6, 1935, FDR issued Executive Order 7034, that essentially transformed the Federal Emergency Relief Administration into the Works Progress Administration.    "Pressman set to work analyzing the budget request that would transform FERA into the WPA."   
By mid-summer 1935, Rexford G. Tugwell appointed him general counsel of the Resettlement Administration.   Pressman split his time between the two agencies. However, by year's end (he recollected in a letter to Tugwell in 1937), he came to believe that New Deals changes occurred only when "major controlling financial interests" concurred or when "financial interests had been able to seize effective control of the code and manipulate it to enhance their power."  
Pressman left government service in the winter of 1935-36 and went into private law practice in New York City with David Scribner as Pressman & Scribner. Clients included the Marine Engineers Beneficial Association (MEBA), the United Public Workers CIO, and other unions.    
In his role as the CIO's general counsel, Pressman was influential in helping to stop the attempt to deport Communist Longshoreman's Union official Harry Bridges.  He continued to interact with Bridges well into June 1948, as longshoremen continued to threaten strikes on the Atlantic and Gulf Coasts and Bridges remained president of the International Longshore and Warehouse Union. 
Under John L. Lewis 1936–1940
In June 1936, he was named a counsel of the Congress of Industrial Organizations (CIO—later AFL-CIO) for the Steel Workers Organizing Committee (SWOC—later, the United Steelworkers of America), appointed by union chief John L. Lewis as part of a conscious attempt to mobilize left-wing activists on behalf of the new labor federation. According to scholars, "One of Pressman's unofficial roles in the CIO was liaison between the CIO's Communist faction and its predominantly non-Communist leadership."   
In 1937, Michigan Governor William Francis Murphy supported workers rights and the nascent United Auto Workers in a sit-down strike at General Motors plants. He listened to advice Pressman that civil rights statues passed to protect African-American voters during the Civil War might grant the federal government authority to intervene in strikes in terms of Free Speech, like strikes in Harlan County, Kentucky. In February 1939, when President Roosevelt made Murphy United States Attorney General, Murphy created a Civil Liberties Unit within the criminal division of the United States Department of Justice. 
In June 1938, Pressman moved back to Washington, DC, to become full-time general counsel for the CIO and the SWOC.  He remained in this position for the next decade. (According to his obituary in the New York Times, he was general counsel from 1936 to 1948.  )
In August 1938, Pressman criticized the American Bar Association in The CIO News in his own "bill of particulars," which included the following:
- : ABA refused to investigate injustice committed therein
- Industrial Espionage: ABA lawyers have worked with firms "that engage in industrial espionage"
- Sacco-Vanzetti Case: ABA refused to investigate
- Wagner Act: Shared ABA and NLG members declared this act "unconstitutional" : ABA membership asked for and often excluded members based on race ("White," "Indian," "Negro," "Mongolian") 
In May 1939, Pressman spoke on behalf of the CIO before the US Senate's Education and Labor sub-committee to support the "National Health Bill" (part of the Reorganization Act of 1939), sponsored by US Senator Robert F. Wagner. He attacked the American Medical Society 's position against the bill as "reactionary," which he felt had kept the bill from going "far enough." 
From May through August 1939, Pressman attacked support for the "Walsh amendments" to the 1935 National Labor Relations Act (AKA the "Wagner Act"). In May 1939, when AFL president William Green supported the amendments on CBS Radio, the CIO's response, penned by Pressman, accused Green of colluding with the National Association of Manufacturers against not just the CIO but also the AFL, i.e., workers.  In August 1939, Pressman appeared before the Senate Labor Committee to state that Green's support did not represent AFL rank and file. 
Also in August 1939, Congress passed the Hatch Act of 1939, which restricted political campaign activities by federal employees. A provision of the Hatch Act made it illegal for the federal government to employ anyone who advocated the overthrow of the federal government.  The left-leaning United Public Workers of America (UFWA) immediately hired Pressman to challenge the constitutionality of the Hatch Act. 
In October 1939, during a closed-door session during a CIO convention, president John L. Lewis declared his intent to rid the CIO of "Communist influence." This decision came in response particularly from Philip Murray and Sidney Hillman, the CIO's two vice presidents, that pre-dated the Hitler-Stalin Pact (announced the previous month). Instead, Lewis would empower eight member of the CIO's 42 executive committee members. Further, Lewis increased the number of CIO vice presidents from two to six with: R. J. Thomas, president of the United Automobile Workers Emil Rieve, president of the Textile Workers of America W. J. Dalrymple , president of the United Rubber Workers and Reid Robinson , president of the Smelter Workers . "Left forces" failed to have Joseph Curran, president of the National Maritime Union, elected vice president. Further, Lewis demoted Harry Bridges from West Coast CIO director to California state CIO director. The New York Times further stated:
Pressman a Target
For the last year affairs in the Washington office were in the hands of a group whose divided authority resulted in inefficiency, according to Messrs. Hillman and Murray. The latter, together with Mr. Lewis's old miners union associates, thought that Lee Pressman, young C. I. 0. general counsel, a tyro in union affairs, was wielding too much power. They became alarmed last Spring when it was rumored that Mr. Lewis was considering naming Mr. Pressman as general counsel to the miners union in place of the late Henry Warrum .
Mr. Hillman and Mr. Murray also had other scores to settle with Mr. Pressman, who, they felt, had sought to protect Communists and party line followers during the internal dispute which split the United Automobile Workers.
When Mr. Hillman and Mr. Murray prepared a statement attacking factionalism "and any other isms" in the auto union Mr. Pressman blue-penciled the reference to the "other isms." 
On January 3, 1940, Pressman discussed the "1940 Legislative Program of the CIO" on CBS Radio.  orIn his speech, Pressman said:
On pretexts of economy, more money for war purposes and similar catch cries, the reactionary financial interests and their political henchmen hope to reduce appropriations for the unemployed and for publish works, to emasculate labor and social legislation, and to restrict our civil liberties. The CIO . calls for a determined advance in adapting social legislation to the needs of the whole American people. 
