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UNITED STATES v. MATLES

March 26, 1957

UNITED STATES of America, Plaintiff,
v.
James J. MATLES, Defendant



The opinion of the court was delivered by: BRUCHHAUSEN

The Government instituted this proceeding to cancel the Certificate of Naturalization, issued to the defendant, upon the grounds that it was fraudulently and illegally procured by him. The statute involved, and then in force, is Section 338(a) of the Nationality Act of 1940. *fn1"

The charges against the defendant, in substance, are as follows:

1. That the defendant falsely answered 'No' to Question No. 28 on his Preliminary Form for Petition for Citizenship, to wit: 'Do you belong to or are you associated with any organization which teaches or advocates anarchy or the overthrow of existing Government in the United States?' The answer is in the defendant's handwriting.

 2. That the defendant falsely answered 'No' to the same Question No. 28 when interrogated, under oath, by the Naturalization Examiner, Jacob Meyer.

 3. That the defendant falsely answered 'No' to the question: 'Are you a Communist?' at the hearing conducted by the Examiner.

 4. That the defendant falsely stated in Item No. 7 of his verified Petition for Citizenship, that 'I (the defendant) am attached to the principles of the Constitution of the United States and well disposed to the good order and happiness of the United States.'

 5. That the defendant gave false answers as to his belief in the form of government of the United States and as to renouncing allegiance to foreign governments.

 6. That the defendant was not a man of good moral character at the time of his naturalization.

 It appears that the defendant, then known as Eichiel Matles Friedman, and a native of Rumania, legally entered this country in January 1929; that in the same year he filed a declaration of intention for citizenship; that the aforesaid Preliminary Form for Petition for Citizenship was executed by him on April 17, 1934; that the hearing before the Examiner was held on August 2, 1934 and that the Certificate of Naturalization was issued to him on November 27, 1934.

 The proof shows that shortly after Matles stepped upon the soil of this country in 1929, he plunged into Communist activities and became a Party member and officer; that he followed the Party Line, the Communist Party Line, of practicing fraud and deceit in his application for citizenship so as to facilitate exit from the country, should the Party require his services outside of the country and that he relied upon the secrecy of the Party activities to conceal his real mission and that it has taken years of Congressional investigations and painstaking and laborious inquiry to bring the situation to light.

 The evidence also disclosed that Matles, a mechanic by trade, dedicated his time and energies to advance the Communist labor movement; that the Communists were sufficiently astute to refrain from informing non-Communist workers, whether or not organized, that the ultimate aim was to further the cause of International Communism, with headquarters in Russia. This is emphasized in one of the Communist's secret writings, limited to Party members, entitled 'Left Wing Communism,' Exhibit 6, published in 1919, to wit:

 'We must if need be resort to all sorts of stratagems, artifices, illegal methods, to evasions and subterfuges, only so as to get into the trade unions, to remain in them, and to carry on communist work within them at all costs.'

 Secrecy is also mentioned in the booklet, entitled 'Manual on Organization,' Exhibit 12, cautioning Party members to refrain from discussing their plans outside of their closed meetings, to avoid keeping membership lists and to destroy all documents after reading them.

 It further appears that the Party, including Matles, made full use of its opportunities during the period of the depression from 1929 to 1934; that the Red International Labor Union was an arm of the Communist International; that prior to 1929, the Communists had no effective machinery for infiltration into to the labor movement; that their affiliate, The Trade Union Educational League prior to 1929 placed its emphasis on propaganda, inducing workers to join independent unions; that in or about 1929, pursuant to dictates from Moscow, the Party created The Trade Union Unity League, an affiliate of the Red International Labor Union, for the purpose of organizing new Communist controlled unions; that thereafter it intensified its efforts by organizing various industrial unions, one of which was The Steel and Metal Workers Industrial Union, in which Matles was a leader and a dominant factor during the period immediately preceding his application for naturalization and thereafter.

 The defendant did not take the stand. Most of his witnesses were officers of Locals of The United Electrical Radio and Machine Workers of America, of which Matles has been director of organization since 1937. Many of them did not meet Matles until long after the time of his naturalization.

