Testimony of Aaron Copland (accompanied by his counsel, Charles Glover) before the Senate Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations of the Committee on Government Operations, Tuesday, May 26, 1953:

(Editor's note: The composer Aaron Copland (1900-1990), whose works included Billy the Kid, Lincoln Portrait, Rodeo, and Appalachian Spring, won a Pulitzer Prize in 1944 and an Academy Award in 1950. Because he had gone to Italy on a Fulbright scholarship in 1951, the subcommittee questioned him about his past political associations. His oral history, published as Aaron Copland and Vivian Perlis, Copland, 1900 through 1942 (New York: St. Martin's, 1984), and Copland Since 1943 (New York: St. Martin's, 1989) acknowledged that he had been a "fellow traveler" in the 1930s because "it seemed the thing to do at the time," but stated that he had never joined a political party.

Following the closed hearing, Copland issued a public statement: "On late Friday afternoon, I received a telegram from the Senate Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations to appear as a witness. I did. I answered to the best of my ability all of the questions which were asked me. I testified under oath that I have never supported, and am now opposed to, the limitations put on freedom by the Soviet Union... My relationships with the United States Government were originally with the Music Advisory Committee to the Coordinator of Inter American Affairs and later as a lecturer in music in South America and as a Fulbright Professor. In these capacities my work was limited to the technical aspects of music." The subcommittee never called him to testify in public. Aaron Copland received the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 1964 and a Congressional Gold Medal in 1986.)

The Chairman. Will you stand and raise your right hand. Do you solemnly swear the testimony you are about to give shall be the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth, so help you God?
Mr. Copland. I do.
The Chairman. And your counsel's name?
Mr. Copland. Charles Glover. G-l-o-v-e-r.
The Chairman. Mr. Glover, I think this is the first time you have appeared as counsel before this committee, so I will tell you the rules of the committee. You can advise as freely as you care to with your client. You can discuss any matter he cares to during the testimony. If at any time you feel you want a private conference, we will arrange a room. Counsel is not allowed to take any part in the proceedings other than to consult with his client.
Mr. Copland, you are residing at----
Mr. Copland. Shady Lane Farm, Ossining, New York.
The Chairman. And you are a musician, composer and lecturer?
Mr. Copland. Yes.
The Chairman. Have you ever had any connection with the exchange program?
Mr. Copland. Yes, I have.
The Chairman. Would you tell us what that connection has been?
Mr. Copland. I was connected with the program on three different occasions, I believe. The first occasion I was a member of the Music Advisory Board of the State Department, and on the second occasion I was sent by Grant-in-Aid to Latin America to give lectures and concerts about American music, and on the third occasion I was a Fulbright professor in Italy for the same purpose.
The Chairman. When were you a lecturer in Italy?
Mr. Copland. 1951.
The Chairman. Now, Mr. Copland, have you ever been a Communist?
Mr. Copland. No, I have not been a Communist in the past and I am not now a Communist.
The Chairman. Have you ever been a Communist sympathizer?
Mr. Copland. I am not sure that I would be able to say what you mean by the word "sympathizer." From my impression of it I have never thought of myself as a Communist sympathizer.
The Chairman. You did not.
Mr. Copland. I did not.
The Chairman. Did you ever attend any Communist meetings?
Mr. Copland. I never attended any specific Communist party function of any kind.
The Chairman. Did you ever attend a Communist meeting?
Mr. Copland. I am afraid I don't know how you define a Communist meeting.
The Chairman. A meeting you knew then or now had been called by the Communist party and sponsored by the Communist party.
Mr. Copland. Not that I would know of. No.
The Chairman. Did you ever attend a meeting of which a major or sizable number of those in attendance were Communists?
Mr. Copland. Not to my knowledge.
The Chairman. Were you ever solicited to join the Communist party?
Mr. Copland. No.
The Chairman. Did anyone ever discuss with you the possibility of your joining the Communist party?
Mr. Copland. Not that I recall.
The Chairman. I know that every man has a different type of memory, so we can't ask you to evaluate your memory. Would it seem logical that were you asked to join the Communist party, you would remember?
Mr. Copland. If I had been asked to? Not unless it had some significance in my mind.
The Chairman. So your answer at this time is that you can't say definitely whether you have been asked to join the Communist party or not?
Mr. Copland. No.
The Chairman. Are any of your close friends Communists?
Mr. Copland. Not to my knowledge.
The Chairman. Do you know any members of the Communist party who are Communists?
Mr. Copland. I don't know any member of the Communist party, as far as I know.
The Chairman. I may say one of the reasons you are here today is because of the part you played in the exchange program lecturing, etc., and you have a public record of association with organizations officially listed by the attorney general. As the Communist party record is extremely long, I think counsel will want to ask you some questions on that.
May I give you some advice. You have a lawyer here. There are witnesses who come before this committee and often indulge in the assumption that they can avoid giving us the facts. Those who underestimate the work the staff has done in the past end up occasionally before a grand jury for perjury, so I suggest when counsel questions you about these matters that you tell the truth or take advantage of the Fifth Amendment.
Mr. Copland. Senator McCarthy, I would like to say now, I received a telegram to be here Friday. The telegram gave me no hint as to why I was coming. If I am to be questioned on affiliations over a period of many years it is practically impossible without some kind of preparation to be able to answer definitely one way or another when I was and what I was connected with. This comes as a complete surprise.
The Chairman. May I say that during the hearing if you feel you need more time for preparation, we will adjourn and give you that time. We have no desire whatsoever to have the witness commit perjury because of lack of preparation. If you feel you can't answer these questions concerning your Communist affiliations, Communist connections, if you need more time, we will give you more time.
Mr. Copland. May I say one more word. I came here with the intention of answering honestly all the questions put to me. If I am unable to do that, it is the fact that memory slips in different ways over a long period of time.
Mr. Cohn. The record states that you signed a letter to the president urging the United States declare war on Finland. This statement was sponsored by the Council of American-Soviet Relations.
Mr. Copland. Is that a fact. Do you know when that was?
Mr. Cohn. Do you know if you signed such a statement?
Mr. Copland. I have no memory of that. I can't say positively.
Mr. Cohn. This was during the trouble between the Soviet Union and Finland. That would be in the late 30s.
Mr. Copland. I am sorry but I couldn't say positively. It seems highly unlikely.
