Amerasia Case

   In January 1945, an article that seemed to be based on classified State Department papers appeared in Amerasia, a journal of Far Eastern affairs. Acting without a warrant, officers of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) broke into the journal’s offices, where they found classified documents. The editor of the journal, Russian-born Phillip Jaffe, a State Department worker and naval intelligence officer, were arrested, as was John Stewart Service. Charges against Service were thrown out by a grand jury and, as there was no evidence that material had been passed to any enemy state, the other three accused were charged with illegal possession of government documents. Rather than proceed with the trial and reveal the FBI’s illegal actions, a deal was struck in which Jaffe pleaded guilty, the State Department member pleaded no contest, and charges against the naval officer were dropped. Despite this, the case was later referred to by Joseph McCarthy when he claimed that communist sympathizers were present in government.

Historical Dictionary of the Roosevelt–Truman Era . . 2015.

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