Under Philip Murray 1940–1948
On January 14, 1940, John L. Lewis retired from the CIO presidency, and Philip Murray succeeded him. 
On May 18, 1940, Pressman again spoke on CBS Radio, this time on the "Wagner Act." 
In 1941, FDR appointed CIO vice president Sidney Hill to the Office of Production Management. Hillman lobbied for a mediating entity to OPM, and FDR created the National Defense Mediation Board (NDMB). In June 1941, NMDB and the United Auto Workers took over a North American Aviation factory during a strike. Later in June 1941, at a convention of the National Lawyers Guild in Chicago, Pressman criticized the Vinson and Ball bills before the US Congress, both of which he accused of a "long-range" plan whose aims included "destruction of workers' rights to organize, bargain collectively, and strike" "destruction of labor organizations as the barrier to unchecked monopoly profits" and "complete control of the national economy and the government by big business."  
Pressman continued to give as good as he got. In February 1940, he held a "heated exchange" with US Representative Clare Hatch during a hearing of the US House Labor Committee, again on the issue of amendments to the NRLA (Wagner Act):
Pressman: I'll answer the question all right, Mr. Hoffman. Representative Thomas can take care of himself.
Hoffman: This boy is not going to tell me what to ask. I won't take this from Pressman. Remember that.
Pressman: I'll remember all I say.
Hoffman: You keep a civil tongue in your head.  
In September 1941, Pressman received a pin from pro-Communist Mike Quill, leader of the Transport Workers Union (TWU), a CIO member, during a TWU strike. Pressman then urged TWU strikers to stand up to the New York City government, as he had four years earlier in 1937 when the TWU first left the AFL for the CIO.
In July 1942, the National War Labor Board sought advice on FDR's wage stabilization policy by increasing wages in the four "Little Steel" companies with a combined 157,000 employees by one dollar. CIO president Philip Murray and Pressman both supported the increase. 
In July 1943, the CIO formed a political action committee, the "CIO-PAC," chaired by Sidney Hillman, and supported by Pressman and John Abt as co-counsels.  In his 1999 memoir, Abt, general counsel for the Amalgamated Clothing Workers of America under Sidney Hillman, claimed the leaders of the Communist Party of the USA had inspired the idea of the CIO-PAC:
In 1943, Gene Dennis came to me and Lee Pressman to first raise the idea of a political action committee to organize labor support for Roosevelt in the approaching 1944 election. Pressman approached Murray with the idea, as I did with Hillman. Both men seized upon the proposal with great enthusiasm. 
Thus, in 1943, as American spy Elizabeth Bentley resurrected the Ware Group (of which Abt had been a member), could not risk involvement with her or the group. Instead, the group reformed under Victor Perlo as the Perlo Group. 
In September 1943 at a conference of the National Lawyers Guild, Pressman praised labor for reducing strikes and promoting the war effort. He praised the National War Labor Board's policy for recognizing labor unions as institutions within the basic framework of our democratic society. He criticized "selfish blocs" in Congress that had opposed FDR's program. 
In 1944, Pressman participated in resolution of a labor dispute of a national case in basic steel, involving some six hundreds unions on strike. The six-person board consisted of David L. Cole and Nathan P. Feisinger for the government, Philip Murry of the CIO with Pressman as counsel for unions, John Stevens with Chester McLain of U.S. Steel for industry. 
During 1945–1947, Pressman worked with John Abt for the CIO to help create the World Federation of Trade Unions (WFTU) as successor to the International Federation of Trade Unions , itself seen as dominated by communist and socialist parties. During formation of the WFTU and in working with pro-Soviet American unions, "the active role played by" Pressman "in writing and rewriting convention resolutions helped to smooth possible conflicts." 
In April 1945, Pressman represented Harry Bridges before the U.S. Supreme Court in Bridges v. Wixon with the help of Carol Weiss King and her recruit, Nathan Greene who penned the brief. Later that month, Pressman joined Murray, Abt, and other CIO officials in Paris for a meeting with Soviet counterparts about the WFTU.  In October 1945, he traveled to Moscow with a CIO delegation in the company of John Abt among others.   
On June 6, 1946, he contributed to a broadcast entitled "Should There Be Stricter Regulation of Labor Unions?" on America's Town Meeting of the Air show on NBC Radio with Sen. Allen J. Ellender, Henry J. Taylor, and Rep. Andrew J. Biemiller.  
In July 1946, at a National Lawyers Guild convention in Cleveland, he attacked the "fallacious notion that increased wages in the interests of adequate purchasing power necessarily bring higher prices." He also attacked future Progressive Party vice presidential candidate, US Senator Glen H. Taylor, for the latter's prediction of economic uncertainty due to monopolies. He asked that an "aroused and enlightened public" make itself heard in Congress and in the 1946 fall elections:
This Congress has sought to stifle labor organization and at the same time has fought vigorously to assure expanded profit levels through tax and price policies. It has resisted any effort to lighten the tax burden on the lower income groups, but has acted swiftly to remove the excess-profits tax on corporations while continuing the carry-back provisions permitting gigantic tax rebates out of excess-profits tax payments of prior years. 
In 1947, Pressman became involved in passage of the Taft-Hartley Act. In January 1947, he appeared on "New York Times radio" station WQXR-FM with US Senator Carl A. Hatch, former National War Labor Board chairman William Hammatt Davis, and General Precision Equipment Corporation general counsel Robert T. Rinear, to debate the topic "Do we need new labor laws?" While endorsing a Truman commission plan, he attacked any labor legislation passed hastily ahead of the commission's results, saying, "Judging from the bills now before Congress, their purpose is merely to penalize labor organizations." Senator Hatch agreed with him that severe wage cuts in terms of real wages and increased cost of living would not find resolutions in terms of legislation that addresses only jurisdictional disputes or secondary boycotts. "We need additional and new laws on all phases of the general problem of labor-management," Hatch said.  Again in January 1947, on the topic of the related Portal to Portal Act of 1947, publicly before the US Senate Judiciary Committee, he urged Congress to make that act a simple authorization to employers and unions to settle portal claims through collective bargaining, while prohibiting management from attempting such settlements with individual workers at the "economic mercy" of employers. Further, he urged Congress to use the US Supreme Court's definition of "work" as activities of an employe which required physical or mental exertion for an employer's benefit and under an employer's control. Any legislation that ended portal-to-portal claims, he said, would "most seriously undermine" and in fact threatened "the entire future, operation" of the 1938 Fair Labor Standards Act.  Again at month's end, he attacked labor curb bills in Congress during a speech before the University of Cincinnati Lawyers Institute. He said:
Where parties agree to union security, what objection can there be? Nine million workers are now covered by such contracts. The status of the union under the Wagner Act established the obligation not to discriminate against non-members. Why should not all employees, therefore, have an obligation to become members? .
