Nathan Witt

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This article is part of the
Venona
series.

CPUSA
Agricultural Adjustment Administration
National Labor Relations Board
Ware group

Nathan Witt was hired by the New Deal Agricultural Adjustment Administration (AAA) in the early 1930's. He later worked at the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB). Witt was a member of the Communist Party of the United States (CPUSA), the U.S. affiliate of the global Moscow-directed Comintern, the stated aim of which was World Revolution "by all available means, including armed force, for the overthrow of the international bourgeoisie and for the creation of an international Soviet republic as a transition stage to the complete abolition of the State." Federal regulations forbade partisan political activity by federal employees, so Witt became a member of the CPUSA's secret apparatus and worked in the Ware group, a group of about 75 underground communists within the Roosevelt Administration who advocated the violent overthrow of the United States Government. Alger Hiss, Lee Pressman, Charles Kramer, Henry Collins, Victor Perlo, Donald Hiss, George Silverman and John Abt all were members. The passage of the Smith Act in June 1940, which criminalized advocating the forceful overthrow of U.S. government, did not alter their view. In 1935, pon the death of the Ware group's leader, Harold Ware, Witt moved into a key position of leadership.

During Witt's tenure at the NLRB Allen Rosenberg worked under his supervision as an attorney. A special committee of the House of Representatives began looking into the NLRB's misuse of congressional appropriations after it was discovered funds were used to seek outside support to oppose legislation affecting the National Labor Relations Act and to oppose a reduction of the appropriations for the Board in violation of Section 201, Title 18, U.S. Code. The FBI also made an investigation of the case.

Source

  • John Earl Haynes and Harvey Klehr, Venona: Decoding Soviet Espionage in America, Yale University Press
  • Adolf Berle’s Notes, Underground Espionage Agent, U.S. Senate Internal Security Subcommittee, Interlocking Subversion in Government Departments [Hearings] (Washington: U.S. Govt. Print. Off., 1953), part 6, 329–30.
  • Silvermaster Group FBI FOIA
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