Mr. Cohn. What was your view on the trouble between the Soviet Union and Finland?
The Chairman. May I rephrase that, Roy. Did you feel at that time we should declare war on Finland?
Mr. Copland. Senator McCarthy, I am in no position--I spend my days writing symphonies, concertos, ballads, and I am not a political thinker. My relation has been extremely tangent.
The Chairman. We want to know whether you signed this letter to the president urging that we declare war on Finland-- whether you are a musician or not. We now find that you are lecturing with the stamp of approval of the United States government and we would like to check on these things. This is one small item. There is a long record of apparent Communist activities. Now you say you don't remember signing the letter.
Just to refresh your memory, may I ask, did you feel at the time the letter was signed by you that we should declare war on Finland?
Mr. Copland. I would say the thought would be extremely uncharacteristic of me. I have never thought that the declaration of war would solve, in my opinion, serious problems. I would say I was a man of hope for a peaceful solution.
The Chairman. Do you think someone forged your name?
Mr. Copland. I wouldn't know.
The Chairman. Have you heard before that you signed such a letter?
Mr. Copland. No.
The Chairman. This is the first time it has been brought to your attention?
Mr. Copland. As far as I know.
The Chairman. You have no recollection of such a letter to the president?
Mr. Copland. I have no recollection of it.
The Chairman. Did you ever attend any meetings at which this matter was the subject of conversation?
Mr. Copland. Not that I remember.
Mr. Cohn. What was your view of the Hitler-Stalin Pact -- 1939 to 1941?
Mr. Copland. I don't remember any specific view of it.
Mr. Cohn. You are listed as a sponsor of the Schappes Defense Committee. Morris Schappes, as you might recall, is a teacher at City College, New York, and has been a witness before this committee in the last couple of months. He denied Communist party membership, was convicted of perjury and sentenced to jail. The Schappes committee was organized to secure his release from jail. You are listed as a sponsor of that committee. Do you recall that?
Mr. Copland. No, I do not recall that. I know they use the names of well-known men to support their cause without authorization.
Mr. Cohn. Do you recall the Schappes case?
Mr. Copland. Vaguely.
Mr. Cohn. Have you ever met Professor Schappes?
Mr. Copland. Not to my knowledge.
Mr. Cohn. Do you think they used your name without your authorization?
Mr. Copland. I think it very possible.
The Chairman. Did you authorize the use of your name by any organization that has been listed by the attorney general or the House Un-American Activities Committee?
Mr. Copland. As far as I know, I lent my name to organizations which were subsequently listed. I don't know now that I lent it in any cases after it was listed.
Mr. Cohn. Of course, a listing of the date does not signify the date it became subversive. A listing is made on the basis of past activities of the organization. If the attorney general lists an organization in September 1948, it doesn't mean that was when it was found subversive. It means that on that date a review of the activities of the organization was completed and found to be subversive.
Mr. Copland. I didn't necessarily know about that.
Mr. Cohn. What organization did you sponsor, allow to use your name, contribute to or help in any way who were then or were subsequently listed by the attorney general as Communist fronts?
Mr. Copland. I would have to refer to my papers. May I say that I have never been shown by any official committee of any sort or questioned about this list. I heard about it through an inadvertent source. I haven't had the time or possibility of knowing whether it is complete. I did it rather hastily since Friday. I can't say positively.
The Chairman. Give us what you have and you can complete it later on.
I may say that I can understand a man who has got to depend upon the government for part of his income to have accepted a job with the government, perhaps knowing he had joined these front organizations, but it seems you have none of these qualifications and have been rather active in a number of these fronts.
Do you care to give us the list?
Mr. Copland. I think, Senator McCarthy, in fairness to me and my activity in relation to the Department of State, it was not primarily a financial relationship. I think that I was chosen because I had a unique position in American symphonic and serious music and I had a reputation as a lecturer on that subject. I, at any rate, was under the impression that I was chosen for that purpose. The payment was not the primary consideration. I was trying to help spread in other countries what we American composers were doing.
Senator McClellan. Were you employed by the federal government -- by the State Department?
Mr. Copland. I believe it was in the program of interchange of persons. I don't know if that is an employee----
Senator McClellan. Were you paid by the government?
Mr. Copland. I was paid by the Department of State interchange of persons.
Senator McClellan. Over what period of time?
Mr. Copland. Are you referring now to the non-paid advisory capacity?
Senator McClellan. Give us both. I want to get both in the record.
Mr. Copland. I was a member of the Advisory Committee on Music, Department of State between July 1, 1950 and June 30, 1951.
Senator McClellan. Did you receive any pay for that?
Mr. Copland. No. Except the per diem expenses.
Senator McClellan. How much was the per diem?
Mr. Copland. My memory may not be right. I think it was about $10.00 a day.
I was also a member of the same advisory committee from September 8, 1941 to June 30, 1942. I was also a music advisor to Nelson Rockefeller's committee when he was coordinator of Inter-American Affairs and that music advisory post was renewed to June 1943. As far as I know, that was the end of the music advisory capacity.
Senator McClellan. Did you receive a salary?
Mr. Copland. No. That was not a government job.
I was appointed visiting lecturer on music in Brazil, Argentina, etc., by the Grant-In-Aid at a salary of $500.00 a month over a period of three months around August or September of 1947.
Senator McClellan. Was that plus expenses?
Mr. Copland. I can't quite remember. It may have been per diem expenses when traveling.
Senator Mundt. You did secure traveling expenses for that?
Mr. Copland. Yes, sir.
Senator Mundt. And per diem also?
Mr. Copland. Yes.
Senator Mundt. What was the per diem?
Mr. Copland. It may have been eight or ten dollars a day. My compensation was $500.00 a month.
I was given a Fulbright professorship for six months to Italy from January to June of 1951 at a salary of $3,000 for six months, plus transportation to and from.
Senator Mundt. Did you get $3,000 from the State Department or the difference between what the Italian University paid you and what you received over here.
Mr. Copland. I was paid by the embassy in Rome. I wasn't attached to the university. I was attached to the American Academy in Rome and they housed me, but I was paid at the embassy itself.
Mr. Cohn. Did you have a security clearance before you undertook this?
Mr. Copland. One that I knew about, no.
Mr. Cohn. Did you have to fill out a form prior to receiving this appointment?
Mr. Copland. No.