The anti-trust law stating that the service of the human being is a commodity is a negation of the Constitution, of the 1918 Clayton Act and the  Norris-La Guardia Act .
The employer's right of free speech is fully protected .
The act has not created inequality between employers and employees for collective bargaining. The fairness of the Labor Board has been established by decisions of the Supreme Court .
[A compulsory] "cooling-off period" [would] actually discourage collective bargaining .
There is adequate protection in State courts for breach of collective bargaining agreements. Federal legislation will limit the protection labor unions now have under the anti-injunction statute. Litigation for alleged breach of contract is negation of collective bargaining and would merely clutter up the courts. 
He also asserted that labor unions do not constitute monopolies, compared with industrial combines. 
In June 1947, Pressman also wrote an influential critique of the Taft-Hartley Act, used by President Harry S. Truman as background material to justify his "bristling" veto of the measure. Co-sponsor, US Senator Robert A. Taft belittled Truman's veto: "The veto message covers the Pressman memorandum which the Senator from Montana (James E. Murray) put in the record and to which I replied. The veto message substantially in detail follows the Pressman memorandum . point by point." Taft's accusation drew considerable attention for days. On July 4, the Washington Post's Drew Pearson noted "There've been considerable charges and counter-charges that CIO Counsel Lee Pressman ghost-wrote the hot White House veto message on the Taft-Hartley labor bill. Truth is that he had no direct hand in writing the message, though some of his words did creep in." Pearson explained that White House Assistant Clark Clifford had penned the veto with help from William S. Tyson , solicitor of the US Labor Department, and Paul Herzog, chairman of the National Labor Relations Board – and their "analyses" of the bill bore striking resemblance to Pressman's analysis."    Later on June 24, 1947, Pressman appeared again on CBS Radio with Raymond Smethurst, general counsel of NAM to discuss the effect of the new labor law.  In August 1947, he gave a strong speech to the International Union of Mine, Mill and Smelter Workers (IUMMSW) against the Taft-Hartley Act. 
In August 1947, Pressman and Reid Robinson called for a third party to support Henry A. Wallace for U.S. President during a convention of the Mine, Mill and Smelter Workers ("a Communist-dominated union"). 
By September, the right wing of the CIO, led by Emil Rieve, claimed they were about to drive left wingers "with Lee Pressman as the leading victim" out of the CIO during its Fall 1947 convention. 
In late 1947, Meyer Bernstein of the United Steel Workers of America wrote as an anti-communist against Pressman (amidst a rising tide led by Walter Reuther against pro-communists in the CIO). 
As of 1948, James I. Loeb, co-founder of both the Union for Democratic Action (UDA) Americans for Democratic Action (ADA), stated that Pressman was "probably was the most important Communist in the country . he certainly was a Communist influence." 
In early 1948, Pressman led a group of like-minded colleagues in a pitch to CIO executives to abandon Truman and the Democratic Party for Henry A. Wallace and his Progressive Party. The pitch failed. Repercussions came quickly.  In late 1947, housecleaning of the CIO from communists had already begun when Len De Caux was let go by Murray.
On February 4, 1948, Pressman was "fired from his $19,000 job as CIO general counsel, reportedly as a byproduct of a factional struggle within the federation in which anti-Communist labor leader Walter Reuther emerged triumphant.   Time magazine (anti-communist) gloated, "Lee Pressman and his Communist line are no longer popular in the C.I.O., where Walter Reuther's right wing is in ascendancy."  (On March 4, 1948, CIO president Philip Murray announced his replacement by Arthur J. Goldberg.  ) Pressman went into private legal practice in New York City following his firing.  In March and April 1948, however, it was clear that the CIO still used his services, even after "firing" him. In March 1948, he joined CIO attorneys in opposing Government attorneys, who had declared that "the Taft-Hartley Law's ban against expenditures by labor unions in connection with Federal elections permissibly limited Constitutional guarantees of freedom of speech and of the press."  In April 1948, he represented the CIO before the Supreme Court in a case about barring of expenditures by labor unions for political purposes. (Felix Frankfurter, then Supreme Court Justice, taught at Harvard Law while Pressman was a student there.)  
In March 1948, Pressman's name appeared in the New York Times as legal counsel of the Furriers Joint Board. The thousand-member Associated Fur Coat and Trimming Manufacturers, Inc. , had asked for a return to pre-WWII two-season wage scheme plus compliance with affidavits from non-communist union leaders per the Taft-Hartley Act. The latter condition put pressure on two CPUSA union leaders, Ben Gold and Irving Potash . "In a unique turn of events," Pressman cited a Taft-Hartley Act provision to block a lockout. He sued for a temporary injunction based on failure by employers to give 60-day lockout notice to workers, plus failure to provide thirty-day notification to Federal and state mediation services.  He also helped get Potash set free on $5,000 bail while awaiting deportation hearings. 
Pressman continued private practice. He continued to represent the MEBA, e.g., over a restraining order against strikes on the Atlantic and Gulf Coasts in 1948.  At the Supreme Court he represented Philip Murray (1886–1952), Scottish-born steelworker and American labor leader, first president of SWOC and USWA, and longest-serving president of the CIO. 