 Aside from testimony of Government witnesses, later referred to, one of the exhibits in evidence, definitely links Matles to the Communist Party, as well as to the illegal objectives it pursued. It was issued by him within a month prior to the date when he executed the aforesaid Preliminary Petition for Citizenship, wherein he unequivocally certified that he was not associated with an organization advocating the overthrow of our Government. The exhibit, referred to, is the issue of The Daily Worker, the official Communist Party organ, dated March 21, 1934. In that issue appears an article under the by-line of J. Matles, wherein he urges his associates t follow the principles outlined in a document termed 'The Open Letter.' The latter is described in the minutes (299) as 'An Open Letter To All Members Of The Communist Party, July 7-10, 1933'. It further appears that the 'Open Letter' was published by the Central Committee of the Communist Party of the U.S.A. and was adopted by the Extraordinary National Conference of the Party held in New York City on the said dates.

 The said 'Open Letter' which Matles called upon his followers to adopt, contains the following expressions:

 'The organization of * * * the revolutionary trade union movement,

 'The transformation of The Daily Worker into a really revolutionary mass paper,

 'Establish a solid base amongst decisive elements of the American Proletariat,

 'The revolutionizing of the working class by the Party,

 'Struggle against a new imperialist war and intervention against the Soviet Union,

 'Comrades: The Party has approved the estimation of the international situation, given by the XII Plenum of the Comintern,

 'The members of the Party have shown in countless activities, in strikes, in hunger marches, demonstrations and in painstaking day-today work that they are loyal and self-sacrificing revolutionists,

 'Every Party fraction must link this discussion up with concrete tasks.'

 The defendant, in his aforesaid article in The Daily Worker, dated March 21, 1934, elaborated upon the Party doctrine espoused in the said 'Open Letter,' by stating therein, 'We want to devote this article (referring to the said Daily Worker article) to the problems that confront us in attempting to carry out the open letter in the metal industry -- one of four industries that the New York District decided to conquer for the revolutionary movement.' Matles also stated in that article, as follows:

 '* * * the first and most important part of concentration, is the securing and assigning of capable comrades to tackle the basic industries. * * * We have 5000 Communists in the district, and therefore there are plenty of forces to master these basic industries. The experience of our Russian party, can help us to understand this question much better. The tens of thousands of Communists in the Soviet villages did not succeed in solving the question of collectivization of agriculture. It took a Bolshevik Central Committee to place at the head of these large numbers of Communists in the villages, about 2000 trained and experienced Bolsheviks, and a sharp turn was made, in a very short time. Here in New York our party has great difficulties in finding one dozen capable comrades who can handle these basic industries, and provide leadership to the large number of Communists.'

 The Government's witnesses, Maurice Malkin, and Joseph Zack Kornfeder, exCommunists, testified at some length concerning the many Communist meetings and activities involving the defendant. The defense assailed them as professional witnesses and sought to discredit them, although unsuccessfully, in exhaustive cross-examinations, occupying almost 900 pages of the trial record. Their testimony will be commented upon later. At this point it is appropriate to allude to the testimony of the Government's witness Orazio Carlucci, who was not assailable upon that ground.

 The witness Carlucci testified as to personal contacts with the defendant in 1933 and 1934, crucial years as far as this proceeding is concerned. It appears that he was then a detective by profession, engaged by a law firm to investigate and report on Communist influences in strikes against bakery companies, clients of the law firm; that he joined the Young Communist League and later the Communist Party, not in loyalty but to carry out his investigatory mission; that he had meetings with Rose Wortis, Charles Rivers and Lou Cooper, officials or functionaries of the Communist Party; that the latter two individuals arranged for him to distribute Communist leaflets among the workers; that Rivers was an officer of the Steel and Metal Workers Union and Cooper was with the Radio Workers Union, both Communist organizations; that Carlucci joined the Radio Workers Union; that in the latter part of December 1933, they introduced him to Matles, the organizer and secretary of said Steel and Metal Workers Union, as good material for the Party; that the defendant said: 'Good;' that the witness had luncheon with the defendant many times and became well acquainted with him and that they discussed affairs of the Young Communist League and the Party (1949 et sequa). Following are excerpts of his testimony (1972-1993), showing that the defendant taught and advocated the principles of the Party, including the overthrow of government, viz.:

 'There were times when we discussed the situation in Russia;

 'He (Matles) certainly did (lecture at fraction meetings of the Young Communist League) * * * and Matles on several occasions talked * * * regarding the necessity for the young workers to prepare themselves for the coming revolution.

 '* * * the instructions were * * * either from the teachings of Lenin, or the new theory of Stalin regarding Leninism, and the results of the 6th World Congress.

 'The revolution would be accomplished by the dictatorship of the proletariat.