Mr. Cohn. None at all.
Mr. Copland. I am not sure there were none at all.
Mr. Cohn. Did you go under Public Law 402, the Smith-Mundt Bill?
Mr. Copland. No. I knew of the bill, of course.
The Chairman. Could I ask you now about some of your activities. As I said, according to the records, you have what appears to be one of the longest Communist-front records of any one we have had here.
Is it correct that you signed some statement to President Roosevelt defending the Communist party?
Mr. Copland. I have no memory of that but I may have.
The Chairman. Was that your feeling at that time? Did you feel the Communist party should be defended?
Mr. Copland. Well, it would certainly depend on what basis. For example, if someone wanted to have them outlawed to go underground, I might have. I don't think they should be outlawed to go underground, but left above board.
The Chairman. This is not outlawing the Communist party. This is a statement defending the Communist party.
Mr. Copland. I would certainly have to have further time to study the letter, the nature of the letter and what I remember about it.
May I say the list I got from the Congressional Record, almost all of these affiliations have to do with sponsoring of something, the signing of protests, or the signing of a statement in favor or against something, and that in this connection, if I had them or didn't have them, I say in my mind they are very superficial things. They consisted of my receiving in the mail in the morning a request of some kind or a list of names, which I judged solely on its merits quite aside from my being able to judge whether that was a Communist front. I must say that when I first saw this list I was amazed that I was connected with this many things. I consider this list gives a false idea of my activities as a musician. It was a very small part of my existence. It consisted of my signing my name to a protest or statement, which I thought I had a right to do as an American citizen.
The Chairman. You have a right to defend communism or the Communist party -- Hanns Eisler or anything else. You have a perfect right to do it, but the question is why were you selected as a lecturer when you exercised that right so often.
Let me ask you this question. Before you were hired as a lecturer to tour South America, did anyone ask you to explain your membership in or sponsorship of these various Communist front movements?
Mr. Copland. No, and I think the reason was that they were too superficial. No one took them seriously, and I think they were justified in not taking them seriously. In view of my position in the musical world and a teacher in the musical world, most people would think they would know whether or not I was a Communist. The question never came up.
The Chairman. Would you give us that list?
Mr. Copland. May I first, Senator, amend a prior answer I gave in regard to a petition to declare war on Finland. It occurred to me that I did have knowledge of that. I read it in the Congressional Record. It had no date as to when it was signed or any particular information as to what went into the petition, therefore, I am afraid I just ignored that I had seen it.
The Chairman. Now, give us that list.
Mr. Copland. In order to help matters, could I have the list read from there so I could give you my list.
The Chairman. You give us your list first.
Mr. Copland. This is only a summary.
The Chairman. You won't be cut off. You can take all the time you want.
Mr. Copland. I can only definitely say that I was a member of the National Council of American-Soviet Friendship during the years that the Soviet Union was an ally in the war and for some years thereafter, I don't have the precise date. I joined the Music Committee of that Council of American-Soviet Friendship in order to help an understanding between the two countries through musical interchange. It was in no way, as far as I was concerned, a political move. At that time I had no knowledge that the National Council of American Soviet Friendship was a Communist front. I do know that subsequently it was solicited by the attorney general, and on the basis of that I formally resigned.
The Chairman. How did you resign?
Mr. Copland. By letter.
The Chairman. Do you have a copy?
Mr. Copland. I may have.
The Chairman. You don't have a copy with you?
Mr. Copland. No.
Senator Mundt. What date was that?
Mr. Copland. That was, I believe, June 1950.
The Chairman. It was cited long before that.
Mr. Copland. Was it? I don't know.
The Chairman. Do you know when it was cited? I gather you resigned because you found it was cited. Is that correct?
Mr. Copland. That is my recollection of events, yes.
The Chairman. Did you resign as soon as you heard it was cited?
Mr. Copland. Well, there was some question in my mind as to whether or not I was still a member because the Music Committee resigned as a body -- at any rate they left and set up their own organization -- the American-Soviet Music Society.
The Chairman. When was this set up?
Mr. Copland. The exact date escapes me. It was probably 1945 or 1946.
The Chairman. Can you give us the next front?
Mr. Copland. May I emphasize again----
The Chairman. Will you read them and then you can explain your participation in each one, the source also and the date. Give us the names of the organizations and then you can give us any explanations you care to. If you care to have me read them, I will. Hand me the list of fronts. (reading:)

1. The American League of War and Fascism
2. Advisory Board of Frontier Films
3. Entertainer at the American Music Alliance of Friends of the Abraham Lincoln Brigade
4. Entertainer of New Masses Benefit
5. Sponsor New York Committee for Protection of the Foreign Born
6. Signer, Petition American Committee for Democracy and Intellectual Freedom
7. Signed Statement to FDR Defending the Communist party
8. Signer of appeal for Sam Darcy, National Federation for Constitutional Liberties
9. Sponsor, Citizens Committee for Harry Bridges
10. Sponsor, Artists Front to Win the War
11. Sponsor, letter for Harry Bridges by the National Federation of Constitutional Liberties
12. Dinner Sponsor of the Joint Anti-Fascist Refugee Committee
13. Sponsor, Called Conference of American-Soviet Friendship, National Council American Soviet Friendship
14. Signer, Reichstag Fire Trial Anniversary Committee
15. Signed petition for Hanns Eisler
16. Eisler Concert sponsor
17. Member, National Committee, National Defense of Political Prisoners
18. Member, Committee of Professional Group for Browder Fund
19. Member, National Committee of People's Rights
20. Vice-Chairman and Member of the Music Committee, Council of American-Soviet Friendship
21. Peoples Songs
22. Independent Citizens Committee of the Arts, Sciences, Professions
23. Win the Peace Conference
24. American-Soviet Music Society
25. New Masses contributor
26. National Council of the Arts, Sciences and Professions
27. Supporter, Communist Bookstore

Senator Mundt. Was that list prepared by you?
Mr. Copland. No, I did not prepare that list. I copied that list from Red Channels and the Congressional Record in an attempt to have some kind of preparation in coming to this committee so as to know what possible organizations my name had been connected with.
Senator Mundt. It is not your testimony that this list is your list of fronts which you belonged to----
Mr. Copland. Definitely not.
The Chairman. It is not?
Mr. Copland. No. Any secretary could have done it for me.