Also in March 1948, Pressman joined a group of lawyers in defending five "aliens" against deportation hearings due to their Communist ties. Pressman represented all five, at least some of whom had their own attorneys: alleged Soviet spy Gerhart Eisler (represented by Abraham J. Isserman), Irving Potash of the Fur and Leather Workers Union, Ferdinand C. Smith of the National Maritime Union (Pressman) Charles A. Doyle of the Gas, Coke and Chemical Workers Union ( Isadore Englander ), and CPUSA labor secretary John Williamson (Carol Weiss King).  Pressman went on to join Joseph Forer, a Washington-based attorney, in representing the five before the U.S. Supreme Court. On May 5, 1948, Pressman and Forer received a preliminary injunction so their defendants might have hearings with examiners unconnected with the investigations and prosecutions by examiners of the Immigration and Naturalization Service.  (All attorneys were members of the National Lawyers Guild.)
On May 16, 1948, the United Public Workers read aloud their general counsel Pressman's letter, summarized by the New York Times:
The Congressional proposal to prohibit payment of Federal wages to members of groups whose leaders refused to swear they were not Communists violated the constitutional rights of civil service workers.
Mr. Pressman contended that the proposed ban would deprive civil service workers of freedom of speech, press and assembly under the first amendment, would violate their right to participate in political activity under the ninth and tenth amendments and would impose a test of "guilt by association" in contravention of the fifth amendment.
One of the most basic doctrines in American jurisprudence is that individuals may not be prosecuted for acts except for those for which they are directly responsible. It is this doctrine which precludes any individual from being adjudged guilty because of association, rather than because of his own personal guilt. It is this doctrine which is directly violated by the proposed rider. 
On May 19, 1948, Securities and Exchange Commission official Anthon H. Lund accused Pressman of interfering in a lawsuit filed against the Kaiser-Frazer car manufacturing company in a Federal District Court in New York City. He specified that between February 3 and 9, 1948, Harold J. Ruttenberg, vice president of the Portsmouth Steel Corporation , had contacted Pressman for advice on "how to go about filing a stockholder's suite against Kaiser-Frazer."  Later in May, during testimony before an SEC board of inquiry, Pressman declared he had "absolutely nothing to do with" the suit. "I have not been requested by anyone to suggest the name of a lawyer who would file a lawsuit against the Kaiser-Frazer Corporation." He stated, "I demand that I be given the opportunity to examine Mr. Lund under oath on the stand to determine who gave him that inaccurate information." The trial's examiner Milton P. Kroll informed Pressman, "You have been given the opportunity to state your position on the record. Your request is denied." 
After passage of the Mundt-Nixon Bill on May 19, 1948, at month's end Pressman submitted a long, undated statement called "The Mundt Control Bill (H.R. 5852), a Law to Legalize Fascism and Destroy American Democracy" as part of proceedings by the Senate Judicial Committee on "Control of Subversive Activities." 
During 1948, Pressman formed Pressman, Witt & Cammer Bella Abzug started her career there.  Since February 1948 or earlier, Witt's clients had included the Greater New York CIO Council.  In September 1948, Pressman and Charles J. Margiotti tested the campaign-expenditures provision of the Taft-Hartley Act. Pressman and Margiotti each received $37,500 for their services – a fee CIO President Philip Murray called "outrageous, even for Standard Oil." 
Pressman was important enough in American politics to have Arthur Schlesinger, Jr. single him out as recent example in Schlesinger's concept of the Vital Center as first described in a long New York Times article in 1948 entitled "Not Left, Not Right, but a Vital Center." In it, Schlesinger argues first that the 19th Century concept of "linear" spectrum Left and Right did not fit developments of the 20th Century. Rather, he promoted the "circular" spectrum of DeWitt Clinton Poole , in which Fascism and Nazism would meet at the circle's bottom with Soviet Communism (Leninism, Stalinism). He himself promotes the term "Non-Communist Left" (NCL) as an American modification of Leon Blum's Third Force.  He cites as example the ascendancy of Walter Reuther in the CIO and ouster of Lee Pressman:
Newspapers will doubtless continue to refer to Walter Reuther as the leader of the Right wing of the CIO, whereas, as every automobile manufacturer knows, Reuther is to the Right only in the sense of being profoundly pro-democratic and anti-Communist . Instead of backing the Non-Communist Left as the group in Europe closest to the American progressive faith in combining freedom· and planning, the CIO, for example, maintained a disturbing silence over foreign affairs and altogether too many liberals followed Communist cues in rejoicing at every Soviet triumph and at every Socialist discomfiture. The Wallace Doctrine of non-interference with Soviet expansion prevailed in these years. In recent months, the conception of the non-Communist Left has made headway in the United States. On the moderate Right, men like Senator Vandenberg and John Foster Dulles have recognized its validity. The fight against Communist influence in the CIO, culminating in Walter Reuther's victory in the United Auto Workers and the discharge of Lee Pressman as CIO general counsel, has finally brought the CIO side by side with the AFL in support of the Third Force in Europe. 
Schlesinger was carefully noting the entrance of Pressman into national politics.
Pressman became a close adviser of Progressive Party 1948 presidential candidate Henry A. Wallace. In fact, when his former AAA boss Rexford Tugwell joined the Progressive Party campaign in early 1948, "he did so on condition that Lee Pressman would serve as its secretary." 
In March 1948, Pressman joined a 700-member national organization in support of Henry A. Wallace for U.S. president and Glen H. Taylor for U.S. vice president. 
By June 1948, the New York Times cited him as "general counsel" for the "National Labor Committee for Wallace."  At the party's convention (July 23–25, 1948), Pressman served on the committee (under Rexford Tugwell, who had helped create and directed the AAA back in the early 1930s) to create a platform that the New York Times summed up as "endorsing Red foreign policy." 
At the time, the Washington Post dubbed Pressman, Abt, and Calvin Benham "Beanie" Baldwin (C. B. Baldwin) as "influential insiders"   and "stage managers"  in the Wallace campaign. However, he was reportedly "forced out because of his Communist line." 