 '(Matles in substance said) the bourgeoisie or the people in control of the government would not easily let the workers take over. It becomes necessary, therefore, for the workers to organize themselves politically, physically, in every way possible, so that the end result would be to revolt, and to be able to carry the revolt to a successful conclusion. * * * There would be no other way (but to use force) because you would have to fight the police, you would have to fight the Army, you would have to fight the National Guard. * * * The existing government * * * was to be overthrown by violence * * * and this is what Matles himself advocated * * * at these meetings.'

 The witness Carlucci had not previously testified for the Government. It was brought out that he was convicted on a charge of robbery, committed when he was 18 years of age, that he was placed on probation and subsequently pardoned. Later he served four and a half years in the Army in World War II, mostly as Chief Agent for the Criminal Investigation Division in Berlin and received a number of citations and decorations. He impressed the Court as a truthful, reliable witness. The Government's witnesses Maurice Malkin, Joseph Zack Kornfeder, Robert Pitcoff, Charles W. Campbell and Bernard K. Johnpoll, also testified as to Communist activities of Matles during the period of the naturalization proceedings. Some of them gave expert evidence upon the teachings and doctrines of Communism, which will be later alluded to.

 The witness Malkin testified that he was a charter member of the Communist Party from 1919 until 1937 (128, 129), that he served the Party at various times as circulation manager of The Daily Worker, instructor in the Worker's School, as member of the District Executive Committee and as member of the National Committee of the Trade Union Educational League and attended numerous meetings and conventions, restricted to Party members.

 The witness Malkin also testified to his attendance at a number of closed Party meetings, which Matles attended, between 1930 and 1934; including the aforementioned extraordinary meeting of the Party, in July 1933, when the 'Open Letter' was approved. He related that not only did Matles attend as a member of the District Committee of the Party but that he took an active part in securing the approval of the letter; that he expressed himself in favor of the new line taken by the Party; that throughout the discussion the term 'revolutionary' was mentioned, meaning that the Party was leading the workers towards the revolutionary overthrow of Capitalism by force and violence (301, 310 et sequa). He took the floor and criticized Party shortcomings in penetration and mass work (464-473).

 Malkin further testified that in the early spring of 1931 he met Matles at Party Headquarters at 38 East 12th Street, New York, in the inner sanctum, restricted to Party District officials; that he there conferred with Rose Wortis, a Party functionary, who addressed him as Comrade; that the witness saw Matles there four or five times in that period; that they were all closed meetings; that he also met him at the Party Workers School at 50 East 13th Street, New York, restricted to Party members and that Rose Wortis and Kornfeder spoke, also Matles, as a representative of the Metal Workers (444-460).

 Matles also attended the six-day Party Convention in Cleveland in the spring of 1934, as a delegate (476, 477). He there delivered a half-hour address on the subject of Party concentration on basic industries (824, 825).

 Malkin stated that at that time Matles was a member of the Trade Union Labor Committee of the Party, a group charged with formulating policy and resolutions in connection with Communist trade union activities (477). The witness further stated that in that year he met him at the office of the Trade Union Unity Council (477); that in the fall of that year Matles attended a closed Communist membership meeting and led a half hour discussion on the question of liquidating the existing Red Unions and forming independent Unions; that he was introduced as Comrade and as a representative of the Communist District Executive Committee (479 to 484, 826).

 It will be recalled that on April 17th of that year, 1934, Matles signed the Preliminary Petition for Citizenship and that on August 2, 1934, he was questioned by the Examiner.

 The witness Joseph Zack Kornfeder testified that he was a member of the Party from 1919 to about October 1934 (1091); that his specific function was to organize Communists in Labor Unions and gain control of those organizations; that from 1927 to 1930 he attended the Lenin School in Moscow; that in May 1930, he met Matles at the Communist National Convention in New York, a meeting restricted to Party members (1305); that the witness thereafter and until the end of 1931 was in charge of Party affairs in South America; that upon his return to New York in the latter part of 1931 he was put in charge of Party Trade Union activities in the New York area; that he then again worked with Matles, who was a member of the District Committee (1306, 1312); that shortly thereafter he caused Matles to be placed in charge of the Steel and Metal Workers Union, a branch of the Party (1313); that Kornfeder's and Matles' offices were on the same floor; that, as secretary of the said Union, Matles attended closed Party meetings once or twice a week (1315); that Matles frequently discussed the meaning and objectives ...


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