Mr. Cohn. I would like to state, Mr. Copland, we have checked the guide for subversive organizations and found that the National Council of American-Soviet Friendship was cited as subversive December 4, 1947.
Mr. Copland. May I say, December 4, 1947, to the best of my knowledge I was in Latin America on a lecture tour. It would be very unlikely that I would know.
Mr. Cohn. When did you return?
Mr. Copland. I returned in December 1947.
Mr. Cohn. You say it took you these three years to discover----
Mr. Copland. Well, Mr. Cohn, I don't keep track of all political points like that.
Mr. Cohn. If I label your testimony correctly, you were trying to give the committee the impression that when you found this was cited as a subversive organization you resigned.
Mr. Copland. No. I was about to explain that the American Music Society was an off-shoot, so to speak, of the National Council of American-Soviet Friendship, and I was not sure whether I was still a member.
The Chairman. Will you go through this list now and tell us which Communist front organizations you were a member of or in whose activities you took any part?
Mr. Copland. Senator McCarthy, to my knowledge I have never knowingly sponsored any Communist front organization.
The Chairman. You have a list before you, which list you say was copied from other sources. Will you go down that list and first give us the name of the organizations to which you had some affiliation and then you can come back and make any explanations you care to to your own knowledge.
Mr. Copland. To my own knowledge the only organization to which I, as a member, belonged was the National Council of American-Soviet Friendship and the American-Soviet Music Society.
The Chairman. You used the word "belonged.''
Mr. Copland. As far as I know at this time, taking the briefness of time -- I may have to amend that later.
The Chairman. You say organizations to which you belonged. Let's broaden that a bit and say organizations in which you were in any way affiliated, either a sponsor of their activities or in any other fashion.
Mr. Copland. There is a great distinction in my mind in being a member and signing a paper.
The Chairman. There might be a distinction. I want you to answer the question. I have asked you to list the organizations -- those named as Communist fronts -- with which you were in any way affiliated. Then you can explain your affiliations as much as you want to.
I just want to know the names now.
Mr. Copland. I could not under oath with any certainty say that I was a member.
The Chairman. That is not what I asked you.
Mr. Copland. Then I haven't understood the question.
The Chairman. I think it is very simple. I said any organizations in which you were in any way affiliated.
Mr. Copland. As far as I can remember, without further study, I am not prepared to say that I was affiliated with any but the ones mentioned.
The Chairman. You said with certainty. Do you have any reason to believe that you were affiliated with any of the others?
Mr. Copland. I have reason to believe that I was a sponsor of a concert devoted to Hanns Eisler's music in 1948.
The Chairman. In 1948.
Mr. Copland. 1948.
The Chairman. Anything else?
Mr. Copland. Nothing else that I with certainty can----
The Chairman. Not certainty now -- that you have any reason to believe you were affiliated with any of these other organizations?
Mr. Copland. No. In view of the shortness of time and the seriousness of this question I am afraid I would have to ask for further time to study and investigate and refresh my mind.
The Chairman. Then at this time you have no recollection of any affiliation with any of the other organizations listed upon the two sheets which I just read into the record.
Mr. Copland. No recollection other than the fact that some of these organizations are names that I have seen on occasion.
The Chairman. Did you sign a petition to the attorney general in behalf of Hanns Eisler?
Mr. Copland. I may have.
The Chairman. Do you recall whether you did or not?
Mr. Copland. Not positively, no.
The Chairman. Did you know Hanns Eisler had been named as a Communist agent at that time?
Mr. Copland. No, I didn't.
The Chairman. When did you first learn that Hanns Eisler had been named as a Communist agent?
Mr. Copland. I never heard that he had been named as a Communist agent. I never heard that he had been named. I knew that he had a reputation in Germany in the twenties of having been a Communist, but I understood that was in the past and since his arrival in America and the Rockefeller grant of $20,000, it was my impression that the Communist element in him was in the past.
The Chairman. Did you feel that you knew enough about the Hanns Eisler case to petition the attorney general in his behalf?
Mr. Copland. I would have to study what the petition was and think about the problem.
The Chairman. Were you well-acquainted with Hanns Eisler?
Mr. Copland. No.
The Chairman. Who asked you to sign the petition?
Mr. Copland. I have no memory if I did sign it.
The Chairman. This was not too long ago. It was reported in the Daily Worker, December 17, 1947. You say you can't remember whether you signed it or not or who asked you to sign it in 1947?
Mr. Copland. Well, that was six years ago. I might have been asked to sign it. I can't be certain.
The Chairman. In any event, your testimony is that you did not know enough about the case to advise the attorney general as to what he should do?
Mr. Copland. That is my impression at this time.
The Chairman. So that if you signed it you were either signing it out of sympathy for Eisler, the Communist, or you were duped into doing it?
Mr. Copland. I don't think that is a fair summary of my feeling. I have never sympathized with Communists as such. My interest in Eisler was purely as a musician. I think he is, in spite of his political ideas, a great musician and my signing of the concert sponsorship was in relation to that feeling.
The Chairman. Concert sponsorship? It is the petition I am talking about. Do you use the same term so many witnesses use? Do you refer to political beliefs--do you consider the Communist party as a political party in the American sense?
Mr. Copland. In the American sense? Not since the designation of the Supreme Court.
The Chairman. Was this a benefit for Eisler at which you appeared on February 28th, 1948?
Mr. Copland. I don't remember.
Pardon me. Will you repeat the question?
The Chairman. Did you appear at an Eisler program at Town Hall, New York, on February 28, 1948?
Mr. Copland. No, I did not. That was purely sponsorship.
The Chairman. Did you sponsor that?
Mr. Copland. I was one of the sponsors.
The Chairman. Did you know at that time he was in difficulty with the law enforcement agencies of this country for underground or espionage activities?
Mr. Copland. I may have known that, but my sponsorship was in terms of music only and him as a musician.
The Chairman. Would you feel today if you knew an outstanding musician who was also a member of the Communist espionage ring would you sponsor a benefit for him? Mr. Copland. Certainly not.
The Chairman. Then do you think it was improper to do it in 1948?
Mr. Copland. 1948? I had no such knowledge in 1948.
The Chairman. Well, if you signed a petition to the attorney general in 1947----
Mr. Copland. Senator McCarthy, I didn't say I signed it. Mr. Cohn. Do you think your signature was forged on all these things?