During the 1948 convention, the New York Times described as follows:
Lee Pressman, who, for years, exerted a powerful left-wing influence as counsel for the CIO, is secretary of the Platform Committee, which will hold another executive session at 10 A. M. Friday before preparing its final draft for submission to the 2,500 delegates who are expected at the convention's closing session next Sunday. 
On June 9, 1948, Pressman declared that he himself was running for public office as the candidate of the American Labor Party for U.S. Congress in the 14th District of New York (Brooklyn).     In early July 1948, he registered his candidacy.  He ran against Abraham J. Multer. Multer used Pressman's communist association against him early on by claiming that he had received his "certificate of election" from the Daily Worker (CPUSA newspaper), thanks to its condemnation of him.  In July 1948, he faced condemnation from New York state's CIO head Louis Hollander , who promised to oppose Pressman's candidacy.    In late August 1948, he
In August 1948, during the Progressive Party convention in Philadelphia, Rexford Tugwell, chairman of its platform committee found his self-style "old-fashioned American progressive" platform scrapped by a pro-Communist line platform spearheaded by Pressman. TIME magazine noted, "It now seemed obvious to Tugwell that the Communists had taken over." 
In the Fall of 1948, Communist affiliation continued to hound Pressman's campaign. A month before the election, Pressman might have held out hope, as the New York Times characterized him as a lawyer of "wide reputation" and a man with a "national reputation" and did not mention allegations in Washington.  Days before the election, headlines in the Brooklyn and New York area were still appearing, like this from the Brooklyn Daily Eagle: "Pressman: Candidate for Congress, Long Active in Pro-Red Groups." 
Private practice 1951-1969
Between 1948 and 1950, Pressman had represented "the estates of persons with heirs in Russia" of interest to the Soviets as well as affairs of AMTORG. 
By 1951, Pressman had only one major client left, the Marine Engineers Beneficial Association (MEBA). Its president, Herbert Daggett , retained Pressman at $10,000 (some $94,000 adjusted for 2017).  
In 1978, Masaru Ibuka requested that Kozo Ohsone, general manager of the Tape Recorder Business Division, begin work on a stereo version of the Pressman, the small, monaural tape recorder that Sony had launched in 1977.
"This is the product that will satisfy those young people who want to listen to music all day. They'll take it everywhere with them, and they won't care about record functions. If we put a playback-only headphone stereo like this on the market, it'll be a hit." - Akio Morita, February 1979, Sony Headquarters
Sony invented the compact and extremely lightweight H-AIR MDR3 headphones for their new cassette player. At that time, headphones weighed on average between 300 to 400 grams, the H-AIR headphones weighed just 50 grams with comparable sound quality. The name Walkman was a natural progression from Pressman.
&ldquoThe ultimate story behind all the stories&hellip In an age when the press is alternately villain or hero, Pressman serves as a kind of medicine man of journalism, telling us how we got from there to here.&rdquo&mdashGraydon Carter, former editor of Vanity Fair
In the 1960s and 1970s, the American press embraced a new way of reporting and selling the news. The causes were many: the proliferation of television, pressure to rectify the news media&rsquos dismal treatment of minorities and women, accusations of bias from left and right, and the migration of affluent subscribers to suburbs. As Matthew Pressman&rsquos timely history reveals, during these tumultuous decades the core values that held the profession together broke apart, and the distinctive characteristics of contemporary American journalism emerged.
Simply reporting the facts was no longer enough. In a country facing assassinations, a failing war in Vietnam, and presidential impeachment, reporters recognized a pressing need to interpret and analyze events for their readers. Objectivity and impartiality, the cornerstones of journalistic principle, were not jettisoned, but they were reimagined. Journalists&rsquo adoption of an adversarial relationship with government and big business, along with sympathy for the dispossessed, gave their reporting a distinctly liberal drift. Yet at the same time, &ldquosoft news&rdquo&mdashlifestyle, arts, entertainment&mdashmoved to the forefront of editors&rsquo concerns, as profits took precedence over politics.
Today, the American press stands once again at a precipice. Accusations of political bias are more rampant than ever, and there are increasing calls from activists, customers, advertisers, and reporters themselves to rethink the values that drive the industry. As On Press suggests, today&rsquos controversies&mdashthe latest iteration of debates that began a half-century ago&mdashwill likely take the press in unforeseen directions and challenge its survival.
200 5th Avenue, Suite 1052
New York, New York 10010
Sales: $75 million (2001 est.)
NAIC: 339932 Game, Toy, and Children's Vehicle Manufacturing
Pressman Toy Corporation, the third largest games manufacturer in the United States, was founded in 1922 by Jack Pressman. Today, the Pressman Toy Corporation is a leading force in the competitive toy industry, under the direction of Jack's youngest son, James Pressman.
1925: Jack Pressman forms J. Pressman & Company.
1928: Rights to Chinese Checkers are acquired.
1947: Pressman Toy Corporation is formed.
1959: Jack Pressman dies and is succeeded by his wife Lynn.
1977: Jim Pressman succeeds his mother as president.
1993: Jim Pressman succeeds his mother as chairman.
1999: Company acquires rights to produce a home version of Who Wants To Be A Millionaire? game show.
Family owned and operated, Pressman Toy Corporation is America's third largest games manufacturer. In addition to corporate offices located in Manhattan, Pressman operates a factory in New Brunswick, New Jersey, which produces some 85 percent of its products. Over the years, the company has shrewdly licensed popular film and television properties in order to develop and market best-selling games and other toys, including Disney's Snow White in the 1930s, The Mickey Mouse Club in the 1950s, hit television game shows Wheel of Fortune in the 1980s and Who Wants to be A Millionaire? at the end of the 1990s, and more recently Spiderman, the successful film based on the comic book hero. The company is run by the second generation of the Pressman family.
