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Editor says, what if Truman pardoned Alger Hiss? muses Eric Lipps. Please note that the opinions expressed in this post do not necessarily reflect the views of the author(s).
In 1953,on his last full day in office, with nothing further to lose, President Harry S Truman pardons Alger Hiss, the State Department official accused in 1948 of spying for the Soviet Union in the 1930s and 1940s, and convicted of perjury in 1950 and currently in the federal prison in Lewisburg, Pennsylvania.
Truman pardons HissTruman cites what he calls "not just reasonable doubt but considerable doubt," and writes, "Mr. Hiss could not possibly have received a fair trial under the political climate of the time".
Hiss will accept the pardon, which allows him to be released from incarceration. However, he will insist to his dying day that he was innocent in the first place, and will press, without success, for a formal exoneration, arguing that a simple pardon carries with it a presumption of guilt.