Mr. Copland. I don't know.
The Chairman. Do you feel a man using common sense, Mr. Copland, apparently signing the petition to the attorney general advising him what he should do in the Eisler case--who was accused of espionage then--do you think the following February--this was in December that the petition was signed and this was about two months later that you sponsored a benefit for this man--you certainly knew of his alleged espionage activities.
Mr. Copland. The concert was not a benefit as far as I know, and I took no part in the concert other than just sponsor it. I didn't deny or affirm signing the petition. I said that in relation to all these organizations I must have more time to give consideration to them. I have had three days since receiving the telegram and finding myself here. I am trying to do my best to remember things. I am under oath and want to be cautious.
The Chairman. We will give you a chance to refresh your recollection.
Do you know whether you were affiliated with the American Committee for Democracy and Intellectual Freedom?
Mr. Copland. No, I don't.
The Chairman. Did you ever take part in any organization activities concerning the defense of Communist teachers?
Mr. Copland. Not that I remember.
Mr. Cohn. Were you in sympathy with Communist teachers?
Mr. Copland. No, I was never in sympathy with Communist teachers.
Mr. Cohn. Do you feel Communists should be allowed to teach in our schools?
Mr. Copland. I haven't given the matter such thought as to come up with an answer.
Mr. Cohn. In other words, as of today you don't have any firm thought?
Mr. Copland. I would be inclined to allow the faculty of the university to decide that.
The Chairman. Let's say you are on the faculty and are making a designation, would you feel Communists should be allowed to teach?
Mr. Copland. I couldn't give you a blanket decision on that without knowing the case.
The Chairman. Let's say the teacher is a Communist, period. Would you feel that is sufficient to bar that teacher from a job as a teacher?
Mr. Copland. I certainly think it would be sufficient if he were using his Communist membership to angle his teaching to further the purposes of the Communist party.
The Chairman. You have been a lecturer representing the United States in other nations. One of the reasons why we appropriate the money to pay lecturers is to enlighten people as to the American way of life and do something towards combating communism. Is it your testimony that you know nothing about the Communist movement or are you fairly well acquainted with the Communist movement?
Mr. Copland. It was my understanding that my lectureship was purely a musical assignment.
The Chairman. Answer my question. Do you know anything about the Communist movement?
Mr. Copland. I know what I read in the newspapers.
The Chairman. Are you a sponsor of the National Conference of the American Committee for the Protection of the Foreign Born?
Mr. Copland. Not that I know of.
The Chairman. Did you have any connection with the Fifth National Conference of the American Committee for Protection of the Foreign Born, held in Atlantic City, New Jersey, in March 1941?
Mr. Copland. Not at this time, I don't recall that.
The Chairman. Do you recall any connection with that conference?
Mr. Copland. Not at this time I don't.
The Chairman. As far as you know you had no connection with it at all?
Mr. Copland. No.
The Chairman. Just for your information, the record shows that as far back as 1941 the program of the Fifth National Conference of the American Committee for Protection of Foreign Born named you as a sponsor. Later, a letterhead of the New York Committee for Protection of the Foreign Born on January 2, 1941 showed you as a sponsor, and later in 1943 you were again listed as a sponsor.
I might say that this organization has been cited by the Attorney General and by the House Un-American Activities Committee as one of the oldest auxiliaries of the Communist party in the United States. Does that refresh your recollection?
Mr. Copland. May I point out that there is a notation here that it was cited in 1948, which is, I believe, seven years after the dates you just quoted.
The Chairman. Mr. Copland, the date of citation is not important. It is no more important than the date a man was convicted of robbing a bank. The question that is important is whether or not you participated in robbing the bank, not whether another man participated in robbing the bank and was convicted. Any man with normal intelligence knows it is wrong to rob a bank. Even before the citations it is sometimes known that the organization is a Communist front--a front for the Communist party.
Mr. Copland. As far as I know----
The Chairman. I am not criticizing you for joining these organizations. You may have been so naive that you didn't know they were Communist controlled or you may have done it purposely, but I can't believe that this very long list used your name time after time as a sponsor of all these outstanding fronts. I can't believe that they forged your name to these petitions, borrowed your name unlawfully time after time. However, I am only interested in knowing why they selected you as a lecturer when we have many other people available as lecturers.
May I say to you there is nothing illegal, as far as I know, about belonging to Communist fronts and there is nothing illegal about accepting employment no matter how sympathetic you were--I am not saying you were--There is nothing illegal about accepting employment in the information program, but we must find out why a man of this tremendous activity in Communist fronts would be selected.
Mr. Copland. May I reply on two points? I think I was selected because of the fact that my employment as a lecturer had nothing to do with anything but music.
The Chairman. If you were a member of the Communist party, let's assume you were, and you were selected to lecture you would be bound to try wherever you could to sell the Communist idea, wouldn't you?
Mr. Copland. No doubt.
Mr. Chairman. So that, I believe you and I would agree that in selecting a lecturer, even though they are an outstanding musician, before we put our stamp of approval on them we should find out whether they are a Communist or sympathetic to the Communist cause. Is that right?
Mr. Copland. Well, I would certainly hesitate to send abroad a man who is a Communist sympathizer or a Communist in order to lecture. My impression was that my political opinions, no matter how vague they may have been, were not in question as far as the Department of State was concerned. I assume if they had been in question I would have had some kind of going over. The reason I am so vague about these various organizations is because my relationship, if any, was so vague. It was not a question of my going to meetings or being active in any way. I am active in many ways--music organizations. They are things which my whole life has been devoted to and these organizations, such as they are, when I see the word sponsor, entertainer, supporter or protestor, to me that means that I got a penny postcard and sent it in, and that is why my memory of it is so vague. That is why I think this list, even if I were what this list said I was connected with as a sponsor, it would give a false impression of the situation--of myself as a man and as a citizen, and that is why I think the State Department wasn't worried.
The Chairman. You were never asked about any of these Communist-front activities?
Mr. Copland. Not to my memory.
The Chairman. I may say, for your information, you did get security clearance.
Mr. Copland. Did I really? How does one get security clearance?
The Chairman. You knew the New Masses was a Communist paper, I suppose.
Mr. Copland. I knew Communists wrote for it.
The Chairman. And Communist controlled?
Mr. Copland. I didn't know it was Communist controlled.