After serving in the military during World War I, Pressman's founder, Jack Pressman, returned home to launch a Brooklyn toy company. As the nation's economy heated up and his business flourished, in 1925 he took on a partner, Max Eibetz, to look after the factory while he concentrated on merchandising. J. Pressman & Company's first major success was the 1928 acquisition of the rights to Chinese Checkers, a game that in fact had nothing to do with China. It was an odd (hence "chinese") variation of the game Halma, purportedly invented in England during the 1880s and played on a square board rather than the star shape employed by Chinese Checkers. Whatever the truth of its origins, Chinese Checkers proved to be a boon to the fortunes of Pressman, and the company continues to sell the game today. Pressman added other indoor games, such as table tennis sets, as well as building sets and sewing kits for children's role playing and outdoor items like ring toss and golf.
In the 1930s, Pressman was one of the pioneers in the toy industry in licensing comic strip and film properties. In particular, the company launched a number of products based on Walt Disney's hugely popular movie Snow White and the Seven Drawfs, the first feature-length animated film. Also in the 1930s, Pressman sold licensed toys based on Little Orphan Annie, a newspaper comic strip created by Harold Gray in 1924. Another comic strip that Pressman licensed was Dick Tracy, launched by cartoonist Chester Gould in 1931.
Pressman reached a turning point in 1942 when Jack Pressman married Lynn Rambach, who became an active participant in the business. Within five years, Eibetz was out, the partnership dissolved, Lynn Pressman appointed vice-president, and the company renamed Pressman Toy Company. In addition, the business left Brooklyn for a larger, modern plant in Patterson, New Jersey, and executive offices in Manhattan. It was Lynn's influence that led to another major success for the company, the 1956 debut of the Doctor Bag, developed as a way to help children overcome their fear of doctors. Its success led to the introduction of the Nurse Bag, followed by licensed items that drew on the popularity of the Barbie Doll: the Barbie Nurse Bag and the Ken Doctor Bag. Also during the 1950s, Pressman took advantage of other licensing opportunities. It again teamed up with Disney, this time drawing on the new medium of television and another Disney success, The Mickey Mouse Club. A long line of Mickey Mouse club products were offered throughout the decade, as well as other Disney licensed items.
Jack Pressman's health began to fail in the 1950s, leading to his death in 1959. His widow took over as president, becoming one of the era's few women to serve in a top management position in the toy industry, the others being Ruth Handler, co-founder of Mattel and inventor of the Barbie Doll, and Beatrice Alexander, the founder of the Alexander Doll Company. Lynn Pressman served as president of the company for the next 20 years. Under her leadership, Pressman became one of the first toy makers to advertise a game on television and to hire fashion designers to design game boxes. She also continued the company's success with licensed products, including Superman and Lone Ranger games, a product based on the work of television puppeteer Sheri Lewis, and the Big League Action Baseball product, associated with such popular players of the period as Roger Maris, Carl Yastremski, and Tom Seaver.
New Generation of Leadership in the 1970s
In 1971, a second generation of the Pressman family became involved with the business when Jim Pressman graduated with an English Degree from Boston University after having worked summers at the company during his college days. One of his assignments after going to work for Pressman on a permanent basis was to relocate the factory to a larger property. He settled on the current New Brunswick production site and took charge of the relocation, a success that led to his mother appointing him president of the company in 1977, while she maintained the chairmanship.
Jim Pressman took over a business that was generating in the neighborhood of $4 million a year in revenues at a time when the toy industry was undergoing dramatic changes, with many small companies unable to survive a recession in the late 1970s. He took stock of the company and concluded that the strongest part of the business was its games. As a result, he rejected Pressman's scattershot approach of offering a wide range of products in favor of concentrating on games, in the process abandoning such staples as dolls and doctor's bags. Board games was a good business because they did not need heavy promotional budgets, relying instead on word-of-mouth. The company carved out a niche with classic board games, supplemented by an ability to spot popular trends and to capitalize on them. Pressman's timing proved fortuitous, as the board game business was soon revitalized by Selchow & Richter Co. after it introduced its highly popular Trivial Pursuit game, which also helped to break the prevailing $30 price barrier. Once again, it was Pressman's licensing efforts that proved a key element of success during the 1980s, in particular the home version of the hit syndicated television game show Wheel of Fortune. Pressman's Wheel of Fortune game grew to become America's top-selling game, which in just two years helped the toy company to double its annual sales to $30 million in 1985. Pressman then licensed other television game shows to produce board games, including the New Newlywed Game and Jeopardy, as well as launching a deluxe version of the Wheel of Fortune, resulting in revenues soaring to $54 million in 1986. Despite the importance of TV games to its bottom line, Pressman was experiencing growth in other areas as well. More than half of its sales came from traditional games like checkers, Chinese checkers, and ring toss, and family games such as the Charade Game and Topple.
Pressman used some of its profits in the mid-1980s to move into a new gaming category that excited many in the industry, VCR games, spurred by the success of Parker Brothers video version of the Clue board game. Pressman's entries were Doorways to Adventure and Doorway to Horror, both of which they supported with generous ad budgets. In the end, however, VCR games failed to catch on with the public. Pressman had more success tapping into the rising importance of cable television for game licensing opportunities. In 1988, the company introduced a game based on Nickelodeon's Double Dare, resulting in another top selling product that grossed over $40 million for retailers. Television game shows, for both adults and children, were such a source of profitable games that the company even toyed with the idea of developing games that could be simultaneously pitched as television properties. One concept that Pressman tried to turn into a television show was a board game called Read My Lips, taken from President George H. Bush's 1988 presidential campaign, when he vowed not to raise taxes. In the Pressman game, players attempted to read the lips of their partners. The idea, as well as other attempts to launch television game shows, however, proved unsuccessful. In addition television tie-ins, Pressman manufactured a line of strategy games during this period, including Mastermind, Rummikub, and Tri-Ominos. An edgier game introduced by Pressman in the late 1980s was Therapy, in which the therapist asked the player-patient such questions as "On a scale of 1 to 10, what is your sexual appetite?"
