Weekly in San Francisco; sometimes
held special meetings.
Immediately after Hitler's invasion
»f the Soviet [nion on June 22. William
Schneiderman and Steve Nelson flew to
New i ork to attend a special and emer-
"iiiev meeting of the National Commit-
ll'i'. On their return they reported firsl
"1 a District Buro meeting and then al
•n all-day "enlarged"' District Committee
Meeting, to which all leading district
officials we're invited. William /. Foster.
'"tional Chairman of the- Communisl
Party, weis also presenl and made a report al the meeting. I was chairman of
"'e afternoon session, eiml a speaker al
|he meeting held lhal night in lhe senile-
'"ill lo honor Anita Whitney, a veteran
'"'d leader of California.
ll is now positively known from documentation that this meeting was held
'"'"/«v. July 13, though when I relied
"" memon o.ver the years / previously
thought ,'i /,,„/ been earlier in lhe month.
' Hie exact dale of ihis meeting later
''ssiiiiiid importance in investigations reding to Dr. J. Roberl Oppenheimer and
to other atomic scientists.)
At ihe District Buro meeting held ei
lu days before the larger meeting of
"') I'!, considerable attention weis given
0 tne prol,lean of transmitting lhe new
''a,|V' line' le, the rank and file members.
■inted and published resolutions had
'' ''I- "interpreted," iced meanings made
''■"" through emphasis, tone of voice'
'""' sometimes by "off-the-record" re-
"'"'ks. and questions of members given
a''sfacloiy answers. 11 was decided lhal
1 l""'lv membership meeting should be
Alameda Count) as soon as it
d he arranged after the July 13
'"''iii Committee meeting, and was to
"'"ide all sections excepl the special
' ''"n. I was in gei iii person to indiv id-
meetings of the special session units
t ' u"r and the new line. Kenneth Mav
!]''* lo arrange lhe physical details for
si.'"' Alameda County part) member-
j"P meeting was held in a rented hall in
"U"l"w„ Oakland. The exacl dale has
..." '"'en definitely established l,v gov-
'■I'ible investigation, ll
*Otiably have bee, held less than six
H "''v,n days after the District meeting
l,r ' "' thirteenth because of technical
Ha. '',''"'" °' informing the members ol
,,„. Place and date through party chan-
t| ' "" 't would not have been earlier
c*n Jul) 19. | definitely know the
4 ^ y membership meeting weis before
because a reporl was gm
ley I- " '
llii. ,j"'^"a"- county drive director for
f,,, 7''eN // orld, on section quotas
,\||ir:i financial drive' theii was to start
e„,,""~' 1. Hut ihis does not necessarily
"it'.',!,'-''"" "" "/ '"<' lllr'''' special section
'„.,' 'nSs where I made reports were
'""■ tugust I.
—Wide World Photo
Dr. Kenneth May
Kenneth May made arrangements for
three special section meetings where I was
to make reports. One was the unit of government employees, one was the unit of leading professionals, the other was a joint meeting of two branches—those of key University
faculty members and of radiation laboratory
and other scientific personnel.
After so many years 1 do nol recall
the exact dates of any of these meetings
or whether each meeting was held before
or after the county membership meeting.
As the date of the July 13 meeting in
San Francisco i.^ now positively known.
they could not have been held before
thai time, and it is unlikely that an\
were prior to the nineteenth or twentieth.
It is likely, in view of established parly
procedure and average time required to
arrange such meetings, thai they would
have been held between about July 20
and approximately August 5, unless they
were delayed beyond the latter dale b)
some important eircinnstanee or difficulty such ;is possible difficulty in Find-
—Wide World Photo
TS FORUM NEWS, .1
ing a suitable meeting place.
As my wife Sv K ia and I had pre\ ious-
ly thought of lhe District meeting (July
I3) as having been held earlier in lln
month, we naturally assumed that all ol
lhe meetings where I made reports were'
held by the end of the month and therefore in testimony referred to "July"
meetings. We both thought of a house-
warming party for Kenneth May as having been held near the end of August,
hut government investigators have
learned lhal il vvas held on September
One evening in laic July or early
August, 1941 the- exact dale still lo be
ascertained Kenneth Mav drove to our
home at 2003 Kasi 25th Street. Oakland,
to take rue' lo the joint meeting of two
special section units. My wife accompanied us. This was not unusual as
Sylvia lieul been a leading parly official
for thirteen years and in l')ll was head
of the' national group (or nationality)
commission of tlie parly for Alameda
As usual in such c;is,.s. Ke'iineth Meev
did not tell us the address where lhe
meeting weis to hi' held or the name' of
the host. Thai was immaterial, and part;
members and even leaders of lhe highest
rank are expected lo know only whal is
essential to carry oul the responsibilities
assigned to them.
May drove' in circles through downtown Berkeley, going first in one direction and then in another, to throw off
einv government agent who mighl conceivably have tried lo "shadovv" us.
Winn we eventually entered the Berkeley hills we wenl through a maze' of
streets emd turns, climbing higher and
higher, vvilh frequent views of the lighls
of San Francisco in the distance. Then
we turned off lo the righl on a side
road or drive and after perhaps a hundred yards slopped before the house'
where the' meeting was being held.
We walked around the left side of
the house, and from an entrance near
the fireplace we came into the living
room, where many members already
were present. We Found ourselves in .1
-1 unique residence of unusual architectural ell-sign.
The living room was at the back of
the house, in lhe southwest corner, and
an angular fireplace in the northeast
coiner of Ihe room. On the north side'
lhe living room was separated from an
artist's studio room hy some movable
partitions thai were opened up to provide space for ihe twenty lo twenty-five
people villi, attended lhe meeting. On
the wes| side' eif the house lllel'e was a
rather narrow balcony, with a door
from lhe studio room opening to it.
Before the meeting got under way the'
hostess, a vivacious young lady with
charming personality ami manner.
-In,wed me around the house. When she
took mi' euit on th,' balcony I was s,,