The Chairman. Did you know there were a lot of Communists in it?
Mr. Copland. I knew there was a considerable number.
The Chairman. Do you know now that it is Communist controlled?
Mr. Copland. I would suspect it.
The Chairman. Did you judge contests for the New Masses?
Mr. Copland. Well, I don't know.
The Chairman. Do you recall judging any contest for the New Masses?
Mr. Copland. I may have.
The Chairman. You don't remember?
Mr. Copland. Not precisely. I have a vague recollection. I see here the date is 1937. That is sixteen years ago.
The Chairman. Did you ever belong to the American League for Peace and Democracy?
Mr. Copland. Not to my memory.
The Chairman. Were you a committee member or sponsor of the Citizens Committee for Harry Bridges?
Mr. Copland. I may have been.
The Chairman. Do you recall whether you were or not?
Mr. Copland. No.
The Chairman. You have no recollection whatsoever of such a committee?
Mr. Copland. I may have seen the name before, yes.
Mr. Cohn. You say you may have been. What do you base that on? You must have some recollection.
Were you on that committee? Do you know?
Mr. Copland. I don't know.
Mr. Cohn. Do you recall the Bridges case?
Mr. Copland. Yes, I recall it.
Mr. Cohn. Were you in sympathy with Bridges at the time?
Mr. Copland. I may have thought he was being pushed around. I would have to do some heavy thinking to go back to 1941 and remember what I think about Harry Bridges. He played no more part in my life than over the breakfast table----
The Chairman. Did you belong to a committee for Browder and Ford?
Mr. Copland. It is possible.
The Chairman. If you were a member of such a committee, you, of course, knew at the time that Browder was one of the leading Communists?
Mr. Copland. Yes, I knew that.
The Chairman. Did you say it was possible that you belonged to that committee?
Mr. Copland. I would say it is in the realm of possibility since it was 1936. I can't recall what the committee was about -- what it was for-- or what connection it had with Browder.
The Chairman. Did you have anything to do with the Coordinating Committee to Lift the Embargo in Spain?
Mr. Copland. Not that I remember.
The Chairman. You don't recall that?
Mr. Copland. No.
The Chairman. Did you take any part in any activities having to do with the Spanish Civil War?
Mr. Copland. Not that I recall now.
The Chairman. Do you belong to the American Music Alliance of the Friends of the Abraham Lincoln Brigade?
Mr. Copland. The fact that it is a musical committee puts it into the realm of possibility, but I have no definite memory of it.
The Chairman. Do you know whether you entertained the American Music Alliance of the Friends of the Abraham Lincoln Brigade?
Mr. Copland. In what capacity?
The Chairman. You will have to tell me that.
Mr. Copland. I don't know exactly how I could entertain them, but I have no memory of entertaining them.
The Chairman. Were you a member of the advisory board of Frontier Films?
Mr. Copland. I can't remember it.
The Chairman. Do you recall any connection with Frontier Films?
Mr. Copland. I believe it is the organization that produced documentaries. What date was that?
The Chairman. You will have to tell me. I don't know.
Mr. Copland. I don't know either -- unless it is in the Congressional Record.
The Chairman. If you were on the advisory board of a film company, wouldn't you remember it unless you read it in the Congressional Record?
Mr. Copland. I am on the advisory committee of many organizations where my name is simply listed and no use made of advice. As far as I know I never met with Frontier Films in order to advise them about anything.
The Chairman. It might be of some benefit if you supply us the anti-Communist organizations that you were affiliated with.
Mr. Copland. I can't off-hand give you the name of such things without further study, but I can tell you that since the National Council of American-Soviet Friendship, I have not been associated with any organization which has been cited in any way. I have deliberately taken the stand that in the present situation I do not wish to be associated in any way with an organization that would leave people to think that I had Communist sympathies, which I do not have.
The Chairman. Do you know Edward K. Barsky?
Mr. Copland. No, I did not to my knowledge.
The Chairman. You never met him?
Mr. Copland. Not that I remember.
The Chairman. I think you testified that you have never been a member of the Communist party.
Mr. Copland. That is right.
The Chairman. And you testified that you have never engaged in espionage or sabotage--let me ask you. Have you ever engaged in espionage?
Mr. Copland. No.
The Chairman. Sabotage?
Mr. Copland. No.
The Chairman. Were you a member of the National Committee for People's Rights?
Mr. Copland. I couldn't say. I have no recollection of that. May I say again, in relation to specific questions, I must have more time. It is extremely short time.
The Chairman. Unless I ask the questions you won't know what to think about. You will have an opportunity to go over the record and supply memory gaps if you find any.
Were you a member or sponsor of the National Committee for the Defense of Political Prisoners?
Mr. Copland. I have no memory of that.
The Chairman. You don't remember that at all?
Mr. Copland. No. May I say also in fairness to myself, my interest in connection with any organizations was in no way my interest in their political slant, except that I never knowingly signed my name to anything which I thought was controlled by Communists. I had no fear of sitting down at a table with a known Communist because I was so sure of my position as a loyal American.
The Chairman. With what known Communists have you sat down at a table?
Mr. Copland. That question is absolutely impossible to answer because as far as I know no one has told me that they are a Communist. I may have suspected it.
The Chairman. In other words, you don't recall sitting down at a table with any known Communists?
Mr. Copland. Yes, aside from Russian Communists. I assume they are Communists.
The Chairman. Have you ever sat down at a table with Earl Browder?
Mr. Copland. Not to my knowledge.
The Chairman. Did you sign an open letter to the mayor of Stalingrad?
Mr. Copland. I can't remember that.
The Chairman. Did you sign a statement in support of Henry Wallace, which statement was issued by the National Council of Arts, Sciences and Professions?
Mr. Copland. What would be the date?
The Chairman. 1948.
Mr. Copland. It is possible I did.
The Chairman. Were you active in the Progressive movement?
Mr. Copland. No. The Chairman. Are you connected with the National Council of the Arts, Sciences and Professions?
Mr. Copland. I may have been on their music committee.
The Chairman. Do you have any recollection?
Mr. Copland. No precise recollection.
The Chairman. Does it mean anything to you? You say you may have been.
Mr. Copland. Well, I know that I probably received some of their literature and was aware of some of their musical activities.
The Chairman. Were you a sponsor and speaker at the Cultural and Scientific Conference for World Peace?