In 1993, Jim Pressman succeeded his mother as chairman of the company while continuing to serve as president. She now took on the title of Chairman of the Board Emeritus. The retail environment for toys and games was becoming increasingly difficult for small companies, yet Pressman was able to succeed. An industry that was once dominated by a number of toy store chains became overly dependent on a handful of giant retailers, such as Wal-Mart, Kmart, and Target. As a result, fewer items were being stocked, forcing manufacturers to offer fewer products and making them less willing to take a risk: if the big three retailers opted not to carry an item, a manufacturer had a difficult time launching it. Moreover, retailers increasingly adapted a just-in-time approach to stocking its shelves, thereby placing enormous pressure on toy and game manufacturers, who had to truly believe in a product in order to approve the manufacture of a stock capable of supplying merchandisers in the fourth quarter Christmas season, when the lion share of retail business was done. Unlike some of the competition, which was becoming increasingly afraid to take a chance, Pressman had a number of factors working in its favor. The company was well established in the market and had low overhead, allowing it to offer low prices as well as the ability to put out a low-volume game simply because management liked it. Part of the company's secret to success was its decision to keep its operations low tech. Moreover, Pressman was receptive to ideas presented by independent toy inventors, an odd assortment of characters that the major companies preferred to ignore. Few of these pitch sessions resulted in commercial products, but remaining open to new ideas was a factor in maintaining Pressman's innovative spirit after being in business for several decades.
Pressman enjoyed a hit in the mid-1990s with Gooey Louie, a game for pre-schoolers in which players remove "gooeys" from the nose of a plastic head until the back of the skull popped open and the brain sprung out. In 1995, Gooey Looey was the best-selling game in its category. The company produced another highly popular game in 1997 with the introduction of Hydro Strike!, a pinball-type game in which players try to douse one another with water by hitting opposing targets with a marble. Hydro Strike! won awards from a number of magazines, including Family Fun Magazine, Sesame Street Parents, and Zillions Magazine, as well as television's CBS This Morning Toy Test. In 1998, Pressman was active on the licensing front, launching a line of games and puzzles based on the Scooby Doo cartoon program. Also in 1998, the company signed a licensing deal with IDG Books Worldwide, publishers of the For Dummies book series. Pressman contracted to produce three board games: Trivia for Dummies, Crosswords for Dummies, and Charades for Dummies.
Pressman signed a major licensing deal in 1999 when it successfully acquired the rights to produce a board game of Who Wants To Be A Millionaire?, which had become a phenomenal television hit. Pressman beat out industry giants, its track record with Wheel of Fortune Game as well as small company size providing an edge. According to the head of marketing at Celador Productions, the British licensor of Who Wants To Be A Millionaire?, "We were looking for a company that would maintain the integrity of the show, and give it the attention to detail that it deserves. Given their demonstrated success within the game industry and the passion they brought to this project, Pressman was our first choice." Although sales of the game when it was launched in 2000 were sluggish, at least in comparison to retailers high expectations, momentum picked up and carried through the holiday season. By the end of the year, the home version of Who Wants To Be A Millionaire? was the fourth-best selling toy introduced that year and the number one game in the world. In the process, it garnered a number of honors, including Best Licensed Toy of the Year by the Toy Manufacturers Association. The company was also named Licensee of the Year by Licensing Industry Merchandiser's Association, and Jim Pressman was named distribution entrepreneur of the year by Ernst and Young. Moreover, the company's balance sheet benefited greatly from sales of the game. Annual revenues grew to $75 million, approximately a 50 percent increase over the results of previous years.
Pressman followed up a successful 2000 by offering a second edition of Who Wants To Be A Millionaire in time for the 2001 holiday season. A year later, the company added a children's version of the game. Other popular offerings during this time included Fib Finder, a girl's lie detector game. Talking versions of Fib Finder as well as Gooey Louie were launched in 2003. Pressman enjoyed continued success in licensing popular cartoon and film characters, including the Power Puff Girls and products based on the 2002 movie Spiderman. In 2003, Pressman hoped to experience similar results from a line of products based on another comic book hero transferred to the big screen, the Incredible Hulk.
Principal Competitors: Hasbro Mattel.
- Applegate, Jane, "The Little Toy Company That Could," Record (Bergen County, NJ), December 22, 1997, p. H08.
- Pries, Allison, "Plenty of Millions to Go Around," Record (Bergen County, NJ), July 18, 2001, p. B3.
- Rigg, Cynthia, "Toy Maker's Wheel Comes Up a Winner," Crain's New York Business, May 26, 1985, p. 3.
Source: International Directory of Company Histories , Vol. 56. St. James Press, 2004.
In 1948, Anatoly Gorsky, former chief of Soviet intelligence operations in the United States, listed Pressman, code-named "Vig," among the Soviet sources likely to have been identified by U.S. authorities as a result of the defection of Soviet courier Elizabeth Bentley three years earlier. [ citation needed ]
Following the fall of the Soviet Union, archival information on Soviet espionage activity in America began to emerge. Working in Soviet intelligence archives in the middle 1990s, Russian journalist Alexander Vassiliev discovered that Lee Pressman, code-named "Vig," had only told fragments of the truth to Congressional inquisitors in 1950. Working with historians John Earl Haynes and Harvey Klehr, Vassiliev revealed that Pressman had actually remained "part of the KGB's support network" by providing legal aid and funneling financial support to exposed intelligence assets.  As late as September 1949, Soviet intelligence had paid $250 through Pressman to Victor Perlo for an analysis of the American economic situation, followed by an additional $1,000 in October. 
A 1951 Soviet intelligence report indicated that "Vig" had "chosen to betray us," apparently a reference to his 1950 public statements and Congressional testimony.  Historians Haynes, Klehr, and Vassiliev indicate that this assessment was an overstatement, however. With his carefully limited testimony before HUAC and in his unpublicized interviews with the Federal Bureau of Investigation it is instead charged that Pressman--
". sidestepped most of his knowledge of the early days of the Communist underground in Washington and his own involvement with Soviet intelligence, first with Chambers's GRU network in the 1930s and later with the KGB. He had never been the classic 'spy' who stole documents. Neither his work in domestically oriented New Deal agencies in the early 1930s nor his later role as a labor lawyer gave him access to information of Soviet interest. Instead, he functioned as part of the KGB espionage support network, assisting and facilitating its officers and agents. He gambled that there would not be anyone to contradict his evasions and that government investigators would not be able to charge him with perjury. He won his bet. " 
Pressman Advertising Ltd. Company History and Annual Growth Details
- The Company is engaged in leasing of equipment, hire-purchase
business, purchasing, selling, hiring or letting on hire all
kinds of plant and machinery and equipment.