Mr. Copland. Yes, I was.
The Chairman. That was held at the Waldorf-Astoria?
Mr. Copland. Yes, sir.
The Chairman. Counsel should not coach the witness unless he asks for coaching.
What year was this?
Mr. Copland. March 1949.
Mr. Cohn. Now, Mr. Copland, that conference was widely publicized in advance as a completely Communist dominated thing, but nevertheless you sponsored and attended it.
Mr. Copland. I sponsored it and attended it because I was very anxious to give the impression that by sitting down with Russian composers one could encourage the thought that since cultural relations were possible that perhaps diplomatic relations were possible. I did not go there to advance the Communist line or in any way encourage their operations. I went there in order to take part in a cultural panel, which included----
The Chairman. You knew that it had been widely labeled as a completely Communist movement, didn't you?
Mr. Copland. No, I didn't know it was a complete Communist movement at that time. I became convinced of it subsequently. I am very glad I went to that conference because it gave me first-hand knowledge in what ways the Communists were able to use such movements for their own ends. After that I refused to sign the sponsorship of any further peace conference.
The Chairman. Did you meet any Communists at that meeting other than Russian Communists?
Mr. Copland. Not that I know of.
The Chairman. Has the FBI or any other government intelligence agency ever interviewed you as to who you met at that conference?
Mr. Copland. No.
The Chairman. Will you prepare a list of the people who attended the conference for us?
Mr. Copland. You mean present on the panel?
The Chairman. Those who you recognized. I am not speaking of the Russians. I am speaking of Americans.
Will you prepare a list of those Americans who were present at that conference?
Mr. Copland. That I remember having personally seen there?
The Chairman. Yes.
Mr. Copland. As far as I can, I will, sir.
The Chairman. We will appreciate that. It may not be of any benefit to the committee but I assume it might be of interest to the FBI.
Mr. Cohn. And you still did not resign from the Council of American-Soviet Friendship?
Mr. Copland. No, I didn't.
Mr. Cohn. In spite of the listing two years prior to that?
Mr. Copland. I am not certain I knew about the listing.
Mr. Cohn. You said after this conference in 1949 you signed no more petitions -- had nothing to do with any Communist fronts after that?
Mr. Copland. To the best of my memory.
The Chairman. To refresh your recollection, in December of 1949 did you not sign a petition or an appeal sponsored by the National Federation for Constitutional Liberties, which appeal asked for the immediate dismissal of charges against Sam Adams Darcy, well-known Communist leader?
Mr. Copland. I have no memory of that at all.
The Chairman. If your name is on the petition, would you say it was forged?
Mr. Copland. You mean a hand-written signature on the petition?
The Chairman. Well, you couldn't sign it except by hand.
Mr. Copland. I would have to see it. I would certainly suspect it was forged.
The Chairman. You tell the committee today that you have no knowledge of signing a petition having to do with Sam Adams Darcy?
Mr. Copland. As far as I know.
The Chairman. You knew nothing about Sam Darcy?
Mr. Copland. Nothing that I know of now.
The Chairman. And you had no reason to sign a petition for Sam Darcy?
Mr. Copland. Not that I know of.
The Chairman. You don't remember anyone discussing the Darcy case with you?
Mr. Copland. Not that I know of.
The Chairman. I think I questioned you about this. Did you sponsor an open letter to the president of the United States asking him to reconsider the order for the deportation of Harry Bridges?
Mr. Copland. When was that?
The Chairman. At any time.
Mr. Copland. I have no memory of it.
The Chairman. Were you interested in the Bridges case?
Mr. Copland. In the way that one is interested in any case he reads about in the papers.
The Chairman. Did you sign a letter to the president in which it stated: "it is equally essential that the attorney general's ill-advised, arbitrary, and unwarranted findings relative to the Communist party be rescinded.''
Mr. Copland. I have no memory of such.
Mr. Cohn. I wonder if we could ask Mr. Copland to sign his name for comparative reasons as all these signatures look the same.
The Chairman. Mr. Copland, you referred to signing penny postcards. You don't think that all of these alleged Communist connections or use of your name, forged or otherwise signed by you on petitions, was the result of signing penny postcards, do you?
Mr. Copland. It is my impression that that was the principal way in which sponsorship and such signing of petitions was furthered, and since I did not attend meetings of these organizations, it is my impression that this is the only way I might have sponsored them--through signature of some petition they sent me through the mail, either on a penny postcard saying, "Will you sign this petition'' or a letter itself.
The Chairman. You don't recall having signed any of these petitions?
Mr. Copland. I wouldn't say that. I would say this at this time having been given three days notice, I would ask for an adjournment to refresh my memory.
Mr. Cohn. Have you ever given money to any of these organizations we have been talking about?
Mr. Copland. Certainly no money of any substantial amount.
Mr. Cohn. Have you ever given any?
Mr. Copland. I couldn't say.
Mr. Cohn. Did you ever give any money to the Communist party?
Mr. Copland. Not that I know of.
Mr. Cohn. That is an unusual answer. I imagine if you gave money to the Communist party you would know it.
Mr. Copland. I am trying to be extra careful, so to speak.
That is why I am making it so tentatively.
The Chairman. I recognize that and we don't blame you for being careful.
Mr. Copland. Thank you.
The Chairman. Were you an entertainer at a New Masses benefit?
Mr. Copland. I seem to have some memory of that. What date was that?
The Chairman. February 1, 1936 or 1939. I don't know which.
Mr. Copland. That, I believe, was an anti-Fascist drive of some sort. I may be wrong about that.
The Chairman. Do you know that Vito Marcantonio was a member of the Communist party?
Mr. Copland. No, I don't.
The Chairman. Did you belong to a committee supporting Marcantonio?
Mr. Copland. I have no memory of belonging to it.
The Chairman. Were you active in supporting Marcantonio?
Mr. Copland. No, I certainly wasn't.
The Chairman. Do you know him?
Mr. Copland. No, I don't.
The Chairman. You stated, I believe, that you don't recall having signed a letter in defense of Harry Bridges.
Mr. Copland. At this time I don't recall it.
The Chairman. Did you know Georgi Dimitrov?
Mr. Copland. No.
The Chairman. Did you ever hear about the Reichstag Fire Trial Anniversary Committee?
Mr. Copland. I can't at this time remember whether I have or not.
The Chairman. You don't recall?
Mr. Copland. No.
The Chairman. You don't recall ever having been affiliated with it?
Mr. Copeland. No, not at this time I don't.
The Chairman. Were you a sponsor of the Schappes Defense Committee?
Mr. Copland. As far as I know I was not.
The Chairman. Did you ever hear of Schappes?
Mr. Copland. I may have vaguely heard of him.
Mr. Cohn. You said before you had?
Mr. Copland. You see, I am uncertain whether I do or vaguely do. Without further opportunity to refresh my memory-- --
The Chairman. May I interrupt. I may say, going through all of these and where you feel that your memory is not sufficiently sharp so you can adequately answer, you will have opportunity to go over the record and supply the material which you were able to supply after your memory is refreshed.
Mr. Copland. Could I ask you to tell me again what you said about my having been connected with Sam Adams Darcy after the peace conference?
The Chairman. What date was that?
Mr. Copland. I believe the peace conference was March 1949 and you quoted the Darcy connection, if there was one, at a later date. I gather that your thought is that the Darcy petition may have been signed before that.
The Chairman. Here we are. We have it here. It appears from the report we have that you were a sponsor and speaker at the Cultural and Scientific Conference for World Peace which was held March 25-27, 1945 inclusive.
Mr. Copland. The other matter was considerably before that, the petition.
The Chairman. I beg your pardon.
May I amplify the record. I had previously indicated in the questioning that the Sam Darcy petition had been signed after the New York conference. I misread it. I thought it was December 1949. Actually it was December 1940. You are correct.
Mr. Copland. I was going to explain why I didn't resign until 1950. The music committee was organized to further relations on a musical plane with the Soviet Union. It was an off-shoot of a committee, I believe, that had to do with the State Department. At any rate, that committee itself left the National Council and set itself up as the National Soviet Music Society and since I went with the music committee, I was under the impression that I was no longer a member of the National Council. In order to be sure I had severed connections I wrote a letter in 1950.
Mr. Cohn. By the way, Mr. Copland, you are awfully well prepared. I am just wondering. Let me ask you this: Prior to the phone call Friday, you had never known of any reference to you in the Congressional Record concerning your Communist fronts?
Mr. Copland. That is not my testimony.
Mr. Cohn. Then, Mr. Copland, you stated this had not just come to your attention on Friday?
Mr. Copland. May I say that I heard through a letter that there had been a printing in the Congressional Record of remarks of the Honorable Fred E. Busby concerning myself.
Mr. Cohn. When was that?
Mr. Copland. When was the Congressional Record of Busby's statement? It is in here for Friday, January 16, 1953, and my memory of that is that happened sometime in March or April. Subsequently a friend supplied me with a copy.
Mr. Cohn. When was that?
Mr. Copland. I would say sometime in April.
I will also add that I was absolutely amazed at the number of entries in connection with my name.
Mr. Cohn. So were we.
The Chairman. Do you feel now that your name was misused by various organizations or do you want further time to check into it?
Mr. Copland. I would like further time to check into it.
It is also well known that if they got your name in connection with one thing, they didn't hesitate to use it in connection with another. I would also like to say that my connection, insofar as it would show, was the direct outcome of the feelings of a musician. I was not moved by the Communist element, whatever it may have been. I was moved by specific causes to which I lent my name.
Musicians make music out of feelings aroused out of public events.
Senator Mundt. I can't follow this line of argument. I don't see how that line of reasoning makes sense with a hatchet man like Bridges.
Mr. Copland. A musician, when he writes his notes he makes his music out of emotions and you can't make your music unless you are moved by events. If I sponsored a committee in relation to Bridges, I may have been misled, not through Communist leanings. If I had them, there was something about his situation that moved me.
Senator Mundt. That would be true of anybody--any human beings, I think, not only musicians. Emotions are part of everyone's personality. That certainly stretches a point. We are all governed by the same rules of caution. When you get to Browder and Bridges, I think musicians have to go by the same code as governs other citizens.
Mr. Copland. We are assuming -- I would like to see what it was I was supposed to have signed. I would have to know the circumstances to make any kind of sensible case.
The Chairman. Do you say now that your activities as a musician had to do with your connection with Bridges and Browder?
Mr. Copland. I would say that anything I signed was because of the human cause behind it that interested me----
The Chairman. Were you a good friend of Hanns Eisler?
Mr. Copland. No, I knew him slightly. I was not a good friend of his.
The Chairman. Did you meet him socially?
Mr. Copland. Yes.
The Chairman. Roughly, how many times?
Mr. Copland. Roughly, this is a guess, two or three times.
The Chairman. When did you last see him?
Mr. Copland. My impression is I last saw him in California.
The Chairman. Did you agree with the statement by Eisler that "Revolutionary music is now more powerful than ever. Its political and artistic importance is growing daily.''
Mr. Copland. That is a vague statement. I don't know what he means by "revolutionary music.''
The Chairman. Do you agree with him that there is a political importance in music?
Mr. Copland. I certainly would not. What the Soviet government has been trying to do in forcing their composers to write along lines favorable to themselves is absolutely wrong. It is one of the basic reasons why I could have no sympathy with such an attitude.
The Chairman. Would you say a good musician who is a Communist could be important in influencing people in favor of the Communist cause?
Mr. Copland. Perhaps in some indirect way.
The Chairman. One final question.
Quoting Hanns Eisler, is this a correct description of you by Eisler:

"I am extremely pleased to report a considerable shift to the left among the American artistic intelligentsia. I don't think it would be an exaggeration to state that the best people in the musical world of America (with very few exceptions) share at present extremely progressive ideas.
Their names? They are Aaron Copland.

Would you say that is a correct description of you?
Mr. Copland. No, I would not. I would say he is using knowledge of my liberal feelings in the arts and in general to typify me as a help to his own cause.
The Chairman. Just for the record, this quotation from Eisler appears in the House Un-American Activities Committee Hearing, September 24, 25, 26, 1947, pages 36, 38, 39.
I have no further questions. How about you Mr. Cohn?
Mr. Cohn. No, sir.
The Chairman. Senator Mundt?
Senator Mundt. No.
Mr. Cohn. You are reminded that you are still under subpoena and will be called again within the next week, I would assume.
(Whereupon the hearing adjourned.)

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