1985 - The Company undertook to set up a plastics division for the
manufacture of various types of PVC and plastic containers.
Land was acquired at Khopoli in Maharashtra and machinery
pertaining to the project was imported from Balleufeld Fisher
Blasformtechnik GmbH, West Germany.
- The company proposed to manufacture PVC stretch mould containers.
- The objects of the public issue of equity capital during April,
was to augment the resources of the Company to keep pace with the
anticipated growth in business and to get the Company's equity
shares listed on the Stock Exchange.
- 15,00,000 No. of Equity shares offered at par for public
subscription during April.
1986 - The Company proposed to diversify into the area of mutual funds.
- In February, the Company issued 3,93,750-13.5% secured
convertible debentures (I-Series) of Rs 120 each aggregating Rs
472.50 lakhs. Of these, 3,75,000 debentures were offered as
rights to equity shareholders in the ratio 15:100, fractions,
being ignored (only 3,33,337 debentures taken up). The
unsubscribed portion was allotted on private placement basis.
- The remaining 18,750 debentures were reserved for allotment to
employees of the Company on equitable basis but none were taken
up. All these 18,750 debentures were allowed to lapse.
- Rs 20 of the face value of each debentures was converted into 2
equity shares at par on the expiry of 6 months from the date of
issue. Accordingly, 6,66,674 No. of equity shares were allotted
during June. The remaining Rs 100 of each debenture will be
redeemed in full at par by drawing lots on the expiry of the 7th,
8th and 9th year from the date of allotment.
1989 - With effect from 1st April, Pressman Mutual Funds Ltd., was
amalgamated with the Company. As per the Scheme of Amalgamated
3,43,326 No. of equity shares of Rs 10 each were allotted to the
shareholders of Pressman Mutual Funds Ltd., without payment in
cash in the proportion of 6 shares of Pressman Leasing, Ltd., for
every 10 shares held in of Pressman Mutual Funds Ltd.
1991 - With a view to strengthening the foundation of the Company, the
Company proposed to made judicious investments in stocks of
1992 - The Company has received "Category I Merchant Banker"
authorisation from SEBI.
- The company's name was changed from `Pressman Leasings Ltd.' to
1993 - During June, the company issued 17,55,000 Rights equity shares of
Rs 10 each for cash at a premium of Rs 10 per share in the ratio
- Simultaneous to the Rights issue, the Company issued through a
Prospectus 35,97,750 No. of equity shares of Rs 10 each for cash
at premium of Rs 10 per share of which the following were
reserved for allotment on a preferential basis: (i) 10,400 shares
to employees and (ii) 5,00,000 shares to NRIs on non-repatriation
- Balance 30,87,350 shares, along with unsubscribed portion, if
any, from employees and NRIs quota, were offered to the public in
- 53,52,750 No. of Equity shares of Rs 10 each at a premium of Rs
10 per share allotted through Right-Cum-Public Issue.
1994 - The Company has promoted `Corporate Management Services &
Research Ltd. jointly with IIT, Kharagpur.
- Dubreuil Pressman Ltd. was jointly promoted by the Company and
Dub Olastique Group of France.
1995 - 22,15,700 No. of Equity shares of Rs 10 each at a premium of Rs
40 per share allotted through rights issue and 22,096,000 No. of
equity shares of Rs 10 each at a premium of Rs 45 per share
allotted through public issue.
-Mr. Peter S. Coelho, Director has been appointed as Manager of the company.
-Nucent Finance fixes Book closure for reduction of capital
-Taken on record the Order of Hon'ble Calcutta High Court confirming the reduction of capital.
-The trading in 14% Non Convertible Debentures -2004 Series U2 of Nucent Finance Limited will be suspended w.e.f December 18, 2003.
-Registered Office of the Company has been shifted From A-3 Gillander House, 8 Netaji Subhas Road, Kolkata 700 001 To "Pressman House", 10A Lee Road, Kolkata 700 020.
-Pressman Advertising Ltd has been amalgamated with NuCent Estates Ltd.
-Nucent Estates Ltd. (formerly Nucent Finance Ltd.) has been changed to Pressman Advertising Ltd.
Fact vs. Fiction in Ford v. Ferrari
Since not all rivalries are sexy enough for Hollywood, Ford v Ferrari screenwriters John-Henry Butterworth, Jez Butterworth and Jason Keller took some creative license with the real story. Here are five detours the movie took with the truth:
/>Matt Damon (third from left) gets a tutorial on the GT40 MK II Superperformance before taking it for a spin. MERRICK MORTON
Turn 1: Henry Ford II addressed the production line at the Rouge River plant in Dearborn, Michigan.
Ford had 20 lieutenants between the assembly floor and his jurisdiction. Any one of them would have given that speech, but not the chief executive.
Turn 2: The Deuce went on a joy ride in the GT40 MKII with Carroll Shelby.
There’s no way the CEO of Ford Motor Company would jump into a race car without adequate protection.
Turn 3: Lee Iaccoca was intimately involved in the negotiations with Enzo Ferrari.
A Ford contingent did travel to Maranello, Italy, on the orders of Henry II to buy Ferrari, but Iacocca was not part of the group.
Turn 4: Ken Miles and Carroll Shelby had a brawl while gearing up for Le Mans.
Shelby and Miles were both headstrong, incredibly intense and brilliant guys. There’s no doubt that they butted heads on a very regular basis, and the film certainly alludes to that. But there is no evidence they ever had a physical altercation.
Turn 5: Ford executives drank in Pit Row after winning Le Mans in 1966.
The car would have been disqualified if officials had observed that behavior on the track.